Skylanders’ #TrapAndPlay-Sweeps Puts Fans on the Path to Prizes

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc. has launched #TrapAndPlaySweeps, a three-week sweepstakes for Skylanders fans. Players are instructed to tweet photos or video of themselves playing Skylanders Trap Team to the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGame), using #TrapAndPlaySweeps #Skylanders for the chance to win prizes through December 11.

Along with being available for consoles, Skylanders Trap Team is compatible with third and fourth generation iPads—the iPad mini Retina, the iPad Air, and the brand new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

Cupcake Digital Acquires App Developer Little Bit Studio

CupcakeDigitalCupcake Digital Inc. has acquired Little Bit Studio LLC, developers of the popular Bugs and Buttons series of apps for children. Little Bit Studio founders Scott Vann and Jason Luber will hold senior positions at Cupcake Digital.

Little Bit Studio will fold into Cupcake Digital’s broader structure of technology and marketing resources aimed at new products and marketing initiatives. The company will be making an initial investment in marketing and advertising to support the introduction of new products as early as the first quarter of next year.

Earlier this year, Cupcake Digital acquired another app company, iStoryTime.

COMMENTARY: Something in the Air, or, How I Do Drone On

Unmanned aircraft, or drones, have been in the news a lot recently. This past Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the authority to regulate drones, and can fine those who fly them recklessly.

DJI.InspireMeanwhile, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiled a Chinese company called SZ DJI Technology Co., which has created a new commercial drone armed with a high definition camera, among other bells and whistles. From the video footage I watched, what struck me was that the drone only weighs two pounds, and looks a lot like the R/C flyer toys that constantly make their way through The Toy Book offices.

According to the aforementioned NTSB ruling, drones are legally aircraft. So in the eyes of the federal government, they aren’t toys, despite the groundswell of drone hobbyists popping up in places like Chicago, and despite the fact that one can see a clear trail of evolution between these controversial machines and less notorious R/C toys. [Read more...]

Nominations Now Open for WIT’s 2015 Wonder Women Awards

WIT.logoWomen in Toys (WIT) is now accepting nominations for the 11th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. Winners in the eight categories will be announced at an awards dinner, scheduled to take place on February 15 during North American International Toy Fair week in New York City. For the first time, the annual awards dinner will be held at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers.

Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate a co-worker, client, associate, family member, or acquaintance for consideration in one or more of the following categories: Lifetime Achievement, Rising Star, PR or Social Media, Manufacturer, Designer or Inventor, Licensing or Entertainment, Social Responsibility, and Marketing or Advertising. With the exception of the Lifetime Achievement category, which must be submitted by December 1, all nominations are due by January 15.

Nominations may be submitted online. The Award Selection Committee and WIT Board of Directors will review all nominees and select the winners for each category. All nominees must be WIT members in order to be eligible to win; however, WIT members and non-members are invited to submit nominations.

Hasbro Launches New Initiative to Spread the Joy of Play to Children with Developmental Disabilities

ToyBoxTools_logo (2)Hasbro Inc. has launched ToyBox Tools, an initiative that brings the joy of play to children with developmental disabilities. Through expertise provided by The Autism Project, ToyBox Tools provides a series of instructional videos, printed instructions, play mats, and more for several classic Hasbro brands. These tools will serve as a free, online resource for parents, caretakers, and educators to make play easier and more accessible for children who need support.

ToyBox Tools helps children experience the joy of play with three levels of tools available for those who need support: basic play, expanding play, and social play levels. Parents and caregivers can visit the ToyBox Tools site, access the tools they need, and download and print them for use at home or in the classroom. Each level caters to different aspects of play that children may need help with, like simply introducing the toy and how to use it, experiencing alternative ways to play with a toy, and encouraging turn-taking with peers.

Nearly one out of four children is said to have some type of developmental challenge, ranging from ADHD and autism spectrum disorders to learning disabilities and developmental delays.

ToyBox Tools encourages parents and caregivers to use their judgment in selecting the right product and level of play appropriate for their child. Supportive tools are included for Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh Dr. Drill ’N Fill, and Trouble.

Toys “R” Us Announces Thanksgiving Weekend Doorbusters, Special Deals for Rewards “R” Us Members

toysrusOn Thanksgiving weekend, Toys “R” Us will offer more than $8,000 in potential toy savings to holiday shoppers. Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open at 5 p.m. on November 27, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 4-hour doorbuster deals will include discounts on Disney Infinity Starter Packs and figures; Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, figures, and Traps; the V-Tech InnoTab 3S Connect; Frozen Jumbo Olaf Plush, from Just Play; and more.

Meanwhile, selected deals available on November 28 from 7 a.m. through November 29, as well as online at toysrus.com, include buy one, get one for 40 percent off on Disney Infinity and Skylanders Trap Team items, certain Disney Frozen toys, and more.

Toys “R” Us will also provide exclusive, early access to Black Friday deals on more than 100 items, both in-store and online, to Rewards “R” Us members beginning November 23. Not only can Rewards “R” Us members accumulate points on their purchases, those points can be applied to Toys “R” Us shopping into the new year.

In addition, throughout November and December, “R”Us credit cardholders are eligible to receive discounts off Toys “R” Us purchases when using their “R”Us credit card in-store on Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. Through December 20, existing cardholders can also save 10 percent every Saturday when they use their “R”Us credit card in-store.

Finally, the majority of Toys “R” Us Thanksgiving Weekend deals will be available starting on November 26 at 10 p.m. ET at toysrus.com/blackfriday.

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.