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The influence of the record-shattering juggernaut Star Wars: The Force Awakens has extended beyond the box office and toy aisles to video games.
Citing industry analysts, Fortune reports Star Wars games generated more than $1 billion in sales this year, led by Star Wars Battlefront, which has sold an estimated 12 million copies since its launch in mid-November.
Amid the frenzy for the film, Disney Interactive and Lucasfilm have debuted the poster for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Play Set, which arrives Friday for Disney Infinity 3.0.
The third Star Wars play set for the hit toy-to-life video game, following Rise Against the Empire and Twilight of the Republic, Star Wars: The Force Awakens features as playable characters Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron and, yes, Kylo Ren.
Disney is combining its video game and toy divisions, reflecting the increasing overlap between the two with such projects as Disney Infinity, the less successful Imagicademy and the recently unveiled Playmation.
Announced Monday, the restructuring sees Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive merge to form Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, overseen by the heads of the former units. Although some employees will be shifted into new roles, The New York Times reports there won’t be any layoffs.
With its ambitious sandbox video game Disney Infinity, Disney has hit upon a way to generate sales — to the tune of $500 million worldwide — and to further promote a range of movie properties, ranging from The Pirates of the Caribbean to Frozen to The Incredibles (version 2.0 arrives next week, bringing the Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy into play). But could it also be quietly marketing comic books? Well, at least Marvel comic books?
Introduced in August 2013, Disney Infinity allows players to bring an assortment of characters into the game by purchasing $13 figurines and placing them on a special scanner, and to create their own world within the Disney universe using “Toy Box Mode.”
Coming perhaps as little surprise, if still welcome news to hopeful fans, Disney is rumored to be developing new versions of its expansive Disney Infinity video game that will feature Marvel and Star Wars characters.
The information is included in a Wall Street Journal report about the expected layoffs of “several hundred” more people from Disney Interactive Studios, despite the game’s strong launch in August.
Disney has a lot riding on Disney Infinity, the upcoming video game that will allow players to mix and match characters from different properties — for instance, Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible — using collectible figures and a special scanner. The media giant’s fledgling Disney Interactive Studios has reportedly spent more than $100 million on development, even as the division laid off more than 500 employees and suffered $1.41 billion in losses from other ventures.
To free up resources for Disney Infinity, which seems like an all-or-nothing situation, The Wall Street Journal contends Disney also stopped production on an Iron Man video game that was planned to be released this year, and passed on chance to produce Star Wars video games following its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm.