At a recent video-game event I caught up with Josh Taub, senior vice president at Actvision Blizzard.
Of particular interest was the upcoming Skylanders Superchargers game.
Firstly I asked him to clarify how important the Wii platform was for Activision, with most other publishers moving on to next generation hardware.
"The Wii is an important part of our fan base. Rest assured it’s going to be a great gaming experience. 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."
That Wii audience is also often found in toy stores rather than video-game outlets. I asked Taub how important their retail partnerships were. Was there a challenge in the amount of shelf space required to stock the line?
"The category we’ve created is about four billion dollars, retail space hasn’t been an issue. Our retailers understand the need for shelf space.”
Furthermore, was the best route to retail via the big chains still or would Activision be courting more independent retailers?
"We do things with each retail partner in different ways. Toys R Us has been a great partner in terms of the largest toy store but we also have had great relationships with other retailers across the country.”
Finishing up I caught the studio heads of the game for a follow up interview on the mechanics and gender mix this year, something that has been important to family consumers in previous titles.
Certainly, Skylanders Superchargers seems to be letting toys be toys with a strong balance and non-pink/blue buff/slender designs.
Guha Bala, CEO Vicarious Visions, explained on his perspective here: “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.”