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Bandai America Strengthens Core Brand Offerings in 2007 While Expanding in Hot Youth Electronics Category and Toys with Online Interactivity
CYPRESS, Calif.-(Business Wire)-February 7, 2007 - An established leader known for introducing some of the most popular toy trends from Japan, Bandai America Incorporated today revealed its dynamic brand offering for 2007, on the eve of the 2007 American International Toy Fair in New York City (February 11-14). The new year holds a number of milestones for the company, including the 15th anniversary celebration of the Power Rangers toy line, the expansion of the popular Ben 10 action figure brand, and the debut of the most technologically advanced Tamagotchi ever created with Tamagotchi Connection V4.
Two fresh new properties are also joining Bandai America's portfolio: Girlz Connect, a girls' electronics lifestyle brand that builds on the company's strength in the category with Tamagotchi and features interactive social play; and Team Galaxy, which is based on the Cartoon Network show from leading French animation company Marathon Media (Totally Spies).
"Each year, Bandai America looks to redefine its portfolio with a strong mix of core brands and new properties that leverage our experience across diverse product categories," said Michael Riley, vice president of marketing. "We'll have a number of key initiatives in 2007, including growing our strength in action figures and role-play toys with Power Rangers, Ben 10 and Team Galaxy, as well as expanding our focus on portable youth electronics for girls of all ages with Tamagotchi and the new Girlz Connect."
Additionally, the company will showcase a number of toys that offer online interactivity - an emerging trend within the industry - as a way to increase the overall play experience. These products include the Mega Mission Helmet, the first Power Rangers role-play toy to include a USB drive that allows kids to download secret missions from Bandai.com; Tamagotchi V4 and V4.5, which connects to the magical world of TamagotchiTown.com via special passwords; and Girlz Connect's Destiny, which also offers a USB that allows girls to download their own quizzes from the brand's Web site.
"Since kids today are very tech-savvy, the Internet has become a great way to enhance traditional toys and make them more dynamic and fresh," added Riley. "Particularly among tweens, who are already online chatting with friends and taking quizzes, toys like Tamagotchi and Destiny feature the interactive social play that they desire, as well as gives them the ability to update their content more frequently and on their own time."
TAMAGOTCHI CONNECTION V4
The world's first and top selling "virtual pet" toy is set to unveil the most technologically advanced version ever created. With V4, everyone can "live the Tamagotchi life" 24/7 by controlling the future of their favorite Tamagotchi characters. By playing the new mini games and going to school, players earn different Skill Points, which affects what fun jobs - such as a doctor, rock star, fashion designer and more - you can choose from. An expanded world of TamagotchiTown.com debuts as well, and now, owners can see their character interacting live on the site, going to work and playing in the games. The infrared "connection" technology, which has made the toy extremely popular with kids today, is upgraded to allow kids to continue connecting with their friends, no matter which version they have.
TAMAGOTCHI CONNECTION V4.5
Then in Fall 2007, Bandai America launches its first mid-year refresh with Tamagotchi Connection V4.5, featuring new careers, mini games and design styles. Plus, the brand expands with three exciting new products: plush; the Decoration Kit which allows you to "bling" your Tamagotchi; and software. The Tamagotchi PC Pack comes with an exclusive Tamagotchi Connection V4.5 toy and accessories to decorate your home computer. Load the included CD-ROM disk to access fun wallpapers, games, printable graphics and a customizable desktop Tamagotchi character. Additionally, the tree-shaped microphone features an innovative voice-response system that allows kids to interact with their character as it fetches their email, goes to the Internet, dances onscreen and more.
Taking a page from the interactivity of Tamagotchi, Bandai America is expanding its youth electronics with the exciting new Girlz Connect brand. Featuring LocketPal and Destiny, these colorful and portable tech toys offer endless hours of interactive play for girls 5-13 and their friends—at home, at school, on the go or on their own. Both feature a cool touch screen and stylus that puts activities like games or quizzes, horoscopes and more at their fingertips. Reminiscent of a PDA device, LocketPal is the perfect first tech toy for younger girls 5-8 years old. It features four categories of activities, including a cool Mood Meter. Destiny is for the social and savvy tween girl 8-13 years old, and allows groups of friends to connect both offline and online. After taking the 20 different personality quizzes in the toy, they can log on to the Girlzconnect.com Web community to compare their results with others, as well as use the USB drive to create and download new ones from the site. This way, Destiny is always fresh, new and interactive!
POWER RANGERS OPERATION OVERDRIVE
To celebrate the brand's milestone 15th anniversary at retail, Bandai America debuts a compelling new toy line for Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, including an expanded lineup of treasure hunting themed figures, vehicles, Megazords and role-play toys that offer greater value than ever before. With more transforming action, collectibility and interconnectivity, two key products that demonstrate this versatility include the Overdrive Tracker Morpher (Spring), with its unique black light for decoding secret clues in- and on-pack; and the Mega Mission Helmet (Fall), which is equipped with lights, sounds and a USB drive. This functionality allows kids to download multiple, three-minute long missions from Bandai.com directly into the helmet so they can act out their favorite action scenes from the TV show. After a successful 2006 in which the toy line experienced very strong growth, Bandai America's new lineup is sure to remain one of the top boys' action brands while energizing kids with exclusive anniversary events and limited edition products.
An alien invasion is being unleashed as Bandai America debuts its next wave of one-of-a-kind action figures, role-play and other toys based on this hit Cartoon Network show. Fans can expect lots more aliens - both good and bad - to be put into action figure form for the first time, as well as new products such as the 12" Epic Alien Figures, Transforming Alien Ships, and the realistic Deluxe Omnitrix with its own LCD game screen. Not only can kids become Ben with their own Omnitrix role-play device, the cool Alien Voice Changer now allows them to sound like an alien, while the Transforming Arm Set allows them to look like one. In addition, Bandai America is taking a humorous page from the show - where Ben is obsessed with collecting hard-to-find Sumo Slammer cards - to introduce the unique Sumo Slammer Battle Sets. While it comes with 6 sumo-sized figures, each set also includes five collectible cards that can be used in a Japanese Menko battle, a play pattern considered as a forerunner to the modern card game phenomenon.
Set to blast off into the retail stratosphere in the Fall, Team Galaxy is a fast-paced and humorous adventure for boys 6-11 that combines 2D/CGI animation into a visually stunning series. The new property represents a dynamic partnership between licensor Marathon Media, France's leading producer of animated programming, licensing agent MGM Consumer Products, master toy licensee Bandai America and Cartoon Network. Colorful humans (with their own pets), alien characters, cool vehicles and high-tech gadgetry are all featured in Bandai America's toy line. Intergalatic fans should lookout for 5" figures, miniature and transforming vehicles, playsets, and role-play toys with different light and sound effects.
ABOUT BANDAI AMERICA INCORPORATED
A leader in introducing Japanese toy trends to the United States, Bandai America Incorporated is a subsidiary of NAMCO BANDAI Holdings (USA) Inc., a new entity that resulted from the integration of Namco Ltd. and Bandai Co. Ltd. of Japan. Global interests encompass five strategic business units: toys and hobby (toys, models, apparel and sundries), amusement facilities, game content (home and arcade console gaming), mobile content, and visual and music content (including home entertainment). Bandai America is the manufacturer and master toy licensee of some of the most popular brands in children's toys and entertainment today, including Power Rangers, Ben 10, Team Galaxy, Tamagotchi and Girlz Connect. The company is headquartered in Cypress, California and press information is available at www.Bandai.com.