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PlayDate Reveals Hot Holiday Toys Press Release
Tuesday October 22, 8:17 am ET

PlayDate Reveals Hot Holiday Toys
Press Release
Tuesday October 22, 8:17 am ET
Item# playrevhotho

Product Description

PlayDate Inc. Reveals Retailers' Picks for Hot Holiday Toys, Games and Video Games
Tuesday October 22, 8:17 am ET

Results of PlayDate's Annual Exclusive Survey Indicate Strong Success for Classic Toys, Video Games, Tech Toys and Licensed Products

NEW YORK, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- PlayDate Inc., an independent marketing services firm that produces the premier media event showcasing the Holiday season's hottest toys, board games, collectibles, video games and PC games, today announced results from its exclusive annual survey of mass market and specialty toy and game retailers predicting 2002's hottest Holiday gifts. According to PlayDate survey results, retailers believe Mattel's "Barbie as Rapunzel" will be this year's must-have gift, but boys need not worry as survey results indicate that Santa will also be delivering plenty of video games, interactive toys and products featuring popular licenses.

Barbie, which first hit store shelves more than 40 years ago, remains a hot commodity among young girls, who love the doll's themed incarnations, and their moms, who are attracted to Barbie's classic appeal. Other Number 1 toys and games from PlayDate's retailer survey include the LeapPad Learning System (best-selling toy in specialty stores), Cranium Cariboo (best-selling board game), PlayStation 2 (best-selling video game hardware), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (best-selling video game software), The Sims Online (best-selling PC game), Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards (best-selling collectible) and Dora the Explorer (best-selling brand family).

"Barbie again proves to be a great evergreen gift," said Sean McGowan, toy industry analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison and co-founder of PlayDate Inc. "But a lot of what's under the tree this year is changing. More and more, parents are focusing on educational products, like LeapPad, or PC games like Dora the Explorer. Yet advanced technology is making video games more popular than ever, and the latest editions of Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk and WWE: Smackdown will be most in demand. On the console front, PlayStation 2 is still the dominant leader, with Nintendo's Game Boy Advance the uncontested portable unit of choice."

McGowan added, "The country is still experiencing 'cocooning' -- when families choose to stay home together -- which has led to a surge in the popularity of new-fangled games, such as Cranium, as well as classics like Monopoly and Risk, even if they've been modified with the hottest licenses, like Spider-Man and Lord of The Rings."

Results of the PlayDate retailer survey indicate the following key trends impacting the toy and games industry this Holiday season.

Everything Old is New Again in the Toy Biz

Kids don't know the toys of yesteryear, but their parents, who are the primary purchasers of toys, associate closely with classics from their own childhood. Barbie, which has been around for generations, continues to be a favorite as the doll gets a new look as Rapunzel this Holiday season. Other toys fueling the nostalgia trend include:

  • Huffy Bikes' new Spin Move, a cool tricycle for kids and tweens, that is reminiscent of big-wheeled bikes of the '70s
  • The Care Bears, which celebrate their 20th anniversary this year and are gaining momentum due to the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear
  • Cabbage Patch Kids, which originally debuted in the 1980s -- Bandai's Power Rangers, which are now being handed off from older

brother to little brother as the brand celebrates its 10th anniversary

this year

Board games are also making a comeback in 2002, albeit with a slightly different look and feel. In particular, Cranium and its popular offspring, Cadoo and Cariboo, have rejuvenated game time by combining the best of parlor classics like charades, dictionary and trivia, with new fun challenges involving sculpting, humming and spelling.

Holiday Forecast Calls for a "Very Video Game Christmas"

Video game software is expected to experience its best Holiday sales season ever this year. The spring 2002 price drop on video game consoles from all three manufacturers -- Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Nintendo of America and Microsoft -- will help video gaming go mainstream this year. Expanding the entertainment value are online capabilities for console play and the continuous introduction of new titles that offer something for everyone. Hits like Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk, and WWE: Smackdown will be tops on Holiday wish lists this season. Football will be especially popular at Christmas, with both Madden NFL 2003 and SEGA's NFL 2K3 scoring big in stores. Also fueling the relentless domination of video games are handheld and portable gaming devices like Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and the introduction of exciting new PC titles like The Sims Online. The PC category will also benefit from increased interest in youth-oriented licenses like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Gift Givers Expected to Wrap Up Tons of Tech Toys

Tech toys continue to grow in popularity, as kids become more accustomed to sophisticated toys, falling chip prices lead to higher play value, and inventors make creative use of technology to deliver unique playing experiences. This growing trend is nowhere more evident than in educational toys. LeapFrog's LeapPad Learning System is not only expected to be the best selling educational toy this year, but has become one of the industry's strongest sellers among all toys. Other tech toys on display at PlayDate 2002 include VTech's Smarty's Workshop, Neurosmith's Musini, Irwin Toy's SpectraColor Image Pad and Uncle Milton's Star Theater 2.

Retailers Ring Up Sales on Toys Featuring Popular Licenses

Retailers polled by PlayDate expect Dora The Explorer to be the most successful toy license for Holiday 2002. Like other popular television licenses, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Thomas The Tank Engine, the product line for Dora ranges from dolls to PC games to card games. Blockbuster movies will also be popular, especially Spider-Man and Star Wars. Finally, the brand power of both LeapFrog and LEGO have made these two companies expected best sellers across multiple product categories.

More than two dozen retailers participated in the 2002 PlayDate retailer survey, including Sears, KB Toys, Toys "R" Us, FAO, eToys, Electronics Boutique, Gamestop, Imaginarium and numerous specialty stores. Retailers selected their top picks in the following categories (listed below):

  • Selling Toys Overall -- Best Selling Brand Families -- Best Selling Toys Sold in Specialty Stores -- Best Selling Board Games -- Best Selling Collectibles -- Best Selling PC Games -- Best Selling Video Games -- Best Selling Video Game Hardware

    PlayDate 2002 Retailer Survey Results

    Best Selling Toys Overall

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  Barbie as Rapunzel                       Mattel
         2  Bratz Funk 'n' Glow                      MGA Entertainment
         3  Disney Toddler Princesses                Playmates
         4  Dora the Explorer dolls                  Fisher-Price (Mattel)
         5  Harry Potter: Basilisk Playset           Mattel
         6  LeapPad Learning System                  Leap Frog
         7  Rescue Heroes                            Fisher-Price (Mattel)
         8  Spider-Man: Dual Action Web Blaster      Toy Biz
         9  Star Wars Lightsabers                    Hasbro
         10 Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Cards                   Upper Deck

    Best Selling Board Games

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  Cranium Cariboo                          Cranium Inc.
         2  Cranium Cadoo                            Cranium Inc.
         3  Cranium                                  Cranium Inc.
         4  Friends Trivia In A Tin                  Cardinal
         5  I Spy Preschool Game                     Briarpatch
         6  Lord of the Rings: Risk                  Hasbro Games
         7  MONOPOLY                                 Hasbro Games
         8  Rush Hour                                Binary Arts
         9  Spell-A-Puzzle                           International Playthings
         10 Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary         Hasbro Games

    Best Selling Video Game Software

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  Grand Theft Auto: Vice City              Rockstar Games
                                                     (Take-Two Interactive)
         2  Bond 007: NightFire                      Electronic Arts
         3  Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets      Electronic Arts
         4  Madden NFL 2003                          Electronic Arts
         5  Metroid Prime                            Nintendo of America
         6  SEGA Sports NBA 2K3                      SEGA of America
         7  SEGA Sports NFL 2K3                      SEGA of America
         8  SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs                   Sony Computer
                                                     Entertainment America
         9  Tony Hawk ProSkater 4                    Activision
         10 WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth           THQ

    Best Selling Toys Sold in Specialty Stores

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  LeapPad Learning System                  LeapFrog Enterprises
         2  Care Bears                               Play Along Toys
         3  Cranium Cariboo                          Cranium Inc.
         4  Dora the Explorer dolls                  Fisher-Price (Mattel)
         5  LeapStart Learning Table                 LeapFrog Enterprises
         6  LEGO Star Wars sets                      LEGO
         7  MEGA BLOKS                               Mega Bloks
         8  Musini                                   Neurosmith
         9  SpectraColor Image Pad                   Irwin Toy
         10 Thomas & Friends                         Learning Curve

    Best Selling Collectibles

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Cards                   Upper Deck
         2  HeroClix (DC & Marvel)                   WizKids
         3  Holiday Celebration Barbie 2002          Mattel
         4  Mage Knight                              WizKids
         5  Magic: The Gathering                     Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro)
         6  MechWarrior                              WizKids
         7  Muppets                                  Palisades
         8  Pokemon                                  Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro)
         9  Spider-Man                               Toy Biz (Marvel)
         10 Sports figures                           McFarlane Toys

    Best Selling PC Game

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  The Sims Online                                Electronic Arts
         2  Age of Mythology                               Microsoft
         3  Backyard Sports (various)                      Infogrames
         4  Dora the Explorer                              Infogrames
         5  Everquest: Planes of Power                     Verant (Sony Online
                                                           Entertainment)
         6  Roller Coaster Tycoon 2                        Infogrames
         7  SpongeBob SquarePants Employee of the Month    THQ
         8  The Sims: Unleashed                            Electronic Arts
         9  Unreal II                                      Infogrames
         10 Warcraft III                                   Blizzard Entertainment
                                                           (Vivendi Universal)

    Best Selling Brand Families

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  Dora the Explorer                       Mattel, Infogrames et al
         2  Barbie                                  Mattel
         3  Disney Princesses                       Mattel, Hasbro, Playmates,
                                                    Jakks Pacific et al
         4  Grand Theft Auto                        Rockstar Games
                                                    (Take-Two Interactive)
         5  LeapFrog                                LeapFrog
         6  LEGO                                    LEGO
         7  Spider-Man                              Toy Biz, USAopoly,
                                                    Sababa Toys et al
         8  SpongeBob SquarePants                   Mattel, THQ et al
         9  Star Wars                               Hasbro et al
         10 Thomas & Friends                        Learning Curve, Ertl et al

    Best Selling Video Game Hardware

    No. 1 toy/game is listed as No.1, all others are listed alphabetically and are NOT in rank order.

         1  PlayStation 2                 Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
         2  Game Boy Advance              NINTENDO
         3  Network Adaptor               Sony Computer Entertainment America
         4  NINTENDO GAMECUBE             NINTENDO
         5  PS one                        Sony Computer Entertainment America
         6  Xbox                          Microsoft

    Hot 1s To Watch (not part of retailer survey; represents selections by PlayDate Inc.) (listed alphabetically)

         Family Reunion The Game                        USAOPOLY
         Glowin' Animal Flashlights                     Little Tikes
         Kids Battle The Grown-Ups                      University Games
         Kid Q's                                        Funosophy
         MicroPets                                      TOMY Corporation
         Power Rangers Deluxe Isis Command Megazord     Bandai America
         Smarty's Workshop                              VTech Electronics
         Spider-Man UNO                                 Sababa Toys
         Spin Move                                      Huffy Bikes
         Star Theater 2                                 Uncle Milton
         The Powerpuff Girls: Relish Rampage            BAM! Entertainment

    PlayDate is an annual media event showcasing Holiday toy and games and is held in October at New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion. Leading and innovative toy companies participate in the show and the 2002 lineup includes: Activision, BAM! Entertainment, Bandai America Inc., Cranium Inc., Huffy Bikes, Funosophy Inc., Infogrames, Inc., Irwin Toy, Ltd., KB Toys, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., Little Tikes, Neurosmith, Nintendo Of America, Play Along Toys, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Sababa Toys, Inc., SEGA Of America, THQ, TOMY Corporation, Toys 'R' Us, Toysrus.com, Uncle Milton, Universal Studios Home Video, University Games, USAOPOLY, and VTech Electronics, Ltd. The NPD Group also participates as an annual guest exhibitor. Media and exhibitor information regarding PlayDate 2003 will be available at http://www.playdateinc.com/ starting next year.

        Editor's Note:
        PlayDate toy industry experts Sean McGowan and Jon Salisbury are available
    to discuss the following:
         -- Trends shaping the toy and games industry, including nostalgia toys,
            toys just for girls, leading licenses, educational toys, electronic
            toys and more
         -- How consumer attitudes impact the toy and games industry, particularly
            during the Holidays
         -- The relentless global expansion of video games
         -- Toy buying tips for Holiday gift givers
         -- Impact of soft economy on Holiday toys

    About PlayDate

    PlayDate 2002 is an exclusive media showcase highlighting the best selling toys and games for the coming Holiday season, as predicted by the nation's top retailers. Retailers are surveyed by PlayDate Inc., an independent marketing services company tracking the toy and game software industries in the U.S. PlayDate Inc. compiles the survey results at the end of the third quarter, identifying those toys and games expected to be the best selling products during the Holiday season.

    Its principals include toy and game industry veterans Sean McGowan and Jon Salisbury. McGowan's knowledge of the toy industry has been gained from his 15-plus years as a veteran award-winning research analyst on Wall Street covering the toy and video game software industries. Because of his stature as a research analyst and his role in creating PlayDate's annual events, McGowan is nationally recognized as an industry expert and is frequently quoted by print and broadcast media. Salisbury is the long-time publisher of toy industry periodicals such as World Toy News, and a host of numerous toy industry events in Europe and the U.S.

    Make Your Opinion Count - Click Here



  • Source: PlayDate Inc.




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