Outfit7 and Toyze Team Up for 3-D Printable Talking Tom

TalkingTomOutfit7 Limited has signed a licensing agreement for its Talking Tom and Friends franchise with Toyze, an app store for 3-D-printed customizable game characters. Users will be able to customize Talking Tom and Friends characters into 3-D models, share their creations on social channels, and bring them to life as 3-D-printed toys.

Talking Tom is currently available on Toyze’s app at both Google Play and the App Store.

Toyze offers two options to model and produce toys. First is the free app for 3-D customization: The company’s intuitive, in-app 3-D editor allows users to personalize characters in 3-D view, add accessories and attributes, play with poses and sizes, and build their collections. Once completed, users can share their creation via Facebook, Instagram, and email with friends and family.

Users will also be able to [Read more...]

Build-A-Bear Workshop Gets into the Christmas Spirit, Launches Holiday App, Lets New Reindeer Reign

BuildABear.CometReindeerBuild-A-Bear Workshop Inc. has transformed its stores into Santa’s Workshops, is introducing eight reindeer, and will extend play beyond plush with the launch of an exclusive holiday app, Santa’s Merry Mission.

By visiting the company’s Team Santa site, children and guests can take a personality quiz to determine which of the eight reindeer is their favorite, and then follow steps to create their very own plush toy. Reindeer selections include Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. A special medallion comes with each reindeer and unlocks fun features in the app, including a stable, outfits, games, and more.

BuildaBearappOther features on the app include “Santa’s Merry Mission,” a new family Christmas story that tells the tale of how Santa partnered with Build-A-Bear Workshop this season; a sing-a-long to “Reindeer Bells” performed by Brandon Bassir, and more. The Santa’s Merry Mission app can also be downloaded for free on iTunes or Google Play.

Clarity Ensues: Nintendo Introduces Crystal Red and Crystal Blue Nintendo 2DS Systems

Nintendo.Crystal2DSOn November 21, Nintendo will launch new Crystal Red and Crystal Blue Nintendo 2DS systems featuring a slick, semi-transparent design. The Crystal Red and Crystal Blue systems are launching alongside Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, and the Nintendo 2DS is compatible with the Nintendo 3DS’ library of more than 3,000 games, including Super Smash Bros.

The system maintains many of the same hardware and connected features as Nintendo 3DS such as touch-screen controls, StreetPass, Miiverse, and online multiplayer functionality. The Nintendo 2DS is also backward compatible with the library of Nintendo DS games, and offers the ability to download games from the Nintendo eShop.

Merger Deal Between Hasbro and Dreamworks Animation Reportedly Dead

It’s been widely reported that merger negotiations between Hasbro and DreamWorks Animation have been called off, due in part to the stock performance of Hasbro, as well as the high asking price by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Hasbro reportedly ended conversations on Friday, for reasons that included a $30 share price asked for by Katzenberg. Some analysts deemed that price high. In addition, the possible merger had a negative effect on Hasbro’s stock–it fell on both Thursday and Friday–which is said to have concerned execs at the company.

The deal would have been worth at $2.3 billion, as reported by Variety.

By joining forces with DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro would have had the means of increasing its film and TV presence, while in theory, DreamWorks would have benefited from a more diverse revenue stream via Hasbro. DreamWorks’ properties include Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar. Hasbro, meanwhile, owns such toy brands as Transformers and G.I. Joe.

The May Cheong Group Announces Licensing Agreement with Ferrari

MCGFERRARIEXCLUSIVEThe May Cheong Group (MCG), manufacturers of die-cast and R/C replica brands Maisto and Bburago, has signed an exclusive agreement with Ferrari. The multi-year deal, which commences in January, grants MCG the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute Ferrari replicas throughout the world.

MCG has had an ongoing relationship with Ferrari for more than 25 years. Bburago, a die-cast brand from Italy that MCG acquired in 2005, and which is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, also has a lengthy history with Ferrari. Next year’s planned launch includes four ranges of products within the Bburago brand: Signature Series, Racing, Race and Play, and Ferrari Kids. [Read more...]

Toyzeria 2014 Grows with More Exhibitors and Visitors

SpielwarenmesseegA total of 117 national and international exhibitors, as well as 8,972 visitors, took part in Toyzeria from October 30 to November 2, compared to 105 national and international exhibitors and 8,721 visitors last year. Participants traveled to the toy industry gathering at the Istanbul Expo Center from 48 countries, an increase from 46 countries a year ago.

The World of Toys Pavilion by Spielwarenmesse eG also celebrated its premiere at the trade fair, which featured eight exhibitors from seven countries. Next year’s event will take place October 29 to November 1 under the name Toyzeria & Kids Turkey, and will once again be housed at the Istanbul Expo Center.

Nintendo’s Super Mario Franchise Featured in Mercedes-Benz Commercial

NintendoThis past week, Mercedes-Benz Japan began airing the latest series of commercials for its GLA sports utility vehicle featuring characters from Nintendo’s Mario franchise.

The original TV ad began airing in May and featured only Mario, who rode the SUV in a two-dimensional 8-bit world. The digital Mario eventually morphed into an actor with a mustache wearing Mario’s signature dungarees.

The newest commercial, inspired by Mario’s agility and the way he can move around anywhere he wants, adds more characters from the Super Mario franchise.

Mercedes-Benz’s SUV appears in Nintendo’s Mario Kart game, making it the first real-world car to appear in the series.

Children of Soldiers and Wounded Warriors Get New Toys from TIF and BGCA

toyindustryMore than 1,700 children of military personnel and Wounded Warriors were given brand-new toys and games on November 6 at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va. Hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services, the toy giveaway was held in celebration of Military Family Appreciation Month.

Every child in attendance got to take home a toy, choosing from a selection of skill-building, enriching, and comforting playthings donated by Barnes & Noble, Big Time Toys, Imperial Toy, Lego, Mattel, Patch Products, and Yamie Chess. The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, in which toys and games are delivered on an annual basis to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad.

Nintendo Reports Record Orders for Super Smash Bros. on Wii U

SuperSmashBros.WiiUAs reported by Bloomberg News today, advanced orders for Nintendo’s upcoming Super Smash Bros. are at a record and may lift sales of the company’s struggling Wii U console during the holidays.

Pre-sales of the fighting game for Wii U, which arrives at stores on November 21, surpassed Mario Kart 8, and interest in the game has generated optimism at Nintendo. Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, said in an interview on Tuesday that sell-through expectations for Super Smash Bros. are on par with Mario Kart 8, which could have a dramatic impact on hardware.

Mario Kart 8 has sold 3.49 million units, including 2.74 million outside Japan, and Wii U console sales more than doubled from a year earlier to 1.12 million devices in the six months ended September. So far this year, Nintendo has sold 2 million Wii U units, according to the site VGChartz. The Wii U posted its first consecutive quarterly sales gains in the June and September periods.

By comparison, Sony has sold 8.1 million PlayStation 4‘s, and Microsoft has tallied 3.3 million Xbox One sales, according to VGChartz.

Super Smash Bros. is the first Nintendo title that will also support amiibo, the company’s entry into the $1 billion interactive toy category, scheduled for release in time for the holidays.

Continuing Port Issues Leads to Record Retail Imports, Toy Industry Reaction

nrfImport cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to slow down this month following record levels seen in September and October, as retailers rushed to bring merchandise into the country ahead of a possible shutdown of West Coast ports, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

Import volume at U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report is expected to total 1.4 million containers this month, down from 1.59 million each in September and October, a number that broke the previous monthly high of 1.52 million set in August. Cargo volume has been well above average each month since spring as retailers have imported merchandise early in case of any disruption on the docks.

The 1.59 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU, or 20-foot cargo container) handled in September, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, was up 5.2 percent from August and 10.9 percent from September 2013. October was estimated at 1.59 million TEU, within about 3,000 containers of September’s level and up 11 percent from the same month last year.

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is inviting members to participate in a teleconference with Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, to learn about what is being done to alleviate back-ups and delays at the port. The discussion is scheduled for November 13 at 1 p.m. ET. TIA members can contact Rebecca Mond, director of federal governmental affairs, at rmond@toyassociation.org for dial-in information.