Disney shuts down Disney Infinity brand, will no longer directly publish games

Around 300 believed laid off as Disney shutters Infinity developer Avalanche Studios.

Disney Infinity -- the 'virtual toybox' game in which Disney's many franchises and characters collide in the same space with the help of Skylanders-esque plastic figures -- is coming to a close. The international media conglomerate announced today in its latest earnings report that its foray into direct publishing with Avalanche Studios had yielded "lower results" than desired, prompting Disney to shut down its operations.

John Blackburn, general manager for Disney Infinity, confirmed the announcement in a followup post on Disney Interactive's official blog.

"Our goal for Disney Infinity was to bring the best of Disney storytelling to life in homes around the world, and with your support we accomplished that," said Blackburn. "From the beginning, Disney Infinity was built for you -- our fans -- and I wanted to take a moment to thank you not just for your support over the years, but for creating a community that made Disney Infinity more than just a game."

Ars Technica reports that the Disney Infinity brand brought in an estimated $200 million in 2015 alone, so how far short of internal projections that falls is anyone's guess. The company reported a $147 million "charge" on its earning statement as a result of shuttering its direct publishing arm, which translates into an estimated 300 people out of work.

"We did not have enough confidence in the business in terms of it being stable enough," Disney CEO Bob Iger said during the earnings call, in explaining the company's decision to pull out of direct publishing in games. Iger told investors that "the risk had caught up with" the company and sales had entered a downturn.

It should be clarified that although this marks the end of Disney's self-publishing efforts, this decision does not affect any licensing deals the company has with other publishers. So, Electronic Arts's Star Wars license, various Marvel properties, and Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts franchise -- to name just a few -- will all continue on as before. Blackburn also confirmed via his blog post that two previously-announced Infinity playsets, based on Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory (upcoming sequel to Finding Nemo) would continue to release as scheduled.

EDIT (3:34PM): A previous version of this post indicated the upcoming Alice themed playset was based on Alice in Wonderland. In fact, it is based on Alice Through the Looking Glass, an upcoming film adaptation starring Johnny Depp, who is also depicted in cartoon form above, as a pirate. We regret the error.