So, Disney has officially announced Infinity.
In a nutshell, this is Disney’s grab at the character driven hysteria (and it’s subsequent profits) the Skylander’s franchise has been enjoying for the last 12 months.
With the right marketing, if Disney Interactive do this right, the opportunities for near endless revenue streams are tenfold. Aside from harnessing the direct Disney & Pixar licences, there’s the Marvel, Muppets and Star Wars IP to play with too. All hugely loved, and already massive franchises in their own right; Very exciting stuff indeed.
Cross promotion and tie-ins with upcoming movies or Disney Channel shows are just another reason that gamers, platform holders and Disney’s accountants alike will likely be rubbing their hands with glee as this tried and tested formula makes a move to market in a few short months.
One thing I’m not excited about as a consumer though? Lack of PlayStation Vita support.
The first reveal trailer for Infinity, shows the title to be coming to the big three home consoles as expected. 360, PS3 & Wii U. Further to those, there’s a Wii release, which, whilst a little unexpected, is entirely sensible given the original console’s untouchable install base within Disney’s traditional target market age band. Of course, the Wii U’s relative infancy is also a factor as to the game’s generation slide back to the recently superseded Wii, but alas, the fact it’s still found its way onto the U is something to bear in mind as you read on.
So, no Vita version? Is this because the game’s a play at home title requiring large peripherals and long over-arching storylines explaining the life and times of Buzz Lightye… Oh, there’s a 3DS version.
Like Skylanders then – even though it is seen to be entirely possible Disney’s Infinity will run perfectly well on a handheld, in one form or another – the development team have chosen to overlook Sony’s handheld, and stick to the Nintendo faithful.
I’m sure Disney have their reasons for this, but at some point, somewhere, developers will need to push forward and support new hardware, and Sony really ought to start talking to devs to make things like this happen.
After the success of Skylanders, letting what may well be the final big multi-platform franchise of this generation launch and leave you standing at the gates is not only embarrassing for your brand, it’s a significant business failure.
A game featuring Cars’ Lightning McQueen & lovable pirate Jack Sparrow may not sell to the PS Vita’s current users, but it would certainly put the Sony handheld on more Christmas lists. Likewise a Marvel Avengers or Star Wars character set would sell ridiculous numbers to the older and (occasionally) more discerning current owners. Win-win.
Business is business, and poor unit uptake and sales figures will always mean that companies don’t want to risk their money on you – but if, as a major platform holder, you can’t get what looks to be a dead cert on board, you’re fueling your own funeral pyre, I’m afraid.
Developers not supporting new hardware is damaging the industry, and if the likes of Sony, or even nVidia with their upcoming Shield handheld, do not address the issue head on, then in the current risk-adverse climate innovative new products will be long dead before they’re even launched.
I’m sure Infinity will be fine, regardless. The Vita, however, might regret not getting more third parties on board, especially those with such popular brands already attached to them.