It’s not a good day at Disney Interactive. SVP John Blackburn just posted that Disney Infinity will shortly be discontinued. There are a few more characters launching (Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory), but after that, it’s kaput.
This is not good news for Disney Interactive. The Walt Disney Company announced they would take a $147 million write-off and essentially drop out of the self-published console games business completely.
Disney Infinity launched in 2013 as Disney tried to reproduce the success of the popular Skylanders game, reportedly a great business model since you have to collect to open new game play. That was supposed to mean a steady stream of new money entering the game, even if users aren’t forced to buy upgrades every few months. Alas, it appears that even with this money-focused business model, there was not enough money in it for Disney.
To be honest, I found the game play a bit underwhelming. While it was fun to play a Disney character, after awhile the action was fairly limited. The main idea was that this is incentive for you to buy the next character. But instead the result was disjointed play with no larger goal in mind. Eventually Disney Infinity was done in by its limitations, not the idea. I think a 4.0 could possibly have fixed some of these flaws, but now we’ll never know.
Thankfully the “toys-to-life” collectibles segment is not only business model for console games. Disney has smartly continued developing other games via its licensing partners. Expect those to continue. I’m just surprised Disney couldn’t figure out some sort of business model that worked for its internal efforts too.
What this means for the employees at Disney Interactive isn’t clear, but it’s not likely all that good for many of them. Our thoughts go out to them. In addition to Disney Infinity they put out some fun games like Epic Mickey, Ducktales: Remastered, Fantasia: Music Evolved, and racing titles like Pure and Split/Second.
Update: We’re hearing that 300 people are losing their jobs at Disney and the company that helped build Disney Infinity. Including a handful of Disney Infinity fans who were hired to help with game play. So much for that dream job.
Did you have a favorite console game from Disney Interactive?