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Disney Infinity Meets Its End, Disney Leaves Games Industry Behind

Disney has decided that it has better things to do than make games.

News by Mike Williams, .

As part of its second quarter financial earnings report, Disney quietly announced that it was suspending its console games business and cancelling Disney Infinity. The company stated that it would write down a $147 million charge in relation to the discontinuation of the toys-to-life product.

The last hurrah for Disney Infinity.

"By now you may have heard the news that we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Disney Infinity. From the beginning, Disney Infinity was built for you-our fans-and I wanted to take a moment to thank you not just for your support over the years, but for creating a community that made Disney Infinity more than just a game," explained Disney Infinity senior vice president John Blackburn in a statement.

The game will see two final releases: Alice Through the Looking Glass later this month and Finding Dory in June. Once that's done, Disney is out of gaming altogether. This also means that Avalanche Software, the studio behind Disney Infinity, has been shuttered, with all 300 employees being laid off.

For Disney, the console gaming market never really made sense. High cost, high risk, and little guarantee on return. Disney Infinity was supposed to be the turning point for Disney Interactive, the one division that was constantly operating in the red.

"Console games cost tens of millions of dollars to build," said former Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants to Variety in 2013. "They're not cheap and come with quite a bit of risk associated with them. When you look at what the division was doing three years ago, we were largely focused on console products."

"I think this could be the last gasp for Disney on doing console games internally," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told Variety at the time. "I think 'Infinity' has to work for them or they're going to be reticent to try a lot of new things going forward."

Disney Infinity probably made a good deal of money, but for Disney, the licensed Star Wars Battlefront represented the future moving forward. Pachter estimated that Disney Infinity made $200 million in revenue last year, while Star Wars Battlefront earned $660 million. The $200 million estimate put Disney Infinity ahead of Lego Dimensions and Skylanders, but Disney is a huge company and its perspective on 'successful' is vastly different.

By licensing the Star Wars brand to Electronic Arts, Disney doesn't have to have developers on hand to make titles. It reaps the rewards and the risks are all Electronic Arts. At some point, management looked that the gulf between Infinity and Battlefront and wondered why it was publishing games in-house. You can probably expect to see more licensing of Disney properties, but most of that will probably lean on the mobile side.

Disney already has successful mobile titles related to its brands, including EA's Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Netmarble's Marvel Future Fight, and Kabam's Marvel: Contest of Champions. I'd expect to see another developer picking up the rights to make standalone Spider-Man, X-Men, or Avengers games on consoles, but the days of movie tie-ins on consoles are dead.

I admit, I was always a huge fan of Disney Infinity, but not for the games. I have a solid collection of the figures because they're great designs of some of my favorite Marvel and Star Wars characters, at reasonable prices. As I type this, Black Panther, Yoda, and Symbiote Spider-Man sit on my desk. I was looking forward to getting some of the Star Wars: Rogue One characters in Infinity form later this year. Shame that's not happening.

Hopefully, all those involved in the layoffs find new employment soon.

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Comments 8

  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #1 LBD_Nytetrayn A year ago
    Shame they'd rather shut down an acquired company than sell it or spin it off. Like you do.

    That said, I wonder if they considered licensing Infinity off? The infrastructure and framework, the consumer base is all there, but why not let someone else create new figures and play sets for it?

    Just weird to hear this so soon after they said they were no longer making new versions and instead focusing on those two very things.

    Oh, and count me in on liking the figures. I have an Iron Man just to go on my shelf with my amiibo and such, and I wanted to get a few more (like Elsa, Agent P, and Hulkbuster Iron Man). Maybe soon I can get some of those on the cheap, and a cheap game with it?Edited May 2016 by LBD_Nytetrayn
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  • Avatar for yuberus #2 yuberus A year ago
    Fingers crossed this leads to a Marvel vs. Capcom 4. If SF5 sales continue to be steady, I don't know why Capcom wouldn't - they already have an engine from Tatsunoko and Marvel 3 they could just tweak and reuse.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #3 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    Im oddly torn, on the one hand this is a hugely different and incredibly expensive product that isn't what one would call a traditional console game, but on the other we have where they're headed and that ain't no Quack Attack territory from the current output...
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #4 Tetragrammaton A year ago
    RIP any chance of Monkey Island for five years. X_X
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #5 MetManMas A year ago
    I've never gotten toys-to-life 'cuz of the pricetag, but I'm super disappointed that Disney Infinity is shutting down. It was one of more interesting ones.

    Can't say I'm surprised Star Wars: Battlefront did better, though. It may (still) be lacking in substance, but 1) it's an online multiplayer Star Wars FPS, 2) it's focused primarily on the beloved original trilogy, and 3) it had its own PS4 bundle with some lesser Star Wars games just in time for the double whammy of Episode VII's release and Christmas. I mean yeah, Disney Infinity 3.0 had Star Wars characters, but with Battlefront you don't have to pay extra just to play as Darth Vader or Boba Fett.

    Still holding that Wookie hostage, though. I know damn well that Battlefront didn't put Chewbacca in the base package 'cuz they know they can use his playable presence to instantly sell one of the future DLC add-ons.
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  • Avatar for jay-ban #6 jay-ban A year ago
    Is there any information about Disney providing support for the 300 jobless ex-employees? That's a whole lot of people.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #7 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    @nimzy

    Or quarterly decision-making.
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  • Avatar for Sturat #8 Sturat A year ago
    I hope this is part of a bigger trend where the toys to life fad dies entirely. I would love it if Nintendo decided to keep amiibos away from the NX.Edited May 2016 by Sturat
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