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.

Skylanders Trap Team to Feature Special Gameplay Mode for Emperor Kaos

SkylandersTrapTeam.KaosModeActivision Publishing Inc. has announced a new game play mode in Skylanders Trap Team for Emperor Kaos, the villain of its Skylanders franchise. In Kaos Doom Challenge, players can battle through increasingly difficult waves of minions, build defensive towers, and utilize both Skylanders and trapped villains from their collections.

Kaos Doom Challenge will also feature the Mystery Box of Doom, which when opened, spits out gigantic villains.

The Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack will be available October 5 in North America and October 10 in Europe for Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U systems; a variety of iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets; Xbox One and Xbox 360 games; and the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 systems. A unique adventure also will be available on the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system.

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.

Diamond Select Toys, Popcap to Launch Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Toys

ZombiesGroup1Next month, Diamond Select Toys will launch toys inspired by the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare game. Each “bloom and doom” action figure two-pack will include one plant and one zombie, both based on designs from the video game. The assortment includes Gatling Pea with Scientist Zombie, Camo Cactus with Foot Soldier Zombie, Chomper with Engineer Zombie, and Shadow Flower with All-Star Zombie. Two box sets of Minimates mini-figures will also be available in early September. The toys will be available at comic shops, specialty stores, and Toys “R” Us.

In addition, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to the PlayStation 4 console, and is already available for the Xbox One and PC platforms. The game is a traditional online shooter blended with the humor of Plants vs. Zombies.

NPD Group Reports Strong Growth for Video Game Hardware, Decline for Software in July

npd_group_logoAccording to The NPD Group, strong growth in hardware sales offset declines in software sales in July, while accessory sales had modest growth, leading to an increase of 16 percent in overall new physical video game sales compared to July of last year.

Hardware sales doubled in July compared to the same month last year, stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales, which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware. When combining life-to-date sales of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) after nine months, and comparing them to the combined totals of nine months’ worth of sales for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (PS3), sales of the newest consoles are larger than the prior generation by close to 80 percent. [Read more...]

Toy Armies Are Ready for Combat in Ubisoft’s Toy Soldiers: War Chest

ToySoldiers.WarChestThe next iteration in the Toy Soldiers video game series, Toy Soldiers: War Chest, has been announced by Ubisoft and Signal Studios. The game will be available for download on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 early next year.

Toy Soldiers: War Chest allows players to face off against rival toy armies; the goal is to rule the battlefield. The game will feature four distinct armies ready to fight, and each will have its own attack vehicles and army units, making for different and unique play experiences.

Two additional armies are set to be announced closer to the launch date.

Skylanders Trap Team Will Be Unleashed on Tablets

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc. will bring the complete Skylanders Trap Team video game to tablets at launch, marking the first time a full Skylanders game will be available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets day-and-date with the console version. The tablet version of the game delivers the same experience with console-quality graphics and comes with its own high-performance controller.

The Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack will include a Bluetooth Traptanium Portal, an embedded Bluetooth controller, a built-in tablet stand, two Skylanders characters, two Traps, and a display tray that lets Portal Masters keep track of the Traps they’ve collected and which villains they have trapped. [Read more...]

Hasbro and Ubisoft to Launch Hasbro Game Channel on Xbox, PlayStation Consoles

MonopolyPlusHasbro and Ubisoft have announced the Hasbro Game Channel, a destination for family game entertainment on leading consoles, featuring games based on Hasbro’s most popular brands. The Hasbro Game Channel will be available to download this fall on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. All games will also be available for download individually on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The first three games available on the Hasbro Game Channel will be Monopoly Plus, a customizable 3-D version of the game that lets up to six players choose their own house rules; Risk, where players will venture into simulating modern warfare combat with a new strategic experience and modern armies; and Trivial Pursuit Live! will test fans on the trivia game with a TV-show setting and reinvented question formats.

COMMENTARY: Classic Games Are Revived with Modern Twists

5CF7F28B50569047F5EEB18A916E5462The summer months are known for spontaneous beach trips, an abundance of delicious ice cream, and, of course, the much-dreaded summer storms that come with unbearable heat. But the next time the weather is uncompromising, consider having a family game night in, though I know what you’re thinking: Please, not another children’s game.

It can be difficult choosing a game everyone agrees on; parents are frequently disconnected, and youngsters who are a few years apart in age constantly battle over which game should be the one played. But a new trend in the toy industry could stop these common issues before game night even begins. I am constantly seeing companies revisiting old games and giving them a modern twist, and these simple alterations often involve modern technologies to pique younger players’ interest. [Read more...]