Skylanders Stuff

Pokémon Should Learn From Skylanders

There’s almost nothing in the world that sells like Pokémon. In the seventeen years since the addictive franchise launched, the video games alone have sold nearly 220 million, trailing only Mario games in that regard. Meanwhile, the Pokémon Trading Card Game is still going strong, and there’s no shortage of collectibles and figurines.

Recently, the Skylanders franchise has been making quite a bit of noise. The collectible nature of it, as well as its strong appeal with younger audiences, has it drawing comparisons to Pokémon. The young franchise has already generated over $500 million in America alone, and it’s quickly becoming Pokémon-esque in popularity. The Pokémon franchise is still doing phenomenally well in its own right, and there’s no need for Game Freak to fear the competition, but Pokémon could learn a thing or two from Skylanders. Hit the jump and join the discussion.

What’s most impressive about the sales figures of the Skylanders franchise is that $195 million, or nearly 40% of the US sales, have been generated in the past three months. Skylanders is gaining popularity fast, and it can be largely attributed to Activision’s well-received strategy of combining the collectible element of the franchise and the video game element into one.

Skylanders: Giants checked in at number eight for the highest selling games of December. While that’s impressive, it doesn’t account for the huge sales numbers. Much of the profit was generated by the over $500 worth of figurines available for each game. Unlike Pokémon, the games and collectibles go hand in hand in a way that boosts sales. The idea is clearly working, as Disney is looking to capitalize on it as well, so why shouldn’t Pokémon?

The Pokémon franchise already has a moderately successful Trading Card Game and various different figurines, while also boasting the second-highest selling video game series of all times. If a newcomer like Skylanders can make such an enormous impact by combining physical and digital elements together, how much more success could an established giant like Pokémon accomplish?

The timing couldn’t possibly be more perfect for Game Freak to make this decision. Pokémon has always stuck to Nintendo platforms, and Nintendo’s current Wii U and 3DS consoles lend themselves fantastically to this new style of gameplay. The 3DS makes use of Augmented Reality cards, and the Wii U GamePad can do similar things. Nintendo has often given away rare Pokémon and items through WiFi events, and that idea can be expanded with trading cards and collectibles. Imagine being able to scan a Pokémon card and have that Pokémon or item become available in-game?

Pokémon X and Y are supposed to evolve the series, taking it in new directions, and borrowing a page or two from Skylanders wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. I’ve been saying for some time now that theunique functions of the 3DS lend themselves to new ideas for Pokémon, and the same is true of the Wii U. With the massive success Skylanders is having with this new formula, can Pokémon really afford not to take the next step?