Activision first published the video game Skylanders in 2011 with Skylanders Spyro's Adventure. This video game was interesting because it combined typical video game play with real world action figures. The game has a little portal that plugs into the game console via USB.
With that portal connected to the game console, players can take the Skylanders and action figures and set them on the portal to get virtual copies of the action figures into the game to play. Activision has announced that data from research firm NPD Group has shown that sales for the franchise have passed $500 million in the US.
That sales figure includes accessory packs and figures. Activision says that Skylanders have outsold the top action figure lines in the category for the US including Star Wars, WWE, and others. Activision also brags that the latest game in the franchise, Skylanders Giants, made more money in retail sales than the domestic box office sales for top holiday children's films including Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians.
Skylanders Giants generated $195 million in US sales during 2012. This is an interesting game because not only does it generate sales for the game software and hardware to begin with, it also generates sales with the purchase of additional action figures. The action figures are typically sold in the video game section allowing players to purchase new characters for use in the game and for play in the real world.