Hexbug Havoc Available on App Store

HexbugHavocInnovation First International, in cooperation with developer Behaviour Interactive, has launched the Hexbug Havoc game on the Apple App Store. The app allows users to choose their own Nano V2 to play each mission on a race track that is filled with horizontal tracks and vertical tubes filled with collectibles, power-ups, obstacles, and enemy Hexbugs.

The game features swipe, tap, and jump controls; battle missions; and a range of different tracks and Nano V2 elements unlockable through game play. The game can also be accessed through Game Center, where players can challenge friends and post their scores to Facebook and Twitter.

Contest Lets Fans Decide on House Rules for Future Monopoly Games

In a recent survey conducted by Hasbro, 68 percent of Americans admit they’ve never read the official Monopoly rules in their entirety, and 49 percent said they have made up their own Monopoly rules! Knowing this, Hasbro is giving Monopoly fans around the world an opportunity to “break the rules” by inviting them to help select the top “house rules” to become a part of future Monopoly games.

Through April 3, the Monopoly Facebook page will host the Great Monopoly House Rules Debate, with Mr. Monopoly himself as moderator. Fans are encouraged to debate the pros and cons of 10 house rules that were selected as a result of crowd-sourcing fans globally on the Facebook page.

As a result of the debate, Hasbro will identify the top house rules, and [Read more...]

TOMY Launches Megabuild Junction For Kids to Show Off Cool Combos

MegabuildJunctionWith Megabuild Junction, TOMY provides a new resource for showcasing layouts, providing building instructions, and inspiring fans to explore ways to combine their Chuggington StackTrack playsets and track pieces.

At Megabuild Junction, users can find helpful suggestions and tricks courtesy of Chuggington’s toy team experts. Through photos and videos, they can also see what TOMY’s designers and other families have created, as well as share photos of their own builds, which will be posted on TOMY’s Facebook page. Users are also invited to join conversations taking place in social media.

Fans to Choose Newest Playable Scrabble Word

MERRIAM-WEBSTER INC. SCRABBLE DICTIONARY APPScrabble and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary are updating the The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary for the first time in nine years. On top of the thousands of words that are planned to be added, a new word will be nominated and chosen by fans during the Scrabble Word Showdown. Fans can submit their suggestions to the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page, where 16 words will be chosen for fans to cast their votes.

The final word will be chosen on April 10 and will be included in the 5th edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, available in August and across digital platforms later this year from Electronic Arts.

EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT: Reaching Consumers at Home

photoConsumers want to shop local. They want to support their communities and their neighbors’ businesses. Moms and dads truly want to keep their hard-earned dollars in their hometowns whenever possible. Small Business Saturday has 3.3 million likes on Facebook. At the very least, people like the concept of supporting their local retailers.

“Sure, Jackie, easy for you to say. Show me the business.” Of course there are obstacles. If you’re not seeing the sales levels you’d like, ask yourself why. I believe one of the main reasons has to do with awareness and remaining top of mind with your community. Even if you are doing the mailings, coupon booklets, and Penny Saver ads, that may not be enough. You need to reach moms where they are spending their precious free moments of the day and, for many, that place is online, on social media.

My community has a group for local moms on Facebook (dads are welcome, but remain in the minority). It has more than 5,000 members who live in my town and actively seek advice from the group on everything from parenting to what to do with kids locally to where to eat and shop for various things. I’ve noticed that when the topic turns to toys, the first place group members recommend is Fun Stuff Toys, a local toy retailer in Seaford, N.Y. that caters to the community. If your community has a group like this, I urge you to join—not to constantly promote your shop (no one will appreciate that), but to be an active member of your community and a trusted source of information when the conversation naturally (and no doubt frequently) turns to “What toy should I buy for a child’s birthday party?” and “What should I do with my kids this Saturday?” You will remain top of mind for busy parents who may just need that frequent reminder that you are the best source for toys in your community. Once you have their support and awareness, loyalty to your store and all that you offer should come easy.

This column was published in the February issue of The Toy Book. 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!

Play-Doh Celebrates A Year in Play-Doh Moments

PlayDoh.RedsoxTo celebrate an eventful year, Hasbro Inc. and Play-Doh have created 10 sculptures out of Play-Doh compound as part of A Year in Play-Doh Moments. Some of the sculptures include the Boston Red Sox’s big World Series win—and unique players’ beards—this past October, the new foodie phenomenon cronuts, baby George joining the royal family, and the Super Bowl power outage in February. All 10 sculpts can be viewed at Play-Doh’s Facebook page.

COMMENTARY: So Long Spice Girls–Introducing The Beatrix Girls

There were the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, and even The Pussy Cat Dolls. But now, there’s an all-new girls’ band with its sight set on taking over the world—The Beatrix Girls. If you haven’t heard of this 12-inch fashion doll phenomenon (similar to the likes of Monster High dolls and Barbie), it’s a line of collectable pop star dolls that create, sing, and play their own original music.

The Beatrix Girls BandLark, the fiery redhead and bassist of the band, loves extreme sports like surfing and snowboarding, but most of all she loves making music with her best friends, The Beatrix Girls. As all of the girls flaunt their own style, Lark loves to be dressed up in ripped jeans, combat boots, and pretty much anything that’s not pink. She is, for many reasons, my favorite, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she was my inspiration in dying my hair red—or would I? [Read more...]

Icing Introduces Exclusive Monopoly-Inspired Collection

Icing.MonopolyIcing has teamed up with Hasbro to design a capsule collection of jewelry and accessories inspired by Hasbro’s popular Monopoly game. This exclusive collection is designed in metallic gold and bedazzled jewels, featuring chain link, beading, and glitter details on pieces including a charm bracelet, stud earrings, iPhone cases, wallets, makeup compacts, T-shirts, and rings.

To celebrate the launch and to encourage shoppers to showcase their “gaming” spirit, Icing will also launch an Instagram “Glam Game” promotional sweepstakes with a grand prize of a seven-day cruise for two on Carnival Cruise Lines. The sweepstakes encourages fans to express their unique sense of style by snapping and uploading a photo of themselves. Official Rules for the “Glam Game” sweepstakes can be found on Facebook.

PlayStation 4 Available Now, With New Games and Ways to Play

PS4The PlayStation 4 system is available in the U.S. and Canada with a lineup of more than 20 first- and third-party games, including titles such as Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall. The PS4 will have a library of more than 30 games by year’s end.

Game developers will be able to create huge, interactive worlds in smooth 1080p HD resolution, thanks to the PS4’s PC architecture, which includes an enhanced Graphics Processing Unit and 8GB of GDDR5 unified system memory. The system also takes social connectivity up a level: By pressing the “Share” button on the Dualshock 4 wireless controller, images and videos can be shared with other players through the PS4’s Dynamic Menu, or on social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, and internet streaming services such as Ustream and Twitch.

The PS4 also integrates second screens, including the PlayStation Vita system, smartphones, and tablets. Using the PlayStation app, available for free on the iOS App Store and Google Play, these devices can be used to look at maps while playing an adventure game, purchase a PS4 game, and more. In addition, through Remote Play and Wi-Fi on home networks, gamers can now play most PS4 games on their PS4 Vita while the TV screen is being used for something else.

Disney Store Starts Its Magical Week Online Deals Before Thanksgiving

disney storeDisney Store is giving shoppers the chance to start shopping online earlier with special discount pricing launching the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 22 to 24. Starting A selection of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will launch on November 22 at 12:30 a.m. PST online at DisneyStore.com/magicalweekdeals. November 25, all of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will be available in stores and online at special low prices, a first for the retailer. An additional deal will be unveiled online on Thanksgiving, November 28, and when stores open for Magical Friday.

Shoppers can interact with Disney Store’s guest services team on Twitter @DisneyStore. Updates on deals will be posted on Disney Store’s Facebook page as well. For holiday gift-giving inspiration, shoppers can browse the Holiday Gift Guide on DisneyStore.com and the Holiday Lookbook on Facebook.

Shoppers who prefer to shop from mobile devices can use the Disney Store’s mobile site and app. Through the mobile site, users can receive timely message alerts for new arrivals, in-store events, and promotional offers.