The Encroaching Danger of Skylanders
I was there when the PC gaming section of major big box retailers began to shrink. It used to be almost two half isles, facing each other, and was full of all kinds of PC titles. You had everything from MMOs to those weird who in the world made it private detective hidden object games that you seriously wonder why Wal-Mart is even carrying it. However, as that space shrank, console games started to overtake it. Now, something more sinister is afoot.
That is Skylanders. Oh man has Skylanders gone from a single box in the As Seen on TV section to now taking over the entire aisle. PC gaming and console gaming need to watch out as Skylanders is now on its way to essentially taking over the entire freaking big box store. You'll get to Wal-Mart and be like yeah I need some bread and some milk and like some Cheetos and Mt Dew and then all of a sudden it'll be like BAM Skylanders everywhere. The food section? Skylanders. Clothing? Skylanders apparel. Home section? More Skylanders. At its current rate of growth, I suspect Skylanders will take over the world here in no time.
As a note, "Skylanders" also means " Disney Infinity" and the million other versions coming out.
Why is it such a big thing? Well, it makes money. Kids get the little action figures, go home, and play with them and they're underpowered or aren't doing well in the game, so they now need another action figure to play with. It's like Pokemon, except a cult, a cult that takes parents money and funnels it into the lord of all consumerism, whoever that may be to you.
It's ultimately a scam and you know what Activision kudos to you for not only taking over the adult section of gaming with your Call of Dudes and the such, but now children are tirelessly addicted to gaming. The worse part is it that, and this is REALLY SCARY, it's conditioning kids to understand microtransactions. It is literally breeding an entire new generation that will think that it's alright to buy heroes in MOBAs and other games because they did so as a kid with Skylanders.
Seriously, think about it. The series is fast tracked to overtake everything and everyone else in the gaming industry. Launched in 2011, it's made over two billion dollars so far. That's seriously starting to even challenge Call of Dudes, but the scary thing is, like I said, it's conditioning children to think that it's okay to monetize a game by buying addons. If you were a kid right now, and your friends were into Skylanders, you too would be into it most likely (assuming you did what the other kids in the neighborhood did). In turn, what would happen is, you'd want to buy one action figure after the next to have the best one to fight your friends with and to play the game with. New ones are coming out all the time, so again you've got to run to the store and buy those as well.
So when you grow up and you're playing something like League of Legends, who is to say that you wouldn't be like oh, I need this hero, better buy it. It's not like there already isn't this attitude in society where microtransactions are evil anymore. People are willing to spend their beer money on skins in LoL like crazy or pick up the latest sparkle pony in WoW. In ten years we'll be buying everything ala carte.
How does this relate to MMOs? Naturally the MMO industry is one of the biggest purveyors of online microtransactions. Sure, DLC for other games exist, but not to the extent MMOs offer it. I can buy a new skin in Borderlands and it'll be fun to look at those few moments I even see my character. In an MMO, a unique skin or unique item establishes prestige and sets you into an upper class of players. It could even give you a major advantage. Reinforcing this in children is just, I don't know, halfway exploitive.
That's not to mention the fact that when I walk into a store I can't not see Skylanders. On the little things that go beep beep beep because the tag wasn't swiped on the "I didn't steal this" machine, there are always posters going "omg omg omg Skylanders is this way plz go buy some of this plz." It's almost gotten to a point where there is MORE Skylanders stuff than beer! Chooses for beer in American supermarkets are already horrible and we're sacrificing beer space to Skylanders!
That's kind of um, what do you say, what's the word, come on David what is it, sensational. Yeah, that's the ticket. I'm sure everyone gets what I mean. So I have a question, are you a parent and have you been wronged by this growing Skylanders craze? If so, let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at @tentonhammer . Oh and also let us know if you're supposed to go "at @" or just "@" because I swear I have no clue.