Activision still believes in toys-to-life, Skylanders the 11th most successful game franchise of all time
There’s been some talk as of late about the decline of the toys-to-life business. For the most part, amiibo is still doing quite well, and LEGO Dimensions entered the scene last year. But Disney Interactive recently closed entirely – marking the end of Disney Infinity – and Skylanders hasn’t been performing quite as well as it used to.
Despite this, Activision still appears to be very much on board with toys-to-life. The company announced Skylanders Imaginators today, reaffirming its commitment to the market.
Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg also told TIME that the publisher believes in the potential of toys-to-life. In his remarks, he mentioned that “Skylanders is now the 11th most successful game franchise of all time after just five years.”
When asked about the situation of Disney and concerns about the toys-to-life category, Hirshberg said:
I certainly can’t comment on Disney’s business, so that’s a good question to ask them, and they’ve obviously got good reasons for making the decision they did. What I will say is, we’ve said publicly that some of our more recent games haven’t met our expectations, and yet we’re still here making games, so we obviously still believe in the potential. We created the category, and Skylanders is now the 11th most successful game franchise of all time after just five years.
I feel like there’s a core mashup of mechanics that could very well stand the test of time—that kids have been playing with toys forever, and kids have been interested in video games forever, and that we had found this very powerful way to bring them both together. Now in any given year, there are going to be forces beyond any single competitor’s control. How much competition there is, what the platform dynamics are, how quickly kids are adopting new consoles, how steep is the drop-off of them buying software for legacy consoles, et cetera. And any snapshot at any moment in time can paint a particular picture. We remain confident that there is something fundamentally appealing here in this genre, and that our best strategy is to try to make the best, most innovative games in that genre.
The other thing you’re seeing us do as a company is taking the brand on a true trans-media path, where our film and television division have a TV show that’s coming out this year that’s incredibly delightful and well-executed and not only captures the spirit and the humor and the creativity of the franchise, but makes it maybe appealing to an even broader audience. We talked earlier about some of our efforts in mobile games. We’ve got a great licensing program, and we’ve got a great footprint in consoles. So what we’re trying to do is make this a ubiquitous franchise and character set that matters in the culture for kids, and that you can interact with and consume in multiple ways.