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?
It’s been getting harder and harder for me to like Disney as a brand and a company lately. This doesn’t help.
So disappointed with this announcement.
Disney Infinity was a great product with release 1 we were just waiting for more Classic characters with games to play rather than being toy box only.
Instead Disney went for the Marvel and Star Wars routes for releases 2 and 3. Obviously not such a great idea as my kids have gradually lost interest with these versions.
I’m worried that while Marvel and Star Wars are short term gainers this may highlight the reality that these brands DO NOT fit with Disney’s core audience and do not create the staying power with children that they hoped for.
I really hope the investment in the Theme Parks division which is heavily Star Wars and Marvel oriented does not come around to bite back, as this would be a terrible shame.
RIP Disney Infinity
“Marvel and Star Wars are short term gainers”? Marvel Comics has been around since 1939, Star Wars since 1977. The idea that these brands are merely trends is ridiculous.
All they needed to do is allow every toy in every set!
Isn’t it odd they are still releasing 2 more sets? I mean who will buy those knowing the whole platform is going away?
While I never picked this up (since my daughter as already heavily invested in Skylanders), I loved the artwork for the figures (esp. for the Marvel and Star Wars ones); I may keep my eyes open for discounts on them, post announcement, because I’d be willing to just have them up on a shelf.
Disney, at least in America, has lost it’s drive to make magic, and has instead shifted it’s focus to making money. It seems they have forgotten you can do both. Instead of pushing limits to bring in people, they have cut back to bring in money. In the short term that may make sense, but people will abandon Disney if this trend continues.
I was just frustrated that I had to buy a base AT EVERY VERSION.
I felt that was dumb, and thats why we did not buy 3.0
Amen to F R’s comment. The need to purchase a whole new base for 2.0 and 3.0 was just too much for us. So we were stuck with 1.0 stuff which became harder and harder to find. Sad.
Now I know why 3.0 was half off at Target last week. Glad I bought it then.
I can’t speak for Infinity…but Disney Interactive’s Lion King game for Sega Genesis is still one of the hardest games ever.