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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NPD Group Finds Interactive Gaming Toys Keep Families and Players Engaged in Play

NPDGrouplogoAccording to “Interactive Gaming Toys,” the latest report from The NPD Group, 70 percent of parents in the U.S. are familiar with Interactive Gaming Toys (IGT), also known as Toys to Life. As reported by Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group, 40 percent state that they own at least one franchise, and 41 percent of those who own an IGT indicate they own more than one franchise.

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The Walt Disney Company Reports Second Quarter Earnings

TheWaltDisneyCompanyLogoOn Monday, the Walt Disney Company reported earnings of $2.1 billion for its second fiscal quarter ended March 28. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) increased 14 percent to $1.23 from $1.08 in the prior-year quarter, and excluding certain items affecting comparability, EPS for the quarter increased 11 percent to $1.23 from $1.11 in the prior-year quarter.

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Star Wars Joins Forces with Disney, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel for Disney Infinity 3.0

StarWarsDisneyInfinity3.0This fall, the Star Wars universe will join Disney, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, as announced by Disney Interactive. The latest edition of the video game series will include five Play Sets, new Toy Box expansion games, and fan-favorite characters from across the Walt Disney Company.


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Disney Interactive Launches Disney Infinity: Toy Box 2.0 Mobile App

DisneyInfinityAppforiPhone6PlusDisney Interactive has launched the free Disney Infinity: Toy Box 2.0 app for iPad and iPhone. A new addition to the Disney Infinity game universe, the app features all of the tools and enhanced features of Toy Box 2.0 from Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition), as well as all-new multiplayer functionality so mobile gamers can create Toy Boxes together using favorite Marvel and Disney characters, vehicles, settings, and items.

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Toys “R” Us Announces Thanksgiving Weekend Doorbusters, Special Deals for Rewards “R” Us Members

toysrusOn Thanksgiving weekend, Toys “R” Us will offer more than $8,000 in potential toy savings to holiday shoppers. Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open at 5 p.m. on November 27, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 4-hour doorbuster deals will include discounts on Disney Infinity Starter Packs and figures; Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, figures, and Traps; the V-Tech InnoTab 3S Connect; Frozen Jumbo Olaf Plush, from Just Play; and more.

Meanwhile, selected deals available on November 28 from 7 a.m. through November 29, as well as online at toysrus.com, include buy one, get one for 40 percent off on Disney Infinity and Skylanders Trap Team items, certain Disney Frozen toys, and more.

Toys “R” Us will also provide exclusive, early access to Black Friday deals on more than 100 items, both in-store and online, to Rewards “R” Us members beginning November 23. Not only can Rewards “R” Us members accumulate points on their purchases, those points can be applied to Toys “R” Us shopping into the new year.

In addition, throughout November and December, “R”Us credit cardholders are eligible to receive discounts off Toys “R” Us purchases when using their “R”Us credit card in-store on Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. Through December 20, existing cardholders can also save 10 percent every Saturday when they use their “R”Us credit card in-store.

Finally, the majority of Toys “R” Us Thanksgiving Weekend deals will be available starting on November 26 at 10 p.m. ET at toysrus.com/blackfriday.

COMMENTARY: Nintendo Is Game for Playing in the Toy World

amiibo.largerversionSince the 1980s, Nintendo has always seemed to be the “family-friendly” choice in video games. With wholesome characters such as Mario and Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Toad, and bad guys that make you laugh more often than they scare you (except for Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros. game on NES—he was straight up scary), Nintendo has always given off a welcoming, family-friendly vibe, with games available for kids of all ages, and systems and controllers that are intuitive rather than intimidating.

Despite knowing this—and being a Nintendo fan my whole life—it still caught me a bit off-guard when Nintendo announced that it would be launching amiibo, which are action-figures designed to connect and interact with compatible games. “By holding the amiibo over your Wii U GamePad, you’ll open up new experiences within each corresponding game,” reads the Nintendo website. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Comics’ Timeless Heroes (and Villains) Are Still Loved by Today’s Kids

Superman-First-Comic-Action-Comics-No-1-222x300Kids these days may not know that Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman (among many, many others) hailed from glorious comic books first published in the 1930s, costing someone 10 cents an issue on the stands. They also may not realize how well some have held their value, being that the very first Superman comic, Action Comics No. 1, supposedly goes for $3.2 million dollars—but let’s not get too sidetracked.

The real point here is that today, September 25, is National Comic Book Day, and it’s hard to imagine the toy aisles without the superheroes and villains who once upon a time, were neither action figures nor stars on the silver screen played by big-league actors and actresses; but instead, started out as hand-illustrated drawings on a comic strip. [Read more...]

Big Hero 6 Arrives on Disney Infinity this Fall

BigHero6.DisneyInfinityHiro and Baymax from the upcoming action-packed movie Big Hero 6 will be entering the Disney Infinity Toy Box (2.0 Edition) from Disney Interactive. Fans will be able to use Hiro’s mind-power and Baymax’s super strength—along with hundreds of items, locations, props, vehicles, and more from across the Disney and Marvel universes—to create all-new adventures.

There will also be a Big Hero 6 Chem Capsule Power Disc, which allows players to create a cloud of frost that freezes enemies right in their tracks.

Disney’s Hiro and Baymax figures will be available in North American retail stores on November 4. In the meantime, check out the gameplay trailer below:

Disney Interactive to Launch Disney-Themed Toy Box Starter Pack

Merida and StitchDisney Interactive will launch a special Disney-themed Toy Box Starter Pack this November. The Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack (2.0 Edition) gives Disney fans the chance to experience the Toy Box 2.0 mode, set in the world of Disney, and is compatible with the game’s Marvel Play Sets.

Players can create unique stories featuring Starter Pack characters Merida and Stitch, utilize newly announced Disney and Marvel characters, as well as bring all of their existing characters from Disney Infinity into the Toy Box 2.0 mode. The Toy Box Starter Pack is compatible with all Disney Infinity content, including Marvel Play Sets, figures, and Power Discs. Fans can also unlock Disney-themed content and purchase additional figures and Play Sets separately. [Read more...]