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Power Button - Episode 204: Disney In-finish-ity

Power_buttonBlake Grundman has a problem.  He's invested a lot of time and money into collecting Disney Infinity figurines and video games and now Disney has canceled the entire product line.  He needs some time to air his grievances and openly weep, so on this week's episode of Power Button we hold a farewell for the biggest Toys To Life product that somehow didn't make enough money.  Also, knowing that Disney is going back to licensing its properties to other publishers again, we pitch some ideas for Disney-owned properties we'd like to see become new games.  A dream is a wish your heart makes (unless you fail to turn a profit).  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Disney Exits Console Publishing, Disney Infinity To Be Discontinued

Disney InfinityFailing to definitively conquer the video game console publishing market, Disney Interactive is exiting the business and taking its Toys To Life game platform Disney Infinity with it.  The game will shut down in June following the release of the final two character packs (based on Alice Through The Looking Glass and Finding Dory) and the studio behind it all, Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios, the Just Cause folks), is now out of business.  It's a grim day for Infinity fans as despite performing what any other company would consider to be successful in this business, it's not enough for Disney.  USgamer has the report.

Disney Infinity probably made a good deal of money, but for Disney, the licensed Star Wars Battlefront represented the future moving forward. Pachter estimated that Disney Infinity made $200 million in revenue last year, while Star Wars Battlefront earned $660 million. The $200 million estimate put Disney Infinity ahead of Lego Dimensions and Skylanders, but Disney is a huge company and its perspective on 'successful' is vastly different.

By licensing the Star Wars brand to Electronic Arts, Disney doesn't have to have developers on hand to make titles. It reaps the rewards and the risks are all Electronic Arts. At some point, management looked that the gulf between Infinity and Battlefront and wondered why it was publishing games in-house. You can probably expect to see more licensing of Disney properties, but most of that will probably lean on the mobile side.

If you're still interested in the Infinity figures, watch for clearance sales at your favorite retailer over the summer.  It's disappointing to see Disney exit the business, but now that the company is switching gears back to a licensing model, perhaps we'll see some creative ideas based on Disney properties from other companies.  Yes, there will always be a place for Star Wars games, but where are the Arkham Asylum-like Avengers game, Darkwing Duck Remastered, and of course my biggest, most wanted pipe dream of them all...

It's a shame that being merely successful at a business like this isn't enough for Disney which has an "engulf and devour" mindset in the video game industry as it engages in a repeated cycle of buying established studios, pushing them to deliver, closing them when they fail to quickly produce top selling sensations right out of the gate, and then withdrawing from the business altogether before trying again a few years later.  I don't understand why anyone would spend so much time and money to build a platform that is successful by standard metrics and then throw it away just became it makes only some money and not all money.


Let's Watch A Pinball Bug Hunt With Aliens vs Pinball From Zen Studios

Aliens vs PinballZen Studios continues to acquire some amazing licenses for use in its pinball tables.  Following on from FOX's Family Guy and American Dad comes a trio of tables based on the Alien franchise.  Relive the excitement of Aliens, run in fear from Alien Isolation, and get caught in the crossfire of Aliens vs Predator. Combined as the Aliens vs Pinball pack, the new tables arrive for Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, PS Vita, Steam, Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire on April 26.  In the meantime, you can check out the Alien pinball action in this video in which I run through the three tables and explore them.  These aren't amazing scores as I'm only just learning the ins and outs of the tables, but it'll show you a little of what to expect. Thanks to Zen Studios for providing early access to the tables.


Power Button - Episode 202: Miitomo Leads The Nintendo Mobile Charge

Power ButtonNintendo's first mobile app, Miitomo, is among us now on your iOS or Android device of choice, so on this episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss our experience with the interrogative social app and ponder which Nintendo franchises lend themselves well to the mobile gaming experience.  You're not going to see Pokémon Red for $1 on the App Store, but maybe you'll find games starring King Dedede, Captain Olimar, or Little Mac someday.  Join us for an hour of playing with mobile power.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Fun With Miiphotos

Run Indy!Nintendo's anticipated Miitomo app for iOS and Android has launched, bringing the fun of question and answers, costumes, and pachinko mini-games to your social network of choice.  Also included is the ability to take those lovable Mii avatars and insert them into photos with a variety of poses and expressions.  Naturally, I've been having fun with this feature by inserting my Mii into favorite video games, movies, and television.  It's good silly fun and more enjoyable than I'd expected.  So, in the interest of sharing, I'm happy to show off some of my favorites.

Continue reading "Fun With Miiphotos" »


Power Button - Episode 196: Going Mobile

Power ButtonI've always preferred traditional console and handheld video games rather than the shallow experience that mobile games provide, but that hasn't stopped me from playing a few games on my iPhone in spare moments.  On this week's episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman tells me why I'm playing the wrong mobile games as I discuss my experiences with Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, and Star Trek: Timelines.  Join us for an hour of hearing all that I'm apparently doing wrong.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 195: The Great Prognosticus Predicts Again!

Power ButtonAs 2016 is underway, it's only right to look back at the predictions that Blake Grundman and I made in 2015 way back in Episode 162 to see just how many of our gaming wishes came true.  We keep score as we revisit last year's hopes and dreams, then we go on to make a new round of predictions that we'll revisit in 2017.  It's the endless cycle of dreams and we invite you to join us as we look both back and forward.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 194: The Best That 2015 Had To Offer

Power ButtonIt's time to kick off 2016 by discussing our top picks for the best video games of 2015!  Join Blake Grundman and I as we count down our favorites from last year (along with a few honorable mentions).  Does Destiny: The Taken King take all?  Will Yoshi's Woolly World wow us?  Might Super Mario Maker reach the top spot?  What about indie gems like Her Story and Tales From The Borderlands?  Join us for two hours of ranking and discussion.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 192: The Games Of Star Wars

Power ButtonAs Star Wars: The Force Awakens prepares to launch into theaters this week, we're joined by guest Ryan Olsen to discuss our favorite games from the Star Wars universe.  Super Star Wars, Shadows of the Empire, The Force Unleashed, and Battlefront take the stage among others.  I have a good feeling about this.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Nintendo Announces First Mobile Game: Miitomo

MiitomoExpectations were high yesterday when word came out that Nintendo was set to announce its first mobile title at an investor briefing.  The gaming community held its collective breath waiting for a Super Mario or Pokémon title, but instead the company shared its vision for a free-to-play social game with optional microtransactions called Miitomo based on a fusion of the Mii characters and the curiously popular Tomodachi Life for the 3DS.  It's due out in March 2016.  No Pikachu for you!  But you know what?  That may be for the best.  Jeremy Parish at USgamer explains:

While Nintendo hasn't shared full details on the workings of Miitomo, it's easy enough to make some educated guesses based on early screens. As the name suggests, Miitomo makes use of Mii avatars, seemingly with the ability to mingle with the avatars of other people and interact directly with the player. That sounds, not coincidentally, a great deal like Tomodachi Life, a connection alluded to in the app's name. Tomodachi Life became a solid success upon its western release last summer, but it's been a monster hit for years in Japan. Goofy, fun social apps (most recently Line) tend to be far more popular in Japan than in the west as well. Combine the two and a massive hit seems practically guaranteed, at least in Japan. It's less of a guaranteed slam-dunk in the U.S., but the Nintendo factor should at least grab people's attention.

Nintendo's stock dropped following the announcement and the community complained that this wasn't the Pokémon Red port they'd just assumed would happen if everyone wished really hard, but Miitomo could work well for the company.  Nintendo aims to draw mobile gamers into its own hardware ecosystem, and apps like Miitomo could do just that by whetting appetites and sparking curiosity about what Nintendo has to offer on its hardware home turf.  Japan will eat this up, but North America and beyond could be a harder sell beyond app-loving kids seemingly born with an iPad in one hand.  The company's new NX project is moving forward and I'm sure that it would love to capture some lapsed Wii owners to bring them back to the world of Nintendo.  Like so many other things in this industry, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.  However, to all of you out there who have complained that you want to play Pokémon on the go, then I have good news for you.  Nintendo already sells a product that will let you do that.  It's called a Nintendo 3DS and it's in stores now.