Earlier this week it was announced that Disney was folding up shop on its Infinity line of in-house developed video games and production of NFC action figures. After the Finding Dory set of figures is released this Summer, no more Disney Infinity toys will be made. Disney had released three versions of their video game, one per year around the holiday season. For the most part each figure was compatible with each new version of the game what was released. Despite selling over 5 million copies of the console versions of the first game, the sales of Infinity 3.0 last year were reduced by over 50% of the first year. Check out this chart I made where you can easily see the downturn:
Skylanders was the original game to launch with NFC figures back in 2011. These were released before Disney Infinity and Amiibo, and started the whole "toys to life" craze. When Skylanders Swap Force was released in 2013, the series was at the height of its prime. Coincidentally, this is also the year that the original Disney Infinity title was released. But as you can see, the adoption rate for the latest title SuperChargers has decreased significantly:
Amiibo is a little harder to track. There aren't really any "Starter sets" and there is not a specific software title to track each year. So for that, we have to go by what numbers Nintendo releases in their annual earnings report:
Despite these impressive numbers, Amiibo just doesn't have the same perceived demand as it once did. long gone are the days of waiting in line or rapidly pressing F5 on your keyboard to snag that exclusive figure that you just had to have. Many of the rights to the exclusives have expired, and the market is flooded with almost any character you can imagine. Also, it seems there was a major misstep in the Animal Crossing series of figures as they are constantly sitting on shelves in brick and mortar stores. Major characters have yet to receive a figure (Waluigi, Daisy, etc.) and the Mario series has not seen a new figure since last year.
I think Skylanders may be done after this year, and I think Amiibo sales will decrease dramatically this year. Too many retailers got burned recently with the influx of plastic figures that are sitting on the shelf like in the picture above. I don't think that Skylanders can turn around the dismal sales it has been receiving. The last game left a bad taste in the mouth of players, and the franchise seems to be getting stale. A new Kirby Amiibo series is scheduled to release this June along with the 3DS release Kirby: Planet Robobot, but three out of the four figures being released are characters that can be found as Amiibo in the Super Smash Bros. line of figures. Nintendo could easily turn around Amiibo if it just dug down deeper into some of their most popular franchises. Waddle Dee was a nice addition, but where are some of the iconic Kirby adversaries? I would love to own a Krakow, Whispy Woods, or even a Poppy Bros. Jr. Amiibo. The same goes for the Mario and Zelda series. There is definitely no shortage of characters to create figures of if Nintendo ever decides to do so. However, with current sales trends I wouldn't hold your breath as the toys to life figures may be nearing death soon.