Activision: ‘Spectacular innovation’ will prevent Skylanders from fizzling like Guitar Hero

The Skylanders series will join Call of Duty and World of Warcraft as one of publisher Activision’s billion-dollar franchises.

Activision has a history of popular games that combine the interactive medium with physical products. Skylanders does that with a line of toys that work with the game. The company’s Guitar Hero series coupled music titles with plastic instruments and led to a few years of phenomenal success. Many argue that Activision ran the music genre into the ground with yearly releases. That history led an analyst to question Skylander’s long-term potential during an investor call yesterday.

Activision Publishing chief executive Eric Hirshberg was adamant that Skylanders will be a part of the company’s portfolio for a long time.

“We have a pipeline already in development with spectacular innovation. We can continue to surprise and delight and exceed kids’ expectations,” said Hirshberg. “This is the combination of two play patterns that have been healthy for a very long time. Games and toys have been healthy for a long time.”

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and the newly released Skylanders Giants found huge success along with the line of toys that players can use in the game by placing them on the Portal of Power reading device. New innovations  may recapture the fickle attention-spans of children, but Hirshberg’s other point seems flawed.

The executive is suggesting that since toys and games have been around for a long time, a game like Skylanders that uses both should have sticking power. That makes sense, except music has been around longer than toys and that couldn’t save Guitar Hero.