Back in 2013, Disney latched onto the toys-to-life niche that all started from Activision’s Skylanders. I don’t recall Disney ever saying this themselves but Infinity was meant to enter into direct competition with Skylanders. Given Disney’s roster of characters, you would have thought it would have blasted all competition.
Marvel, Lucasfilms, Pixar, just to name a few Disney subsidiaries, had the most popular existing universes to date, Skylanders on the other hand had to build their character base count from nothing. The advantage in my mind clearly lay with Disney, kids took to the appeal of the characters straight away having a bond with them from all of the films and the quality of the toys were pretty awesome, I’m looking at you Hulkbuster.
But Skylanders had already been around 2 years before Disney’s foray into the genre, Skylanders already built a popular brand with the kids and adults alike. Skylanders made millions in profit even over some of Activision’s ‘bigger titles’ such as Call Of Duty and still makes a big turn over even today with ever evolving sequels. This is where we come to the downfall in Disney’s product.
I’m no fan of toys-to-life gaming, but my girlfriend is a huge fan. Her collection of figures is why my bank account looks at me with a deep depression, Lego Dimensions and Disney Infinity are her gaming fling. I on the other hand have a few Skylanders after I thought I’d see what the big fuss was all about. Skylanders seemed to have more content, a story mode, multiplayer, and expansions that set apart from the core experience. It felt like a more richer and rewarding game.
Disney Infinity was pretty impressive as well, but it only lasts for as long as you get thrills from playing as Buzz Lightyear, Boba Fett and Spider-Man to name a few. Once the allure of your favourite characters has vanished you never truly feel as though the game gives you much bang for your buck. New expansions never felt that much different, as much as my girlfriend would tell me the experience felt different it all looked too much like a cheap re-skin. Guardians of the Galaxy would seem all too similar to Toy Story, two universes that should give the impression of being worlds apart.
I did say long ago to my girlfriend that I envisage Disney Infinity dying a horrible death long before Lego Dimensions or Skylanders even falters. Unfortunately it has happened, Avalanche Studios the company responsible for making Infinity has shut it doors costing a massive $147 million write-off. It’s not like Disney is broke or anything. I do feel for the near 300 jobs that will be lost in the process but I could always see it ending in tears.
With Skylanders moving onto yet more expansions and now having a roster of characters to make even a Pokemon Master cry, I don’t see Activision’s monstrous creation fading away anytime soon. But there is one question burning my mind right now, can Lego Dimensions pry away the rights of Marvel and Star Wars to bring in some more expansive universes to their already steady Lego toys-to-life game? I certainly hope so. Actually, my bank account disagrees.
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