Disney owns the kids entertainment market — except when it comes to video games, and so will launch “Disney Infinity” – June 2013, a series of games aimed at the console game players, Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3 and the Nintendo Wii.
Infinity is a series of games linked together via a virtual “toy box”, so players can swap and modify characters from one game, and bring them into another. Which means Sully from Monsters University can jump into a Pirates of the Caribbean game, etc.
The games also incorporate real world collectible toys, which players use to unlock characters, games, etc. And you can also buy “power up” packs and other modules to boost/alter your games.
Or, for those of you who know kids of a certain age: This is a lot like Skylanders, except with Disney/Pixar characters that you can mash up. For the rest of you: Skylanders is a super-successful franchise from Activision that has generated $500 million in retail sales in a couple years along with sales of the toys of the characters. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is a video game that is played along with toy figures that interact with it through a “Portal of Power”, that reads their tag through NFC.
Disney gaming chief John Pleasants stated:
“We’ve been fairly clear in our communications with folks that we have made a fairly big shift into online, mobile and social,” he says. And Infinity won’t change that.
Disney has properties like Marvel and Star Wars and will most likely incorporate those characters into this gaming initiative. Plus, it’s something Disney can easily market on its cruises, television channels, radio programs, and theme parks. From everything I’ve seen, it’s not a matter of Disney Infinity becoming a success, but rather how massive a success.
But since people are still spending an awful lot of time on console games — and Sony et al are prepping the next generation of those machines — there’s no reason to abandon the market.