Disney has announced that they are exiting the market of creating and publishing their own games, a decision that has resulted in the closure of their long-running toys-to-life series Disney Infinity, as well as the closure of Avalanche Software.
Disney have also announced plans to only license out their properties to other game developers.
Does this surprise you?
Yes, it was pretty shocking. It felt so sudden since there were several leaks of newer Disney Infinity figures, so I thought the property was doing well. John Vignocchi, the VP of production for Disney Infinity said that there would be over 100 characters total (across three versions) before 3.0 was finished just last month.
Yes, absolutely. I closely followed Disney Infinity since it was first announced, and for all intents and purposes it had done extremely well. The addition of Star Wars had resulted in a surge of popularity. It had become the most popular property in the Toys to Life market, beating out some pretty stiff competition. With how much new content they had announced, all of the new playsets, and such positive talks in general for the future I felt like it was a bolt out of the blue.
Yes. Most of the news related to Disney Infinity was positive, so to end it so abruptly is surprising. I often saw plenty of figures at stores, so I figured everything was fine. Clearly there was something going on behind the scenes.
How does this make you feel?
I’m a fan of Disney, but I never really saw the appeal of Disney Infinity. The figures didn’t particularly interest me, and the game seemed too broad for my tastes. I know some people who were huge Disney Infinity fans, and I know this is a huge blow to them…so I feel bad for the fans.
To put it bluntly, devastated. I’ve invested so much time and effort into these games. They’ve been a big part of my life now for over 3 years. I may have had discrepancies in regards to some of their methods, like for instance the direction of 2.0, but it always came from the passion that I had for these games. I currently have a near-complete collection of the figures, and more Power Discs than I can be bothered to count. I’m saddened that the collection overall has so many glaring omissions, such as Goofy, the Pines Twins and Wolverine. It’s hard for me, knowing that the Peter Pan figure, along with everything else they had announced will never see the light of day. I think it’s rather irresponsible for Disney to not, at the very least release what they had announced.
I’m indifferent. I’m not a huge fan of toys to life and I don’t really play Disney games. I’m intrigued why it ended.
What do you believe will come about as a result of this sudden decision?
From what I’ve read, it seems that it was a mixture of bad business and good business. Disney ordered too much stock for certain less popular characters (some that were included only to advertise upcoming movies/ projects) which led to huge losses. Furthermore, there was a lot of licensing issues with mixing all of these worlds together which made some negotiations difficult. Lastly, Disney seems to be trying to mitigate risk by shutting down their internal companies. It’s a lot more cost effective for Disney to just license out their properties to other developers.
There’s currently an attempt by Disney Infinity’s fanbase to try and get Disney to overturn their decision. Though the chances of it being successful are slim. Odds are that we’re going to see a lot more Disney games in the next few years with their plan to license out their IPs to other publishers. Without all their eggs in the Disney Infinity basket, we’re sure to see a whole bunch of movie licensed games (where we would have just had playsets usually). I think we all know the general standards of movie licensed games are rather low.
At best, we may see a Marvel vs. Capcom 4 out of this eventually, but even with that, disappointing Street Fighter 5 sales put a huge downer on an MvC4 being a possibility.
A future without Disney Infinity is something of a bleak future…
The biggest change will be Disney moving to licensing rather than making their own games. This opens up a lot of possibilities; Disney has plenty of strong IPs that other companies would love to work on. Of course, that doesn’t mean the games will always be top notch. It also opens up a lot of opportunities for Nintendo and Activision Blizzard as they are the largest players in the toy to life market. However, Disney exiting the business may be indicative that toys to life are going the way of the Beanie Baby. Only time will tell.
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