Non-transforming toys and role-play accessories: Market interest or "prestige" thing?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Nevermore, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Back in 1990, we got the Action Masters. They didn't transform, fans hated them, and they effectively put the final nail in the coffin of an already struggling toyline.

    Role-play accessories, while existing during G1, didn't really pick up until the Armada swords, which were followed by the Energon Megatron sword and the Optimus Prime blaster.

    Came the 2007 movie line, and Hasbro gave us the following: Cyber Stompin' Robots, arm blasters, Optimus Prime Voice Changer helmet, T.E.C.H., Beatmix Bumblebee, Unleashed statues and collector-oriented, non-transforming "Robot Replicas" action figures.

    That's a helluvalot of stuff that doesn't fit the "main" line of transforming, *ahem* converting toys.

    Animated sort of continued the trend, albeit on a smaller basis, with the Power Bots, more arm blasters (one of them never released) and "Shift Tech" handheld games.

    The ROTF beats its predecessor line with more arm blasters, a Bumblebee hemlet in addition to a re-release of the Prime one, more Robot Replicas, Gravity Bots, more Power Bots... and the RPM mini-vehicles as a Matchbox/Hot Wheels competition, and even remote-controlled vehicles, possibly so Hasbro wouldn't have to give the license to another company such as Radio Shack with their XMODS from the first movie.

    In addition, there's also more kid-friendly, while still transforming, line-ups of "main" fiction characters, such as the Fast Action Battlers (2007 Movie, ROTF) or the Activators (Animated), and even MORE kid-friendly stuff like the Cyber Slammers (2007 Movie), Bumper Battlers (Animated) or Battle Chargers (ROTF). And Ultimate Bumblebee (2007 Movie, ROTF) also aims at an unusual target audience with his focus on electronic gimmicks.

    Now, my question is: How big is the market for these things, really? Of course I can only speak for my local stores, but "main" toys such as Legends, Deluxes, Voyagers, Leaders etc. sell considerably well at least for ROTF, while the non-transforming stuff like Power Bots or role-play accessories pretty much shelfwarm. Does Hasbro really expect people to be interested in these things, or is this mainly a "prestige" thing, i.e. releasing these products just to fill a niche, and in order to prevent giving the license to another company which will then make a surprisingly large profit, of which Hasbro will only get a fracture?

    Also, does the huge glut of non-transforming Transformers toys dilute the point of the line, and lead to customer confusion? I've noticed quite a few parents desperately looking around the packaging to find out whether the toy transforms or not. A small note "product does not convert", especially when the product is sold in a country where English is not the first language, certainly doesn't suffice.

    The Unleashed statues were certainly a failure, considering the last two were never even released in the USA.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    it's redundant BS imho
     
  3. Nightwind

    Nightwind Aka Dusty Bottoms.

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    I think the market is actually pretty big for some of these offerings. I personally enjoy some of the Robot Replicas and appreciate the opportunity to have a more accurate figure to display. I just don't think you can get this kind of accuracy and still have a transforming figure. I am also officially in love with Robot Heroes!

    The more kid-friendly products also give parents the opportunity to make their younger children happy with a figure that represents their favorite character without having to worry about them swallowing a small part that came off accidentally or causing frustration due to a complicated transformation.

    Do I think the market is as large for these toys as the actual transforming products? No. Do I think these types of toys have their place? Yes.
     
  4. brr-icy

    brr-icy G1 Collector

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    they take up shelf space so they have an excuse why universe and animated have to go on hiatus
     
  5. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    This is not exactly what I had in mind.
     
  6. Th0r4z1n3

    Th0r4z1n3 The F*cking Lizard King! Veteran

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    I don't really have anything to say about the topic, but I had to chime in and say something about your sig Nevermore: Best "Sig Sale Marketing" Ever. :lolol 

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled topic
     
  7. Dinobot Nuva

    Dinobot Nuva Johnny 3 Tears Veteran

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    To be fair, Gravity Bots do transform. And I guess you could kind of say the RPM mini-vehicles do have two "modes" (I wouldn't call it transforming though).

    I've visited the same Target store every day after work this past week, its kinda of niched right in between two nicely done up suburbs, so there's definately kids coming in there. The older boys seem to love the regular line stuff (and to a lesser extent the Robot Replicas, which this Target moved an entire case of in one week), but you DO see the younger kids walking out with FAB's, roleplay helmets and Gravity Bots.

    I'd say part of it also has to do with the parent. If they actually take the time to pay attention to the toys their kids are pointing at (instead of just giving them the instant gratification, and mind you I've seen plenty of both parent-types on the TF aisle since this stuff hit the shelves), they can usually pick something out for the kid that they'll like. The three year old sitting in the cart gets a power bot, the 8 year old walking beside mommy gets a Voyager, make sense? Hell, my mom actually paid attention to the conversion level when she was buying me Beast Wars Toys back in '97 (as a result I've got quite a few more Basics from BW than any other class).
     
  8. Radioactive Ravage

    Radioactive Ravage Ancient

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    But... but the BB Blaster is awesome! IT DOESN'T EVEN SHOOT STUFF AND I LURVE IT.
     
  9. Stune

    Stune Well-Known Member

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    Me and my sister had fun playing around with the BB Blasters in walmart one day when I went in to pick up a Mixmaster. I could see how kids are entertained by this sort of thing, However I just don't see the pleasure in the Robot Replicas. Sure a few of them look cool, but if I'm paying 12 dollars for a Figure that doesn't transform it'd better look incredible, and for me they just look terrible.

    I think the RP/Kid Freindly stuff has its place. All the companies do it, I think Hasbro understands the power they have on the aisle with Transformers, and when nothing else is really pushing toys for the summer (maybe Rise of Cobra is an exception) they want to have everything locked down. It's saturation at its finest.
     
  10. Seawing

    Seawing Lurker of the depths Moderator

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    I look at it as a way to get kids who wouldn't normally get into Transformers exposed to the toyline. If little Johnny loves Hotwheels, then if he gets some RPM figures, he might see some TF action figures at the toystore and might want mommy buy one so he can try it out.

    As for diluting the line, I don't think it does. We still have the main toyline that does transform from bot to alt mode and these extra figs are just to expose more kids to the main toyline.

    But I think it does lead to customer confusion and Hasbro needs to do a better job letting parents know if the figure Transforms or not.
     
  11. amd098

    amd098 En taro Artanis!

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    i dont mind non transforming figures if they are done right, like the revoltech figures
    RR, i couldnt be bothered with, i got the first movie prime/megs, but cant bring myself to buy any more of them
     
  12. Mospeada

    Mospeada Since '84

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    Role play stuff is stupid to most of us adult collectors, but I suppose little kids like them.

    But there's also a ton of crap that comes out, like the real gear bots...those are just a waste of plastic.

    As for non Transforming figures, sometimes these are fantastic. Revoltech Transformers, Mega SCF's and Heroes of Cybertron PVC's look great, I think. I've never gotten a Robot Replica though.
     
  13. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    I loved the Real Gear Robots!
     
  14. BradTheMad

    BradTheMad Well-Known Member

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    I own the Revoltech ones because they look cool but other than hand I couldn't be bothered with the other stuff, it does have its market though.
     
  15. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    I never understood the market for busts and statues. i don't want a Ratchet head sculpt, personally. not to mention the $$$...

    but i can see the role of the alternative TF toys. some of them i see for kids i wouldn't trust with TF's made of adamantium.
    Trust me, that stuff can break....

    and it is a jedi mind trick that helps parents. Kid loves Bumblebee, but doesn't give a rat's ass about which Bumblebee toy he gets, so parent can get a RR, an activator, whatever and make the kid happy. all without worry of breakage, a trip back to WM to return it, etc.

    But IMO, i'd love to walk around the suburbs with a whiffle ball bat and take a swing at any kids wearing that BB voice changer helmet.
    that thing is goofy as hell looking, way tooo premature birth control....
     
  16. b-r0ck

    b-r0ck Well-Known Member

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    I agree that if the toys don't transform then they have to be REALLY cool in order to be worthwhile. The Robot Replicas don't do it for me but damn... those Kaiyodo Revoltechs are insane. Ridiculous articulation, great detail and paint apps plus kickass accessories? Those things are just plain fun! With the amount of nostalgia collectors of TF toys I think that an expanded G1 lineup of Revoltechs would fly off the shelves if it made it's way to north america (probably even if not).
     

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