BBC News

Disney defends cost of new Infinity collectable game

By Dave Lee
Technology reporter, BBC News

media captionJohn Day from Disney tells the BBC's Dave Lee about the entertainment company's major new gaming project.

Disney has defended the cost of its new collectable, interactive video game ahead of its launch next month.

Disney Infinity encourages players to collect additional figures and add-ons inspired by the company's films.

The starter pack, with three figures, will cost around £60, with an optional 17 extra figures costing around £12 each.

Disney told the BBC the game represented good value for parents, and that toys could be easily swapped.

Lead producer John Day said: "I think the value proposition here is really quite good because normally, when Disney releases a new film, there would be another game associated with that that would be upwards of £50.

"But with Infinity we can still deliver that additional content moving forward, and for these playset packs - which are, in their own right, an entire game - the recommended retail price is going to be closer to £30.

"So you can actually get £50 worth of stuff at a substantial discount."

Pester power

The game, which will be released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo DS next month, is designed to be continually upgraded as new characters become available - either from previous films made by Disney, or upcoming titles.

The starter pack contains the game's core accessory, a docking station for figurines and other add-ons which can be swapped while the game is being played, changing characters and environments instantly.

The figures contain RFID chips - tiny, low-cost components that can contain a small amount of data.

Disney Infinity will launch with 20 different characters available to buy - with more being added at a later date.

As well as the figures, gamers can also buy £4 add-on packs containing discs that can make characters stronger and quicker, or change other areas of the game.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting advice site Netmums, said there would be concerns over the potential for pester power.

"I do worry that at the moment so many parents are strapped for cash," she told the BBC.

"It's not a cheap present - and to go back to school and find Little Johnny down the road has all the characters will make it hard. It is a never-ending thing. Parents need to know what they're signing up to."

On the subject of the add-on packs, she added: "I'm not sure I like that your character can be better because your parents have more money."

'Immediate pull'

The Disney Infinity concept borrows heavily from Skylanders, a massively successful game that has over 100 additional characters that can be added for around a similar price.

However, Ms Freegard said children's immediate familiarity and fondness for the Disney characters might mean there was higher demand.

"The thing about Skylanders is that the children for a long time don't know the characters," she added.

media captionDisney's John Day explains to the BBC how much the company's new game could cost parents.

"But parents will buy this, and children will already know the names of all the others [Disney characters] - there's an immediate pull."

Beyond the tradeable figures - which are interchangeable with different platforms, meaning a PS3-owning child can swap their characters with a friend who has an Xbox 360 - the game's key selling point is the ability to create worlds in its "toybox" mode.

"I'm very excited about the educational prospects of this," said Disney's Mr Day.

"I have two boys, ages two and four, and I like the idea that they can be learning about how to do logical connections using the toys in the Toybox.

"We can bring in toys like buttons and doorways, and you can connect the button to the doorway and have the button open the door when you step on it.

"It seems very basic, but at the same time we're talking about logical inputs and outputs. It really is a lightweight programming language."

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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