Donald Duck Quacks the Line-Up for Disney Infinity 2.0

donald duckDonald Duck will join the cast of characters set to appear in Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition, from Disney Interactive, alongside Merida, Maleficent, Stitch, Tinker Bell, Aladdin, and Jasmine.

Donald will deliver his signature catch-phrases, fiery temper, and special abilities like tossing objects, sweeping up enemies with a broom, and becoming a feathered fury to the new Toy Box mode, where families will be able to use hundreds of Disney- and Marvel-themed items, locations, props, vehicles and characters.

A new Donald Duck themed Power Disc will also be available for players to use in the Toy Box mode, which allows players to change the characters’ outfits, among other features.

Donald Duck and the All for One Power Disc will be available in retail stores this fall.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Release Date Set, Pre-Order Program Launches

Marvel.jngDisney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Edition will be available for retail on September 23. The game will introduce new Marvel play sets and characters that players can experience exclusively inside of the new version of the game. In addition, the popular Toy Box mode will return with enhanced features, where users can create their own adventures and share them online with friends.

Disney Interactive has also launched a pre-order program for the game. Through September 22, fans will receive a Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel figure as a bonus for pre-ordering the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack. The game is available for pre-order at retailers nationwide.

MGA Appoints Anne Gates as President

MGA Entertainment (MGAE) has appointed Anne Gates as president. Gates joined MGAE in early 2014 and MGA says she has proven to be a strategic and creative leader for the company’s portfolio of family entertainment franchises. In her new role, Gates will oversee all of MGAE’s global businesses and operations.

“Having Anne Gates as president will allow me to innovate and work more closely with the MGAE team on a vision for an exciting future, while Anne handles the day-to-day operation of the business. Anne and I will work very closely together to take MGAE to new heights,” says Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment. “Her incredible determination and proven performance in systematically growing businesses, paired with her exceptional management and entertainment experience, will help position the company for continued growth and leadership in the toy and entertainment world.” [Read more...]

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Scheduled for October Console Release

DisneyFantasiaMusicEvolvedDisney Interactive and Harmonix will release the music and motion video game, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, for Xbox One and Kinect for Xbox 360 on October 21.

At this year’s E3, players will be introduced to new multiplayer gameplay and musical content, along with a vibrant city realm, entitled The Neighborhood. In The Neighborhood, players work their way through a restrained 2-D urban cityscape, unleashing a vibrant and magical 3-D environment by interacting with billboards, rooftops, trains, and more. Players will watch and listen as their movements create bold colors and whimsical music.

The latest announced tracks that will appear in-game include “Enjoy the Silence,” by Depeche Mode; “Take Care” (featuring Rihanna), by Drake; and “Message in a Bottle,” by The Police.

Players will also be introduced to Yen Sid’s previous apprentice, Scout, who will guide players as they perform, transform, and create music to restore order to the world.

More Details on Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes

MarvelInfinity.IronMan copyDisney Interactive has released updated details for Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set, which will be available for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition) this fall. Based on a brand new, true-to-property storyline composed with the help of veteran Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, the play set will feature Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Hawkeye.

In The Avengers Play Set, players take the role of earth’s mightiest heroes as they try to put an end to Loki’s plans to invade New York City. Along the way, they will learn that Loki isn’t working alone, but is merely the first obstacle in a larger, equally villainous plotline. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Makes Heroic Debut This Fall

DIsneyInfinityMarvelSuperHeroesDisney Interactive and Marvel Entertainment are assembling a group of iconic super heroes for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, which will feature more than 20 new interactive figures, as well as original storylines by Marvel comic writer Brian Michael Bendis. Developed by Avalanche Software, the game includes an all-new Toy Box mode, making it easier for players to create and share with family and friends.

The Avengers’ Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Hawkeye will debut when the game launches this fall for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360, and Wii U.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Will Feature New Music and The Hollow

DisneyFantasiaThe Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved video game by Disney Interactive and Harmonix Music Systems will include multi-player gameplay, an all-new realm, and new songs from award-winning artists, including Lorde and David Bowie. The two-player game is played in cooperation through friendly competition. Players can collaborate and choose unique remix paths to discover new melodies and beats in the songs.

Disney and Harmonix have also revealed “The Hollow,” an all-new interactive discovery realm. When users perform songs, they will interact with the world to add light, color, and characters to the forest environment.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a musical motion video game and will be available for the Xbox One and Kinect this year.

New Disney Infinity Figures, Power Discs Arrive for the Holidays

DisneyInfinity.VanellopeDisney Interactive has released a holiday line-up of Disney Infinity figures and Power Discs. Among the new character additions to the game’s Toy Box mode are Rapunzel from Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph, and Anna and Elsa from the upcoming Frozen.

The product highlights and U.S. release dates and details are listed below:

Rapunzel: With beautiful long locks, fierce determination, and signature frying pan, Tangled’s Rapunzel is powerful and has a unique style of combat. Available at Walmart between November 22 and December 31.

Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph uses his wrecking abilities and 8-bit cherry bombs to defeat enemies. Available at Best Buy between November 22 and December 31.

Vanellope: The Sugar Rush racer brings her Glitch ability, which allows her to teleport short distances and glitch out other characters. Available at Target between November 24 and December 31.

Frozen Toy Box Pack: Featuring Anna, Elsa, and two hexagonal power discs. Anna uses her grappling hook to get to hard-to-reach places and her shovel to defeat enemies, while Elsa utilizes magical ice abilities. National release set for November 26.<!-more–>

In addition, 20 new Power Discs will enter circulation, including “rare” versions. Circular Power Discs give characters special power-ups, while Hexagonal Power Discs unlock special gadgets, vehicles, and themes.

The Circular Discs include Ralph’s Power of Destruction, Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Damage-inator!, Electro-Charge, Star Command Shield, and User Control. The Hexagonal Discs include Flamingo Croquet Mallet, Frankenweenie: Victor’s Experiments, Frozen: Frozen Flourish, Frozen: Chill in the Air, Nightmare Before Christmas: Halloweentown Sky, Pizza Planet Delivery Truck, and more. Rare Hexagonal Discs include: Electric Mayhem Bus, Condor Wing Glider, and Hook’s Ship from Peter Pan Ride.

Nintendo Brings Holiday Fun to Malls Across the U.S.

NintendoBetween November 25 and December 22, Nintendo will visit 23 malls coast-to-coast so the public can test drive video games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems.

The expected lineup for the Wii U includes Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U, Wii Sports Club, The Wonderful 101, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Sonic Lost World from Sega, Disney Infinity from Disney Interactive, and more.

For Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo is scheduled to show Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Skylanders Swap Force from Activision, and more. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Keeping It Fresh for Kids Sends Them Running to the Store

So many toys and video games are introduced each year. Many of them succeed at selling in and selling through, others flop, but manufacturers who have the wherewithal to get involved with their customers have the opportunity to draw in more customers, and to get their currently satisfied customers talking about their purchase and even send them running back to buy more.

disney-infinity-figurines-300x229One company that I’ve recently noticed to be doing an excellent job at this is Disney Interactive, with its Disney Infinity lineup. Disney Infinity, in case you’re somehow unaware, is a video game with a physical toy component. The toys are figures of favorite Disney characters. When a gamer owns a character’s figure, they can transport that character into their game, unlocking new worlds and ways to play.

Kids love collecting, so they are going to want to collect all the figures, and at $13.99 for one figure or $30.99 for a three pack, it’s not unreasonable for gift givers to purchase them as a birthday or holiday gift. What’s brilliant, however, is letting kids have some ownership. The tagline “Play in Their Worlds or Create Your Own” might sound a bit intimidating to the average adult. “Create my own world? I don’t know anything about video game coding!” To a kid, it sounds like magic, and it kind of is. Kids can easily create their own world—called a Toy Box—and then show their friends, who can bring over their own figures and they can play together in this newly created Toy Box. Even more amazing, they can share their new Toy Box with players all over the world. A bit heady for a kid, no?

Fantastic, but here’s the really brilliant part. Disney Interactive issues challenges to players to create their own Toy Boxes with a certain theme, for example, the recent Contraption Challenge, where players were tasked to create “crazy, unique and exciting contraptions that perform simple tasks.” The top five submissions were showcased on a Disney Infinity Toy Box Top Five Countdown webisode and will no doubt be downloaded by thousands of kids around the world. Now that’s exciting.

Each Thursday a new challenge is issued, so gamers are continuously being engaged and made to feel like part of a community. Parents are happy because their child is not only making their purchase worthwhile by continuing to play with it, but they are being creative while doing so. That in turn, yields more sales. Because when kids then ask for more figures to enhance their game play experience, parents are more likely to buy.

Check back regularly for more toy industry commentary from Jackie. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!