91.1 F
San Fernando
Friday, Jul 19, 2024

Disney Has High Hopes for $100 Million Game

The struggling video game division of the Walt Disney Co. could be taking its next release into infinity – and beyond. “Disney Infinity” reached stores this month and combines the video game with collectible physical toys of some of the most popular characters from Disney live-action and Pixar animated films, including Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible. With a reported budget of $100 million, “Infinity” is viewed as a way to turn around a poorly performing division of the Burbank entertainment and media conglomerate. The early buzz on the game indicates it may reach those expectations. “Infinity” was among the most talked about games coming out of the annual E3 video and mobile game convention taking place in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center, said Brad Carraway, vice president of brand strategy at Mile 9, a Calabasas marketing firm. “This is a game that only Disney could have done in terms of taking latitude with their properties,” he said. “It will appeal to casual gamers and core gamers, too, because it has a lot of game playing depth.” The last Disney console game, “Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” was released at the end of 2012 and fell short of expectations for units shipped. The game had global sales of 1.36 million copies, according to VGChartz, a U.K. -based website that tracks video-game sales. By comparison, the first “Epic Mickey” game, released in 2010, sold 2.89 million copies globally. The fallout of “Epic Mickey 2” included Disney shutting down Junction Point, the Austin, Texas video game studio that designed the game. “Infinity” was designed by Disney Interactive subsidiary Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City. The game takes place in “play sets” based on Disney films such as a galleon from “Pirates of the Caribbean” or Radiator Springs from “Cars.” Gameplay varies according to the setting – sword-fighting for “Pirates,” racing and stunts for “Cars.” The game tries to re-create the experience of playing with toys at home, and the figures of characters interact with the game through a special pad. There’s also a special Toy Box play set where you can mix characters from different Disney films and build a custom-made fantasy world. The starter pack, which comes with the video game, three characters, and three play sets, has a suggested retail price of $74.99. Individual collectible figures carry a price of $12.99. In having players use figurines of Disney and Pixar characters as part of the gameplay, “Infinity” borrows from the Skylanders series released in 2011 by Activision, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc. in Santa Monica. “Infinity” will be available for game consoles Wii from Nintendo Co. Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan; Xbox from Microsoft Corp., of Redmond, Wash.; PlayStation from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Corp., of Tokyo; and for PCs. A mobile version is also planned. The game could end up improving the anemic financials of the interactive division, which has had a regular operating loss since 2010. Interactive is based in Glendale and also includes Disney branded websites and mobile games. In the third quarter ended June 29, the interactive division had revenues of $183 million, a decrease of 7 percent from the same period in 2012. The operating loss was $58 million, an increase of 38 percent from the prior year.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Featured Articles

Related Articles