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Title: Toys-to-life  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Skylanders, Video game genre, Video game accessory, FuturePlay, Flight simulator
Collection: User Interface Techniques, Video Game Accessories, Video Game Gameplay
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Toys-to-life is a genre of video game using physical figurines or action figures to interact within the game. These toys use a near field communication (NFC) or image recognition data protocol to determine the individual figurine's proximity, and save a player's progress data to a storage medium located within that piece.[1] It is one of the most lucrative branches of the video game industry, with the Skylanders franchise alone selling more than $3 billion worth over the course of four years.[2]

Toys-to-life games generally use a third-person camera view, and have in-game power-up figurines. Most toys-to-life games are based on E-E10+ content, oriented to users aged 5 through 12 years. Toys-to-life games generally have a accompanying portal device that is used to "transport" the figurine's character and associated player data into the game. The figurines can be transferred from each game in the franchise, possibly resetting with every different installment.


  • History 1
  • Games 2
    • U.B. Funkeys 2.1
    • Skylanders 2.2
    • Disney Infinity 2.3
    • Amiibo 2.4
    • Lego Dimensions 2.5
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The Eye of Judgment for the PlayStation 3 is one of the first games to utilize physical objects that are not strictly video game controllers for in-game use, with the use of the PlayStation Eye camera.

Some of the earliest toys-to-life games include U.B. Funkeys (2007) and Skylanders (2011).[2][1]


U.B. Funkeys

U.B. Funkeys (2007) is defunct since January 1, 2011. It requires players to use miniature figures called "funkeys" to unlock special games and features throughout the game's worlds. Unlike the other games in the genre, this was only released on personal computers.


Skylanders (2011) is one of the most successful early games of this genre.[2][1] Since its first release, each year has seen a new installment in the series, totaling five as of 2015. Each game has its own portal device and a different outtake on the premise than past games. Most of the Skylanders figurines are compatible with all of the different games.

Disney Infinity

Disney Infinity (2013) is a toys-to-life series based on Disney characters and franchises. Since the initial game's release in 2013, there have been three installments. Disney Infinity is the first game, focusing on classic Disney characters. In 2014 Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes was released. This installment focused on Marvel characters and properties. The third game, 2015's Disney Infinity 3.0, centers on the Star Wars franchise. All Disney Infinity figurines can interact with other games in the series.


Amiibo collection

Amiibo (2014) is a toys-to-life platform based on Nintendo properties and characters. Launching in 2014 with figurines, Nintendo has since also deployed Amiibo-compatible playing cards, with plans for other media in the future. Unlike most other toys-to-life series, Amiibo does not have games dedicated exclusively to the use of the toys, but the characters are used throughout many various Nintendo games. Amiibo toys can save players' progress data and information per game.

Lego Dimensions

Lego Dimensions (2015) is a toys-to-life game using the Lego franchise characters, and various Warner Brothers franchises, as well as numerous characters from other franchises. Players must physically assemble the figurines by unlocking the levels in-game, which shows them the building instructions. Almost all of the figurines, and the portal have to be built by the player.


  1. ^ a b c "Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Lego Dimensions: toys-to-life buyer's guide". Wired UK. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Why game makers are entering in the billion dollar toys to life market - Fortune". Fortune. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 

External links

  • Toys-to-life: what’s coming next
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