China Toy Fair


August Video Game Sales Up Year-over-Year, but New Software Launches Show Weakness

NPDGrouplogoAccording to analysis from The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan, overall new physical retail sales of video game hardware, software, and accessories increased by 8 percent this August over the same month last year. These overall sales also followed a similar pattern as prior months, with explosive hardware growth driven by eighth generation consoles offsetting declines in software.

For August, overall hardware sales doubled from the same month last year, caused by a more than 200 percent increase in console hardware sales with continued strong sales of eighth generation hardware, including Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One. Eighth generation hardware represented close to 70 percent of August’s hardware sales—the highest percentage share since the release of the Xbox One and PS4 last November.

As far as software, new launches in August declined 41 percent compared to last August, due to poor comparisons between titles. Eight of the top 10 games last August were new launches, compared to only three during this past August. Madden NFL 15 was the number one game in August, with growth over last August’s Madden NFL 25.

Minecraft Will Join Microsoft Studios

Minecraft-gamesMicrosoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the Stockholm-based game developer behind the popular Minecraft franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios. Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion, and expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal year 2015 on a GAAP basis. Subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close later this year.

Available across multiple platforms, players have downloaded Minecraft more than 100 million times, on PC alone, since its launch in 2009. Minecraft is also the most popular online game on Xbox, and the game’s community is among the most active in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Gains Fan Favorites Yondu and Falcon

MarvelSuperHeroes.FalconDisney Interactive has added two more characters to its Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes line-up. There’s Yondu, from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and Captain America’s loyal ally, Falcon.

The arrow-shooting leader of the outlaw band known as the Ravagers, Yondu will be playable in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set, as well as in Toy Box 2.0. He will also make an appearance in the Marvel Team-Up: Yondu Power Disc.

Sam Wilson, codename Falcon, has been added to both Marvel’s Avengers Play Set and Toy Box 2.0. The character features EXO-7 wing pack and Hardlight Feathers, and other characters can also fly like Falcon when players use the Falcon’s Wings Power Disc.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes arrives at North American retail stores on September 23, and Yondu and Falcon will be available next year.

Nintendo 3DS XL Gets Three Special Editions

The Nintendo 3DS XL will get three new looks for the holiday season: the Super Smash Bros. Edition Nintendo 3DS XL, the NES Edition Nintendo 3DS XL, and the Persona Q Edition Nintendo 3DS XL.

The Super Smash Bros. Edition Nintendo 3DS XL system, available in red and blue, goes on sale at retailers nationwide on September 19, in honor of the October 3 launch of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. The NES Edition Nintendo 3DS XL, which has hardware modeled after Nintendo’s iconic NES controller, is a GameStop exclusive and goes on sale October 10.

Another GameStop exclusive, the Persona Q Edition Nintendo 3DS XL, coincides with the November 25 launch of the AtlusPersona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.

Super Smash Bros. Edition Nintendo 3DS XL

NES Edition Nintendo 3DS XL

Persona Q Edition Nintendo 3DS XL

 

Destiny’s Day One Mark Exceeds $500 Million

DestinyActivision Publishing Inc. reported that it sold more than $500 million of its latest video game title, Destiny, into retail stores and first parties worldwide as of day one. The title launched on Tuesday at more than 11,000 midnight openings worldwide.

Destiny, from Bungie and Activision Publishing Inc., is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Two expansions—the first of which will launch in December—extend the adventure with new story missions, cooperative activities, competitive multiplayer arenas, and more.

Gamers Have a Date with Destiny After Midnight Tonight

DestinyAt 12:01 a.m. on September 9, Destiny, the new video game from Bungie and Activision Publishing Inc., will be available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. In Destiny, players are cast as a Guardian of the last city on Earth, able to explore the ruins of the solar system, which is a social universe populated with other players.

In addition to the story campaign, players can take their character into cooperative or competitive activity, including the ability to compete with or against friends in The Crucible, a competitive multiplayer mode featuring playlists and maps spanning diverse environments across the galaxy.

The Expansion Pass will extend the Destiny adventure after the launch of the game with two expansions. Both will include brand new story missions, cooperative activities and competitive multiplayer arenas, and a wealth of all new weapons, armor, and gear to earn. Expansion I will launch in December, with Expansion II following.

Big Hero 6 Arrives on Disney Infinity this Fall

BigHero6.DisneyInfinityHiro and Baymax from the upcoming action-packed movie Big Hero 6 will be entering the Disney Infinity Toy Box (2.0 Edition) from Disney Interactive. Fans will be able to use Hiro’s mind-power and Baymax’s super strength—along with hundreds of items, locations, props, vehicles, and more from across the Disney and Marvel universes—to create all-new adventures.

There will also be a Big Hero 6 Chem Capsule Power Disc, which allows players to create a cloud of frost that freezes enemies right in their tracks.

Disney’s Hiro and Baymax figures will be available in North American retail stores on November 4. In the meantime, check out the gameplay trailer below:

Brick Fan Festival Comes to Philadelphia in September

Brick FestThe Philly Brick Fest Fan Festival is coming to The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on September 12 to 14. Attendees can play with the hands-on building attractions and shop a variety of Lego-themed merchandise. Attractions include the Brick Fest Derby, where participants can build and race custom Lego derby cars; the Video Game Arena, an area to challenge others to play Lego video games; The Brick Zone, where builders are free to create anything they desire; and more.

Additional Brick Fest live dates and locations are at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Maryland from September 19 to 21, Duke Energy Convention Center in Ohio from October 17 to 19, and Palm Beach Convention Center in Florida from December 4 to 7.

Penguin UK Reaching for the Skylands with First Licensed Magazine

SkylandersLogoPenguin UK is taking its first steps into licensed magazine publishing after acquiring the world representation rights to a new Skylanders Universe magazine, based on the Skylanders video games.

Penguin, which also owns the rights to the Skylanders Universe books, acquired the rights from brand owners Activision. It has appointed Immediate Media to produce the content and distribute the magazine in the UK.

The stories in the magazine will be based on characters from the Skylanders games—Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Swap Force.

Disney Interactive to Launch Disney-Themed Toy Box Starter Pack

Merida and StitchDisney Interactive will launch a special Disney-themed Toy Box Starter Pack this November. The Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack (2.0 Edition) gives Disney fans the chance to experience the Toy Box 2.0 mode, set in the world of Disney, and is compatible with the game’s Marvel Play Sets.

Players can create unique stories featuring Starter Pack characters Merida and Stitch, utilize newly announced Disney and Marvel characters, as well as bring all of their existing characters from Disney Infinity into the Toy Box 2.0 mode. The Toy Box Starter Pack is compatible with all Disney Infinity content, including Marvel Play Sets, figures, and Power Discs. Fans can also unlock Disney-themed content and purchase additional figures and Play Sets separately. [Read more...]