Disney Infinity Discontinued, Hundreds Let Go

Sad Mickey

Devastating news broke this morning, that Disney would be bringing its massive Toys to Life franchise, Disney Infinity, to an end. Despite multiple public statements that the series was successful and in a good place, it would seem that it wasn’t performing as well as Disney wished. It’s costing the company $147 million to kill the franchise – most of which covers unsold toy stock, but employee severances and other costs are also factored in. Additionally, almost 300 employees will be out of work due to the closure of Disney’s internal Avalanche studio. The news was delivered via a statement from Disney’s chairman of consumer products and interactive media, Jimmy Pitaro. “This was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly given the quality of Disney Infinity and its many passionate fans,” Pitaro said. Disney will be taking a new approach to console gaming, moving “exclusively to a licensing model”, meaning that instead of developing their own games they’ll be licensing their properties to other developers and publishers.

Disney CEO Bob Iger explained the reasoning behind the decision in an earnings call. “We thought we had a really good opportunity to launch our own product in that space; the console space, but also the toys to life space,” he explained. “In fact we did quite well with the first iteration and did OK with the second, but that business is a changing business and we did not have enough confidence in the business in terms of being stable enough to stay in it.” One of the biggest factors in the decision was risk. Iger described the videogame industry as “a changing space”, and the best way of dealing with the risk is to stick to licensing, rather than publishing. “The truth of the matter is that the risk we cited when we initially started this finally caught up with us.” Iger made sure to stand by the developers and the Infinity product, stating that “[they] made a good product. I give the developer a lot of credit for the product they made.”

John Blackburn, SVP & GM of Disney Infinity, took to the Disney Interactive blog to make a statement. “From the beginning, Disney Infinity was built for you—our fans—and I wanted to take a moment to thank you not just for your support over the years, but for creating a community that made Disney Infinity more than just a game,” he said. “Our goal for Disney Infinity was to bring the best of Disney storytelling to life in homes around the world, and with your support we accomplished that. We hope you had as much fun playing the game as we had making it.”

He confirms that the game will be sent off with three Alice in Wonderland characters releasing later this month, and a Finding Dory playset releasing in June. Presumably this means that the previously announced Star Wars playset is cancelled, which makes this tweet sent out earlier today crushing for a multitude of reasons:

This is truly devastating news. Infinity has become a huge part of my life, and this announcement has come out of nowhere. The series got off to a bumpy start, but with 3.0 it had finally found its footing and worked out what it needed to be. The Infinity team are an incredibly talented and passionate group of individuals who had been improving the series in many noticeable ways with each installment. We hope that they find rewarding work soon, and that everything turns out well for them.

We’ll keep you updated if we learn more. And please, be respectful:

Mickey image sourced from roxannerox on Singsnap.

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