Activision Still Strongly Believe In Toys-To-Life Category Potential


After The Walt Disney Company unexpectedly chose to cancel Disney Infinity, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg still firmly believes in the potential within the toys-to-life category.

Acknowledging that recent Skylanders games hadn’t sold as well as expected, Activision created category and the property remains the 11th most successful in the games industry.

They still see appeal in the genre, with their continued investment not only resulting in Skylanders Imaginators releasing later in the year, but also a Skylanders Academy television series.

“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,” Hirshberg discussed as part of a wider interview with TIME.

“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 humour 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.”

Skylanders Imaginators will launch on Wii U in Europe on October 14th and North America on October 16th.

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