It’s a sad day when a corporation has to make an announcement like this, and even sadder when word gets out that a really cool platform is on the chopping block. This week, Disney announced that not only will they be ending the Infinity video game project, but they will also be shutting down the software company that developed it, putting some 300 people out of work.
Why would Disney do this to both the employees and the fans? Because they’re not stupid.
Not to disparage Infinity in any way, it’s a really cool concept in taking kids’ favorite movies and combining them with gaming action and a little plastic figurine. And at its launch, Disney was producing a product that was truly innovative in terms of melding entertainment and gaming.
But Disney’s look at the numbers just didn’t add up. Gaming in the US is a $22.41 billion a year industry, with four out of five households having some form of technology for playing video games; admittedly, most of that is happening on PCs, but dedicated game consoles come in second place with 51% of US households having at least one, and 56% of gamers using a console for regular weekly play.
So with this much game play going on, why couldn’t Disney keep up? The trend is shifting away from this kind of play on a dedicated console. While game consoles may have a solid footing in the market, smartphones (and tablets) aren’t far behind. Kids like the portability of their devices, and lugging the Playstation on a ten-hour drive to Grandma’s house isn’t in the cards.
This isn’t to suggest that Infinity wasn’t a great product, and Disney will still be the first to say so. But the numbers on the game’s division of the company weren’t producing the expected (or necessary) results. Rather than sink more money into a project when the consumer trend is shifting, Disney’s pulling the plug.
But what about the four new product lines that are currently sitting in boxes in a giant warehouse like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Those are still coming to market, and Disney will still be supporting the inventory for the other Infinity lines that are also taking up valuable shelf space. But as for the infinite nature of Infinity, well, that’s no longer what that word means.