Nintendo Files U.S. Patent for Handheld Video Game Emulator

NintendoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal this past Tuesday, Nintendo has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that could pave the way for Nintendo to offer its games on smartphones or other mobile devices.

The patent, which was published last Thursday and filed by Nintendo in June, is described as a software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform. However, analysts are skeptical that Nintendo is planning a move into video games on mobile devices. The patent, originally filed in 2000 and extended in 2003 and 2012, could also be used to fight piracy.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata previously said the company would stick to using its intellectual property, which includes Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, solely on its own game device.

Total Spending, Number of Shoppers Down During Black Friday Weekend

As reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), roughly 87 million Americans visited stores on Black Friday. However, total spending for the long Thanksgiving weekend is projected to be down more than 10 percent from last year’s estimate.

According to an NRF survey released on Sunday, total spending for the four-day weekend is expected to reach $50.9 billion, a decrease of 11.3 percent from last year’s estimate of $57.4 billion. NRF data also estimates that 133.7 million shoppers will have visited stores this weekend, down 5 percent year-over-year and below the expected number of 140.1 million. The survey also estimates flat growth in online sales.

This data follows strong starts reported by some retailers for the Black Friday weekend. Both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. began offering special Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, beginning at 6 p.m. While neither Wal-Mart nor Target has reported specific sales figures, both claimed a high number of customers that shopped at stores as well as online. [Read more...]

Frozen Continues to Dominate Toy Aisles as More than 3 Million Character Dresses Sold

Disney Consumer Products' VIP Halloween EventMore than 3 million Disney Frozen Elsa and Anna role-play dresses have been sold at Disney Store and mass retailers in North America in less than a year, according to Disney Consumer Products. Elsa and Anna also led costume sales by double digits at all Disney Store locations in North America. In addition, the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Halloween Consumer Top Costumes Survey said that an estimated 2.6 million children planned to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters this Halloween.

Since Frozen’s release last November, Disney Publishing Worldwide and its licensees have published more than 800 Frozen print titles globally and more than 35 e-books in the U.S. The Disney Karaoke: Frozen app has reached the No. 1 spot in the iPad Entertainment Downloads category in more than 100 countries worldwide, and the Disney Frozen: Free Fall app is Disney Interactive’s top-grossing and most downloaded app of the year.

[Read more...]

Lego and Shell to Part Ways After Decades-Long Partnership

Lego.ShellOn Thursday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Lego is ending its co-branding relationship with Royal Dutch Shell. The move follows pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which targeted the decades-long partnership in an online video and petition.

Since the 1960s, Lego has built play sets branded with the Shell logo, including Shell filling stations, tanker trucks, and Shell-sponsored racing cars. These have been sold at Shell gas stations and other retailers that carried Lego sets.

In July, Greenpeace circulated an online petition calling for Lego to sever ties with Shell, which it has accused of operating recklessly in exploring for oil in the Arctic. The group released an online video, Lego: Everything Is Not Awesome, which depicts an Arctic wonderland made of Lego bricks that is flooded with spilled oil, and asks viewers to sign the petition urging Lego to sever ties with Shell. According to Greenpeace, the video has garnered more than a million signatures to date. [Read more...]

Hasbro to Step Back from The Hub Children’s Network

Hasbro logoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal, Discovery Communications Inc. and Hasbro Inc. are ending their equal partnership in The Hub, a cable network that hoped to become a force in children’s television against Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.

Under the terms being completed, Discovery would take a controlling interest in The Hub and reposition the channel as a family network aimed at parents as well as children. Hasbro will retain a large stake in the service and control six hours of daytime programming on the network, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Launched in 2010 with a $300 million investment from Hasbro for half of the network, The Hub was designed to be an outlet for some of Hasbro’s best-known toy brands, including G.I. Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony.

The makeover could take place as early as the fourth quarter, with The Hub renamed Discovery Family.

Thanks to The Lego Movie, Lego Is World’s Largest Toy Maker

LEGO_LogoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal today, Lego is currently the world’s largest toy maker.

Denmark’s Lego A/S said that revenue during the first six months rose 11 percent, boosted by The Lego Movie products. This makes Lego the biggest toy company in the world in terms of both revenue and profit, ahead of Mattel Inc. The jump also puts Lego slightly ahead of Mattel in sales for the first six months of the year.

A sequel to The Lego Movie, The Lego Movie 2, is scheduled for release in 2017, and Warner Bros. has already set the release for the Ninjago movie next year.

The licensing of the movies themselves isn’t a significant element of sales for Lego compared with the sales of movie-related boxes of bricks. Overall first-half sales for Lego rose to 11.5 billion Danish kroner ($2.03 billion) from 10.4 billion kroner in the same period last year, the company said. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Wall Street Magnate Offers Fantasy Trading to “Investors” of All Ages

Christine.June3newI don’t know about you, but to me, the concept of trading stocks is one big, complicated, web of confusion, reserved for professionals, the wealthy, or older people. I’ve felt  little left out in the past, when I’ve heard of friends of mine buying stocks, and thought, “I should do that!” The problem is, I have no idea what I’m doing, let alone where to start. That is, until I was introduced to Wall Street Magnate (WSM), a groundbreaking new fantasy trading community that lets people learn the ins and outs of the capital markets. The site uses real-world financial information to offer a realistic and fun fantasy trading experience online, with up-to-the-minute data from all of the major U.S. Stock Exchanges.

WSM allows “traders” of all ages to learn crucial skills in an exciting and social atmosphere. Users have $100,000 in simulated cash to trade stocks listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX. Members climb the corporate ranks by increasing their Status and Title. WSM provides an easy-to-use and intuitive interface for fantasy trading. The site accounts for both dividends and stock splits in a real-time environment, and features social club play where members can collaborate or face-off with their friends while also competing against other clubs. “Traders” can track and document their complete trading history with sortable spreadsheets that can be easily exported. Member profile pages become the central gateway to fantasy trading, where privacy settings can be adjusted at any time. Members can quickly view a snapshot of their portfolio performance, their current achievements, friends’ status, club information, messages, and the WSM Ticker. The WSM Ticker allows members to see live activity streaming in real-time, including 24/7 news from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters Business, Yahoo! Finance, and CNN Money; the 20 most recent stock trades and new trades to hit the site; critical updates regarding buy and sell orders; all Status and Title upgrades achieved by themselves and friends; stock splits awarded for currently held stocks; dividends paid on currently held stocks; ticker posts; and recent friend and club updates. [Read more...]