China Toy Fair


Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Edition Launches in Retail Stores Nationwide

DisneyInfinity.MarvelSuperHeroesDisney Interactive and Marvel have launched Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, the follow-up to last year’s toy/video game hybrid. The Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack features the 2.0 game software; the Disney Infinity 2.0 Base; Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set with Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor figures; two Toy Box Game Discs; and a web code card. Marvel’s Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy Play Sets, along with additional figures from those worlds, are sold separately. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us to Hire 45,000 for Holiday Shopping Season

toysrusToys “R” Us will hire 45,000 seasonal employees at its stores and distribution centers nationwide, more than doubling the company’s workforce as it prepares for the busy holiday shopping months ahead. These seasonal positions will include sales associates, stock crew and omnichannel fulfillment teams, as well as distribution center workers and department managers.

Interviewing for holiday positions at Toys “R” Us stores begins at the end of this month, and new hires start working in early October. Staffing continues to build throughout the holiday season right up to Christmas. Seasonal store employees typically work 16 to 20 hours per week with flexible schedules offered during the week, weeknights, or weekends. Employment opportunities are also available at the company’s distribution centers nationwide, which began hiring in July and will continue through November.

Job seekers can visit www.toysrusinc.com/careers/holiday to apply and learn more about working at Toys “R” Us during the holiday season.

Winner Announced in Skylanders Choose and Name a New Hero Contest

SkylandersLogoPhylicia Nakamoto, from Elk Grove, Calif., is the fan-selected winner of the Skylanders Choose and Name a New Hero promotion. Her winning entry, High Five, is a royal dragonfly that is able to fly higher and faster than any other hero in Skylands. Phylicia will receive a $100,000 scholarship and High Five will be featured in the Skylanders franchise.

Earlier this year, Frito-Lay North America and Activision Publishing Inc. gave fans the opportunity to choose and name a new hero that would appear in the upcoming Skylanders Trap Team game, which will be released on October 5 in North America. Along with High Five, the other two finalist characters—Bat Spin, a female bat with magical powers, and Flip Wreck, an adventurous dolphin—will also have roles in the new game.

The three finalists were revealed in May, and consumers were invited to visit www.fritolay.com/skylanders to vote for their favorite. This marks the third Skylanders promotion between Activision and Frito-Lay.

VTech to Offer Toca Boca Content on InnoTab MAX Tablet

VTech-LogoVTech has entered a content distribution deal with the leading digital play studio Toca Boca. InnoTab MAX, VTech’s first children’s learning tablet with Android 1 learning content, will include one free Toca Boca app available for download. Consumers can choose between Toca Lab and Toca Pet Doctor after registering InnoTab MAX on VTech’s Learning Lodge app store.

Toca Lab lets children explore the world of science by experimenting with all 118 elements of the periodic table—each with its own unique personality. Toca Pet Doctor allows kids to care for, love, and help 15 different sick or injured animal friends, including a dog, turtle, bird, and more. All of Toca Boca’s apps are gender-neutral and non-competitive with no external advertising or in-app purchases.

InnoTab MAX, a 7-inch tablet featuring access to educator-approved VTech and Android apps, as well as VTech’s library of cartridges, will be available in October.

Nickelodeon’s TV and Digital Channels to Go Dark for 11th Annual Worldwide Day of Play

Nickelodeon will empower kids to get active when its TV channels, websites, and app go off air and offline for its 11th Annual Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP) on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., TeenNick, nick.com, nickjr.com, nicktoons.com, teennick.com, and the Nick App will all participate.

The network’s national pro-social partners—United States Tennis Association, NFL Play 60, the Boys and Girls Club of America, among others—will host several thousand local events across the country to help celebrate kids’ love of play. These events will be hosted by Nickelodeon’s national partners, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and more.

On September 20, Nickelodeon will air health and wellness-themed messaging beginning at 9 a.m. At 12 p.m., Nickelodeon will sign-off on air and online, signaling kids and families to get up and get moving. While the network is dark, a message encouraging viewers to go play will appear on a loop. [Read more...]

Free Super Smash Bros. 3DS Demo Available to Download

SuperSmashBrosNintendo 3DS owners can download a free demo of the upcoming fighting game, Super Smash Bros., in the Nintendo eShop at 9 a.m. PT today. The demo includes playable characters Mario, Link, Pikachu, Villager, and Mega Man. It also features the battlefield stage and the ability to compete in local multiplayer matches with fellow Nintendo 3DS owners who have downloaded the demo to their systems.

A Nintendo Network ID is required to download the demo. More details on Super Smash Bros. can be found at http://www.smashbros.com/us/.

GameStop to Exit Spanish Market, Sell Locations to GAME

GamestopGameStop intends to exit the Spanish market via the sale of retail locations to specialist video game retailer Game Digital Plc (GAME), in combination with closures of its remaining locations. Under the terms of this proposed agreement, GameStop will transfer ownership of a portfolio of GameStop stores located in Spain, with the remaining retail sites winding down this year.

GAME already has a consumer presence in the country, in addition to its retail operations in the UK. GameStop’s strategic decision to exit the Spanish market was made after a careful review of the market’s financial performance and future opportunities, which indicated that the company would be better served by curtailing its operations in Spain, and focusing its resources in other countries where GameStop has significant market share. GameStop expects to maintain and expand its presence in the other European countries in which it currently operates.

During the coming months, GameStop will work closely with GAME to ensure continued support for GameStop’s customers in Spain. The proposed deal will require Spanish Competition Authority approval, which is expected in October. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet Available for Pre-Order

FireHDKidsOn Wednesday, Amazon introduced the Fire HD Kids Edition in both 6-inch and 7-inch tablet sizes. This children’s tablet comes with a two-year guarantee, as well as a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which provides access to books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games featuring characters such as Harry Potter, Lightning McQueen, Dora the Explorer, and more.

The Fire HD Kids Edition features a quad-core processor, a vivid HD display, front- and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital audio, and access to Amazon’s content ecosystem of more than 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, Android apps, and games. The Fire HD Kids Edition also comes with Amazon FreeTime, which offers parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage screen time.

The Fire HD Kids Edition is now available for pre-order and will start shipping in October.

Hasbro to Step Back from The Hub Children’s Network

Hasbro logoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal, Discovery Communications Inc. and Hasbro Inc. are ending their equal partnership in The Hub, a cable network that hoped to become a force in children’s television against Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.

Under the terms being completed, Discovery would take a controlling interest in The Hub and reposition the channel as a family network aimed at parents as well as children. Hasbro will retain a large stake in the service and control six hours of daytime programming on the network, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Launched in 2010 with a $300 million investment from Hasbro for half of the network, The Hub was designed to be an outlet for some of Hasbro’s best-known toy brands, including G.I. Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony.

The makeover could take place as early as the fourth quarter, with The Hub renamed Discovery Family.

COMMENTARY: Dolls for Boys Are a Sign of the Times

Fritzi, from Haba

For the most recent issue of The Toy Book, I had a chance to research trends in the doll industry, and one that stuck out is an increase in dolls with potential appeal for boys. Arklu, the creator of Lottie Dolls, is planning to introduce its first boy doll, Kite Flyer, this fall. Meanwhile, Haba will be introducing Fritzi, a doll that has no assigned gender—Fritzi can be a boy doll for boys, or a girl doll for girls. There’s also Grandmas2Share, which is marketing grandmother-themed dolls as playthings for children of both genders. [Read more...]