Disney Launches Disney Infinity, An Interactive Game/Toy Franchise

Disney’s ambitious $100 million-plus videogame/toy line Disney Infinity launched yesterday. The company has pinned its digital gaming aspirations on this single property (available for Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360 PlayStation 3, and soon, PCs) in hopes of turning around Disney Interactive, which has lost over $1.4 billion in the last five years.

Disney Infinity, which features mostly Pixar and live-action characters (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lone Ranger) has received generally positive reviews—see the IGN.com review or the Forbes review. This 35-minute presentation from D23 expo shows how the company is pitching the product to consumers:

The success of this game is particularly important because Disney has struggled for years in the interactive realm. For example, the Epic Mickey games flopped; its $350 million purchase of Club Penguin and subsequent attempt to integrate its own properties like Cars and Fairies into it, didn’t work as planned; and its $563 million acquisition of Playdom has led to a loss of 20 million users.

Disney is counting on its fans to regularly buy the toys needed to play Infinity—a similar concept to Activision’s Skylanders franchise—since the toys have a higher profit margin than the actual game. This Infinity overview in the Wall Street Journal speaks further about the financial impact this game could have on the company:

Speaking with Wall Street analysts in February, [Disney CEO Robert] Iger acknowledged the high stakes. “If ‘Infinity’ does well, it bodes very well for the bottom line of this unit,” he said. “If it doesn’t do well, the opposite will be the case.” If “Infinity” flops, Disney would likely have to re-evaluate its videogame strategy, possibly shifting to an all-licensing model. The interactive unit’s remaining operations would consist of producing online content and mobile apps.

“It’s a Hail Mary with a tremendous amount of pressure to be a hit,” said a person who recently left Disney’s videogame business. As it pours resources into “Infinity,” Disney Interactive has pulled back in other areas. It halted production on an “Iron Man” game scheduled for release this year, for instance, and passed on the opportunity to produce “Star Wars” games following its parent company’s purchase of Lucasfilm.


  • Matt

    I’m already addicted to it. Lots of fun, and the figures are gorgeous. I think they’ll have a hit here. I haven’t seen a review yet less than 8/10.

  • Dana B

    “When you ripoff someone’s game, selfish income you will gain! Spend a lot to unlock content and your dreams come true!”

    But seriously, I’d love to get this game if it weren’t for the ridiculous prices. Not to mention the room those figures will take up. As long as they don’t make Lion King or Aladdin sets, I ain’t budging! I-I should’ve said that…they’ll read this…crap.

    I’ve been reading impressions from people who’ve played Infinity and say it’s fun. However, many have reported buggy frame rates and slowdown. Most notably the PS3 version reportedly has a glitch where saved process is erased. People found a way around this as long as their system isn’t connected to the Internet. If Disney wants this game to be a success, they NEED to be on top of these errors with all the patches that are needed to fix’em.

    (Fun fact: IGN is known for given favorable reviews with a price tag. They’re well known for this due to their reviews for COD games. Wouldn’t be surprised with Forbes either.)

  • George Comerci

    Been dying to get it!!! Stoked to get a copy

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    If its mainly featuring Pixar characters, why is it called ‘Disney Infinity?’ Then again, Pixar and Disney have been becoming harder to distinguish from one another recently (i.e. Brave, Planes).

    • http://voyagesextraordinaires.blogspot.com/ Cory Gross

      That’s the thing… Disney really needs to develop a new name for the parent company so that there is less brand confusion between Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, etc. Granted, “WDC Intellectual Property Management Inc. Infinity” doesn’t have quite the same ring.

  • Alex Dudley

    The game looks like a lot of fun. Especially the Toy Box. Too bad video games are a waste of time and money.

    • Dana B

      I guess that also goes for books and movies, too? I hate spending money on things that keep my sheer boredom at bay!

      • Ant G

        the medium of movies or especially books are nothing like video games. But sure, there are some vapid books and movies out there that literally their only purpose is to keep your boredom at bay and off nothing else but vacuous entertainment like a lot of video games.

        • SarahJesness

          Pretty sure entertainment is the number one reason people get most books or movies.

          On that note, there are a lot of games that encourage creativity, so that’s something. I’d rather a kid play Minecraft than read Twilight.

        • Lulu

          I really pity you for never having experienced a meaningful video game! Very shortsighted. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Last of Us, or Shadow of the Colossus, or Proteus. These artworks should not be limited by their medium.

  • SarahJesness

    Like Skylanders, it looks like a lot of fun, but I won’t be getting it for the same reason: price! The extra characters aren’t exactly cheap, and while I probably wouldn’t want to get more than a few extra ones anyway, it still runs me up more than I’d like to spend on a single video game. (I’m a broke college student, I can’t afford a lot, ha ha)

    On the subject of Disney video games… A lot of the ones from the 90′s were really good. Maybe they can make a few extra bucks if they rerelease those as digital downloads. I’d definitely pay to get the old Lion King game from the 3DS eShop. My aunt had the game and it was fun, but I could never get very far, and my failure mocks me, I must beat it! Anyway, it probably wouldn’t get them as much as making a new successful game franchise, but it would be something.

    • Barrett

      Rereleasing old content from the 90s is the last thing on Disney Corporate’s mind. They seem to be actively trying to distance themselves from the 90s, probably because measuring up to what Disney was then will inevitably make what Disney is now look bad.
      Yeah, Eisner was a jerk (and Katzenberg was no angel either) but almost everything Disney did in TV and Film back then was either a solid success or a rip roaring hit. The string of blockbuster feature films, the Disney Afternoon block of TV animation that has yet to be surpassed, even the live-action stuff like the TGIF shows, Disney was pretty much unstoppable. In addition to not wanting to be compared to themselves in that era, Disney probably sees little value in releasing “legacy” videogames, the goal in the boardroom is to find the next wellspring of money, not eke out a little bit more oil from an old well that’s tapped out. They view Infinity as their chance to use legacy characters as the driver of an entirely new (albeit borrowed) videogame concept for the studio.
      Crossovers can be fun, no doubt. Seeing Mike and Sully meet Mickey and Donald has an inherent appeal, what matters is how they execute it. I haven’t played the game but for it to make “collecting” dozens of not-cheap physical toys worth it, the gameplay needs to be compelling to customers or it will just be seen as a naked cash grab. When the customer is having fun, even a cash grab can bemore than the sum of its parts because the customer is getting value out of their investment int he form of FUN! Disney needs to make things FUN again.

      • SarahJesness

        They are remastering the DuckTales game, much to the excitement of many, but you might be right. Oy, but I can dream, someday, someday, I will again have access to the Lion King game and I WILL beat it!

  • otterhead

    In the first five minutes of playing the game, I ran into (or played) characters from Robin Hood, Snow White, Rapunzel, Wreck-It Ralph, Nightmare Before Christmas, Pete’s Dragon, Tron, and Tangled. I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s “mainly featuring Pixar characters” at all.

  • Ant G

    “Disney would likely have to re-evaluate its videogame strategy, possibly shifting to an all-licensing model.”

    Oh really? Bob Iger is ruining Disney… At least with Michael Eisner you had the Golden age of animation. With Iger, you have the golden age of buy-everything-and-profit-off-those. So the guy wants to raise Disney’s stock prices so he himself can become more rich, and that’s by copying or buying everyone else, Disney is not a pioneer, just a company that will buy pioneers.

  • SarahJesness

    If you rate price by the amount of time you get from an item, you’re right. A good video game, if you put in 50 hours of gameplay, is already getting you more for your money than a book or movie. And there are some games where people gladly put in more than 50 hours…

  • zowie the toon

    DISNEY WHY DID YOU CLOSE TOONTOWN WHY????? YOU ARE SO MEAN!! CLOSE DAN CLUB PENGUIN INSTEAD!! ITS SO BORING -_____- ! I AM GLAD YOU HAVE MADE A NEW GAME… BUT IT WILL NOT BE BETTER THEN TOONTOWN DAN DISNEY. I OFFICIALLY HATE YOU! AND SO DO 8000+ MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE TOONS! CLOSE EVERY GAME YOU HAVE I DONT CARE! BESIDES TOONTOWN. OVER 10,000 TOONS LOVED YOU FOR MAKING TT! BUT NOW WE HATE YOU FOR CLOSING TOONTOWN. OUR CHILDHOOD, OUR HAPPINESS, OUR LIFE. I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY WITH YOURSELVES. FOR RUINING TOONS ALL OVER THE WORLD! YOU EVIL MONSTER. GOOD BYE. AND HAVE A GREAT DAY WITH ALL YOUR MONEY AND GREEDINESS AND SELFISHNESS.

  • Sanja

    Kid’s all over the world are crying cause Pixie Hollow online world is closing (same with Toontown and Pirates …)
    My daughter and her friends ( boys and girls and adults ..) do not like Infinity and do not want to give it a try at all.
    Club Penguin also looks boring to them.
    They even said they are not able to watch and look forward to Disney movies like they did before – magic is gone …
    We are not impressed by Infinity 3d technology and it’s design.
    I am sure Disney will not get as much money with Infinity as they planed to.

    Someone is making a very bad and wrong moves inside Disney company … dissappointing kids like that ( closing the virtual worlds without giving kids something similar to enjoy … after years of effort)

  • Barrett

    Of course DIsney is entitled to refer to Pixar characters as “Disney” properties, even before the buyout Pixar was strongly associated with Disney and in fact there was an intellectual property ownership stake by Disney. (In other words, had Pixar followed through on their plan to separate from Disney after the first “Cars” Disney would have still owned all Pixar characters/worlds created up until then.)
    I think the valid concern being expressed is that Pixar had until recently maintained a certain distance from Disney Features, not only paperwork-wise but in terms of style, storytelling approach, and subject matter. Most people I know liked that. As with most mergers, when Disney bought Pixar they expressed how important it was that Pixar and Disney remain distinct studios. To some extent they have, but the waters have become muddied, especially with Lasseter ostensibly overseeing both studios AND the parks, as well as God knows what else. The barriers between the studios are falling, and ultimately something(s) is being lost in the process.

  • HenrikAhlm

    My daughter bought yesterday two new Infinty figures: Anna and Elsa. Normally, each of these Infinity figures have an individual world, which can be accessed. However, here we cannot find the worlds – instead there is a coffin in the upper right hand corner? She pays it using Playstation 3. I appreciate your help. Thanks.