| SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 4
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 4 Walt Disney Co's
recently launched video game "Infinity" is selling strongly and
major retailers report they are replenishing stock to meet
demand, an encouraging start for the media giant's plans to turn
around its loss-making game division.
GameStop, Toys"R"Us and Wal-Mart Stores said
they are restocking to stay ahead of demand for the game, which
was released on Aug. 18.
"The momentum continues to be very strong," said Matt
Hodges, a GameStop spokesman. "A couple of toy characters like
Violet (the young female superhero from "The Incredibles") are
hard to get."
Disney and the retailers did not share specific sales
figures. Research firm NPD, that tracks video game industry
sales, is expected to release its monthly report next week.
The children's game, which is made for consoles and PCs,
involves players collecting plastic toys based on various Disney
characters and placing them on an electronic platform to
transport their animated images on to TV screens. Players can
also buy plastic "power discs," which gives toy figures special
powers in the virtual game.
A sales representative at a GameStop store in San Francisco
said that Infinity products were sold out at the store on launch
day and were well-received in the weeks that followed.
Some toys and power discs may be "hard to find" in stores,
according to Richard Barry, chief merchandising officer at
Toys"R"Us, although he said Disney Infinity merchandise is
arriving in regular shipments to meet consumer demand.
Toys"R"Us expects the game's momentum to continue through
the holiday season, Barry said.
"We will be building a boutique at the front of our stores so
our support for the franchise will increase in the weeks ahead
with a very prominent display at the front of our stores," he
Eric Bright, senior buyer of video games for Wal-Mart in the
United States, said: "We don't have a crystal ball, but we're
excited about what we see so far."
Disney has built an enviable record in producing hit movies
but has had a succession of lackluster interactive game
products. If brisk sales continue, especially through the
crucial holiday season, Infinity could become a rare video game
hit for the company.
The company is pleased with the consumer response it has
been seeing since the Infinity launch, a Disney Interactive
Disney's five-year old interactive division, which houses
its video game and online properties, has chalked up losses in
14 of its 15 quarters, compiling about $1.16 billion in total
operating losses in that time.
The company delayed Infinity's launch by two months. In May,
Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts on an earnings
call that the delay will likely keep the interactive division
from turning a profit in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
Infinity is Disney's response to Activision Blizzard Inc's
Skylanders games, which successfully introduced the
concept of physical toys interacting with video games in 2011.
That franchise has raked in over than $1.5 billion worldwide in
retail sales and its second title was one of 2012's top-selling
While "Skylanders" is set in a magical world called
Skylands, in "Infinity" players can pit characters from Disney
or Pixar movies, like the super-charged racecar Lighting McQueen
from "Cars" and quick-footed superhero Dash from "The
Incredibles," in races and quests.
Activision is launching its hit game's third iteration,
"Skylanders: Swap Force" on Oct. 13 that will compete head-on
with newcomer Infinity.
"You're going to see a great battle between Infinity and
Skylanders this holiday season," GameStop President Tony Bartel
said, who did not provide details on pre-order numbers of
Activision's upcoming game.