China Toy Fair


Skylanders Makes the Jump to Comics This July

SkylandersLogoIn conjunction with Activision, IDW Publishing will release the first-ever Skylanders comic-book series, by writer Ron Marz with Mike Bowden and David Baldeon as lead artists. Skylanders is the best-selling kids’ video game franchise since its launch in 2011. The first issue of the comic book series, a prequel to the Skylanders Trap Team storyline, provides fans an inside look at where some of their favorite Skylanders came from, as well as a first look at some all-new characters from the upcoming game.

Skylanders will make the leap to comics this July, debuting at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2014. Skylanders #0 features an introductory 16-page story, character guides, and additional back-up information. It will be launched in both print and digital during SDCC weekend.

“We are thrilled to be combining Skylanders, the pioneer of the toys to life video game genre, with IDW, one of the industry’s leading comic-book publishers in the U.S.,” said Ashley Maidy, vice president of global licensing and partnerships at Activision. “The comic-book series will offer fans a glimpse into the backstories of their favorite Skylanders characters, expanding on the universe that they’ve embraced so enthusiastically in the franchise’s short history. To explore the world of Skylands beyond the game is an opportunity we know our fans have long been awaiting, and we couldn’t be more excited to see this manifested through a comic series.”

Nintendo to Launch Character Figurines that Interact with Video Games

NFPNintendoNintendo is planning a new line of character figurines that can communicate with video games, similar to Activision’s Skylanders and Disney Infinity. The new Nintendo Figurine Platform (NFP) was announced last Thursday by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at the company’s annual financial briefing.

“Other than using character IP in Nintendo’s video game software, we need to start a new business that will someday become one of our core activities,” said Iwata. He stressed the importance of taking risks and coming up with interesting ways for Nintendo to leverage its character intellectual property. [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team Brings Digital Characters into the Physical World

SkylandersTrapTeamActivision’s newest installment to the $2 billion Skylanders franchise, Skylanders Trap Team, redefines the toys-to-life phenomenon with a new ground-breaking innovation. Unveiled today, the new game will reverse the magic of bringing toys to life by allowing kids to pull villains—including Kaos—out of the digital world and into the physical world.

In Skylanders Trap Team, Kaos continues his ongoing quest to rule over Skylands. He has discovered the location of the legendary Cloudcracker Prison—a fortress built entirely out of the magical substance, Traptanium, and home to Skylands’ most nefarious villains. In an attempt to build his own army of foes, Kaos blows up the prison, releasing the baddies and blasting shards of Traptanium to Earth in the form of Traps. Now it’s up to Portal Masters to recapture all of the escaped villains using powerful Traptanium Traps and defeat Kaos. The new adventure delivers a diverse and dynamic story-driven gameplay experience, filled with adventure, combat, puzzles, mini-games, activities, platforming, and drop-in/drop-out co-op play—all set within new compelling, breath-taking environments.

With Skylanders Trap Team, Portal Masters seek out and defeat the most-wanted villains in all of Skylands, pulling them out of the game and into living rooms by capturing them in the magical crystal traps. Players can then send the trapped villains back into the game where they will fight for good. The latest installment will include the Traptanium Portal, a new ring of magical energy that enables kids to not only bring their Skylanders to life, but also magically capture villains using the new traps. Once they’ve defeated the villain in the game, kids will be able to place a Trap into the new portal to capture it. They will also be able to hear the villain inside the Trap, furthering the magic of Skylanders in 2014. [Read more...]

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.

Mattel to Acquire Mega Brands

logo_Mattel logoMattel Inc. and Mega Brands Inc. have signed a definitive agreement for Mattel’s acquisition, through a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel Inc., of Mega Brands for $460 million.

The acquisition advances Mattel’s global growth strategy of building upon its world-class portfolio of brands by expanding into two of the fastest-growing toy categories. Mega Brands is the No. 2 player in the $4 billion construction building sets category with its Mega Bloks brand, as well as a competitor in the $2 billion arts and crafts category.

mega brands logoMattel’s portfolio of brands will complement Mega Brands’ flagship Mega Bloks brand and existing licensed brands, including Halo, Skylanders, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The acquisition will give Mattel the opportunity to broaden its relationship with its entertainment partners.

Mega Brands ranks among the top 15 toy companies globally in terms of sales, according to statistics published by The NPD Group last year. Additionally, the company achieved record sales of preschool construction toys. [Read more...]

Activision and Frito-Lay Team Up to Let Fans Choose New Skylanders Hero

FRITO-LAY NORTH AMERICA , ACTIVISION, SKYLANDERSActivision Publishing Inc. and PepsiCo‘s Frito-Lay North America division are providing fans with the opportunity to choose and name a new hero that will appear in the next Skylanders game, which is slated for release this year. The winner will also receive a $100,000 scholarship.

Between now and March 21, fans 18 years and older can visit Frito-Lay’s official site to select one of three potential heroes they want to see come to life in the next Skylanders game. They can also find more details and official rules. Once their Skylanders selection is made, contestants submit a suggested name and a 200-character or less inspiration for the name they chose.

In May, one fan-created name for each of the three potential heroes will be selected by a panel of judges and announced as finalists, and fans 13 years and older will be invited to vote online for the hero they want. Later this year, the winning hero will be revealed. The official name for that Skylanders hero and will appear in a variety of places, such as on Skylanders packaging and the Skylanders game.

This marks the third consecutive year in which Activision has partnered with Frito-Lay for the Skylanders franchise.

Activision Partners with Crayola on New Skylanders Products

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair was a welcome sight for Skylanders fans.

Activision Publishing Inc. will be collaborating with Crayola on new products for its popular Skylanders franchise. As a result of the new licensing agreement, Activision and Crayola will introduce a Skylanders-branded line featuring Crayola’s signature Color Wonder, Giant Coloring Pages, and Xtreme Coloring formats. These will be available during the upcoming holiday season.

To date, Skylanders’ licensing portfolio features a total of more than 175 licensees. The recent announcement follows a highly successful 2013 for the toy and video game franchise, which outsold all action figure lines worldwide for the second consecutive year.

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.

Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]