China Toy Fair


Sony Moving Closer to Making Inroads into China

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGODuring the past week, it was widely reported that Sony Corp. is moving closer to shipping video game consoles in China, where devices such as its PlayStation had long been banned.

According to a filing reported on by Bloomberg News this past Thursday, a Sony-affiliated factory in Shanghai’s free-trade zone will start packaging consoles this December. The filing—an environmental assessment posted by a Sony local partner on the free-trade zone’s official website—stated that the factory has the capacity to package 200,000 consoles a year.

The exact type of console was not specified. “Though it is true the filing was made and approved, some parts of the document such as the amount of shipment, number of staff, production start timing, were only tentative and do not represent the actual business plan. We have yet to announce which system will be available in China, price for the system, and the launch date,” said a representative of Sony Computer Entertainment in a statement.

Sony signed a deal earlier this year with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co. to make and sell PlayStation game consoles in China. The move came after the Chinese government in September lifted a 14-year ban on the sale of video game consoles, which had been in place due to concerns about violent content.

Sony video game competitor Microsoft began selling its Xbox One through the free-trade zone late last month, with restrictions on the titles approved for sale.

Skylanders Trap Team, Toy Exclusives Available at Retailers Everywhere

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoSkylanders Trap Team, from Activision Publishing Inc., is available now at major retailers nationwide on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo Wii U consoles. In addition, the complete console gaming experience is available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets, while a unique Skylanders adventure has launched for the Nintendo 3DS.

The new Skylanders game lets fans seek out and battle villains in Skylands, and once they’ve defeated them, players can place a Trap into the new Traptanium Portal to capture them. Players will be able to hear the villains inside the Traps, and can send the villains back into the game to fight as heroes.

To celebrate the release of Skylanders Trap Team, exclusive Skylanders products are available at retailers nationwide. Toys “R” Us stores in North America and online at toysrus.com are the only places to find the limited edition Legendary Series of Skylanders toys at launch. The Legendary Series features alternative versions of new Trap Master characters and packs such as Jawbreaker, Déjà Vu, and the Nightmare Express Adventure Pack, all of which feature in-game stat boosts. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us Celebrates Skylanders Trap Team’s Arrival with Special Events, Early Opening, and More

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoToys “R” Us is celebrating the debut of the latest Skylanders game, Skylanders Trap Team, with special events, an early opening, exclusive figures, and more.

On Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5, the Toys “R” Us flagship store in New York City will host unique in-store Skylanders-themed experiences. Customers who visit Toys “R” Us Times Square from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on either day can be among the first to play the new game at dedicated kiosks throughout the store.

ToysRUsLogo copyThey can also receive complimentary giveaways while supplies last, as well as have the opportunity to be digitally teleported into a Skylanders Trap Team “Most Wanted” photo alongside some of the game’s villains, including Kaos and Chompy Mage.

When Skylanders Trap Team releases on October 5, all Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open one hour earlier at 8 a.m., and select stores will open at midnight. A full list of stores opening at midnight can be found at toysrus.com/midnightskylanders. Meanwhile, the Skylanders villain Kaos will be taking over the Toys “R” Us Twitter channel (@Toysrus) on Saturday, October 4, from 11 to 11:50 p.m. to interact with fans and build anticipation for the midnight release. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Edition Launches in Retail Stores Nationwide

DisneyInfinity.MarvelSuperHeroesDisney Interactive and Marvel have launched Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, the follow-up to last year’s toy/video game hybrid. The Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack features the 2.0 game software; the Disney Infinity 2.0 Base; Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set with Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor figures; two Toy Box Game Discs; and a web code card. Marvel’s Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy Play Sets, along with additional figures from those worlds, are sold separately. [Read more...]

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...]