This has not been a good year for Disney Infinity. We originally started to see issues creeping in with the announcement that Marvel Battlegrounds play set would ship with a single figure, then we got the news that there wouldn't be a 4.0 release, but rather 3.0 would be getting updates to continue the Infinity line. Later in March Disney Interactive said they'd be dropping out of this year's E3 without giving a reason.
A journalist specializing in Disney, Ben Fritz of The Wall Street Journal, tweeted about the toys to life model costing the company $147 million and thus the decision to cut the Infinity line and focus on licensing. This might be hugely surprising to some, but really, the model they followed with their particular line had some very large flaws. I've long complained about the non-backwards compatibility which hampers future purchases- why would I want to keep buying them if I can't use my whole collection?!? Plus their toys can only be "reset" twice ever, leaving you stuck with limited playstyle choices with some characters. To be fair though the toys-to-life market has been said to be shrinking in 2016 (cite 1 & 2).
Seriously, Disney owns both Marvel and Star Wars as properties. They are a vast goldmine that truly got mishandled- and I'm saying that as a fan of Marvel, Star Wars, AND Disney Infinity. There was so much focus on the toys, that the game content suffered horribly. There simply was not enough game content. It appeared that solid game content was sacrificed to fit many play sets on a singular disc to sell us a game and then force us to buy the costly toys to unlock the play. If there was much more story content and a fun open world to play around in the problem wouldn't be too bad, but all the story modes were so damn short it was very hard not to complain. I mean look at how huge the LEGO Marvel Superheroes' open world New York City is. To make that example even better, the city is absolutely packed with stuff to do that is constantly occurring all over.
In series 1, the Pirates of the Caribbean playset was short of length, but really well designed and fun. In series 2 the Marvel's Avengers and Spider-Man play sets were, once again, far too short- but still fun. Particularly the Spider-Man Mysterio levels, they are downright brilliantly designed. Then series 3 hit, and do you think the creators listened to the complaints of players? Nope. All the play set story modes arrived and were ridiculously short once more.
Making this worse is the fact that it was announced they'd have no online multiplayer, only couch co-op, once Marvel Battlegrounds was released. Are you fucking kidding me?!? This was really a monstrous mistake on their part. Think of the multiplayer market for EVERY OTHER GAME now- all online because not everyone can play together physically.
Personally, I think Disney Infinity was a grand idea, very poorly handled. They needed to build a huge open world, add online co-op, and maybe sell the toys-to-life as smaller objects. Or even make the toy cheaper- as in simply make them all cards or discs to trade around. Infinity had tremendous potential and it was squandered to sell more toys instead of focusing on the actual game they made. The games are fun, but there's so little actual game content that it suffered. As an avid fan, my purchases have been reduced because the price to game content is too damn small. Perhaps if the game was sold only as digital, with IAPs for the individual characters the value would be much more appealing- but I doubt they'll do that. Unless another company picks up the closing Avalanche Studio and attempts to keep the game side of things in production. It would be EXTREMELY unlikely, but it's always a possibility- I mean it IS Disney Infinity- the possibilities are endless, right?
At least the licensing side looks all right. Electronic Arts is creating multiple Star Wars games (including a Battlefront sequel), a 3rd person game from Titanfall developer Respawn. Even Dead Space developer Visceral is cooking something up for the Star Wars universe. Although there doesn't seem to be any non-Star Wars related games on the horizon which is a bit sad.
For my older posts [ Disney Infinity ]
Sources [ Infinity Inquirer ] [ One Angry Gamer ]