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Activision's Skylanders Spreads Reach With Virtual World

Skylanders Spyro's Universe, the latest component of Activision Publishing's multi-faceted video game and physical toy franchise, is now available with a public beta launch.
Skylanders Spyro's Universe, the latest component of Activision Publishing's multi-faceted video game and physical toy franchise, is now available with a public beta launch. This browser-based virtual world further expands on the popular Skylanders Spyro's Adventure property, which has already seen plenty of interest for its retail releases on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, and PCs, as well as its line of action figures that interact with the games. "If there's a screen where kids play, we want the Skylanders to come to life there," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO at Activision Publishing. Actvision Publishing has previously said that the Skylanders games will be the first title to feature cross-platform play across consoles, the web, and mobile devices. Quebec-based developer Frima Studio is helping realize that goal with this online version, and is also working on iOS entries for the series. As with the console and PC versions, players can import virtual versions of their Skylanders toys (included with game bundles and sold in separate packs) into Skylanders Spyro's Universe by typing in a code or using a special Portal of Power accessory to scan them in. They can join the virtual world for free even if they haven't purchased the retail games or figures. After creating an account, players can build and customize Skylands, take part in minigames, explore areas with friends, earn achievements, and manage their toy collection. An increasing number of video games with physical toy tie-ins have launched in recent years, such as Moshi Monsters, Build-a-Bearville, and Club Penguin. A survey earlier this month even found that half of all children in the UK own a physical toy based on a virtual world. Activision Publishing notes that the Skylanders games and toys, which debuted in October, are poised to benefit much from holiday sales thanks to the products being featured in various consumer-targeted seasonal toy lists from Toys R Us, Amazon, and Time to Play.

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