China Toy Fair


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...]

Toy State Showcases New Branding for Road Rippers and Nikko

Toy State New BrandingOn Monday, Toy State unveiled new branding designs for its flagship lights and sound and R/C product lines, Road Rippers and Nikko. The company is showcasing the new-look product lines and branding at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, and will continue to highlight them at Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair in January.

Toy State acquired Nikko and Nikko Entertainment BV in May. The moves came on the heels of a period of aggressive growth, including new licensing partnerships with Hot Wheels, Transformers, Hello Kitty, and Angry Birds.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the new logos and packaging these leading brands will have when they hit retail shelves in 2015,” said Andy Friess, Toy State’s general manager of U.S. operations and senior vice president of global marketing. “Redefining the Nikko brand was a major design objective following our acquisition, and returning Road Rippers to its signature ‘orange package’ roots provides an exciting refresh for the leader in the lights and sound vehicle category.”

Skylanders Trap Team Gameplay Truck Tour Arrives at New York Comic-Con

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc.’s nationwide Skylanders Trap Team First-to-Play Tour includes a lengthy stop at New York Comic-Con. Attendees and kids can play Skylanders Trap Team within a customized Game Truck, a mobile video game media room. Guests will also be treated to Skylanders-branded activities, photo opportunities with costumed characters, and giveaway items.

The Game Truck will be on-hand at New York Comic-Con, taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, today until 7 p.m., as well as on the following dates and times: [Read more...]

Lego and Shell to Part Ways After Decades-Long Partnership

Lego.ShellOn Thursday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Lego is ending its co-branding relationship with Royal Dutch Shell. The move follows pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which targeted the decades-long partnership in an online video and petition.

Since the 1960s, Lego has built play sets branded with the Shell logo, including Shell filling stations, tanker trucks, and Shell-sponsored racing cars. These have been sold at Shell gas stations and other retailers that carried Lego sets.

In July, Greenpeace circulated an online petition calling for Lego to sever ties with Shell, which it has accused of operating recklessly in exploring for oil in the Arctic. The group released an online video, Lego: Everything Is Not Awesome, which depicts an Arctic wonderland made of Lego bricks that is flooded with spilled oil, and asks viewers to sign the petition urging Lego to sever ties with Shell. According to Greenpeace, the video has garnered more than a million signatures to date. [Read more...]

Worlds Collide as World Tech Meets the Marvel Universe

WorldTechToysWorld Tech Toys is teaming up with Marvel for R/C toys based on Avengers, the Amazing Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Avengers characters will include Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk, while the Guardians of the Galaxy lineup will feature Star-Lord, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.

The company has also added Shark Week, and will introduce flying R/C robots based on National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association players. The NFL line-up will include Johnny Manziel and Peyton Manning.