A character from Infinite Arms
Activision's Skylanders, Lego Dimensions, the late Disney Infinity and Nintendo's Amiibo are all based upon tying a digital gaming experience to physical toys, in other words "Toys to Life." There is a new player in town, however, and that is Jumo Inc. whose Infinite Arms is to be released this summer.
Jumo Inc. is a new company that is loaded with talent. They have Microsoft Studio's former creative director and the director of narrative design worked on Halo. The company has an exclusive agreement with Amazon and oh yes, the action figure designers worked on Transformers. As talented as they are and as good looking as it all is, what interests me is the business model.
The current Toys to Life products feature for purchase video games that only work with a physical action figure. With Infinite Arms, however, you don't have to purchase the game because it is free. The game can be played without the physical figures and weapons but purchasing them puts the player in a more powerful and enjoyable position.
But here is where it gets really interesting. New action figures and weapons can be purchased within the game using in-app purchasing. Not only that, the development cycle for the toys is very quick with new weapons coming out every two weeks and new characters every four. Interestingly, the weapons and figures will be coming out in batches so once they are all gone there are no more. This opens a whole new after market for collectors. And of course, they are bypassing Walmart, Target and Toys R Us by working exclusively with Amazon; talk about a different business model.
Toys to Life needed a new player to add some spark, particularly after Disney decided to drop out. Keep an eye on this. It could be interesting.