Disney's Infinity Starting Strong, Poised to be a Holiday Behemoth
Blockbuster Movies, Lackluster Game Sales
Announced in 2010, the collectible figure video game became the buzz for Disney's new direction for gaming. During the development time for Infinity, the Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG) has undergone a lot of changes. The division unfortunately has had only one profitable quarter since the restructuring five years ago. Those 14 negative quarters racked up $1.16b in losses.
Since then, Disney has closed entire divisions--shutting down losing franchises and even closing up the recently acquired LucasArts to stop the losses. Instead, the company offered licenses of its franchises to other developers while other resources went into Infinity. A bold move to direct over $100 million into a singular product.
Reaching for the Skylander
And it's a plan that so far seems to be working.
After being released on August 18th, several retailers (GameStop, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us) have already reported that they are restocking their shelves with Infinity products to stay ahead of demand. A GameStop store in San Francisco reported that they sold out of Infinity on Launch Day alone.
Toys R Us Chief Merchandising Officer, Richard Barry, has already indicated that some sets, characters and power discs may be hard to come by; even as their stores continue to receive regular shipments. Will this trend continue into the holiday season?
Comparisons will always be made to Activision's Skylander series, which started as part of the Spyro franchise. But, the concept of adding collectible figures to enhance a video game makes for a continual revenue source.
However, unlike the Skylander series, Infinity's Toybox (Sandbox) mode seems to be a big part of its appeal. In this mode, characters from different playsets can be used together in an open-world arena. This play area even has online multi-player support.
To Infinity (and Into the Black)
Initial sales numbers have not posted, but for comparison, Skylanders has earned over $1.5 billion and was one of 2012's biggest earners. So Disney's work is cut out for them.
In fact, Activision will be releasing Skylanders: Swap Force in October as direct competition.
The battle of the mini-figures has been joined.