Until E3 2014, I had no idea what Disney Infinity really was — probably because I'm not exactly Disney's target demographic. So when I wandered over to the Disney Interactive booth during last month's gaming trade show, I was completely in the dark about how the company is helping along the whole video-game-toy-mash-up thing with its play sets, interactive figurines, and platform-agnostic gameplay.
And while what Disney has in store for Infinity 2.0, which launches later this year, is pretty awesome — a collection of Marvel superheroes, in-game currency, and special Toy Box games — it turns out that Infinity 1.0 (not the official name, but I'm going to call it that) offers comprehensive gameplay in its own right. I took a look at the app, Disney Infinity: Toy Box, and I think you should, too.
Enter: The Toy Box
At first glance, it looks like the Disney Infinity franchise leans heavily toward those with consoles and PCs. After all, the game is predicated on physical toy figurines with built-in NFC chips that players can place on special NFC readers that plug into their console or PC. Placing a figurine on the reader brings that toy "to life" in your game: The character pops up on your screen and they can move around, perform special moves, and pick up and use objects.
The character is now inside the Disney Infinity Toy Box, which is the sandboxy, open world of the Infinity franchise. In the Toy Box, your character can play through pre-made campaigns (much like a traditional video game), or you can build your own game world complete with varying terrain, obstacles, and enemies.
But the Toy Box is where Disney Infinity differs from similar game sets, such as Activision's Skylanders. The Toy Box is cloud-based and platform-agnostic, which means that you can access your Toy Box from any platform that Disney Infinity is available on, including mobile.
"You get the full Disney Infinity experience on the app," explains Ryan Rothenberger, senior producer for Disney Interactive. "We've made it truly platform-agnostic. You can pick up your iPad and start playing from wherever you left off on your console, play for a little while, and then go back to your console and keep going."
Most games are, at most, operating system-agnostic — you can play them across iOS and Android, or Windows and Mac — not platform-agnostic. In fact, Disney's platform-agnosticism is so comprehensive, Rothenberger says, that the company has actually patented the technology.
In other words, you won't find this anywhere else.
So there's no need to go out and buy a Disney Infinity play set for your console, unless you really want to. You can get the entire experience on your mobile device, though the "full" experience will cost you several in-app purchases.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.