The Skylanders franchise took off like a rocket when it was introduced last year. The product line was not only a first for Activision but for games in general, with big budget console games aimed at young players that required physical toys – an entire line of action figures – to play. Not surprisingly, the novel concept faced skepticism, with industry pundits split over whether it could succeed.
By the time the original games and toys launched, most major retailers had bought in big, dedicating good chunks of real estate to feature the line prominently for the holidays. By late December, Skylanders sections in most stores looked like water and canned food aisles before a big storm. The products ultimately generated an estimated $100 million at launch and, according to Activision, sold well enough into 2012 to become the best-selling game products for the first four months of this year.
Activision is now preparing to keep up with demand for the sequel, Skylanders Giants, and a whole new line of toys to go with it. We interviewed Skylanders’ executive producer Scott Krager earlier this year, where he gave us insight into challenges the products initially faced, and the strategies in place including social and mobile efforts to grow the brand now that it has taken young gamers by storm.