Thursday, 12 May 2016

Nerdversity Discussion: Disney Infinity

The big gaming news of yesterday, was that Disney will be shutting down it's Infinity game and closing down Avalanche Studios, the company that developed the game. So the big question is, why did the game fail compared to other Toys-To-Life games?

The answer lies in what Infinity was. Whereas other games like Skylanders and Amiibo, Infinity was stuck in a backwards play style. Whereas Amiibo and Skylanders allowed players to swap these figures on the fly and they all worked in one way or another, even with different versions of the game, Infinity didn't. Each version of the game was it's own game in it's own right, with 1.0 being based on Disney/Pixar, 2.0 being Marvel and 3.0 being Star Wars based. Now, each of these versions being it's own thing really limited the game in terms of what could be done with each playset. For example, the Cars Infinity figures couldn't interact with Lone Ranger or Star Wars,  but they could via the extremely limited Toybox mode, where players could create their own worlds and adventures with the figures they'd created. 

This had the potential to be a really big deal for Disney. It had fans really itching to see all the characters in the Disney/Pixar universes as well as side properties like Star Wars and Avengers coming together to have an amazing adventure together, however, those dreams would be smashed as they weren't allowed to interact inside the Official Adventures. Even with each update, Ninja Theory's combat system for 2.0, with the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man was just the same short missions with repetitive fighting. Same with the 3.0 Star Wars updates. The Toybox Takeover event came too little too late to really change the game.

According to Disney's 2015 Fiscal Reports, sales of 3.0 were down all across the board, despite good and strong early sales, especially from the likes of the The Force Awakens toys and the Original Trilogy toys, but it lost out to Battlefront. Skylanders may not have had the popular characters that Disney did and LEGO Dimensions may not have had the investment time as Infinity, but they are soldiering on in 2016. Will this change the Toys-To-Life market? probably not, but it's a lesson that Disney can learn from looking at the Amiibo, LEGO Dimensions and Skylanders models and games.