By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Analyst and Trend Tracker New York, New York, USA
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
Skylanders by Activision and Disney Infinity are two game-changing examples. New technology is creating new hybrid ways to play. A whole new world of action figure play is on the horizon, and two major players are introducing worlds of action and adventure for their fans.
Activision, a video game manufacturer, launched Skylanders Spyro Adventures in October 2011. The product line combines physical action figures and a portal of power base that launches kids into a vivid web-world of play. Drawing upon the best-selling video game, Skylanders: Spyro Adventures, Activision created a world of physical action figures, to capture this dual play market.
The difference is the cross-platform experience, and that each individual action figure character embeds the history of the play into the physical action figure, recording the levels achieved and the worlds they have entered with RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification tagging) technology.
The figures work with any gaming system which kids can access, at either their home or a friend’s home. Wii, Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation and now portable Nintendo gaming devices are all compatible. With over 30 characters in the initial collection and growing with 16 more in year 2 (Skylanders Giants and new Skylanders figures), the line has performed very successfully. This product range is speculated to have already sold over 1 Billion dollars worldwide, after only 15 months in the market, since the initial launch occurred in mid-October 2011. Expect MORE in 2013! News of additional line extensions of Skylanders products will be revealed in February 2013. Stay Tuned!
Disney Infinity just announced in mid-January 2013 that they are releasing their own version of cross-compatible hybrid action figures, drawing upon characters from the rich storylines of Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters University (Pixar ) and The Incredibles. Their products will launch in the market in June 2013, on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii, PC, mobile devices, and Nintendo 3DS.
The Disney Infinity characters will be able to cross-over into each other’s worlds. With the vast vault of Disney characters including Cars characters, Mickey’s Clubhouse friends, the Disney Princesses, Marvel super-heroes and now, the Star Wars cast of characters, we can only imagine how rich this play world would be.
Speculation from Disney fans and the media are imagining a world, in the future, where all of the Disney characters can interact. Based upon feedback from a press conference in California earlier this month, this speculation is not unfounded. Disney Interactive co-president, John Pleasants asked, “”Who would win a race between Lightning McQueen or Dash? Who would win a sword fight between Jack Sparrow and Phineas Flynn? Whos is stronger, Sully or Mr. Incredible? This is the promise and magic of Disney Infinity. It’s up to you to unlock the heart and soul of Disney Infinity.” These characters-from different-worlds-interaction scenarios could be tested in the future, where the characters might be pitted against each other for in-world challenges in The ToyBox mode. The possibilities are, well, infinite!
Expect MORE in 2013! As we scour the Toys 3.0 Special Area of the Fair and the exhibit halls of the Spielwarenmesse International ToyFair 2013 Nuremberg, we will be looking for other examples of hybrid and tech-diversity toys and games. Let us know if your products, or ones you have spotted on the show floor, match these descriptions, and we will update our readers.