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Disney decides to stop ripping off gamers, cancels Disney Infinity

Disney-Infinity-Amazon-Bundle1Disney announced today in its second quarter earnings report that it has discontinued Disney Infinity and has closed Utah’s Avalanche Studios, the series’ principle developer.

Disney Infinity, like Skylanders before it and LEGO Dimensions after it, is a toys-to-life video game series that requires gamers to buy a bunch of expensive toys in order to unlock content in a game they already paid full price for (which can sometimes be as high as $100).  It’s a garbage practice and while the title of this article makes it seem like Disney had a crisis of conscience, it really just comes down to the fact that ripping off gamers in this manner just isn’t as profitable as it once was.

“This shift in strategy means we will cease production of Disney Infinity, where the lack of growth in the toys-to-life market, coupled with high development costs, has created a challenging business model,” a company rep explained in a statement to Destructoid.

I don’t have a problem with the games themselves (the Skylanders games aren’t great but they are charming as hell), I have a problem with the way they are sold.  I’m not happy to see any of these franchises disappear because I know they have their fans and it super sucks that nearly 300 people who worked at Avalanche are now out of a job.

These franchises should continue for those who love them but the companies behind them need to rethink their business model and revamp how toys-to-life games are sold so that they’re profitable without being an unconscionable ripoff.

27 Comments

  1. MechaTama31
    MechaTama31 May 10, 2016

    Yeah, but ripping people off is simple and effective.

  2. eathdemon
    eathdemon May 10, 2016

    hopefuly, this spells the begining of the end for toys to life, yes I am looking at you amibos!

  3. Warren Lewis
    Warren Lewis May 10, 2016

    I recently bought a Bowser Amibo. I don’t have any software that requires it. Yet. It sits on my computer. I don’t mind it as a figurine.
    -W

    • Andrew Eisen
      Andrew Eisen May 10, 2016

      And that’s super cool. But gamers shouldn’t be forced to buy that figurine to unlock content in games they already paid full price for.

      Andrew Eisen

      • Will
        Will May 10, 2016

        But the only things you need are in the starter packs to complete the games which doesn’t make it a ripoff. It’s physical dlc so you can have it and do more or have the starter pack and unlock all the basic content.

        • Andrew Eisen
          Andrew Eisen May 10, 2016

          “But the only things you need are in the starter packs to complete the games which doesn’t make it a ripoff.”

          Not true. If you don’t buy toys, you will not be able to access all of the content.

          Andrew Eisen

          • Will Sondericker
            Will Sondericker May 11, 2016

            Okay, you tell me you couldn’t play Disney Infinity without having each character. I played and enjoyed the game at a minimal cost.

      • Warren Lewis
        Warren Lewis May 10, 2016

        No argument there. I’m against on disc DLC. I shouldn’t be charged again for content that is already on the game. It can’t be ‘Downloadable’ content if it’s already on the disc.

        – W

        • MechaTama31
          MechaTama31 May 11, 2016

          I’m of the opinion that as long as they’re upfront about what you’re getting for what you’re paying, it doesn’t matter one bit where the extra content resides. Don’t call it “downloadable” content, if that’s what you’re hung up on, call it “extra” content or something. But if you were willing to pay whatever you paid for the game itself, then you got what you paid for, didn’t you? Whether the extra content came from a server or from the disc, you didn’t know about it and you still felt that the purchase of the game was worth it. This retroactive dissatisfaction caused by on-disc DLC has always mystified me.

          • Warren Lewis
            Warren Lewis May 11, 2016

            It does matter where the content resides. If it’s on the disc, then I’ve already bought it. I have already forked over my $60, or what have you. If the content is on the developer’s/publisher’s server then I don’t mind, as I don’t own that.

            – W

          • MechaTama31
            MechaTama31 May 11, 2016

            Believe me, I am completely aware that that is your opinion on the subject. I’m just saying, I don’t see it that way. If they gave you less than what they told you they would for your money, that’s a problem. If they gave you exactly what they told you they would for your money, then you’ve got nothing to complain about, as far as I’m concerned.

            Their plans for extra content and where that content resides are really none of your business if they were not part of the deal to begin with. There are all kinds of things on that disc that you don’t necessarily “own”. Music, artwork, various software like game engines, rendering engines, video codecs, and what have you. All those things are on the disc. That doesn’t mean they are yours.

          • Warren Lewis
            Warren Lewis May 11, 2016

            You really think that? Do you really think they have your best interest at heart? The company is in business to make money. If you want to repurchase content that you already bought, and don’t believe it’s your business to know how you are being screwed over, then the more power to you.

            …and that’s not even getting into the topic on how I believe we should actually own the things that we buy.

            -W

          • MechaTama31
            MechaTama31 May 12, 2016

            “You really think that? Do you really think they have your best interest at heart?”
            I honestly can’t fathom how you got that from anything I have said.

            “The company is in business to make money.”
            No kidding! But the choice is ultimately yours and mine, whether we think what they are offering for a given price is worth it or not. If you think it is, awesome! Everybody wins. The existence of other content that they were not including within that price shouldn’t have any bearing on your initial judgement. It just becomes a new question: Is this extra content worth the extra money they want for it?

            “If you want to repurchase content that you already bought, and don’t believe it’s your business to know how you are being screwed over, then the more power to you.”
            But you didn’t buy that content. That content was not part of what they were offering for your $60. You paid your $60 and you got the content they told you you would get. You are not owed more than that.

            I feel like what actually bothers you is the very concept of extra content, or at least the idea that some content is deemed to be extra before the game comes out. I guess I can see how someone with an over-inflated sense of entitlement might find that annoying. But if that’s what you’re railing against, then how is it any better if they make you download it as opposed to it being on the disc? Either way, they’re making you pay more for that content that they already had ready to go, and if you have to download it, they’re also burning up your bandwidth.

            “…and that’s not even getting into the topic on how I believe we should actually own the things that we buy.”
            Ha. Welcome to software, my friend. Like I said, every game disc you get is chock full of models, engines, artwork, scripts, and who knows what else, that you will never have access to, or “own”.

          • Warren Lewis
            Warren Lewis May 12, 2016

            I don’t have a problem with extra content. I actually like the idea of extra content. I like the idea of using extra content to extend the life of a video game. Just the idea that the content is already on something I bought, and I do realize that I am beating a dead horse on that subject and will drop it. I will agree to disagree.

            “Ha. Welcome to software, my friend. Like I said, every game disc you get is chock full of models, engines, artwork, scripts, and who knows what else, that you will never have access to, or “own”.”

            You misunderstand. I am talking about the ownership of a videogame. About a piece of software, not it’s assets.

            -W

        • MechaTama31
          MechaTama31 May 12, 2016

          But that’s exactly my point. That extra content, along with other assets, game engines, all that stuff, is all on the disc that you bought. Just being on the disc doesn’t give you ownership of it. They did not promise you that you would get the Unity engine for your $60, any more than they promised you that you would get that extra content for your $60. Their presence on the disc is immaterial. They were never part of the deal to begin with. You didn’t buy them. You bought the base game. That’s all that you were told you were getting, and that’s all that you have a right to expect.

          I know it can seem galling at first that they have content that they already made and are holding back, but consider this: Suppose the publisher crunches the numbers and decides that to be profitable, they need to make $70 per copy. But they don’t want to put that higher price point on it and drive sticker-shocked customers away. So they design it from the very beginning to have a lower point of entry for most people at $60 for the base game, and then make up the difference selling extra content to the heavy users who are really into the game and want more. Sort of like how a lot of commercial software has a “lite” version, so they can get more people to try it out, subsidized by the power users and their more expensive licenses. I’m not saying the publishers have altruistic motives here, but I think the base game + DLC model is a fair way of making extra revenue from the people who get the most use out of the game. AAA games just keep getting more and more expensive to produce, but that standard price point stays locked in for years and years. Plus, this is a way for them to get at least some revenue out of a used game sale.

  4. Zachary Knight
    Zachary Knight May 10, 2016

    This is really sad that Disney couldn’t pull off a profitable toys to life game. I think the major problem is that a lot of the figures were not playable in any “toychest”, or whatever they called the individual universes, except for the property they came with. That was super annoying. So the only reason to buy certain figures was to either collect them or because you specifically wanted to play in those worlds.

    Skylanders, being a nearly unknown property at release, Managed to side step that problem by making all characters part of the same overarching narrative and having the figures only unlock additional secrets in each level. Basically, they play like the Lego games.

    Where as Disney banked on fan love for their cartoons, Activision banked on tying the toys to the actual game. Guess who managed to survive.

    I have not played Lego Dimensions nor have I researched it, but if they are anything like Disney in how they handle the toys, they will likely fail soon too.

    • Andrew Eisen
      Andrew Eisen May 10, 2016

      The playsets can only be played with the figures meant for them but the Toybox mode can use any of the characters.

      Dimensions works similarly although each playset, in addition to a level exclusive to its franchise characters, also features a themed world that all characters can play in.

      Andrew Eisen

  5. Will
    Will May 10, 2016

    It’s not a ripoff if u enjoy it, most of u don’t understand so don’t make assumptions that u can’t back up. So all of you people saying it’s a ripoff it’s not.

    • Andrew Eisen
      Andrew Eisen May 10, 2016

      “It’s not a ripoff if u enjoy it…”

      Not necessarily. I enjoy the Skylanders games I’ve played (I was commissioned to do the guides) but I still consider them a ripoff because accessing all the content costs upwards of $400.

      Andrew Eisen

      • Will Sondericker
        Will Sondericker May 11, 2016

        I am not talking about Skylanders, I’m talking about Disney Infinity. I have bought the starter pack and a few playsets and I am well below $400. You don’t need everything for having a great time playing the game.

        • Andrew Eisen
          Andrew Eisen May 11, 2016

          “Okay, you tell me you couldn’t play Disney Infinity without having each character.”

          That’s not what I said. I said, “If you don’t buy toys, you will not be able to access all of the content.”

          “You don’t need everything for having a great time playing the game.”

          I didn’t say you did. I said, “accessing all the content costs upwards of $400.” I was referring to Skylanders but that goes for Disney Infinity too.

          Andrew Eisen

          • Will Sondericker
            Will Sondericker May 11, 2016

            Ok but your making it sound like you need to spend $400+ dollars to enjoy and get the most out of the game which isn’t true.

  6. Andrew Eisen
    Andrew Eisen May 11, 2016

    “Ok but your making it sound like you need to spend $400+ dollars to enjoy and get the most out of the game which isn’t true.” – Will Sondericker

    No, I’m not making it sound like that because, as I’ve already demonstrated with direct quotes, I haven’t said anything of the sort.

    Andrew Eisen

    • Will Sondericker
      Will Sondericker May 12, 2016

      Have you played Disney Infinity?

      • Andrew Eisen
        Andrew Eisen May 12, 2016

        Why do you ask?

        Andrew Eisen

        • Will Sondericker
          Will Sondericker May 12, 2016

          Because I don’t like people giving something crap when they haven’t experienced it in hand.

          • Andrew Eisen
            Andrew Eisen May 12, 2016

            Are you still somehow under the impression that I’m saying toys-to-life games, or Disney Infinity specifically, cannot be enjoyed unless the player shells out extra dough to unlock all the content?

            Andrew Eisen

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