The Skylanders series, developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision, is currently a phenomenon in the gaming industry, generating huge revenue through both software and the many, many accompanying toys. The combination of a game and toys that directly interact has struck a nerve in the market, turning locked on-disc content into a collectible commodity, and making both companies a lot of money.
Interestingly, it turns out Nintendo passed up an exclusivity opportunity for this series, which began in 2011 with Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.
According to Toys for Bob co-founder Paul Reiche, Activision sought a major partner to share the financial responsibility, and the company showed off an early version of the game to Nintendo of America; it ended up getting some interesting feedback. "They were just like 'We have never seen anything like this before'," he said, adding that he's always been curious about the exact meaning of that particular statement.
Of course, in the end, Nintendo passed on the opportunity to co-publish the title with Activision — a decision that obviously would have left the property exclusive to Nintendo devices on its début. While Toys for Bob admits this decision was probably best for the franchise in the long run, especially given the wider variety of consumers allowed by a multi-platform release, it remains surprised about Nintendo's choice in the long run. "[It] will probably haunt them for the rest of their days," said Reiche.
This leads many to wonder how Nintendo might benefit from a toy-driven game at retail. With Nintendo's massive library of game stars, it's not too hard to imagine a crossover of Super Smash Bros.-esque proportions driving collectors and children out of their dollars. Pokémon is another example, with Rumble U representing early experimentation — Nintendo has also talked up the role that the Wii U GamePad's NFC reader will have at E3 this year, which is the same technology as used in the Skylander portal.
What do you think of Nintendo's decision to pass up Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure as an exclusive title? Did it really miss the boat on this one, or are its publishing duties better suited to other endeavours?
Thanks to Kodeen for the tip.