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Activision not worried about Skylanders saturation

Publisher unveils two new Skylanders iOS games, $50 portal bundle to sell in stores

Skylanders has been a huge hit for Activision, moving more than 30 million toys and setting a pace to break $500 million in lifetime sales after just over a year on shelves. While the series already boasts two full console games and an iOS spin-off, Activision is looking to strike a few more times while the iron is hot, today announcing two new Skylanders games for iOS platforms set for release next month: Skylanders: Battlegounds and the free-to-play Skylanders: Lost Islands.

The spin-offs follow on the heels of April's Skylanders: Cloud Patrol and last week's launch of the second console installment, Skylanders: Giants. The company is even releasing a $50 Skylanders: Battlegrounds Starter Kit in stores that will come with a code to download the $5-$7 app, three toys, and a Bluetooth-compatible portal that will let players import their toys to the iOS games.

Despite the abundance of Skylanders offerings hitting the market right now, Activision Mobile VP Greg Canessa told GamesIndustry International that the publisher isn't too worried about burning customers out on the brand, Guitar Hero-style.

"If this was simply a matter of porting the games, we could risk brand saturation or overexposure," Canessa said. "But I think by creating those complementary experiences, I like to think of it as more fleshing out of the world and creating different experiences on different devices."

"As a character-based franchise, we're inspired by folks like Nintendo, who've really brought different dimensions to their character franchises..."

Karthik Bala

While Cloud Patrol was essentially a shooting gallery game, Battlegrounds is an action-RPG that Canessa said will be more like the console Skylanders experience. As for Lost Islands, it will be a resource management game along the lines of Smurf's Village or The Simpsons: Tapped Out, which Canessa said was an opportunity to expand the franchise's appeal to new demographics, including female audiences. All three games will work with the iOS portal, original Skylanders toys, and new Skylanders: Giants figures. Activision is also planning to continually support the games with regular updates and new content.

Karthik Bala, CEO of Activision's Vicarious Visions studio, said the company is taking great care with the entire array of new Skylanders content.

"We're being pretty meticulous in terms of the experiences we're creating, that are varied and interesting," Bala said. "As a character-based franchise, we're inspired by folks like Nintendo, who've really brought different dimensions to their character franchises, creating different kinds of gameplay experiences that drive engagement. That's really important to us creatively and for our players."

Skylanders: Battlegrounds is expected to launch in mid-to-late November, with Lost Islands hitting the App Store in late November.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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