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.

Skylanders Has Soccer Fever, and the Prescription is Kickoff Countdown

SkylandersSWAPForce.KickoffCountdownThe newest Skylanders Swap Force team member is soccer-themed. Kickoff Countdown will premiere exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide, and online at toysrus.com, this Sunday, and will be available at retailers worldwide on May 25. Featuring the head of a soccer ball, Kickoff Countdown is the only Skylander that appears in both toys and the game.

McDonald’s Delivers Skylanders Happy Meals with Exclusive Toys

HappyMeal.SkylandersFor the second consecutive year, Activision Publishing Inc. and McDonald’s USA LLC are teaming up for a Skylanders Happy Meal program. Through April 24, participating McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will launch a new Skylanders Happy Meal featuring one of eight exclusive toys inspired by Skylanders Swap Force.

Customers who purchase a Happy Meal will receive one of eight toys, each with a unique play feature, as well as coupons for discounts off the Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack and a Skylanders character. The Happy Meal figurines are inspired by the fan-favorite characters Chompy, Eruptor, Free Ranger, Freeze Blade, Magna Charge, Prism Break, Rattle Shake, and Wash Buckler.

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.

 

Activision Unlocks New Skylanders Collection Vault App

Skylanders AppFans now have a new way to interact with their favorite Skylanders on the free iOS App Skylanders Collection Vault from Activision Publishing, which helps them manage their own collections while unlocking original Skylanders content from the palm of their hands. Collections can also be shared and compared with friends and family.

For the first time, Portal Masters can use the Skylanders Collection Vault app to learn more about their favorite Skylanders characters and keep track of their own collections while also making a character wish list by browsing videos and images.

Activision is even launching the Holiday Wish List Sweepstakes that helps fans complete their collections. Portal Masters who download the app can create his or her own wish list and send it to SkylandersCommunity@Activision.com by Friday, December 6 for a chance to be one of five winners awarded up to 25 Skylanders Swap Force toys.

Nintendo Brings Holiday Fun to Malls Across the U.S.

NintendoBetween November 25 and December 22, Nintendo will visit 23 malls coast-to-coast so the public can test drive video games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems.

The expected lineup for the Wii U includes Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U, Wii Sports Club, The Wonderful 101, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Sonic Lost World from Sega, Disney Infinity from Disney Interactive, and more.

For Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo is scheduled to show Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Skylanders Swap Force from Activision, and more. [Read more...]

Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

ToysRUsLogo copyThis Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on November 28, so parents and gift-givers can get a head start on their holiday shopping. Promotions include four-hour deals, as well as Thursday through Sunday discounts on toys, games, and tablets.

Shoppers can plan their strategies as early as November 24 on the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, and a 28-page circular is set to arrive in newspapers across the country on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, for the first time, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving weekend deals online at toysrus.com/blackfriday starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

Those shoppers who spend $75 or more between November 28 and 29, at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us, will receive a $10 redeemable coupon that’s valid in-store or online between December 1 through December 7. [Read more...]

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.

New Wii U Bundle Features Skylanders Swap Force, Nintendo Land

SkylandersBundle

A new Wii U bundle featuring Activision Publishing Inc.’s Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack will launch November 15. The bundle includes everything needed to start the new adventure, including a white Wii U Basic system; Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack, which includes Skyalnders Swap Force Wii U software, Portal of Power, three Skylanders figures, two Swap Force characters, a collector poster, trading cards, and sticker sheets;  and a Nintendo Land game disc.

COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]