Is Disney Interactive Bad For The Video Game Industry?

Disney Interactive is the digital entertainment portion of the Disney family whose sole purpose is to deliver Disney intellectual properties through the video game medium. This includes consoles, smart phones, and handhelds. This has long been a sore spot in the company. Rarely has Disney Interactive turned a profit, and after the Disney Infinity debacle, the question that the “House of Mouse” may need to be asking is if Disney Interactive is bad for gaming in general.

Image via Disney Interactive

IGN announced this week that Disney Infinity servers will be closed for good on March 3, 2017. While this may seem an obvious conclusion to the cancellation of Disney’s toys-to-life venture, it goes much deeper than that? It is all but a final slap in the face to families that have paid a lot of money for figures that will be for the most part useless.

The community is reacting strongly to the news this weeks, and it is not in a good way. ScreenGurus said what a whole lot of families are feeling about Disney Interactive at the moment.

“In truth it all seems somewhat heartless of Disney to be doing this they’ve basically told their fans that they don’t matter.”

Take into consideration that ScreenGurus is talking about. Disney Interactive promised continued support for Disney Infinity as late as April of this year. VP of Production for Disney Infinity John Vignocchi announced that families would be spared the Disney 4.0 and instead get new content via playsets.

“Disney Infinity 3.0 will feature more Disney content than any video game ever made.”

Just a few short months later, those words were proved to be false. At the time four new playsets were promised. Marvel Battlegrounds, Finding Dory, an untitled Disney playset, and an untitled Star Wars playset were all to be due out before the end of the year. While Battlegrounds and Finding Dory did find there way to store shelves, the other two were scrapped when Disney Interactive announced the cancellation of Infinity.

Image via Disney Interactive

The sad thing about all of this is that Disney Infinity helped turn around one of the worst performing divisions of Disney. Disney Interactive was founded in 2008, and prior to Infinity, the company had never turned a profit. This all changed when Interactive announced their financials in 2014, as reported by Venturebeat.

“Disney Interactive, the video game branch of the giant media company, revealed a profit of $116 million in an investor call yesterday, according to IGN. This is the first yearly profit for the developer since it started operating separately back in 2009. Disney Interactive lost $87 million in 2013.”

Most all of the profit made by Disney Interactive could be attributed to Disney Infinity. More importantly to families, it showed just how much faith families had put into the Disney brand making it the number one toys-to-life game on the market. Just two years later, shelves will be full of useless figures for the most part and questions of what could have been.

It is hard not to start pointing fingers at just who is responsible. Did Disney Interactive see the profits it made from licensing content like Star Wars: Battlefront as a better payoff than publishing themselves? Did families get tired of Disney Interactive using Disney Infinity as a commercial of upcoming movie titles hitting the big screen? It is interesting that the most success Infinity had was the first year when The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean were part of the initial set, and neither had a movie.

Regardless, the Disney Infinity debacle will have families asking themselves can this part of the Disney family be trusted? Has Disney Interactive worn out their welcome?

[Image via Disney Interactive]