Today's dose of living in the future.
> The gist, it seems, is that it's increasingly logical and profitable to make every toy a video game, and every video game a toy.
> Call of Duty publisher Activision and developer Toys for Bob were the first to discover this toy/video game hybrid, or "toys-to-life" as this new category is now known. Their Skylanders games, spun off from the PlayStation platforming game Spyro the Dragon, introduced a nefariously clever hook that has generated $3 billion in sales to date.
> Players buy a conventional video game, but in order to play it with new characters, they must buy their physical figures at the store, which they then put on a "portal" (a device that reads an RFID chip in the toy), to make them appear in the game. So what you get is all the addictive entertainment value of a modern video game, combined with the physical scarcity and collecting mentality of old fashioned toys.
> Introduced in 2013, Disney Infinity is a lot like Skylanders, only with the nostalgia factor and marketing power of figures based on Disney properties like Pirates of the Caribbean, The Incredibles, and every superhero under the Marvel banner, which also belongs to Disney.
> Speaking of things that belong to Disney, in 2012, the company acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion, and with it the rights to all things Star Wars. This of course led to the announcement of Disney Infinity 3.0, which will lets players collect Star Wars figures and jack them into the video game.
> Star Wars toys have been notoriously in-demand since the 70s, a new Star Wars movie is set to hit theaters this holiday season, and the new "toys to life" category is a way to keep the Minecraft generation interested plastic merchandise.