COMMENTARY: Let the Games (Surrounding Video Game Console Exclusives) Begin

SSC_Hammer Slam Bowser_FIN_HiResThis past Tuesday started out innocently enough. We were monitoring the news out of Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) when the announcement broke: As part of an agreement between Disney Interactive, Lucasfilm, and Sony, this fall will see the arrival of a special version of the upcoming Disney Infinity 3.0. The limited-edition Star Wars Saga Starter Pack will offer fans the chance to play as Boba Fett, the popular bounty hunter from the Star Wars movies. It will also allow players access to a much-anticipated Disney Infinity Play Set one month before it arrives on shelves, and even more importantly—at least, for the purposes of this commentary—the deal is only available for Sony’s PlayStation system.

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COMMENTARY: Smart Technology Spans New Categories

by Reyne Rice, trend hunter, toy trend expert, industry analyst, and consultant

Resized,Reyne_RiceSmart tech for kids is no longer buzzword lingo. It has become a reality and has grown to encompass so much more than just technology added to toys to make them interesting or “tech-y.” Today, kids’ technology-enhanced products offer engaging and explorative play patterns that span a wide spectrum of categories. And while there are new technologies being used in these toys, the thrill is in the play experience, not in the technology itself. New technology enhances and extends play patterns way beyond how kids were playing in past decades. Plus, parents, older siblings, caregivers, and educators are all using new technology that companies are translating into toys and tech products for kids’ worldwide.

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Skylanders Get Supercharged with SuperChargers

Skylanders-SuperChargers-Logo_PNGActivision has revealed the latest installment in its Skylanders franchise: Skylanders SuperChargers. Expanding on the brand’s signature gameplay, Skylanders SuperChargers introduces never-before-seen vehicles-to-life.

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McDonald’s Happy Meals Get Happier with Skylanders

SkylandersMcDonaldsToysStarting today, customers at participating McDonald’s locations and receive one of six awesome toys from Skylanders Trap Team with the purchase of a Happy Meal. Fans can collect heroes and villains from the game such as Pain-Yatta, Wallop, Snap Shop, Wildfire, Food Fight, and Wolfgang. Each Skylander has a unique articulation feature, and the Happy Meal packaging comes with a $10 off coupon for a Skylanders Trap Team starter pack and $1 off a Skylanders figure.

Activision Blizzard Announces First Quarter Financial Results

This past Wednesday, Activision Blizzard Inc. reported better-than-expected financial results for the first quarter ended March 31. For the quarter, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP net revenues were $1.28 billion, as compared with $1.11 billion for the first quarter of the prior year. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $703 million, as compared with $772 million for the first quarter of the previous year. For the first quarter, GAAP net revenues from digital channels were a record $581 million and represented a first-quarter record 45 percent of the company’s total revenues. On a non-GAAP basis, net revenues from digital channels were a first-quarter record $538 million and represented a record 76 percent of total revenues.

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Skylanders Unveils Easter Toys, Partners with Crayola on Color Alive! Starter Pack

Skylanders Trap Team is showing the Easter spirit with three limited edition toys: Eggsellent Weeruptor, Power Punch Jet-Vac, and a Bunny Earth Trap. Weeruptor and Jet-Vac are Minis characters made specifically for Easter, featuring pastel colors and an egg-shaped package. The Bunny Earth Trap, meanwhile, has a bunny-themed design.

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COMMENTARY: The Toy Industry Celebrates Valentine’s Day

SkylandersPopFizzOh, Valentine’s Day—the holiday people love, and the holiday people love to hate. Whichever way you see it, Valentine’s Day is at least a good enough excuse to eat a lot of chocolate, binge-watch romcoms, snuggle up with your favorite plush, and play with Valentine’s Day-themed toys. [Read more...]

Activision Introduces Valentine’s Day, Easter Toys for Skylanders Trap Team

Feb9.LovePotionActivision Publishing is bringing several special editions to the Skylanders Trap Team roster, including a new holiday-themed characters and springtime toys. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Love Potion Pop Fizz, a wild-and-crazy potion-brewing hero from Skylands, is now available and features a limited edition design both in-game and on the toy.  [Read more...]

Activision Leads with Three Top-Selling Video Game Titles

Activision Publishing Inc. has delivered the top two selling console retail releases of the year the U.S., as well as the No. 1 kids video game franchise of 2014, based on retail sell-through, according to the NPD Group.

In only its first month of release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is already the top-selling console game of the year through November in the U.S. overall, as well as individually on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and PlayStation3. Call of Duty games continue to lead November console game sales for 6th consecutive year. [Read more...]

Macy’s BalloonFest Shows Off Giant Inflated Versions of Popular Toys

BalloonLineupOn Saturday, kids product luminaries such as Eruptor from Activision’s Skylanders, Mattel’s Thomas the Tank Engine, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, and Pokemon International’s Pikachu crossed paths—though not literally—at Macy’s BalloonFest in Queens, N.Y. The event, which took place at Citi Field, featured a test flight of the newest giant character balloons that will premiere at the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A total of six new character balloons took flight for the first time, directed by Macy’s flight management team and handled by hundreds of volunteers. The newest balloons include Thomas the Tank Engine, the largest and heaviest balloon ever to be featured in the parade; the Weinstein Company’s Paddington, which at 77.5 feet is the longest balloon to date; and Eruptor, which features a paint job requiring more than 40 gallons of fluorescent paint and five barrels of glitter.