In the world of video games, one of the latest fads to come has been the idea of toy inclusive video games. The culprit responsible for the rise of this fad is the Skylanders franchise.
The business model is simple; make a game that requires lots of peripherals. The toy business model is buying the game, which is an input peripheral, for a second local player and toys that can range anywhere from five to 15 dollars a pop.
Had anyone asked when Skylanders was first released if it was a good idea, I would’ve said no. I was wrong and continue to be proven wrong. The Skylanders franchise has been going strong now for two years with no end in sight.
The franchise does not limit itself to just one game, as new releases introduce refined gameplay, new features and more characters.
New characters equal new toys
The success has been so large that it has prompted the release of two new games–each with their own twists to the formula– to come out in the last month. These new games are Disney Infinity and Pokémon Rumble U.
Disney Infinity separates itself by using power cards to enhance the characters as well as the toy box mode to create custom challenges.
Pokémon Rumble U does not require the toys to use the characters in the game, but they’re used to saving character specific information like levels and stats.
Games like this have become so popular in such a quick fashion, but success lies in the targeting of two core audiences: children and collectors
Children are part of the core audience since toys are a big appeal to them as well as to parents. Imagine a scenario where you no longer have to think about what to buy your kid for Christmas; they have the game, just buy another figure.
Collectors are pretty self-explanatory in their habits, especially for a franchise like Pokémon which sells their figures in individual blind boxes.
These franchises are here to stay as long as they keep making money
It seems ridiculous to spend an extra five dollars on a toy in order to play for the 40 dollar video game, but people continue to do it.
Guitar Hero started in 2005, and the music peripheral phenomenon continued on for seven years before dwindling down in late 2012. Rocksmith and Rock Band 3 all followed a similar business model.
I certainly believe that these new franchises can outlive the previous music ones as long as the fans show support with their wallets, and not just words.
The prices in this piece are a generalization and actual prices may differ. Be sure to research before you go out and buy. Also, Arts Reporter Stephen Romney will return next week for The Weekly Reel.