China Toy Fair


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!

 

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...]

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...]

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Now Available for PlayStation 3

KingdomofHeartsSquare Enix, Inc.’s Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX has for the first time made it to the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system. Sora, Riku, and timeless Disney characters from Mickey to Goofy along with the entire Kingdom Hearts universe will now be at players’ fingertips in a brand-new high-definition format.

Key features include:

  • Packaged Deal – One disc provides gamers with three titles: Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and HD remastered cinematics from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
  • Graphics – The character models and facial features have been updated, and the background textures have been completely overhauled.
  • Improved Controls – Revamped camera controls and commands create a more seamless gameplay experience.
  • Adventure through Beloved Disney Worlds – Worlds include Agrabah (Aladdin), Atlantica (The Little Mermaid), Halloween Town (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Monstro (Pinnochio), Never Land (Peter Pan), Olympus Coliseum (Hercules), 100 Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), and Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland).
  • New Content Kingdom Hearts Final Mix includes new weapons, items, Heartless enemies, abilities, synthesis recipes and Gummi ship missions
  • All-star voice cast – The roster includes Haley Joel Osment (Sora), Hayden Panettiere (Kairi), David Gallagher (Riku), Mandy Moore (Aerith), and Jesse McCartney (Roxas). 

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 Planes the Video Game Launches Exclusively for Nintendo

Disney PlanesDisney Interactive has announced that Disney Planes the video game is available at retailers worldwide. The game is exclusive to all Nintendo platforms including the Wii and Wii U systems, as well as the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS handheld systems.

Inspired by Disney’s animated comedy-adventure film, Disney Planes continues the storyline with Dusty, a big-hearted, speed-loving crop duster voiced by actor and comedian Dane Cook. Players can embark on races and global adventures with Dusty and other characters from the film including Ishani, voiced by Priyanka Chopra; Echo, voiced by Anthony Edwards; and Bravo, voiced by Val Kilmer.

From Propwash Junction to China, players will soar across different environments inspired by the film, playing as any one of 10 of the film’s most memorable characters. Co-op play for two players is available on any console mission. Meanwhile, handheld players will enjoy six different film-inspired skies and the option to play as any one of six characters.

Four different modes of gameplay include Air Rallies, Story, Free Flight, and Balloon Popping. Free Flight mode is exclusive to console play, while the handheld has an exclusive Challenge mode.

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.  

Disney Infinity Hits the Road for Summer of Endless Fun Tour

infinityDisney Infinity, Disney Interactive’s biggest and most ambitious video game to date, is embarking on a multi-city Summer of Endless Fun tour to showcase the most anticipated game of the year. The cross country road trip, which is free to the public, kicked off on July 7 in the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, Calif. Players will get an exclusive sneak peek at the game before it hits store shelves on August 18.

Zigzagging across the country, fans will get the chance to play Disney Infinity—featuring the innovative Toy Box mode that truly brings every kids’ imagination to life. The Summer of Endless Fun Tour will make stops in Chicago, San Diego, Boston, Detroit, and Richmond, Va., culminating with a weekend of launch activities in New York City from August 17 to 18. Activities at each tour stop include game demos, surprise guests, photo opportunities, giveaways, contests, entertainment provided by Radio Disney, and more.

Disney Infinity is an all-new video game that gives players the freedom to create stories and play experiences featuring characters from The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios. Players can place real-world toy versions of beloved Disney characters onto a device called the Disney Infinity Base and transport them into the virtual game worlds of Monsters University, The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars, and The Lone Ranger, as well as into a giant Toy Box.

Disney Infinity Summer of Endless Fun Tour Schedule and Locations

July 13-14: Taste of Chicago in Chicago
July 18-20: Gaslamp Quarter during San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego
July 19-21: Revere Beach National Festival in Boston
July 26-28: Coast Guard Festival in Detroit
August 10-11: Prince William County Fair in Richmond, Va.
August 17: Nintendo World Store in New York City
August 18: Times Square in New York City

 

Outfit7′s Talking Friends Apps Hit One Billion Downloads

Talking Tom and Talking Friends reached the 1 billion downloaded apps mark. Talking Tom and the Talking Friends characters are known for their humorous talk back ability and reaction to touch.

Since the original Talking Tom debuted in July 2010, the Talking Friends family of characters has grown to 14 animal friends. With more than two dozen apps in the franchise, Talking Friends apps are played in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide by more than 170 million users each month. Play both on iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android systems, the download rate of Talking Friends apps is approximately 50 million per month. [Read more...]