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...]

Legoland Discovery Center, Fat Brain Toys, Habitat for Humanity Know There’s No Place Like Home

legolandLegoland Discovery Center Kansas City, Habitat for Humanity Kansas City, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Fat Brain Toys, Sporting Kansas City, and Jose Peppers are building a better tomorrow by bringing There’s No Place Like Home to Kansas City.

There’s No Place Like Home, a year-long campaign celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the classic film The Wizard of Oz, combines fundraising and volunteer efforts to support Habitat for Humanity’s mission to create decent, safe, and affordable housing in partnership with families that would not qualify for conventional home loans across the U.S. The family they built the house for was given a Lego model of Dorothy’s house from the film, and other Habitat families will be given toys courtesy of Fat Brain Toys, which opened its second retail location in Overland Park, Kan., this past May.

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.

Record Imports Expected as West Coast Port Talks Continue

nrfImport volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to hit an all-time record in August as retailers concerned about the lack of a West Coast longshoremen’s contract rush to bring holiday season merchandise into the country, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Import volume at U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report is expected to total 1.54 million containers this month, which is the highest monthly volume since NRF began tracking import volume in 2000. It tops a previous record of 1.53 million set in July, as well as unusually high numbers seen this spring as retailers began importing merchandise early in anticipation of this summer’s contract talks.

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1. Dockworkers remain on the job as both sides continue to negotiate a new agreement.

Conrad Bassett-Bouchard Spells Success at 2014 National Scrabble Championship

Conrad_Bassett-Bouchard_Wins_National_Scrabble_Championship_3After five days of consecutive play, Conrad Bassett-Bouchard of Portland, OR was named winner of the 2014 National Scrabble Championship. Basset-Bouchard defeated several top Scrabble players, including defending four-time consecutive champion Nigel Richards, and receive a cash prize of $10,000. In the final round, he beat runner-up Jason Li with a final score of 478-350. Over 25 words were played, including “mar,” “annexe,” “naiad,” “florigen,” “aa,” and “barf.”

More than 500 Scrabble players played the tournament at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Competitors played in 31 one-on-one games, and were ranked based on their victories and the number of points by which they outscored their opponents. [Read more...]

PS4 Sales Grow at Fastest Rate in PlayStation Hardware History

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGOPlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment systems have cumulatively sold more than 10 million units worldwide as of August 10, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) The hardware system has demonstrated the fastest and strongest growth in PlayStation history. The PS4 system is currently available in 100 countries and regions worldwide.

SCE will continue to enhance the PS4 system’s network features, including the ability to upload game footage directly to YouTube. It will also incorporate Share Play, a feature that allows players to enjoy game play as if they are in the same room, such as remotely taking over a friend’s controller to help him or her through tricky sections of a game.

With strong support from users as well as third party developers and publishers worldwide, PS4 software sales passed 30 million copies sold in retail stores globally and through digital downloads on the PlayStation Store as of August 10.

Nickelodeon Suites Resort to Kick Off Halloween Nick-or-Treat Celebration in October

nickelodeon suites resortNickelodeon Suites Resort (Nick Hotel) is inviting guests to join the fun of its annual Halloween Nick-or-Treat, and celebrate the scariest holiday of the year with slime, treats and a ghoulish good time. Starting on October 4, and continuing every weekend of the month, guests can dress in their favorite costume and collect treats from Nickelodeon characters at Nick-or-Treat stations around the resort.

During Nick-or-Treat, guests will enjoy other activities, including a Spooky Splash Bash at the Lagoon Pool where they can play Halloween-themed games, slide down one of seven water slides, and get slimed. Guests are encouraged to wear a costume during the festivities or borrow one from the hotel. Every child participating in Nick-or-Treat will receive a Power Rangers-themed trick-or-treat bag with toys, removable tattoos, and more.

Beginning this month, Nickelodeon Suites Resort will offer special stay packages and Florida resident rates. More information can be found at nickhotel.com.

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.

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.