Corus Entertainment‘s Nelvana has entered a partnership with Cepia LLC to bring the Zhu Zhu Pets brand back to store shelves, with Nelvana Studio producing a new animated series based upon the property. Nelvana Enterprises will also oversee global merchandising of the brand in conjunction with the distribution of the new series. [Read more...]
The NPD Group has released its list of Top-Selling Family Entertainment Titles for May 2010, with games for Nintendo consoles filling 18 of the 20 spots. Maintaining its standing from April, Ubisoft‘s Just Dance for the Nintendo Wii came in at No. 1, while Picross 3D and Zhu Zhu Pets, both for the Nintendo DS, came in second and third, respectively.
The two non-Nintendo DS or Wii games on the list were Guitar Hero 5 and Rock Band 2, coming in at No. 11 and No. 16, respectively, both for the Xbox 360.
According to the St. Louis Business Journal, a former controller for Cepia, LLC, manufacturer of Zhu Zhu Pets robotic hamsters, was indicted for mail fraud for allegedly embezzling more than $400,000 from the company. Joseph Van Gronigen was indicted by a federal grand jury on two felony counts of mail fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office said Thursday.
According to the indictment, between September 2007 and January 2010, Van Gronigen allegedly embezzled more than $400,000 from Cepia for his own use and to pay his own expenses. He was employed by Cepia from 2005 to January 2010 and had been the company’s controller since 2008.
Cepia brought the situation to the attention of the FBI and attorney general’s office.
At Toy Fair last week, I attended a press conference held by Cepia LLC regarding the next wave of Zhu Zhu Pets. It seems that Zhu Zhu Pets, the interactive, plush, artificially intelligent hamsters, have earned their black belts and will reveal their fast-as-lightning skills as Kung Zhu battle hamsters. These hamsters incorporate a level of action and excitement that appeals specifically to boys. The Kung Zhu clan joins the Zhu Zhu family in June. The Kung Zhu battle hamsters travel in packs and are part of teams. Four unique duos provide endless opportunities for epic battle play. In addition to these eight Kung Zhu Battle Hamsters, Kung Zhu battle gear, vehicles, and training arenas will be available. Kids can build, change and rearrange to make their own Kung Zhu battle arena where the hamsters square off wearing their unique armored suits. Kids can build further upon their Kung Zhu world with a headquarters, mission control, and training ground for the Special Forces team, and a training ground, snake pit, and dojo base for the Ninja Warriors. Other accessories including a combat bridge, y-turn, u-turn, hammer, missile attack tower, wheel of fire, and armored tanks to amp up the fight.
New lines Zhu Zhu Rock Stars and Zhu Zhu Pets Wild Bunch will also be available in June with a variety of accessories and habitats.
What do you think about Cepia’s main focus being on Zhu Zhu pets geared specifically to boys?
Activision Publishing and GameMill Publishing, Inc. have inked a deal with Cepia, LLC to develop and publish video games based on Zhu Zhu Pets. The first Zhu Zhu Pets game will be released on the Nintendo DS in spring 2010. The video game is also being developed with software developer Black Lantern Studios, Inc. Zhu Zhu Pets was recently nominated for Girl Toy of the Year and Innovative Toy of the Year. Winners will be announced during the Toy of the Year Awards in February.
Cepia, LLC, manufacturer of Zhu Zhu Pets, has released its independent laboratory tests, showing that the electronic hamsters did not exceed federal limits for the toxic chemical. The Good Guide has posted a statement on its website that states that the group had tested the toys using a different X-ray than federal standards. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the claims.
A consumer group based in California, Good Guide, is alleging that one of the Zhu Zhu pet hamsters has a high level of a chemical called antimony, which the group claims can lead to cancer, reproductive health, and other health hazards. The group says that the Zhu Zhu pet had 93 parts per million of antimony in the fur, and 103 parts in the nose, while the federal limit is 60 parts per million. Cepia, LLC, the manufacturer for Zhu Zhu Pets released a statement saying its hamsters are “absolutely safe and has passed the most rigorous testing in the toy industry for consumer health and safety.”