Chirp brings the magic of Skylanders into the real world
A few years ago, Activision were facing a problem. The next iteration of their $3bn Skylanders franchise, ‘Skylanders Imaginators’, would give users the ability to create their own Skylanders character. It was the first time in the franchise’s history that their users would have this level of creativity available to them and naturally, Activision wanted users to be able to share their creations with their friends.
Yet, although they had a robust set of creation tools on each gaming platform, they didn’t have a way for players to share their creations with the world. Players could use an internet connection, but a large number of parents prefer not to connect their kid’s console to the internet for safety reasons. So Activision had to find a way to transfer these custom Skylanders characters out of the game completely offline to some sort of mobile companion app where the character could then be shared. Activision needed a technology that could transfer an entire character’s worth of data reliably, could work on both console and mobile, and could be taken on the move by its users as well.
Thankfully, they discovered Chirp! Activision worked out that by using our unique data-over-audio technology, they could transfer literally millions of different designs, abilities, catchphrases and musical themes all through sound, whether the device was online or offline. Not only that, but Skylanders players could actually hear the transfer happening, giving it a magical quality fitting for the game as your TV talks to your phone!
Chirp not only makes Skylanders Imaginators a more social game, it also makes it a true real-world experience, a concept pioneered by Activision through their ‘Toys to Life’ strategy. Thanks to Chirp, players now have the ability to submit their custom Skylander via the companion app, where it can then be turned into a 3D figure or a trading card. The figure and trading card are also both playable via the game’s ‘Portal of Power’, which completes the Toys to Life loop and gives Activision new revenue opportunities. This is the first example of how sound can be used to transform a gaming experience, and the fact Activision chose to use Chirp in one of their most important titles speaks volumes about their confidence in what our technology can deliver for them.
The project was a success for both Chirp and Activision, with a number of gaming tech journalists noting how innovative the transfer technology was for Skylanders. One journalist even described our tech as not only creative, but ‘pretty amazing’! Our technology is just one small (albeit integral) part of the Imaginators experience — so for journalists to be specifically noting our technology is a huge compliment.
This is only the beginning of Chirp’s involvement in the gaming industry. We’re looking forward to building upon our success with Activision, so watch this space!
In the meantime, we’ve been having fun in Chirp Labs experimenting with, Amazon’s Alexa / Echo — check out the video above to see how we’ve been co-operating. It seems Alexa really likes Skylanders too ;-)