If 3rd Parties went like Hasbro?

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by kiwisoccer, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. koonfasa

    koonfasa Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the other day, imagine if IP never existed, and it was everyone's right to copy other work or inventions. The originator just happens to do it first, profit first and change it first. The world would be entirely different, and probably not that bad.
     
  2. deaculpa

    deaculpa Stand Alone Complex

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    Yup. I'm done here :) 
     
  3. Weremole

    Weremole Whack-a-mole Avenger

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    You know that is why the public domain exists right? It worked fine till Disney started mucking with it to keep Mickey and Turner Broadcasting mucked with it to keep Superman.

    Anywho. Nothing says they cannot make their own retail lines. They just cannot look like Transformers characters. They need to be their own.
     
  4. Felixman

    Felixman Well-Known Member

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    That sort of happens, but with branding and not inventing. There's a reason most people think Jell-o, Band-aid and Q-tip before gelatin, adhesive strip or cotton swab.

    The first version of the item/idea to approach market saturation becomes the default and original, regardless of actual release date. We've already seen it in our own fandom: the GoBots made it to air before the Transformers, but were soundly trounced by their cousins and became 'wannabe Transformers' instead of Optimus Prime becoming 'A poor man's Leader-1'.

    On the actual topic, the only way for a company to grow that large is to gain access to multiple high-profile IPs to make toys of and sell them to the most common group to buy toys, kids. In America, Hasbro, Playmates and Mattel fight over those while guys like Neca siphon up the crumbs of anything else potentially popular. In Japan, Bandai and Tomy are huge players and then you have the niche teams like Arcadia (Who make excellent Macross figures).

    You CAN, if you are super lucky, build a unique toy brand all your own, like Lego did, but that is very risky and you're more likely to be bought out as you approach success than anything. The internet can make it a bit harder to pinch the competition out of all sales via corporate bullying, but much like candy, toys are usually bought on sight to this very day... not a lot of parents and grandparents hop online to scour Amazon and Ebay for the right Megazord, they just get the one at Toys r Us or Wal-mart while doing other things.

    So, yeah... I'm with most of the others. It isn't going to happen and IF it did, it would be because they somehow got the Asian license for Disney or something and were actually able to suppress the KO merchants enough to rake in the cash. That's a hell of an if.
     
  5. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, it's the nature of how forums work. Free-flowing but one-dimensional. And no tags.

    I believe that's called socialism, Marxism, or communism. It's been tried.

    It isn't all luck. Lego spent a fair amount of time producing blocks that go together and come apart easily. They are so far ahead of competitors in terms of development and don't care about competitors that produce crappy brick but will religiously chase and sue any and all infringement on their design. There a lawsuit right now against three companies about their mini-dolls.

    It's been 10 years since I've been in China but back then there were a bunch of KO purses/watches/clothes/etc. We were told that there was actually grading levels for the KOs. Level 1 : if it was an obvious low-quality KO, then the companies didn't care because the people buying those aren't the ones buying the real products anyways. These items were being sold on every street corner. Level 2 : not as obvious, but you can still tell if you look (i.e. Prado is of Prada, Huge Boss instead of Hugo Boss). The competition was outlet stores in the US/Europe. Companies didn't like it but it wasn't big enough to raise a ruckus. Level 3 was the almost impossible to tell KOs and the companies cared very much about this. China actually enforced this and companies had to sell in hidden stores. A couple of years later (7 years ago), China started being more strict on the level 2. As China tried to make itself more of a global player it has to play by the rules too. No idea how the KO market in China it today.

    So, I believe Hasbro will ignore 3P's until they force Hasbro's hand. Like how Hasbro ignored 3P's at Botcon when it was just add-on kits, but brought the hammer down on Funpub when 3P's started producing stand-alone IP-infringement characters.

    So, three scenarios jump out at me right away:
    1) If 3P could produce at Hasbro's level and were ripping off Hasbro IP, Hasbro would shut them down. The companies could hide but no way factories can.
    2) If 3P could produce at Hasbro's level but had their own characters, if the figures/characters were low quality Hasbro wouldn't care and would leave them alone. (i.e. Roadbots)
    3) If 3P could product at Hasbro's level but had their own characters, if the figures/characters were high quality Hasbro would buy them out.

    Looking back at the opening thread, are you just looking for an open-ended discussion or interested in just the production/economies of scale.

    Because if this was a serious open-edned (although still fictional) discussion I would have to start off with some questions and answer the scenarios from there.
    1) Is their design & development funding also increasing?
    2) Are they also getting a marketing budget?
    3) Do they have to develop distribution channels?
    4) Is this happening instantly or over a short or long time?
    5) Are we talking about a bunch of 3P's or just one, maybe two.

    If it's just economies of scale the answer is simple. Current 3P designs only appeal to a small section of the collectors market. Even if they were able to product the figures in the quantity that Hasbro does, their market is still small. They may be able to half the prices of their figures but I doubt it'd go below that in the near term.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  6. philipjreed

    philipjreed Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I think that as long as the third party toys exist outside of the mass market things will continue as they have. If a third party toymaker were to try and get into a big box or mass specialty store I think we would see something significant happen.
     
  7. Gauntlet101010

    Gauntlet101010 Well-Known Member

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    I'd just like to point out that this idea completely elements any benefit to creating new, original stories, characters, or inventions.

    If you don't get credit/compensation for the patent/IP, why would anyone even try to make anything new or better? The R&D simply wouldn't be worth it. The time taken to craft a story wouldn't be worth it. At least, not a story with new characters in it. How much would we miss out on if nobody had the incentive to create anything new?

    Bear in mind that, for most IPs, there's an expiry date. Case in point: Alice in Wonderland recently had it's IP become public domain; that's why we saw an explosion of Alice in Wonderland related stuff.
     
  8. beardy

    beardy Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    You forgot 6) Are the 3ps going to direct main sales at the same demographic as Hasbro's main brand? As in aged 5+ on a Generations figure? If so - safety regulations will come into play, especially if you want your product mass marketed and have the CE certification / mark on them. I work quite heavily in Health and Safety and quality control and most of my 3rd party stuff wouldn't have made it past the gates if the same safety standards were applied like they are with Hasbro products.
     
  9. Gauntlet101010

    Gauntlet101010 Well-Known Member

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    I'd actually love to hear specific examples of which toys wouldn't pass and why. This concept gets bandied about a lot, but never specifically addressed by anyone with any kind of knowledge of the subject.
     
  10. philipjreed

    philipjreed Well-Known Member

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    Any of them with sharp points would not pass. I know some of the toys have been kinda dangerous to play with and have extremely sharp edges and points.

    Choking hazards all around!!!
     
  11. Gauntlet101010

    Gauntlet101010 Well-Known Member

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    In terms of engineering I don't think the sharp points are too much of a problem. Off hand I can say Maketoys and Impossible toys having toys with extremely sharp parts to them. All the Sharkticons have pretty sharp teeth.

    But is there anything else? TFC, for instance, has no sharp edges I can think of.
     
  12. philipjreed

    philipjreed Well-Known Member

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    Child safety testing: There are many sharp edges and points. I deal with safety testing at work regularly and can promise some of these would fail safety testing.

    (I'm now trying to remember exactly which one I recently cut myself on. Stupid brain. Why you no work?)
     
  13. Gauntlet101010

    Gauntlet101010 Well-Known Member

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    This is a pretty interesting perspective to hear about.

    But, sharp edges can be blunted. Soft plastic can be used. I don't think it'd take much, to be honest.

    Offhand, though, TFC doesn't have sharp edges. And I don't think MC has any either (I don't remember feeling like I had to be careful with the Preds). I can see FP and MT being a problem since you have to press on some pretty sharp corners on their combiners.
     
  14. kibble

    kibble Seeker style, yo!

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    I don't know that I agree...though I don't know that I don't either. Things would be different, for sure, but I don't know that nobody would bother trying to make new things or improving them...just the primary reasoning likely wouldn't be as greed focused.
     
  15. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    So basically this? TFC designed take on Dinobots, changed enough to be sold as it's own property, mass produced... Costs about $50 plus shipping.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Gauntlet101010

    Gauntlet101010 Well-Known Member

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    "Greed focused"?

    Um ... you know, writers, artists, and inventors all need to eat. They all need a roof over their heads. That being the case why would any of them write, produce art, or invent if they weren't paid to do so? I don't think it's "greedy" to want to live.

    Edit: The 3rd party guys are a great example of this. Why don't they make original characters? Probably because fewer people would be interested in them. So they don't create original characters - they use the designs a lot of people already want - what they'll pay for.
     
  17. kibble

    kibble Seeker style, yo!

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    Who said nobody gets paid? But I'm not even talking about the individuals...I'm talking about the corporations that's sole purpose is to make lots and lots of money off the creative people doing the actual work. And not for the sake of lots and lots of people so 'they can [all] eat', but for a handful of really greedy MFs whose job is simply to make more and more money. But whatevs. Probably not a discussion worth getting into.
     
  18. koonfasa

    koonfasa Well-Known Member

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    Someone picked up what I alluded to.;) 
     
  19. Gauntlet101010

    Gauntlet101010 Well-Known Member

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    Individuals do get paid in the current system. It's not perfect at all, but IPs protect individuals alongside huge corporations.

    If you eliminate IPs, you don't just eliminate them for huge corporations making money off the little guy - you eliminate it for the little guy too. And the little guy wouldn't get paid. He'd just get his stuff ripped off and be left with "oh well, you shouldn't have made it if you didn't want it stolen."

    And, speaking of big corporations, there'd be little drive for them to make stuff like Transformers if just anyone were actually able to use the characters they make. Think about it. If they didn't have IPs protecting their characters why would they make a TV show to sell their toys? If you have ten companies all making their own Optimus Prime, all selling it at Toys R Us, why would just one of them take the effort to make a TV show, movie, or anything that we enjoy?

    Even if you absolutely detest big corporations like Hasbro or Disney you have to admit that they'd really have no motivation to make any *new* content if a rival corporation could profit from it.
     
  20. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody!

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    That part is not entirely true, when I manufactured the King kickbutt heads for "THE WORKSHOP" all the retailers used cut me (my actual name) a check for the amount of product they invoiced for via email.

    I say all the above to say I work out of a closet attached to my office.