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Will Starlink: Battle for Atlas learn from previous toys-to-life flops?

Authored By Chris Hovermale

Starlink: Battle for Atlas stuck out to me as an oddity from Ubisoft’s E3 conference last year. Even in 2017, the NFC figure craze was clearly a dying trend, and most series cut their losses by either shutting down or scooting into other media. The only one still regularly supported -- pending a surprise Skylanders announcement at this year's E3 -- is Nintendo’s amiibo, and it’s a stretch to say they’re “toys-to-life.” Most consider them far more appealing as a collector’s item than as a piece of boring DLC in an overpriced plastic shell. But Ubisoft isn’t backing down on Starlink, and have mentioned it by name in their E3 2018 plans.

I have mixed feelings towards my own collection of such figures. Some are met with a grin of childlike glee. Others just get a sigh of buyer’s remorse. Starlink could become the former, but with even Skylanders going quiet, it’s public knowledge that it’s a gamble to produce games and figures like this. The sole exception is if the IP is powerful enough to carry them as individual pieces of merchandise -- even then there is no guarantee -- and that’s something I don't see happening with a brand new IP.

It makes me wonder what Ubisoft is thinking trying to get into this field, especially towards an older audience that’s much more skeptical towards the concept. Yes, Ubisoft is obviously chasing potential loads of money, except the loss of such money is why these games have declined. But the more I think about its emphasis on modular ship design, the more I think it just may be onto something.

Will Starlink: Battle for Atlas learn from previous toys-to-life flops? screenshot

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