Following an article in January, last week the Daily Mail published another article warning parents about Disney Interactive's soon to be released interactive gaming experience. The reason behind this warning is the financial cost to parents. With stories of children inadvertently spending hundreds of pounds on in-app purchases on mobile games becoming more common in the media, parents are more aware of the financial implications of the child's gaming habits. With this in mine, the Mail has written two articles that, from a parent's point of view, make it sound like that Disney Infinity will cost them £300. Here is an excerpt from the article from January's article on the Mail Online. (Read the full article)
"Parents hoping to get Disney’s latest video game, Disney Infinity, when it launches in June, be warned; the complete collection will set you back more than £300.
This costs more than an iPad Mini, and depending what console your child has, this cost could be even higher."
The article then goes on to explain more about the games details and how it works with figures, play sets and power discs. It also recognises the Skylanders franchise and compares the price of the starter kits (quoting a price of £29.99 for the PC version of Skylanders).
This week a follow-up article once again focused on the price of Disney Infinity. The opening paragraph states: (Read the full article)
"It is expected to be the ‘must have’ new video game for youngsters, boasting some of the best-loved characters from Disney films.
But to the dismay of parents, Disney Infinity comes with a potential price tag of more than £250 – and is said to put pressure on children to add a ‘never-ending’ string of extras."
Now this kind of reporting of Disney Infinity is what I am annoyed about. Let's start with my own experience. I am 40 years old next year, meaning that I grew up in the golden age of Star Wars. Star Wars was huge and I wanted it all... figures, vehicles and play sets. To some degree I got most of what I wanted - I had the Millennium Falcon, Cloud Cars and lots of figures. I don't want to think about how much money my parents spent on, what were just essentially, moulded plastic toys. One thing was very clear to me though, it didn't matter how much I asked, begged and pleaded.. I had to wait until Christmas or Birthdays to add to my collection. Maybe once in a while I got something for doing well at something at school. I learnt that if I wanted that new AT-ST model, I had to work hard at school and behave, so that at Christmas I knew it would be there (well, either that or hit my Grandparents up for it, - that's what they are there for when you are a kid!).
39 years later, things haven't changed that much. Children love to collect things and figures are still top of the list. The figures for Disney Infinity are priced the same as the larger Skylanders Giants figures at around £15. To me as a parent, it means that the Little Gamers will not be getting a new figure every week, probably not even every month for that matter. Come Birthdays and Christmas though, I can see the play sets and figure packs being very popular on their lists. Also, it is worth pointing out that with the play sets, (which will retail at around £30 to £35) you get two figures which appear in the game for you to play and a play set piece that unlocks an adventure in the main game and access to all of the assets to play with in the Toy Box creation mode. This to me represents much greater value than simply getting some figures that just have different abilities.
The initial cost of Disney Infinity is the same price as what Skylanders Giants launched at last year at £59.99 for Nintendo 3DS and Wii or £69.99 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U. The starter kit has 3 figures, 3 play set worlds, a power disc, the portal to put them on and the video game. This means that there is more than enough for the kids to be getting on with before they even need to get hold of extra figures or play sets.
My point is……that scaring parents into thinking that a product is going to cost them hundreds of pounds instantly is ridiculous and bad media reporting. Think how much parents have spent this year on Moshi Monsters or Barbie? Yes, the total cost could amount to hundreds of pounds, but the answer to this is simple...
Don't buy them everything straight away!
Disney Infinity offers gamers of all ages the opportunity to create their own Disney experience based on what they enjoy most from the Disney universe. For example; I know that the Little Gamers are going to want the Monsters University and Cars sets, but they would probably hate the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lone Ranger sets as they are just not their thing. With time and the addition of extra figures and play sets being released, their collection will grow with what they want to get (hint: Disney Princesses please!) - but only when my wife and I decide they can have it.
Disney Interactive has created a game that could have the same longevity as Minecraft and certainly will allow children to explore their imagination and creativity. Eventually, Disney Infinity will replace all of the movie tie-in games for Disney films (the games released after a new movie – i.e. Smurfs 2). These games tend to be quickly made and tend to not hold kids attention for more than a few days. For every new Disney film released, they can simply release a figure pack and a play set to add to increasing world of options available to players.
Despite what the media is reporting, please don't be fooled into thinking that Disney Infinity is simply another attempt to rob parents of their cash. It is actually a solid attempt to create an expanding game based on the characters that your kids have grown up with.
With the sandbox elements thrown in with the rest of the games list of features this is one of the first games that I know I can sit can play with my kids. I know that I would rather that the Little Gamers were playing something like this, rather than asking me to play more grown-up versions.
It is just down to parents to decide how to sensibly upgrade their kid's collection.
Disney Infinity is available on 23rd August on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U and 3DS.