Where Have All The Skylanders Gone, Uncle Activision?

Activision's action figure-driven Skylanders: Sypro's Adventure was a huge holiday hit last year, with parents buying up starter kits in droves. Now, with hundreds of thousands of children demanding additional figures, empty Skylanders displays have become an all-too-frequent frustration for haggard parents.

Yes, all is going according to Activision's evil plan.

The first game to successfully marry toys and console entertainment, Skylanders starter kits come packed with only three of the 37 different figures playable in the game. While a child (or an adult, for that matter) can easily have a great time playing with just the three characters, the game is laced with references, unlockables and videos for the figures the player doesn't yet possess; in-game advertising at its finest. Effective in-game advertising at that, if those empty displays are any indication.

Over the past few weeks I've spoken to employees at GameStop, Target, Walmart and Toys 'R' Us, each giving me a variation of the same story. The Skylanders toys arrive and customers swarm the display like hungry piranha, stripping it bear in no time flat — and that's when the employees can even get them out of the boxes they're shipped in.

While visiting GameStop this past weekend I witnessed firsthand an extremely haggard father nearly begging a customer service representative to call around to other stores to check toy availability, a sad looking little boy at his side. When he was told by said CSR that they couldn't simply look up the information on the store computer the father became flustered. He stormed out of the store muttering obscenities, dejected little boy in tow. "Have you tried Toys 'R' Us?" I offered helpfully, but he didn't hear me.

Just as well. Toys 'R' Us was completely out as well.

Is there relief to this Skylander draught in sight? According to Activision VP of marketing John Coyne they're making the toys as fast as they can, but demand keeps growing.

"We are doing our best to keep up with the consumer demand for Skylanders and to keep product on the shelves. Skylanders was one of the most popular gifts this holiday season and demand for toys has continued to rise week after week without any signs of slowing down. We're shipping Skylanders toys out as soon as they come off the production lines and will get them to stores as quickly as we can."

There is good news of the horizon, however. According to the official Skylanders product availability FAQ, previously limited characters will be releasing in greater numbers later this month, with a new $US20 adventure pack on the way as well. Spring will see the release of the final wave of Skylanders, allowing players to finally check Lightning Rod, Zook, Warnado, Camo, Wham Shell and the Dragons Peak Adventure Pack (including Sunburn) off of their lists.

As for right here, right now, I'd suggest checking online for retailers carrying the toys, though I'd avoid eBay, where price gouging is in full effect. Maybe try making friends with a retail employee, someone with the ability to call you when the boxes arrive.

Or you could just come over to my house; I have all of them so far. I think I might go roll around in them right now.

Top photo: GotGame

Comments

    Even though I personally don't care for this game/gimmick, can you imagine if there was a Pokemon version of this!

    FARRKKKK!!!!!!!!

    Pokemon and the world would be screwed.

    Decent article, very in depth :P

    "stripping it bear in no time flat"

    You mean bare, right?

      Is there relief to this Skylander draught in sight? also u must mean "drought" though i wouldn't some skylander brew

    Finally! I can't wait to get Lightning Rod! :D

    Tons available in australia, buy + ebay to america = profit.

      Where in Aus are you!? Most, if not all, WA stores are sold out of the figures.

    Tons of stock in Australia?! The ACT has been sold out since Christmas, besides the EB imports.

      Big W in Gungahlin had heaps a couple of the single character packs a couple of weeks ago. But yeah, aside from them and EBs I haven't seen them anywhere lately.

        * 'heaps of couple' argh... They had about 30 figures - Ignitor, Hex, Dinorang mostly.

    Are you guys kidding? No stock of the figures anywhere I've been in Brisbane..

    I work at a large retailer, our Skylander figurines sell out within an hour of them coming in AND everyday I have to tell people that AND everyday I get given dirty looks by desperate mums.

    You just know Activision are going to start milking this game+toy system...

      "come one come all and get these newly released Call of Duty figurines. replay the game you love to hate on as your worst enemy! Generic bad dude comes in 3 types red hat, no hat, and facemask but this time around they are good guys since we have made them honorary American citizens".

    We never got anything at our DJs store and people are always asking after it. Always seems to be the way with us...

    Gametraders near me got stock in boxing day. 10 minutes later there was two or three skylanders left. I have a local shopping centre which is completely sold out of them, everywhere.

    there were 5 at my nearest Big W a few weeks back. I walked into another aisle for 5 minutes and when I returned there were 2.

    I bet in two or three weeks when school goes back the stores will be full of them again. And no body will be looking by then. Thought it was pretty crappy myself, Excellent marketing but shitty gameplay. Spyro had no business being there!

    Yeah I've noticed it's very hard to find the extra figures - not that we're getting any ATM - the kids already have 9 of the things, they can wait a while before getting more.

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