Activision Blizzard Studios announced today that its first television show, Skylanders Academy, will debut in the fall of 2016 on Netflix.
The show is the latest move by Activision Blizzard to keep a solid grip on the billion-dollar-plus toys-to-life market, which the company pioneered in 2011 with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. The market grew quickly, but competition saturated it. Disney entered the market with its Infinity toys-to-life games, but it decided to shutter the business earlier this year because of a market slowdown.
Activision Blizzard saw sales of Skylanders fall in the last holiday season, but it continues to create new versions of the games and toys. Now it will have the advantage of having an animated TV show.
“Over the last five years, millions of families around the world have welcomed Skylanders characters into their homes. Now, they’ll be able to watch their favorite characters come to life on Netflix,” said Bobby Kotick, the chief executive of Activision Blizzard, in a statement. “We couldn’t have found a better home for Skylanders Academy and look forward to sharing our extraordinary characters with Netflix audiences around the world.”
Skylanders has generated more than $3 billion in revenues since 2011, and it has sold more than 250 million toys.
“Skylanders Academy gives us the opportunity to approach narrative storytelling with the same level of quality and excellence that millions of Skylanders fans have come to expect from the game,” said Activision Blizzard Studios co-president Stacey Sher in a statement. “We’re inspired by our fans’ excitement for these characters and have worked hard to bring these characters to life with stories our fans will love.”
Activision Blizzard launched the studio last year to create original content based on the company’s games, and Skylanders Academy is the first production by Sher and studio co-president Nick van Dyk. Netflix has signed the show up for two seasons.
Produced under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers, Skylanders Academy features the voices of Justin Long (Ask Me Anything) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) as Eruptor, and Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live) as Glumshanks.
Additional voice talent includes The Diamond Minecart, Susan Sarandon, Daniel Wu, Parker Posey, James Hetfield, Catherine O’Hara, Bobcat Goldthwait, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jonny Rees, and Harland Williams. Sher and van Dyk are joined by Sander Schwartz, the Emmy award-winning producer of animated hits including The Batman, The Aquabats! Super Show!, and Justice League: The New Frontier, as the show’s executive producers. Skylanders Academy is animated by the internationally acclaimed TeamTO studio in France.
“Activision Blizzard Studios’ enviable mission is to work with our extraordinary portfolio of franchise intellectual property and bring it to broader audiences on new platforms,” said van Dyk. “We’re excited to reach this strategic partnership and for the future of Skylanders Academy.”
Register for GamesBeat's upcoming event: Driving Game Growth & Into the Metaverse