China Toy Fair


American International Toy Fair to Host Digital Kids Conference

digitalkidsThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) and media company Engage Digital have announced that the eighth annual Digital Kids Conference will co-locate with the American International Toy Fair in February at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Taking place February 18 to 19, the Digital Kids Conference will address new strategies, tools, and marketplace insight that will enable youth-focused media professionals to create digital toys, games, and media services for kids. The partnership between the two shows will provide Toy Fair attendees with access to the Digital Kids Conference, and TIA members will receive reduced rates to attend the sessions. Digital Kids attendees will gain access to the Toy Fair show floor, where they will be among the first to view 150,000 new toys and games on display by more than 1,000 toy companies.

Toy Fair 2014 will be held from February 16 to 19. Toy Fair will showcase the year’s new products and also include an educational program designed to help toy inventors and designers, licensors, independent and specialty retailers, and many more constituents grow their businesses, comply with new safety requirements, identify the biggest toy trends of the year, and more.

LeapFrog Introduces Read With Me Scout and Violet

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGO
LeapFrog Enterprises has introduced Read With Me Scout and Read With Me Violet, two new interactive plush puppies designed to build early reading skills. Developed by LeapFrog’s team of learning experts, the products build off My Pal Scout and My Pal Violet, and offer an interactive story time experience with learning activities that build early reading comprehension, listening, and vocabulary skills.

Children can choose one of five books and as the pals read the story aloud, children build comprehension skills and early vocabulary. They also learn about the relationship between print on a page and the story as they turn the pages and listen to more than 70 spoken questions and audio responses. Parents can switch Scout and Violet into Sleepy Time mode to select a read-aloud story or eight minutes of lullabies.

Read With Me Scout and Read With Me Violet are the latest additions to LeapFrog’s line of Scout learning products that includes interactive plush friends such as My Pal Scout and My Pal Violet, My Own Leaptop, Chat & Count Smart Phone toys, and DVDs. The new plush puppies are available online and at major retailer locations in the U.S, Canada, the UK, and France, and will be available in Spain and Mexico later this year.

Innovation First Announces Two New Hexbug Product Lines

hexbug_nano_3Innovation First International (IFI) has announced that its two new Hexbug micro robotic product lines, Nano V2 and Aquabot, are now available at specialty and mass retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us, and RadioShack.

This month also marks the launch of company’s “They Can Climb” marketing campaign, playing off the Nano V2 feature, with a mix of TV advertising across all children’s TV networks, a series of consumer-generated online and social media contests, and an experiential marketing integration event that it hosted at the X Games X Fest Los Angeles. IFI’s comprehensive fall TV public relations and advertising schedule will also include the Aquabot as well as some of the Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures.

Hexbug is using social media tools like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Vine for its “They Can Climb” video contest. To participate, entrants need a Vine, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account and to include the “#theycanclimb” along with a capture of something that incorporates Hexbugs. Every entrant will receive a $5 promo code off his or her next purchase on www.hexbug.com. Weekly winners will also be chosen to receive a Nano V2 Black Hole set and will also be featured on www.nanov2.com.

Shout! Factory Partners with Hasbro Studios for Animated Series

shoutShout! Factory and Hasbro Studios have announced a new distribution agreement to bring a library of nine animated adventure movie and pop culture TV hits to the home entertainment marketplace in the U.S and Canada.

This multi-year, multi-property alliance provides Shout! Factory exclusive rights to My Little Pony animated family adventures My Little Pony: The Princess PromenadeMy Little Pony: A Very Minty ChristmasMy Little Pony: Runaway RainbowMy Little Pony: Dancing in the Clouds, and My Little Pony: Friends are Never Far Away. The deal also includes TV properties Transformers Animated (2007-2009 TV series), Transformers: Armada (2002 TV series), Transformers: Energon (2004 TV series), and Transformers: Cybertron (2005 TV series).

PopCap Launches Plants vs. Zombies 2

plantsvzombiesPopCap Games has released the Plants vs. Zombies 2 game. The sequel to Plants vs. Zombies will initially be available exclusively for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Featuring a time travel theme, Plants vs. Zombies 2 is free to play and can be found on the App Store around the world in seven different languages with additional languages supported soon. The game will be available for other platforms later this year. PopCap also unveiled the official launch trailer for Plants vs. Zombies 2 on its YouTube channel.

Designed as an ever-expanding universe that will offer regular updates including new worlds full of new plants, zombies, and challenges beyond the first three that comprise the initial game, Plants vs. Zombies 2 extends the gameplay of the original game and provides players with dozens of new levels, plants, and zombies. While the vast majority of the game is entirely free to play, Plants vs. Zombies 2 players can also purchase upgrades and other in-game items.

In addition to new places, Plants vs. Zombies 2 includes a variety of gameplay enhancements, including Plant Food, which drops from glowing zombies and offers a temporary but powerful boost to plant attacks. Plants vs. Zombies 2 also includes new gesture-based power-ups that enable players to interact with zombies directly and  augment their plant defenses. Other features include touch screen power ups, side missions, and mini games.

Disney Infinity Debuts at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

disney-infinity-figurinesToys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com officially launched Disney Infinity on August 18. Disney Interactive’s new video game platform will be available on the Xbox 360 system, the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and iPad. The game integrates collectible figures featuring characters from The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios with a video game experience that allows the characters to interact together—for the first time ever. In the U.S., the Infinite Crystal Series figures will only be available at Toys “R” Us. The figures are an assortment of collectible figures that have enhanced in-game abilities, as well as power discs that unlock special in-game powers, gadgets, vehicles, and more.

Each Disney Infinity character figure will come to life and play together in a virtual Toy Box. In this mode, players can build and customize their own virtual world using their favorite characters, vehicles, settings, and accessories. The game also includes a Play Set mode, a story-driven experience that allows players to solve puzzles, battle enemies, and explore locations from Disney properties.

Disney Infinity launched with an initial line of 18 collectible interactive figures and 21 Power Discs, including those found only at Toys “R” Us. Toys “R” Us will offer the largest assortment of Disney Infinity products available, which includes the Lighting McQueen Infinite Crystal Series figure, and Mike’s Car Power Disc (Monster’s Inc.).

Elf Magic Releases Year Round Fashion for Elf Magic Dolls

ElfMagicAUG2013Elf Magic is releasing year round fashion for the Elf Magic Boy and Girl dolls. The new Elfits line has a stylish wardrobe of beachwear, denim, daywear, and formalwear to clothe the elves no matter the month or occasion. The Elfits are available at www.Elf-Magic.com.

Typically, the Elf Magic tradition begins around Thanksgiving, but with the dolls, kids’ eyes light up when their December pal pops in to spread cheer—or a little silly mischief—during the “other” 11 months of the year.

Combo 2013 HolidayThe secret to a successful mid-year elf visit is to make sure the dolls are dressed in a non-holiday Elfit to match the mood of the moment. A Sweet Dreams Flannel Nightgown  or Fun & Play Khaki Elfits are ideal for surprise visits on a spring break or camp sleepover. Elf Magic has created choices for boy and girl elves to lounge, linger, and leap with joy when visiting their favorite girl or boy. Other outfits in the Elfits line include the Surf’s Up Boy Beach, Sea Breeze Beach Girl, Fun & Play Denim, Girl’s Snowflake Princess, Peppermint Pajamas, Jolly Holiday Robe and Slippers, and the Jingle Bell Jammies.

Toys “R” Us Announces Global Store Growth for 2013

toysrusToys “R” Us has announced that its global store growth for this year will include the planned opening of more than 100 stores. There will also be new locations, the relocation and conversion of 14 stores to the Side-by-Side format, and 22 new licensed stores. These new stores are located in 21 of the 36 countries and jurisdictions in which Toys “R” Us Inc. currently is a presence through its wholly-owned and licensed businesses.

The company’s most significant expansion plans for this year are in China, where it has already begun operating several of the 22 new stores scheduled to open. This follows the launch of an e-commerce site and the opening of Toys “R” Us’ first stores in Beijing last year. By the end of the year, the company plans to operate 51 stores in 27 cities throughout China. [Read more...]

Hasbro Launches New B-Daman Toys and App

B-DamanCrossFirePosterHasbro Inc. is expanding on the animated series, B-Daman Crossfire by bringing the series to the physical and digital play space with a new B-Daman toy line and app. The new animated series, B-Daman Crossfire, will air during Saban Brands’ Vortexx on The CW, the Saturday morning programming block beginning August 17. Hasbro is working under license from newly established, Manhattan-based rights management company Sunrights Inc., and with a development and manufacturing collaboration with Tomy on these products.

The new series, B-Daman Crossfire, takes place in East City, where the newest toy, B-Daman, has become all the rage. The series follows Riki Ryugaski, a quirky schoolboy with an appetite for adventure and mystery. After attending his first B-Daman tournament with friend and classmate Sumi Inaba, Riki develops a strong interest in the toy. Upon hearing a rumor about a secret B-Daman tournament that only a select few can participate in, Riki’s curiosity grows and he becomes determined to learn more.

With the launch of the new B-Daman toys from Hasbro, kids can choose which figures’ personality and fighting style best represents themselves in the B-Daman marble battles. Whether players want to enhance their rapid-fire, power, or precision skills in solo play against B-Daman targets or advance to competition levels with fellow battlers in engaging arenas, B-Daman play allows kids to create their own set of rules and games.

In addition, the new B-Daman line of toys will offer kids the opportunity to connect the physical figures with a digital experience. Players will be able to scan any B-Daman figure via the B-Daman app (available now for Android & Apple devices) on their mobile devices. The app recognizes the toy and allows the user to choose a figure for a digital experience. Kids can also manually enter their toys into the app by using a 14 digit numerical code found on cards included with each toy. bdamanstrikeAdditionally, the codes can be used online to unlock virtual B-Daman figures and gain access to exclusive digital content on the B-Daman Battles website. The B-Daman experience allows kids, both in the physical and digital world, to battle opponents from around the globe anywhere at any time.

The products include the B-Daman Figure, B-Daman Figure with Accessory, B-Daman Break Bomber Battlefield Arena, B-Daman Surge Strike Arena, and B-Daman Vertigo Spin Arena, which are available at most toy retailers and on HasbroToyShop.com.

Creative Baby Inc. Introduces the iMat and Voice Pen Set

iMatCreative Baby Inc. has introduced the iMat: My Animal World on its website. The  product is the first in a series of themed interactive foam mats. The colorful play land is made of four interlocking soft sections that are activated when used with its Voice Pen. Babies and older siblings learn while exploring the illustrated mat with a simple point on the “word bubble.” They’re instantly rewarded with an animal sound, a word, music, or a foreign language translation. Newborn babies can enjoy the mat without the pen—the mat is phthalate-, lead-, and heavy metal-free, and no electronics means the mat can be wiped clean.

The i-Mat’s secret is the 2 GB memory of the Voice Pen. Sold as a set, the foamy pad and pen are available for pre-order with a limited time free shipping offer. Two more themed adventures, i-Mat My Alphabet and i-Mat Under The Sea, are planned for this fall. As new pads are introduced, parents can connect the Voice Pen to any computer with internet access (with the included USB cable), download the new sound file from Creative Baby’s website to the i-Mat Voice Pen, and explore new i-Mat adventures.

Mom and Dad can begin teaching their child English, Spanish, and Chinese by simply touching the pen to the image. Beyond learning a new language, the i-Mat grows intellectually with babies. When the child is old enough to hold the pen without help, the brain cells get a workout as learning games on the mat become more and more challenging. For tots ages 3 to 6, there’s advanced programs for the Voice Pen, such as interactive talking flash cards, posters, wall decals, stickers, books, and more. [Read more...]