Disney closes game studio, cancels future Disney Infinity releases
Disney is getting out of the game publishing business and will no longer be releasing any new updates for Disney Infinity. News of the closure came during the company’s quarterly report on Tuesday.
For the past few years, Disney Interactive Studios focused on “Disney Infinity,” an open-world sandbox that allowed players to buy small figurines that unlocked new playable characters and worlds. All of the playsets were compatible with each other, and the more figurines you had the more you could do within the game. The model was a terrific idea, borrowing heavily from Nintendo’s popular amiibo line and the Skylanders model. Players could recreate scenes from their favorite Star Wars films, have their own Toy Story adventures, or play online with others.
The ruling champion of this toy tie-in market was Activision. The publisher had the rights to “Skylanders” and both games were very similar to each other. Disney poured money into “Disney Infinity,” hoping to capitalize on the growing trend.
On paper the development seemed perfect, Disney would have its own catalog of Star Wars, Marvel and Disney Princesses to flood the market with playsets, and Disney made money on the toys and the game itself. In the end the game failed to meet expectations, and proved to be the final nail for Disney Interactive.
Disney confirmed that it will be taking a $147 million charge on the cancellation of its games business.
There are two releases to the “Disney Infinity” brand that are remaining on the schedule. These are also tie-ins for Disney films, both releasing this summer. The remaining expansions include “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Finding Dory.”
Disney has closed the door on producing games on its own, but the company stated that it has not ruled out licensing content to third-party developers. Disney found success in doing this with mobile games, and franchises like “Kingdom Hearts,” and “Battlefront” from Star Wars.