China Toy Fair


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.

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...]

Angry Birds Star Wars Licensed Products Provide a Boost to the Toy Industry

Hasbro Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star PackageBased on data from The NPD Group, Angry Birds Star Wars is the best new toy license in the big five European toy markets so far this year. Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period was £5.3 million, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4 million, and third place Monsters University at £2.9 million. Angry Birds Star Wars is even the No. 1 license in the board games category.

Over the first seven months, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK. Just one year ago, Angry Birds alone was ranked at a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.

The original Angry Birds sold £4.2 million worth of toys in the first seven months of last year across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The figure for the same seven-month period this year had almost doubled to £8.1 million. With the Angry Birds Star Wars sales performance of £5.3 million added in, in total, the Angry Birds license achieved combined sales of £13.4 million in the seven months through this July. [Read more...]

Scottish Island Teams Up With Skylanders Swap Force

Isle-of-SkyeVisitScotland, The Highland Council, and Activision Publishing Inc., an owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc. have announced that the Isle of Skye in Scotland has virtually twinned with Skylands, the home of Skylanders Swap Force.

The Scottish Highlands have been brought together with the virtual islands of Skylands, to celebrate the month of Swaptober and the launch of Skylanders Swap Force. The virtual twinning marks the first time a video game world has twinned with a real destination. Skylanders Swap Force is available now at retail stores in North America and will be available in Australia on October 16 and Europe on October 18.

Activision and VisitScotland brought the virtual world of Skylands to the  Scottish Highlands through a visit to the Isle of Skye by Wash Buckler, one of the new Skylanders Swap Force characters. Wash Buckler toured some of the island’s most famous landmarks and visited the children at Portree Primary School. Also, there was a Swap takeover of the Isle of Skye website www.skye.co.uk, where Skylanders franchise fans worldwide can type Swap on the homepage to watch the magic unfold.

COMMENTARY: Skylanders Swap Force Takes Over Times Square

Fans get in on the video game action.

Fans get in on the video game action.

On October 10, Skylanders fanatics united in New York City for the Skylanders SWAPtoberfest! A life-size world of Skylands was created right in the middle of Times Square. I joined hundreds of kids as they checked out all-things-new at Skylanders and prepared for the highly anticipated release of the new Skylanders Swap Force video game. Kiosks were set up, alongside a Skylands ship, for fans to play the new game in advance of its official launch. Skylanders Swap Force game footage was also featured on the Times Square jumbotron, so fans and passersby were able to watch the action! Kids, parents, and bloggers participated in Swaptober-themed events: Eating candy corn and cupcakes; greeting the costumed characters of the SWAP Force; and learning to play the new video games, which released in North America on October 13. I don’t want to brag, but after about 40 minutes of hogging the video game kiosk (stealing the time from actual children with no shame), I am pretty much a Skylanders boss!

I love that the Skylanders brand is so extensive, offering something for kids of all ages and interests.

SWAP Force takes over Times Square

SWAP Force takes over Times Square

Even better is the fact that all you really need to get started in the Skylanders realm is a Swap Force Starter Pack. This set includes a video game, a portal of power, a collector’s poster, three trading cards, three character sticker sheets with secret codes, and three Skylanders figures. There is also a starter pack available in the Dark edition; it includes a video game, a portal of power, a mega character collector poster, five sticker sheets with secret codes, five trading cards, and five Skylanders figures.  These starter packs also come in Giants and Syro’s Adventures editions. The technology and inspiration behind the new Skylanders video game make it an absolutely unstoppable force. I was able to speak with several of the video game designers who shared with me that the evolution of the game is only beginning—Skylanders is just getting started! All of the designers that I spoke with are parents, and one mommy/designer shared with me that this is the first game that she’s been a part of that she is happy to share with her children. [Read more...]

Skylanders Debuts New Boomcast Webisodes on YouTube

Skylanders.Swap.ForceSkylanders Boomcast, a weekly series of online webisodes for the Skylanders line of toys, debuted on October 4 on the Skylanders YouTube channel.

Actor Zachary Gordon hosts, bringing fans the latest Skylanders franchise news, gameplay tips and tricks, fan art, character spotlights, exclusive interviews with the Skylanders team, and more. Skylanders Boomcast was created by Activision Publishing Inc. and is a Matter/Edelman production in association with RadNerd Productions.

The show’s launch kicked-off Swaptober, a month of activities celebrating the new Skylanders SWAP Force, which arrives on October 13 in North America, October 16 in Australia, and October 18 in Europe.