Real and Virtual game merging – 3D print armour?

I was just catching up on the gamescom content on Xbox Live and amongst all the variants of Call of Duty and other shooters there was a trailer for Skylander:Spyro Adventures

I must have missed this too in the E3 2011 press as it is an interesting evolution of the offline/online interactions in games. The game comes with physical toys, 3 or them who are characters from the game. They are amongst a large set of character collectibles. So unlike many games now with DLC that you buy to unlock new features, here you get a toy that act as your unlock. Now we have seen things where the to has a code on it to unlock features, kinectimals being the most recent and some of the pet virtual worlds with cuddly crossovers. This toy is, however, active. You place it on a peripheral base and that detects the toy, but the toy (or some online key combination with the specific instance of the toy) keeps its stats and experience. The aim being you can take you version of the toys to a friends has, and play on.
Again this is not totally new (what is!) as the old dreamcast version of Sonic had a Chao “Tamagotchi” in the VMU (a detachable battery pack/and LCD mini screen on the controller). That was of course a good few years ago, before we had such great connectivity and high end consoles.
The merging of online and offline and considering your brand and the experience as a real interlinked one is certainly a growing business direction in entertainment. Just take a look at how huge Moshi Monster has become (you can find mine at Much of this comes from the idea that things are experiences to be shared wherever you are. It is ironic that the video games that were once though to be isolationist, selfish experiences once connected to the internet have become a massive social movement with a knock on into what people might think of as regular product.
You can probably see too that the natural extension of this online/offline activity is for the online activity to create the offline for you with 3d Printing. It would be great with this Spyro example if after playing it was obvious you character had levelled up as you toy now had some new armour on it you got from your friends 3d printer after playing the game?

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