Disney mimics Skylanders with new gaming platform

Disney has launched a new gaming concept, Disney Infinity, that’s remarkably similar to Activision’s Skylander.

Players can place plastic figures on a hexagonal board to see them come to life on screen. The first games – which cost $75 for a starter pack with software, the board and three plastic figurines – are based on Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles.

“Disney Infinity introduces a new way to interact with the best of Disney on one game platform, both now and in the future,” says John Pleasants, co-president of Disney Interactive.

“With this innovative approach to gaming, Disney Infinity will bring to life new characters, stories and environments from The Walt Disney Company over time in a way that will delight fans and gamers alike.”

Each ‘Play Set’, says the company, sees players solve puzzles and battle enemies, collecting characters, vehicles and gadgets and saving them to a virtual Toy Box. This is mix-and-match, raising some amusing possibilities for the future as the number of play sets expands: Bambi versus  Wreck-It Ralph, anyone?

“Disney Infinity combines prominent Disney and Pixar characters and scenarios in a way that mimics how kids play in real life,” says John Blackburn, vice president and general manager of Avalanche Software, which helped develop the platform.

“With our platform’s unique gameplay mechanics and innovative approach to user generated content within the Toy Box mode, Disney Infinity will spark imaginations and provide endless hours of fun and creativity.”

Disney Infinity will launch in June across all consoles, appearing on mobile and online devices later in the year.

The platform is remarkably similar to Activision’s successful Skylanders – which recently passed the $500 million mark in US retail sales.

“Just a year ago, the concept of bringing toys to life in a virtual world was an untested play pattern that Activision and Toys For Bob believed in. Now the category has been established in the market and embraced by parents and kids everywhere,” says Activision Publishing’s VP for product management Joshua Taub.