To Infinity And Not Beyond: Disney Infinity Discontinued

This is some bad news for my nephew: Disney are stopping production of Disney Infinity, their ‘toys to life’ series. They’re also effectively exiting the games publishing business in the process, and closing down Infinity developers Avalanche Software. My nephew won’t know what those bits mean though.

A ‘toys to life’ game is one in which you buy plastic figurines and put them on a plastic base connected to your computer that causes the character to then appear inside the game. It’s basically magic. Expensive, plastic magic – and Disney’s answer to Activision’s crazy popular Skylanders series. Essentially you buy a character – say, Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles – place him on your base at home, and then you can use him to play an Incredibles-themed mission set or in an open world Toy Box mode. I never played it but I think it sounds like an awesome toy.

I suppose this means that Infinity was less crazy popular than its inspiration, however. In an earnings report yesterday, the company said that Infinity had “lower results” than predicted and that this led to “the discontinuation of our self-published console games business, principally Infinity.”

Although they say “console game business,” Disney Infinity did come to PC, albeit only ever in truncated form. Our version never supported the plastic base atop which you could place your figurines. Instead, on PC, you simply bought characters via an online store like a regular, plastic magic-free free-to-play game.

The closure of Avalanche Software means 300 people losing their jobs. Avalanche Software should not be confused, as I have for the past four years, with Avalanche Studios, the makers of the Just Cause series.

Who wants to start the countdown to EA getting the license to more Disney properties?

From this site

22 Comments

  1. GameCat says:

    People who are making Cupman should make now Mickey/Donald game that looks like old cartoons.

  2. EighthNote says:

    My sympathies to the Avalanche Studios developers. I knew some of them, they were passionate about their jobs and dedicated to their work. Best of luck on their future endeavors.

    • ikehaiku says:

      That’s Avalanche Software (the Disney subsidiary) – not to be confused with Avalanche Studios (makers of Just Cause, Mad Max et al. But they are getting that a lot today if their twitter output is to be believed.

  3. Themadcow says:

    That’s a shock. Nearly every one of my sons friends love Disney Infinity and the last version was pretty good, especially some of the downloadable maps. On the positive side, thats £200 of Disney Infinity 4 figures I won’t be buying.

  4. Foglet says:

    Word is, they both (Disney Infinity and Skylanders) are being utterly steamrolled by Lego Dimensions.

    • GameCat says:

      I wish LEGO Dimensions sets were cheaper. I mean, come on, it’s €30 for ~100 pieces + level pack. You could get for example 2 Speed Champions cars with total ~350 pieces for this price.
      I get it that they must pay some royalties for using characters from many franchises (and boy, they got some really good stuff there), devs for making levels and there’s a lot printed pieces that are more expensive than plain one, but it’s still too high by at least €10.

    • dontnormally says:

      Toys for Bob made their fortune (good!). Now maybe they’ll make the spiritual successor to Star Control II.

      • Marr says:

        TfB are just part of the Activision zerg now, aren’t they? I’m not sure Paul and Fred even exist as individual sophonts at this late stage.

      • Marr says:

        Actually, I missed this at the time but apparently Stardock aquired the rights to Star Control a couple of years back. Interesting. link to littletinyfrogs.com

    • iainl says:

      I must admit, the more I look at this announcement, the more I wonder how much of it is that Disney Infinity was actually losing a lot of money, and how much it is the opportunity cost of not having royalties from Star Wars and Marvel not being in Dimensions, given how well the regular LEGO sets and games from those licences do.

  5. lylebot says:

    I’d be willing to bet that no matter how popular Infinity really was, it’s just more profitable and less risky for a company like Disney to deal exclusively in licensing its properties rather than trying to develop its own games.

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, and in fact this was something Disney had already decided some years back when they more or less exited the game business and shut down their game studios. I don’t know why they bought this studio only to remember their previous conclusion so quickly. (Moral of the story: if Disney open another game studio, don’t take a job there unless you only want temporary employment.)

  6. Geebs says:

    I saw an article recently on Ars that (not unfairly) pointed to the discontinuation of Disney Infinity for the Apple TV as a sign of that device’s general failure as a games machine. Cart before horse, eh?

  7. w0bbl3r says:

    A bit of a cheek after just having a sale on steam selling all this stuff half price and less, to now find it’s useless.

  8. trjp says:

    This whole ‘toys and videogames’ thing boggles my mind.

    When Skylanders first launched it was a MASSIVE flop – the sets were discounted straight after the first Christmas and I assumed that was the end of it.

    They decided to reroll them tho – and like many toys before they got a bit more traction that time (see also Razer scooters and gord-knows-what-else)

    Lego Dimensions clearly wipes the floor with Skylanders but I’m surprised Disney couldn’t make more ground.

    Hell, I know people who buy Amiibos and don’t even own the console(s)? they’re used with!!

    • trjp says:

      p.s. esp when they effectively have access to overlapping material with the Lego franchises (Star Wars and Marvel)??

  9. Durgendorf says:

    I’m surprised too. Even with these things being so prohibitively expensive that most families would only buy either Dimensions or Infinity or Skylanders you’d think Disney could make a mint from their share of that pie.

    • Optimaximal says:

      I think it’s less ‘Disney didn’t make enough compared to Dimensions/Skylanders’ and more ‘Disney have made some pretty big losses out of the blue and they need to keep shareholders happy’.

      It was only about one month ago that they announced there would be no DI4, instead a doubling down on the ‘good enough’ DI3 without having to scab people for a new starter pack.

      How quickly things change when it all goes to pot in the board room.

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    ffordesoon says:

    I legitimately did not know Avalanche Studios and Avalanche Software were different companies. I was very confused as to why nobody was mourning Just Cause in the news stories about this closure.

  11. Laini says:

    Hah, I literally just bought a Judy Hopps figure the other day and when I heard they were shutting the whole thing down I thought I might give it a go before it vanishes forever.
    Turns out her and Nick are like the only two characters you can’t play on the PC version anyway.

    Ah well, the figure is still neat, even if it was kind of pricey.