Activision has been publishing games and merchandise for quite a while now, but one of the fastest franchises from the studio, Skylanders, was a huge success in the market for children across the globe.
With the first title launching on October 12, 2011 under Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, the franchise became a stellar franchise within the company alongside Destiny and Call of Duty. In a recent interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg talked about their franchises and reception towards them, which included the immersive toys-to-life series.
The companies CEO admitted series fatigue and decline, with the series not receiving an annual treatment unlike previous years (Unless you count the re-release of Skylanders: Imaginators on the Switch this March alongside the console release). Hirshberg also sounded off his thoughts on a possible saturation in the toys-to-life market, mentioning the announcement of Starlink, a unique approach to the T2L model.
“I never thought [toys-to-life] was dead, I just thought it was overcrowded,” Hirshberg says. “There was an imbalance between supply and demand. I think at one point there was a couple of hundred linear feet of shelf space in stores featuring toys-to-life games from four of the biggest marketers of kids IP in the world.
Sales figures have taken a hit since the departure of the Wii from the console market, where many casual gamers would consume their intake of gaming before moving onto mobile platforms. In fact… Ubisoft is releasing Just Dance 2018 for the Wii this fall! Talk about longevity, even if Nintendo themselves aren’t releasing new content for it anymore.
“A new market had been created with Skylanders. It was a way of making toys relevant to 21st century kids, who are interactive entertainment consumers in their DNA. And so, on one level, it wasn’t surprising to see that rush into the genre. But it certainly did create a more difficult macro environment. Skylanders… we’re still behind it. We have supported [last year’s game] Imaginators with expansion packs in the way that we didn’t with previous games. We have a great Skylanders TV series on Netflix. We have a mobile game in development that we are very excited about. And we are going to see what the right way is to continue to invest in it.
“What I know is that people love those characters and that world, there’s nothing broken about the franchise. It just became a little bit more different as a business proposition with all that competition. We shall see how it plays out.”
“Yes,” he agrees. “None of the current generation of consoles have quite captured that family, casual gaming market in the same way as the Wii did. Not even the Wii U. Skylanders’ bread and butter is the kids, family and casual gaming market. So the absence of that stronghold in the hardware ecosystem was a difficult thing as well. But look, we want to go where gamers are. Certainly kids are still playing games, they’re just playing them on different platforms. A lot of casual gaming has moved to mobile. With Skylanders, we will find our way.”
Can Skylanders regain some traction in the market or will it crash just like Guitar Hero disappointing reboot? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!