So much for Disney remaining a big player in the video game world. As part of its second quarter earnings release, the media giant has revealed that it's getting out of the self-published video game business... and canceling its Infinity game series in the process. Disney hasn't said much about why it's jumping ship, but it notes that "lower results" (read: poor sales) for Infinity prompted the move. It's a fairly 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 still have a toehold in gaming through licenses, and there are two last Infinity releases coming in the next few weeks (an Alice release in May and Finding Dory in June). Nonetheless, 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-regarded output. With that said, at least some of the developers working on licensed games (such as EA and Respawn) are very capable. What's left of Disney's gaming strategy is hopefully in good hands.