China Toy Fair


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.

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.

Second Kids India to Kick Off with 40 Percent More Exhibitors

kids india 2014The second annual Kids India will kick off on September 18 with 40 percent more exhibitors than last year. The Indian trade fair will be held at the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Center, with a total of 153 exhibitors from 13 countries. The trade show organizer Spielwarenmesse eG has increased the exhibition area to 8,700 square meters, 1,500 square meters more than last year.

Kids India represents the international platform of the Indian toy industry. In addition to toys, Indian and international exhibitors will be presenting baby products, licenses, sport, leisure, and hobby. At its premiere last year, more than 100 exhibitors and over 5,200 visitors attended the trade show in Mumbai. The show offers participants free workshops and seminars, including national and international speakers discussing current issues and trends in the toy industry. [Read more...]

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.

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.”

FAO Schwarz to Host Rilakkuma Day of Fun

RilakkumaFAO Schwarz will host a Rilakkuma Fun Day on October 11, where the store will convert three towers in the Grand Hall of its New York flagship store into the ultimate Rilakkuma destination for the duration of the month. During the Rilakkuma Day of Fun, consumers can participate in giveaways and a meet-and-greet with the Rilakkuma Mascot and Kawaii girls. Rilakkuma, created by San-X, is one of Japan’s most popular characters, famous for its “bear in relaxed mood” lifestyle of eating, sleeping, and listening to music.

FAO Schwarz currently carries a variety of plush Rilakkumma product in its flagship store and online on FAO.com, but will expands the product assortment to a 6-foot space on the second floor to include plush, apparel, accessories, electronics, and stationery.

 

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...]

CWIST and Science Buddies Partnering for STEM Education

CWIST LOGOScience Buddies will join the CWIST platform, giving kids and parents additional resources to learn something new and build on their in-classroom science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

CWIST offers a crowd-sourced library of educational and fun challenges for kids ages 5 to 11, including customized content, challenges, and wishes from curated partners. The not-for-profit Science Buddies empowers K to 12 students, parents, and teachers to find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science, and music to microbiology.

Together, CWIST and Science Buddies will create customized STEM education challenges for the CWIST platform, available at www.cwist.com. Membership is free and provides access to thousands of challenges in dozens of categories.