Disney Interactive’s New Focus Is In-App Purchases

Disney Interactive Disney Infinity

Disney Interactive has officially announced the closure of Junction Point Studios. Junction Point, known for the hit Epic Mickey series, was established by veteran game designer Warren Spector in 2005 and acquired by Disney in 2007.  Spector, with a catalogue of game credits including Deus Ex and System Shock, left fans and family with a few parting words in an open letter on his Facebook account. Disney has confirmed that it will retain the rights to the Epic Mickey license, and that it currently has no further plans for the franchise.

Disney Infinity trailer

News of the closure comes on the trail of rumors about Disney Interactive refocusing its gaming efforts, and only two weeks have passed since Disney officially announced Disney Infinity. Disney Infinity follows in the footsteps of Activision’s hit series Skylanders, by utilizing toy figurines in conjunction with NFC technology to bring the plastic characters to life within the video game. The starter package for this game is going to run consumer $75, with “Playsets” which contain additional figures and in game content selling for $35. Additionally, Disney Interactive has confirmed that all the in game content unlocked from the playsets is pre-packaged on the disc but can only be obtained through purchasing the playsets which will have timed releases. Disney Infinity, though not even launched yet, has already been confirmed to be just the first in a series of games which Disney plans to release annually along with new character and content playsets. Disney’s Infinity set to release in June for Xbox360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, and iOS devices. Disney is also currently looking into creating a social media browser based version. This solidifies any doubts you may have had while reading this that Disney Interactive’s refocusing efforts are truly no more than an attempt at a major cash grab.

Warren Spector’s goodbye message posted on Facebook…

“Yes, it’s true. The Junction Point journey is over. To all those who’ve asked, or want to ask, I’m sad but excited for the future.

JPS had a good eight year run. I got to work with some amazing people on some amazing projects. I’ve had some of the most magical times of my life, fulfilling several life-long dreams. I’ve gotten to know Disney fans and Disney cast members, gotten hands on with Disney’s history, walked where Walt walked… “Magical” really is the only word.

But now it’s time to… (Man, I almost said, “now it’s time to say goodbye to all our fa-mi-ly…” Which would have led me right to “M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E!”). Let’s just say, now it’s time to move on to the next adventure. I honestly don’t know what that will be yet, so don’t ask. (And while we’re on the subject of asking, if you’re a journalist, don’t bother – all press inquiries go to Brian Nelson and Carrie Davis over at Disney.)

Anyway, whatever you think of me, or Junction Point, or Disney or the Disney Epic Mickey games – yes, I know we polarized people! – I’ll always look back on the last eight years with nothing but pride. Rarely have I worked with a team more dedicated or harder working. Never have I been part of a game – of anything, really – that touched people at as deep or personal a level as the Epic Mickey games. That’s priceless.

I said to myself as Junction Point embarked on the Epic Mickey journey that, worst case, we’d be “a footnote in Disney history.” Looking back on it, I think we did far better than that. With Mickey Mouse as our hero, we introduced a mainstream audience to some cool “core game” concepts… and, most especially, we restored Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to a place of prominence.

WE did that.

Junction Point.

I’ll always be grateful to Disney for that opportunity, to the folks who helped out along the way in Glendale, on the studio lot in Burbank, at the parks in Anaheim and Orlando and Paris, at Disney offices around the world and at Pixar. (You know who you are!) I’m grateful to the Disney fans, bloggers and historians who embraced me, the team and our work – that was huge. And, most especially, I’ll always be grateful to the folks – the family – at Junction Point who did all the real work.

I’ll see all of you in the future!

And, really, press inquiries go to Brian and Carrie! ;)”

Read our initial announcement, which includes Disney’s statement.

Leave a Reply