World Video Game Hall of Fame Reveals 15 Finalists

the strong, museumofplay logoThe Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, today announced the 15 finalists for induction into the hall. They are: Angry Birds, Doom, FIFA, The Legend of Zelda, Minecraft, The Oregon Trail, Pac-Man, Pokémon, Pong, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and World of Warcraft.

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Q&A with Laura Zebersky, CCO and EVP, Jazwares

Jazwares.LauraThe Toy Book (TTB): How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade?

Laura Zebersky (LZ): Over the past 10 years, the convergence of toys and entertainment has been unprecedented. Consumers have come to expect both online and offline experiences from their favorite brands. It’s not enough anymore to create a new toy. Stories, videos, and other content are needed to really engage kids and toy fans of all ages. This leads into another big change: If you want to reach consumers today, traditional formulas from years ago need to be augmented with strategies that include communication across multiple social platforms. Kids are engaging in new ways with different types of media; they might interact simply by sharing images and video of exciting new toys on various social channels or become avid fans and essentially create celebrities on YouTube. They want the whole experience, and the brands of tomorrow will have to provide it in accessible and innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.
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Jazwares Receives Toys “R” Us Vendor of the Year Award for 2014

jazwaresJazwares has been named a recipient of the 2014 Toys “R” Us Vendor of the Year Award. Toys “R” Us distributes the annual award to business partners that have helped the retailer become a resource for kids, families, and fun. [Read more...]

The Simpsons Arrives on Minecraft for Xbox

TheSimpsonsMinecraftMinecraft players can bring the TV world of Springfield to life in cubic glory, now that Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Xbox have launched The Simpsons content packs for Minecraft Xbox 360 and Xbox One editions. The recently released downloadable pack includes the entire Simpsons family—Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie—plus 19 of Springfield Elementary School’s beloved characters. [Read more...]

Jazwares Debuts New Collection of Blueprints Paper Craft Featuring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barbie, and More

jazwaresFollowing the successful introduction of Minecraft paper craft last year, Jazwares has expanded its popular Blueprints paper craft line. The new collections include kids’ favorite characters and scenes, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barbie, SpongeBob SquarePants, and more. [Read more...]

Minecraft Will Join Microsoft Studios

Minecraft-gamesMicrosoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the Stockholm-based game developer behind the popular Minecraft franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios. Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion, and expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal year 2015 on a GAAP basis. Subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close later this year.

Available across multiple platforms, players have downloaded Minecraft more than 100 million times, on PC alone, since its launch in 2009. Minecraft is also the most popular online game on Xbox, and the game’s community is among the most active in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. [Read more...]

The Orb Factory Launches Pixel Pops

pixel popsThe Orb Factory, a leader in the specialty craft industry, has just launched their newest brand, Pixel Pops. These 8-bit inspired crafts consist of mini Pixilated pets, each with their own accessory and special habitat.

To play, children use a stylus to pick up and stick small squishy cubes onto a base. Following the illustrated instructions, they layer colored squares to make a pixilated pet and charm. These kits are appeal to kids who like to build, create, and enjoy activities such as Lego and Minecraft.

Jinx Introduces Minecraft Creeper Anatomy Vinyl Toy

minecraftJinx has launched the Minecraft Creeper Anatomy Vinyl toy, which is 8 inches tall and disassembles into seven parts. It was previewed at Minecon 2013 in Orlando, Florida, and is now available for purchase on the Jinx website and at Toys “R” Us stores.

To accompany the launch, Jinx has created a video for this new addition to the vinyl toy lineup, which expands on the thought process behind the design of the toy. It can be found on the Jinx YouTube channel.

COMMENTARY: Video Game-Based Toys Can Ease Kids into Other Kinds of Play

KNEX.SuperMarioDesertIt’s summertime, which for a lot of kids means playing outside in the sunshine, swimming, and maybe even going on trips to visit nature. But for others, summer means staying indoors and playing video games all day. It’s probably best to moderate any activity that involves staring at a screen; however, the question is, how to get video game-obsessed kids to take up a different form of play? The answer may be toys based on popular video game titles, and there are quite a few of those available right now.

We kick off our non-comprehensive list with K’NEX, which since 2010, has partnered with Nintendo on construction toys based on its popular Mario property. Recently, I spoke to an executive at the company, who said that no small part of the partnership’s success came from replicating game elements in K’NEX’s construction sets: For example, many of its Super Mario building sets have a mechanism that simulates the avatar’s in-game jumping ability. [Read more...]

Jazwares to Release Minecraft Series 2 Figures

Minecraft-gamesJazwares is expanding its core Minecraft action figure line to feature core-scale figure packs of Diamond Armor Steve, Iron Golem, Blacksmith Villager, and a deluxe Animal Mobs 6-pack.

The Diamond Armor Steve pack will include Steve with removable helmet, diamond sword, and diamond ore block. The Iron Golem pack will come with accessories including a poppy flower and a block of iron, while the Blacksmith Villager pack includes a removable apron and an anvil accessory. Meanwhile, the Animal Mobs 6-pack will include one of each of the following: Cow, Sheep, Tamed Wolf, Pig, Ocelot, and Chicken. The Series 2 items will all be available at retailers this spring.