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...]

Walmart Matches Competitors’ Black Friday Deals One Week Early

logo-walmartHoliday shoppers don’t have to wait until Black Friday to start shopping for deals at Walmart. At of 8 a.m. on November 22, Walmart has started a pre-Black Friday savings event in stores and online, lowering the prices on popular toys and electronics, to match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy one week early.

The retailer also extends its Christmas Ad Match to walmart.com customers. Customers who purchase an item on walmart.com, and find a lower price in a local competitor, can email christmasadmatch@walmart.com and receive the difference on a gift card. The same policy is in place for customers at Walmart stores for items purchased November 1 through December 24, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Examples of toys and electronics that are part of Walmart’s pre-Black Friday saving event, while supplies last, include LeapPad 2, Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, Nerf Rebelle Crossbow, Monopoly Board Game, Hot Wheels Single Car, Skylanders and Disney Infinity Starter Packs, and select PS4 and Xbox One video games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, NBA 2K14 and Battlefield 4. [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.

PowerA Releases Skylanders Swap Force Licensed Accessories

SkylandersPowerA

PowerA, an industry leader in video game and mobility accessories, has announced the availability of new accessories for the game Skylanders Swap Force. PowerA has been making accessories for Skylanders franchise for the last three years. With storage solutions that double as play sets, to high-quality third party video game controllers, PowerA has something for every Skylanders fan.

The new accessories and cases include:

These Skylanders Swap Force accessories, and more storage, transport, and mobility cases are available at major retailers including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, Target, Toys”R”Us, Walmart and more.