Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of This Week in the World of Toys! My name is Corey Tincher, and probably like you, I’ve been an avid toy collector all my life. I’m currently the Action Figures Guide for About.com, and I’m going to be bringing my expertise and industry experience to the readers here at the Toy Collector Network each week. In fact, every Thursday I’ll be offering my thoughts on the latest news and biggest happenings in the toy and action figure industry right here with my new column, This Week in the World of Toys.
I hate for my first column to be composed of primarily bad news, but this week has been a rough one for the industry. Maybe next week we’ll get off to a better start.
Hasbro lays off 170 employees. The world’s second largest toymaker laying off 170 employees is a terrible piece of news, and a strong hit to the industry. Despite the growing interest in the collector market, toy manufacturers are still battling the growing interest in digital forms of play among children. Much like “video killed the radio star” in the famous song, this may be a sign of the continuing trend that “video games killed the action figure”. Apparently 82% of the workers cut by Hasbro were based in the US, and many served a major role in the producing the toys we know and love. Hasbro cited the reasons for the layoffs as the need to “address both the under-performance in the U.S. and Canada segment, and the need for different skill sets in the company's workforce to be better aligned with a quickly evolving business.” It’s a sad day regardless of the reason, and I hope these workers forge new paths in the industry.
Star Wars visionary Ralph McQuarrie dies. Many may not recognize the name Ralph McQuarrie, but he’s had a bigger influence on the toy industry than almost anyone else. He helped to design the worlds and characters of Star Wars, the only ever-present staple of toy aisles everywhere. Beloved action figures based on Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 wouldn’t exist without the mind and talent of Ralph McQuarrie. His portfolio didn’t end with Star Wars, as he’s also contributed to Battlestar Galactica, E.T., Star Trek, and other great science fiction classics. You can find some of his designs translated directly into plastic with the Ralph McQuarrie Concept Collection of figures produced by Hasbro a couple of years ago. Ralph will be missed, but his designs and characters will live on forever.
Transformers Prime Season One is released on DVD and Blu-ray. One good piece of news to come out of this week was the release of the first season of Transformers Prime on DVD and Blu-ray . If you’re unfamiliar with this show, it’s a computer generated and action-packed look at the world of Transformers like you’ve never seen it before. Classic characters are recognizable, but given a new spin and weaved into fresh storylines. I love the show because it pays tribute to the Transformers of old but also brings the toys and characters to an entirely new audience. I took a detailed look at the Blu-ray collection, and was extremely impressed with the results. If you’re a Transformers fan, give this show a chance.
That wraps up the major happenings in the world of toys this week, and despite today’s column being a little on the sadder side, I hope you enjoyed it.
May your toy aisles always be overflowing.