$100m Disney Infinity "under tremendous pressure" to succeed – report

The success or otherwise of Disney Infinity could decide the ultimate fate of Disney’s video games ambitions.

That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which claims that the company has invested well over $100m” in the game’s development and deployment, citing people close to the company”.

Said source is quoted: "It’s a Hail Mary with a tremendous amount of pressure to be a hit."

Disney chairman and chief executive Robert Iger had apparently set Disney Interactive a deadline of September to achieve profitability, although this deadline was shifted when Infinity was delayed two months to August.

In February of this year Iger admitted that: "If Infinity does well, it bodes very well for the bottom line of this unit – if it doesn’t do well, the opposite will be the case."

On the face of it Disney Infinity has everything going for it.

For starters, it is emulating what has proved to be one of the toy market’s biggest successes – Activision’s Skylanders. It was revealed yesterday that Skylanders has outsold all other action figure IPs in Europe and the US so far in 2013.

Add to that Disney’s rich treasure trove of brands and it’s easy to understand why expectations are high.

There’s a flip side to this argument, however. Firstly, Disney is trying to break into a market where there is a clear market leader in Skylanders. Secondly, the cost of the full Disney Infinity experience is not to be underestimated.

The game’s Starter Kit will retail for $75. Each additional play set, such as the Cars SKU that will be available on day one, will retail for $35 each. Then there’s the cost of the individual figures – $13 a piece.

Regardless, news that Disney could consider a complete withdrawal from gaming is hardly new – high profile flops such as Epic Mickey II came long after Disney first admitted to harbouring significant reservations about its viability in the console sector.

However, this strategic shift was itself blamed for Disney Interactive’s ongoing financial failings as recently as November last year.

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