Where can the Skylanders series go after the introduction of upgradable vehicles in Skylanders Superchargers? Expect video game developer Activision to reveal that sometime within the next four months or so. The company recently confirmed a Skylanders 2016 release.
Confirmation of the Skylanders 2016 release came this week as Activision announced its earnings for holiday season and provided new forecasts for the upcoming year. Skylanders is the original toys-to-life game. The starter kits come with characters that allow you to complete the base game and a Portal of Power. Placing a character – or vehicle — on the Portal of Power gives you access to that character inside the game. It’s a way of mixing collectibles with game play in a way we hadn’t seen until the franchise launched.
The earnings report and forecast only provides a limited amount of details about Skylanders 2016. We know that the game is definitely set to launch sometime within the calendar year. We also know that Toys for Bob, the studio responsible for the game that kicked off the series, is handling development of this year’s game. Activision switches between studios to ensure that it delivers sequels every year. Vicarious Visions lead Skylanders SuperChargers’ development.
Everything else about Skylanders 2016 is speculation at this point. We don’t know how many new characters this year’s game will add to the formidable line-up of Skyland denizens already available on store shelves. We don’t know if this new game will use the same Portal of Power as previous games in the series, though it seems likely that it will. A big selling port of the Skylanders games has been that the figures and accessories users invest their money in carry over from game to game.
Most importantly, we don’t know how much the Skylanders 2016 release will cost shoppers. Last year’s edition of the game arrived in late summer and included a paired down Portal Owners Pack for users that didn’t want or need new figures and accessories. The Skylanders SuperChargers Portal Owner’s Pack is $49.99 through the Xbox Store and PlayStation Store. The Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack is $59.99.
Finally, we know that the Skylanders 2016 release will be joined by the début of Skylanders Academy, a television show. The show focuses on the training ground and home base of Skylanders.
All told, it isn’t shocking that there’s a Skylanders 2016 release on the way. The toys-to-life category of games has blossomed in recent years, finding new ways to mix toys and games. In fact, Skylanders proved so popular that other companies have moved into the space very aggressively.
Disney Infinity has the same adventure focus that Skylanders does. Nintendo Amiibo are a bit different in that they’re supported across Nintendo’s Wii U and Nintendo 3DS consoles. Also, they work with more than just a single game franchise. The title of newest entry goes to Lego Dimensions, which is more puzzle driven than any of the other games in the category. It features characters from The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future and more. This week’s earnings report doesn’t mention any of these franchises by name, but does cite them for the reason Skylanders SuperChargers sales were less than expected during the holiday season.
“Activision Publishing’s casual titles, namely Q3 release Skylanders SuperChargers and Q4 release Guitar Hero Live, performed weaker than expected, we believe largely due to greater competition in the toys to life genre and due to the casual audience’s shift to mobile devices.”
How much of the fall in sales can be attributed to a focus on mobile from buyers remains a bit unclear. Skylanders SuperChargers is available on iPhone and iPad.