Activision thinking about how to continue investing in Skylanders, says Wii’s death contributed to series’ struggles
Posted on July 3, 2017 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News
Over the past few years, the toys-to-life market seemed to be on the way out. Disney Infinity is dead. LEGO Dimensions hasn’t seen as much content as it once did. Activision also didn’t have a new Skylanders in 2017 for the first time in many years.
So at E3, it was somewhat surprising to see Ubisoft announce Starlink. And while Activision doesn’t have something completely new for Skylanders this year, it sounds like they’re still committed to the series.
In an interview with GamesIndustry, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg had this to say about the state of Skylanders and the overall toys-to-life market:
“I never thought [toys-to-life] was dead, I just thought it was overcrowded. 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.
“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.”
GamesIndustry brought up that Skylanders struggles seem to have partially come about due to the end of the Wii. Hirshberg agrees that it was a big factor, noting:
“Yes. 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.”