China Toy Fair


Mattel Reports Third Quarter Financial Results, Including Lower Barbie and Fisher-Price Sales

Mattel_logoLast Thursday, Mattel Inc. reported third quarter financial results, including net income of $331.8 million for the quarter, or $0.97 per share. This includes a negative impact of $0.05 per share from Mega Brands integration costs and a tax benefit of $0.04 per share. This compares to last year’s third quarter net income of $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share, which included a tax benefit of $0.05 per share.

For the quarter, net sales were $2.02 billion, down 8 percent compared to $2.21 billion last year, while on a regional basis, third quarter gross sales decreased 7 percent in the North American region. For the international region, gross sales decreased 7 percent, including an unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. [Read more...]

Batman Honored by U.S. Postal Service with Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps

Batman himself at New York Comic Con.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Postal Service, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, kicked off New York Comic Con 2014 at the Javitz Center by dedicating the Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps. Eight commemorative Batman designs were revealed, depicting Batman from the four distinct eras of comic book history, and including the various incarnations of the famed Bat emblem.

Four versions of Batman are depicted from the four eras of comic book history: the Modern Age, the Bronze Age, the Silver Age, and the Golden Age. In addition, there are four incarnations of the famed Bat-Signal, the spotlight that Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon sends into the night sky to summon Batman.

The Batman Limited Edition stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and will be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Customers may purchase them at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 1-(800)-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at post offices nationwide.

Mezco Toyz’ Dark Knight Figure Rises at New York Comic Con

Mezco Toyz Batman Action FigureMezco Toyz revealed more details about its One:12 Collective figure line at New York Comic Con last week. The line will include the popular comic book character Judge Dredd, as well as the version of Batman from the graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns.

The Dark Knight Returns Batman will feature more than 30 points of articulation to go with real fabric clothing. Other details include:

  • Four pairs of interchangeable hands
  • One interchangeable boot with pistol holster
  • One removable utility belt
  • One pistol
  • One grappling hook
  • One alternate head
  • One Bat-symbol display base
  • One articulated figure stand for multiple dynamic figure poses
  • One detachable cape-posing stand accessory

The figure, which ships on January 12, comes in a fifth panel window box with slip cover, and is available for pre-order at Mezco Toyz’ official site.

China Toy Expo Highlights Sustainability, Safety, and Education as Popular Trends in China

Despite being half a world away, the concerns and demands of toy consumers in China are not all that different from their U.S. counterparts, according to China Toy Expo.

The first day of the trade fair, along with China Kids Expo and China Licensing Expo—all hosted by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association—kicked off this past Tuesday in sprawling fashion at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. Across three days, 1,364 global brands were on display, and roughly 80,000 visitors were expected to participate.

CTE 1

The China Toy Expo took place at the Shanghai International Expo Center in Shanghai from Oct. 14-16.

Recent news shows reasons to be optimistic about the Chinese toy market’s future, including the country’s overtaking of the U.S. in terms of purchasing power. Yet based on the flow of crowds at the show, many of the types of toys that Chinese consumers are especially interested in are ones promoting sustainability, safety, and educational development. [Read more...]

Modarri, a Different Kind of Toy Car, Arrives at Retail

ModarriModarri, from Thoughtfull Toys, launched at American International Toy Fair in February, and now the car line is hitting retail stores.

Modarri is a kind of miniature car that’s driven with the fingers using realistic steering and suspension. Recommended for ages 8 and up (though not for ages 0 to 3 due to small parts), users can design their own unique cars by swapping parts from one vehicle to another using the included Hex Tool.

Each modular car includes a chassis, hood/windshield, seat pan, seat, fenders and frame, hex tool, four wheels, front suspension, and rear suspension. The line is launching with a Street Car S1, Dirt Car X1, and Track Car T1. In addition, the DIY model allows users to make custom vehicles with their own paint jobs.

Thoughtfull Toys had created a Kickstarter project for Modarri, which finished at more than $69,000, or more than 300 percent of its funding goal. The group successfully raised a second round of financing from accredited investors, with a focus on website development to make the car line interactive and digital as well as physical.

Lego Joins the Adventure as Jurassic World Toy Licensee

Image converted using ifftoanyUniversal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) has announced that The Lego Group will create original products in conjunction with the film, Jurassic World, scheduled for release on June 12. The Lego Group rounds out a branded toy campaign that includes global master toy licensee Hasbro, which will introduce action figures, role-play items, and games. The new Lego toys will be available next May.

Additional Jurassic World toy and game licensees include Bulls-i-Toy for trading cards and stickers; Cardinal Games for puzzles; Jada Toys for R/C and die-cast vehicles; KidDesigns for electronics; Rubie’s Costume Co. for costumes; and Ludia, which will create a mobile and social game in partnership with UP&L.

Launch Date Announced for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

SuperSmashBros.WiiUSuper Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS has reached cumulative sales of more than 2.8 million worldwide, following launches in the Americas, Europe, and Australia. To keep the momentum going, Nintendo has unveiled the launch date of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which will arrive in North America on November 21.

In related news, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will support amiibo, Nintendo’s new line of interactive figures, which will launch on the same day. The first wave of amiibo includes Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Pikachu, Kirby, and Marth. The second wave launching in December includes Zelda, Diddy Kong, Luigi, Little Mac, Pit, and Captain Falcon.

Sony Moving Closer to Making Inroads into China

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGODuring the past week, it was widely reported that Sony Corp. is moving closer to shipping video game consoles in China, where devices such as its PlayStation had long been banned.

According to a filing reported on by Bloomberg News this past Thursday, a Sony-affiliated factory in Shanghai’s free-trade zone will start packaging consoles this December. The filing—an environmental assessment posted by a Sony local partner on the free-trade zone’s official website—stated that the factory has the capacity to package 200,000 consoles a year.

The exact type of console was not specified. “Though it is true the filing was made and approved, some parts of the document such as the amount of shipment, number of staff, production start timing, were only tentative and do not represent the actual business plan. We have yet to announce which system will be available in China, price for the system, and the launch date,” said a representative of Sony Computer Entertainment in a statement.

Sony signed a deal earlier this year with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co. to make and sell PlayStation game consoles in China. The move came after the Chinese government in September lifted a 14-year ban on the sale of video game consoles, which had been in place due to concerns about violent content.

Sony video game competitor Microsoft began selling its Xbox One through the free-trade zone late last month, with restrictions on the titles approved for sale.

NFL Players Inc. Wants to Turn Toymakers into Playmakers

NFLPlayersAssociationNFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, introduces Playmaker Challenge, an exciting new competition for toy developers. To be considered, new toy ideas must feature the unique intellectual property assets licensed only by NFLPI, including names, uniform numbers, signatures, nicknames, images, and likenesses for more than 1,800 active NFL players.

The competition, announced at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, runs through December 19, and NFLPI is accepting applications for concepts through the Playmaker Challenge microsite. The grand prize winner will receive an NFLPI-issued license, an NFL player promotional appearance at their Toy Fair booth, and $10,000 towards player marketing, which can be used on retail partnerships, social media activation, and/or player appearances. Additionally, NFLPI will work with the winner and retail launch partner to donate a quantity of the newly licensed toy to a pre-determined children’s charity.

A committee will review submissions and invite three finalists to present their concepts to the NFLPI committee from January 4 to February 13. The winner will be announced at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.

Nintendo Doubles Down on Indie with IndieCade Showcase, Game Exhibit at EMP Museum

NintendoNintendo will highlight 15 playable independent games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS at IndieCade Festival 2014, which kicks off today in Culver City, Calif., and runs through Sunday. Many of the “Nindies,” or Nintendo independent developers, will be present to demonstrate their artistic video game visions and share development experiences with festival attendees.

“These Nindie developers are currently making some of the most exciting and imaginative games out there, and Nintendo is pleased to offer them multiple platforms to bring their creative ideas to life,” said Steve Singer, Nintendo of America’s vice president of licensing.

Playable Wii U games at Nintendo’s IndieCade booth include Affordable Space Adventures, from KnapNok Games; The Fall, from Over the Moon Games; Costume Quest, from Midnight City; and more. Playable 3DS games include Woah Dave!, from Choice Provisions; and Xeodrifter, from Renegade Kid LLC. Games for both Wii U and 3DS include Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games. [Read more...]