Toy Industry Association Accepting Nominations for 2014 Toy of the Year Awards, Board of Directors
The Toy Industry Association Inc. (TIA) is accepting toy, game, and property submissions across 12 categories for the 2014 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. The nomination period will close at 5 p.m. PST on October 11. Finalists will be unveiled on November 25 and the winners will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony next February.
Toy companies, inventors, retailers, and others are invited to nominate contenders. All submissions should include a brief 50-word description plus a statement—up to 300 words—explaining why the product or property is deserving of recognition on the TOTY Awards ballot. Products must have been introduced to the marketplace within the past two years and must be available at retail in the U.S. on or before November 25. Each submission is $75 for TIA members and $125 for TIA non-members. For more information, visit www.toyassociation.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, TIA invites all members to submit candidates for seats on the association’s Board of Directors. The board is responsible for the management and control of the activities, property, and affairs of TIA, including the strategic direction of the association, the annual budget, and the scope of responsibilities of the board and its committees.
The criteria that will be considered by the nominating committee for each nominee includes: commitment to attend regularly scheduled board meetings each year and, as appropriate, other relevant TIA-sponsored events; and professional skills and experience (e.g., finance, law, marketing, etc.) that may be of value to the board.
All nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. on October 11 PST. For more information, including additional criteria and where to submit nominations, click here.
Skylanders Swap Force Launches on Nintendo 3DS This Fall
Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., will deliver the innovation of “dynamic swapability” to the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system this fall with the launch of Skylanders Swap Force.
The Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders Swap Force offers gamers a unique adventure complete with its very own story, levels, and special starter pack characters. A truly complementary experience to the console version, Skylanders Swap Force on Nintendo 3DS will hit retail destinations worldwide with three new characters—Rattle Shake, Volcanic Eruptor, and Free Ranger—that are not found in any other Skylanders Starter Pack. Skylanders Swap Force on Nintendo 3DS, developed by n-Space, will be available on October 13 in North America, October 16 in Australia, and October 18 in Europe. The game is rated E10+ by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Dolphin Entertainment and Mattel to Develop Max Steel Film
Dolphin Entertainment and Mattel, Inc. have partnered to develop a live-action, feature-length film of Max Steel based on Mattel’s franchise of the same name. The film will be produced by Dolphin Films and distributed in the U.S. by Open Road Films, with a wide release in theaters in fourth quarter 2014 planned.
Created by Mattel, the Max Steel franchise spans multi-platform entertainment, toys, and consumer products. The film will introduce audiences to the world of Max Steel, in which teenager Maxwell McGrath and alien companion Steel combine special powers to generate superhero Max Steel. Bill O’Dowd and Julia Pistor will produce the film.
Disney Infinity Launches New Custom Toy Boxes
Disney Infinity fans can continue their adventures in the revolutionary Toy Box mode with five new custom Toy Boxes that are available now for download free of charge on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U.
The five free Toy Boxes available are: Cave of Wonders Race, Super Sidescroll, ESPN Speedway, Hot Lava, and Wrestling Arena. Players can download the new Toy Boxes by selecting “Toy Box” from the Disney Infinity Main Menu and then select “Toy Box Share” and “Disney’s Toy Boxes.” Once there, they will see a list of all the featured Toy Boxes and can choose one to download. They will be able to come back every week for new Toy Boxes.
Nintendo Announces Special-Edition Legend of Zelda Wii U Bundle, 2DS Portable Gaming System
At a GameStop managers show in Las Vegas, Nintendo announced its holiday slate as well as a price drop of $50 for the Wii U Deluxe Set that will go into effect on September 20. On the same day, the company will also launch a limited-edition Wii U bundle featuring The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
Meanwhile, the company’s Nintendo 2DS, a portable gaming system that plays Nintendo 3DS and DS games, albeit in 2-D, will launch on October 12.
Nintendo’s game slate for both the Wii U and 3DS in the coming months includes third-party titles, such as Scribblenauts Unmasked—A DC Comics Adventure, from Warner Bros. Interactive, and Skylanders Swap Force, from Activision.
Toys “R” Us Expands Education Product Selection, Introduces Imaginarium Brand
Toys “R” Us will expand its year-round education product selection in stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com. The company will also debut a new line of exclusive education products under its Imaginarium brand, the company’s largest range of specialty and learning toys. Imaginarium Learning offers shoppers dozens of back-to-basics as well as inventive products, which promote early learning skills in kids ages 18 months and up.
Under Imaginarium Learning, kids can discover the universe with the Lift a Flap Solar System and Lift a Flap World Puzzle, or learn their ABCs and 123s with the assistance of Touch & Learn Alphabet Fish and ABC & 123 Monkey. Additionally, magnetic tablets, like Magnetab Numbers and Magnetab ABCs Lower Case, teach small hands to trace and write, while double-sided write and erase cards and take-along boards provide activities that reinforce writing skills.
Doll House Legend Lundby Returning to North America
After a decade-long absence, the classic Swedish dollhouse brand Lundby is returning to the North American market. Lundby, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Micki, has announced plans to begin selling its doll houses through amazon.com and at specialty toy stores.
The brand is well-known for following trends in fashion and home décor, and for capturing snapshots of different eras with remarkable historical accuracy. Each dollhouse represents a dream house in miniature format scale 1:18. The dollhouses feature pre-wired, kid-safe 5-volt lighting systems. More information on Lundby can be found at www.lundby.com.
Saban Brands Announces New Episodes of Power Rangers Megaforce and Digimon Fusion
Saban Brands and Nickelodeon have announced that Saban’s Power Rangers Megaforce will return with new episodes on September 7 at 1 p.m. (EST/PST), followed by the season premiere of the new Digimon Fusion at 1:30 p.m. (EST/PST) on Nickelodeon. The back-to-back episodes create a power-hour packed with action, excitement, humor, and entertainment.
The return of new episodes of Power Rangers Megaforce continues the celebration of the franchise’s 20th anniversary, as August 28 marked 20 years since the original series, Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, first aired on television in 1993. Digimon Fusion marks the sixth installment of the Digimon franchise, which Saban Brands re-acquired last year.
Little Pim Unveils New Discovery Sets
Little Pim, the foreign-language learning program for kids ages 6 months to 6 years old, has introduced a special-edition product line now available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide. The new Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and English Discovery Sets each include three DVDs and a Little Pim plush panda toy, which help to make learning a new language fun for kids.
Between birth and the age of 6 years old, the human brain is pre-wired for language learning, and Little Pim helps families take advantage of this brief window by making language learning easy, fun, and effective. Little Pim is available in 11 languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, and Italian on videos, music, books, flash cards, gift sets, and more.
VTech Expands Its Switch & Go Dinos Line
VTech has added to its evolving line of Switch & Go Dinos. The new toys combine two of kids’ classic playthings—dinosaurs and vehicles—with a transformation feature and motion-activated lights and sounds.
The new Switch & Go Dinos are suitable for kids ages 3 to 8, and are available at www.vtechkids.com, amazon.com, target.com, toysrus.com, and walmart.com. Parents can visit VTech’s Facebook page for a chance to win a Switch & Go Dino.
XOS Offers Free Webinar on Maximizing CPSIA Compliance
XOS is offering a free webinar with featured speaker attorney Quin Dodd, noted CPSIA expert and former chief of staff at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Dodd will provide an overview of new and proposed CPSC regulations and requirements pertaining to the testing and certification of toys and other consumer products. He will also provide concrete suggestions for maximizing compliance while minimizing testing and administrative costs and compliance risks. The webinar is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 2pm EST. To register, click here.
Following Dodd’s presentation, Satbir Nayar of XOS will provide a brief overview of high-definition XRF (HDXRF) technology with regards to reducing the cost and increasing the effectiveness of heavy metals testing programs.