Past Opinion Articles
Article for the week of 1/11/09
Straight from the Swede
Toy companies to focus on diversity
The latter half of 2008 was in many ways a complete, utter, total, epic failure for toy companies. Sales were down, Bratz were facing extinction (much to the joy of just about everyone except MGA's CEOs, who quite liked swimming in that pile of cash generated from marketing dolls dressed like cheap prostitutes, or, occasionally, the more expensive prostitutes one might find at a casino in Vegas), and for some reason Hasbro ran out of cool things to make a voice changer out of and so resorted to making one for Kiwis. Why not an Iron Man one that made you sound like a rich, playboy alcoholic!? Would that have been so hard!? Everyone wants to be that guy, he is way cooler than some random dude who will end up getting shot down by some droids or carved up by an evil Sith thing, or, once he starts taking orders from the Sith, one of those lousy Jedi dudes!
Yes, it was a dark year for the toy industry, but in 2009, companies will try and fix this problem by using the old classic technique of spewing forth more junk than ever before, and in rare cases something cool and overpriced, which is then bought by adults to keep on a shelf somewhere and drool at. Not that the other stuff will not be overpriced, it simply will not be as cool.
Mattel is itching to fill the potential void left by the Bratz dolls, whose eventual demise was caused by their own lawyers, by launching a new Barbie-series with the skinniest dolls yet, clearly seeing market trends and expecting to earn billions, provided the economy picks up. This is only a small part of their multi-pronged attack, which also includes spitting out as many Hot Wheels cars as possible and making them literally jump a robotic shark through a tornado of fire while Cars will continue to turn into something more akin to Knight Rider, or maybe go into space, or turn into submarines or whatever else they can think of that has absolutely nothing to do with the movie.
On the more boyish side of things, Hasbro are gonna latch on to anything that has anything to do with superheroes once again, releasing anything, everything and everything some more, meaning there's a high chance some random coolness might come our way, while Star Wars will, with Lucas blessing, once again be milked to oblivion since that always seems to work, and finally, My Little Pony will jump a shark made of ice-cream in a car made from cookies through a hazy cloud of cotton candy over a lake of frosting.
Of course, the only company that can continue to do what it has done
for the last few years, which is ruin their awesome original concept by
already adding the crap everyone else is aiming for this year, is Lego,
which, thanks to the combination Star Wars and blocks to assemble means
they're selling more than anyone else, and could probably be run by a
well-educated monkey by now, as opposed to the chimp with a high-school
diploma who is running Top Toy.
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