Disney Kills the Infinity Game Series and Gets Out of Console Game Publishing
Disney Infinity is dead. The Mouse announced its exit from the “self-published console games” business in an earnings call Tuesday afternoon, which brings with it the winding down of its major toys-to-life console game series Disney Infinity.
John Blackburn, senior vice president and general manager of the Infinity business, confirmed the discontinuation in a blog post on the Disney Interactive web site, noting that two final add-on packs for Disney Infinity 3.0, featuring characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory, will still be released into stores by the end of June. Like all Infinity content, this will be delivered through interactive toys that communicate with the game via NFC chips.
Avalanche, the Salt Lake City-based developer that led the creation of Infinity, will be shut down, said Jimmy Pitaro, the chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, in a statement emailed to WIRED.
“After a thorough evaluation, we have modified our approach to console gaming and will transition exclusively to a licensing model. This shift in strategy means we will cease production of Disney Infinity, where the lack of growth in the toys-to-life market, coupled with high development costs, has created a challenging business model,” Pitaro said.
Through three yearly iterations, Infinity brought Disney’s vast stable of popular characters together into a game experience that was half Minecraft and half Grand Theft Auto for kids: A creative “toy box” mode that let players mash up every character and world imaginable into custom-made game experiences, and a variety of “play sets” that were more focused open-world cooperative adventure games.
Most recently, Disney Infinity 3.0 led with a variety of Star Wars levels, following it up with a four-player Marvel superhero fighting game, all playable within the same piece of software. No small feat (of licensing, let alone game design).
Infinity had actually been quite successful, in a relative sense: Disney had just announced at the beginning of this year that it was the most popular toys-to-life game in terms of dollars spent, beating out Skylanders and LEGO Dimensions. Activision has announced plans to release a new Skylanders this year.
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