Younger children are incredibly impressionable. Give them a piece of clay and they will try to eat it. Give them a piece of clay with a Ben 10 sticker on it, they will play with it for days. Package something that children might not want in such a way that it becomes attractive and they will pester their parents until they get it. Disney Interactive and Activision know this all too well. That’s why they both made headway into the games-with-toys market.
When we say made headway it was Activision which created the market all by itself with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in 2011 and then each year since then has continued the franchise on with a new release and a new swathe of figures. Disney spotted this and decided they had to get a slice of this money pie with Disney Infinity which saw its release in August 2013. But it simply wasn’t enough to knock the titanic Skylanders franchise off its pedestal
“For the second year in a row Skylanders was the No. 1 top-selling kids video game franchise,” Activision Publishing chief executive Eric Hershberg said in a statement.
The thing is, with these figures, there is a pinch of salt to be taken. While Disney Infinity itself outsold Skylanders: Swap Force in 2013 due to a number of possible factors including popularity and the fact it had a two month head start over its main competitor, Eric Hershbergs statement was about the entirety of the Skylanders franchise. That’s both software and figure sales for all three titles for the whole of 2013. Suddenly those numbers are not so impressive are they?
Well add a little more information into this from the NPD who’s representative Liam Callahan said “Despite competition from Disney Infinity, December 2013 was the best month ever for Skylanders’ interactive-gaming-toy sales on a dollar basis” So Skylanders as a franchise did better overall in 2013, but Disney Infinity outsold Skylanders: Swap Force during 2013 while the Skylanders franchise had its best ever month in December 2013 for sales.
Confused yet? I’ve been confused since I started this article.
When we look past all the financial figure waving and egotistical nonsense from developers, this news is overall fantastic for this young subgenre which we shall call Interactoy games – okay, that won’t catch on. The market for these games and toys grew by an astounding 70% during 2013.
Think of it this way. If 100 people bought Skylanders in 2012, 170 people bought Skylanders or Disney Infinity in 2013. In the current economic climate a game with figures 20+ which cost more than the season passes of most other releases each, does this spell good news for the games industry as a whole? These younger buyers who are being tempted into the medium will doubtless go try other games like Need for Speed or Lego Marvel Superheroes then move on up as they age into more mature titles and then we see a whole host of gamers maturing with our favourite industry.
What are your thoughts on all this? Let us at n3rdabl3 know what you think in the comments down below.