This week’s blog post comes to us from Adam Goswick.
I’ve been a gamer since I can remember. Ask my mother, and she’ll tell you how I learned to count by watching the score ticker while playing Mario Bros. on NES. But while my love for gaming has a certain staying power, when you spend any amount of time around this particular hobby, you quickly learn the fleeting nature of it. Technology comes and goes, publishers close their doors, and games get cancelled. It’s a hobby filled with hours of entertainment on end, but it’s not without drawbacks.
Case in point: Disney’s announcement back in May that it was cancelling the Infinity line of games and ending all in-house self-publishing efforts. Those out there that have invested in the game were…not thrilled. And with good reason: these types of playset games are built around investing in a large number of physical figurines to expand your in-game experience. Fortunately for me, Toys-to-Life games like Infinity never appealed to me very much. Unfortunately for Disney, apparently too many people said the same thing I just did.
Disney has released more information about what gamers can expect as Disney Infinity winds down. There are some really key dates here, especially if you’re playing on Android or Apple devices, or if you play on a PC with a game obtained somewhere other than Steam.
Here is what Disney provided in an email sent out this past Friday:
● The console versions of Disney Infinity will continue to operate as usual with full access to figures and play sets only with the exception of community content features and online multiplayer.
● Until September 30, 2016, Community Content will still be available and you will be able to upload and download any of your favorite Toy Box creations.
As of July 29, 2016
● No in-game purchases can be made within the PC, Steam version of Disney Infinity 2.0, iOS, Google Android, Amazon Android and Apple TV versions of the game as this feature has now been removed.
● You can continue to make in-game purchases within the Steam version of Disney Infinity 3.0.
As of September 30, 2016
● You will no longer be able to log in to play the PC, iOS, Google Android and Amazon Android versions of Disney Infinity, these will no longer be available on the respective app stores.
● The Steam versions of Disney Infinity 2.0 & 3.0 will remain operational with the exception of all online services and community features as these will be discontinued.
● Apple TV versions of Disney Infinity will be removed from the AppStore.
● The Disney Infinity Community team will no longer be reviewing or approving any new Toy Boxes that are submitted to Disney for all console, mobile and PC versions of the game. However, if you are playing on any console, Apple TV or Windows 8/10 versions of the game, you can continue to download your favorite Toy Boxes from the Community Content section until March 3, 2017.
As of January 3, 2017
● No in-game purchases can be made within the Windows 8/10 versions of the game as this feature will be removed.
As of March 3, 2017
● Apple TV and Windows 8/10 versions will no longer be available, supported or playable.
● All Disney Infinity online services and community features for all versions will be discontinued.
The good news here is that if you’re playing on a major platform, it appears as though your game remains playable – so long as you are okay playing offline. This isn’t really unexpected for a game that’s shutting down. Servers for games are never designed to remain open forever.
But where do you look now for your Disney gaming jollies? Disney’s game plan will be to license their intellectual properties to other game studios and let them create the games. Some of this is already happening, with Electronic Arts creating Star Wars games. Star Wars Battlefront did quite well financially, and I think most of its players would agree that it has gotten better over time despite the problems it had at launch.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise is another one to keep your eye on, as Square Enix is working on the upcoming third numbered installment. Kingdom Hearts features a lot of characters in the Disney universe, even including Fab Five characters like Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. Kingdom Hearts games are accustomed to generally high ratings in reviews, so you should expect a solid gaming experience from this one.
On a more speculative note, and if you particularly enjoy gaming in the style of Disney Infinity, you may want to watch for Lego Dimensions. While Disney may not want to be in the business of Toys-to-Life games on their own, it’s entirely possible that they may want to license their characters to be used in Dimensions. It seems Disney and Lego toys and games already mesh well, with Disney minifigs and Cinderella Castle playsets making waves recently. Star Wars is already popular among Lego enthusiasts and gamers, as well. I could totally see a Disney inclusion in a future Dimensions update.
It’s sad to see Disney Interactive come to a close. Because of my Disney fandom, they were always one studio I paid attention to. And while Infinity may not be on the horizon anymore, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t the end of Disney gaming at all. It’s hard to look past the cancellation of Infinity, especially when it had a fanbase that seemed to truly enjoy the game. But I’m excited to see what Disney will do with their properties, and what different studios will do with those characters. The future of Disney games may be even more exciting than you think.