Activision: Skylanders is "certainly not another Guitar Hero"

United Kingdom managing director says two franchises have "completely different target markets," believes series has "endless possibilities."

The Skylanders franchise is "certainly not another Guitar Hero," according to Activision's United Kingdom managing director Roy Stackhouse. Speaking with MCV, Stackhouse said the target markets for both franchises are not the same.

"It is certainly not another Guitar Hero. The two franchises are completely different target markets and market position," he said. "Let's not lose focus, Guitar Hero was a phenomenal success, absolutely huge, like Skylanders is now. But I struggle to see the comparison."

After reaching retail sales of over $2 billion across various games, Activision disbanded the Guitar Hero business unit in February 2011. Activision has since said that the franchise is not dead, but rather taking time to reinvent itself before returning.

Skylanders will remain a top-seller at retail so long as Activision can continue to innovate within the series, Stackhouse said. Asked how much growth potential the Skylanders series has, he described the franchise as a "creative goldmine" with limitless opportunities.

"As long as the innovation continues to be as great as it is, then I don't see it having a limited shelf life. The reason I say that is because if you think about the possibilities in this category, what has been achieved with Swap Force and its innovation, and the endless possibilities in terms of the Skylanders universe," Stackhouse said. "This must be a creative goldmine to work on because a child's imagination is one of the most fertile in the world, and if you can tap into that then there is endless opportunity for innovation."

The Skylanders series has spanned three main console titles thus far: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures (2011), Skylanders Giants (2012), and Skylanders: Swap Force (2013). A 2014 game has not been announced.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

44 comments
farcorners
farcorners

yeah, now they have fooled kids into thinking you need cheap bits of plastic sold at extravagant prices, to play a video game. CASHCOW!

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

Then why's it being milked like Guitar Hero?

Hurvl
Hurvl

What I read: goldmine...child...tap into that. Translation: if they can tap into the wallets of the kids' parents, they have a goldmine on their hands. Kids can be damned hard to please, but they're also very open minded and susceptible to toys like those in Skylanders. 

The young adult-geared Guitar Hero oversaturated its own genre without getting enough new customers to try out their products. Games geared towards kids don't have that problem. New generations of kids are coming along at a rapid pace, so they've got their potential customer base secure even when some kids grow up and get tired of Skylanders.

bu3aDeL_Maz
bu3aDeL_Maz

im here cuz I read Guitar Hero in the title..... FIX IT AND BRING IT BACK TO NEXT GEN!!!!

CyberLips
CyberLips

It's not a Spyro game either...

Daian
Daian

If they hadn't struck gold with this super cheap to make kids game and CoD, Activision would be a thing of the past and Blizzard would be back on its own and maybe making great games again. They have 0 franchises to speak of besides CoD and this.

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

No because you could get the entire guitar hero experience just by buying the disk.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

And next thing you know, canceled... And as we know Activision, they would probably fire themselves, because someone really needs to be fired at some point.

teh_pwnager
teh_pwnager

Activision, EA, always on, drm, perma online, digital only, family fun, connect with friends, milk, yearly installments. Anyone else wanna hear more curse words from the industry? Maybe they couldn't milk GH as much as they would have wanted and tells us that Skylander is THE cow ready to be milked. Next article...

DragonessAthena
DragonessAthena

Riiiiiiiiiight... I remember when Guitar Hero was canceled, they announced Skylanders shortly after.

Mr_Big_Boss
Mr_Big_Boss

I'm not saying the game is bad, I'm saying the greedy business of requiring toys to play the game is B$

kagento
kagento

3 games in 18 months... it's not a music game, so we can agree it's nothing like Guitar Hero, but the business decisions seem to be the same ones.

19James89
19James89

Skylanders Giants/Swap Force and Disney Infinity seem like thoroughly interesting games, but they're just so expensive when you take into account the starter kits and then all of the characters.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

NO, Skylanders is just Activision's way of screwing over and exploiting gamers....

As far as everything else they do it's all exploitive and abusive.......

Watch 'em try a get rich quick scheme with Destiny.....

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

I like most of what they've done with this "toys to life" genre. Particularly, letting you take your character and "progress" to any platform the game is available is a real boon, but yearly releases are eventually gonna bury it. Even if the game is marketed to small children, there might come a point where the parents (and other adults like myself who enjoy the genre) will just get sick of it all.

Is an "every other year" release schedule really that toxic to a successful franchise?

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

It's certainly a money pit, wtf is up with making rare skylanders for scalpers to sell for ungodly amounts. It's not even the type of game where it matters.

brxricano
brxricano

Activision has a fetish for "endless possibilities".

kbaily
kbaily

Let's see, yearly releases, forcing people to buy extra plastic hardware?  Nah this is NOTHING like Guitar Hero (sarcasm).  Really with this though, they're cranking out yearly releases because if they wait a year or more, the kids will get older and might lose interest.  Plus we all know Activision loves to take something successful and run it into the ground. Am I right?

And like anything, they keep making it because people keep buying it.  Just like Pokémon or Mario or Madden. 

Ashbfc
Ashbfc

They'll just milk this franchise for all it's worth and throw it out every year for as long as they can, it's what Activision love to do, easily the third worst publisher behind Capcom and EA.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Even if facts eventually will tell, I don't believe you already Activision.

keech
keech

I haven't heard anyone say it's another Guitar Hero.  When you have to defend a game against claims that no one is making....it probably is another Guitar Hero.  One that will get shut down as soon as it isn't making as much money as Activision wants to see.

iamllamapie
iamllamapie

Yay for annual releases (sarcasm for those who don't get it)

Pre_ordered_PS4
Pre_ordered_PS4

And by saying that, you know that it totally is another Guitar hero

Nailzz
Nailzz

Don't knock da hustle.

darkrayne
darkrayne

@Daian Prototype, Spider-man, Star Trek, Doom, Tony Hawk's, Transformers, most Disney/Pixar games, James Bond and X-Men (basically most Marvel Stuff, the 'whole' Marvel franchise).

Yeah, absolutely ZERO besides all them......

Aletunda
Aletunda

@Yomigaeru I agree people will get sick of it but not the target audience who play it, lets consider why nintendo continues to sell mario titled games for the last 25 years; there is always a new generation of people (in skylanders case-kids) to start playing games, I think skylanders will continue to grow and be successful for quite some time, it won't last forever but it does stand a very strong chance, there are always new gamers entering the market and for this particular audience its a very accessible fun and tangible experience for children, this is why it is so successful, and as for parents I think as long as they can get some piece and quite for a little while they won't mind forking out some money to keep the kids entertained

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@b74kd3th True, as the color variants are mostly just for show. The "stats" of each character are largely ignored in general, as the movesets are what really matters.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Well when Disney and soon Nintendo jumping on the band wagon, it seems like a hit genre

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@darkrayne @Daian  Doom is an id franchise, owned by Bethesda, so you're massively off there. Activision has literally never had any involvement with Doom. Prototype is also not activision.

DragonessAthena
DragonessAthena

@Hells_rebelion @19James89 No it's not. Disney Infinity ones are just $12 for 1. Since I'm assuming that you're not a 6 year old, who would "need them all", you should be fine with just a single figure or even the 3 starter ones that are included in the starter kit. 

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

What was purpose of making wham shell rare so you get scalped for $40 also. He was a regular

Mr_Big_Boss
Mr_Big_Boss

@b74kd3th That's what they said about the music genre when EA made Rock Band, now look at what will soon become of the toy genre.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@b74kd3th Disney is a legitimate contender, but if Pokemon Rumble Wii U is any indication of what Nintendo is going to do in the genre, then they better step their game up.

19James89
19James89

@DragonessAthena You make the mistake in assuming I'm American. The starter pack for Skylanders Swap force is £54.99 for the Wii U. I'm not paying such a ridiculous price for a couple of plastic figurine and a game. 

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

I have all of the 1st series except for wham Shell. Ih have all the giants to as well as hot dog etc. I'm skipping swap force because of the scalping.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@b74kd3th That's a good question. My guess would be that there was none, or maybe they didn't feel like spending money to make more? I didn't jump into the series until last December, and I only own a dozen or so of the figures at this point (one of each element, and any others I like from watching the in-game previews).