China Toy Fair


Hasbro Celebrates National Play-Doh Day with a School Daze

Hasbro Inc. celebrated National Play-Doh Day with a collection of six back-to-school-themed sculptures made out of Play-Doh compound. To commemorate the annual holiday, the Play-Doh brand put its spin on beloved schools and students from pop culture.

littleBits Launches bitLab to Help Users Build and Sell Their Own Hardware

littleBits1Today, littleBits Electronics launched the bitLab, an app store for user-generated hardware. This marketplace furthers littleBits’ goal of giving hardware developers the tools and ecosystem to develop and sell their own littleBits modules.

Analogous to software app stores, the littleBits library acts as the platform, the Bits that developers submit are considered the apps, and the API is bitSnap, littleBits’ magnetic connectors. The operating system is the analog electronic specifications.

The bitLab works by allowing anyone to design the Bit of their dreams and has two major components: a hardware component (the HDK) and a web component (the bitLab website). The hardware developer kit (HDK) includes the Proto Module and bitSnap connectors, which makes the prototyping process a snap for developers. By commercializing littleBits’ proprietary bitSnap connectors—which are the magnetic connectors that snap the littleBits modules together and carry communication across modules—prototypes can now be built with any hardware tool and then seamlessly incorporated into the littleBits library. [Read more...]

Patch Products Under New Ownership

Patch.logoPatch Products has announced that its founders, Fran and Bryce Patch, have sold the business to Topspin Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in New York City.

Founded in 1985, Patch has grown from a small puzzle and game manufacturer to a family entertainment company which designs, manufactures, distributes, and markets games, children’s puzzles, preschool toys, creative activities, and teaching tools.

The Patch headquarters and management team, led by CEO Bob Wann, will remain in place. “We are excited to have Topspin as our partner going forward,” Wann states. “It was very apparent from all of our discussions that Topspin shares the same excitement and support for the strategic vision we have for Patch. This, combined with the additional financial resources that they can provide, will trigger further expansion and growth for Patch.”

Innovation First Partners with Tony Hawk for New Circuit Boards Brand and Products

Innovation First International, the creator of Hexbug, is launching a new Tony Hawk Circuit Boards brand and product line, due to hit shelves across Europe and North America this fall.

Kids can choose between two ways to play: traditional fingerboard style, or slapping on the power axle and utilizing the I/R remote control. Users can build the ultimate skatepark and grind the rails, pull off a rock to fakie, or master their own series of tricks with their favorite Birdhouse deck. The initial product assortment available at launch will include 24 Birdhouse and Tony Hawk authentic decks to customize and collect, along with a variety of ramp sets and skateparks.

Hexbug will showcase the new product line by appointment at TIA Fall Toy Preview in October at the Dallas Market Center.

Jazwares Introduces Flick-to-Stick Bungees in Time for Back to School

jazwaresJazwares LLC has launched the new Flick-to-Stick Bungees product line. They offer a unique play pattern that gives kids multiple ways to play by aiming their Bungees at scoring targets, and then flicking their finger.

Bungees features a battleground arena, disk launchers, playing cards, and scoring disks to enhance game play. All 48 Series 1 characters are now available at major retailers, including Toys “R” Us and Walgreens across North America.

Skylanders Trap Team to Feature Special Gameplay Mode for Emperor Kaos

SkylandersTrapTeam.KaosModeActivision Publishing Inc. has announced a new game play mode in Skylanders Trap Team for Emperor Kaos, the villain of its Skylanders franchise. In Kaos Doom Challenge, players can battle through increasingly difficult waves of minions, build defensive towers, and utilize both Skylanders and trapped villains from their collections.

Kaos Doom Challenge will also feature the Mystery Box of Doom, which when opened, spits out gigantic villains.

The Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack will be available October 5 in North America and October 10 in Europe for Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U systems; a variety of iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets; Xbox One and Xbox 360 games; and the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 systems. A unique adventure also will be available on the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system.

Minecraft Will Join Microsoft Studios

Minecraft-gamesMicrosoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the Stockholm-based game developer behind the popular Minecraft franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios. Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion, and expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal year 2015 on a GAAP basis. Subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close later this year.

Available across multiple platforms, players have downloaded Minecraft more than 100 million times, on PC alone, since its launch in 2009. Minecraft is also the most popular online game on Xbox, and the game’s community is among the most active in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. [Read more...]

CWIST and Science Buddies Partnering for STEM Education

CWIST LOGOScience Buddies will join the CWIST platform, giving kids and parents additional resources to learn something new and build on their in-classroom science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

CWIST offers a crowd-sourced library of educational and fun challenges for kids ages 5 to 11, including customized content, challenges, and wishes from curated partners. The not-for-profit Science Buddies empowers K to 12 students, parents, and teachers to find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science, and music to microbiology.

Together, CWIST and Science Buddies will create customized STEM education challenges for the CWIST platform, available at www.cwist.com. Membership is free and provides access to thousands of challenges in dozens of categories.

Toy Industry Foundation Reaches $100 Million Milestone

toyindustryThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) has distributed $100 million worth of toys and games to children in need since its Toy Bank program was founded in 2003. The historical milestone was reached following this year’s Summer Toy Drive, which collected $11 million worth of toys. To date, TIF and its supporters have donated enriching playthings to nearly 17 million disadvantaged kids worldwide.

Contributions to the Summer Toy Drive more than quadrupled over last year, growing from nearly 900,000 toys donated in 2013 to nearly four million toys this year. The Lego Group donated roughly 250,000 toys—half of which have already been distributed to children in such locations as Albania, Armenia, Romania, Zambia and Zimbabwe—putting the foundation over the $100 million mark. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Gains Fan Favorites Yondu and Falcon

MarvelSuperHeroes.FalconDisney Interactive has added two more characters to its Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes line-up. There’s Yondu, from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and Captain America’s loyal ally, Falcon.

The arrow-shooting leader of the outlaw band known as the Ravagers, Yondu will be playable in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set, as well as in Toy Box 2.0. He will also make an appearance in the Marvel Team-Up: Yondu Power Disc.

Sam Wilson, codename Falcon, has been added to both Marvel’s Avengers Play Set and Toy Box 2.0. The character features EXO-7 wing pack and Hardlight Feathers, and other characters can also fly like Falcon when players use the Falcon’s Wings Power Disc.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes arrives at North American retail stores on September 23, and Yondu and Falcon will be available next year.