Author: Phil Guie

Nintendo amiibo Sales Reach 7 Million to Date

According to data from the NPD Group, Nintendo has sold an estimated 7 million amiibo figures to date in the U.S. alone. The news comes out less than a month before Nintendo introduces Animal Crossing Series 1 amiibo Cards, scheduled to launch on September 25, along with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for the Nintendo...

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CTJPA Releases Hotel Information Ahead of China Toy Expo

The China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA) has released information on hotels for guests planning to attend China Toy Expo, taking place on October 20 to 22 at Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. Most of the hotels selected by CTJPA are located roughly 15 minutes from China Toy Expo by car, with bus service available between the hotels and the expo center. The hotel list and information, as well as the reservation form, can be found at the official China Toy Expo website. Attendees have the option of making the reservation themselves, or reserving through CTJPA’s servicer. The form should be returned by September...

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Hamleys World, Moscow Wins World Retail Award for Store Design of the Year

The World Retail Awards handed out its prize for Store Design of the Year this past Thursday, and the recipient was Hamleys World, Moscow, by the global retail consultancy Fitch. The store received significant press this past April as the second-largest toy store in the world, covering roughly 73,000 square feet. Hamleys World, Moscow was in competition against new store designs in all retail sectors that opened within the past 12 months. Retailers from all over the world were eligible to compete, and judges made their decisions based on evidence of commercial success and customer acceptance. The judges were drawn from retailers, business schools, government, public and private sector organizations, and think...

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Jakks Pacific and NantWorks to Continue DreamPlay Toys

Jakks Pacific Inc. and NantWorks LLC have renewed their DreamPlay Toys LLC joint venture for an additional three years through September 2018. DreamPlay Toys develops, markets, and sells toys and consumer products incorporating NantWorks’ proprietary ID image recognition...

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Bananagrams Named North American Distributor for Crowd-Sourced Trivia Game, Linkee

Bananagrams Inc. will lead North American distribution for Linkee, the first crowd-sourced tabletop trivia game for families. Described by Bananagrams as, “shouty-outy,” the game play calls for players to answer four questions and spot the link between the answers faster than the other teams. Teams that get it right win a letter, and whoever collects enough letters to spell Linkee win the game. More than one-third of the cards are user-generated, with contributors getting their name on the card, as well as a free game in the mail. There is a question on every card that someone can answer, regardless of age or generation. “We are so excited to partner with Linkee Ltd., and couldn’t have dreamed of a more appropriate game than Linkee to mark our first foray into distribution,” says Rena Nathanson, CEO of Bananagrams Inc. “We love Linkee because it reimagines and redefines trivia play, much like we tried to do with word gaming by bringing more people into each game and keeping everyone involved while they play.” A Linkee app is also available for iPhone and Android users...

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Monopoly Here & Now: U.S. Edition Teaches Cities to Kids

The latest Monopoly board, Monopoly Here & Now: U.S. Edition, available from Hasbro, features 22 real-life cities including Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City as property spaces. Earlier this year, Hasbro teamed with BuzzFeed for Monopoly’s 80th anniversary, inviting fans to vote for their favorite U.S. cities, which the new board reflects. In Monopoly Here & Now: U.S. Edition, the game tokens include the Statue of Liberty, a baseball glove, a trolley, and a cowboy hat. Game play includes purchasing passport stamps to favorite locations and charging other players visitor fees for stopping in these cities. You might also like: • Monopoly Reveals Here & Now Vote Results on 80th Birthday • Hasbro and BuzzFeed Team Up for Global Monopoly Here & Now Campaign • Monopoly Turns 80 with New Products, Entertainment, and...

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Skylanders and Max Chilton Team Up for Indy Lights

Skylanders is the official partner of Max Chilton for the season finale of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, part of the Mazda Road to Indy. The partnership puts a focus on one of Skylanders SuperChargers’ key game play features: racing. A 24-year-old former Formula 1 driver and fan of the Skylanders franchise, Chilton will race the tracks of Laguna Seca in a Skylanders supercharged-themed race car on September 12 to 13. Skylanders SuperChargers, from Activision Publishing Inc., introduces racing to the franchise. All Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Packs will come loaded with race tracks featuring hidden routes, power-ups, and diverse locations that can be played either in offline split-screen or online multiplayer. “Max epitomizes what Skylanders SuperChargers is all about—high-energy, fun, powerful, vehicles, and racing,” says John Coyne, senior vice president of consumer marketing, Activision Publishing Inc. “Skylanders appeals to fans of all ages, and we’re excited to see Max’s SuperCharged performance this...

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COMMENTARY: The More Things Change with Star Wars Licensed Toys…

A long weekend ago, in a toy store far, far more crowded than I had anticipated (Toys “R” Us Times Square, though I really should have known better at that point), I checked out Destination: Star Wars—The Exhibition, which showed off Star Wars toys past and present. It closed this past Monday, but photos of all the exhibits can still be found online. Besides the opportunity to see vintage Star Wars toys, it was worth visiting because located over in its own themed corner of the store were all the new toys launched in anticipation of the upcoming, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So I spent the evening bouncing back and forth between classic and contemporary Star Wars items. Not being a historian by trade, it’s rare that I get the chance to look at old and new toys nearly side-by-side, and I couldn’t help but notice ways in which current Star Wars toys are different—and the same—as their counterparts from decades ago. Here are some of those observations: • You want action figures? Take your pick: Back when the first Star Wars came out, Kenner released a line of 3.75-inch action figures of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, etc., as well as what the toymaker deemed “large size action figures.” But that was about it. Fast forward to the present, however, and you’ll find a whole range of Star...

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NRF Sees Retail Imports Climbing as Holidays Approach

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 1.2 percent this month over the same time last year as retailers head toward the holiday season. “After supply chain worries earlier this year, inventories are plentiful this fall,” says Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy. “Shoppers should have no worries about finding what they’re looking for as they begin their holiday shopping.” Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.62 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 2.9 percent from June and 8.1 percent from July of last year. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent. August was estimated at 1.6 million TEU, up 5.5 percent from last year. September is forecast at 1.61 million TEU, up 1.2 percent from last year, while October is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, up 3.8 percent; November at 1.5 million TEU, up 7.9 percent; and December at 1.44 million TEU, down 0.2 percent. Those numbers would bring this year to a total of 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 percent from last...

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Barnes & Noble Partners with Maker Media for Mini Maker Faire

Barnes & Noble Inc. has entered into a partnership with Maker Media to launch the first-ever Mini Maker Faire in stores nationwide. Each Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire will offer experiences similar to Maker Faire events, while serving as an introduction for newcomers. They will feature hands-on learning and making opportunities in the areas of ideation, creative thinking, art, design, construction, programming, coding, 3-D printing, and more. Mini Maker Faire will run throughout the weekend of November 6 to 8, and each will consist of three spaces: the Make Workspace, where customers can experience new technologies; Meet the Makers, where customers can hear from leaders, brands, and local makers about the latest design and making trends; and Make & Collaborate, where customers can immerse themselves in the process of ideation, rapid prototyping, circuitry, and more. Activities at Barnes & Noble’s Mini Maker Faire are intended for kids ages 5 and up to adults. The Maker movement has been booming, with more than 130 worldwide Maker Faires taking place last...

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