China Toy Fair


Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

ToysRUsLogo copyThis Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on November 28, so parents and gift-givers can get a head start on their holiday shopping. Promotions include four-hour deals, as well as Thursday through Sunday discounts on toys, games, and tablets.

Shoppers can plan their strategies as early as November 24 on the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, and a 28-page circular is set to arrive in newspapers across the country on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, for the first time, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving weekend deals online at toysrus.com/blackfriday starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

Those shoppers who spend $75 or more between November 28 and 29, at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us, will receive a $10 redeemable coupon that’s valid in-store or online between December 1 through December 7. [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...]

COMMENTARY: Boo! Halloween Toys That Outlast the Season

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

zombieLast year was a pretty tough Halloween on the east coast. Just a few days before the holiday, Hurricane Sandy shut off our lights, devastated our coasts, and in my neck of the woods, pretty much canceled parties and trick-or-treating. So this year I hope to see all our favorite ghosts and goblins make a big comeback.   

Who will you be this year? The Marvel superheroes will be strong sellers. Lets face it: what kid doesn’t want to save the world—and what adult doesn’t want a few hours to be “that hot” at a grown up party dressed up as Iron Man or Wonder Woman!

For little girls, if you haven’t purchased their Doc McStuffins or Sofia the First costumes yet, good luck finding them. I’ve yet to meet a 4-year-old girl that hadn’t loved one or both of these new favorite characters. Boys are loving Jake and his Never Land Pirates, Skylanders, Trash Pack Kids, and Slugterra.

But it’s not just in the costume. There are some great additions to the two hottest video games with Halloween themes this year that I need to share. Skylanders Giants released their special Halloween edition called Eye-Brawl. It’s sports a pumpkin head and a skeleton head at his feet. Disney Infinity will let kids build their own Halloween town in Toy Box mode, with the Pumpkin King throwing pumpkins at other characters, including the newly released Jack Skellington. [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...]

Disney Infinity Release Toy Story in Space Play Set

disneyinfinityDisney Interactive has released additional details and assets for the Toy Story in Space Play Set for Disney Infinity. This is the first Play Set to be released since the game launch in August, and invites gamers to take on the role of space rangers Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, or Woody as they try to help relocate the Pizza Planet Aliens to a new world.

The Play Set will be widely available on October 22 at all participating retailers. The new asset release includes character images, action screenshots, and a gameplay trailer featuring both Play Set and Toy Box modes of Toy Story in Space.

 Check out the gameplay trailer below:

[Read more...]

Voting Opens for 2013 Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards

TAGIE.AwardsThese nominees for the annual Toy & Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards in the categories of toy design, game design, young inventor, and rising star were selected by industry colleagues. Now the public is invited to place their votes before the annual award show taking place in November as part of the 11th Annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair.

The 2013 TAGIE Award nominees are as follows:

Excellence in Toy Design

  • Bruce Lund, inventor of the Dino Construction Company Line
  • Cheong Choon Ng, inventor of Rainbow Loom
  • Jon Paul Capriola, inventor of ZippyDo
  • Sean Frawley, inventor of Aero Force Flight Designs: “Ultra-Light/Extended Flight” Gliders/ Wind Ups/ Power Gliders
  • Wim Ouboter, inventor of Microlino Airseat Hybrid

[Read more...]

Disney Infinity Launches New Custom Toy Boxes

CaveofWonders1-X2Disney Infinity fans can continue their adventures in the revolutionary Toy Box mode with five brand 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 now for download are:

  • Cave of Wonders Race – Race through the Cave of Wonders and Aladdin’s Agrabah Castle. Compete against Cars characters or other players.
  • Super Sidescroll – Trigger the side scrolling camera to start, then jump and bash through a classic game level. 
  • ESPN Speedway – Rev those engines and race friends around the stadium loop, brake for a pit stop, and celebrate with a victory lap.
  • Hot Lava – Rope bridges are the only thing between players and flowing lava in this treacherous Toy Box.
  • Wrestling Arena – Want to become the Disney Infinity combat champ? Battle friends in two tricked out wrestling rings.

[Read more...]

Disney Infinity Debuts at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

disney-infinity-figurinesToys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com officially launched Disney Infinity on August 18. Disney Interactive’s new video game platform will be available on the Xbox 360 system, the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and iPad. The game integrates collectible figures featuring characters from The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios with a video game experience that allows the characters to interact together—for the first time ever. In the U.S., the Infinite Crystal Series figures will only be available at Toys “R” Us. The figures are an assortment of collectible figures that have enhanced in-game abilities, as well as power discs that unlock special in-game powers, gadgets, vehicles, and more.

Each Disney Infinity character figure will come to life and play together in a virtual Toy Box. In this mode, players can build and customize their own virtual world using their favorite characters, vehicles, settings, and accessories. The game also includes a Play Set mode, a story-driven experience that allows players to solve puzzles, battle enemies, and explore locations from Disney properties.

Disney Infinity launched with an initial line of 18 collectible interactive figures and 21 Power Discs, including those found only at Toys “R” Us. Toys “R” Us will offer the largest assortment of Disney Infinity products available, which includes the Lighting McQueen Infinite Crystal Series figure, and Mike’s Car Power Disc (Monster’s Inc.).

Disney Interactive Releases Two New Infinity Mobile Apps

DisneyInfinityDisney Interactive has unveiled two new Disney Infinity mobile apps, Disney Infinity: Action! and Disney Infinity: Toy Box, which will provide connected extensions of the console  experience. The Disney Infinity: Toy Box app allows players to build and edit new worlds from the Disney Infinity Toy Box mode on their iPad. Players can also transfer any Toy Box creation between their iPad and console, and play with Mr. Incredible for free. Disney Infinity: Toy Box will be available for free for the iPad in the coming weeks.

Disney Infinity: Action! will be available for free on iTunes and in the Windows Store on August 15. It will be available for the Google Play Store soon. Features of the app include the ability to discover unique animations and use them in the Movie Maker so kids can create their own movies. Kids can from a high caliber cast of characters, including Mr. Incredible, Sulley, and Jack Sparrow, and more than 30 animations to use in videos sword fighting with Jack Sparrow and scaring a friend with Sulley and share the movies by posting to Facebook or YouTube.

Disney Infinity Unveils Incredibles Gameplay Trailer

Disney Interactive unveiled an in-depth look into the Incredibles Play Set in Disney Infinity through an all new gameplay trailer featuring both Play Set and Toy Box modes. Within the Incredibles play set, gamers can take on the role of any of the “Super Family,” including Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Dash, and Violet as they try to combat Syndrome and his evil minions in Metroville. The Incredibles is one of the play sets available in the Disney Infinity starter pack that will be available on August 18, along with Monsters University and Pirates of the Caribbean play sets.


The Incredibles Play Set Trailer – DISNEY INFINITY on Disney Video

Key highlights include:

  • Play Set: The Incredibles play set adds its own specialized game play mechanics and pieces to the Disney Infinity world, showcasing the unique super powers displayed by the Incredibles family and Syndrome. The battles among characters with strength, speed and flying abilities can also be activated in Toy Box mode, which will allow players to build and customize worlds and incorporate these super powers into their interactions with other Disney and Pixar characters.
  • Toy Box mode: The cast of characters, Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Dash, Violet and Syndrome, will be able to interact with Disney and Pixar characters from movies, including Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Cars, to create new and exciting adventures in customized worlds.