NPD Report Shows Decrease in Hardware, Physical Software Sales

NPDGrouplogoRecently, the NPD Group reported U.S. games industry sales for the period of March 1 to April 4. According to Liam Callahan, director, games industry analyst, hardware unit sales decreased by 9 percent, and with average prices down 13 percent across all platforms, dollar sales decreased by 21 percent.

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Barbie Celebrates “Sheroes” at the Variety Power of Women Luncheon

Barbie Sheroes group shotToday, Barbie honored six Sheroes, female heroes who inspire girls by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities for women everywhere. The brand presented these women at the Variety Power of Women Luncheon in New York City with one-of-a-kind dolls created in their likenesses.

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Moose Toys Announces 16 New Shopkins Licensees for the U.S. and Canada

ShopkinsLogoMoose ToysShopkins licensed merchandise program for the U.S. and Canadian market has made deals with 16 additional licensees, bringing its total licensee count to 25.

The Licensing Shop Inc. brokered the new deals, and licensees for toys and games include the following:

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The Queen’s Treasures Partners with Little House on the Prairie and Jane Goodall Institute

TheQueensTreasuresLaurentlogoThe Queen’s Treasures and Laurent Doll, which merged this past February, have inked licensing deals with literary and entertainment property Little House on the Prairie and the Jane Goodall Institute. Later this year, the two companies will release a selection of playthings including a wooden covered wagon that seats two dolls, and a jungle camp featuring a canvas tent and cots similar to those Dr. Goodall and her team use.

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Toy Advocacy Groups Come Out in Favor of Safe to Play Coalition Lawsuit

A number of advocacy groups representing manufacturers and sellers throughout the toy industry favor a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court against Albany County. The lawsuit, filed by the Safe to Play Coalition, alleges that by passing Albany County Local Law No. J, the county acted with gross disregard of extensive federal laws regulating the safety of toys and children’s products.

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Roominate Releases #LetGirlsBuild Video

RoominateCoinciding with National Take Your Daughter to Work Day, Roominate is launching a video encouraging young girls to become whatever they want when they grow up.

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Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, and Mattel Unveil New All-Girl Superhero Franchise

DCSuperherogirlsThis fall, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Mattel will launch DC Super Hero Girls, a new universe of female-dominated superheroes and villains.

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Hasbro Introduces First Kid-Sourced The Game of Life with New Career Choices

TheGameofLifeHasbro Inc. surveyed U.S. children ages 8 to 12 about what they want to be when they grow up, and based on their feedback, have updated The Game of Life to include new career options. Kids were asked about the modern and traditional jobs that they would like to have, and their top picks are featured as Career cards in the newest version of The Game of Life, in stores now.

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Mattel Teams Up with Autodesk for New Digital and 3-D Printing Experiences

logo_Mattel logoMattel and Autodesk Inc. have signed an exclusive agreement to power the Mattel toy line with cutting-edge 3-D design and 3-D printing technology. The joint initiative will provide an immersive experience by combining physical toys with digital adventures. An upcoming series of apps will empower consumers to imagine, design, and customize their own toys, as well as make the toys through 3-D printing.

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Hasbro Ranks Second in 100 Best Corporate Citizens List

Hasbro logoHasbro Inc. has been named as the second most transparent and responsible company in the U.S., according to the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for this year. This is the second time that Hasbro has ranked in the top 10 and the fourth consecutive year that the company has ranked among the top 25.

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Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Merchandise Launching at Retailers Everywhere

Marvel,Avengers,TheAgeofUltronWith less than one month until Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) and Marvel have released details about their merchandising program, which is arriving at retail now. Toy partners include Hasbro, Lego, Hot Wheels, Funko, Rubie’s Costumes, Disney Store, and more. The toys range from interactive electronic action figures with voice-activation to motorized 6V ride-on super cars that drive 2.5 miles per hour; to articulated, light-up repulsor FX gloves; and a disk-launching shield.

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Warner Bros. Pictures Confirms Release Dates for Upcoming Lego Movies

LEGO_LogoWarner Bros. Pictures has confirmed the release of three new Lego features, including The Lego Movie Sequel, which will be released domestically on May 18, 2018, beginning its worldwide release.

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Day 6 Sports Group Launches Malibu Sports

Day6LogoDay 6 Sports Group has released Malibu Sports & Recreation, a brand intended to promote social, active fun for all ages. Offering innovative twists to traditional outdoor play, the Malibu Sports & Recreation line includes the Ultra Djubi Toss, Throne Premium Flying Discs, the Trickster, and Ultra Rollors.

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Toy Backer Successfully Funds Its First Campaign

ToyBacker.com LOGOToy Backer has successfully funded its first campaign, Within Me Now, beyond the project’s original goal. Within Me Now, a line of books and plush, received $12,623 with a $10,000 goal. There were 128 pledgers that backed 127 percent of the campaign.


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COMMENTARY: Toy Shoppers Have More Tools at Their Disposal than Ever

ToyBooklogoToday’s toy shopping experience has become a combination—or choice—of in-person browsing, online price comparisons, and research in a way we’d previously never seen before the dawn of the smartphone. Gone are the days of browsing the aisles of a single store, limited to its inventory and prices. Competitors used to be a trip or a phone call away, and often, shoppers didn’t have the time or desire to drive around town in search of a slightly lower price.

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Wonder Crew Successfully Funded on Kickstarter

Wonder Crew SuperheroThe creators of Wonder Crew are trying to bring new elements to the mainstream blue aisle with its new line of dolls for boys. Wonder Crew was funded more than $40,000 during its successful 30-day Kickstarter campaign, resulting in approximately 500 pre-orders from 35 states and five continents.

Backers voted on the first adventure to go into production, selecting a superhero character as the first Crewmate.

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Mattel and Quirky Partner to Re-imagine Play

Quirky,MattellogoMattel and Quirky have entered an exclusive partnership to spark invention in toys, play, and more. Harnessing Quirky’s global community and Mattel’s iconic brands, the two companies will re-imagine Mattel’s portfolio of products to drive growth for brands such as Barbie, Fisher-Price, and Hot Wheels.

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Sophia’s and ASPCA Team Up for Adopt-A-Pet Series

SophiasASPCALicense,AdoptAPetSeriesSophia’s has introduced its Adopt-A-Pet series, consisting of plush pets sized for 18-inch doll play. The Adopt-A-Pet series was created by Sophia’s in honor of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and provides families with the opportunity to combine interpretive, 18-inch doll play with teaching children an important lesson about pet rescue and philanthropy.

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COMMENTARY: These Classic Games Are Full of Fun Trivia Facts

Scrabble, circa 1948

Covering the toy industry, you learn a lot of neat facts about toys and games. That especially rings true in a year like this one, in which some of the best-known brands are celebrating impressive milestone birthdays. Here are some games with names you’ll probably recognize, and some related trivia, which hopefully you won’t have known until now.

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News

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Spin Master Teams with Autism Speaks to Benefit the Autism Community

Spin Master Ltd. has partnered with Autism Speaks in the U.S. and Canada to raise funds for the organization through the sale of Kinetic Sand. The company will also explore the positive benefits that play skills and social experiences may have for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

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Jakks Pacific Reports First Quarter Results

Jakks Pacific Inc. reported results for the company’s first quarter ended March 31. Net sales increased 38 percent to $114.2 million, compared to $82.5 million reported in the comparable period last year. The reported net loss for the first quarter was $7.6 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $16.3 [...]

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Hasbro Reports First Quarter Revenue and Operating Profit Growth

Today, Hasbro Inc. reported first quarter financial results, including net revenues of $713.5 million, a 5 percent increase versus $679.5 million in the prior year. Revenues increased 14 percent, excluding a negative $62.6 million impact from foreign exchange.

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Articles

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How Your Toy Store Can Leverage Ambient Scenting

by Richard Weening, CEO, Prolitec Inc. A properly designed and merchandised toy store is a feast for the senses—a place where bright colors, lively graphics, and upbeat music enhance the delightful atmosphere already created by the imaginative products themselves. And yet in most stores, arguably the most important of the five senses—the sense of smell—is [...]

WithinMeNow

Within Me Now Inspires Kids with Positive Messages

Within Me Now is a line of board books and companion plush that represents a group of quirky and cuddly friends, who remind kids that qualities like love, strength, courage, joy, and peace are already inside of them. The stories are inspired by the daily challenges of kids’ lives and lessons learned when using what’s [...]

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Q&A with Mattel: Social Media, 3-D Printing, and More

The Toy Book (TTB): In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? Mattel: We engage with consumers across all brand and corporate social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as retailer sites, like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s. At Mattel, we have a fully functioning reporting and [...]

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