It was inevitable, considering how much money the property makes, that somebody would rip off Activision and Toys for Bob’s Skylanders sooner or later. that’s now happened, with Disney revealing Disney Infinity; an ambitious series of games that has players put little plastic toys on to a magical surface and have them appear within a video game. Basically, it’s Skylanders with Disney characters.
It’s going to be a rather expansive series of interconnected games based on various Disney and Pixar movie universes, mixing and matching characters from all of them. It’ll be coming, as with Skylanders, to just about every system capable of playing games; Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS, and PC.
Disney Infinity will launch in June with a number of pretty pricy "playsets" based on fan-favourite family flicks like Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles. The starter pack will launch with those three playsets for $75, while other characters will cost $13 a piece.
So it won’t just be one game; it looks like there’ll be games for each of the movies – and characters will only work within their specific adaptations. Except for “toy box,” that is. Toy Box allows you to mix and match characters as well as create your own levels and themes – a little bit like a Skylanders, Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet mashup.
Activision, for their part, seem flattered, and welcome the competition.
"We are thrilled by the incredible success that the Skylanders franchise has had in such a short period of time. We are also flattered that one of the leading family entertainment companies is joining our toys to life category,” says Activision’s John Coyne, Vice President of Consumer Marketing. “We continue to focus on delivering innovative and immersive entertainment experiences to kids around the world and are pouring more creativity into our games. As a result we are well positioned to continue leading the category."
The question is; should Activision be worried? As far as I’m concerned, real, established Disney characters have a lot more draw than the delightful, but made-up ones that make up Skylanders. They’re more collectible – and with Disney owning Marvel and Star Wars, it’s not a stretch to believe that those properties will make the jump too.
Activision could lose its stranglehold in the “interactive toys brought to life in games” market – but the biggest loser here will be parents, who’ll have to cough up the cash for their whiny brats. Oh god, I’m going to be so broke.