Entertainment giant Disney has revealed it is to get out of the console publishing business in favour of licensing its intellectual properties out to third parties. The announcement came in tandem with news that the Disney Infinity toys-to-life series has been discontinued.
Initial reports following a company meeting with investors, Disney released a statement (via Wall Street Journal) in which consumer products and interactive chairman James Pitaro said: "After a thorough evaluation, we have modified our approach to console gaming and will transition exclusively to a licensing model.
"This shift in strategy means we will cease production of Disney Infinity, where the lack of growth in the toys-to-life market, coupled with high development costs, has created a challenging business model. This means that we will be shutting down Avalanche [Software], our internal studio that developed the game. This was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly given the quality of Disney Infinity and its many passionate fans."
Disney Infinity has run for three years, but has never matched the success of Activision's Skylanders series or Warner Bros' Lego Dimensions - which dominated 2015's toys-to-life market. The games have included Disney properties such as Marvel, Star Wars and of course characters from classic films like Aladdin, Monsters Inc, Frozen and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios - creators of Just Cause) are just the latest studio to be shuttered by Disney, following Propoganda Games, Black Rock and Junction Point.
Disney has always struggled in the video game market, and this is a final admittance of defeat. The licensing model - which it has adopted for Star Wars, the license for which is currently in possession of EA - seems a sensible step.
In a separate statement posted on the Disney Interactive website, senior vice president and general manager of the Infinity series John Blackburn wrote: "Our goal for Disney Infinity was to bring the best of Disney storytelling to life in homes around the world, and with your support we accomplished that. We hope you had as much fun playing the game as we had making it."
Blackburn then went on to assure fans that sets based on upcoming films Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory will still be launched this month and next, as planned.
"As we turn to the next chapter in our story, I want to thank everyone who helped bring Disney Infinity to life, particularly Disney's Glendale-based production and publishing teams, our external development partners, and of course the incredible Avalanche team for their tireless dedication to this project," continued Blackburn. "But most of all, I want to again thank you for making Disney Infinity a part of your lives—and for adding to the Disney legacy by being a part of this community."