Nintendo Files U.S. Patent for Handheld Video Game Emulator

NintendoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal this past Tuesday, Nintendo has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that could pave the way for Nintendo to offer its games on smartphones or other mobile devices.

The patent, which was published last Thursday and filed by Nintendo in June, is described as a software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform. However, analysts are skeptical that Nintendo is planning a move into video games on mobile devices. The patent, originally filed in 2000 and extended in 2003 and 2012, could also be used to fight piracy.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata previously said the company would stick to using its intellectual property, which includes Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, solely on its own game device.

Cyber Monday Marks a Personal Best for Wal-Mart

Walmart.com_Cyber_Monday_Home_PageAs reported by Wal-Mart this past Tuesday, Cyber Monday was the retailer’s biggest online day for orders in its history. Customers viewed more than 1.5 billion pages on walmart.com between Thanksgiving and December 1, aka Cyber Monday, with mobile accounting for approximately 70 percent of traffic to the site between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Walmart.com’s best-selling Cyber Monday items included the PlayStation 4 500 GB Console Bundle with Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and LittleBigPlanet 3; the Nintendo 3DS XL New Super Mario Bros 2 Limited Edition Handheld; the Xbox One Assassins Creed Unity Bundle; the Skywalker Trampolines 12-Foot Round Trampoline and Safety Enclosure with Blue Spring Pad; and the Lego Giant Creative Tower, with 1,600 pieces and storage box.

This year, more than 100 Cyber Monday specials were available for free same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores, and orders with same-day pickups increased 70 percent over last year.

CafePress Launches Holiday Giving Campaign for Toys for Tots

CafePress

A collaborative effort launched today between CafePress, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation, Hasbro, and My Life Games LLC will help provide children in need with toys at the holidays.

Through this first-year campaign, CafePress will provide consumers with three different ways to support Toys for Tots, including $1 donated for every Facebook “Share” given to the video entitled, “Toys for Tots: Every Child Deserves a Little Christmas.” Other means include $1 donated from the final purchase price of all customizable Monopoly and Scrabble games sold on cafepress.com; and $2 donated from the sale of two special edition T-shirts, each priced at $7.

“We are honored to support Toys for Tots this holiday season,” said Fred Durham, CEO and co-founder of CafePress. “To be able to support their noble efforts by donating a portion of proceeds of games known for bringing families together is ideal.”

Alex Brands Joins Toys for Tots as Official Sponsor

AlexBrandsAs of today, Alex Brands has become an official sponsor of Toys for Tots. The company is joining the charitable program to help benefit children and families during the current holiday season.

A 67-year-old national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots collects toys, books, and other gifts, distributing them to economically disadvantaged children. Last year, the Marine Corps provided for nearly 7 million children in more than 760 communities nationwide.

“We are delighted to have Alex Brands join us as a national corporate sponsor,” says retired Marine Major Bill Grein, vice president of marketing and development for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “The addition of some of the most recognizable and iconic toy brands to our efforts is going to help make this holiday season even brighter for the children we serve.”

Alex Brands’ family of brands includes Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, Ideal, and more.

Total Spending, Number of Shoppers Down During Black Friday Weekend

As reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), roughly 87 million Americans visited stores on Black Friday. However, total spending for the long Thanksgiving weekend is projected to be down more than 10 percent from last year’s estimate.

According to an NRF survey released on Sunday, total spending for the four-day weekend is expected to reach $50.9 billion, a decrease of 11.3 percent from last year’s estimate of $57.4 billion. NRF data also estimates that 133.7 million shoppers will have visited stores this weekend, down 5 percent year-over-year and below the expected number of 140.1 million. The survey also estimates flat growth in online sales.

This data follows strong starts reported by some retailers for the Black Friday weekend. Both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. began offering special Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, beginning at 6 p.m. While neither Wal-Mart nor Target has reported specific sales figures, both claimed a high number of customers that shopped at stores as well as online. [Read more...]

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and Guangdong Toy Association Partner to Consolidate Fairs in China

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. and the Guangdong Toy Association (GDTA) have formed Guangzhou Li Tong Messe Frankfurt Co. Ltd, a joint venture to reach a larger international audience and add variety to their separate visitor pools. The partnership will begin next year with the organization of two events: Toy & Hobby China and Baby & Stroller China.

The partnership will also expand the two fairs’ product offerings. R/C toys, computer games, and software and computer learning systems will be added to the list of new products featured at Toy & Hobby China, which also includes die-cast models and playground and outdoor equipment. Baby & Stroller China will also see a more complete product scope. The event will take place next year at the Poly World Trade Center in Guangzhou on April 8 to 10.

Time Definitely Flies for PowerUp 3.0

PowerUp3.0A year ago this month, inventor Shai Goitein of PowerUp Toys launched a Kickstarter campaign for PowerUp 3.0, which generated more than $1.2 million and became one of the top funded programs in the flight category. Today, the innovative Bluetooth-enabled paper airplane toys are sold exclusively at Mastermind Toys stores across Canada and in various specialty U.S. retailers.

In 2013, PowerUp Toys launched a Kickstarter page with a goal of $50,000 to fund PowerUp 3.0, a Bluetooth-enabled paper airplane that can be controlled directly from a smart phone app. The campaign reached its funding goal within eight hours. Shortly after the Kickstarter shipments of PowerUp 3.0 were flown overseas to more than 100 different countries, PowerUp 3.0 debuted at the EAA AirVenture Air Show and was made available to the general public on poweruptoys.com.

“Thanks to the overwhelming support of our Kickstarter backers, PowerUp 3.0 was able to get off the ground and capture the attention of major influencers,” says Goitein, inventor and president of PowerUp Toys. “This past year has been an amazing ride and it isn’t over yet. We are always looking to the future and dedicating ourselves to wonders of science and play so that we can create the next big thing for our fans.”

HIA and Urban Expositions to Take Over Management, Production of Halloween & Party Expo

The Halloween Industry Association (HIA) and Urban Expositions will acquire Halloween & Party Expo from its current owners, H&P Expo LLC. Scheduled for February 6 to 9 at the New Orleans Convention Center, the event will be operated by H&P Expo. HIA and Urban Expositions will take over the event immediately following next year’s edition.

Under the new partnership, Urban Expositions will be responsible for managing all aspects of the event including sales, operations, marketing, and promotion with guidance and expertise provided by HIA. Urban Expositions and HIA will focus their efforts on increasing awareness of the event, expanding the selection of the product mix and growing the show into an internationally recognized event for the Halloween industry.

Future editions of Halloween & Party Expo will also take place in New Orleans, with dates of January 20 to 23, 2016; and January 14 to 17, 2017.

New York Attorney General Asks Toy Retailers to Be Extra Vigilant About Safety

The New York attorney general has reminded retailers that they are obligated under state and federal law not to sell toxic toys.

As reported by the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to 190 retailers. Each letter stated that New York law prohibits the sale, import, and manufacture of children’s products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury, with penalties up to $1,000 per violation.

While federal law requires manufacturers and importers to certify that products comply with children’s product safety rules enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Schneiderman advises retailers to check the CPSC website for product recalls.

He also cites a recent report by Clean & Healthy New York Inc. and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Inc. that found some children’s items bought in Albany County contained arsenic, mercury, and lead.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group Reveals 2014 TAGIE Winners

TAGIE.AwardsThe Chicago Toy & Game Group has crowned this year’s recipients of the 2014 Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards. More than 400 guests representing 23 countries gathered at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom last Friday to toast today’s top playthings.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group acknowledged the following winners from nominated categories:

Excellence in Game Design: Oliver Morris, designer of Gravity Maze

Excellence in Toy Design: Ian Bernstein, Adam Wilson, and Sphero team, inventors of Ollie

Rising Star Designer: Alice Taylor, designer of Makies [Read more...]