Los Angeles Business Journal

Disney Interactive Launches Multi-Platform Game Concept

By Natalie Jarvey Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Could Disney character Captain Jack Sparrow beat Pixar character Buzz Lightyear in a sword fight?

Fans of the Disney and Pixar movies could soon find out by playing on Disney Interactive’s newest game platform, Infinity.

Disney executives announced Tuesday that they will launch Infinity in June as a multi-platform world combining characters from Disney and Pixar films and TV shows.

Infinity will first be available on game consoles, such as the Wii, and will become available on mobile and online devices later this year.

During a presentation in Hollywood, John Pleasants, co-president of Disney Interactive, was quick to note that Infinity is not one video game, but a platform through which people could play multiple games.

“We set out to do something special in gaming,” he said. “We aimed to create a new, unexpected and magical gaming experience for our guests.”

Gamers will be able to play in popular worlds, such as Monsters University – the upcoming Pixar movie – and Pirates of the Caribbean. They will also be able to combine characters from multiple movies in a world called Toy Box.

Players can access the game online, through mobile apps or with a physical game for consoles. To unlock new worlds and characters, a gamer must buy a set of digital figurines and interactive pieces that connect to the game. At launch, about 20 character figures will be available for purchase.

The Disney Infinity starter pack, which includes the game and three figures, will sell for $75. Individual figures will sell for $13.

Infinity follows a similar model as popular Activision Blizzard game “Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure,” which also sells figurines and can be played on multiple devices.

Michael Pachter, a video game analyst for Wedbush Securities in downtown Los Angeles, said Disney is looking to find success with the already proven business model.

“They’re seeing the success of Skylanders and seeing a real opportunity,” he said. “But Activision started from scratch with their characters, while Disney’s got characters that are familiar to any parent. They are clearly well advanced when it comes to toy and merchandising opportunities.”

Pachter noted that this is one of the few times – outside of the theme parks – that Disney is combining characters from different movies in the same space.

Shares of Walt Disney Co., the Burbank parent of Disney Interactive, closed up 50 cents, or 1 percent, to $51.09 on the New York Stock Exchange.