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Disney cans Infinity line, exits console game publishing, as dev shutters

The Walt Disney Company is out of the console video game business, as it cancelled the once-popular toys-to-life franchise Disney Infinity.

Disney Infinity was once The Walt Disney Company’s successful franchise that brought video game sales together with retail sales of figurines.

But since the franchise launched in 2013, sales have been on the decline, and today, Disney said it would be canning the Infinity franchise, effectively exiting the console video game business.

The cancellation of Infinity involves a $147 million charge against the company from within its interactive media division. The charge primarily is due to an inventory write-down, Disney said in its earnings release, as well as severance and “other asset impairments.”

That severance relates to Disney-owned Avalanche Software, which developed the franchise. Disney said it will be cutting 300 jobs with the closure.

Disney Infinity GM and SVP John Blackburn commented on the franchise's cancellation, saying, “I want to thank everyone who helped bring Disney Infinity to life, particularly Disney’s Glendale-based production and publishing teams, our external development partners, and of course the incredible Avalanche team for their tireless dedication to this project.”

Disney will continue to publish games on mobile platforms, and it will also continue licensing properties out to other companies interested in producing console titles, such as EA, which developed Star Wars: Battlefront.

In Disney’s consumer products and interactive media division, which houses its game business, the company reported a 2 percent year-on-year drop in sales to $1.2 billion for the second fiscal quarter ended April 2.

Disney attributed the drop to unfavorable currency exchange rates, lower retail performance, and a drop in Infinity sales performance. Disney said earlier this year that Infinity sales were on the decline.

Disney Infinity was Disney’s answer to Activision’s breakout toys-to-life game Skylanders. Toys-to-life game business models offered game publishers the opportunity to make sales not only on software, but also on continuous sales of physical toys.

Across the entire company for the quarter, Disney reported profits of $2.1 billion, up $35 million compared to the same quarter a year ago. Sales were $12.9 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year.

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