Disney Infinity: Skylanders First Real Competition

The next Skylanders: Disney Infinity
Adventure through story campaigns called “play sets” which sound like Skylanders platforming levels.

Exciting news today! Disney just announced a new toy and game combination: Disney Infinity.  Disney Infinity will utilize different character figures, play set pieces, and discs. When placed on the base piece they bring to life new characters and powers in the game. Sound familiar? It should because it’s essentially Skylanders, except with Disney and Pixar IPs. However, it does take the familiar Skylanders format and push it forward with its “Toy Box” concept.

Players will be able to gather game assets like weapons/vehicles and save them to their Toy Box, where they can they create and build their own world and adventures in a vast open environment. Not only that, but the Toy Box mode can feature up to 4 players at once and there is even online play along with content sharing. The video brought to mind the Toy Story 3 game made by Avalanche software who just so happens to be the company working with Disney Interactive.  From what I saw in the trailer it gives off somewhat of a Little Big Planet vibe and… Originally I wanted to say somewhat of a Minecraft vibe, what with the bright, chunky environments that can be terraformed, but Keen recommended I avoid that as to not confuse people. Er, wait…  Check out the trailer.trailer.

Disney Infinity portal
It really does scream Skylanders all over it.

Anyways, Disney really seemed to do their homework on this one. They took the Skylanders concept and really pushed it forward with new and exciting gameplay ideas. The Skylanders franchise is going to be forced to take bigger steps in their future games if they hope to compete. I mean, GIANTS was good but it felt like no more than an expansion pack, and didn’t really do much to further the scope of the series by bringing in new concepts and ideas.

I’m actually really looking forward to this game now and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Luckily it seems like they are aiming for a June release, which isn’t too bad. Unfortunately, however, it’s going to be another expensive hobby. Yikes!

  • For those interested in knowing how much you’re going to fork over for your man-child hobbies… or for the kids *wink*

    Starter Pack: $74.99
    Play Set Pack: $34.99
    Disney Infinity Figure: $12.99
    Figure 3-Pack: $29.99
    Power Disc Pack: $4.99

  • “For those interested in knowing how much you’re going to fork over for your man-child hobbies… or for the kids *wink*”

    I find your endorsement of both this and the Skylanders series curious given your commentary about cash stores in MMO’s. If anything, the fact that both games market so heavily to children makes it feel sketchy to me that they will let you get the base game for the bargain price of what a normal console game costs and then use that as a platform to market $9-12 DLC characters to your kids. I was just writing about League of Legends and other games that offer similar price-per-character models, but those at least don’t charge you $60+ just to get started.

    Why are you okay with this business model?

  • MMOs and Skylanders are very, very different. It’s not having to pay for something that bugs us. Granted, it is very expensive. What bothers us about F2P games has -always- been either pay to win and/or how F2P influences design decisions; that is to say, F2P is exploitable for burn and churn with less emphasis on scope and more emphasis on getting you into a cash shop.

    Skylanders is like buying toys, collecting Warhammer tabletop figures, or collecting comic books. Having a certain comic book is really neat. Expanding your playable armies in Warhammer is exciting. Collecting more Skylanders falls right in. Does it make sense how those are nothing like a F2P model in a MMO, at least from our perspective?

  • Of course other companies want a piece of the skylanders pie.
    Very popular among children… and keen (hehe)

    As more and more companies release similar concepts the price should go down.
    Maybe even between Disney infinity and skylanders as one gets more popular over the other.

    I seen parents and grandparents ask about skylanders in a store and they where stunned how expensive it all is. Base game + this and that.
    And the feeling that its not complete where its only a short time before children ask for new characters.

    Evil market scheme.

  • “how F2P influences design decisions; that is to say, F2P is exploitable for burn and churn with less emphasis on scope and more emphasis on getting you into a cash shop.”

    Your point holds right now, but I don’t like the direction this is going. As this genre takes off it is going to affect design decisions, because the publishers are going to ask why Skylanders is bringing in multiple times its box price in ongoing revenue while the game that actually includes all of the characters in the purchase price does not. As sales of characters become a bigger portion of games’ revenue stream, there will be pressure to make the add-on characters more powerful and must-have. Level design can be adjusted to make the game really tough to beat with the base characters but coincidentally easy to win with the latest release.

    How many characters did Super Smash Bros Brawl manage to include with no paid DLC, in a game that included both a platform aspect and well-regarded multiplayer? If this takes off, any for-profit company that made such a game today will be leaving money on the table.

  • @Green Armadillo: Again, it’s really quite different than a game like Super Smash Bros. This is a platformer, puzzle solver, single-player/co-op sandbox adventure. It’s a collectible, and very much a toy.

    I guess if you’re bothered by having to buy additional units to expand your collection then Skylanders (and Disney Infinity) are probably not for you.

    Evil/genius marketing? Definitely. These toy/game hybrids blend two very lucrative markets which, independently, perform well. Turn a video game into a collectible, and a collectible/toy into an interactive video game… brilliant.

    Maybe Graev will respond He’s the author of the post and the owner of all the Skylanders. I’m fairly certain he agrees.