Poll: How Do You Feel About Games Like Skylanders and Disney Infinity?

How do you feel about buying keys to unlock content in a game you already paid full price for?

Sounds kind of crap, right?  Well what if those keys were also nifty little toys, perfect for collecting and displaying on your shelf?

That's how Activision and Disney's respective Skylanders and Infinity games work.  You pay $75 for the game and a few of the toys but in order to access all of the content in the game, you have to shell out more cash for additional figures.  Want to play any of the Lone Ranger, Cars, Toy Story or Nightmare Before Christmas content in Disney Infinity?  Better buy those toys.  Want to see what content is locked behind the Elemental Gates or Swap Zones in Skylanders?  Better buy more toys!

"Oh Andrew," I hear you scoff.  "How much could a couple extra toys cost?"

Well, lovely reader, as it so happens, I'm writing IGN's Wiki for Skylanders: Swap Force so I know exactly how much it costs.  If you want to access all of the play areas, you are going to need to spend a minimum of $260.89 plus any applicable sales tax.  Check out this page of the Wiki for an itemized breakdown.

So, how do you feel about games like Skylanders and Infinity?  Do you love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Think they're a horrible rip-off?  Maybe you think this is out and out fraud deserving of legal action?

Vote in the poll and opine away in the comments section or an email to SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com.  EZK and I will reveal the poll results on next week's podcast so get your votes and comments in early!

Or sometime before the last minute.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. Andrew Eisen says:

    I have to be misunderstanding you.  You think that buying a 10 – 16 dollar toy that you have to plop on the Portal of Power every single time you want to play as that character or with that bit of content is less hassle than a vastly cheaper, one-time entered alpha-numeric code?


    Andrew Eisen

  2. Deadagent says:

    I dont care really, I live alone so I dont have kids bending my free will to buy them this stuff.

    I will however say that if the figures would replace those download codes for DLC this would be the best thing ever. At least in terms of how much hassle is eliminated. But of course it dosent work like that. One can dream.

  3. henbayward says:

    I voted "I don't care."  My kid loves them.  He's in the other room right now with his buddy playing Infinity.  As for how I feel?  Indifferent.  They're not for me, but I can see that he has a blast playing them, so thumbs up.  I don't see the figures being much of a rip-off, at least not any more than any other toy he spends his chore money on.  No one's forcing anyone to buy anything, and since he earns his money with work, the figures are bought by him, not me, as I see it.

    The games themselves are pretty cool, especially Infinity's level editor.  My kid's a Minecraft freak, so he took right to that.

    All in all, it's neat, though I do think the figures are overpriced by about $2-$3.  It didn't take Bobby Kotick long to figure out that Skylanders needs to be an annual release, did it? cheeky

  4. Ivresse says:

    Honestly, to me it's just the new 'fad' that's come in at the moment. The fact is, there is obviously a demand for it, and there are people that are willing to pay for it, and that's how consumerism works.

    If you feel it's a rip-off, that's fine but considering that so many people use the whole 'rip-off' excuse in order to try to justify game piracy, it's frankly becoming quite a shallow argument that's been used too many times to justify paying as little as you can for as much as you want. 

  5. hellfire7885 says:

    Plus, way I see it, with the reader on the Wii U gamepad, that eliminates part of the cost from other consoles, with not needing the special base and all.

  6. jedidethfreak says:

    First off, "taking advantage of people's kids to get them to spend more money" is so prevalent in consumerism, I honestly hope you never buy toys, games rated anything below T, board games, kids meals, action figures, Hot Wheels cars, comic books, anything done by Pixar or any one of the billions of other products and services made that are targeted to children, if you have a problem with this, because that's exactly what they all do.

    Disney, as a business, is BUILT on this concept.  From the ground up.

    Second, I never said that I think it isn't a bad thing.  I said I don't think it's a ripoff.  There is a difference.

  7. Conster says:

    So you're saying the practice takes advantage of people's kids to get them to spend more money, and you think that isn't a bad thing?

  8. Andrew Eisen says:

    No, you're not the only one.  There are a handful of readers that see on-disc DLC that way and it's a perfectly valid perspective, just not a particularly common one.


    Andrew Eisen

  9. MechaTama31 says:

    You guys give me hope.  I thought I was the only person on GP who felt that way.  Every time I make this point in a thread about on-disc DLC, I get ganged up on…  >.>

    I think Skylanders and the like are ripoffs, but that's why I don't buy them.  As long as they are honest about what content you are getting for what price, the rest is up to you as a consumer to decide if it's worth it to you or not.  You are not "owed" content just because they stored it on the disc.

  10. Longjocks says:

    I love it when people type pretty much exactly what I want to say. Saves me time.

    If the initial accessible content on disc is worth the asking price then I'll buy it. If there's more content on the disc that I have to pay to unlock and that's worth the extra cost then I'll buy it. I pay for these things if I think they provide what I believe to be reasonable entertainment value for my dollar – the delivery time and method is irrelevant.

    Looking at this case, the price looks too high for what you get – for me at least. But I'm really not interested in the franchises and thusly not informed enough to say any more except I probably have to vote "I don't care."

  11. CMiner says:

    I disagree with the notion that everything on a disc should be included in the original price of the disc, and if it isn't that whatever it is is a ripoff.  (I'm one of those people that has no problem with on-disc, day-one DLC so long as I feel the content that is not DLC was worth the price of the game)

    That being said, this is quite obviously a cash grab, though it is more difficult to accurately describe why in terms that also don't encompass other games/practices that we generally find acceptable.  The question for me is, "Is the content-to-cost ratio acceptable?"  In my mind, no.  This goes too far.  I would even go so far as to classify it as a bit unethical, especially they aren't up front and clear about the locked-content-till-you-buy-more-toys aspect.

  12. prh99 says:

    It's a complete rip off, and I am sure there is a special place in hell for the person who thought up Skylanders etc. 

  13. jedidethfreak says:

    I do, too – and I think that the gamers that are angered by this practice aren't really looking at the situation fairly.  These aren't games MEANT for gamers.  They're meant for children, thus the toys.

    Yes, there's plenty of content available for gamers, but the idea is to attract children to get their parents to pay for the toys, which have a much higher profit margin than games generally do.  The game is really a loss-leader in this situation on their end.

    I honestly don't see it as being any different than an MMO game and expansions/mini expansions/extra content only available via an in-game store.

  14. sqlrob says:

    Rip off.

    For things that are blind boxes, elevate that to "legal action". I don't think Skylanders or Infinity use that practice though.



  15. Daniel Lazzari Jr says:

    That's not 100% true. Each set of pokemon games have pokemon that are on the cartridge but can't be caught or obtained in the game any way but trading. If you don't have a friend with the other cartridge, you have to buy it yourself if you really want all of the pokemon on that cartridge.

    I agree it's not like Skylanders or Disney Infinity though.

  16. Andrew Eisen says:

    Plus, as I mentioned elsewhere, the Pokemon Rumble U toys are not needed to play the game.  They do not unlock content that would be otherwise inaccessible.


    Andrew Eisen

  17. Thipp says:

    It is a total and blatant rip off. 100% of the content is on the disc already. Sure, a lot of day one DLC has some of the content on the disc but additional code or assets have to be downloaded so while the practice might be a bit shady at least part of what you get when you pay for the DLC is new content not on your disc, not so with these games. I would never buy them for anyone myself and I have actively discouraged anyone I know who was considering buying into these toy scams. There are plenty of other toys out there for kids so they can do without these and buying software like this only encourages greedy executives to push for more games in this style. 

  18. Monte says:

    I'd say there is a big difference in cost. I mean you spend like $75 on the game and there is STILL more content that can only be unlocked by buying more. Pokemon doesn't do that; you buy the game and you have access to everything. And you don't need all that poke-merch to play your game. The game is almost just as stupidly expensive as the Free-to-play games with IAP purchases, and those games don't charge you $75 just to get started

    I like the Idea of Skylanders. I hear the games are put together well enough and i feel like having an actual toy of all your playable characters might add something for the kids. What i do not like is how much those toys cost. I mean, each character costs like $10-15… just getting one of each element is gonna be an additional $80, and there are like 60+ characters. The game gets very expensive very fast… in contrast, Pokemon Rumble U, which uses a similar toy based system, costs less than $20, and each toy cost $4… That's pricing that i feel is a bit more fair and realistic.

  19. Andrew Eisen says:

    Right, but you don't need to buy all the pokemerch to access parts of the game you already paid full price for.


    Andrew Eisen

  20. Samster says:

    Of course, it's a rip-off, but what collectible scheme targeted primarily at kids isn't? I don't think they do anything different to existing rip-off toys and games, really, except that it involves games. Pokemon is the obvious predecessor. I coerced my folks into spending hundreds of quid on pokemerch . . . my poor folks 🙁

  21. Andrew Eisen says:

    Pokemon Rumble U costs $2 per Pokemon but you don't need any of the toys to play the game.  They do not unlock content that you couldn't access through normal play.


    Andrew Eisen

  22. quiknkold says:

    I am a Gamer. I am an aspiring Novelist. I am a Toy Collector who hobbies in the repair, sale, trade, and purchase of vintage toys. I think I have a firm grasp on this issue. I can say I loath Skylanders and Disney Infinity. They ruin the playful imagination and storytelling a kid can develop with a regular action figure, and then theres the fact that its pretty much Physical pay to play! 

    Granted, Magic the Gathering is Pay to Play, but that isn't marketed to an child. 

    Granted one could argue the game is similar to Pokemon in that you collect monsters and battle, But Pokemon doesnt cost you 5+ dollars per Pokemon!

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