COMMENTARY: Toys Meet Theme Parks and Resorts, or, How You’ll Be Spending Your Summer Vacations

Legoland Florida Resort

Last week, one of the big news stories around the toy industry was Nintendo entering a deal with Universal Studios to create rides and other attractions for the latter’s theme parks. As reported on The Toy Book Blog, Nintendo’s most famous video game characters and worlds would serve as the inspiration for these soon-to-be immersive experiences. Imagine the possibilities: Kids, and adults, may soon interact with environments straight out of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, or any of the video game maker’s other hit franchises.

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Nintendo Partners with Universal Parks & Resorts for Theme Park Attractions Based on Nintendo Games and Characters

NintendoNintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts will bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks, with experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters, and worlds. Through the partnership, Nintendo will be expanding the reach and popularity of its characters and intellectual property.

The immersive experiences will include major attractions at Universal’s theme parks and will feature Nintendo’s best-known characters and games. More details will be announced in the future, as the Nintendo and Universal creative teams work to create specific concepts.

Jakks Pacific Reports First Quarter Results

jakks_logoJakks Pacific Inc. reported results for the company’s first quarter ended March 31. Net sales increased 38 percent to $114.2 million, compared to $82.5 million reported in the comparable period last year. The reported net loss for the first quarter was $7.6 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $16.3 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, in the comparable period last year.

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Best-Selling Yo-Kai Watch Is Coming to U.S. on Nintendo 3DS

YoKaiWatchNintendo’s Yo-Kai Watch, a role-playing game that was a cultural phenomenon in Japan for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, is coming to the U.S. The title launched in 2013, became a top-seller, and beyond video games, manga, and anime TV shows, has generated more than $1 billion in retail sales of toys and other merchandise in Japan.

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Nintendo to Release Animal Crossing amiibo Cards, Yarn Yoshi, and More

Nintendo, amiibo cardsNintendo Animal Crossing amiibo? It’s in the cards.

In the most recent Nintendo Direct presentation, the video game maker revealed new amiibo cards based on characters from the Animal Crossing series, compatible with the upcoming Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Both the cards and the new game are scheduled for release this fall. Nintendo also announced a new line of Yoshi amiibo figures made of actual yarn, and more.

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Nintendo Forms Business Venture with DeNA, Hints at New Gaming Hardware

NintendoNintendo and DeNA will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s intellectual property (IP), including its iconic game characters, for smart devices. The alliance is intended to complement Nintendo’s video game systems business and extend Nintendo’s reach into the worldwide smart device market. [Read more...]

World Tech, Bulls I Toy, and Rubies Costumes Join Sonic Merchandising Program

SonicBoomThe Sonic Boom portfolio is expanding to include more promotional partners this year, including World Tech Toys, Bulls I Toy, and Rubies Costumes. [Read more...]

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...]