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There was some big news from DC Comics this week as the full details on their DC UNIVERSE streaming service arrived. But it's not just a streaming service, but "a first-of-its kind digital subscription service that gives fans access to exclusive content and experiences not available anywhere else. With membership, fans will enjoy all-new original live-action and animated series, classic TV series and films, a curated selection of digital comic books, breaking news, an expansive DC-centric encyclopedia, and access to exclusive merchandise." The latter piece is going to be a big one for toy fans and collectors, and the first piece of that will be a brand-new series of 6" Justice League Animated action figures. Here's what the folks at DC Collectibles had to say about that...

The Pokémon Company International announced today that Pokémon Quest is now available for download at no charge on the App Store and Google Play. The rambunctious action RPG first launched on Nintendo Switch™ console in May and has captivated players, achieving more than 2.5 million downloads on the system worldwide. Check out the launch trailer and details below, right here on The Rock Father™ Magazine...

One of my favorite things of 2018 so far has been Nintendo Labo. I first played it at the 115th North American International Toy Fair in NYC, and upon launch we had a set delivered direct to Rock Father HQ from my friends at Nintendo. Labo is something that's hard to really grasp without playing it hands-on, and as we now know, it's an experience that Nintendo intends to have around for a long time to come. The possibilities are unexpected, and perhaps endless, and this week one of the most popular games for the Switch just became Nintendo Labo compatible. Ready for a whole new way to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? Grab the Toy Con motorbike handlebars and get ready to race! Check out the video below...

Cool Kickstarter Features are promoted/sponsored looks at crowdfunding campaigns of note...

Storyball, a revolutionary and award-winning, interactive smart ball that encourages children to keep active and playful, launches today. Using screen-free technology, sound cues, haptic feedback, and A.I. machine learning, Storyball engages a child in active, educational and stimulating play. The Kickstarter campaign, which is being managed by the Launchpad Agency, launches today and has a funding goal of $30,000 USD (it's halfway there as of this writing). 

I have a t-shirt that I wear on occasion that features Mattel's iconic He-Man riding the mighty Battle Cat atop the curve of a gleaming rainbow. Why rainbows and He-Man? I'm not entirely sure, but I've always thought that it had a nice thematic tie-in to that 2010 viral video of Prince Adam (poorly) singing a dance version of 4 Non Blondes' 1993 hit, "What's Up?" So now comes the question, "what's going on" with Prince Adam and Comic-Con this year... specifically with Super7? Well, in the midst of all of their fantastic SDCC exclusive reveals for 2018, Super7 is rolling into San Diego with Prince Adam rockin' a massive smile on a new headsculpt inspired by that epic video of internet infamy. Check this out...

The demise of Toys "R" Us has an unexpected upside - other retailers are starting to get more creative and enthusiastic about the business of play. Following rumors of adding an expanded selection of toy offerings in their Party City stores, Party City Holdco Inc. has announced the company’s strategic decision to expand its temporary store offerings through the piloting of approximately 50 new ‘Toy City’ pop-up stores. Party City will launch the new, temporary Toy City locations alongside its Halloween City pop-up stores in select markets across the U.S.

Universal Pictures' Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has stomped, roared and clawed it's way into theaters, and if one message is clear - it's that "the park is gone." But amidst the excitement for the second chapter of the Jurassic World saga, fans are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the movie that started it all - Jurassic Park. There's a ton of great merchandise out there marking the milestone, and one of the most popular and hard-to-come by pieces is the Entertainment Earth Exclusive Dennis Nedry & Dilophosaurus Funko Pop! Vinyl 2-Pack. You remember Dennis - a computer enthusiast that looked suspiciously like Newman from Seinfeld. As he attempted to steal dinosaur embryos by stashing them in a shaving cream can, he found himself directionally challenged, eventually coming face-to-face with the venom-spitting dilophosaurus. This is the only way to get the spit-on version of Dennis, and while they've sold-out once before (more are coming in August), Entertainment Earth and The Rock Father™ want to get one of you hooked-up with a set for your own Pop! collection (see all the awesome Jurassic World Funko Pops here).

With summer officially here, that means a lot of wet fun for a good percentage of the population. Personally, my family thinks I'm a party pooper since I don't particularly care for swimming, and like Anakin Skywalker I'm not a big fan of sand either so that makes me a ton of fun at the beach. But my kids love the water - in fact, they've been in swimming lessons since shortly after birth and they make me pretty proud. Where I draw the line is with putting a pool here at Rock Father HQ (I love our big, solid yard). Fortunately, Grandma has one, and that's been the perfect spot to enjoy some of the new inflatables from the folks at Swimways (a subsidiary of Spin Master). After seeing a few at Toy Fair, we received a few for review, and the ones that they sent are pretty appropriately themed for my areas of expertise - they're Star Wars and Marvel.

When it comes to convention season, leaks on exclusive toys and collectibles are hard to contain, and in this case, how can you keep a good team of mighty lions down? This one snuck out early, but today comes the official launch of the Voltron: Legendary Defender Hyperphase Voltron 5-Piece Action Figure Gift Set! From Playmates Toys, this SDCC 2018 Previews Exclusive is roaring into San Diego Comic-Con 2018 to make its debut first at the Entertainment Earth booth #2343. Limited to just 3,000 pieces worldwide, The Rock Father™ and Entertainment Earth (an affiliate) are now formally dropping the curtain on pre-orders for this incredible piece. Check it out!

It was almost a month ago exactly when I reported news that Toys "R" Us Australia was entering voluntary administration. Now comes news that the toy store down under will be facing the same fate as its U.S. counterpart, announcing this morning that they will close all 44 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in Australia, resulting in around 700 jobs lost. The first Australian Toys "R" Us opened back in 1993, with the chain gradually expanding nationwide and adding 11 Babies "R" Us locations to the mix. The most recent news in North America finds Canada moving forward at a brisk pace, while more than 115 parties have shown interest in picking up select IP assets from the U.S. operation.

Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom has been delighting kids on Nick Jr. for quite some time now, becoming a favorite here at our house to the point where little Finley asked for a set of figures for her birthday this month. Now comes a chance for you to score some fun new toys as well, and it all happens this Friday, June 22, 2018 from 11am-12pm ET! You're invited to join The Toy Insider, eOne and The Rock Father™ for a fun-filled Twitter Party in which we'll be showing off all of the fun new Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom toys from Jazwares while giving YOU a chance to win! You must RSVP to play along! Check out the video below to learn more...

Tuesday, June 19 2018 10:05

Uh Oh, GameStop Playing with Private Equity?

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In the interest of full disclosure, GameStop has been a great promotional partner and ally of The Rock Father™ Magazine over the past few years, as has their sister company, ThinkGeek. I feature their content often (I was even wearing ThinkGeek-supplied Marvel High-Tops to the World Premiere of Avengers: Infinity War) and do so not just because of our relationship, but because I'm a fan first and I like their stores. I hope I can continue working with them for a long time to come, but then there's some occasional rumblings... word that things on the business end aren't as sunny as they could be. They're facing some challenges, but I don't think it's beyond fixing - in fact, quite the opposite. They could be on the cusp of an evolution that could set them up for years of success, or they can bow to investor pressure and wind up in a leveraged buyout situation with private equity involved. If GameStop is playing with private equity (which they confirmed this morning), they might add a few extra credits to gain a few more lives temporarily, but the debt they may incur could have them facing a "boss" they can't beat, ultimately leading to a premature "game over."

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