Plug and play
When Mr Kendrick Teo first read about Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure back in 2011, he was more fascinated by the technology used to create the game than by the game itself.
In the console game, players can buy and "insert" toy figurines into the game via a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip and reader.
The more toys a player buys, the more characters he can control in the game.
The 42-year-old senior operations executive recalled: "I was fascinated by the technology. It was very different from normal computer games. There were also many figures and I loved the designs."
He began by buying the starter pack - the game and three figurines - and one extra figurine. Now, after three years, he reckons that he has one of the most complete Skylanders game collections here.
He owns the original game and its three sequels, including Skylanders: Trap Team, along with every mass-market figurine released in between. At last count, he owned more than 290. With the addition of the new Mini Skylanders and the more than 30 Crystal Trap tokens for the latest version, Mr Teo has lost count of what he has and how much he has spent in the last three years.
Prices start from $22.90 for a figure.
The irony is that he no longer plays the Skylanders game. All his purchases are kept in mint condition in their original packaging.
Mr Teo is part of an audience that that made the original Skylanders the top selling video game of 2012. As of March, the franchise has generated US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion) in revenue. Publisher Activision has sold more than 175 million Skylander toys.
This success prompted Disney to come up with its own version, Disney Infinity, last year. It lets players introduce popular characters such as Mickey Mouse, Elsa and Anna (Frozen), Woody and Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story) and many more, into its game.
This year's version, Disney Infinity 2.0, revolves around characters from the Disney-owned Marvel Comics such as Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man.
Both the game franchises are proving popular with gamers and non-gamers here, said Mr Craig Soo, sales manager of Soft Source, which distributes both games here.
With Skylanders, each new version has sold better than the previous one, but there are more fans of the toy figurines than for the game itself.
"Last year, the Skylanders Swap Force starter pack saw a 5-per-cent increase in sales. But we sold 40 to 50 per cent more of the toys."
These days, it sells 5,000 to 8,000 pieces of each Skylander figurine.
While the Skylander starter pack is outselling Disney Infinity by 10 to 3, there is more brand recognition with Disney figurines.
Said Mr Soo: "The retailers here are replenishing more Disney Infinity toys, as there are more popular characters in the series."
But Mr Teo remains loyal to Skylanders, even though he concedes the Disney Infinity figures look impressive.
He said: "There are many Disney toys, but only one type of Skylander figures."