Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 20868 times)

Offline Darby

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #435 on: December 7, 2013, 11:07 AM »
That's a great point about the CommTech Reader. Way ahead of its time and shy of the mark of real interactivity. If they had integrated that technology into the vehicles/playsets, or beyond to any kind of gaming, then maybe. But that was 15 years ago (!!!). The more I think about it, it's the toy industry in general, rather than any particular brand, that is suffering right now.

We've talked about it before, but SW is actually proving to be somewhat bulletproof - very few if any brands could survive the (many) near death experiences it has had, and that includes right now, post TPM 3D. The line chugs along, hobbled, but alive. The toy industry is suffering from rising production costs, labor costs, loss of customers to video games/electronics, and I think the internet - Amazon and their batshit prices are a great example of the slow bleed online has had on retail toy shopping. Who out there right now on the fence on 6 inch is going to pick up those shelf warming Lukes or R2's when they can get them for $10 online? $9? Maybe it gets them into the game long term, but it also keeps the shelves nice and warm.

A gigantic part of collecting for most of us for a long time has been the hunt. That's slowly eroded, and with the state of things being what they are, we've reached a tipping point where ordering online is really your only option. That only escalates the situation at retail, and you have articles out there now about Toys R Us struggling quite a bit. If TRU shrank or went under, you're talking about the effective end of the retail collector. Wal-Mart may be the largest toy buyer in the world, but TRU supports such a broad range of lines unavailable anywhere else that the toy industry would be reduced to whatever kids play with right before they turn on their first iPad.

I think there will always be a place for action figures, and Star Wars toys, but what does that look like? No idea at this point.

Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #436 on: December 7, 2013, 01:06 PM »
That's a great point about the CommTech Reader. Way ahead of its time and shy of the mark of real interactivity. If they had integrated that technology into the vehicles/playsets, or beyond to any kind of gaming, then maybe. But that was 15 years ago (!!!). The more I think about it, it's the toy industry in general, rather than any particular brand, that is suffering right now.

There was a second generation of CommTech chips in the works.  The figures that were to be offered with that second wave of CommTech technology eventually became what we saw in the POTJ line.  Rumor had it that when you placed multiple second gen CommTech chips on the reader that they would interact with one another.  But from a marketing standpoint the concept fell flat.  Hasbro probably would have been better served by packing a figure with the CommTech reader, but it's all ancient history.

The action figure segment seems to be reaching for SOMETHING to bring it back.  But I think it's really suffering because the market has become oversaturated by properties that THINK they can sustain an action figure line, and a shift towards video games on either console systems, computers and handheld devices.  I suspect that what may help is if we see a game developed by both Hasbro and EA with content that's unlocked by codes with a figure.  Will that happen?  We'll see.
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #437 on: December 9, 2013, 04:34 AM »
I think TRU and other such toy stores will survive. People are buying toys for the kids for Christmas and TRU is packed. Sure, people are not buying Star Wars figures but they are buying things like TMNTs, Legos, dolls, craft-type stuff, bikes, hot wheels, nerf, video games, etc. Toys do sell but regular people buy for gifts or implus buys for their kids. The Lego store down at Downtown Disney is always crazy packed. Collector oriented stuff doesn't sell at traditional stores. I think we get a little focused on our own little area of the toy world and think the toy industry is dieing but don't look at what kids really want. It ain't Star Wars but maybe superheros instead.
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Offline speedermike

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #438 on: December 12, 2013, 03:30 PM »
Kids love Star Wars, but they want SW Lego.

As much as I love 3 /34 figures, I don't blame them for loving the Lego figs.  They have vehicles and playsets. They fit in the vehicles, they hold their weapons, and there's big selection at any one time.  They are, closer to the Kenner line than the Black Series will ever be.
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Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #439 on: December 12, 2013, 09:16 PM »
I really do wonder about the future of Star Wars action figures (and action figures in general).  Obviously, things will likely pick up a lot when new movies start to hit, but what will things look like at that point?  The example of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line was brought up, and as someone who follows that line pretty closely (our daughter is way into the show and toys - and has a complete lineup so far), plus working Black Friday this year I can definitely say - those toys move.  I couldn't believe how many Turtles figures (not to mention the larger stuff, role play, vehicles, etc.) sold throughout the weekend, and in general.  The Star Wars section was pretty much untouched even with all of the shoppers coming through.  Granted, there isn't current entertainment, which I think makes a pretty big difference with casual/gift buying people, but it was a big difference.

On the TMNT subject as well, that line just seems to be run pretty well.  Just keeping track and shopping for all of the different characters for our daughter, I've noticed that we've been able to find everything at retail (usually several times) - things are restocked consistently.  Plus, there is a nice variety to the line.  Sure, there are multiple versions of the Turtles, but she has at least a dozen villains/supporting characters as well in the first year+ of the line.  They come with a nice array of accessories and all that, most are well articulated, and usually run about $8.  Anyways, enough about Turtles, but it really is the model of an action figure line right now it seems.  I just wonder what the make-up of the Star Wars action figure line will be going forward.  I have a feeling 2014 will be a relatively slow year, much like this year (but hopefully without the 6-8 month break to start things off).  I know I'm really looking forward to that Yoda/Luke wave on the way, as well as the 6" stuff.  Toy Fair should be interesting.

Offline Qui-Gon Jim

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #440 on: December 13, 2013, 12:33 PM »
I've noticed that we've been able to find everything at retail (usually several times) - things are restocked consistently.  Plus, there is a nice variety to the line.  Sure, there are multiple versions of the Turtles, but she has at least a dozen villains/supporting characters as well in the first year+ of the line. 

This echoes my experience with a different line I have been getting for my son, Disney's Planes.  There was one character, Rochelle, that was packed at 1 per case for one wave.  My SW experience warned me to expect a tough find on this one.  I've seen this one on three or four different occasions, and it isn't because these things sit.  Every store we frequent regularly turns over their stock (pegs empty then full then empty again).

I think other companies "get" it where Hasbro just doesn't.

Offline Jeff

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #441 on: July 24, 2014, 01:16 PM »
Was discussing the explosion of large scale Star Wars figures with someone this morning.  It's kind of incredible how fast it's spreading.

Since Hasbro kicked off the 6" line last year, we've had...
- a new 6" line from Hasbro
- a few 6" MAFEX from Medicom (Japan)
- a few 6" SHFiguarts from Bandai (Japan)
- a new 12" 5POA line from Hasbro
- a new 12" announcement from Hot Toys (1:6 scale)
- a new 13"-15" line from Disney Stores
- a new 18" announcement from Hot Toys (1:4 scale)
- a new 21" line from Jakks Pacific
- a new 31" line from Jakks Pacific

And there could be more announcements out there at SDCC...  crazy.

What do you all think is the cause?
- Is it everyone trying to cash in on the success of GG's Jumbo Kenner figures? 
- Is it Disney who opened the license floodgates to prep for Ep7?
- Is it yet another sign that 4" is dead and the future lies with bigger figures?
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Offline Dave

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #442 on: July 24, 2014, 01:57 PM »
Normally I'm pretty open to new Star Wars lines, but I'm completely uninterested in nearly all of these, so I'm at a loss as to who these are targeted towards and if they'll be successful.

I mostly love the Hasbro 6" stuff, and I understand the 5POA from Hasbro and to some degree the Disney stuff, even though I'm mostly uninterested in the last two.

Not interested in the Hot Toys stuff.

The Jakks Pacific stuff completely confuses me.  It seems super lame.

Japan is Japan.  They've got their own licenses and can do some weird stuff sometimes.

Maybe they feel 3 3/4" is completely tapped out (without new cartoons/movies) and were just trying new things.  I would be surprised if even half of these lines still existed in 18 months.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #443 on: July 24, 2014, 05:32 PM »
I'm very closed minded to new scales, so if bigger scales are (mostly) the future (4" maybe being relegated to kid-oriented things), then I'm maybe a little dejected but my wallet won't be.

I'll pick up the odd 1/6 Sideshow figure, but I won't be diving headfirst into that.  It'll be limited, militaries figures.  OT almost exclusively.

Bigger does seem to be perceived as "better" for collector-oriented toys though right now, and for the most part they're right.  If you read the article yesterday we posted a link to on the front page, regarding Jabba The Hutt's 6" figure creation process, Hasbro was very pro 6", and had a stance that what they do in 6" can't be done in 4".

Now, do I believe that?  No.  Only because they've proven they CAN do the things in 4" scale they seemingly were now claiming aren't possible in the 4" scale.  The washes to highlight hair sculpts?  4" had them for years, now cutbacks they don't.  Painted buckles and buttons?  They've done that...  They do is less now.

I don't disagree that you can do it better, or more elaborate in 6" scale though.  That's indisputable really.  But they've cut back and aren't doing it much at all in 4" scale now...  costs and all that jazz.  They're seeing that $10 is a threshold for 4" figures where people really are hesitant to spend it.  I think they're at this point afraid to raise a basic figure above that because they know price has hurt that line far more than any other factor.

That's why I think they're pushing 6"...  They can do more, they've got basically a license to start over with the character pool depth, they've got selling points to adult collectors like higher detail and such...  Their only flaws are vehicles (which they clearly don't feel collectors are a target there anyway unless they're smaller ones), and they're $20, but again they're going to push the "Look what you get for that though!" angle, vs. the $10 figures which have steadily declined in quality while they attempt to hold that price point. 

While I'd be slightly annoyed to see 4" figures I personally find interesting go away, I'm also not going to worry too much about it.  It's been a very long run.  I'll be a little more annoyed that the new media maybe won't have figures I find "worthy" of standing next to my collection.  Customizing will pick up for me for sure though and I'm sure I'll be spending money elsewhere.  I already have been during this slowdown.  There's a lot of good compatible things out there that fit with Star Wars 4" figures, and appeal to me.  There's always something to spend money on other than Star Wars toys.  :-\
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Offline P-Siddy

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #444 on: July 24, 2014, 08:48 PM »
Actually, 6" prices are going to go up a couple dollars in the next waves.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #445 on: July 24, 2014, 08:52 PM »
Wouldn't doubt 4" does too soon, if it sticks around.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #446 on: July 24, 2014, 09:22 PM »
Actually, 6" prices are going to go up a couple dollars in the next waves.

Someone else said that recently...  did I miss a memo?  Why does everyone think the price is going up?
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Offline Rob

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #447 on: July 24, 2014, 09:35 PM »
Actually, 6" prices are going to go up a couple dollars in the next waves.

Someone else said that recently...  did I miss a memo?  Why does everyone think the price is going up?

If anything the price needs to go down a few dollars.  Neca makes a better product at a lower price point so far.

Meanwhile, every 6" figure other than Fett and the Stormtrooper has been available on Amazon for far less - the first wave was as low as $9.99 around the holidays.

At this very moment:
Luke is $13.49
Artoo is $15.79
Maul is $15.79
Han is $13.30
Obi-Wan is $13.49
Greedo is $12.51
Leia is $16.69

Most of those are Prime too.

Offline Diddly

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #448 on: July 25, 2014, 05:58 AM »
I realize that a lot of things are going up in price, but there has to be a breaking point. Can you imagine paying $15 or so at retail for that lame Yoda we're getting in TBS 4 inch Wave 4? Like Jesse said above, there's always more things to spend money on, and that's what I plan on doing if prices keep going up because honestly collecting hasn't been "fun" in about three years for me now.

Bigger does seem to be perceived as "better" for collector-oriented toys though right now, and for the most part they're right.  If you read the article yesterday we posted a link to on the front page, regarding Jabba The Hutt's 6" figure creation process, Hasbro was very pro 6", and had a stance that what they do in 6" can't be done in 4".

Yeah what was up with that? The first thought that popped in my mind was something like "Well if bigger is better then why did the Hasbro 12 inch line suck so bad in the later years?" I got the feeling like they're still really ticked about losing the 12 inch license to Sideshow and being one-upped, so they're trying to make things right with the 6 inch line.

Offline P-Siddy

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #449 on: July 25, 2014, 08:47 AM »
Actually, 6" prices are going to go up a couple dollars in the next waves.

Someone else said that recently...  did I miss a memo?  Why does everyone think the price is going up?

I was looking at figures on Beyond Mortality yesterday.  Wave 5 and 6 figures are at 21.99, while earlier ones are 19.99 (including the Stormtrooper).

But, yeah, I feel that I can't spend too much more than that right now, so I might be pulling the plug on 6" figures. 
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 08:49 AM by P-Siddy »