Should retailers and manufacturers be concerned about 3D printing changing the toy industry?

It is fair to say that across the past few years ‘3D Printing’ has been a hot topic amongst many in the toy industry. With the introduction of consumer 3D printers it is now easier than ever, albeit expensive, for consumers to produce their own products.

There is wide debate within the trade press on whether 3D printing will revolutionise the toy industry for the better or whether it will prove a hindrance to companies and consumers alike.

It was only last year that some toy retailers and manufactures embraced the medium.  Following Hasbro’s Super Hero month in September 2014, the toy company teamed with 3D printing company 3DPlusMe to launch its ‘Super Awesome Me’ campaign that allowed fans to use the in store 3D printers and place their own faces on Iron Man or Captain America action figures.

Toys R Us also teamed up with PieceMaker Technologies to run in-store 3D printing services in two of its US stores. The PieceMaker Factory programme allows shoppers the opportunity to create their own custom charms and key chains amongst other things, with the process taking less than 30 minutes.

Whilst this creates a novel experience for consumers and potentially reduces the cost to consumers it is proving the need for customisation and on demand toys. One UK Company MakieLab has already taken advantage with their 3D printed Makie Dolls that has already won awards including a BAFTA nomination. The brand allows ‘young fans to create their own avatar using an online ‘factory’, the user can then pay to have the creation printed and sent to them as a bespoke doll’.

Whilst this certainly benefits manufactures who are embracing the change and consumers who are striving for customisation and toys on demand, will retailers be by-passed with an increase in manufactures selling the electronic files straight to the end user?


Does Film get any better than this?

This won’t be the first time you’ve heard this but 2015 is going to be a great year for Cinema. Already this year we have seen ‘Fast and Furious 7’ reach $1 billion in worldwide box office takings, in a record breaking 17 days. The fastest to hit $1 billion before this was ‘Avatar’ and the final ‘Harry Potter’ film, both achieving this in 19 days. ‘Avengers: The Age of Ultron’ is the second blockbuster to be released this year and is looking likely to be the second film to reach $1 billion in 2015, already taking $680 million and is yet to be released in two of the largest territories.

On top of these huge releases we have 4 more blockbusters this year, including the new ‘Bond’ film and a Sequel to the ‘Star Wars’ saga which will undoubtable be two of the best films of 2015. We are also set to see a historical event in 2015 with Pixar releasing two films in a single year, ‘Inside out’ and ‘The Good Dinosaur’. 2015’s film slate is bursting at the seams, but the real cheery on top is a film set to release at the end of June, staring a lovable trio. Stuart, Kevin and Bob will be setting off in their very first starring roles as they go on the hunt for the most Despicable Master to serve. If you haven’t already guessed the film, it’s the ‘Minions’ movie, and as an agency specialising in the Toys and Games sector its one we’re following very closely.

Cinema has changed………..the move to digital has decreased production costs and the inclusion of kids clubs, with solely family and Kids audiences, in various cinema chains has helped to minimise wastage within the Toys and Games sector. As mentioned there is a huge list of family films set to release this year, including, ‘Minions’, both Pixar films, ‘Pixels’, ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ and many more. If ever there was a year to get involved with cinema, 2015 is that year.

Source:  DCM/Pearl & Dean/ May 2015/