The toy industry has had some ups and downs over the past few years. After massive success with products like Masters of the Universe (He-Man), Transformers, M.A.S.K., and other action figures, toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel are having issues finding the “next big thing”. Prior years have seen huge demand for specific toys like Cabbage Patch dolls, Pound Puppies, and Teddy Ruxpin. This year there are some left over winners from last year’s holiday season, like Lazer Tag, but in general it appears that the newest line of toys is having trouble selling.
Part of the reason could be to a huge increase in video games. Unlike toys that are often played with for short bursts of time, video games can be enjoyed for hours, days, and even weeks at a time, with many having huge replay value and an addictive factor not found in your typical action figure line. With an estimated $700 million in sales this year, Nintendo has taken a big chunk of money that would normally be funneled into the traditional toys sector. While toys are generally targeted at younger children, video games can transcend age groups and appeal not only to younger kids but also to teenagers and even some adults. Now that game machines are more powerful and the software is more complex, the video game market is once again bustling.
The Times-News reports that some of the bigger toy companies are looking at potential losses this year and some will no doubt have to downsize. What is the number one item on your kids’ Christmas lists? Are video games reigning supreme? What will become of Barbie?