Author Topic: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session  (Read 6333 times)

Offline jokabofe

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2004, 09:49 AM »
well, that just goes to show you why the whole line is so f**ked up. why don't they hire people who actually know these movies to work on these toy lines... wouldn't that at least make a little bit of sense? personally, i don't know any 5 year olds that hold down there own jobs (outside of the ones that appartently paint these figures for hasbro) so i can't understand the emphasis on "kids" keeping the line alive. even when the kids are buying these toys - which is not often, as has already been pointed out - it's still the adults who are paying the bills. hearing things like this almost make me wanna quit collecting.

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2004, 11:51 AM »
They said NO WAY IN HELL will any of the 4" VOTC figures get re-released later on in the standard ($5) carded line.  I expected a negative answer to that, but not such an adamant one.  I told them that was totally unfair to deny collectors the greatest army-building figure of all-time, in the new Stormtrooper (looks GREAT).  They replied "We're not denying anyone.  The collectors can army-build all they want with that one."  Yeah.  Ok.   ::)  I reminded them that it was a $10 figure that was being placed in a line that's supposedly going to see a much more limited release than the standard OTC line.  Their reply:  Shrug.  Hmmm....  Oh well...   >:(

What a couple of *****.  >:(

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2004, 07:37 PM »
well, that just goes to show you why the whole line is so f**ked up. why don't they hire people who actually know these movies to work on these toy lines... wouldn't that at least make a little bit of sense? personally, i don't know any 5 year olds that hold down there own jobs (outside of the ones that appartently paint these figures for hasbro) so i can't understand the emphasis on "kids" keeping the line alive. even when the kids are buying these toys - which is not often, as has already been pointed out - it's still the adults who are paying the bills. hearing things like this almost make me wanna quit collecting.

I've seen a decent degree of turnover at Hasbro since I've been covering the Hasbro Star Wars lines.  People have moved from one project to another, and some are bigger fans than others.  Some of the designers are old-timers, going as far back as the '70's with Kenner, while others are pretty new to the line.  

The tough thing that we have to deal with as passionate collectors is that Hasbro deals with the line somewhat dispassionately from a business standpoint.  While some things might make perfect sense to us, it may not be the best thing for Hasbro to do financially.  I hope that they get it right more often than they're going to get it wrong.  Unfortunately, a lot of the OTC line is getting it wrong.  In fact, a lot of it seems mailed in, as if the budget for Star Wars in 2004 got cut by Hasbro.  So here's hoping for a better 2005.
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Offline Darth Broem

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2004, 07:55 PM »
Well there has to be some diehard fans working this line over at H.  Or we would not be getting stuff like J'Quille, Rapertunie, Dutch Vander, Dodonna, Hologram figs, Sandcrawler, Y-Wing, A-Wing, Gotal, Yarua, Dannik Jeriko (sp?), Vintage recards and the like.  Hope those guys don't leave H.  

I am not sure about the kids situation either.  Don't get me wrong.  I have seen a few kids attempt to buy figures but it can't be the vast majority of their consumers.  In fact I'd guess that kids make up about 2% of the entire Star Wars action figure buying consumers.  They may make up 98% of the lightsaber buying market?  That's strange.  

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2004, 08:05 PM »
The stats I've seen cited time and again are something like this:

Non-movie years:  Collectors make up 75 % of the market

Movie Years:  Collectors make up less than half of the market

Obviously, the lightsabers have been a big hit with kids.   They sell consistantly, and even the big-box retailers who aren't ordering much if any Star Wars always seem to have these in stock.
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Offline JediMAC

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2004, 08:20 PM »
Aside from the lightsabers, which I've already agreed are big sellers with the kids, I've gotta think those stats are completely out of whack, at least as far as the actual 4" figure line goes - and that includes movie years.  Unless the Southern California area is not AT ALL indicative of the rest of the countries purchasing habits.

Out here, there are NO "kids" (under 17, I'd say) buying ANY Star Wars action figures.  Ever.  From 1995 through present.  I can probably count 'em on one hand.

Like I said, total hor$e$hit, IMO.

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2004, 10:01 PM »
I'm inclined to agree.  The kids are not buying much of this stuff, at all.  

I think the general trend in the numbers Nick posted are correct.  Logically, there are kids buying the toys in a movie year, simply because they are pumped about seeing the movie then.  But they are not, under just about any circumstance, buy a J'Quille, Rappertunie or anything else like that, as pointed out.  They WILL buy Luke's and Vaders and Boba Fett's and maybe other bounty hunters, but even then, we're talking minimal screen time, zero dialogue - who's buying those again???

At least as a bright spot, my buddy's kid (5) loves coming over to our house to look at star wars.  He thinks the playskool stuff is awfully cool (a full year after the last visit he asked why the Vader wasn't on top of the monitor) but it is killing him to not touch the 3 3/4" stuff.  But I think, by and large, he's an anomaly.  Video games or sports seem to so dominate the majority of kids.  Those kids that are into the figures are more into the other stuff we hate to see on the shelves - Yu-Gi-Oh, Power Rangers, etc.  

No, they don't quite get their market.  Matt, thanks for all the work, but maybe you should have pointed them to the collector's challenge thread?  I don't think there are too many kids out there that have dropped $1000+ in six months on this hobby just yet this year.
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Offline inadvertent imitation

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2004, 10:15 PM »
I think the whole 'kids support the line' mentality is just something that toy companies spout off to please Wal-Mart and Target, because these stores HATE collectors, but love their money.

It's like when that Jesse Falcon tool from Toy Biz said kids drive the Marvel Legends line.

Sure, like kids are going to buy a Namor, Thor, Ghost Rider, or Black Panther figure. Go take a hike.
If kids were the main group buying your stuff, the Hulk and X-Men Classics lines wouldn't have tanked.

Anyway, the last time I saw a kid looking at Star Wars stuff, it was Sept 2002, and he was with his father, who was likely the one more interested in Star Wars anyway.
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Offline jokabofe

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2004, 10:45 PM »
Matt, thanks for all the work, but maybe you should have pointed them to the collector's challenge thread?  I don't think there are too many kids out there that have dropped $1000+ in six months on this hobby just yet this year.

$1,000 for the year? what month is this, february?  ;D

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2004, 11:01 PM »
Aw, Dave.  I was trying to get a few more people into the thought.   :P
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2004, 12:35 AM »
I'm partly in agreement with Matt, but not as strongly as he is on the "kids support the line is BS" POV.

I personally dn't see how it's possible either...  In a movie year I do believe it is though.  I can see those #'s that Nicklab posted being near accurate.  They jive with things I've heard over the years, not just on Hasbro but other companies.

For Hasbro (or at least one schmuck from there who has the business sense/personality of a fruit fly) to not ACKNOWLEDGE the adult "collectors" though is a tad insulting.  They wouldn't have entire years/waves like POTJ was if they didn't realize adult collectrs weren't holding a STRONG end of the line up.  

I can see spikes in product sales to kids in a movie year though.  That's just logical really.

The thing is, I bet if you could do demographic tracking via retail outlets (including etail) over or ALONG with Hasbro's, I'd wager you'd see a variance in the #'s Hasbro came up with.  They tend not to do anything more than focus group research...  It has its benefits but it has drawbacks too in accuracy in reflection of interest.

It's a shame though because other companies at the Con really put on a show with "The fans" as far as how they interacted, and how cordial they were.

21st Cent. Toys had THE OWNER of the company on-hand.  Yes, the owner.  Of course that's not feasible for Hasbro, but nonetheless some more open-minded staffers might've been nice...

Sideshow were johnny on the spot with information and a one-on-one appeal to their consumers too, as noticed in Matt's personal interview with them.

The 21st Cent. Toys reports coming back show a company who were as enthusiastic about their product as the geeks who collect it!  That was refreshing.  Some news was disappointing, but they were still cool about it.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2004, 01:28 AM »
In a way, I think Hasbro is catering to the collector market, but not quite in the way that many collectors would like.  You see, there's a saying that goes back some ways, "Beware what you wish for, you may get it".

Well, I can recall seeing cries throughout the collecting community for YEARS to go back to a vintage style look for the Star Wars line.  And in some circles, I have seen more outcry for a packaging look that would inspire the nostalgia of the vintage period.  Well, here we are now in the OTC era, with packaging that looks much like that of the vintage line.  And you know what?  Hasbro is selling us packaging, and not new figures.  The new figures are relatively scarce in this period, and I have to wonder if Hasbro thinks that they can satisfy the market in one respect (vintage style packaging) and not give a rat's patoot about the product in that package.

This reallly makes me think that Hasbro might just be taking advantage of the everpresent carded collector.  They are collecting the packaged product and not necessarily the product inside that package.  This turn of events does not bode well for the loose collector.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2004, 09:54 AM »
First of all, thanks so much Matt (and everyone else here at JD), for the great reporting from Comic-Con.  I think we've all learned so much more, and got a lot of questions we were curious about answered, due to your "one on ones" with the Hasbro staffers.  To me, it is quite disappointing to hear how rude you were treated (at least by one rep), and how poorly they seem to see the "collectors".  I'm not saying they shouldn't have some figures marketed towards kids, and like some of you said, I don't even mind action features here and there in the movie year, as long as it isn't on every character...and the ones it is on, we get a better version of later.  Granted, I don't like them, but if they think the kiddos do, that's fine with me.  As long as we get "our" versions too ;)

As to some of the things we've heard about........first off, I'm quite disappionted with the VOTC news.  I was really hoping we'd see these stuck back into the line at later dates.  We know Hasbro loves the repack, so if at some point they are thinking "we need another Han, Leia, and Vader on the shelf", then why not repack these great VOTC versions, instead of yet another Commtech Han, "new likeness" Leia, or miscellaneous Vader.  These aren't bad figures, but we've seen them more than enough, and you know that the vast majority of their market (kids and collectors both) would rather have these VOTC versions.  Its just crazy that they wouldn't want to capitalize on these, but it sounds like they were pretty adamant about it.  You'd think they would be able to be more profitable if they would re-release them, instead of being such a limited run of figures.  Even if they did want to charge a buck or two more, I'd be ok with it, if it meant we could find a few more Stormtroopers, etc.  It is starting to sound like these will be as limited as we originally thought, with a 3-4 month window to pick them up.  I really hope the ESB and ROTJ waves can at least be spotted at retail like the first wave...and that they aren't all impossible to find.

A few good things, I am glad that they know that super articulation is a good direction to go...and army builder figures are a good place to start with that.  It also sounds like they will make sure there is plenty army-building action for the Episode III line, which is great too.  I'm happy to hear we'll see a few more new figures before the III line hits, and from the pics we've seen, they don't look too bad at all.  I don't tend to get quite as jazzed about prequel figures, but they ones they chose do look nice.  And, I will admit, we're about due for some prequel figures again anyways.  Also good to hear that they are at least "discussing" modular playsets.  I really hope that Death Star set makes its way to us eventually, even if it is 2006.  Heck, use that as a chance to re-make the Han and Luke Stormtrooper outfits we've been wanting, and pack them (and some Stormies) into the individual "sets".  I'd buy them up I know.

I really hope they do make a return to the OTC-style packaging again too.  I didn't figure we'd get it for Episode III, so no big surprise there, but hopefully when they "unify" the line again, they will look in that direction.  That is something I guess I give Hasbro some credit for, I know in the years I've been on the boards...we've always talked about hoping they would do "vintage or vintage-style packaging"...or "super articulated, really well done versions of the main characters"...which we're getting a little bit of both of those areas this year.  Sadly, it was marred by massive rehashes, as well as now finding out that our "ultimate" versions are going to be "ultimately hard to find...and expensive".  That said, I am glad that they did the VOTC line, despite its limited availability and higher cost.  These figures are (overall) still quite amazing.

This is long enough, but thanks again Matt (and JD staff) for the great coverage of this event.  I'm glad that you did some prodding to find out details on a number of questions we had, and it helps us to get a better idea of the line, its future, and what our buying habits will be for the rest of the year.  Great work everyone.

Offline Scott

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2004, 09:58 AM »
I think the kids stuff is a bunch of BS too but this years figures minus the 31 repacks here at the end to me says there is someone over there looking out for us.  We got tons of much needed resculpts and a slew of figures I never dreamed we would ever see (Madine, Cloud Car Pilot, J'Quille and Tanus, Rieekan etc etc etc).  I don't see any of these choices as being kid friendly and the first 3 Waves of 2005 all are aimed squarely at us.  The OTC is a let down but if they are gonna get us new stuff by November and the hype that is at a serious boil right now continues through next spring I'm not as worried as I once was

Part of the problem here is the cost handcuffs they've been forced to deal with thanks to way over paying for this license...and this is especially true in non movie years when sales are generally low.  This was hammered home by the now rumored TIE Fighter for 2006.  The Hasbro dude told Matt that they can only afford to do pieces at a time.  That's crazy and part of the reason we may never see a CLoud Car or other NEW vehicles ever again.

The kid line is a cop out though and its funny that these new guys are treating the collectors like crap.  I remember seeing tons of kids buying Saga figs in 2002.  I haven't seen that since then and I agree with Nick's numbers maybe even higher percentages though in non movie years.

I wonder if their market research really says this stuff or are they just guessing.  Ben's comment on the Marvel Legends stuff is exactly right, there's no way kids are driving those sales...the age old debate continues

Offline jokabofe

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Re: Hasbro's SDCC Q&A Session
« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2004, 10:35 AM »
but here's my point: out of 38 otc figure, 31 are repacks? that's ridiculous. i admit, i'm in the obsessive compulsive collector group, which means i need to buy one of every repack, just because it's on a new card. and i'll admit that they could have re-packed every figure released so far on these otc cards and i would have bought them, because i think this is the nicest card design to come out of hasbro yet. but gimme a break with these repacks already. i can understand what they say about keeping the core characters available for "the kids" and all, but they are repacking figures that are still on the shelf in old packaging!!

i can go to toys r us and still find hof reapck vader, as well as saga repack and hof repack of the cantina han, so why make another repack of those 2? at least put a different han or vader figure in there... why not repack the first removable helmet vader? that was one of my favorite vaders. why not repack the han that came with the jabba cardboard diorama? that's never been released on a card.