China Toy Fair


NPD Group Reports Strong Growth for Video Game Hardware, Decline for Software in July

npd_group_logoAccording to The NPD Group, strong growth in hardware sales offset declines in software sales in July, while accessory sales had modest growth, leading to an increase of 16 percent in overall new physical video game sales compared to July of last year.

Hardware sales doubled in July compared to the same month last year, stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales, which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware. When combining life-to-date sales of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) after nine months, and comparing them to the combined totals of nine months’ worth of sales for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (PS3), sales of the newest consoles are larger than the prior generation by close to 80 percent. [Read more...]

Rubie’s Supplies Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Costumes for NYSE Bell Ringing

rubielogoRubie’s Costume Co. Inc. supplied 50 officially licensed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy costumes to attendees at last Tuesday’s ringing of the bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, who played Star-Lord, and Zoe Saldana, who portrayed Gamora, joined Marvel Entertainment executives as they marked the opening day of trading.

“To partner with Marvel on such a monumental tradition of the bell ringing at the NYSE was truly an honor for us, and we were delighted the movie’s stars had a chance to see our designs and their likeness captured in costume form,” said Howard Beige, Rubie’s executive vice president.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Costume Collection by Rubie’s is available for this Halloween.

AG Properties and Just Play Launch New Care Bears Toy Line

JustPlay.CareBearsA new partnership between AG Properties (AGP) and Just Play will bring an all-new Care Bears toy line to major retail outlets this fall. The Just Play toy line will feature plush, as well as an assortment of Care Bears figures and play sets that will give children the chance to create special connections and enjoy make-believe adventures.

Arriving at U.S. retailers nationwide in September, the line will feature Cheer Bear, Funshine Bear, Share Bear, Harmony Bear, Tenderheart Bear, and Grumpy Bear, all of which help teach kids about emotions, empathy and caring. The Just Play toys extend an expansive Care Bears consumer reach across multiple categories.

TIF Seeking Toy Donations for Kids Living at Langley Air Force Base

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is seeking toys for infants, toddlers, and teens for an early fall toy distribution at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Held in cooperation with Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services, the foundation’s giveaway, scheduled for September 18, will reach an estimated 500 kids living at the base.

Toys for the Langley Air Force Base distribution are being accepted through September 2. Companies are encouraged to complete a product donation form and send it to thetoybank@toyindustryfoundation.org or via fax to (212) 675-1328, or to contribute funds to this cause. Donors will receive a supporter badge to place on their own website.

Additional information can be found at www.thetoybank.org, and questions may be directed to Elizabeth Max, foundation program manager.

Om Nom Toys in New Zeptolab and McDonald’s Happy Meal Promotion

OmNom.FruitSkewerZeptolab is teaming with McDonald’s on a new multi-market Happy Meal promotion for its popular mobile game brand, Cut the Rope. The deal was brokered by Zeptolab’s master licensing agent in Europe, ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE).

Through October, the promotion will run in 37 markets across Europe and will offer a new and exclusive app, Cut the Rope: Hungry for Fruit, which is available on McDonald’s Happy Studio on the iOS and Android platforms. The goal of the game is to get the candy-eating monster, Om Nom, a steady diet of fruit by popping floating bubbles that contain the fruit or Om Nom himself. During the promotion, every Happy Meal purchase will come with one of eight Om Nom fruit-themed toys.

Store window takeovers, fruit sampling, fun fruit recipe cards, and premium demos are among the activations that will support the new Cut the Rope game for the duration of the promotion.

COMMENTARY: Sports Video Games Are Getting More Realistic All the Time

Phil.NHL15.08.13

NHL 15, from EA Sports

Face it, sports fans: People of all ages love watching football, baseball, basketball, etc., and ever since the first video game based on any sport was released for home consoles, people have loved playing sports video games. I myself grew up with the Madden NFL and NBA Live series, both from Electronic Arts (EA Games), and I still remember the thrill of throwing a Dan Marino touchdown, or making Shaquille O’Neal uncharacteristically fire up a three-pointer. [Read more...]

Brandberry Enters Partnership with Worx Toys

PoopeezLicensing agency Brandberry has signed Worx Toys as its master toy partner. They will be focusing efforts on a book and plush program that introduces the characters from the Poopeez brand, which is aimed at all ages.

“Developing a children’s property that engages kids, equally as much as adults, is no easy feat,” said Gene Khasminsky, the president of Worx Toys. “Children ages 3 to 6 find the subject of poop to be the funniest on the planet, while the tastefully crafted potty humor is equally as engaging for adults.”

Poopeez is inspired by bathroom humor, but its characters have humanistic qualities and unique personalities. Current Poopeez licensees include Bare Tree Media, which is launching virtual goods, and Alley Oop Toys as the novelty toys licensee.

Chicago Toy & Game Group’s Mary Couzin Selected to Judge DevelopHer Challenge

ChicagoMary Couzin, the founder and CEO of the Chicago Toy & Game Group, has been selected to sit on an eight-person panel of judges for the 2014 DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge, which charges individuals and companies to create new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-based toys for young children, particularly girls.

Joining Couzin will be actresses and activists Geena Davis and Maria Bello, as well as Clare Munn, the CEO and founder of the social impact media company The Communication Group. Couzin and her fellow judges will critique games designed to challenge girls from the ages of three to 12.

Any individuals or companies with a valid prototype are eligible for entry to the DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge.

Collins to Publish The Little Book of Bananagrams with Foreword by Dame Judi Dench

Bananagrams LondonThis fall will see the release of The Collins Little Book of Bananagrams, which contains hints, winning strategies, and insider secrets for fans of the word game. Deej Johnson, the Bananagrams brand’s creative consultant, and word-game champion Mark Nyman wrote the book. It includes two ways to turn titles that save vital seconds when someone shouts, “Peel!”; things that a player must do in their first move; and more. Dame Judi Dench, a Bananagrams fan, provides a foreword.

The book, which will be available globally in October from Collins, also offers general word game advice, such as 135 proper nouns that can be played in any word game.

Jenga Goes Big with New Jenga Giant

Jenga GiantJengaGiant, a new giant counterpart to Jenga, will debut on Amazon and with other retailers this month. Manufactured and distributed by Art’s Ideas, it will weigh a total of 17 lbs. and can stack up to three feet and higher. Jenga Giant uses the same rules as Classic Jenga and comes with 54 precision-cut, polished hardwood blocks, as well as a box designed to be both a game platform and for storage and transport. [Read more...]