China Toy Fair


Penguin UK Reaching for the Skylands with First Licensed Magazine

SkylandersLogoPenguin UK is taking its first steps into licensed magazine publishing after acquiring the world representation rights to a new Skylanders Universe magazine, based on the Skylanders video games.

Penguin, which also owns the rights to the Skylanders Universe books, acquired the rights from brand owners Activision. It has appointed Immediate Media to produce the content and distribute the magazine in the UK.

The stories in the magazine will be based on characters from the Skylanders games—Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Swap Force.

Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty and Skylanders Continue to Top NPD Charts for 2013

Call of Duty and Skylanders continue to top U.S. NPD charts for last year. Call of Duty: Ghosts was the No. 1 best-selling title overall in December and No. 1 best-selling next generation console title of 2013 on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Call of Duty sustained its spot as the No. 1 franchise for the fifth year in a row in the U.S. in both software units and dollars.

Skylanders Swap Force was the No. 2 best-selling title overall in December and No. 1 best-selling kids video game franchise in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. It was also the No. 3 video game franchise overall for the third year in the U.S., including toys and accessories. In addition, the latest two Skylanders games, Skylanders Giants and Skylanders Swap Force, both ranked in the top 5 of kids’ video games in 2013.

 

Skylanders Swap Force Released on Next-Generation Consoles

Skylanders.Swap.ForceActivision Publishing Inc. has released Skylanders Swap Force on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems in North America on November 12. This version of the game is optimized for next-generation game systems, and features a graphics engine that delivers high-resolution visuals.

Similar to Skylanders Swap Force on other consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions allow gamers to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys. Players can also utilize their entire collection of characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants in the new game.

COMMENTARY: Boo! Halloween Toys That Outlast the Season

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

zombieLast year was a pretty tough Halloween on the east coast. Just a few days before the holiday, Hurricane Sandy shut off our lights, devastated our coasts, and in my neck of the woods, pretty much canceled parties and trick-or-treating. So this year I hope to see all our favorite ghosts and goblins make a big comeback.   

Who will you be this year? The Marvel superheroes will be strong sellers. Lets face it: what kid doesn’t want to save the world—and what adult doesn’t want a few hours to be “that hot” at a grown up party dressed up as Iron Man or Wonder Woman!

For little girls, if you haven’t purchased their Doc McStuffins or Sofia the First costumes yet, good luck finding them. I’ve yet to meet a 4-year-old girl that hadn’t loved one or both of these new favorite characters. Boys are loving Jake and his Never Land Pirates, Skylanders, Trash Pack Kids, and Slugterra.

But it’s not just in the costume. There are some great additions to the two hottest video games with Halloween themes this year that I need to share. Skylanders Giants released their special Halloween edition called Eye-Brawl. It’s sports a pumpkin head and a skeleton head at his feet. Disney Infinity will let kids build their own Halloween town in Toy Box mode, with the Pumpkin King throwing pumpkins at other characters, including the newly released Jack Skellington. [Read more...]

Skylanders Giants Remains Best-Selling Video Game in U.S. and Europe

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Activision Publishing Inc.’s Skylanders Giants is the No. 1 best-selling console and hand-held video game year-to-date overall in dollars, including toys and accessories, in the U.S. and Europe. In its first two weeks, Skylanders Giants sold more than 500,000 Starter Packs and Portal Owner Packs globally.

Additionally, Skylanders figures are expected to have outsold the top action-figure properties in the U.S. and Europe for the first eight months of the year. The Skylanders franchise has generated more than $1.5 billion in worldwide retail sales.

Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants were developed by Toys For Bob, and Skylanders Swap Force is being developed by Vicarious Visions.

Activision’s Skylanders Products Are a Force to Beat

Activision Publishing has announced that the Skylanders figures outsold all action-figure properties in the U.S. and Europe year-to-date in 2013–and the Skylanders property outpaced all toy properties overall in the U.K. year-to-date as of June 30.

As of July 31, the Skylanders franchise has generated more than $1.5 billion in worldwide retail sales in both North America and Europe. Skylanders Giants was also the best-selling console and hand-held game overall in dollars.

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Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders Swap Force is being developed by Vicarious Visions and is the newest game in the franchise. Skylanders Swap Force builds upon the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, adding a new dimension to the “toys to life” innovation. The game introduces a play pattern—dynamic swapability—that lets gamers transform 16 Swap Force inter-action figures into more than 250 characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys. Now Portal Masters can mix and match characters’ powers and moves to experience a level of choice never before seen in a Skylanders game. Fans  can also play Skylanders Swap Force with their entire collection of more than 100 characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants.

In Skylanders Swap Force, Portal Masters embark on a new adventure in the mysterious Cloudbreak Islands, home to a mystical volcano that erupts every hundred years to replenish the magic in Skylands. During an epic battle, a brave group of Skylanders were caught in the volcano’s eruption, which blasted them apart and sent them to earth. However, the magic of the volcano gave these heroes a new power—the ability to swap halves—turning them into a special team known as the Swap Force. Meanwhile, Kaos is back with a new evil plan, and now, Portal Masters everywhere must reassemble the Swap Force—in their original form or new combinations—and send them back to Cloudbreak to save Skylands.

Skylanders Swap Force also features new abilities, such as flying, climbing, digging, bouncing, or teleporting, which can be used in previously unexplored areas of Skylands centered on these play mechanics. Additionally, the game features 16 new core characters, eight new LightCore characters, and 16 new versions of fan favorite Skylanders from previous games. Now kids will have more than 100 characters from which to choose. The game’s high-resolution graphics brings detailed characters and richer environments to life, immersing players in the game. The game also has an assortment of gameplay modes for survival and battle, including Solo Survival Mode, Team Survival Mode, Rival Mode, Battle Arena Mode, and Ring Out Mode.

Q&A with Drew Stevenson, Vice President of Sales and Retail Marketing North America, Mega Bloks

The Toy Book spoke with Drew Stevenson, vice president of sales and retail marketing North America at Mega Bloks, about the current state of the construction category and Mega Bloks role in the industry.

TB: Building sets saw a 23 percent increase in sales from 2011 to 2012, according to the NPD Group, and the category is the strongest toy category right now. Why has the construction category taken off over the past couple of years?

DS: Well actually, the category has been consistently growing for the past four years and we believe it represents a desire for more educationally beneficial toys, which absorb children’s imagination from the age of 1. Parents want what is best for their children and they understand more and more the benefits of construction in terms of skill development, creativity, self-expression, and sense of accomplishment. So, we are confident that the construction toy category will only continue to grow.

Mega Bloks will continue to offer more choices for preschoolers, boys, girls, and collectors, allowing all of our fans to continuously immerse themselves in this play pattern and grow with Mega Bloks. [Read more...]

Frito-Lay and Activision Partner for Skylanders Giants

Skylanders-Giants-logoPepsiCo‘s Frito-Lay North America division and Activision Publishing Inc. have launched a summer promotion for Skylanders Giants. The promotion includes the free Skylanders Giants In-Store Adventure mobile app, which is available for download on iOS and Android platforms. Once downloaded, users can scan in-store barcode headers and special-edition Frito-Lay variety packs to see a Skylanders Giants character appear on their mobile device.

Players can also obtain limited-edition Skylanders Giants Sidekicks figures by purchasing specially-marked Frito-Lay 20-count variety packs and entering the in-pack code online. Four different figures, compatible with the Skylanders Giants video game, are available through this offer.

When shoppers use the app to scan all three Frito-Lay and Skylanders Giants in-store displays, they’ll unlock additional interactive content. The promotion ends September 2.

Skylanders Franchise Reaches More Than $1 Billion in Worldwide Retail Sales

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., announced that together Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants have generated more than $1 billion in retail sales worldwide, inclusive of toys and accessories.

Last year, the combined sales of Skylanders Giants and Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure toys out-sold the top action figure lines in the U.S. and Europe, including Beyblades, Star Wars, and Transformers. Additionally, through January, more than 100 million Skylanders toys have been sold at retail. [Read more...]

Calling Young Portal Masters: Celebrate New York Toy Fair with Skylanders Giants

Months before the Skylanders Giants character Ninjini hits retail shelves, kids and their families are invited to Toys “R” Us to get their hands on the character, while supplies last. To celebrate the American International Toy Fair taking place in New York City this month, Activision Publishing Inc. and Toys “R” Us are partnering to host a special event at Toys “R” Us Times Square, the company’s international flagship store, on February 5 at 4 p.m. The first fans to line up along Broadway for the event will have an opportunity to receive a complimentary Ninjini figure before it is officially available for purchase in North America.

Also at the event, kids will have the opportunity to meet their favorite Skylanders characters, experience the year’s most popular game at in-store game kiosks, and receive other fun Skylanders Giants giveaways.