How Activision plans to beat Disney with the marketing of Skylanders: Swap Force (interview)

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

Josh Taub and John Coyne

Skylanders: Swap Force will debut this fall as the third in the series of game-toy hybrid products that have sold more than $1 billion worth since 2011.  The new game has interchangeable body halves of Skylanders: Swap Force toys, allowing kids to mix and match their collections to create new kinds of game characters. Activision hopes that will lead to more repeat business at a time when it will face significant competition from Disney’s upcoming Infinity toy-game hybrid products launching in August.

In this market, Activision is the smaller company, but it has the advantage of having sold more than 115 million Skylanders toys.

The challenge for Activision’s marketer’s — Josh Taub (left) senior vice president of product management, and John Coyne (right), senior vice president of consumer marketing — will be to grow the franchise at a time when Disney attacks the same market using famous entertainment brands such…

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Disney Infinity looks like a Skylanders clone, but its roots go deep at Disney’s Avalanche (interview)

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

Dean Takahashi

Disney is about to war with Activision Blizzard in the toy-hybrid business. Out of nowhere, Activision’s Skylanders has become a $1 billion video game and toy franchise in the past couple of years. But Disney, which is no slouch in either toys or games, is about to punch back hard with the launch of Disney Infinity in August.

The title has been in development at Disney’s Avalanche Software studio in Utah for three years. And when it launches, it will effectively be five games on one platform as you can put a physical toy on it and change the entire “playset” on your console. Each playset is the equivalent of a seven-hour game built around a Disney franchise such as The Incredibles or Cars. One of the masterminds of this “transmedia” strategy — or one that spans multiple entertainment media — is John Blackburn, the co-founder of Avalanche Software…

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‘Lone Ranger’ play set coming to ‘Disney Infinity’ video game

Originally posted on Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times:


Wild West-loving gamers can take the reins as the Lone Ranger or Tonto in the newest “Disney Infinity” play set, revealed Thursday.

Inspired by Disney’s upcoming film “The Lone Ranger,” a reboot of the classic radio show and TV series, the Disney Infinity figurines are cuter versions of their live-action counterparts — Armie Hammer as the masked ex-Texas Ranger and Johnny Depp as his American Indian sidekick. (Click through the gallery above for a peek at the characters.)

Each “Disney Infinity” figurine contains a complete story, allowing the characters to be “transported” into the game — a concept similar to the massively popular video game franchise “Skylanders.” The action figures store players’ game progress and settings. Players also have access to a Toy Box mode — a sandbox in which gamers can build their own worlds and share them with other players. In addition to “The Lone Ranger,” play…

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Disney Infinity: John Vignocchi interview

Originally posted on TECH in AMERICA (TiA):

Tom Hoggins speaks to Disney Interactive’s executive producer about the challenge, risk and reward of Disney’s ambitious new video game and toy line.

LoneRanger_3_2584242b[1]The Lone Ranger, played by Armie Hammer in the Disney film Photo: DISNEY

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by Tom Hoggins (courtesy

Released later this year, Disney Infinity is the boldest video game product yet from the house of Mickey.

Incorporating a versatile video game and a line of Disney figurines that you can use to access content in-game, Infinity is the first time that Disney’s myriad characters have come together under one banner.

It will go into direct competition with Activision’s hugely popular Skylanders franchise, and Disney hope to have the edge by using its most famous faces – such as The Incredibles, Captain Jack Sparrow and the just announced Lone Ranger – and allowing players to create their own…

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Disney Hopes New Videogame Will Bolster Its Worst Performing Division

Originally posted on Variety:

Every three months, Walt Disney Co. regales Wall Street with its quarterly results. There hasn’t been much for CEO Bob Iger to worry about since each of his divisions, from cable TV to theme parks, has performed strongly, with even the film studio showing signs of a turnaround this year. One laggard, however, has remained : Disney Interactive.

The group, which oversees games and online efforts, spent 16 consecutive quarters in the red until posting its first profit in February. But a $54 million loss the subsequent quarter means Iger’s pledge to investors that the division would be profitable for the duration of the company’s fiscal 2013 year, which wraps up in September, is unlikely.

To say that Disney hasn’t truly excited the videogame industry in years is an understatement.

“We have always had successful things, but we’ve never had enough of them or our hit ratio hasn’t been good…

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Disney Infinity

Originally posted on NeverlandAskew:


Today was the second day of the cars masters at downtown Disney, apparently a big car show with several venders. Food trucks, gift trucks, monster trucks, and the reason I went Disney Infinity preview.
So got home from work, hopped online and did the Facebook stalk, and I saw that Amy from the relocated tourist had just been over to Downtown Disney and they were giving away a figure from the game after you got a chance to play it! What the?! Preview a new game that I have been following for a bit online and a free anything from Disney? I was out the door. I texted her and got the Specifics, they are open till 6 and on the “west side”. In my car I was and 20 minutes later I was running, literally, over to the area behind Bongos. I passed several wet people as ….you guessed…

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Disney Infinity – Toy Box Mode Great For Imaginative Play

Originally posted on

When I was a kid a good few years ago I remember being given a Space Invaders game. It was one of those clunky black plastic monstrosities that any child would happily have sold his sibling to obtain and provided many hours of entertainment late at night under the bed sheets when my parents thought I was asleep. One dimensional game-play and the simplest of objectives didn’t make the game any less compelling. Move over the early 1980s and take a look at what our kids have to look forward to now! I’m going to leave aside the discussion over whether or not kids should be playing video games as that’s a particular can of worms that it will take more than this blog post to cover.

Disney Infinity launches this August and you can see that it’s an idea that has the hallmarks of success stamped all over it…

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Project Spark – Create the Game!

Originally posted on

Born out of a heritage of sandbox games that allow you to define the world around you, Microsoft showcased Project Spark at E3 this year. It rapidly became one of the most talked about “games” at the show.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Project Spark is just another iteration of Minecraft or Second Life. Microsoft are doing something very special with Project Spark.

So what is Project Spark? Simply it’s a game creation interface, but unlike games development environments like the Unreal Engine or Unity, anyone could pick up project Spark and create a game. However this explanation doesn’t do it justice.

Take a look at Minecraft and the first thing you’ll notice is that the graphics look like a game out of the early 90s. I know people will argue with me here that Minecraft has a sort of retro aesthetic beauty but personally I don’t see…

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