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Activision wanted to team up with Nintendo for Skylanders

Shiggy

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Jun 10, 2004
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NINTENDO'S DOUBTS

Despite its confidence and its cash, Activision was looking for a partner to help spread the risks of the new venture.

Nintendo, flush with the success of Wii, also with experience of the toy business, and with a reputation for "blue sky thinking," seemed like the perfect choice. Toys for Bob journeyed to Nintendo of America's offices to present the idea, very early in its development cycle.

"We had been directed towards thinking about something that would play well with Nintendo," says Ford. "I think there was some co-marketing money and the Wii was doing well. They had some success with peripherals."

"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]." Although there was a limited co-marketing deal, Nintendo did not want to make a full commitment to Skylanders. "We have no idea why," says Reiche. "Clearly, they have got properties well suited to this world. Why it is that they didn't rush in here will probably haunt them for the rest of their days."

A Nintendo-exclusive would have changed the shape of the project considerably, as well as adding the complexity of a business partner with a reputation for desiring granular control. It was a disappointment, at the time. Now, it looks like a fortunate escape.

Reiche is still surprised that the entertainment giant which reacted most quickly was Disney, which launched Disney Infinity in 2013 and is looking to expand the franchise. "Nintendo could have kicked Disney's ass," says Reiche. "If I was running Nintendo I would have jumped on this."
A lot more and a much larger story at Polygon: http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/16/5614716/skylanders-story-toys-for-bob-skylanders-swap-force

Are people still wondering about Nintendo and their relations with third parties?
 

noobasuar

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Nov 2, 2008
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Well Nintendo does have their own figurine game in the works so it's not surprising they choose not to work with them.
 

jabuseika

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Feb 18, 2011
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Nintendo doesn't like things they can't control 100%.

They passed on the PlayStation, we know how that one turned out.
 

Somnid

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Aug 9, 2006
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I don't see what's so strange about this. It was a risky partner venture. Nobody gave a shit about Spyro, why would they buy plastic toys? Clearly they were intrigued but ultimate decided the venture wasn't for them. They still gave it a ton of cross-promotion.
 
Oct 17, 2005
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Another success, another missed opportunity for Nintendo.
So much this. A Nintendo exclusive Skylands concept with Nintendo IP would have been huge. Now, by the time they get around to launching something, the market will be saturated.

Is it any wonder this company in sliding back into irrelevance again?
 

efyu_lemonardo

May I have a cookie?
Jun 19, 2011
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Interesting story..

That comment about never having seen anything like this before makes it sound like NCL didn't grasp the potential of the concept, which seems quite odd.
 

okayfrog

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Apr 9, 2010
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I'm wondering if Nintendo would have wanted them to have waited for the Wii U release to come out with Skylanders. Maybe Activision/Toys for Bob wanted the game out in 2011 and Nintendo wanted to wait until 2012... ? Either that or Nintendo just didn't have too much faith in the idea.
 

Visualante2

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Oct 20, 2011
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I assume they are eluding to a fully fledged Pokemon game on console. Nintendo were averse to that idea long before Skylanders turned up.
 

Yado

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May 12, 2013
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This franchise would probably be dead now if they had gone with Nintendo exclusivity tbh
 

ReaperXL7

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May 23, 2011
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Well Nintendo does have their own figurine game in the works so it's not surprising they choose not to work with them.
At this point I would be surprised if it competes with either Skylanders, or Infinity to he honest. Activision holds familiarity with the Skylanders brand, and Disney has greater properties to pull from for infinity especially now that they seem to be adding in Marvel.

Giving the popularity of the Wii U I'm not sure how successful Nintendo's attempt will be.
 

noobasuar

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Nov 2, 2008
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Nintendo likes to sustain properties for over 30 years by keeping the quality high for every release.

Activision likes to bleed whatever hit property they have dry because they are an awful game company.

I really doubt Nintendo would ever want to work with them.
 

SolidSnakex

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Jun 7, 2004
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What's stranger is that Nintendo didn't immediately start work on their own version of Skylanders after they saw the success of that game. There's no game like it in sight from Nintendo despite the fact that they have the strongest characters in the industry for a project like that.
 

captmcblack

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Oct 4, 2004
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Would Activision have wanted to make the entire IP and concept exclusive to Nintendo? Probably not. Activision would've happily made a version of it with Nintendo IP for Nintendo devices, which would've done well (probably just as well as current Skylanders does for Nintendo's devices), but not well enough to justify paying what they would've have to for something less than completely and totally exclusive forever.

Nintendo could make the same concept with Pokemon or incorporate it into another IP and all profits/proceeds/hype would belong solely to them. That's probably why they decided against paying Activision.


...they're still not good with third-parties though - at least not in the way conventional third-party relations go in this marketplace.
 

Nerfgun

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Jan 22, 2010
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Oh my god.

The fools!

Handed to them and they turned it down. Jesus Nintendo. What is going on over there.

That seriously might have saved the NFC equipped Wii U from certain doom.
 

starmud

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Jul 19, 2007
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while you'd have to kick yourself for passing this up; its also easy to say nintendo could throw their own together. i can understand the reasons why you would want a project like this under full control.

also, i doubt nintendo could have had any effect on infinity. nor would want to effect it. thats purely based on disney, skylanders/nintey or not.

i'd be more interested in a disney/nintendo meeting for a product like this. not skylanders, which hasn't had to rely on traditional IP past launch and i truly can't see much of nintendo's IP melting into the universe well anyway.

seems like a mixed missed opportunity for nintendo and a blessing for activision (creatively and business wise).
 

Guevara

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Jul 27, 2009
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Oh my god.

The fools!

Handed to them and they turned it down. Jesus Nintendo. What is going on over there.

That seriously might have saved the NFC equipped Wii U from certain doom.
That's the weirdest thing about this, you reminded me that the Wii U already has NFC. Why if not for a game like Skylanders??
 

BatDan

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Dec 10, 2008
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I can see why they declined.
There was a good chance it could have completely backfired.
 

SolidSnakex

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Jun 7, 2004
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I can see why they declined.
There was a good chance it could have completely backfired.
It's not like everything would've fell on them if it did. They would've been partnering with the biggest third party in the industry to do it.
 

noobasuar

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Nov 2, 2008
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That's the weirdest thing about this, you reminded me that the Wii U already has NFC. Why if not for a game like Skylanders??
They are making a game that uses the NFC. Whether its with cards or figures or some other crazy concept is yet to be seen. I'm sure Nintendo doesn't want to share the pie if they do come out with a hit NFC game.
 

Oddduck

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Jan 1, 2012
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I'm not surprised. For the past 2-3 years, Nintendo hasn't been very good at reading the market.
 

Wickerbasket

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Jul 16, 2009
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That's the weirdest thing about this, you reminded me that the Wii U already has NFC. Why if not for a game like Skylanders??
I'm not sure Nintendo themselves know why half of the stuff in the Wii U is there.

There's obviously a big disconnect between the hardware designers and the game designers.
 
Feb 17, 2012
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I don't see what's so strange about this. It was a risky partner venture. Nobody gave a shit about Spyro, why would they buy plastic toys? Clearly they were intrigued but ultimate decided the venture wasn't for them. They still gave it a ton of cross-promotion.
Pretty much this.

Is easy for us to look back with 20/20 hindsight and declaim Nintendo for passing on what would ultimately have been a profitable partnership, but we should be able to recognize it was a risk and understand why they might have passed.
 

marrec

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Oct 11, 2010
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I can see why they declined.
There was a good chance it could have completely backfired.
Even at the time I didn't see much risk in what they were doing. It was perfectly geared to be attractive to a specific market segment. A lot of people thought it made a lot of sense.
 

Nerfgun

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Jan 22, 2010
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That's the weirdest thing about this, you reminded me that the Wii U already has NFC. Why if not for a game like Skylanders??
I know. It's baffling.

Nintendo turned down physical toy DLC. Like, I almost can't believe it.

What I could believe is Not Invented Here syndrome, and thinking they could lift the idea and do it better.

Nintendo needs to learn to play well with others before they slide into complete irrelevance. No Disney Infinity/Skylanders, no Minecraft, indies doing the classic game designs better than they can even, at a fraction of the price...

They need to take off those Bad Idea Jeans
 

evilromero

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Jun 15, 2004
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Well Nintendo does have their own figurine game in the works so it's not surprising they choose not to work with them.
So three or four years ago Nintendo passed because they have their own figurine game coming out? Coming out this century or next? Brilliant decision to pass on all that money so they could continue to pass on money many years later with a copycat idea that still hasn't materialized.