Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 17026 times)

Offline Qui-Gon Jim

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2012, 11:22 AM »
One thing that many fail to realize when discussing this topic is that is very easy to see NOW that "figure x" is all over the pegs and isn't selling, but the decision on what goes into an assortment isn't made while product is on the shelf; it is made months before.  Those revision cases were picked before the first waves of TPM hit, most likely. 

Now if you say "Anyone should know that these would be a stinker," I would totally agree with you.

I think that Hasbro needs to work harder at market research, and some shakeups need to happen with the way they pick product.

I think the biggest change is to stop the bloat.  We don't need 70 figures a year.  Why don't we try 24 for the whole year, sprinkle them out over a 12-month period.  This would allow them to recoup some of their tooling dollars, and they can also take the time to make sure all 24 are completely up to snuff. 

There was a sort of successful toy line years ago that did this.  Maybe you've heard of G.I. Joe?  We knew (mostly) what was coming for the year from the cardbacks, and I while I was CRAZY for that stuff, I don't recall a single figure during my time collecting that I was not able to find.  Sure, some may have taken a few months to find, but I did eventually get them all.

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2012, 11:38 AM »
Now if you say "Anyone should know that these would be a stinker," I would totally agree with you.

I think that Hasbro needs to work harder at market research, and some shakeups need to happen with the way they pick product.

This is what I have been saying all along.

It is purely LAZY on the part of Hasbro... I see this as the logic:

Hasbro Employee 1: "We have from the Legacy collection, ultimate versions of Qui-Gon from TPM, Obi-Wan from TPM, and Obi-Wan from AOTC."

Hasbro Employee 2: "We need to keep the cost-per-wave down."

Hasbro Employee 1: "Using those Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan figures will help accomplish that. They're Jedi - kids love Jedi - they're sure to sell."

Hasbro Employee 2: "Are you sure? We seem to be putting these guys in a lot of the assortments, won't that mean we end up  having a lot of these sitting around after several waves ship? What about this clone that uses the body from one previous figure and the helmet from another? Granted he doesn't bring down the cost-per-wave 'as much' but wouldn't that help keeping the product moving at retail?"

Hasbro Employee 1: "Are you crazy? No one buys clones anymore, in fact, no one army builds either. I've conducted vast amounts of research by talking to my cousin Carl, who hates Star Wars, to help determine that clones are no good anymore and totally bad for the line. To that end, I've insisted that all army-building-type-figures are only to ever be shipped at one per case in only one assortment."

Hasbro Employee 2: "Why would you conduct market research about Star Wars with somone who hates Star Wars?"

Hasbro Employee 1: "It's brilliant, right?"

Hasbro Employee 2: "I dunno, that seems to be setting up the line to fail."

Hasbro Employee 1: "Exactly."

Hasbro Employee 2: "What was that?"

Hasbro Employee 1: "Oh nothing, frog in my throat. Hey wanna look at these cool squishie knock-offs we're calling Battle Pods? They're gonna be HOT!"

 ::)

Peter

Letting my collecting OCD get the better of me on a DAILY basis... and loving EVERY minute of it!

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2012, 02:18 PM »
Hasbro got the whole clone trooper thing so wrong with vintage... it's freaking unreal how bad they got it wrong.

It seems all the clone army building disaster could have been avoided if the VC #15 clone looked like THIS.

The VC #15 was a disaster in all aspects of the sculpt.  Instead, they should have waited until the VC #45 body was ready, then released that with a good, properly sized helmet (maybe non-removable).  That would be the ultimate Phase 2 clone, and they could have repainted the hell out of it. 

Instead they use a terrible figure, and then later give a half-ass attempt to fix the problem by using the VC #45 body (good) but with an oversized helmet (WTF???).  And of course, they decided to have a ROTS #41 all white clone along side it in Legends at the same time... yikes.

Just like the over-saturation of Obi Wan and Qui Gon - I really can't believe such simple concepts are so hard for Hasbro to comprehend.  It's beyond absurd... only a brand as popular as Star Wars could absorb such mismanagement.  The right hand doesn't seem to know what the left hand is doing sometimes with these people.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 02:37 PM by CHEWIE »

Offline warinthefloor

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2012, 03:20 PM »
completely out of left feild

but its almost like they want to pass likeness use royalties on to as few actors as possible.

I cant think of any other reason OWK and QGJ were in every single case and assortment of every single line so far this year.

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2012, 03:49 PM »
completely out of left feild

but its almost like they want to pass likeness use royalties on to as few actors as possible.

I cant think of any other reason OWK and QGJ were in every single case and assortment of every single line so far this year.

I believe the LucasFilm contract for all of the Star Wars actors was that Lucas owns that actor's likeness as the character for all time. So the only fees are what Hasbro has to pay to LucasFilm for the rights to make Star Wars toys...
Peter

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Offline JediJman

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2012, 03:53 PM »
I cant think of any other reason OWK and QGJ were in every single case and assortment of every single line so far this year.

I can.  They thought TPM was going to be huge and drive a big SW push again - how could it not being a "movie year" and all.  I'm sure they wanted representation across the lines to coincide with the move.  Since availability of certain lines has been spotty, this pretty much ensures that there is a OWK and QGJ on the pegs at every store. 

I don't think Hasbro is lazy about assortments, but I do agree that they are out of touch with their bread and butter.  This certainly wasn't a move to inspire collectors and I'm not even sure kids care all that much about these two characters.  They don't have the same appeal as a Luke/Han would.

I saw a really interesting presentation today on the explosion in social media and how companies are utilizing these tools to connect with their consumers.  Companies are getting product ideas, fielding consumer questions, generating PR, and a host of other applications at almost no cost.  Hasbro should be all over this with a bunch of existing sites like JD to poll from and a large base of consumers who are probably online more than the average household. 
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Offline Scott

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2012, 05:01 PM »
I saw a really interesting presentation today on the explosion in social media and how companies are utilizing these tools to connect with their consumers.  Companies are getting product ideas, fielding consumer questions, generating PR, and a host of other applications at almost no cost.  Hasbro should be all over this with a bunch of existing sites like JD to poll from and a large base of consumers who are probably online more than the average household.

That certainly is a double edged sword and there are very few fan communities out there that I think Hasbro would even dare interact with

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2012, 05:05 PM »
Social media research, like what Evolve24 does, could benefit Hasbro.

Or, they could just hire a handful of collectors as advisors.  Or just read the dang forums more.  It shouldn't be that difficult.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2012, 11:33 PM »
That certainly is a double edged sword and there are very few fan communities out there that I think Hasbro would even dare interact with

 :D

Sadly, I laugh because that's too true.

They've taken info from forums though, and readily admit it... the Q&A's were basically 50% idea suggestion, and some of it happened and some didn't.  I know some ideas are still on the table even, and were well received.  Just not put into motion (yet).

But yeah, slowly and steadily I think Hasbro's distanced themselves from fan communities...  Some of it justified and maybe some of it not.
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Offline Qui-Gon Jim

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #69 on: April 19, 2012, 07:33 AM »
Social media research, like what Evolve24 does, could benefit Hasbro.

Or, they could just hire a handful of collectors as advisors.  Or just read the dang forums more.  It shouldn't be that difficult.
I have said this for the longest time.  These companies could easily grab a ton of free feedback if they would just share what they are doing during the development process.  That would have prevented that horrible action feature Jedi Luke from proceeding.

I think if they just took a pause with each character, mad sure that they create an "ultimate" version, that they wouldn't need to waste money retooling, and they could just reissue.  They could change the cardback to grab the carded completionists.  They don't need three different versions of TPM Obi-Wan.  Even if they wanted him in multiple SKUs, an "ultimate" version of him would suffice for this purpose.

I keep coming back to the scope of the line being the cause of these issues.  I look at the new Barada and Evezan figures.  I feel like Hasbro took their time with these two (unlike all other past incarnations of these two) and delivered what no reasonable person could complain about. 

Offline Darth_Anton

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #70 on: April 19, 2012, 10:51 AM »
I've been holding off adding my two cents on the subject because of my frustration of finding the DS wave. That frustration perfectly illustrates objective vs subjective nature of such thoughts and discussions.

If you're having no problem finding product, until the line becomes unpopular enough so that it dies, I think there's a tend to speak in the objective to inform the subjective - put Hasbro under the microscope, hoping that they'll produce exactly what one wants, in the quantity you want it and in the availability so you can get it. Decisions about the corporate end effect your personal enjoyment of the hobby. The future is then based on whether you think Hasbro is making the cut according to one's own personal taste.

On the flip side, when one can't even get the product, I think it adds to a personal feeling of neglect, therefor making the discussion subjective. It's a personal issue, if you decide to quit the hobby because of the external factors, the future has ended right then and there.

Myself, my biggest beef with Hasbro is the ridiculous carry forward formula. In a case of twelve with five new figures and seven carry forwards seems like a formula for failure. It's certainly doesn't work in Los Angeles. The only figures that were plentiful were the very first ESB wave of twelve and the recent TPM wave of twelve. Everything between and after has been a real pain in the butt to find. Maybe the formula does work in other areas of the country, but it's hard for me to acknowledge if it's not working out this way.

So what's the future? Make no mistake, Hasbro is producing top notch figures that seem to get better and better every year. They've got me in terms of quality. So long as they keep producing figures I like and can find, I will buy them and Hasbro will be able to keep making them.

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Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #71 on: April 19, 2012, 11:15 AM »
Believe it or not, Hasbro HAS been reading forums for years.  In my own interactions with some of the people in the Hasbro-Star Wars team I've heard them reference things that only someone who has been checking out forums would know about:  Stan, the ICMG petition, wishlist polls and more.  They're checking things out but maintaining a low profile.  In other words, they're lurking.  Hell, at the NJ Star Wars forum I admin I saw that a Hasbro person had been checking out our site based on the IP address info.  And that was just a few weeks ago.

Direct interaction with forums can only end up badly for Hasbro.  Some people will be cool and levelheaded about things, but some people are more likely to get belligerent.  Once that happens the situation can quickly spiral out of control.  The Q&A process was a somewhat reasonable middle ground where fan sites could offer up questions from their readers, but the fan sites were acting as a filter to keep some of the craziness in check.

Social media research could certainly help Hasbro.  Polling like that can give you some real answers, and there are filtering mechanisms built into some surveys that will weed out some craziness.  Some of the action features have no doubt been meant for kids.  That's just a fact of life.  Collectors are still the minority interest in the overall marketplace for Star Wars figures.  At this point in time the market may be about 75% kids / 25% collectors.  But in movie years that ratio has been skewed far more towards the kids than the collectors.  The one ratio I've heard thrown around has been about 90% kids / 10% collectors.

However I don't see Hasbro involving collectors in the development process.  And that's because of the multiple layers of product approval:  product safety testing and of course there's approval by Lucas Licensing.  Hasbro's stance has been that if they show off a product to the public, eventually they intend to release it.  But what happens if they share a new product development only to have it fail safety testing or Lucas Licensing says no?  Then Hasbro is left holding the bag, and has to explain to collectors that FIGURE X is not coming despite their involvement in the process.

As for the future of Star Wars collecting?  I think it's going to hinge on a few things:
-How long will the Clone Wars animated series successfully carry on?
-Will the STAR WARS - UNDERWORLD live action series actually happen?
-Will the Hasbro line remain profitable for Hasbro?
-What's going to happen with the master toy license in 2018?
-Will the economy improve soon?

All of these things are linked together.  Still, Star Wars has been one of the best selling boys toys brands for a LONG TIME.  So it's got that legacy effect going for it at retail.  Lots of movie licenses come and go, but Star Wars remains.  And that's because it's shown that it has legs.  Very few other licenses have that kind of longevity.  That potential for long term profitability for both Hasbro and Lucasfilm is important.  But, will the Hasbro Star Wars line rebound with the economy?  If it does, I think we can expect the line to continue on through 2018 and possibly beyond.
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Offline Greg

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #72 on: April 19, 2012, 11:30 AM »
A lot of folks seem to be against the carry-forward figures in case assortments, but personally I think having a variety of figures in each case is essential. As nice as it might be to have new figures shipped 2x per case, that can quickly poison the line due to boring characters like the pod racers and skiff guards. What Hasbro should improve on is not which figures are selected as carry-forwards, but rather how often they are packed into cases. There is no reason for any figure, whether it's a clone, Qui-Gon, Evazan, or Darth Malgus, to be packed in four consecutive waves/cases. When the same figure is stocked week after week for several months, it is going to quickly hit a saturation point. If Hasbro were to alternate carry-forward figures (put Qui-Gon in every other case, Ratts Tyrell every three or four cases, etc.) I feel that the line would flow more smoothly. Even though old figures would still be shipping alongside new figures, the old figures would seem "fresh" after having some time off the shelves.   

Offline Greg

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #73 on: April 19, 2012, 11:52 AM »
Direct interaction with forums can only end up badly for Hasbro.  Some people will be cool and levelheaded about things, but some people are more likely to get belligerent.  Once that happens the situation can quickly spiral out of control.

I agree that things would get crazy if Hasbro opened up an avenue of communication thru forums. Hostility from people wouldn't be the only problem Hasbro would have. There would most likely be an insane amount of "I want figure a", "Make character x" comments  which would make it a challenge to find and keep up with any valid concerns and criticisms.

The Q&A process was a somewhat reasonable middle ground where fan sites could offer up questions from their readers, but the fan sites were acting as a filter to keep some of the craziness in check.

As much as I enjoyed the Q&A, there seemed to be an attitude problem at some sites toward the end of the program. Several questions were unnecessarily harsh, with a couple having foul language. I wouldn't be surprised if the guys at Hasbro got fed up with the lack of respect from those few bad apples, and decided to end the program altogether. I think some folks online forgot that Hasbro did not owe us the Q&A program and ended up ruining it for everyone.

However I don't see Hasbro involving collectors in the development process.  And that's because of the multiple layers of product approval:  product safety testing and of course there's approval by Lucas Licensing.  Hasbro's stance has been that if they show off a product to the public, eventually they intend to release it.  But what happens if they share a new product development only to have it fail safety testing or Lucas Licensing says no?  Then Hasbro is left holding the bag, and has to explain to collectors that FIGURE X is not coming despite their involvement in the process.

I think the Fan Choice Polls are the closest collectors will ever get to "running" the line. As you said, the development process is much more complex than some collectors seem to understand, and purchasing $1000 worth of toys each year doesn't automatically qualify a person to run a toy line.

Offline GrandMoffNick

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2012, 01:06 PM »
I'm on board with being frustrated with how difficult collecting has become recently. Although sometimes I think it's a blessing in disguise because it makes it easier to just accept not having everything since I have no choice now.

With that being said I can't ever see that frustration making me give up my existing collection. I would rather have it and then every once in a while add to it than just say goodbye to the whole thing. I don't see how one leads to the other.

Anyway, mostly just thinking out loud about my personal collection.
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