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When it comes to Disney and gaming, we here at JHM take the
subjects seriously. Where entertainment and good business cross paths chances
are that Disney will be at the forefront. "Iron Man 3,"
released by Marvel and
Disney was one of the biggest films of 2013. It made $372 million in its first
weekend including domestic and international ticket sales. Compare that to the
weekend that Grand Theft Auto V
had when it debuted. In just three days, Take-Two
Interactive's crime action game made $1 billion. Those numbers are hard to
ignore no matter what your stance is on gaming.
Copyright Rockstar Games. All rights reserved
According to the NPD research group gaming across all
formats made about $21 billion in 2012. The trend continued through 2013 with
the release of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles. Disney Infinity has
done very well for the company. In less than a year since its release it has
sold over 3 million copies across the different platforms. Infinity looked to
dethrone the Skylanders series by Activision, which has sold over 13 million
copies since its debut in 2011. Both games featured a number of collectible
mini figures which helped aggregate sales. The developers at Disney Interactive
had the fortune of being able to tap into the vast library of Disney animated
and live-action characters as well as those from television and Pixar as well.
Despite the seemingly endless demand for quality games
Disney still remained behind the curve. Infinity was an answer to Skylanders
but if the company really wanted to go after the most profitable titles they
should have set their sights elsewhere. I am not talking about music-rhythm
games, Fantasia Music Evolved still does not get audiences excited. Two years
after the film "Wreck-it-Ralph" fans are still hoping to see a videogame based on
the film. In particular fans are still holding out hope that the studio might
yet develop a full version of the game Sugar Rush.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
The studio does have a version of Fix-it-Felix Jr., Hero's Duty
and Sugar Rush Speedway available on the Disney Games website for free. In fact
it has hosted the it for everyone to enjoy for years. Audiences only have to
install a web plug-in to get the titles up and running at home: http://games.disney.com/wreck-it-ralph-sugar-rush.
Of course die-hard videogame players want more than a web version of the games
shown in the animated film. They want a full-fledged experience. Sugar Rush,
the game featuring the "glitch" Vanellope von Schweetz was inspired
by the Mario Kart series. It is easily one of the most desirable games that
Disney Interactive has never released for the consoles.
When it comes to racing games there is no bigger selling
franchise than Mario Kart by Nintendo. Since 1992 the Mario Kart series has
sold over 97 million copies. The series became so popular that it was one of
the very few that actually got an arcade version built. I'm talking about an
entire cabinet with racing seats, speakers and a steering wheel.Elements from
this cabinet could actually be seen in the cabinet created for Sugar Rush in
the film. The Mario Kart arcade game was a reverse of the trend. Early console
hits were usually adapted from arcade games and not the other way around. Nintendo
had done so well with the franchise that rival studio Namco asked to have the
iconic Pac Man appear as a crossover racer.
To put it into perspective Sony's Gran Turismo series has
sold over 70 million copies. Since 1997 Sony has marketed their series as the "real
driving simulator." It is a very well respected franchise due to the
authenticity of recreating classic and modern cars for players to enjoy. Auto
manufacturers actually go to the developers Polyphony to have concept cars
created in their proprietary software to see how they would respond in real
life. The next most popular franchise, Microsoft's Forza series, has sold over 17
million copies since 2005. The two series combined have still sold less copies
than Mario Kart. At almost $50 a game one can only imagine how much money
Nintendo actually made over the past two decades.
It is difficult to understand why Disney Interactive doesn't
release more games in genres that audiences actually play. The characters
featured in Wreck-it-Ralph, the levels and challenges highlighted in the film
were taking elements from the best Kart racing games. The game players that saw
the film could attest that this was a type of game that they would buy at the
drop of a hat. Perhaps there might be some hope for a collaborative release
somewhere down the line. The Wii U console has performed very poorly and
Nintendo has changed their business strategy to make up for it. Previously the
company steered clear of licensing their games to other platforms. Recently
they decided to publish a few games for the iOS and distribute them through
Apple's iTunes Store. With Apple and Disney being good friends perhaps there
may yet be a chance for Nintendo and Disney Interactive to work a little closer
and give fans a crossover worth remembering. Hey, a guy can dream can't he?