Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 16694 times)

Offline Brian

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The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« on: March 5, 2012, 09:21 PM »
I know we've had a topic like this here before, but with all the chatter lately (pre and post Toy Fair) regarding some recent decisions with the line, I thought it might be a good topic to bring up again.  We've seen a lot of frustration with things like the slow demise of the CW line, the constant repacks in the Movie Heroes/Vehicles/etc. areas, the rising prices, and of course distribution issues.  I also feel that the newly reveals battle packs (Naboo and Bespin) helps to add more fuel to the fire as to the future of the SW line(s).

Do you feel that the BPs are a "test" for a change in the regular figure lines, or something much less - just a different direction for BPs or maybe even a one wave deal.  I mentioned it in the BPs thread, but maybe this is a different way for them to do the "Movie Heroes" line in the future - as I could see these being good figures for kiddos.  I know when playing SW with our daughter lately, I can appreciate figures that are sturdy, can stand, hold their accessories, and fit in ships (although more recent TVC figures can do all that and more too).

The BPs seem to be just one of the various strange decisions with the Star Wars lines lately.  The TPM 3D "launch" seems to be pretty stale, at least around here.  The new Vintage wave moves fairly steadily, but everything else (Movie Heroes, Clone Wars, Vehicles of all sizes) seem to be collecting a lot of dust at the moment.  Although AOTC 3D hasn't even been officially announced yet, you have to guess that we'll be seeing more of this type of approach next year (and in the years after) unless Hasbro adjusts their strategy.

I also wonder how this year's "big" vehicle (the MTT) will end up doing with the Fall launch.  The price is higher, interest largely seems to be lower, and I wonder if there will be much parent/kid push at all for this.  Even the new Naboo starfighter will be out months after the movie release (if at all, with all the vehicle repacks lingering on shelves).  We haven't seen quite as much in the way of exclusives (which is good in some ways, bad in others), and the ones we have seen have largely been straight repacks as well (after having years of all new beasts and vehicles as exclusives).

All this, plus the rumors that the Vintage Collection may go on hiatus starting in 2013, create a little more of a murky future for SW in the coming years than we've seen in awhile.  We hear about CW ratings declining, the ho-hum box office of TPM 3D, and more things out there grabbing people's attention.  What do you think the future of SW collecting holds?  Is it truly a time where we're starting to see the light at the end in some ways, or another example of the "doom and gloom" we see every few years with the line.  I do feel that the Vintage Collection continues to put out top notch figures, even if the price stings a bit.  I've often been a supporter of a more simplified (and scaled back) approach for Star Wars (one line, 40-50 figures a year) - but with Clone Wars and now movie re-releases out there, I can see why we don't see that.  Prices don't seem to be going down anytime soon, unless these new BP figures are an example of what it would take to bring them down (not guaranteeing there would be a price change there anyways).  Just a lot of questions surrounding the line right now - and I'm curious to see where things are headed.

Offline Rob

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #1 on: March 6, 2012, 10:18 AM »
Star Wars isn't going anywhere.  Eventually, even if it means Lucas has died, someone's making more movies.  More shows... more books... more everything.  It's too big of a money maker.

Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #2 on: March 6, 2012, 12:50 PM »
Besides the lines internal problems one huge problem plaguing the entire toy industry right now is soaring costs to manufacture goods. Toys in general (and just about everything else) are becoming too expensive for the casual everyday purchase. They are no longer cheap commodities, they are becoming investments. $9 for a basic figure is the average price now in all lines, think about that. I been in the toy industry for 12 yrs I have never seen prices as high as they are now to manufacture them. I do not mind repacks and understand Hasbro's rounded out approach reusing old kid friendly tools (they are still tooling a lot of new stuff so I think some collectors go a little overboard with the repack complaints) However the choices can be so much better, no disagreement from me there. Even some minor deco changes on existing figures can bring in more collectors to purchase the Movie Heroes line that subsidizes the overall line. So many of the lines problems can be avoided and/or minimized with simple redecos and better case packs, that to me is the most frustrating aspect of all of this. I think the current team has been working on the brand too long, they need fresh eyes and a fresh approach on it. DD brought that once to the line and revived in it circa 2003. I think it's time to pass the torch to fresh blood.

Another overall factor that plagues the line in my opinion is the SW brand has been in our faces pretty strong for a few years straight now. If anything the brand overstayed/overplayed its welcome a bit as it feels a little stale to the average kid. Think about it, LF's big push to get kids back into SW was the TPM. Really? Everyone with a pulsating brain saw it was doomed before it began. Starting with the worst of the 6 films is not a winning strategy. No amount of 3D is going to make a crappy movie any better. Face it, TPM is boring, it's boring to the general audience and especially to kids sans a few scenes. FACT: Most people see it as a boring film, no amount of loving SW is going to change that. I have a hard time getting through it myself and I never got around to seeing it in theaters. (I still did not buy the Blue Ray sets yet either!) They stated that the other films were dependent on the 3D TPM's performance. I would not get my hopes up of AOTC and the other films being released in theaters. If it is expect an even more modest product offering for it. (I do think Hasbro did a great job with the TPM product offering I was very, very pleased with it. They just went a tad overboard like 99.)

That said, I get the need to make a modest TPM statement to support the release but what the hell is Hasbro thinking doing the MTT as the next BMF? It's a boring non hero vehicle and it has a $139.99 price tag. Look how poorly the attack shuttle did and that was only $80. (They do not even move at $39.99!) Who is making the choices on the BMF's lately. Most collectors know this is going to be a slow seller, why cant Hasbro see this? In my experienced opinion this item is doomed to fail and endangers future big vehicles like the Sailbarge Deathstar or Tantive. I am indifferent to the MTT but I will buy one to continue my support in hopes of getting the vehicles I really want. I can no longer support the redecoed PT vehicles like the Yoda Tank and CW starfighters, I do not have the room or interest in them. If it's an OT vehicle no questions I will buy it.

I do not think the line is going anywhere but I expect some disturbances as it works through the bugs. interest downturn and the tough retail environment. I do not think the BP's are anything to worry about, I think the new ones are a test. Anyone that has young kids know that SW figures do not play well as they are too intricate and fall apart.  These new BP's are defiantly kid friendly and if it brings more kids back I can support it as they pay for the obscure collector focused stuff.

The sky is not falling and while I like and appreciate STAN's posts they are not always accurate. I rather hear directly from Hasbro that Vintage is going on hiatus and the real state of the brands performance is dismal before I panic.
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Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #3 on: March 6, 2012, 02:12 PM »
Yeah, I definitely don't think the line is going anywhere either.  Even if interest may be a bit lower in some cases now (due to CW ratings, TPM interest, or prices), there will likely always be "enough" interest in SW to keep some sort of line going if Hasbro wants to.  I'm more curious if we're going to see the line change in some ways.  Like JACK mentioned, prices are really getting ridiculous anymore - enough to almost make an action figure more than a casual buy for a parent at the store.  They almost have to be given on birthdays and Christmas anymore, when you're talking nearly $10 for one figure.  Also, it is still early in the year, but I'd have to think that the TPM toy push has to be considered a failure.  Outside of TVC, I don't know that anything sold very well at all at this point.  Heck, we've seen exclusives (particularly at Target) on clearance less than a month after hitting pegs.  Sure, they were stinkers - much like a lot of the Movie Heroes type stuff - but either way it can't be helping the opinion of the line.

The "Star Wars in your face" point is an interesting one.  We have had a heck of a run in the modern line here, and in some ways the line may have branched out more than it needed to.  In the hopes of grabbing more retail space, they may have helped Star Wars-out people.  I don't feel "doom and gloom" about the line either, and I do think some things are really blown out of proportion with the line anymore too, but it does still feel like we're at a bit of a crossroads with the Hasbro line(s) right now.  Personally, I'm likely in it 'til the end (whenever it may be) - and although I don't want it going away at all (and don't think it will for some time), even if it ended in the next year or two I think things have been pretty well covered.  I mean, look at the wishlists, it is getting more difficult to fill out 10 slots for some of those movies each year.  I don't think SW is going anywhere for quite some time either - and even if Hasbro lost interest I'm sure there would be several companies more than happy to pick up the license - but I am curious if we'll see changes in the line in 2013 and beyond.  Whether it is fewer lines, figure releases, or a cut back in articulation/etc. that we've seen in the BPs - it seems some sort of change may be coming.

Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #4 on: March 6, 2012, 03:07 PM »
Another aspect to all of this I find crazy is with all of the complaints and doom n gloom flying around the interent hrrrm RS....is the line in terms of detail, figure selection, articulation and overall breath has never been better. I think the toys themselves are at the top of their game, the majority of new vehicles have been stellar as are the figures. While more deco is needed on the vehicles especially (Think 2007 V-Wing and Rusty Droid Tank) it's hard to say that the new product itself is anything short of amazing.

We beat the hell out of Hasbro on the boards (They do deserve it sometimes) but we should give them some due credit and highlight the excellent job they have done on product execution. They managed to make a D-Rate losers like Dofine look awesome. They actually made you search for Ric Olie. Look how many much needed resculpts were knocked out this year alone. Just look at the last couple of years we got the ICMG, Yarna, Oola, Bom Vidam, BMF, BMF AT-AT, a new slave One, Taun-Tauns, Hoth Turrets, Hoth Radar Guns, Jabbaa w/ Throne etc. Hasbro delivered some amazing product in the last 4yrs alone. They set the bar so high it's no wonder why we all complain, we expect more after seeing what they can do.

All I know is I cannot wait to be resettled again in a new place to set my collection back up. I miss it, I always liked looking at it to see what I amassed on occassion. It sounds nerdy but when you have it all together it's just frigging awesome to behold! I just wanted to throw some positivity as I have zero intention of quitting the line. I love it despite it's issues. After 20 years of collecting SW figures it's a natural part of my routine and yes life. I intend to see it until the end but before that happens there are still alot of items I want to add to my collection.

Viva las Hasbro SW Figurines!!!!
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Offline Rob

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #5 on: March 6, 2012, 03:11 PM »
That said, I get the need to make a modest TPM statement to support the release but what the hell is Hasbro thinking doing the MTT as the next BMF? It's a boring non hero vehicle and it has a $139.99 price tag. Look how poorly the attack shuttle did and that was only $80. (They do not even move at $39.99!) Who is making the choices on the BMF's lately. Most collectors know this is going to be a slow seller, why cant Hasbro see this? In my experienced opinion this item is doomed to fail and endangers future big vehicles like the Sailbarge Deathstar or Tantive. I am indifferent to the MTT but I will buy one to continue my support in hopes of getting the vehicles I really want. I can no longer support the redecoed PT vehicles like the Yoda Tank and CW starfighters, I do not have the room or interest in them. If it's an OT vehicle no questions I will buy it.

Agreed!  If Hasbro is going to make a big vehicle that's doomed, I'd rather it be the Sailbarge so that at least the notion of large-scale vehicles can go out in a blaze of glory.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #6 on: March 6, 2012, 04:28 PM »
Yeah, Star Wars isn't going anywhere, but it may be in for a slowdown... 

I think TPM3D made its minimum ammount for them to continue, but that translates poorly for the toy line.  The toy line needs hype, popularity, and extended presence...  The hype was there, the popularity wasn't where it needed to be to support a massive toy blitz though, I'm afraid, and TPM3D's presence is going to be shorter than they hoped I think because they're in stiff competition this Summer as it stands, and again I think they only did their minimums needed to make them happy and move on to doing the other films (or releasing them anyway if they are already done).

Releasing them in a similar fashion anyway (with lots of hype and things).

It's a ton of new product though, at a bad time of year for it, for a movie that's going to lose traction quickly I think.  That just seems bad to me.  Star Wars won't collapse from it, but when you add in all the other factors (cost of the toys and things), I think Star Wars might be in for changes...  Some possibly very lame changes, and some possibly very necessary ones too.  It'll be interesting to see how 2013 pans out, really.
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Offline Dan

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #7 on: March 7, 2012, 10:49 AM »
It is hard to tell how much of the product push was Hasbro's idea versus Lucasfilm. I think we can all agree that a market saturated with any single movie focus is going to struggle. It seems it would be best to capture a wave or 2 at the time of the movie release that is more focused, but also contains core characters from the other films. The short duration of the theater life for these releases doesn't lend itself to such a broad swath of product. And as was well pointed out earlier, this is a tough time of year to be selling loads of toys. My suggestion would be to try to capture the imagination of the toy-buying parent or child that includes toys from the other saga films, and maybe even generates renewed excitement for the next release.
 
Things have changed in the broader toy buying market as well, and purchasing product from 10-20 years ago is as easy as ordering a book from Amazon. It used to be toy shows, specialty-comic shops, and garage sales. Just last week I felt the bug to buy a load of Episode 1 figures on ebay, because they were less than $3 each after shipping. Still brand new in the package, they looked like they could have come off the store shelf last month.  My daughter and I opened them all, laughed at the commtech chip lines, and packed the loose figures away. I would never do that at $8 plus each.

As parents get more savvy in the future, buying $10 figures for 10 year old boys will seem even more ridiculous, as other options to get the same or very similar toys become much more attractive. I think there will still be a niche for the Star Wars line in stores for a long time, but boatloads of toys from 1 movie with crossovers in Transformers, galactic heroes (or whatever the new iteration is), squinkies, stuffed dolls, etc is just asking for poor performance. It's too much supply, too little demand. I think a tightenting of the belts at Hasbro would be a good move, offering more re-tooled and re-release figures in packs that actually produce value for parents (back to 4-5 figures for $18-22). Put some on single cards too at $6-7 in the movie hero line. Start putting a pilot figure back in with the ships if they are hitting the shelves for the 3rd-4th or 5th time. Then have that collector focus of 25-30 figures per year in the vintage line.

I'll put in a small clone wars gripe though- Poorer ratings or not, they have more exposure to the kid audience then the 6 week release of a 12 year old movie. Clone Wars still seems like a way to keep kids engaged in the brand, and there is nothing on the store shelves that makes me think "oh yeah, that's from the TV show." I for one am sorry to see them moving to a more realistic look.

Offline Sybeck1

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #8 on: March 7, 2012, 11:45 AM »
Hasbro cuts 170 jobs, mostly in U.S.


Reuters) - Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) is cutting about 170 jobs as the second-largest U.S. toy company tries to recover from sluggish sales during the holiday season.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/06/us-hasbro-jobcuts-idUSTRE8251JW20120306

Hope this doesn't effect collecting.

Offline Scockery

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #9 on: March 7, 2012, 11:49 AM »
Only 5,900 employees wordwide?

Offline darth broem 2

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #10 on: March 9, 2012, 10:47 PM »
I don't think it will disappear from the toy aisles.  They probably do need to scale down a bit though.  Especially with the insane prices.  That's been my gripe for a long time now.  Thirty dollar vehicles that not too long ago where $20-25?  $10 figures?  That may be okay for a limited set of figures but when you get 15-20 TPM figures mixed with movie heroes and Clone Wars.  No wonder they don't sell all that well. 

Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2012, 12:28 PM »
I was listening to the SW Action News podcast (from last week I believe) and they were discussing the recent layoffs at Hasbro and some possible future changes to the SW line as well so it got me to thinking about this again.  Like Scott mentioned in another thread, there is talk of a regime change in the SW line (and Hasbro in general), so I wonder if this is a period where we might see some changes being made.

To me, the TPM "launch" seems to be a bit of a flop.  TVC is selling decently, but beyond that everything seems to be sitting pretty heavily (or already discounted).  Combine that with Hasbro apparently not doing as well last year, and all the changes in personnel to spur the return to "great profitability", I wonder if we might see some changes in the line.  Action figures in general just don't seem to appeal to kids as long (or as mightily) as they did in our days, and when they are near $10 it may turn parents off from a casual buy at the toy store as well.  As a kid, I remember saving up allowance or what have you and being able to pick up a SW or Joe toy at our local variety or drug store for about $3.  Although parents often give their kids more money these days (or just toys in general), it takes more to drop $10 on a single action figure when there are so many other things vying for their money.  Video games have largely stayed the same price since next-gen systems were introduced, so it might make more sense to a kid now to just save for a game or something else electronics related.  Where we might have bought toys into our adolescent years, I think that ends much sooner these days (maybe 6-9 years old?).  I know our nephews are 10 and 12, and although they occasionally play with toys it is more about video games and their ipods.

I'm not sure if it means a scaled back line (less figures/year), more repacks, scaled back figures (less articulation/accessories/apps/etc.), or a combination - but I could see some changes being made.  I think they mentioned this in the podcast, but in the vintage days the figures were meant more as an "add on" to get parents to buy the vehicles/playsets - but these days the figures are so expensive themselves plus it is just a different retail landscape.  I know it is much different now than in the vinty days, but it seems like then a kid could realistically try to "complete" the line throughout the year.  I don't know what kid (aside from big b-day and Christmas hauls) could realistically get all the figures in any given year.  I'm really curious to see what the line will look like in 2013.

Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #12 on: April 2, 2012, 09:04 PM »
Sort of replying to myself here, but I always enjoy reading Adam Pawlus' Q and A over at GH, and he sort of talks about the future of SW in one of his answers today (specifically question 5).  He mentions the possibility of taking a break from the 3 3/4" line and moving toward a "Legends" type, 6" scale line with a slower release schedule each year (similar to MOTU classics/Marvel Legends/DCUC, etc.)  Not saying that's what I want (although I know I would likely buy some), but it is an interesting topic.  I do think SW could stand a slow down regardless (although it seems nothing is getting to pegs right now anyways).  Although TPM is definitely not the most popular movie, and the figure choices for Movie Heroes are less than stellar, I think the oversaturation of SW might have something to do with it too.  A slow down (and one line, eventually...when CW is over) would be nice.

He also mentions in his wrap up some things about the excitement level for the SW line/brand, and actually how little Hasbro does to support it in some ways.  I thought it was an interesting read, and he made some good points.  Particularly after playing SW with our daughter lately, I'm really on the side of these things being good "toys" as well - able to stand, fit in vehicles, and hold their weapons.  It is quite frustrating when action figures can't do these simple things.  That being said, there are some excellent examples of ones that can too (I'm particularly fond of the recent Bespin Han, Bespin Luke, Jedi Luke, EB Chewie, and others from past lines).  If they insist on having multiple lines (and a seperate line for each of these movie releases), I wouldn't mind if they dropped the price and put out simpler figures that could accomplish these things.  Then again, I think for many (all?) of the movie releases, they could just recard their library of "ultimate" sculpts (they have so many for each movie at this point), sprinkle in a few new characters for collectors, combine it under one line and put the line dollars towards vehicle updates, a DS playset, or something of that sort.  I know when ANH, etc. are re-released, I wouldn't mind seeing figures like VOTC Han, EB Chewie, Resurgence Luke/Obi, etc. just re-released.  They are about perfect as is.  Anways, just wanted to apss that along, if anyone wanted to read it:

http://www.galactichunter.com/gh/story/qa-vehicles-exclusive-arrivals-and-no-foolin-around
« Last Edit: April 2, 2012, 09:06 PM by Brian »

Offline Scott

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #13 on: April 2, 2012, 09:39 PM »
We've talked about a 6" Scale here before and I for one am more in favor of it than I ever was...I really think they could do some really cool stuff.  Just don't start with 6" TPM figures :P

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #14 on: April 2, 2012, 09:48 PM »
I'd not be opposed to it.  I'm also not likely to buy it though.  I'm not a fan of mixing scales, at least not that close, so I tend to think I'd just bow out of the hobby at that point till either it came back to 3.75" or, well, never.  :D

But not that I'd be terribly upset either...  I've often thought the hobby dying wouldn't bother me, especially of late.  I'm just not as into things as I was.  I like it, I'm here if it's here, but yeah, I just don't care.  I've been disenchanted with not just the product though.  It goes so far beyond that, to all aspects of the hobby, that it's not even funny.

Love new figures when I get them, so that's the funny part I think.  I still like good stuff...  I'm downright giddy for things like the multi-packs coming up for the pilots and ewoks.  It's just basically every other possible angle of the hobby has me thinking negatively about it.

I was just going over some figures tonight I hadn't opened though, and had fun doing so.

If the 6" line was highly limited each year, I'd be more receptive to it...  10 figures maybe.  Not sure about 20 or so, but 10, I'd at least be more into giving it a whirl.  6" scale isn't my cup of tea though.  I like a scale that's much more likely to be broad in scope and 6" seems too large for that.  Maybe I'm overthinking it though.  Oh well.

Not caring is kind of fun though.
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