What technologies do the Skylanders figurines use? NFC, Bluetooth, RFID, something homegrown?

What would it take to hack that? I don't want to buy all the figurines, but I want to experience the content.

I'm not trying to cheat other players, just experience the full gameplay available.

  • @Arkive Not a duplicate question, they are asking very different questions.
    – McKay
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 18:53
  • Ah, I see now. This is asking how the data is transfered, and the other is asking where the data is stored. I wouldn't call them very different questions.
    – Arkive
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 19:07
  • Okay, maybe /very/ is a strong word. But they are quite different IMO. Yeah, you got the delineation correct.
    – McKay
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


The figurines work through RFID, they've already been hacked by someone but he got a C&D from Activision so the project is pretty much dead.


The data for the figurines is stored using an RFID chip in the base of the figurine. The protocol was figured out by Brandon Wilson and a copy of the protocol description + code implementing the protocol can be found here and a few other places. http://www.xbox-hq.com/html/postx26304-0-0.html&sid=8a8de67aa9cb04f1844b2c563b3d98fc (The name of the tool is the Skylander Editor). However, AFAIK the way the portal is set up the first block of data for each figurine (which gives the character ID) is read only. So, if you really want to reprogram a figurine to be a new character you would likely need to use an Android phone to rewrite the RFID data on the figurine directly to change the character to something else. Either that, or hack the game itself.

  • By the way, I found it pretty neat-o to read about how the figurines work. However, if you have an RFID enabled phone and just want to unlock the rest of the game, you don't even need to know how this stuff works. Just go to a big box store and scan the RFID data through the bottom of the figurine packages without opening them. (The packaging is deliberately designed so that the data can be read through the bottom and the figurines can be demoed in-store). Then swap the data on & off the figurine you own to backup or change characters. It may also be possible to find the RFID data online.
    – Corwin Joy
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 22:29
  • Also, it's worth noting that what Brandon originally did was to create an emulator program for the usb portal device. The idea here was that the emulator could present different characters to the game without needing any figurines.
    – Corwin Joy
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 22:59
  • If I may, how is the data per character stored? I thought RFID chips only had an id and the system that scanned them had all the data that was relevant to that particular id? Is there a way to have RFID cards some how store some small amount of data? I'm really interested in messing around with this type of technology for some for fun projects.
    – Jordan
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 21:47

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