China Toy Fair


Rovio and Hasbro to Mash Up Transformers and Angry Birds

AngryBirdsTransformersRovio Entertainment and Hasbro Inc. are bringing together two of the world’s biggest entertainment brands and their fans through Angry Birds Transformers, to be brought to life in multiple forms, including a mobile game, consumer licensed goods, and a product line from Hasbro.

Later this year, Hasbro will introduce a product line featuring Telepods technology, which will enable fans to teleport their favorite Angry Birds Transformers characters into the game and gain unique powers. The Angry Birds Transformers franchise follows successful collaborations between Hasbro and Rovio, including the Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Go! product lines, as well as the upcoming Angry Birds Stella Telepods line, which will be available in September.

This year, the companies announced an expanded licensing agreement making Hasbro the premier toy and game licensee. More Angry Birds Transformers products and content will be revealed throughout the next few weeks.

Angry Birds Star Wars Comes to Home, Handheld Gaming Systems

angrybirdsRovio Entertainment Ltd. and Lucasfilm Ltd., in association with Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., have launched Angry Birds Star Wars for home and handheld video game systems. Angry Birds Star Wars brings the struggle between the Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs to new audiences on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii and Wii U systems, and the Nintendo 3DSAngry Birds Star Wars will also launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Twenty newly created levels join the more than 200 stages already available from the original mobile release of Angry Birds Star Wars. This latest version brings cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, letting players team up or square off. Moreover, this expansive edition exploits the unique capabilities of each game system to deliver a distinctive experience tailored specifically to each platform, including sharp and colorful, high-definition visuals, achievements and trophies, leaderboards, voice command support through Kinect for Xbox 360, and touch-screen controls on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita.

The next-generation versions of Angry Birds Star Wars maintain these core features while introducing new play and interface elements exclusive to each system. The PlayStation 4 system’s adaptation makes full use of the DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad to offer precision, touch-screen handling, and full support for PlayStation Move in both single-player and local multiplayer modes. Players can also easily record and share their accomplishments with the world with the PlayStation 4 system’s automatic screenshot and video capture options. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

Angry Birds Star Wars Licensed Products Provide a Boost to the Toy Industry

Hasbro Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star PackageBased on data from The NPD Group, Angry Birds Star Wars is the best new toy license in the big five European toy markets so far this year. Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period was £5.3 million, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4 million, and third place Monsters University at £2.9 million. Angry Birds Star Wars is even the No. 1 license in the board games category.

Over the first seven months, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK. Just one year ago, Angry Birds alone was ranked at a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.

The original Angry Birds sold £4.2 million worth of toys in the first seven months of last year across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The figure for the same seven-month period this year had almost doubled to £8.1 million. With the Angry Birds Star Wars sales performance of £5.3 million added in, in total, the Angry Birds license achieved combined sales of £13.4 million in the seven months through this July. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Big Rewards for a Little Bit of Cash

Sometimes kids deserve a special little treat—whether they refrain from crying at the dentist, got an extra star on their homework assignment, or behaved well on a long shopping trip, it’s nice to reward them for good behavior. Candy is a cheap, instant, and enjoyable treat, but we all know kids can do with a little less sugar (and, in turn, fewer painful dentist visits!).  There are some great inexpensive toys with lots of play value that will help reward kids for good behavior without breaking the bank or causing cavities.

ABSW Telepods Jedi vs Sith Multi-PacksAngry Birds Star Wars Telepods, from Hasbro, are sold in two-figure packs for less than $10. Kids can teleport the collectible figures right into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app, from Rovio Entertainment, on iOS and Android devices. Each figure has a unique QR code on the bottom, so kids can distinguish their characters from their friends’, even if they have the same ones. With more than 30 figures to collect, Hasbro also has compatible play sets at higher price points. With both virtual and physical play, Telepods is a great choice for a quick treat that will keep kids engaged for a long time. [Read more...]

Hasbro Launches New Telepods Line

ABSW Telepods Star Destroyer setHasbro Inc. will launch a new line that “teleports” physical characters into digital gaming and app experiences. The Telepods line uses patented new technology to allow kids to play in two ways: in the physical space and through full integration into top-tier apps. The Telepods play experience will first be available in a line released this August based on and fully integrated into the new app Angry Birds Star Wars II from Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm.

For the first time ever, Telepods lets players teleport Rebel Bird and Imperial Pig figures into the new Angry Birds Star Wars II app so they can choose which characters to launch. Following the release of Angry Birds Star Wars II, fans will be able to download the app, tap the Telepods icon in the app, place one of the more than 30 Angry Birds Star Wars figures on the included Telepods base, and then place the base on a smart device (not included) to immediately “teleport” that figure into the game.

Telepods are also the first digitally integrated toys designed with stand-alone playability in mind. An assortment of play sets will invite kids to launch their Rebel Bird figures in real life to destroy iconic Angry Birds Star Wars structures and topple the evil Pig Empire. Angry Birds Star Wars II will follow the story of the three prequel Star Wars movies. With the introduction of never seen before Angry Birds Star Wars characters, the player can for the first time in the history of Angry Birds choose to take the “Pork Side” and play as one of the green pigs. [Read more...]

Hasbro and Rovio Expand Angry Birds Licensing Agreement

hasbro_2Hasbro Inc. and Rovio Entertainment have expanded a licensing agreement for toys and physical games based on the Angry Birds brand. The new agreement makes Hasbro the premier toy licensee for Angry Birds, including the upcoming game Angry Birds Go!, set to release this year. In addition, Hasbro will continue to develop and expand its line based on Angry Birds Star Wars from Rovio Entertainment and LucasFilm.

The original Angry Birds mobile game launched in 2009 and remains the No. 1 paid app of all time. Angry Birds has expanded rapidly into consumer products, publishing, and animation. In March, Rovio released Angry Birds Toons, a weekly animated cartoon series distributed through Angry Birds games, TV broadcasters, and on-demand networks. A full-length, animated Angry Birds movie opening is slated for July 1, 2016.

The terms of the agreement grant Hasbro worldwide licensing rights. More details will be released later in the year.

Pedigree Books Adds Augmented Reality to New Annuals

CTRA14 CUT THE ROPE INTERACTIVE ANNUAL COVER 2014Pedigree Books has announced its 2013 range of Gaming and New Media titles will feature Augmented Reality (AR) technology—an innovation the annuals category has never seen before. This range will be sold as Super Interactive Annuals 2014, available starting August 1 this year.

AR will allow consumers to get added value by downloading a free app onto their tablets and smartphones that enables them to “read” images throughout the book and unlock “Super Interactive” features. Simply holding the device over selected pages creates brand new content, such as extended character profiles, extra stories, and activities including coloring, mazes, puzzles, and a make-your-own poster feature. Around 20 percent of the pages contact an “Exclusive Super Interactive Unlock” icon that will add an exciting new dimension to the experience for Pedigree consumers.

The new technology will feature across their Gaming and New Media range, which includes brands such as Annoying Orange, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars, and Sonic The Hedgehog.