Infinite Arms

Infinite Arms aims to make the toy game adult-friendly

When Activision’s Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure first launched in 2011, it resonated with older kids by balancing the act of imagination with the act of playing a videogame. While it was more structured than a more free-form toy like Legos, Skylanders created the illusion that, by placing plastic figurines on a light-up pedestal, players could bring inanimate objects to life. Adults didn’t understand this. As an added bonus for Activision, this was a natural point of entry into the toy industry, and the ability to bolster sales with a physical product line was something that everyone from Nintendo to Lego would…


Internet-connected toys spark a new era of play

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. From building blocks to Cabbage Patch Kids, children’s toys have often relied on the player’s active imagination. A new era of touchscreen cubes, rolling robots and other Internet-connected toys engage kids, teaching them about the world. Overall, the market for toys is on the rise, with marketing research firm NPD Group estimating a 7 percent sales growth across 11 major global markets. Meanwhile, licensing industry publication License! Global predicts connected toys will be a significant trend in 2016. Take, for example, the plastic kitchen set of old, which did little more than provide…

Fabulous Beasts

Fabulous Beasts makes the toy game physical again

Before there was anything else in this world, there was Bear. Bear was the perfect creature to start off a fresh new ecosystem: big and burly, with a stable base of four flat feet. His back, though hunched over in an arch, was unmovable. And so my quest to create a fabulous world of colors and fauna and water and flame would begin here, with Bear. Only moments later, as Eagle and Hippo and Fire and Water tumbled off Bear’s back onto the linoleum floor of a New York City cafe, did I realize how wrong I’d been. But no…


Skylanders is a billion-dollar franchise. Is this the beginning or the end?

Skylanders, the evolution of the Spyro the Dragon series that merges action-figure collecting with video games, has proven to be a huge success for Activision Blizzard, a company with a stable of them already. The series’ debut in Christmas 2011 outsold all expectations; few thought a package requiring the purchase of additional figures to unlock in-game content would spark such a feverish response from children and adults alike. And so a sequel, Skylanders: Giants, was released one year later, and a third entry, subtitled Swap Force, has been revealed for this fall. With the news last week that Skylanders finally…