2017 Toy Fair Trends: Part 1

2017 Toy Fair Trends: Part 1


I cannot believe that another Toy Fair has passed, but what a great show! The longer I’m in this industry the more I love events like ChiTAG and NYTF. It’s so great to be in the same city as the rest of my toy and game friends – old and new – and be able to chat face to face about business, life, and the industry in general. So beyond the people what did I see? A TON of new game titles! There have been years in the past where I felt that a lot of companies were “playing it safe” by sticking with what they’ve had success with in the past or picking items that didn’t take a big risk. This year I felt that a lot of companies were looking to grow. For example, Buffalo Games (notorious for doing pretty much only party games in the past) now has a pre-school line, Silly Street (see below left). Winning Moves which traditionally sticks with re-releasing classic children’s games like Crocodile Dentist is doing an action card game with plastic fish called Nibbled  (see below right).  In fairness, Nibbled, is my invention but it’s still a pretty big deal for them – and OH SO CUTE!  It also fits into the first trend below.  Bananagrams has their first non-word game, non-fabric fruit game that isn’t from Big Potato!  It’s called Cobra Paw and I’ll cover it in a later article.  Peaceable Kingdom released three new games for kiddos starting at age 2, while before they never had product for kids younger than 3 so they’re entering an area that’s been virtually dominated by two games: Seek-a-Boo (MindWare) and Roll & Play (ThinkFun).  Overall, I like what I’m seeing!

As I do every year I’m going to go through the trends I saw at Toy Fair over a series of articles. Please be patient with me as it’s going to take me a couple days to get them all out as Toy Fair was a week later this year and while I appreciated the additional week of prep time, I’m not really enjoying the more urgent need to get follow up work sent off. Ha! Onto the trends:

 

TREND: Found on YouTube/YouTube Moments

If you saw it on YouTube – make a game out of it. If you have a game it should have a YouTube moment in it. YouTube YouTube YouTube!

Last Christmas we had the slew of mouth guard games: Speak Out, Whatcha Say, Watch Ya’ Mouth, Mouthguard Challenge, Mouthful Fun – I cannot believe I can find that many and I’m pretty sure I missed some. Hasbro is adding to this list Speak Out Kids vs Parents, which comes with mouth guards in two sizes and the Watch Ya’ Mouth line from Buffalo Games has a couple new titles too.

Hasbro is also adding to their hit PieFace line (which blew up as a worldwide sensation due to a YouTube video of a grandfather playing it with his grandson): There is now a super tall strongman version of PieFace called Pie Face Sky High. (Pictured at left)

What else did we see a ton of this year on YouTube? Water Bottle Flipping Challenges. So now we’re getting Flip Challenge from Hasbro and Flip Tricks from Buffalo Games (and there are others already on the market such as Bottle Flip)

Have you seen the Egg Roulette Challenge? Crack an egg on your head to find out if you got a raw one or a hardboiled one. Hasbro’s got a new game called Egged On that tackles this by either getting an egg filled with water or not. I hear from the guy demonstrating in their showroom that filling them with pudding, Jell-O, Whipped Cream, etc. makes it pretty fun too.

If the trend of finding things on YouTube continues and if it’s anything like last year, there will be more in this trend before Christmas as there’s been some amazing turnaround time from some companies to get these games out FAST.

As for the items that have YouTube or Social Media moments — there are a ton of those too.  Here’s a smattering of some I saw:

Pictured above: Twangled from MindWare, Smash Pong! from Educational Insights, Who Nose? from Outset Media, and Shark Bite from Pressman (the biting action made me jump!)  Others of note: I Got This! – Fat Brain Toys, Duck Face – Goliath, Stoopido – Outset Media

As for my personal fave – it was probably Who’s the Dude? from Identity games.  It’s essentially charades with a blow up doll and the woman they got to demonstrate it was hilarious!  I know she was hired specifically to demo it, and she earned ever cent!  She had a great sense of humor about spending all day — for a couple days — with a blow up doll. Ha!

Along these lines is SpacePOP Galactic Glam Game from Pressman.  It’s a game based on a YouTube miniseries!  So while that doesn’t exactly fit the trend, it sort of does.

Trends Part 2 coming soon.  Want to know when?  Subscribe to the blog in the upper right corner.