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Whitewolf
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When Hasbro first started up the Q&A sessions with their Star Wars design team, one of the most prolific questions during the first early weeks was "Will there ever be a insert name here playset made? And the folks at Hasbro have adamenly stuck to the "our research shows that kids don't enjoy playsets anymore, they want vehicles instead" answer. However...a recent career change has given me insight to the situation that nullifies everything that Hasbro has told us recently.

 

I started work as a manager at Toys R Us recently, and I was taking mental notes the other evening at how many playsets Hasbro DOES produce for practically every other line besides Star Wars. Among the more popular lines, Barbie has her castles and townhouses, Littlest Pet Shop has its...er...pet shops, My Little Pony has everything from castles to beauty salons, and even GI Joe (in the form of the ROCC) has a playset. They all run between $30 and $50, depending on what playset you choose to purchase. And they sell very, very well...so the "higher price point" argument doesn't hold up.

 

So why does Hasbro feel that there is no love for Star Wars playsets?

 

The "taking up too much shelf space" argument doesn't really hold water either when you look at the Barbie playsets. The boxes are enormous, and therefore take up a fair amount of space. Most of the proposed Star Wars boxed playsets would be no larger than the Republic Gunship, the Sigma 6 Dragonhawk or any of the Littlest Pet Shop playsets. As it stands now, all we're getting from Hasbro in terms of "new vehicles" are simple repaints of vehicles that have been clogging store shelves since May of last year. Do we really need a rainbow of Jedi Starfighters? Thus far, we have red, purple, green, yellow, orange and blue. I can understand getting your milage out of a particular mold, but its beginning to reach a level of ridiculousness on par with Sigma 6's "how many incarnations of Duke can we produce in a single wave?"

 

Based on current sales trends, there certainly IS a market for playsets, regardless of what Hasbro's Star Wars team is saying. I'm beginning to wonder if Hasbro's reasoning for no playsets may lie with Lucas's people not granting a license for such merchandise.

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I'd say about 50% of market research by toy companies is flawed in some way. Most of the time when they use the "Marketing shows this is/ or isn't want kids want." it's something they end up saying they should have done differently 2 years later. (I'm looking at you Mattel.) The biggest problem is that toy companies take these rules of toy Dogma so seriously that it's almost become a canned excuse as to why they cannot make things better. No one wants to take any risk of any kind anymore, and you'll never have that great toy come back, that all the be big companies want, if not a single one of them is willing to stick their neck out from time to time. I mean how are you going to know when the playset market changes if you refuse to produce any playsets? You can't measure sales of something you don't even make. So how exactly are they going to know. That's like saying "I'll take the trash out as soon as it stops raining." but then I never look outside to see if it's stopped.

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The problem withwhat you're saying is, well, most of those examples are kinda pointless, unless you take into account of the person/persons playing with the items..

 

3 of the examples you stated were all girl toys, and well, lets face it, girls like to sit there and play "house" and dress up their little dollies and have them date their brothers and change their pets food and litter pans... where boys wanna run around with that flying super hero Sci-Fi Army toy and destroy everything in sight.

The ROCC example is also flawwed, cause it was part of the DTC line to begin with, which was mainly done for adult collectors.

 

I think that Hasbro does needs to also take into account adult collectors, cause as much as you do research with kids, there's always gonna be flaws with that too.. just how do they do it? DO they find kids that actually play with those toys, or do they round up a bunch of kids and just ask them random questions about toy lines? If it's the latter, then I think they're doing it the wrong way.. they should find kids that actually like that certain line, weather it's One Piece, Sigma Six, Star Wars, or Happy Pappy Puppies...

If you're just asking or having kids play with stuff they're not interested in, then you're really not doing the job right, cause no matter what, if it's not what they like.. they'll get boaard of it.

 

My suggestion is to get a company like sideshow and make small compatable playsets for the figures... have them made for collectors, and through the internet or something like that.. they'd be more expensive... but worth it... No matter what, if they(hasbro) releases play sets, there is always going to be some "action" kiddie feature that us, the collectors will complain about.

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Guest McBragg

The ROCC example is also flawwed, cause it was part of the DTC line to begin with, which was mainly done for adult collectors.

 

I

 

But it was originally made for 3 3/4" next theme, and will appear in the 2.5" line. Hasbro didn't just tool it up solely for fans.

 

It's worth noting that it's a vehicle, though. not static. That factors in. Hasbro's reissued the Millenium Falcon over and over.

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My suggestion is to get a company like sideshow and make small compatable playsets for the figures... have them made for collectors, and through the internet or something like that.. they'd be more expensive... but worth it... No matter what, if they(hasbro) releases play sets, there is always going to be some "action" kiddie feature that us, the collectors will complain about.

 

 

That's a great idea, actually. Probably doable, too, since although Hasbro has a monopoly over action figures, I don't know if that means another company could do playsets... Certainly something could be worked out...

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I guess I'm generalizing the issue just like Hasbro seems to be. JoeRhyno made a valid point that some of these playsets are geared toward girls, but when Hasbro's reps have made statements about playsets, it was a broad "all KIDS don't like playsets anymore" kind of statement. That's why I took a look at all Hasbro lines, and not just those geared toward boys. If they had specifically pointed out that BOYS don't like playsets anymore, then the argument would have been a tad more inline with their reasoning.

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Actually, I think retailers are a bigger issue than Hasbro in regards to high end items.

 

When you say "playset" or "super vehicle", what do you think retailers will think of?

 

The Batman Batwave Batmobile- $25 at Dollar General (originally $50)

JLU Watchtower-heavily clearanced- $15 at Big Lots (originally $40)

The Batman Batcave- Ended up Clearanced

The Batman Begins Playset didn't start moving until it had been marked down to $40 or so, far less than the original $60 pricetag.

 

For Star Wars, the last time we saw the AT AT Walker was in 1997 with a $75 pricetag, thing ended up on clearance for as low as $10 in some areas.

 

Regardless of the fact the above examples were made by Mattel (one of the WORST toy companies in my opinion), retailers often don't distinguish between companies and look at the idea.

 

A high priced toy that won't be carried by Walmart is worthless since Walmart accounts for most toy sales.

 

And for all you who want a collector company to make playsets for your stuff, think on this:

The average retail for a Star Wars 12" figure by Hasbro was $15

Sideshow's retail for over $50.

It can be done, but I HIGHLY doubt there are enough actually willing to put the cash up for such a project.

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When Hasbro first started up the Q&A sessions with their Star Wars design team, one of the most prolific questions during the first early weeks was "Will there ever be a insert name here playset made? And the folks at Hasbro have adamenly stuck to the "our research shows that kids don't enjoy playsets anymore, they want vehicles instead" answer. However...a recent career change has given me insight to the situation that nullifies everything that Hasbro has told us recently.

 

I started work as a manager at Toys R Us recently, and I was taking mental notes the other evening at how many playsets Hasbro DOES produce for practically every other line besides Star Wars. Among the more popular lines, Barbie has her castles and townhouses, Littlest Pet Shop has its...er...pet shops, My Little Pony has everything from castles to beauty salons, and even GI Joe (in the form of the ROCC) has a playset. They all run between $30 and $50, depending on what playset you choose to purchase. And they sell very, very well...so the "higher price point" argument doesn't hold up.

 

So why does Hasbro feel that there is no love for Star Wars playsets?

 

The "taking up too much shelf space" argument doesn't really hold water either when you look at the Barbie playsets. The boxes are enormous, and therefore take up a fair amount of space. Most of the proposed Star Wars boxed playsets would be no larger than the Republic Gunship, the Sigma 6 Dragonhawk or any of the Littlest Pet Shop playsets. As it stands now, all we're getting from Hasbro in terms of "new vehicles" are simple repaints of vehicles that have been clogging store shelves since May of last year. Do we really need a rainbow of Jedi Starfighters? Thus far, we have red, purple, green, yellow, orange and blue. I can understand getting your milage out of a particular mold, but its beginning to reach a level of ridiculousness on par with Sigma 6's "how many incarnations of Duke can we produce in a single wave?"

 

Based on current sales trends, there certainly IS a market for playsets, regardless of what Hasbro's Star Wars team is saying. I'm beginning to wonder if Hasbro's reasoning for no playsets may lie with Lucas's people not granting a license for such merchandise.

 

True maybe other Hasbro toy lines with playsets sell well but you need to remember were not talking playsets in general, were talking about Star Wars Playsets.

 

Hasbro must have been looking back on the previouse playsets they have made and the sales on them and came to the conclusion it's not profitable to them at this point in time to try this again. I remember the hoth Playset as a shelf warmer and lets not forget the Episode one Playsets that hardly sold at all.

 

Hasbro like any company is in business to make money and if their market research shows the childrens interest just isn't there for playsets then they aren't going to make what they feel won't sell. They make this for kids not collectors even though the collector market is very high. The collector market isn't takin into concideration when company's make Playsets because they don't know if there are enough of us out there to cover their costs of making it, or if we will like it enough to even buy it. for them it's too risky.

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