Over the years of gaming, gamers have seen a plethora of sub-genres of videos games that have risen to their peaks only to drop drastically to their death. The most notable of these types of genres was the music genre. Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band were hot commodities back in the day, but as time went on so did the market. Toys-to-life came on top soon after the music genre had fallen from the top of the hill, however, with Disney Infinity’s ironic end, is it only a matter of time before toys-to-life suffers from the same fate?
Judging purely by the overwhelming space these interactive figures occupy on store shelves, it seems as if toys-to-life are not going anywhere any time soon. These games are extremely popular between both child and adult demographics, as collectors love them for their ever-growing sets and children love them for their favorite characters from games, movies and television shows shrunken down into adorable toy versions of themselves. The concept of letting gamers “load” digital versions of real life toys into a 3D game space is borderline genius and you might as well purchase an in-home money printer at this point if you created one of these games.
Nevertheless, with any video game trend, if you have showing up late to the party it can be a daunting task to figure out where to break open your wallet and start collecting. That task has become even more discouraging since the cancellation of Disney Infinity by Disney and the shut down of developer Avalanche Software, which was all done internally by Disney. When the cancellation of Disney Infinity was first announced, it was a jaw dropping revelation seeing as how much of a hit success the game seemed to be among a wide demographic.
So the question is if Disney Infinity was an industry leader of the toys-to-life genre, why on earth did Disney can their own series? In the end there were three major issues that caused Disney to pull the plug: inventory vs. sales numbers, a lack of corporate synergy and internal competition from Star Wars: Battlefront. Personally to me only one of the two reasons listed sounds like a legitimate reason to abruptly end 300 jobs, but it’s this kind of unpredictable circumstances that makes one question the risk/reward of investing in such pricey and risky genre.
A lot of these games have starter packs that start at a price of $65, $75 even up to $100 dollars just to get the game, three characters figures and the portal they all go on to be registered within the game space. On top of that you have new character packs that release on a quarterly schedule and limited edition figures that sell out faster than a fresh batch of hot cakes. If you are a die hard collector of either of these series then collecting all of the merchandise can shrink your bank account pretty low, but it’s the enviable question of how long these titles will last before they’re gone for good. This has some parents, collectors and fans alike questioning how deep they want to get involved with these games as for example, as Disney Infinity will soon be unplayable online; gamers will no longer be able to reach the community with sharing toy boxes or multiplayer functions, two of the core gameplay elements of the series.
The sad truth is that it’s impossible to determine if toys-to-life is a risky investment or not as if you enjoy these games or just like collecting the toys then there really isn’t any risk for you. On the other hand, if you are a casual toys-to-life gamer who frequently visits the series, then you might want to invest in another collectable past-time, as once the serves are shut down and the trend has passed, these games will be borderline unplayable. I feel bad for Infinity fans as there was a huge promise for the game and hundreds of dollars have been invested in those figures. The only upside for Infinity players is that now those figures are rare toys and in a few years when they are no longer purchasable, complete set owners might be sitting on a gold mine.