Author: Madeleine Buckley

Disney, Lucasfilm Reveal Title and Product Packaging for Episode IX

At Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm and Disney revealed the first teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie. The trailer also officially revealed the movie’s title: The Rise of Skywalker. Although we won’t see product for this movie until Oct. 4 (aka Triple Force Friday), the companies also released a first look at the product packaging. The empty box has a black, red, and yellow motif, with the character Kylo Ren pictured the top right corner. The inside of the box is all yellow, featuring the symbol for The First Order, a military dictatorship led by Kylo Ren in the Star Wars...

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Taking Control of the R/C Aisle

R/C manufacturers respond to the category’s continuing sales decline. R/C toys can perform incredible feats, from flying hundreds of feet in the air and exploring on water to executing tricks and flips on tough terrain. Yet, for the second year in a row, the R/C category has seen a decline in sales and performed below the industry average. According to The NPD Group, ground, sea, and other R/C saw a 12.3 percent decline over 12 months ending in January, while air-specific R/C sales decreased by 32.1 percent — nearly double its 17 percent decrease in the previous 12 month...

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There’s An App for That

A new generation of toy companion apps enters the market. On first look, it seems the toy industry has stumbled upon two dueling trends: At the same time that “screen-free play” and “classic play” are becoming industry buzzwords, dozens of companies are releasing companion apps for their toys. It sounds paradoxical that these two trends could coexist and thrive at once, but the two ideas may not be quite as separate as they seem. David Kleeman, senior vice president of global trends at kids research and development agency Dubit, says the entire concept of “screen time” is somewhat flawed...

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Tastemakers Expands Global Operations Team

Tastemakers added Lee Schneider and Charles Berzon to its global operations team. Schneider will serve as COO of Tastemakers, overseeing operations and financial matters and acting as the point of contact for the company’s Hong Kong office. Schneider previously served as the president of Commonwealth for more than 20 years. Berzon joins the company’s Arcade1Up team as general manager of the Asia headquarters. Berzon has more than 30 years of experience, working with large brands and running his own manufacturing company. Both Berzon and Schneider will report to Tastemakers CEO Scott Bachrach. Tastemakers will also promote Albert Rapella to senior...

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Zuru Introduces 5 Surprise Mini Shopping Brands

Zuru is combining miniature collectibles with familiar brands for its 5 Surprise Mini Brands, a new addition to the 5 Surprise line. The collectibles are realistic, miniature versions of popular shopping brands. Each reusable 5 Surprise capsule includes an assortment of mini products from brands including Dove, Skippy, Airheads, and Breyers. The capsules also include mini shopping accessories such as a shopping cart, shelves, and a shopping basket. The first wave of Mini Brands features more than 70 miniatures, including rare and super-rare collectibles. The rare collectibles include glow-in-the-dark, shimmering, and golden minis. The second series of Zuru’s original...

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The Genius of Play Releases New PSA

The Genius of Play, a nonprofit that raises awareness of the role of play in child development, launched a new PSA today. Titled “Prescription for Play,” the PSA focuses on the negative effects of over-scheduling and play deprivation. This PSA is one element of the nonprofit’s upcoming “Play All May,” a month-long celebration of play from May 1 to 31. The 60-second video includes information about the importance of play and the role it plays in helping kids manage their emotions and stress. There are also shorter versions of the PSA, all featuring the same young boy who desperately...

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Nintendo Incorporates VR Into New Labo Kit

Nintendo introduced the fourth kit in its Nintendo Labo series, “Nintendo Labo: VR Kit.” The new set, available starting April 12, combines the DIY “Toy-Con” cardboard construction from previous Labo kits with the latest virtual reality (VR) tech. Unlike previous Labo kits, the cardboard creations incorporate the handheld Switch screen, not just the remotes. There are six Toy-Con creations in the VR Kit: VR goggles, a blaster, a camera, a bird, a wind pedal, and an elephant. There are also materials to create a screen holder and safety cap. All six constructions correspond with different interactive, VR-based games. For example,...

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Epic Games Launches Fortnite Season 8

Epic Games today introduced season 8 for the Battle Royale version of its popular video game, Fortnite. The season includes a new theme, centered around a monstrous volcano. The theme includes pirates, ninjas, and new fighters who will battle over treasure, utilize pirate cannons, and uncover new loot. There are also new locations for players to explore, including Lazy Lagoon and Sunny Steps. The company released a cinematic trailer announcing the theme: A new season also means a new Battle Pass, which players can purchase with in-game V-bucks. The pack includes new outfits and other exclusive rewards to unlock. There is...

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Glu Introduces First Disney Mobile Game

Mobile game developer Glu Mobile released the first look at its upcoming Disney mobile game, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena. Set for beta release in limited territories soon, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena features an RPG world where players battle using classic Disney and Pixar characters. In the the game, players collect an arsenal of champions and villains to take on opponents in single-player and player versus player modes. Each character features their own abilities and magical spells – players train the characters to their full potential and compete to become the mightiest sorcerer. Players can complete daily quests and events to earn rewards...

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WowWee Partners with Curiosity Ink Media

WowWee and Curiosity Ink Media, a new family-friendly entertainment provider, partnered to create, develop, and distribute kid-based consumer product extensions of original intellectual property in development at Curiosity Ink Media. The partnership will begin with a focus on Baldwin, an animated preschool series about a young steam engine in search of his long-lost father. The companies will announce products for the show later this year. “Having WowWee as a consumer products partner is a huge win and a seismic move forward for Curiosity Ink Media,” says Russell Hicks, Curiosity Ink Media’s president and chief creative officer. “As trusted leaders in...

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