China Toy Fair


LeapFrog Adds VP of Sales and VP of Platform Marketing

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. recently added two executives: Dan Burns and Scott A. Steinberg.

Burns joins LeapFrog as vice president of sales. In his new role, Burns will lead LeapFrog’s efforts to drive sales of the company’s award-winning products, including the recently unveiled LeapTV active video gaming system, the new LeapBand activity tracker, and more.

Prior to joining LeapFrog, Burns was vice president of sales at VTech Electronics for 10 years, where he drove record sales revenue and profit, set the strategy for global brand and product development efforts, and led retail merchandising initiatives for all sales accounts. He previously held executive sales positions at Radio Flyer Corporation and Hedstrom Corporation, as well as management positions at Hasbro and Kolcraft. [Read more...]

Sony’s PS4 News Includes Glacier White Console, Growing Game Portfolio, and YouTube

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGOSony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) will introduce the first color variation for PlayStation 4 (PS4), in glacier white, which will be available worldwide starting this fall. Peripheral lineups will also expand with the glacier white DualShock 4 wireless controller and vertical stand, along with the DualShock 4 in urban camouflage.

In North America, Latin America, and Europe, the glacier white PS4 will be available as part of a bundle pack featuring Destiny, a highly-anticipated title developed by Bungie Inc., and published by Activision. The bundle also includes a free 30-day membership to PS Plus.

The PS4 system’s game portfolio will continue to expand with more than 120 titles available worldwide by the end of this year. Along with Destiny, highly-anticipated titles include Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End from Naughty Dog, Far Cry 4 from Ubisoft, Batman: Arkham Knight from Rocksteady and Warner Bros Interactive, The Order: 1886 from Ready at Dawn, No Man’s Sky by Hello Games, and more. [Read more...]

Get Ready to Moon Over Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel from 2K, Gearbox

Borderlands2K Australia and Gearbox Software are co-developing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, a standalone game set in-between Borderlands and Borderlands 2. The game will be available worldwide this fall for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles and Windows PC.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place on Pandora’s moon, where players will experience gravity-bending gunfights in zero-atmosphere environments using all-new weapons. For the first time, fans will also be able to play on the side of the Hyperion Corporation as four new playable characters.

WWE Slam City Launches with Mattel Toy Line

WWESlamCityMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently launched WWE Slam City, a new kids property that includes a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise as well as an original animated short-form series co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores. In addition to toys, books and graphic novels will be available by year’s end, while a WWE Slam City mobile game will be in stores next year.

Episodes will be aired on WWESlamCity.com, Cartoonium, and YouTube in addition to TV broadcasts, live events, digital version, and social media. Other platforms include Hulu, Mattel.com, iTunes, and Playstation.

The series was filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation. A new WWE animated character will fire all of the WWE Superstars and send them to Slam City to find day jobs. The characters, including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus will have a new lifestyle outside of the ring but will stay true to their personas.

COMMENTARY: Minecraft Brings A Whole New World

CARSONI admittedly didn’t know very much about the Minecraft toy and game selection until Halloween, when my uncle sent a photo of the costume that he had made for his son; who am I kidding—I knew nothing until then! My cousin Carson is a 5 year-old obsessed with the stuff! At the time, all I knew was that Carson could make anything look adorable, and that he had clearly moved on from trains and into this world where players can build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3-D generated world. I can’t even begin to understand all of the insider ins-and-outs of Minecraft, and it seems as though the name represents an entity of games and licensed products. I do, though, like to get as involved as I can with Carson, as I am much more aware of the favorites of his sister, Kennedy, since they were the same as mine: all things pink. Man, girls are simple! In time for the holidays, I took the game home to see what this Minecraft business is all about, so I can get those ever-elusive little kid “brownie points” while I’m home for Christmas. [Read more...]

2K and Gearbox Software Announce Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt

2KGMKT_BL2_GOTY_10K_LOOTHUNT_ART_ALLPRIZESBorderlands 2 launched over a year ago, but 2K and Gearbox Software are still celebrating the game’s success. With the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year Edition coming out on October 8, fame, fortune, and loot—both in and out of the game—are up for grabs in the Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt.

This four-week sweepstakes begins on October 11, at 10 a.m. EST, and a cash prize is not all that’s at stake. Playstation, Nvidia, Turtle Beach, and BrandyGames will each sponsor prizes that fans, and new players, will have a chance to win. Prizes include:

  • Playstation Vita handheld entertainment systems with copies of Borderlands 2 Vita once released
  • Customized Borderlands 2 XP Seven headsets from Turtle Beach
  • Nvidia Shield PC streaming set-up with a custom painted Tiki PC by Falcon Northwest
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti GFX cards
  • Lifetime supplies of all 2K titles on Stream—past, present, and future

Loot hunters can enter the sweepstakes by taking down the daily targets once a day for a total of 28 entries. In addition to the weekly sponsored prizes, one loot hunter will win a grand prize of $50,000 and four others will win varying amounts of cash totally another $50,000. Only U.S. players are eligible for cash prizes and sponsored prizes, however all players worldwide can participate in the Loot Hunt. U.S. residents may enter the sweepstakes by mailing a postcard to 2K, Borderlands 2 Loot Hunt Sweepstakes, 10 Hamilton Landing, Novato, CA 94949.

The Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt ends at 5:00 a.m. EST on November 7. Players can join the hunt go to borderlands2loothunt.com, and log in using your SHiFT account information. The official web site has complete sweepstakes rules and prizing, details about daily targets, and daily community goals.

Musical Toys: An Inspiration to Pursue the Art

by Rachel Matthews, guest blogger

Not too long ago, the Kidz Bop kids found their way performing at venues in New York and New Jersey. Their collection of poppy, top 40 covers has allowed them to produce dozens of compilation albums, launch a U.S. star search, release books, video games, and toys.

The line-up of the group is in constant rotation as each member ages. Because of this rotation, many a child beg their parents for a singing lesson—especially in New York—after seeing a Kidz Bop performance. The chances of becoming a member is hard pressed as detailed by this young musician, but the combination of their U.S. talent search and brand gives hope to many children within the States.

Of course, aiming to sing for a band such as Kidz Bop is only part of what’s driving up sales in music -parents must by music-related toys to help further their children’s ambitions.

[Read more...]

COMMENTARY: PlayStation 4, Early Games Have Something for Everyone

I am, at best, a casual video gamer. I played a lot of Nintendo and Sega when I was younger, but I haven’t been an active video game consumer since the PlayStation 2. Still, I like to keep up on what’s current, even if all the latest controllers vex me with their myriad of buttons, and what really interests me is whether I can download every game from my childhood. So when I was offered a chance to preview the upcoming PlayStation 4 (PS4) from Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (Sony), along with some games that will accompany the launch, I went after it the way Sega’s Altered Beast would have gone after a shiny blue orb released by the death of a two-headed white wolf – in other words, like it was pretty darned important.

PS4 for commentaryAbout the hardware: Along with the PS4 console looking more squared-off than its predecessor, changes have been made to the DualShock controllers that are intended to improve game play. The thumbsticks, for example, are more comfortable, and the trigger buttons are curved to accompany the index fingers better. More radical changes are the addition of a small touchpad—it’s utilized significantly in Sony’s Killzone: Shadow Fall game, which I demoed, but more on that later—and a Share button that allows players to send in-game images to social media sites including Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.

Other hardware additions include a PlayStation Camera, which works in tandem with the DualShock controllers to let users interact with certain games by simply moving their controllers through the air. (More technical specifics on the PS4 can be found here.) [Read more...]

Call of Duty: Ghosts Live Global Broadcast Shows Off New Features, Call of Duty App

Call of DutyActivision, developer Infinity Ward, and Xbox gave fans worldwide a sneak peek of the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts via a live, streamed world premiere. Call of Duty: Ghosts features extensive customization and new weapons, maps, and game modes. The game includes a Create-a-Soldier system, in which players can customize their soldier’s physical appearance for the first time in the series. More than 20,000 possible combinations are possible from different heads, body types, equipment, gender, and more.

Players can also enter a new mode of play called Squads, where they can play solo, cooperatively up to six players, or competitively for one-on-one matches. The latter mode pits players and their squads against other players and their squads.

In addition, players can now utilize Call of Duty accounts, secured either free in-game or on the web, to carry their profiles with them, including profile change updates between different Xbox systems or different PlayStation systems. [Read more...]

Activision Unveils New Games at E3

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., unveils the next-generation of gaming at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 to 13. The company’s slate includes Call of Duty: Ghosts, Destiny, and Skylanders Swap Force.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is developed by Infinity Ward, creators of the original Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, and delivers a new world, setting, and cast of characters, powered by a new engine. Gamers fight as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts’ next-gen engine delivers several new multiplayer features that will be unveiled in the coming months. The game will be released on November 5 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is developed for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

CODGhosts_DeepDive

Activision and Bungie, creators of Halo, will introduce the new game Destiny. Destiny casts players as Guardians of the last city on Earth, who will traverse the ancient ruins of our solar system. Gamers battle humanity’s enemies and reclaim all that was lost during the collapse of mankind’s Golden Age. Destiny is story-driven and immerses players in a new universe. The game is developed for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 and is not yet rated by the ESRB.

Skylanders Swap Force introduces the dynamic swapability feature. Kids and gamers explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Skylanders Swap Force has 32 never-before-seen characters with unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities—such as flying, climbing, and teleporting—which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of more than 100, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders GiantsSkylanders Swap Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16, and Europe on October 18. Fans can pre-order Skylanders Swap Force Starter Packs worldwide beginning on June 7. All games pre-ordered at participating retailers worldwide will come with a free Skylanders toy. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U.  The Wii version is in development by Beenox, and the portable Nintendo 3DSversion is in development by n-Space. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

 

Skylanders_SWAP_Force_-_Hoot_Ranger_(Hoot_Loop__Free_Ranger)