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Disney, Activision both claim landslide victory in toys-to-life category

Publishers highlight dueling sales figures as Nintendo enters race with 2.6 million Amiibos sold in US

Activision and Disney are clearly the two biggest players in the toys-to-life category right now, but there's some debate as to which one can lay claim to the title of category leader. With the industry-tracking NPD Group releasing its year-end US retail sales data yesterday, both Activision and Disney proclaimed themselves the victor.

Disney Interactive president James Pitaro touted Infinity's success in a statement, saying "The Disney Infinity platform is now the clear market leader, and positioned for continued growth in the years to come." Citing the NPD Group's data, Disney claimed Infinity 2.0 outperformed Skylanders: Trap Team in total sales revenue for 2014 despite being available on three fewer platforms. On the platforms where both games released, Disney said Infinity 2.0's Starter Pack bundles outsold Trap Team's by 72 percent for the full year.

Predictably, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg had a different takeaway. Hirshberg released a statement proclaiming Skylanders: Trap Team "the top-selling kids game in the world," citing worldwide data compiled from The NPD Group, GfK, and Activision's internal estimates.

"Skylanders continues its leadership position as the #1 kids video game franchise globally as well as in the US by wide margins," Hirshberg said. "As a global franchise in 2014, Skylanders is 30 percent bigger than its nearest competitor. And Skylanders Trap Team outsold its nearest competitor globally by 17 percent. As the creators of the toys-to-life category, we are thrilled to continue to lead it for the third consecutive year."

This year also saw a third major player enter the toys-to-life category in the form of Nintendo. While the Mario maker didn't claim victory in the genre, it has carved out a chunk of the market, announcing that 2014 saw US sales of roughly 2.6 million Amiibo figures that interact with a variety of Nintendo titles. One such game, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, has sold 1.3 million copies in the US to date.

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Latest comments (5)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game6 years ago
So reading the wording of both statements, Skylanders sold more game cpies but disney sold more toys?
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 6 years ago

All the moeny is in the toys, they have gigantic margins. It's not hoe many razors, it's the blades
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Shane Sweeney Academic 6 years ago
Skylanders is a better game (thus it sold more)
Disney has better IP (thus the toys sold more)
This makes sense to me.

I wonder if the market in this genre will ever bottom out, I suspect it will but then again I am constantly amazed by collectors of cards, and Japanese collectors of Gashapon (capsule toys) who constantly shell out again and again for what appears to my ignorant untrained eyes for the same stuff.

There is definitely a market for a more adult game in this genre with collectors painting their figures.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 6 years ago
No way . War hammer type stuff do not support the mass market required to support a game. Tons of adults are playing Disney Infinity anyeay.

Model kits are basically dead. One company essentially owns every single line of kits there ever was here in the States. More appropriate eould probably be some kind of war game with tanks or mechs, something like that Bandai game in PS1 in Japn, where pieces can be changed in and out and change the onscreen mech and five it new powers. World of Tanks is where I'd look for done baseline inspiration, with ability to add custom logos, camo patterns etc
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Jeff is talking about this, by the way:

I actually have this massive box in the library here. The game itself is kind of "meh", but the figures are cool (and beat Skylanders Swap Force to market by a good stretch)...

That said, I could see a more fantasy-themed action/RPG with figures doing well if the gameplay is solid (Diablo? WoW-ish style game). I'd bet some of those adults playing Infinity and yes, Skylanders would be cool with switching over if the games were good and there was thought put into the figures...
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