Disney's (News - Alert) Infinity project was set to be quite an achievement, even for a company who's made thinking outside the box such a standard. But the Infinity project is seeing a bit of a push backward in its release date, as new reports indicate the game's release is delayed almost two months from its original June launch to August.
Disney's Infinity has been described as being similar to Activision (News - Alert) Blizzard's earlier release of "Skylanders," which used a set of characters from the "Spyro the Dragon" series and started back in 2011, to both critical acclaim and widespread commercial appeal. Making huge strides on both the video game and the toy front, the "Skylanders" series essentially managed to find a way to introduce action figures into a video game environment.
Disney's version featured a flat hexagonal board and the wide array of Disney characters out there, drawing on a variety of different properties like "Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Incredibles," and several others. The initial starter set comes with three figures, the board, and software sufficient to run the thing for $75, with further offerings to follow.
The delay, according to reports, was staged for two key reasons, both essentially boiling down to issues of marketing. First, Disney Interactive was looking to add some extra features to the system. Second, it was looking to take advantage of a retail season more conducive to buying toys and video games, thus prompting a move from June to August.
The impact of this move is actually pretty sweeping. On the down side, Disney Interactive will lose any third quarter profit that Infinity might have generated, which isn't at all good given that last year the division ran at a loss. There was a small recovery, reportedly, in the form of a small profit in the latest quarter, but having something like Infinity around would have been quite a help. Additionally, Disney Interactive will also mostly miss out on summer vacation, which would have been a great time of year to release a new toy-driven video game as the kids were out of school and would have had plenty of time for such an endeavor.
However, there are advantages to Disney Interactive's delay. By holding out for a release until mid-August, it gets to take advantage of, in many areas, the last few weeks of summer vacation when family vacations are likely largely out of the way. Holidays like the Fourth of July are also out of the picture, so the distraction is minimal, and many families are going shopping anyway for back-to-school supplies and clothes.
Additionally, there is the issue of the holiday shopping season, which always tends to get something of a start even in late August, as those who don't much care for crowds start looking ahead to their shopping. Since Infinity is something of a modular project as well, Disney Interactive can start getting special releases ready around the upcoming holidays, for instance, a "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" set ready for Halloween, or a "Nightmare Before Christmas" system ready in time for Christmas or, again, possibly Halloween.
Disney Interactive's plan to wait until mid-August does come with some drawbacks, but there are also plenty of advantages involved. If Disney Interactive does add some extra bells and whistles, making it a more valuable product to the consumer overall, it may well have a hit that can contend with "Skylanders" in the making, and thus, bring the division back to profit.
Edited by Brooke Neuman