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Skylanders toys outsell Transformers and Star Wars action figures in 2012

When I was your age, nothing happened when I put my Ghostbusters toys on top of my Nintendo Entertainment System. You kids have all of the gadgets!

Skylanders is $500 million big. That’s half of a billion dollars in retail sales between the toys and the two games. Skylanders Giants alone raked in $195 million in U.S. sales in the last quarter of 2012.

“Just a year ago, the concept of bringing toys to life in a virtual world was an untested play pattern that Activision and Toys For Bob believed in,” Activision Publishing vice president of consumer marketing John Coyne said in a statement. “Now, the category has been established in the market and embraced by parents and kids everywhere. We’re humbled by the continued support and acclaim from parents, kids, and critics alike, but more importantly, it’s gratifying to see kids excited about the adventures that await them both in the digital and physical worlds.”

Skylanders is one of the fastest kids-focused properties to reach this level of financial success. Activision obviously found something big here with this title’s formula, which allows physical toys to communicate and interact with a virtual world. When gamers place an action figure on a special device connected to a gaming console, that character becomes playable in the game.

That interconnection between the plastic and digital led to stunning toy sales. Skylanders was the top-selling line of action figures for 2012 through November. The game’s toys outsold both the Transformers and Star Wars lines of action figures.

“Even before the concept was fully formed, we were immediately taken with the charm and magic behind the Skylanders property,” said Toys ‘R’ Us chief merchandising officer Richard Barry. “And following the highly successful introduction of Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures, we knew that Skylanders Giants would be a top seller in 2012. We believe that Skylanders is one of the most innovative and exciting toy properties to hit the market and are thrilled to continue our strong support of the brand.”

Skylanders is definitely positioned as Activision’s next big annualized gaming franchise. The challenge, as always, is keeping the game fresh while pleasing the current committed fanbase.


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