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Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI), Electronic Arts Inc. (EA): Can The Magic Support A Game System?

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The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is set to launch a new game system called Infinity that is very similar to Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI)‘s popular Skylanders product. Is the Disney cast of characters enough to make this effort a success?

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)A Game “System”

Infinity and Skylanders aren’t exactly game systems in the vein of a Wii or Xbox, but they do require special add-ons in order to work. In addition, characters are loaded into the games by placing separately sold figurines. The need for such “hardware” means these systems are more than just a video game since the initial buy in and ongoing costs are more material.

However, at the end of the day, the two games are just that–games. Skylanders has been a big success for Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), with total sales of more than $1 billion dollars since its launch. That includes that sale of over 100 million figures.

Me Too!

It isn’t surprising, then, that Disney would be interested in creating a similar product. The most obvious benefit is the vast array of characters that Disney owns. From Mickey Mouse to Jack Sparrow, Disney won’t run short of new, often beloved, figures to add to the game any time soon.

In fact, with so many rabid fans, Disney is likely to find many people are buying figures without ever intending to play the video game. The adults in that fan base can also rest assured that letting their children play a Disney inspired game will keep them in a safe environment.

Subtle Differences

One small but material difference between Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity is modularity. Infinity games are basically stored in the figures. This allows Disney to create varied story lines for its games around the figurine being used. Skylanders is more traditional in that the characters are added to an existing game story.

This makes Infinity more like a game system than Skylanders. It also gives the game a far broader appeal. For example, the company could launch different versions of Jack Sparrow that provide games tailored to children from toddlers to teens. It could also create different games around the same characters, much like a movie and a sequel, each with its own set of figures.

In addition to this, Disney’s version of the game concept will include a “Toy Box” mode. This will allow customers to create their own worlds that can be shared with others. A nice feature for the more intense gamers out there.

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