Jakks Pacific Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

jakks_logoJakks Pacific Inc. reported results for the company’s fourth quarter and full year ended December 31. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $254.0 million, compared to $137.7 million reported in the comparable period last year. Reported net income for the fourth quarter was $2.8 million, or $0.11 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss of $16.1 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, reported in the comparable period last year. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter increased to $10.6 million, compared with negative EBITDA of $6.0 million in the fourth quarter of last year. [Read more...]

New Nintendo 3DS XL Gets a U.S. Release Date

NewNintendo3DSThe New Nintendo 3DS XL system will launch in the U.S. on February 13, according to a Nintendo Direct presentation today. The upcoming system features a wider range of controls with the addition of a C Stick and ZL/ZR buttons, super-stable 3-D via face-tracking technology, and built-in NFC functionality that allows for communication with amiibo figures.

The system also enhances certain games like Super Smash Bros. with amiibo functionality, faster processing speeds, and more control options when compared to the Nintendo 3DS system. In addition to the standard New Red and New Black, two other New Nintendo 3DS XL designs will be available at launch: one featuring artwork inspired by the soon-to-be-released The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, and one based on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, available exclusively at GameStop with the game pre-installed.

COMMENTARY: Sibling Rivalries Exist in the Toy World, Too

FrozenproductsA real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.

To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read more...]

Nintendo and Best Buy Team Up for Game Showcase Events

NintendoOn December 7, Nintendo and Best Buy will team up to provide hands-on game play featuring Captain Toad, Pikachu, and other iconic Nintendo characters. At select stores, shoppers can play four of Nintendo’s recent releases: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, for Wii U; Pokémon Art Academy, for Nintendo 3DS; and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The four games are currently available in stores and in the Nintendo eShop.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, and a full list of participating stores can be found at Best Buy’s web site. Visitors who play the demos become eligible to receive giveaways ranging from fun Pokémon items to in-store coupons, while supplies last. At the Best Buy store in Culver City, Calif., the Mario costumed character himself will pay a visit to take pictures with fans.

Nintendo Files U.S. Patent for Handheld Video Game Emulator

NintendoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal this past Tuesday, Nintendo has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that could pave the way for Nintendo to offer its games on smartphones or other mobile devices.

The patent, which was published last Thursday and filed by Nintendo in June, is described as a software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform. However, analysts are skeptical that Nintendo is planning a move into video games on mobile devices. The patent, originally filed in 2000 and extended in 2003 and 2012, could also be used to fight piracy.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata previously said the company would stick to using its intellectual property, which includes Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, solely on its own game device.

Nintendo to Power Up Malls Across the U.S. This Holiday Season

NintendoFrom November 24 to December 21, Nintendo characters Mario, Luigi, and Pikachu will visit 16 malls across the country to offer holiday shoppers hands-on play time with new games for Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo 2DS. Visitors can also check out amiibo, Nintendo’s foray into the toys-to-life category.

Interactive spaces tailored for kids will feature a Mario Kart 8 tournament played on a large, high-definition display. Visitors can also play Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. The scheduled lineup of Wii U games also includes Hyrule Warriors, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Super Mario 3D World, Skylanders: Trap Team, and Nintendo Land.

Meanwhile, Nintendo 3DS fans will be able to check out Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Tomodachi Life, Yoshi’s New Island, and more. [Read more...]

Clarity Ensues: Nintendo Introduces Crystal Red and Crystal Blue Nintendo 2DS Systems

Nintendo.Crystal2DSOn November 21, Nintendo will launch new Crystal Red and Crystal Blue Nintendo 2DS systems featuring a slick, semi-transparent design. The Crystal Red and Crystal Blue systems are launching alongside Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, and the Nintendo 2DS is compatible with the Nintendo 3DS’ library of more than 3,000 games, including Super Smash Bros.

The system maintains many of the same hardware and connected features as Nintendo 3DS such as touch-screen controls, StreetPass, Miiverse, and online multiplayer functionality. The Nintendo 2DS is also backward compatible with the library of Nintendo DS games, and offers the ability to download games from the Nintendo eShop.

Nintendo’s Super Mario Franchise Featured in Mercedes-Benz Commercial

NintendoThis past week, Mercedes-Benz Japan began airing the latest series of commercials for its GLA sports utility vehicle featuring characters from Nintendo’s Mario franchise.

The original TV ad began airing in May and featured only Mario, who rode the SUV in a two-dimensional 8-bit world. The digital Mario eventually morphed into an actor with a mustache wearing Mario’s signature dungarees.

The newest commercial, inspired by Mario’s agility and the way he can move around anywhere he wants, adds more characters from the Super Mario franchise.

Mercedes-Benz’s SUV appears in Nintendo’s Mario Kart game, making it the first real-world car to appear in the series.

Nintendo Reports Record Orders for Super Smash Bros. on Wii U

SuperSmashBros.WiiUAs reported by Bloomberg News today, advanced orders for Nintendo’s upcoming Super Smash Bros. are at a record and may lift sales of the company’s struggling Wii U console during the holidays.

Pre-sales of the fighting game for Wii U, which arrives at stores on November 21, surpassed Mario Kart 8, and interest in the game has generated optimism at Nintendo. Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, said in an interview on Tuesday that sell-through expectations for Super Smash Bros. are on par with Mario Kart 8, which could have a dramatic impact on hardware.

Mario Kart 8 has sold 3.49 million units, including 2.74 million outside Japan, and Wii U console sales more than doubled from a year earlier to 1.12 million devices in the six months ended September. So far this year, Nintendo has sold 2 million Wii U units, according to the site VGChartz. The Wii U posted its first consecutive quarterly sales gains in the June and September periods.

By comparison, Sony has sold 8.1 million PlayStation 4‘s, and Microsoft has tallied 3.3 million Xbox One sales, according to VGChartz.

Super Smash Bros. is the first Nintendo title that will also support amiibo, the company’s entry into the $1 billion interactive toy category, scheduled for release in time for the holidays.

Nintendo Partners with Loot Crate to Deliver amiibo to Fans

amiibo.largerversionThe online delivery service Loot Crate is helping fans receive select Nintendo amiibo figures after they launch on November 21. By signing up for the limited-time amiibo subscription service, subscribers will receive 10 pre-selected amiibo—including Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Fox, and Yoshi—separated into three special Loot Crate shipments throughout the holiday season.

By joining the subscription service, Loot Crate guarantees the 10 pre-selected amiibo, and allows subscribers to avoid the hassle of rushing to retailers to find certain characters. In addition to Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Fox, and Yoshi, the other five pre-selected characters will eventually be revealed through Loot Crate.

Nintendo and Loot Crate plan additional surprises for Super Smash Bros. and amiibo fans. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8, and Hyrule Warriors will feature amiibo compatibility this year, with functionality for more titles coming in the future.