In a shocking turn of events, Disney execs have decided to pull the plug on one of the leading brands in the toys-to-life industry, Disney Infinity. This is in spite of recently adding characters from the Star Wars and Marvel line, expanding the current roster of Disney Infinity figures even further. Fans did not see this coming, especially when they were all hyped up and excited after John Vignocchi, Vice President of Production, and John Blackburn, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Infinity made the announcement and painted a brighter picture of future releases last March 1 during their Disney Infinity NEXT episode. There were some signs before that hinted a downhill slide for Disney Infinity such as no further support for PC and Apple TV users, and a big damper on not having any Disney Infinity 4.0 this year.
The official news came out earlier today through a goodbye letter written by Blackburn to all the fans of the Disney gaming franchise. Here’s what he has to say:
By now you may have heard the news that we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Disney Infinity. 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.
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.
So what’s next for Disney Infinity? We have two final retail releases coming, including three new characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass later this month, and the Finding Dory Play Set launching in June.
And as we turn to the next chapter in our story, I want to thank everyone who helped bring Disney Infinity to life, particularly Disney’s Glendale-based production and publishing teams, our external development partners, and of course the incredible Avalanche team for their tireless dedication to this project.
But most of all, I want to again thank you for making Disney Infinity a part of your lives—and for adding to the Disney legacy by being a part of this community.
There have been speculations that LEGO may pick up where Disney Infinity has left off, by considering that the only hindrance for LEGO Dimensions to include a Star Wars and Marvel line up is because Disney Infinity currently owns the rights to publish them on the toys-to-life section. If you recall, Vignocchi made the sweeping statement via an IGN interview during E3’s 2015 convention that Star Wars will never come to LEGO Dimensions because doing so will ‘cannibalize’ the Disney Infinity business. Now that Infinity is no longer in business, acquiring the Star Wars and Marvel line for LEGO Dimensions is the most sensible thing to do.
We’re not sure if LEGO has seen this coming, or if there is already a deal between Disney and LEGO regarding this. What is clear is that revenues have been steadily declining for Disney Infinity in spite of the boost that it received from Marvel Battlegrounds. Disney’s toy and gaming division saw sales drop two percent to $1.2 billion, while operating income declined eight percent to $357 million, as observed by Games Industry. This move also means that Disney Infinity’s game publishing division and gaming software developer, Avalanche Software, will be shut down as well, costing the jobs of approximately 300 individuals who work there. Overall, it can be said that the future of the toys-to-life industry is skirting along the edge of oblivion where the fate of brands such as Skylanders and Nintendo’s Amiibo are quite uncertain.
This is a hard pill to swallow, but will keep you posted here at the Brick Show as more news updates come in.