The Skylanders series has gained massive popularity since it debuted in 2011, netting Activision gobs of cash with each new release. In a new feature on Polygon discussing how the series got its start, Toys for Bob founders Fred Ford and Robert Reiche discuss how the series got started, what they envision for the future, as well as some of the directions they could have gone in the past. One of the things discussed is that Nintendo was approached with the offer to be a partner in the Skylanders distribution, but Nintendo decided not to jump on the opportunity. Considering Activision has made $2 billion in lifetime sales from the series, that’s a costly mistake.
They spent a long time looking and looking,” says Reiche. “They were just like ‘we have never seen anything like this before.’ I’ve always wondered about the full meaning of that comment [laughs].”
According to Reiche, he’s not sure why Nintendo never capitalized on the deal. He wonders if it’s a deal that will “haunt them for the rest of their days,” and says with the success of Disney Infinity, Nintendo must see the value in having games with toys that can be incorporated. That’s likely, considering the Wii U hosts an NFC chip that can be used with Pokemon Rumble, which saw a limited run of toys produced for use in the game.
Now, Reiche says the fact that Nintendo didn’t capitalize on the chance at an exclusive title was fortunate, since the Wii U isn’t doing as well as Nintendo hoped.