The natural way of things in the video game world is be to moved on to the next generation of console pretty quickly. The Wii has changed all that, for better or worse.
Millions of families who don't consider themselves avid gamers still have that little white box tucked under their television sets. They may not buy tens of games each year but there is an ongoing appetite for titles like Skylanders and Just Dance that still see yearly releases.
This year Skylanders SuperChargers is offering a "complementary" experience on the Wii rather than the full game. Titled "Racing" this looks like it will be some kind of multiplayer online karting experience.
Speaking to Josh Taub, Senior Vice President at Actvision Blizzard, recently I ask him whether this signalled the thin end of Activision's great ongoing support on the Wii. Anything but, it seems - "the Wii is an important part of our fan base. Rest assured it's going to be a great gaming experience."
He went on to talk about how important the Wii was for Activision as a business:
We think there is a very active install base on the Wii and 3DS who deserve great content. On Skylanders they have been our biggest fans over the years. We want to be able to be where our fans are and we think it's important to develop on that platform as long as we can for them.
Certainly it seems that the Wii still has lot of life in it for game makers who are willing to keep on supporting the hardware. Another nice touch last year was that Wii owners got a free upgrade to the Wii U Skylanders Trap Team game if they wanted it.
At the same event, talking to Vicarious Vision CEO's Guha and Karthik Bala, they spoke about the exciting exclusive amiibo Skylanders crossover characters, but I wanted to know why you couldn't buy these amiibo on their own.
We found that families that have Nintendo consoles like Wii U often also have 3DS. The 3DS version comes with Bowser amiibo that is cross compatible in the Wii U game. The games are complimentary, they are very different experiences.
He also explained how the digital download version would work with the Wii Spyro's Adventure portal to offer much increased compatibility:
All portals are now supported included the Spyro's Adventure portal. We've had some new software innovation that allows players to go all the way back. All the 300 characters are also supported and can all pilot the vehicles.
I also asked why the physical Skylanders toys didn't fit in the vehicles, perhaps the one downside of this year's game. Karthik explained:
We struggled with this in the design process. To do characters in the vehicles meant they would have to really large and would need a new portal. Or we'd have bespoke deigns for the Supercharger characters and the older Skylanders wouldn't be able to drive. But we wanted all the characters to be able to drive. It was a combination of value and was of play.
Like the recent Yoshi amiibo the Skylander NFC vehicles don't have a base. Karthik explained why that was important. "This was really important. We don't want cars on a base. We want the play off the game to be great. We innovated on the tech and managed to move away from bases on the vehicles."
I asked Guha about the gender mix in Skylanders Superchargers. The previous game had a good balance of male and female heros. "What we find is that our girl characters are also popular with the boys. It's about making children feel comfortable in their own skin, finding a Skylander they can identify with."
Certainly Skylanders Superchargers has its eye on the ball this year. Along with the backwards compatibility, strong female characters and vehicle toys, the Nintendo element is uppermost again. Wii, Wii U and 3DS support and of course those amiibo crossover characters, this is perhaps the best year to be a Nintendo gamer who loves Skylanders.
You can check out Family Gamer TV's Skylanders Playlist for loads of content on the upcoming SuperChargers releases.