Activision is taking inspirations from ‘80's cartoons, mixing physical toys and video games to create the next must-have Christmas present: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.
The game comes with three 2-inch-tall action figures that players will use to control on-screen characters. Players must use the portal, a 6-inch plastic platform, to connect figures with game consoles wirelessly. The figures contain wireless thumb drives that store character's progress through the game.
This means that kids can take their toys to a friend's house and continue their game, even if it's on another console. The game was released on the Wii, Xbox 360, the PlaySation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and is available to play on the computer online and on the iPhone and iPad. Developers are calling the game the first true cross-platform game.
Imagine a kid taking his ‘Skylanders' toy and bringing it to life on his Xbox 360 one day, then bringing it to life on his friend's PS3 the next day, then bringing it to life inside his 3DS and playing it in the back of his parents' car the next day, then bringing it to life on the web the day after that, all the while, building his character's strength and powers across all of those platforms, Eric Hirshberg, chief executive of Activision Publishing, said. It brings the physical and virtual worlds of play together in a whole new way.
The game uses technology from the now dead Guitar Hero series. The music game connected plastic guitars and other instruments wirelessly to gaming consoles. The game will cost $70 and come with 3 figures: Spiro, the purple fire-breathing dragon, a character made of trees and a lava man, Eruptor. Additional figures will cost $8 each. Activision plans to release 30 playable characters so far.
Spyro has been a popular gaming series since it debuted in the late '90's on the first PlayStation. The platformer followed the adventures of its titular protagonist, Spyro. Gamers haven't seen a Spyro game since 2008.
Activision is taking aim at the elusive target of the must-have toy of the holiday season held by products such as the Tickle Me Elmo and the Nintendo Wii. To attain that goal Activision has announced a global marketing partnership with ToysRUs.
We're thrilled to partner with Activision and make ToysRUs the retail launchpad for ‘Skylanders Spyro's Adventure', Jerry Storch, chairman and chief executive of ToysRUs, Inc, said. We believe that the product line will be one of this holiday's hottest gifts and we can't wait to offer customers a one-of-a-kind way to discover ‘Skylanders' at our stores.
Using other media to sell toys is not a new concept. Hasbro used cartoons like Transformers, and G.I. Joes to sell toy lines of the same names. Many games have also spun off various toy lines. Toys have never been integrated with games to such a great degree, however.
The new venture is risky since there is no way of predicting what products parents and kids will flock to during the holidays. Activision is also putting a lot of resources into promoting the game. But the new way of marketing and playing games could have huge rewards. If successful we could see many more games of this type. Nintendo's Pokemon series seems predisposed for this type of mass-collectible game model.
The game was released Oct. 16, so we'll have to see if the game catches on this holiday season.