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skylanders swap

Activision makes a lot of money from a few properties, and it just added another franchise to its billion-dollar club.

The company revealed that the Skylanders series generated more than $1 billion since its debut in 2011. A huge chunk of that revenue comes from the over 100 million Skylanders toys the company has sold.

“The Skylanders franchise became the first kids’ video game intellectual property to cross the $1 billion mark in just 15 months, and I think we are still just starting to realize its potential,” Activision Publishing chief executive officer Eric Hirshberg said in a statement. “We knew that the simple, but magical, idea of bringing your toys to life in a video game could change both the video game and the toy industries and, more importantly, change the way kids play.”

Skylanders did ambush the market with technological  innovation. Each figure comes with a special “portal” for the player to place toys on. Those toys then instantly manifest within the game. So instead of creating a game and separate line of toy merchandise, Activision’s Toys For Bob studio created a product that requires both to fully function.

That business model propelled Skylanders action figures to outsell Star Wars and Transformers toys at retail.

A new Skylanders game is due out in 2013. It would make the third game in the series in three years.

“This fall, we’re looking forward to delivering to fans our latest break-through innovation, Skylanders Swap Force, which lets kids customize their own characters, bringing toys to life to a whole new level,” said Hirshberg.

Players can use Swap Force to mix and match the legs and bodies of various new action figures. It debuts this fall for major gaming platforms.

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