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View Full Version : SSG's Tri-Weekly Hasbro Q&A - October 23rd



JediTricks
10-23-2009, 03:58 PM
Big H drops some serious knowledge on us in Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for October 23rd, 2009. Thanks again to Hasbro for the answers, to all the folks who sent in questions and especially those who voted on them.


Hasbro Q&A for the week of October 23rd


SSG: In light of several answers by Hasbro stating that sales for the collector-focused Legacy Collection line have fallen off sharply in the last year, causing sales bottlenecks at retail, there have been several theories about why this is happening. Some theories include the simple "the price went up too high for the market to bear in an economic downturn" theory; there's the one saying the casual collecting market (kids, parents, casual collectors) have abandoned the movie lines for The Clone Wars line; there's a theory arguing the Build-A-Droid concept has taken the wind out of sails of every type of collector who isn't a completist and knows they will have a hard time completing their droids; and there's another argument saying that the line over the last year has focused on so many redos that don't quite hit the mark, as well as new figures coming in exclusive packs that require buying old figures as well, that it's choked off interest from the main collector fanbase. Does Hasbro subscribe at all to any of these theories as to why the TLC line has run into so much trouble, or if not, why does the SW team think this problem has come up for the line?
Hasbro: We will address your assertions one by one: 1. The retail SRP increased by $1 with the launch of The Legacy Collection. We did research before we made this decision to understand what impact there would be, and it was minimal. However, we'll return to the downturn shortly. 2. It's not a case of shifting to the Clone Wars. Although some of this may have happened, it's a case of the collectors dollars being pulled out of the Star Wars collecting hobby altogether. We have seen this in all collector targeted SKUs such as Evolutions, Comic Packs, Titanium, and exclusives, all of which hit at the same time, last Fall. The degree to which collectors may have shifted to Clone Wars would only further put Legacy in trouble, though. 3. It's possible the casual fan, who picks and chooses their figures and is not compelled to buy every one, feels "incomplete" when they have uncompleted droid parts and they don't respond to the "pressure" to get figures they may not have wanted to complete their droids. We made the droid parts so they are a bonus and can be combined randomly for fun (unlike other buildable figures) so we discount this a little bit. 4. We have tried to minimize both of these, and don't think this is what has stopped people from collecting. The problem lies in your very first point - the economy. Many collectors simply stopped collecting last Fall and have not yet come back (if they will). We are working hard to get them back, and we think that what we have lined up next year will be our best attempt. As long as the economy is looking better, and the folks on the sidelines feel they can join the hobby again, we promise incredible satisfaction with what we have coming up.

SSG: The new packaging so far has been shelved pretty inconsistently by store clerks, with the coloring differences completely overlooked. This makes for a mishmash of Clone Wars and Saga Legends (with Legacy Collection still not hitting at full strength yet) which collectors have to dig through, and therein lies the focus of this question. The new packaging's J-hook is easily the wimpiest one yet, the hook is so shallow that figures are constantly flying off the pegs as consumers look for their figure of choice, leaving the section a total mess and further mixing up the various lines. Why are the J-hooks on the new cards designed like that, and might you be willing to do something to address this problem?
Hasbro: It's too late to change anything, as the last of the Spring Legacy figures are being produced and shipped now. We will have a solution next year to more strongly separate the Legacy product from Clone Wars and Saga Legends. We are working to also differentiate the latter two as well.

SSG: In the Sept 10th Q&A, you were asked about a hypothetical lineup for the SW team's own choices for the Fan's Choice poll. Some (possibly insane) fans couldn't help but notice Jaxxon and the Nelvaan Warrior popping up on this list, two figures which a lot of collectors would really love to own, but have thought were at best extreme longshots. Although those 2 figures might not be the biggest sellers, they would really make a lot of people happy, and it appears that includes some of the designers at Hasbro. Realistically, given that you've spilled the beans on your own love for these two, what are the chances we'll see these two figures prior to the end of Hasbro's current SW license?
Hasbro: It's impossible to speculate about what will be produced before the end of the run. We can tell you, though, that there is little correlation between some of these blue sky wish lists and the lines we actually craft. Just because we can muse about a figures does not mean it will go into the line. Jaxxon, for example, would *only* be put into the line based on fan voting. The Nelvaan Warrior is a bubble figure, one who had made a first pass 2011 figure plan but eventually got cut in the last round. It's possible he could make it some day based on his own merits.

- -


And our questions at CollectionStation.com (http://www.collectionstation.com/groups/view/Star-Wars/Official-Hasbro-Star-Wars-Q-A-1023_63):


In Episode I, the Escape from Naboo sequence was a very memorable scene in the movie. Over the last 10 years, you've managed to release all the brave astromechs involved in the scene except for R5-A7 (aka G8-R3). What are the chances that we'll see this figure done in the near future? What format would it likely be done as, perhaps a basic figure, a pack-in from a set, a build-a-droid, or something else?
We know you designed the first Evolutions Clone Pilot figure's deco around the Battle of Hypori Rancor-tooth Republic Gunship (TRU-exclusive, 2006) originally seen in Clone Wars micro series chapter 21, but the actual pilot in the episode has significant deco differences, as well as a rangefinder on the helmet, because he's an ARC Pilot. It seems like the wind has gone out of the realistic-line's sails in terms of Clone Trooper variants lately, and while we dig that you're looking to do a Fordo figure, not to mention the Heavy Gunner figure you already made was from that same CW chapter, it seems like a good addition to the line to also do an ARC pilot. You don't have to say "Clone Wars" anywhere on the packaging to avoid confusion with The Clone Wars line. So what are the chances of seeing an ARC Pilot figure? If poor, what specific factors are the holdup for something like this? If it's just Clone Wars cross-pollination concerns, why isn't just releasing the figures without mention of their origin enough of a solution?
There have been a lot of Jedi figures lately, even main characters, who don't come with their robes. Ep 2 Obi-Wan, Ep 2 and Ep 3 Anakin, even the new Plo Koon, they are pretty major players and yet... robeless. A Jedi's robe is part of what defines him as a wizard, as well as disguising him as a warrior, it's a signature part of the costume, and right now there are too few Jedi figures released with theirs. While we understand these cloth robes aren't cheap to produce, they're still necessary. Anakin's robes are different from the standard robes but no less important to those prequel iterations of the character. So any chance that when these figures get re-released in some format, be it Saga Legends or Battle Packs or even Greatest Hits-style re-releases a few waves down the line, might they get their Jedi robes included?

JediTricks
10-23-2009, 04:18 PM
This was an interesting set of answers, all 3 were direct and I think both sides of the discussion set a rather serious, mature tone without either side being dismissive of the other, elevating the level of conversation. The CS questions are a little lighter IMO as you'll see in a few minutes.

I wish I had remembered to mention the break between TSC and TLC as a possible reason for the line's struggles. I don't think I have a pacing question in the pipe right now since we asked one in the last round and it hasn't been answered yet, but it's well different from what I'm thinking here.

JediTricks
10-23-2009, 04:53 PM
CS questions have been added.

All 3 are somewhat positive responses.

El Chuxter
10-23-2009, 05:18 PM
So Hasbro just told me who to vote for. :)

Should we follow up with the first one and say, "Yeah, but if all the toys shoot up in price, not just basic figures--and especially the exclusives--at the same time the economy nosedives into the toilet, don't you reckon that plays into it a bit?" Or not bother?

Mr. JabbaJohnL
10-23-2009, 05:27 PM
So Hasbro just told me who to vote for. :)

Should we follow up with the first one and say, "Yeah, but if all the toys shoot up in price, not just basic figures--and especially the exclusives--at the same time the economy nosedives into the toilet, don't you reckon that plays into it a bit?" Or not bother?
Question #14 in the current round is pretty much that exact question.

It was nice that they addressed each part of the first question, and their reasoning makes sense, mostly. I wonder what next year's line will look like, then, what with the "incredible satisfaction" line.

It's also good that they recognize that they haven't done enough to differentiate the lines. With the blue-carded stuff, at least you could tell between realistic and animated, if not from the shape of the helmet, then by the fact that the insert photos were on opposite sides. Now, if you want to scan for just new Legacy stuff at first glance, you'd have to focus on the black trim, which is a little frustrating. Again, I'm interested in what they have planned.

The G8-R7 answer is promising. Good thing we reminded them about him!

Hopefully the answer about the ARC Pilot will put to rest some people's fears about Clone Wars microseries figures being off-limits. It really seems that they can still make them, and want to do a few (the SCUBA Trooper is still shipping on the new cards), but just don't want to focus on them a whole lot anymore.

bigbarada
10-23-2009, 05:59 PM
Hasbro: We will address your assertions one by one: Many collectors simply stopped collecting last Fall and have not yet come back (if they will). We are working hard to get them back, and we think that what we have lined up next year will be our best attempt. As long as the economy is looking better, and the folks on the sidelines feel they can join the hobby again, we promise incredible satisfaction with what we have coming up.

This is actually a very encouraging answer. It's good to know that they don't plan to just write off collectors.

bigbarada
10-23-2009, 06:21 PM
From Rebelscum:


Rebelscum: The focus of a previous question was to find out if we might be getting more Ewoks and especially about the possibilities of Ewoks from the made for TV movies. Words cannot express how great it was to hear that Wicket, Deej, Logray, Kaink, Teebo, and Chukha-Trok are all on your short list. Now that the box has been opened a little, what are the possibilities of seeing other characters from the Ewok movies - namely the Towanis, some Sanyassan Marauders, Charal, Noa Briqualon, and ESPECIALLY TEEK?

Hasbro: Teek would be on the short list. The others, however, are very unlikely.

I'm actually happy enough to see Teek on their "short list" that I'm not concerned at all that Noa is not.

Is it just me or is Hasbro being more straightforward and forthcoming with their answers recently?

El Chuxter
10-23-2009, 06:42 PM
As much as I love Teek, I honestly think the Marauders would seem more likely from Hasbro's point of view if they're picking and choosing characters. Not a complaint at all; it just seems odd that the alien bounty hunters beat out the little goat/rat-looking fellow.

JediTricks
10-23-2009, 07:08 PM
Should we follow up with the first one and say, "Yeah, but if all the toys shoot up in price, not just basic figures--and especially the exclusives--at the same time the economy nosedives into the toilet, don't you reckon that plays into it a bit?" Or not bother?If you were to throw that idea at the Q&A, I would want to add my 2 cents about the pacing problem, and also it basically means we're asking them to recognize that if the economy doesn't get better for the middle class in a big way, that the line cannot continue. Is that ok by you?


Question #14 in the current round is pretty much that exact question.Good point, that does fit within the purview of #14, though I think Chux's spin on the issue isn't well defined there, we currently focus on the demand side of the issue while his mention of the economic woes means we'd have to also address the supply side of the issue. I'm all over the map here, I guess.


It's also good that they recognize that they haven't done enough to differentiate the lines. With the blue-carded stuff, at least you could tell between realistic and animated, if not from the shape of the helmet, then by the fact that the insert photos were on opposite sides. Now, if you want to scan for just new Legacy stuff at first glance, you'd have to focus on the black trim, which is a little frustrating. Again, I'm interested in what they have planned.I still think LFL forced the existing look on them, but that question was actually as much about the crappy J-hooks as the card look and they didn't answer that part. :p


The G8-R7 answer is promising. Good thing we reminded them about him!

Hopefully the answer about the ARC Pilot will put to rest some people's fears about Clone Wars microseries figures being off-limits. It really seems that they can still make them, and want to do a few (the SCUBA Trooper is still shipping on the new cards), but just don't want to focus on them a whole lot anymore.Yeah, this stuff worked out pretty well.

El Chuxter
10-23-2009, 07:19 PM
If the economy doesn't pick up, a lot of things can't continue as they are. Maybe they could cut back on exclusives, or large vehicles, or some combination until things get better?

JediTricks
10-24-2009, 12:31 AM
Unfortunately, the irony is that MORE items will go to exclusive in this situation rather than less, that or the products won't get made at all. But exclusives are a carrot for retailers and they help get products that wouldn't get picked up by mass retail into collectors hands.

bigbarada
10-24-2009, 07:52 PM
GalacticHunter got a drawing of the 2010 Wooof figure in response to one of their questions:
http://www.galactichunter.com/absolutenm/templates/full_article_template_1.asp?articleid=8492&zoneid=2

Looks awesome so far! :pleased:

JediTricks
10-24-2009, 08:00 PM
You know what's funny? That's exactly what I expected. Hasbro's gotten predictable. Shoulda included some real fur furry pants. ;)

Mr. JabbaJohnL
10-24-2009, 08:04 PM
I wonder how the "fabric skirt" will turn out. I also wonder what a "bandalere" is and why he doesn't have his bandolier. :D

JediTricks
10-27-2009, 04:34 PM
I wonder how the "fabric skirt" will turn out. I also wonder what a "bandalere" is and why he doesn't have his bandolier. :D
Keep picking on them and you'll be disallowed from buying one! :p


Anyway, I've got the other sites question list done:
http://www.sirstevesguide.com/index.php?categoryid=13&p2_articleid=1936

I know usually it's the Monday after, but yesterday I had to run all over creation taking care of my grandma.

JediTricks
10-27-2009, 05:35 PM
Man, there are some really wild answers in here.

The "why don't the droid factory pegs work with the BAD pegs" question we never got enough votes for and I pulled just this round got answered by another site.

Slave 1 is anti-confirmed, confirmed to NOT be coming soon.

The "floor" for collector-oriented figures is 30% lower than the last 4 years and they feel is the right balance. It prompted me to add a question in the Q&A about percentages against other types of figures since they'll never give us hard numbers for production.

Wooof's design imagery, but you all know that already.

Bespin Han has been cut from next year, now due in 2011.

Grievous repack is canned, "BD24" is now a dead slot not to be used. Bye bye numbering.

A great list of revisiting vintage and potf2 figs they most want to do.

Teek is on their short list.

There's an intentional reason why the screw holes on vehicles are always on the right!

bigbarada
10-27-2009, 05:56 PM
Also, animated Bossk is coming next fall! :love: I knew another site would ask that question soon enough.

A new Rebel Fleet Trooper and Dr. Evazan are on their priority list, so there's no need to vote for them in the fan's choice poll.

JediTricks
10-27-2009, 10:51 PM
IMO, Bossk was a gimme the whole time.

I'm glad to hear those are on their priority list, you make a good point about them being pointless on the poll.

sebillba
10-28-2009, 04:19 AM
I would definitely get a Bossk to go with my select handful of CW figs (3 different Yodas, Ashoka, Cade Bane, and, if I ever find one reasonably priced, Gha Nachkt).

Another one I would love to get is Onaconda Farr... I've not seen any of the tv series yet (I'll get the dvds for Christmas), is he quite a prominant character, and likely to get made? I'm guessing he is, seeing as Lego have already made him into a fig.

DarkJedi5
10-28-2009, 10:07 AM
Another one I would love to get is Onaconda Farr... I've not seen any of the tv series yet (I'll get the dvds for Christmas), is he quite a prominant character, and likely to get made? I'm guessing he is, seeing as Lego have already made him into a fig.

So far I think he has appeared in all of three episodes and he's really only featured in one of them. I suppose if he keeps popping up and they don't introduce too many new characters or clone repaints he'll get done some day....

sebillba
10-28-2009, 02:43 PM
So far I think he has appeared in all of three episodes and he's really only featured in one of them. I suppose if he keeps popping up and they don't introduce too many new characters or clone repaints he'll get done some day....

Oh well, I guess there's still more chance he'll get made in this line than in realistic style.

Old Fossil
10-28-2009, 04:46 PM
it basically means we're asking them to recognize that if the economy doesn't get better for the middle class in a big way, that the line cannot continue.

I really believe this. I'm beginning to feel "priced out" of this hobby, in a big way.

JediTricks
10-29-2009, 07:03 PM
I really believe this. I'm beginning to feel "priced out" of this hobby, in a big way.
Is it due to the cost of the hunt and not finding, or the price of the figures that you are finding?

Old Fossil
10-29-2009, 08:26 PM
I don't go out of my way to hunt anymore, JT, it's the price of the figures. Maybe my sense of value's changing, since the price itself hasn't changed terribly in the past couple of years, if I remember right. Or, maybe it's that there's not much out there right now that is a must-have for me, figure-wise; so it's harder to spend money on something I'm not particularly excited about.

I bought a Jawa w/WED droid today, the second one this year. It was that or a Gungan Warrior, which I did not have already. The Jawa/droid had more bang for the buck, or more plastic for the buck. Even so, this makes, like, Jawa #19 for me, I imagine. Again, less than exciting.

I think the Legacy figures are, on the whole, a better value than the Clone Wars figures, which look so thin and spindly. Even so, I'm just not as willing as I used to be to part with seven and one half dollars for any of these figures. (I mean, who really believes the Clegg Holdfast figure is worth the current asking price??? It's little bigger than its BAD part.)

JediTricks
10-30-2009, 04:02 AM
Interesting. Seems like a lot of little issues play into the larger pricetag issue. Stuff like OT vs PT, number of parts, etc..

The funny thing is, for me, the pricetag on CW figures doesn't seem as harsh as TLC figures, and I never thought about that before. Maybe it's because they're new iterations each time, while TLC is usually a rehash of a previous figure I already bought in the past, or a nobody from the background I don't care much about.

indyjones1981
10-31-2009, 02:03 AM
I don't go on the hunt much anymore either. I just collect the OT characters and ships. Have cut back more than half in 2009. When Star Wars action figures came out again in 1995 they were what $4.99 a figure and today 14 years later they are $7.99. Only a $3 dollar price increase in 14 years. What has inflation been during the past 14 years? So $3 dollars more a figure is not that bad really in the overall cost. Look what other items have gone up in price over the last 14 years. Cars, medical insurance, college etc.

Devo
10-31-2009, 03:07 PM
I've had a currency change since I started collecting the line in about 1996 which complicates any effort to compare what they cost me years ago to what they cost me now. I can't remember what I (and by 'I' I mean my mum) was paying for them back then in irish pounds. Offhand I can't even think of what they cost in euros now because I buy everything online from the US or the UK and the prices online vary depending on the availability of each figure. So I give it no thought. If I want it I buy it. These things (particularly OT stuff) have a value to me that exceeds what they objectively ought to be worth. In other words I'm Hasbros favourite kind of customer.