When media superpower Disney branched out into video games, we assumed that they would run full steam ahead until they carved out a monopoly. Today, we learned that this would not be the case.
As part of its second quarter earnings release, the media giant revealed that it’s getting out of self-publishing video games and cancelling its Infinity game series in the process. Disney hasn’t said much about why it’s giving up on video games, but it notes that “lower results”–which means poor sales–for the Infinity series is what prompted the costly move. Disney is taking on a $147 million charge to axe the division.
This isn’t the first time Disney has bailed on in-house games.
In 2013, it both closed Epic Mickey developer Junction Point and the legendary LucasArts studio. The interactive group has regularly struggled since then, too, leading to Disney cutting 700 jobs in 2014. In the second quarter, the segment’s operating income sank 8 percent year-over-year — an outlier for a corporation that’s riding high on the successes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and endless Marvel superhero movies. The writing may have been on the wall when Disney scrapped the Apple TV version of Infinity just weeks ago.
Disney will continue to license its intellectual property to other studios, but it’s evident that the era of Disney’s direct involvement in games is over. That’s unfortunate if you’re a fan of its small but generally well-received output. With that said, at least some of the developers working on licensed games like EA and Respawn are very capable hands.