Sunday, January 29, 2017

Toys to Life Support

Okay, I might as well try to blog, I guess. It's not like I've got anything better to do, other than sleep and worry about the fate of this country.

Anyway! It looks like the "toys to life" fad, started by Activision's Skylanders and hitting its apex with Disney Infinity and Nintendo's Amiibo, is starting to run out of gas. Disney's line of toys was discontinued last year (although many of the figures can be still found in retail stores with significant price cuts), and there are rumors that the franchise which started it all is starting to grind to a halt. Danish toy maker Lego's Dimensions line has made a less than illustrious debut in dollar stores, and even Nintendo's Amiibos have gotten sporadic discounts. Many of those figures still retail for $13, but a handful can be found for as little as three bucks if you know where to look (hint: try Best Buy and Wal-Mart).

Personally, I tried to steer clear of toys to life, as I suspected that they wouldn't be popular (or useful) for long. Beyond that, I have plenty of plastic clutter in this cramped trailer, and I certainly didn't need to add to that pile. Having said that, I do have three Amiibo figures, mostly for display purposes, and I'll grudgingly admit that I admire the quality that went into both those and Disney's Infinity toys. Every time I see that smirking Han Solo on a store shelf, my super ego has to pin my id to the ground to keep me from making a purchase. If one of these companies had made Star Trek figures, there's no way I would have been able to resist...

Huh, that wasn't so bad after all! At least blogging kept my mind off, ahem, other matters.

1 comment:

  1. It was only a matter of time, Toys To Life games were always a gamble.

    You don't just have the costs of the game to worry about, but also the costs of development, shipping, and shelf space for a bunch of toys, and (unless you're Nintendo) bundles that have the game, necessary portal, and a starter toy or two. Also, you can't just rely on your game being on one or two platforms (unless you're Nintendo), it needs to be on almost every active or semi-active platform in some capacity.

    So with your average Toys To Life game you have lots of toys and bundles for like five or six different platforms that need their own section in your average retail store, and the costs keep adding up. It's no wonder Disney Infinity got the axe when Star Wars Battlefront slaughtered it in sales.

    If anyone survives the Toys To Life purge, my bets are on it being Nintendo. Yeah, some of their toys are dropping in price, but they have advantages the competition doesn't. Namely, they're a first party and the tech to read their toys is built into their game platforms (Wii U, New 3DS, Switch) so they don't need a bunch of bulky portal bundles eating more space/cash, and that the toys aren't limited to supporting one and only one specific game series.