GM Thought of the Week: Another Roll of the Dice for Toys to Life?
One of the stars of the show at this year’s EGX was Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Gamers got a taste of arcade style space combat in 2017’s Star Wars Battlefront II, however the return of Star Fox will give a whole new generation the chance to experience the thrill of piloting the Arwing, especially as the natural home appears to be the family friendly Nintendo Switch. Perhaps most interesting of all about this game is the Toys to Life element.
With both LEGO and Disney abandoning this sector following the closure of Dimensions and Infinity respectively, and with no new Skylanders release from Activision since 2016, it would have been safe to assume that this is a sector which companies find it difficult to make financially viable. Ubisoft clearly have other ideas, and in the Nintendo Switch may have found the perfect vehicle for such a product (although it is of course available on both the PS4 and Xbox One).
To date the console has proven itself adapt at reaching crossover audiences, with family friendly titles from the Nintendo stable sitting alongside PEGI 16 titles such as Dark Souls Remastered (from October onwards). The potential of a dual audience could also be crucial to making this sector work again – solely focusing on children’s audiences seems to no longer be financially lucrative enough. Therefore having a platform which has an abundance of both will reap benefits, should the targeting of the marketing, and the proposition itself, be correct.
Let’s not also forget that Nintendo themselves are also investing heavily in making their audience accustomed to interacting with physical product in conjunction with action on the screen. The phenomenally innovative Labo is testament to this, and with Nintendo backing this heavily from a marketing perspective, should help to subvert consumer expectations about what exactly constitutes a video game in 2018.