Disney to Cease Self-Publishing Video Games
May 16, 2016 Leave a comment
Walt Disney is getting out of the video game industry. At least, they will no longer be self-publishing titles, although they’re going to continue licensing their properties to other developers. The announcement, which came on April 10th, came as a surprise to a lot of people, especially after they were talking about how strong that unit of the company was only four months ago. When you consider that Disney Infinity had quickly risen to the top spot in the “toys-to-life” model of video games. That model involves selling players a game, and then small figures that, when connected through a peripheral, allow them to use the characters represented in the game itself. Activision started the ball rolling with Skylanders back in 2011, and LEGO recently joined in with LEGO Dimensions.
But that business model is slowing down, and it has a lot of cost wrapped up in it. It seems like Disney is backing out just as the format is losing its steam, out of a fear that the initial hurdles will end up being too much after all. It’s certainly the safer path than waiting for the title to start failing and losing money.
It’s not the first time Disney has proclaimed their strength and then backed out of self-publishing video games. In 2011 they stopped making console games to focus on mobile games, despite their very successful release of Epic Mickey. But console gaming is a tough business, and big publishers like Activision or Electronic Arts have been at this for years, figuring out how to do things in many cases over multiple generations of consoles. It’s probably a safer bet for Disney to just let other publishers handle their properties while they focus on continuing to develop (or purchase) desirable properties in the first place.