Some disappointing news came from out of nowhere earlier today as Disney announced that they’re not only cancelling Disney Infinity, but leaving the video game business altogether. Well, save for licensed stuff, of course.
Interestingly enough, it may very well be those very licensed games — i.e. Star Wars Battlefront — which convinced the company to make the move. According to USgamer, Disney Infinity managed to pull in an estimated $200 million in revenue for the company last year. Which isn’t too shabby — until you see that Star Wars Battlefront, which was merely licensed to Electronic Arts to take on all developmental risks, pulled in an estimated $660 million, or over three times as much.
Though it reportedly beat out competitors in the four-year Toys-To-Life veteran Skylanders and the rookie LEGO Dimensions, it seems Disney just wanted more. Or at the very least, figured that if they can make so much more by merely licensing out their properties instead of developing them in-house to lesser returns, then why bother?
Sadly, this means that once the Alice Through the Looking Glass set hits later this month and Finding Dory lands in June, developer Avalanche Software will be shuttered and its 300 employees put out of work. I mean, sure, they could probably spin the company off or sell it to someone else, but that’s clearly not how things are done in the video game industry. You buy a company that’s been around for 20+ years and once something tickles your nose, you sneeze it all away and forget about it.
Like you do.
Still, what I can’t help but wonder is if Disney even tried to find someone else to take over the Disney Infinity product. Sure, 200 million may not be much to a mega-corporation like Disney, but I can imagine it might be significant to someone else. The framework, the design, the infrastructure, and the customer base are all there — why not allow someone else to license it and create new Play Sets and character figures to add to the game, thus leaving Disney’s own investment out of it and reaping the rewards? After all, Disney Interactive wasn’t going to follow up with a new yearly installment, anyway.
“Go big or go home,” I guess.
I’ll admit, I haven’t played much Disney Infinity, but what little I did play was rather enjoyable. I’ve been hoping to get more into it, and it looks like I may now have my chance — at a bit of a discount, no less.
You might recall I recently made an effort to get the Iron Man figure, just because I liked the design (amusingly now, it might have ended up cheaper to get the three-pack he was originally a part of new). I’d love to get more, too, including Hulkbuster Iron Man, Agent P (and Phineas), Wreck-It Ralph, and Elsa. Maybe now I’ll have my chance.
Still, it’s such a shame to think of what we didn’t get, like Darkwing Duck or Rescue Rangers or other classic characters and franchises from Disney’s archives. A terrible waste, really.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.