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Activision

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.

Following recent leaks, Activision has made the next entry in the Skylanders series official. Skylanders Imaginators will launch on October 16 for Wii U and other platforms. Unlike past years, there’s no sign of Wii and 3DS versions.

Details that we heard about yesterday were spot on. Skylanders Imaginators will let players make their own Skylanders for the first time, there will be a new elementally-aligned toy type called the Creation Crystal, and Skylanders Senseis are being introduced.

You can find the first Skylanders Imaginators below. We’ve also included the official announcement with more details after the break.

Activision will soon be announcing the next entry in the Skylanders series. Based on some apparent leaks, it seems that the new game will be titled “Skylanders: Imaginators”.

Main developer Toys for Bob is back as the main developer of the project. Wii U is a target platform, but there’s no word on Wii or 3DS versions at present.

The big hook this time around is that it’ll be possible to make your own Skylanders, which go by the name Skylanders Imaginators. Additionally, there’s a new toy type known as Creation Crystal which “allows players to create and transport their unique Skylanders to consoles at anytime, anywhere”. New guest stars called “Senseis” are also being introduced which features 20 new characters and 11 former villains.

More unconfirmed – but probable – information about Skylanders: Imaginators can be found below. We’ve also included some images that have surfaced thus far in the attached gallery. The game is scheduled for October 16 in North America.

Update (5/23): The servers are now back up and running (thanks Squirrelisious). Crisis averted?


Original (5/22): Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Reflex Edition players are now unable to experience the game’s online multiplayer. The servers went down recently, and Activision support has not responded to any inquiries on the situation since. It’s now absolutely confirmed, but it would seem that this permanent as opposed to a temporary issue.

Call of Duty: Black Ops can’t be played online either. That means Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the only Wii entry in the series available for online play.

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Several years ago, Activision teamed up with Virtual Playground in hopes of creating a MMO of sorts for its music-based games. The goal was to have it connect with Guitar Hero 7, DJ Hero 3, future Band Hero titles, and more across Wii as well as other consoles.

Ultimately, we never saw the MMO – which would have carried the name “Hero World” – when Activision scrapped all of its “Hero” releases. Virtual Playground attempted to turn the project into different forms as a means of appealing to other partners and receive funding, but its efforts did not result in success. The company ended up filing for bankruptcy in mid-2011, four months after Activision pulled the plug on Hero World.

Take a look at the full report on the MMO from Liam Robertson and Unseen64 below.

Guitar Hero Live, the developer behind Guitar Hero Live, has been hit with layoffs. Although not confirmed, Eurogamer has heard that roughly 50 people have been made redundant. FreeStyle’s website indicates that 100 staff were housed at the company.

Activision’s official statement is as follows:

Activision and FreeStyle Games leadership have been considering a range of future options for the studio, and have been consulting with staff to explore all alternatives. The collective team have now reached the end of a consultation exercise and the decision has been made to restructure FreeStyleGames to better align the studio resources with future business needs. We are working with the studio teams to explore options to rebalance staff within Activision Blizzard and its related organisations.

The UK remains a key market for Activision Blizzard and FreeStyleGames continues to be a great partner. We thank all of the team for their continued passion, creativity and commitment.

Activision previously stated in February that Guitar Hero Live experienced “lower than expected performance”.

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Guitar Hero Live has added another set of songs, including some beloved 80s classics thanks to three new Premium Shows. Here’s this week’s lineup:

Back to the Eighties

· Europe – Rock the Night
· Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly
· Quiet Riot – Bang Your Head (Metal Health)

Stadium Rock Anthems

· Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
· Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
· KISS – Crazy Crazy Nights

Hair Metal Mayhem

· Poison – Nothin’ But a Good Time
· Mötley Crüe – Girls, Girls, Girls
· L.A. Guns – Rip and Tear

Source: Activision PR

Activision has confirmed that it will not have a booth on the E3 2016 show floor. That announcement was made in a new blog post on the publisher’s site today.

For Nintendo, this won’t mean a whole lot. Skylanders probably would have been represented in some fashion, but that would probably be it. It is an interesting move though, as EA had also announced recently that it will be opting for a fan event instead of attending the big gaming expo.

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Activision is using its Skylanders franchise to support the millions of families affected by autism. Through one-of-a-kind toys, Skylanders and Autism Speaks are teaming up to raise awareness for an important cause during April’s Autism Awareness Month.

These toys are blue and white to reflect Autism Speaks’ official colors. The “Power Blue” Skylanders SuperChargers feature Splat and Trigger Happy, along with their SuperCharged vehicles Splatter Splasher and Gold Rusher. The full set appears in-game as their special colors. The toys are actually on store shelves in the United States and Europe now, with Canada to follow on April 1.

Activision is also extending its plans to promote Autism Awareness Month through the following activities:

– Launching employee education and employee-donation matching programs
– In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, employees will have the opportunity to participate in the Autism Speaks Walk on April 2 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena
– Making donations to non-profits that are making a difference in the autism community

Source: Activision PR

Activision’s 2015 full-year financial results are in. Revenue is reported at $4.6 billion, an increase from $4.4 billion in calendar 2014 with 47.5 percent of that amount stemming from subscriptions, licensing, and other revenue. Operating income is also up from $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion and net income grew from $835 million to $892 million. However, Activision fell a tad short of its revenue target.

Guitar Hero Live and Skylanders SuperChargers both fell short of Activision’s expectations. With Skylanders, there is now increased competition in the market with LEGO Dimensions. More declines are expected for Skylanders in 2016, but another game is in the pipeline. As for Guitar Hero Live, its weakness is attributed to a move to mobile devices.

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