‘Disney Infinity’ to Lock On-Disc Content for DLC; How It Speaks to a Growing Gaming Trend

Published 2 years ago by , Updated January 27th, 2013 at 2:04 pm,

Disney Infinity On Disc DLC

Drawing inspiration from properties like SkylandersLittleBigPlanet and Minecraft, Disney Interactive’s toy-and-game world-building adventure Disney Infinity has all the potential of a prosperous franchise when it releases this June. The publisher is convinced that the sprawling title is their “most ambitious gaming initiative ever,” and Disney/Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter (director, among other films, of Toy Story and Cars) boldly called it “one of the most creative things in the interactive world that I’ve ever seen.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Disney is setting it up for the long haul. Already branded as a “gaming platform,” the publisher confirmed that it has established an annual release schedule for Disney Infinity. Fully priced core installments will release every 12 months, and like most triple-A franchises they’ll be interspersed with additional offerings of DLC. There’s just one issue with Infinity #1: All 12 months of its content will ship on-disc, fully developed and ready to play, but certain parts will remain locked for purchase later in the year.

The revelation came from Disney Infinity’s executive producer, John Vignocci, who told Videogamer recently that the decision boils down to the physical-media constraints of the current generation. Disney aims to pursue a digital distribution model for Infinity in the future — specifically when it moves to next-generation platforms — but until then adhering to a yearly release schedule means cramming all the data onto one disc:

“In the future, as we move on to new versions of consoles we’re going to be able to digitally deliver that content, and the figurines themselves will simply be dongles that allow us to then instantiate a download of that content.

“But given the current generation of consoles, the content needs to be on the disc.”

And for Disney Interactive, sending out into the world content they plan to reveal later poses a largely unique threat: the exposure of highly classified secrets related Disney’s upcoming films. No information was offered on the locked-away goods, but from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Avengers to now even Star Wars, any secrets regarding the entertainment behemoth’s future plans are a hacker’s Holy Grail. (And let’s face it: With the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: Episode VII hitting theaters in 2015, it’s only a matter a time and synergy before the series flares up in Infinity.) Vignocci acknowledged the danger of someone cracking on-disc files (as Bioware and Capcom will attest, it can happen), but maintained that it was a necessary risk:

“That’s something that we’ve made the film-makers aware of.

“There’s absolute potential that people are going to see characters prior to their PR campaigns kicking off if someone does that, but we’re hoping that isn’t something that is widespread reported because then people are going to start looking for it, and it’s going to ruin the magic for the consumer.”

Later in the interview, Vignocci compared Disney’s challenge to the one faced by Activision, who embedded DLC into copies of Skylanders:

“There was the Empire of Ice and all of those different expansion packs that they had that were on the disc. Thankfully they didn’t run into that risk. We might. Who knows.”

Disney’s forthright comments bring us to the wariness on-disc DLC inspires. Yes, it’s 2013. Publishers want perpetual revenue machines. Post-release DLC has proven rather efficacious over the years and most gamers — assuming they were satisfied with the base experience — aren’t opposed to the extra missions and map packs and multiplayer game modes that sustain the allure for a little while longer. But what are the ethics of hiding it in the original purchase? Where’s the line between overcoming technical constraints — a fair argument in some scenarios — and arbitrarily slicing apart a core game because the audience isn’t supposed to notice? In Disney’s situation, holding back on, say, a new Pirates of the Caribbean character until they’re announced for Pirates 5 (releasing in 2015) is understandable — but what happens to that case if the rest of the year’s content is entirely spoiler-free?

Disney Infinity On Disc DLC Yearly Release

As digital becomes the distribution standard, those lines won’t be so blurred. They might even disappear. Until then, though, they look to be the status quo for Disney Infinity, and paying for content on a disc that was already advertised and purchased as a full product is bound to vex a few gamers. Here’s hoping that Jack Sparrow, Mike Wazowski, Mr. Incredible and the rest of the game’s star-studded cavalcade makes it a worthwhile concession.

Ranters, what do you make of the way Disney plans to handle Disney Infinity — for 2013 and beyond?

Disney Infinity releases in June, 2013, for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, and Wii, with mobile versions to follow.

Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Videogamer


TAGS: Avalanche Software, Disney Infinity, Disney Interactive, Mobile, PC, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360

  • COREY_1993

    this will make them loose more money… when capcom did it all you had to do was delete a single code. well thats what i heard on the SRK forums. remember people were playing those locked characters online in the first week of the game.

    but what type of dlc will this game be getting? its obviously not characters so is it really worth buying and disney risking money because hacker will easily get that content.

  • xmisfit666s

    i think thats a horrible idea….if you have content ready to go, you shouldnt be allowed to lock it on disc to be payed for later….already paid 60$ holding out a part of the game for more cash…sounds like extortion to me, its understandable when dlc is still being created , but if you have it all ready to go and on the disc then it shouldnt be locked on there when its shipped out

  • digimass

    Not getting it

  • DarthMalnu

    Gotta hand it to Disney, they’re great a putting a fresh coat of paint on an old pile of bulls**t. So, tell me again why I’m supposed to pay twice for something I’ve already bought so you can keep Jack Sparrows wackier sister a secret?

  • jwalka

    i think people fail to realise that this will cater to kids and not childish adults that cry about everything, dont get me wrong, i think what capcom was doing was dirty (with the on disc DLC characters), but this makes more logical sense imo especially since not a lot of parents allow their kids to go online and some dont even know how to download stuff from the market place (tech illiterate parents and young kids).

    the on disc DLC thing is good in these instances, but not in the case of capcom b/c capcom sucks in general with DLC and business planning etc 😛

    • COREY_1993

      shut up… that makes no sense what so ever,if its bad for capcom then its bad for disney. if anything this is taking advantage of the “tech illiterate” parents.

  • Tbone

    Disney wants it hacked for the publicity.

  • Tbone

    The biggest ripoff is the figures are not going to be cross platform. Also have a feeling you will need the game piece to play, just won’t be able to unlock it once and have it stay unlocked so sharing with friends won’t be easy like skylanders.

  • Tbone

    Game looks ok but I think Disney is too late to the game. If skylanders comes out with new game with new characters they will be more popular. Wonder if Disney will ok buy 1 get 1 free sales like you see with skylanders.

  • Jasca_Ducato

    As far as I’m concerned, if I bought this game (which I probably won’t) with full knowledge that there was additional,mocked content contained on the disc, I have every right to play said content without shelling out another penny. When I purchase a disc, I purchase the rights to play EVERYTHING on said disc; I sure as hell shouldn’t have to pay for the right to play something I already own…

    • Jasca_Ducato

      *locked (this site really needs an ‘edit’ button for comments)

  • BeShifty

    I never saw it publicized that your purchase would allow you to play as the locked characters, so they aren’t deceiving anyone… If you aren’t content with your 75$ buying you the physical portal hardware, 3 action figures, 3 campaigns, toy box mode and upgrade token, then don’t buy it.

  • Crystal

    I see were there getting at with this because skylanders does the same thing all there “extra levels” and “Characters” are already on the skylander disks and you buy the characters to essentially unlock the content that is why the new skylander giants and what not cant be used on the old game. This is not a new concept. the action figures can’t hold the content its to large so easy solution put the content on the disk so that when they buy the action figure it’s there and ready for you to play JUST like skylanders (also keep in mind this is a game for young kids so content on the disk and said child not needing to go to the PlayStation store enter a code and then wait for download is but better and less hassle for both parent child and Disney). I don’t see anyone here dogging skylanders I’m sure many of you play it.

    • Crystal

      and honestly at least they were upfront and honest about it and weren’t under handed and try to hide it.