Thursday, September 19, 2013


Remember when there was a little plastic guitar music game being released every fifteen minutes?

Now, there's this:
Disney Infinity put the revenue from 294,000 sales in its toy box in its first two weeks on the market, a Disney spokesperson told Games Industry. Disney Infinity launched on August 18 and it hit No. 3 on the NPD's monthly sales report, behind Saints Row 4 and Madden 25. The Accessories section of the NPD's totals hit $136.7 million for August. "Combined with sales of Skylanders accessories, one in every three accessory sold this month was an Interactive Gaming Toy," NPD reported.

The original Skylanders was a very good game that existed for the sole purpose of selling "interactive gaming toy." It's been very successful, and it looks like Disney Infinity is going to do even better. It's brilliant merchandising, really. Pay $75 for the game and 3 figures, then continue paying money (hundreds of dollars, if you collect them all) for figures that do nothing more than sit on a plastic base, which signals the game that the character is now playable.

Before Skylanders came out, I would have laughed at the idea that a product like this could be successful, because it was such a transparent money grab. I thought Skylanders would totally fail--not because it wasn't good (it was very good, actually), but because it was so overpriced.

Boy, I whiffed on that one. And now, with Disney Infinity tearing it up, this is officially the new little plastic guitar craze.

So let's get evil.

What kinds of complementary products could you put out that could also use these figures? That way, anyone who doesn't have a console isn't left out, and if they ever do get a console, they already have figures purchased. It's also an additional incentive for consoles users to buy more figures, along with the non-console based playset.

I'm trying to wrap my head around this, but I can't really get past the idea of an electronic game board. I don't know how to make that game interesting, but I do know that if you could level up your character by either playing the video game or the board game, it would be a powerful incentive to purchase.

Also, if Disney is smart, they'll make that Infinity base a playable accessory in every game they put out. People with the figures are more likely to buy the game, and people who buy the game are more likely to buy the figures.

Seriously, the marketing opportunities are endless, which is scary.

Who's next? Well, there's one hugely obvious candidate, and that's Nintendo. Who has a more bankable set of recognizable and revered characters? And who's more likely to make it interesting than Nintendo?

Two years from now, there will be six of these games, not two. Everyone will have one out or will be in active development. And two years after that, the market will be glutted and destroyed for this kind of product.

Strip mining takes a predictable course.

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