Disney ends Infinity, shuts down game production

Monsters Inc character
Image caption The toys-to-life game combined toy characters and video games

Disney will stop production of its popular toys-to-life game franchise Disney Infinity, the company said.

The series allowed players to add new characters and challenges to the game by using a special dock with real-world toys.

It was initially launched in 2013, and released its third major version in August 2015.

Disney said the game did not perform as well as expected, and that it would stop publishing its own console games.

News of the change, which will see future Disney games produced under licence, came in an earnings report published by the company. The closure of Disney Infinity was also confirmed by John Blackburn, the division's head.

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Image caption Infinity released its third major version in 2015

Figures released in the report showed a $147 million charge "in connection with the discontinuation of our self-published console games business, principally Infinity".

The game studio behind the series, Avalanche Software, is expected to close as a result.

Disney also shut down video game studio LucasArts when it acquired the Star Wars franchise, choosing instead to develop Star Wars games under licensing agreements.

Users on the Disney Infinity's official forums and social media accounts expressed their disappointment at the news.

"It may seem silly, but this was horribly upsetting to my children," wrote one customer. "They simply love this game and have collected almost all the figures."

Others called for the company to continue supporting the game's online features for existing customers.

Games analyst Steve Bailey, from IHS technology, said toy-to-life games like Disney Infinity or competitor Skylanders tended to begin well, but faced challenges in generating repeated sales.

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Image caption The game used popular characters owned by Disney, including those from Star Wars and Marvel

"We saw a similar thing happen back in 2008 or so, with music games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero," he said.

"The early traction that brought the segment to prominence was difficult to maintain, and so things quickly lost momentum.

"It's this expectation of creating ongoing freshness that's bearing down on the toys-to-life market. I suspect that the costs involved in keeping Disney Infinity competitive became too risky for the company."

Disney said it will release two final products for Infinity - Alice Through the Looking Glass, due in May, and a Finding Dory set to coincide with that film's release in June.

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