Toy State, Feld Entertainment Partner to Expand Monster Jam Portfolio

ToyStateLogoToy State partnered with Feld Entertainment to expand the Monster Jam portfolio. The three year, multi-territory agreement grants Toy State construction toy category rights for the development of Monster Jam-branded toys within the company’s Machine Maker product line. [Read more…]

Guru Studio Names Toy State as Master Toy Partner for Netflix Series

ToyStateLogoGuru Studios named Toy State as its master toy licensee for its Netflix Original preschool animated series, True and the Rainbow Kingdom. The deal was brokered by Guru’s licensing agency, Brand Central.

Toy State will create a robust product line featuring figures, role play, plush, play sets, and dolls, marking a major expansion into new product categories as part of the company’s overall global growth strategy.  [Read more…]

Toy State’s Plans for Growth and Expansion Beyond Vehicles

Andy_Shirt3Toy State President Andy Friess Chats with The Toy Book.

Toy State is well known as an industry leader in the lights and sounds and R/C toy categories. How are you planning to expand your portfolio?

We’re proud Toy State has become the industry leader in toy vehicles, and we look forward to leading in that category for years to come. With that said, Toy State sees opportunities in non-vehicle categories where our expertise would be a perfect fit. I’m excited to bring the Toy State “magic” to additional retail aisles! [Read more…]

Toy State, The Walt Disney Co. Partner for Marvel R/C

ToyState_HeroRider socialToy State joins forces with The Walt Disney Co. to begin developing products based on the Marvel Comics property. The new partnership grants Toy State the right to expand its licensed vehicles with key superheroes from the Marvel Universe. The debut offerings, featuring Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Rocket Raccoon, and more, will debut at major retailers nationwide this fall. [Read more…]

Flying High-Tech

Toy Drones Fly to New Heights

Although it seems like they’re becoming commonplace in the R/C aisle, the concept of a flying R/C is actually still quite novel in the category. The progression from ground R/C to difficult-to-fly helicopters to slightly more stable quadcopters led us to where we are now: within constant search of how to make this still-challenging play pattern more fun.

Truthfully, a company could add lots of bells and whistles into a drone, but that still doesn’t mean a consumer will pick it up off the shelf. Since flying an R/C tends to be more difficult than controlling one on the ground, there is already an initial reluctance for a consumer to purchase a drone.

However, with new features added in to promote user accessibility and easier-to-use controls, such as one-touch stunts; auto-launch, -land, and –hover; and more durable bodies, drone companies are looking for ways to add to the user experience and make it less intimidating for beginners, but still fun for more advanced fliers.

Skyrocket_SkyViperGPS

Skyrocket Toys’ Sky Viper V2700 GPS

“With a drone, you’re still having to manage height and altitude with all that, so it just becomes that using two thumbs at the same time is definitely more of a challenging thing than using one thumb,” says Jared Wolfson, senior vice president of marketing, licensing, and entertainment at Skyrocket Toys.

And now that most companies are incorporating a lot of flight assist features that allow users to concentrate less on the complicated maneuvering and more on the in-flight experience, they’re starting to delve further into more advanced technology, just like the high-tech features that are found in hobby and professional grade drones.

The biggest challenge for companies competing in the drone category of R/C toys is to figure out how to balance all of the high-tech features with a price point that is reasonable for consumers. “The challenge we’ve had out there in the past is that the new technology costs a lot of money and in order to kind of cheat that technology, people have really scaled down the benefit that you get from it and it just really hasn’t had a good pay off,” says Wolfson. Skyrocket, like other companies in this toy space, is blending the real-life technology and still giving consumers the lower price point they’re looking for, meaning: Drones are becoming much more than just “a flying R/C toy.”

GPS & GEOFENCING

Wolfson says that the company combats issues of high-end technology versus consumer-approved price points by building Skyrocket’s hardware and software at the same time. Using the same Cleanflight system that is very familiar to drone enthusiasts and professionals, Skyrocket is able to map out exactly what they want to build and integrate it all at the same time, instead of having to go back and overcorrect any issues.

By building the hardware and the software at the same time, we get ahead of issues such as where you’ve got a really expensive GPS module, but it doesn’t necessarily work with the other parts. Then you have to add other costs to get it to properly work,” says Woflson. “We’ve layered that all in at the beginning. We know what we want to achieve, and we cost-effectively, yet very meaningfully, implement it all together at the same time.”

One of Skyrocket’s newest products in its Sky Viper line, the v2700 GPS, features built-in GPS technology that battles two major issues for quadcopter pilots, especially beginners: controllability and fly away. The GPS allows the drone to know where the controller is in relation to the drone itself, so it adds in new safety capabilities, such as geofencing. With this new feature, users can draw a zone around themselves and their drone, and the drone won’t fly outside of that virtual fenced-in area.

Additionally, it offers the ability to add in a one-touch return to home button. “The flight range on the GPS drone right now is about 2,000 feet, which is a big distance. So if you have it out on the far end of that range, it’s harder to see,” explains Wolfson.” With a one-touch button that returns to home, you can press that button and because it knows where it is in relation to you, it’ll fly all the way back to where you are and land.”

ToyState_NikkoAirRaceVision

Nikko Air Race Vision, from Toy State

FPV DRONE RACING

There is nothing trendier in the world of drones than drone racing, and thanks to partnerships with professional leagues like the Drone Racing League (DRL), companies such as Toy State can bring the drone racing experience right into consumers’ homes.

Toy State’s Nikko line will introduce the official DRL-licensed Nikko Air Race Vision 220 FPV Pro drone, which gives users a first-person view (FPV) in real time.

“With the technology we’re bringing, you’re seeing a real-time view of what that camera on the front of the drone is seeing, so you can have that traditional racing experience, just like the professional pilots that you see in the DRL events,” says Andy Friess, president of Toy State.

With very little competition on the market, this FPV drone uses a 5.8 GHz connection with the camera, so there is no delay between the drone and the FPV goggles.

In addition to providing a realistic racing experience, DRL will also feature Nikko Air exclusive courses on its flight simulator, allowing users to practice their piloting virtually in between being able to take their drone out for a spin.

“It’s one of those really neat twists in this type of product that you do have that virtual playground where you can go and practice and do all the things that you would be doing outside, just on your computer instead of out in the open air, which gives you a lot more practice time,” says Friess.

NKOK's Battle Quadcopters

NKOK’s Battle Quadcopters

LASER TAG & GAMING DRONES

NKOK figured out a way to take a technology that they already use in their line of toys—laser tag—and incorporate it into flight. Using an infrared connection that allows the drones to engage and interact with each other, NKOK’s Battlecopters turn flying drones into a multiplayer experience.

“That’s the biggest development. It’s no longer one person at a time doing their own thing, it’s expandable infinitely,” says NKOK designer Kevin Greene. “You could fill up an auditorium with a hundred of these if you had them and everyone would be able to be engaged. It’s the next evolution of drones where more than one person is not only flying at the same time, but interacting.”

The Battlecopters feature three levels of piloting difficulty, allowing them to be more accessible to a wider range of fliers. Players are challenged to fire their laser at the other drones. Each time a drone is hit, the controller unleashes vibrations and sound effects, and the drone does an aerial maneuver. On the third hit, it descends and must be repowered up to rejoin the battle.

The addition of laser tag ability expands the R/C play pattern to a social—as well as competitive—experience for the pilots.

As far as what’s next, we know that as an ever-surprising and developing category, flying R/C will never cease to go above and beyond our expectations.

“In these technology-based toys, you never truly know all the frontiers that are going to come next, which is exactly the exciting part of this type of category,” says Friess. “There are so many things in the flying space that are virtually untapped. If people just keep an eye on it, they’re going to be excited with what they see coming out over the next couple of years.” »

Toy State, Caterpillar Extend Global Licensing Partnership

ToyStateLogoToy State and Caterpillar have agreed to a four-year extension of their licensing partnership. The term of the agreement extends through 2021 and grants Toy State rights to continue to design, manufacture, and distribute its Cat product lines through major retailers globally.

Toy State’s partnership with Caterpillar began in 2002 and is the toy company’s longest running licensing program. Since then, the line has expanded from an initial “lights and sounds” line of construction machines to a robust offering featuring Cat toys within role play, outdoor, preschool, construction, die-cast/steel, and R/C retail categories. The licensing extension applies to all toy categories included in Toy State’s agreement.

Toy State to Debut NASCAR Products at Michigan International Speedway

TSleftToy State will unveil the latest products from its flagship Nikko and Road Rippers brands this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. The company will debut its NASCAR-themed cars in advance of this weekend’s Spring Cup race, part of global licensing agreements signed with NASCAR and various NASCAR teams late last year. [Read more…]

Toy State, Go Baby Go Host Second Charlotte Workshop for Children with Mobility Issues

ToyStateGoBabyGoToy State hosted its 4th Go Baby Go workshop in the past year in North Carolina, and its second in Charlotte. The latest workshop took place in Mooresville, North Carolina, at the Tommy Baldwin Racing Shop. Toy State provided ten kids with a ride-on car that was outfitted to model the No. 7 Nikko RC Toy State car driven by Regan Smith on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Smith, along with fellow NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell, and Ryan Preece, and other members of the NASCAR community, were also in attendance.  [Read more…]

Toy State Introduces New Line of TMNT Vehicles

unnamedToy State secured a licensing partnership with Nickelodeon Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) to design, develop, and manufacture lines of toy vehicles featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brand.

The two-year deal will allow Toy State to create Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed vehicles that will be available this summer at major retailers across the EMEA region.

Toy State also recently added Barbie to its licensing portfolio, joining the company’s flagship Road Rippers and Nikko brands, as well as lines featuring licensed properties including Hot Wheels, Caterpillar, WWE, Thomas & Friends, and DC Super Friends.

Toy State Becomes NASCAR Licensee

ToyStateLogoToy State has entered into a global licensing agreement with NASCAR to introduce NASCAR-licensed products specially designed to connect with the next generation of NASCAR fans. Development on the toy line, which will be co-branded with Toy State’s flagship Nikko and Road Rippers brands, is currently underway. Product is expected to hit retail shelves early next year. [Read more…]