In January, after months of rumors Disney Interactive confirmed that a new gaming platform called Disney Infinity was on the way and would be released in just a few months. Featuring entire games centered around the universes of Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles included in the starter pack, players can also unlock more through the purchase of additional add-ons such as character figurines and playsets that opened up more new worlds. The initial release date was reported to be June, but the gaming division has just announced that Disney Infinity will be pushed back to August.
In a phone interview with the NY Times, Interactive co-President John Pleasants stated that after lengthy discussions with retailers, it was decided that the late summer release date would be more beneficial to the platform’s visibility on store shelves:
Mr. Pleasants said retailers, impressed with the public reaction to Disney’s demonstration of Infinity in January, pushed for an introduction closer to the all-important holiday season, which starts in October. “The date became an issue in terms of them asking, ‘Is there a better opportunity here?’ ” Mr. Pleasants said.
August is traditionally a quiet time for video games as families spend money on vacations and back-to-school clothes. But Mr. Pleasants said retailers were willing to devote significant shelf space to the Infinity product line. Disney also hopes that children will return to school with the Infinity action figures in their backpacks, leading to trading.
The Disney Infinity platform differs from traditional gaming in the sense that hardware (figures, power discs) also needs to be manufactured and requires additional shelf space next to copies of the game. That may not sound that difficult to achieve, but when you consider how space within stores continues to shrink with the increasing popularity of online retailers such as Amazon, stocking becomes a more challenging issue.
I am not surprised to see the delay, given the platform’s sheer complexity on both the development and retail sides. Pleasants denies that Disney Infinity is running into development delays, but also reports that the additional time will only help to strengthen its quality:
“We could deliver in June if we wanted to,” he said, adding: “Will a two-month timing change help us? Sure, of course. It gives us a little more time to add bells and whistles and make sure it really sings and pops.”
Disney Infinity is now scheduled to be released for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Wii U in North America on August 18 and two days later overseas. A variant of the game is also scheduled to be published for the Nintendo DS, but its release date is not yet confirmed.