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The War Of The Action Figures: Disney And Activision’s Dueling Sales Stats

by Mike Futter on Jan 16, 2015 at 05:12 AM

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There is a war brewing in the gaming world, and it’s not the one you might think. Ever since last year, Activision and Disney have been duking it out in the growing “toys to life” market (also called “toy-loadable content”). Today sees dueling statistics about performance during 2014.[Ecxerpt]

In the United States
According to the NPD Group, which released data on December 2014 as well as the full year yesterday, Disney Infinity outperformed Skylanders in total starter packs sold and total revenue. Disney points out that Infinity 2.0 is on three fewer platforms than Skylanders, and on those that they share, Infinity outsold Activision’s franchise by 72 percent in terms of starter packs.

However, Activision says that Skylanders is still the largest brand in the United States. This takes into account all sales across all years, of which Activision has two additional as the pioneers in the genre. (Update: Activision reached out to clarify that the number provided was for franchise sales in 2014. Skylanders total franchise sales for the past year surpassed Disney Infinity.) Note that Disney’s statistic about starter packs doesn’t take into account the equally important figure sales (and this year, Skylander traps) that come after.

This certainly points to strong growth for Disney Interactive’s most valuable franchise. The Marvel tie-in has done wonders for the brand, and with Disney’s vast stable of characters, there is more to tap into. However, these statistics don’t tell the entire story.

Gaming is a worldwide business
Skylanders is still top dog when looking at the entire video game market. While Infinity was on top in the United States this year, Activision says that it is still 30 percent larger. Additionally, worldwide, Trap Team outsold Disney Infinity by 17 percent. Even without specific sales figures, Activision's franchise is still larger and outperformed the competition across all markets.

The NPD says that in the United States, interactive gaming toys like these and Nintendo’s Amiibo figures were the top-selling accessory. On a dollar basis, sales increased 5 percent over 2013.

Activision and Disney haven’t opted to share specific sales statistics, but it’s clear that both are performing well and are here to stay. With other minor entries, like Angry Birds Telepods and inexpensive licensed games such as Hero Portal, the market is still filling up with no sign of stopping.

 

Our Take
This is an interesting case in how publishers use statistics as part of promotion and marketing. It’s worth taking the time to look at and understand the context in order to get a clearer picture of the landscape.