Apple TV Takes a Hit, Loses Disney Infinity Support

Disney's endorsement of Apple TV as a legit gaming platform was short lived. Only six months after the fourth generation Apple TV launched Disney has dropped support for Disney Infinity, and that's going to make it hard for other big name game makers to take the platform seriously.

Disney gives Apple TV gaming a thumbs downDisney gives Apple TV gaming a thumbs down

There wasn't any official announcement, so Apple TV users found out the hard way when some of the game figures they purchased weren't working. They took to the Infinity online forums where Disney said,

The team is currently focusing on the traditional gaming platforms. We are always evaluating and making changes, but there are currently no plans for futher updates to the Apple TV version of the game.

Disney Infinity is a video game that lets players put characters from different stories, such as Mr. Incredible with Lilo and Stitch, to complete levels and adventures. You get additional characters by purchasing actual figurines to place on a sensor plate attached to your game console—or in this case, your Apple TV.

Apple still sells the US$99.95 Disney Infinity starter pack through its retail and online stores, along with several add-on figurines at $14.95 each.

Disney's decision is bad news for players who dropped at least $100 to get into the game only to find it isn't supported any more. It's also bad news for Apple's efforts to promote Apple TV as an all-in-one entertainment and gaming console. Backing out after only six months sends a clear message to other game makers: You won't make money on Apple TV.

That isn't to say gaming on Apple TV is a losing proposition for all developers, but Disney's decision won't boost anyone's confidence. To be fair, Disney Infinity is a hardware and software combination game, and maybe it's the hardware side that drove the decision to abandon Apple TV.

The money may not be there because Apple TV isn't designed as a gaming console first; it's an entertainment console that also supports games. Apple TV also doesn't sell on the scale of Xbox or PlayStation, and for companies making console games, big platforms are important.

For Apple, that means Apple TV may not break past casual gaming device level, and that may be OK. It could be that Apple TV's real strength as a gaming console is as an extension of iPhone and iPad games.

Still, if Disney—with its long-time geed relationship with Apple—is pulling out, there's a chance other big game makers may abandon Apple TV, too.

[Thanks to Touch Arcade for the heads up]