China Toy Fair


Hasbro, Disney, and 3DPlusMe Team Up for Super Awesome Me

SuperAwesomeMeHasbro Inc. and 3DPlusMe are introducing Super Awesome Me, a personalized 3-D printing experience that allows kids (and those who are kids at heart) to become Captain America or Iron Man. The initiative provides fans with a customized, 12-inch action figure through an in-store experience. In conjunction with Disney Consumer Products’ Marvel Super Hero September celebration, the Super Awesome Me experience will launch at ten Wal-Mart and two Sam’s Club locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston between September 19 and 28.

Fans visit an in-store scanning station, where a 3-D face scanner captures their likeness to create a 3-D model. Each Super Awesome Me figure, recommended for fans ages 4 years and up, features a traditional articulated plastic action figure body and full-color 3-D printed head. Figures are available for pick-up at Wal-Mart locations or shipped to Sam’s Club customers in four weeks.

More information on the Super Awesome Me experience, as well as a full list of participating Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, is available at superawesomeme.com.

August Video Game Sales Up Year-over-Year, but New Software Launches Show Weakness

NPDGrouplogoAccording to analysis from The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan, overall new physical retail sales of video game hardware, software, and accessories increased by 8 percent this August over the same month last year. These overall sales also followed a similar pattern as prior months, with explosive hardware growth driven by eighth generation consoles offsetting declines in software.

For August, overall hardware sales doubled from the same month last year, caused by a more than 200 percent increase in console hardware sales with continued strong sales of eighth generation hardware, including Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One. Eighth generation hardware represented close to 70 percent of August’s hardware sales—the highest percentage share since the release of the Xbox One and PS4 last November.

As far as software, new launches in August declined 41 percent compared to last August, due to poor comparisons between titles. Eight of the top 10 games last August were new launches, compared to only three during this past August. Madden NFL 15 was the number one game in August, with growth over last August’s Madden NFL 25.

Toys “R” Us and Claire’s Enter into Global Partnership

Feature Shops, FAO and Times Square, Hot ToysToys “R” Us and Claire’s have entered into a strategic global partnership to bring trendy, fashion-forward products to Toys “R” Us customers in select stores around the world. Following a successful pilot program in Europe, Claire’s-branded shops within Toys “R” Us stores will expand to nearly 100 locations across the continent, including stores in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, and Spain. They will also be set in 12 Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. by the end of this year.

Shoppers will be able to choose from Claire’s jewelry, headbands, hair and fashion accessories, jewelry holders, legwear, seasonal items, and more. The shops will vary in size by location.

Two Claire’s locations in the U.S. will officially debut this week in the company’s flagship Toys “R” Us Times Square and FAO Schwarz stores in New York City. The additional 10 locations in the U.S. are expected to be open by the end of October and will be located in Murrieta, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Jensen Beach, Fla.; Florence, Ky.; Waldorf, Md.; Henderson, Nev.; Toledo, Ohio; Tulsa, Okla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Houston, Texas.

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...]