The Chicago Toy & Game Group Reveals 2014 TAGIE Winners

TAGIE.AwardsThe Chicago Toy & Game Group has crowned this year’s recipients of the 2014 Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards. More than 400 guests representing 23 countries gathered at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom last Friday to toast today’s top playthings.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group acknowledged the following winners from nominated categories:

Excellence in Game Design: Oliver Morris, designer of Gravity Maze

Excellence in Toy Design: Ian Bernstein, Adam Wilson, and Sphero team, inventors of Ollie

Rising Star Designer: Alice Taylor, designer of Makies [Read more...]

My Life Games to Offer Line of Customized Hasbro Board Games

Nov21.MyLifeGamesMy Life Games LLC has introduced a line of customizable Monopoly and Scrabble games under license from Hasbro Inc. and distributed by CafePress Inc. Consumers can personalize these official games with their own photos and text, choosing from a large selection of designs.

CafePress’s user-friendly interface enables customers to choose and arrange their photos from Facebook, Picasa, SmugMug, and Flickr, or to upload images from their desktop or mobile device. Users can also select from game board designs for various occasions: birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, vacations, graduations, and more. Each full-size game board is printed, packaged, and shipped with the classic game components.

USAopoly Releases Doctor Who Edition Yahtzee Game

Nov14.USAopolyA collector’s edition Yahtzee game based on the Dalek from the TV series, Doctor Who, hits shelves this fall. Produced by USAopoly under license from Hasbro, Inc. and BBC Worldwide North America, the special edition game allows fans to exterminate their enemies by rolling classic Yahtzee dice combinations such as a full house and large straight. It also includes a collectible Dalek dice shaker, custom dice that feature Doctor Who iconic items, a score pad, pencil, and instructions.

The Doctor Who Dalek Collector’s Edition game is available now at specialty retailers.

Hasbro Launches New Initiative to Spread the Joy of Play to Children with Developmental Disabilities

ToyBoxTools_logo (2)Hasbro Inc. has launched ToyBox Tools, an initiative that brings the joy of play to children with developmental disabilities. Through expertise provided by The Autism Project, ToyBox Tools provides a series of instructional videos, printed instructions, play mats, and more for several classic Hasbro brands. These tools will serve as a free, online resource for parents, caretakers, and educators to make play easier and more accessible for children who need support.

ToyBox Tools helps children experience the joy of play with three levels of tools available for those who need support: basic play, expanding play, and social play levels. Parents and caregivers can visit the ToyBox Tools site, access the tools they need, and download and print them for use at home or in the classroom. Each level caters to different aspects of play that children may need help with, like simply introducing the toy and how to use it, experiencing alternative ways to play with a toy, and encouraging turn-taking with peers.

Nearly one out of four children is said to have some type of developmental challenge, ranging from ADHD and autism spectrum disorders to learning disabilities and developmental delays.

ToyBox Tools encourages parents and caregivers to use their judgment in selecting the right product and level of play appropriate for their child. Supportive tools are included for Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh Dr. Drill ’N Fill, and Trouble.

Merger Deal Between Hasbro and Dreamworks Animation Reportedly Dead

It’s been widely reported that merger negotiations between Hasbro and DreamWorks Animation have been called off, due in part to the stock performance of Hasbro, as well as the high asking price by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Hasbro reportedly ended conversations on Friday, for reasons that included a $30 share price asked for by Katzenberg. Some analysts deemed that price high. In addition, the possible merger had a negative effect on Hasbro’s stock–it fell on both Thursday and Friday–which is said to have concerned execs at the company.

The deal would have been worth at $2.3 billion, as reported by Variety.

By joining forces with DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro would have had the means of increasing its film and TV presence, while in theory, DreamWorks would have benefited from a more diverse revenue stream via Hasbro. DreamWorks’ properties include Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar. Hasbro, meanwhile, owns such toy brands as Transformers and G.I. Joe.

Hasbro in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation

Hasbro logoAs initially reported by Deadline, Hasbro Inc. is in early talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG. The deal would give the toy maker, which has clout with major retailers, an animation studio that just recently began diversifying beyond the movies.

For each company, a deal could help accelerate movement beyond their core businesses. DreamWorks Animation has expanded into consumer products in recent years, but still lags behind Walt Disney Co., while Hasbro recently sold off some of its stake in the Hub cable network.

dreamworks_animation_logoThrough its relatively new film label, Allspark Pictures, Hasbro has movies in the works based on its toy brands, My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms. It is also launching a new Transformers cartoon series on the Cartoon Network, having had trouble edging in on children’s networks Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.

Should a deal be reached, it would likely come during the next two to four weeks, and would result in a family entertainment powerhouse to be called DreamWorks-Hasbro, according to a source in the article. Hasbro could also have management of the new entity already in place: On Wednesday, the company appointed Stephen Davis, who has led Hasbro Studios since its launch in 2009, to the role of executive vice president, chief content officer.

In this new role, Davis will be responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms. He will also work closely with Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, to oversee Allspark Pictures (This aspect of Davis’ role was announced prior to news about the possible Hasbro-DreamWorks deal), as well as franchise films such as Transformers that are produced in partnership with major studios.

Wal-Mart’s Initial Holiday Offerings Include Discounts on Disney Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and More

logo-walmartFor its first round of holiday promotions, Wal-Mart has expanded its digital shelves to include 7 million items, which is one million more than last holiday season. Shortly after midnight PT on November 3, deals typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will start on walmart.com, and will include discounts on toys and games, such as the Barbie Dreamhouse and Nintendo 2DS.

The retailer will also offer hundreds of weekly online specials on items that include toys and electronics, with same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores available while supplies last at no additional charge, and free shipping to customers’ homes available for orders totaling $50 or more.

Wal-Mart has rolled out a new feature within its mobile app: Search My Store, through which customers can search for nearly any item carried in a Wal-Mart store and see that item’s availability, its aisle location, ratings, and reviews. Search My Store is available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November. [Read more...]

ChiTAG Group Brings Largest Toy and Game Inventor Event to Chicago Toy & Game Week

CHITAGHosted by the Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG), the International Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon) is a networking and educational opportunity in which both industry leaders and those looking to get involved in the industry and/or have their product licensed can come together to share key insights and ideas.

The conference, scheduled to take place on November 20 and 21 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, also includes the International Summit for Professional Inventors (I-SPI), and the Inventor Relations Summit (IRS), which is part of I-SPI. Attendees will have the chance to meet top executives from Hasbro, Spin Master, Ravensburger, NASA, Patch Products, and more.

At T&GCon, new inventors will have opportunities to show their ideas to dozens of toy and game industry companies. Meanwhile, at I-SPI, aspiring inventors can meet colleagues from around the world, experience new technology, meet with manufacturers in private offices, and more. Finally, at IRS, attendees can discover new ideas, products, and innovation from different inventors and companies, as well as discuss ways to strengthen both the inventor community and the industry as a whole.

Registration includes a ticket to PlayCHIC, the toy, game and entertainment brand-inspired fashion show on the evening of November 20, as well as a ticket to the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards. Interested parties can visit the official T&GCon site to register.

XYZprinting Ships First All-in-One 3-D Printer Plus Scanner

AiO Image.copyToday, XYZprinting began shipping its da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3-D printer plus scanner, the first-to-market combo unit available for purchase in the U.S. market. The da Vinci 1.0 AiO boasts a simplified printing process and consumer-friendly price point, thereby reducing the barrier to entry to 3-D printing.

Features of the 3-D printer include built-in hi-res scanning that scans objects with an industrial grade 0.5mm resolution in minutes, a build size that prints items at 7.8 inches by 7.8 inches by 7.8 inches, and a minimal number of required steps to go from scanning to printing. In addition, any scanned item can instantly be saved as a design that can be replicated in the future or shared with others.

Toys printed by the da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3-D printer, from XYZprinting.

When objects are placed inside the da Vinci 1.0 AiO, XYZprinting’s proprietary software scans it, and provides a sandbox interface through which the object can be rotated or adjusted in size. Users can add more objects, and the scanner will automatically make all of them fit the printer space.

The past year has seen a number of toy innovations involving 3-D printing. [Read more...]

Angry Birds Transformers Rolls Out Worldwide

ABTransformersThe Angry Birds Transformers mobile game is now available on the Apple App Store, to be followed by the Android version on Google Play on October 30 and on Amazon on November 4. Also available is the Angry Birds Transformers Telepods product line from Hasbro, which allows players to teleport figures straight into the game and gain unique powers.

This new mash-up combines the Angry Birds world with the iconic Transformers franchise. With an edgy ’80s vibe, Angry Birds Transformers brings a humorous twist to the beloved Transformers characters. Angry Birds are disguised as robots in disguise when Eggspark plunges to Piggy Island changing the pigs and the eggs in its wake. The Autobirds and the Deceptihogs will have to join forces to prevent the rioting EggBots from wreaking havoc.

Developed in collaboration with Hasbro, the Angry Birds Transformers Telepods gaming platform will allow fans to teleport their favorite characters directly into the game, bridging the digital and the physical play experience. The toys change form, like the original Transformers.