Nintendo rejected Skylanders exclusivity

By Steve Watts, Apr 17, 2014 9:00am PDT

Before the Skylanders series became a sales juggernaut for Activision, the publisher was looking into a partner. Given the kid-friendly nature of the game, they initially went to Nintendo, which could have made the toy-game hybrid a Nintendo-exclusive. Of course, that didn't work out.

Toys for Bob co-founders Fred Ford and Paul Reiche told Polygon that in the early days of development, the pair made a presentation to Nintendo thinking it would play well with the company's image. Nintendo wasn't so sure.

"They spent a long time looking and looking," Reiche said. "They were just like 'we have never seen anything like this before.' I've always wondered about the full meaning of that comment [laughs]. We have no idea why [they passed]. 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."

The concept has gone on to inspire competition from Disney with Disney Infinity. Nintendo even dipped its own tentative toe into NFC toy-games with Pokemon Rumble U. But Skylanders has been the banner-holder for the idea, and Nintendo could have capitalized with its own stable of characters.

"Nintendo could have kicked Disney's ass," Reiche said. "If I was running Nintendo I would have jumped on this."

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