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The end is nigh? Talk amongst yourselves.

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9 hours ago, DSTZach said:

I think one can only judge tentpoles in hindsight. In another reality, Plants vs. Zombies, Mass Effect, Sonic, Muppets could have run for a long time, they just didn't catch on for reasons I'm sure I'll hear. And Aliens, GB, Predator could have petered out sooner.

 

I disagree.  There are certain properties that are just obviously of a higher caliber than others.  Proven licenses that stand the test of time and cross generations of fandom with a track record of merchandise.  In order to be a tentpole license, it must meet all of those multiple criteria.

Ghostbusters, Aliens and Predator? Check, they meet all criteria.

Muppets?  While it meets the cross generations of fandom criteria, it doesn't really have a proven track record of merchandise.  Outside of the Palisades line 15 years ago, Muppets has never been a high profile merchandise license for toys and action figures.  Dolls?  Yes.

Sonic is a license that looks great on paper, but the reality is that outside of the Genesis era, the majority of Sonic videogames have underperformed or have not reviewed well. So while it meets both the cross generation and history of merch requirements, the reality has always been that Sonic is the license you get when you can't get Mario.  Sorry if my 1980's are showing.

Unfortunately, video game properties are always going to be a fickle thing, as the fanbase will turn at a moment's notice.  Mass Effect experienced this with the ending to ME3 and more recently with the entirety of Andromeda.  Bioware now has two very large failures with Andromeda and Anthem, thus significantly hurting the overall value of their brand in the eyes of the videogame consumer.  Will Mass Effect be anything more than a footnote 5, 10, or 15 years from now?  

It hasn't been mentioned up to this point, but look at Nightmare Before Christmas.  It has a very successful cross generation and merchandise appeal, and I would consider it one of the tentpoles of Minimates that DST doesn't have a clear plan for at this point.  Like Alien and Predator, NBX appears to be ending without any additional product despite DST still having the license.  So DST is essentially ending the lines of 3 of the 4 Minimates tentpoles within the same year, without other similarly caliber licenses ready to jump in and hold up the tent.

Couple this the recent cancellation of several newly solicited products (lines?) and it better explains the narrative that Minimates are not in a good place.  

Edited by youbastards

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There's one thing you didn't mention with a tentpole license, though: library of characters. There's really only a few things that have a wide enough pool of characters to pull from to sustain a line basically indefinitely. DST has one, Marvel, and had one, DC, but that's it. Lines like Aliens, NBX, and Ghostbusters are always going to be limited because there's only so many figures you can make before you start repeating them. But I think YB's right, the bigger problem is that there's not something ready to jump in and take its' spot.

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3 hours ago, youbastards said:

Maybe it's time to get creative and bring M.A.X. back out and take a break from soliciting licensed products if there is a significant level of uncertainty they will perform well.  

Any license we get is rarely primarily for Minimates. Low-profit items, remember, we need to sell a lot to make it worth our while (or the licensor's). The main items at one time were banks, and now Gallery. So trying Minimates with any license we get is a small roll of the dice, but sometimes it pays off.

We could easily trot out an unllicensed line to present to retailers at any time -- MAX, Pirates, Zombies, etc. -- but if retailers don't think a licensed line like Marvel is worth investing in, I doubt they would invest in a generic line, no matter the theme. TRU was the biggest supporter of that kind of line. 

But Ask DST!

 

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I hope we see unlicensed stuff again some day. I really like MAX.  My seven year old still loves to play with them and I regard them in my collection.

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4 hours ago, hellpop said:

There's one thing you didn't mention with a tentpole license, though: library of characters. There's really only a few things that have a wide enough pool of characters to pull from to sustain a line basically indefinitely. DST has one, Marvel, and had one, DC, but that's it. Lines like Aliens, NBX, and Ghostbusters are always going to be limited because there's only so many figures you can make before you start repeating them. But I think YB's right, the bigger problem is that there's not something ready to jump in and take its' spot.

And a show can have a ton of characters, but if they aren't visually interesting that can hurt a line. TWD lasted a long time considering it was half civilians, but it was also half zombies and had a lot of star repetition. GB was half ghosts, again with a lot of star repetition, and Alien and Predator were half Xenos/Yautja (Ripley and Dutch certainly got their play). NBX was all monsters. TMNT was mostly mutants. 

Marvel and DC are simply unrivaled in terms of number of visually interesting characters. Marvel is basically three tentpoles for us, comic, movie and animated.

And it's not like we aren't always aiming for tentpoles. Sonic has tons of interesting animal characters, and could have gone forever, but as we can see fans are particular about how their hero is portrayed (cough movie cough). I think Sonic has a LOT more characters overall than Mario, unless you count clouds, plants and bullets.

Kingdom Hearts had some repetition early on, and that MAY have hurt it, but it had potential for range of characters, as Series 3 and 4 showed. Bruce Lee was just one character, as people have pointed out, but John Wick could go for a few box sets if the response is good. And I know they're Vinimates, but the scaled-up Godzilla VMs did well for us, so more of those may be possible, hopefully it has some legs. 

The only other costumed universes I can think of like Marvel and DC are G.I. Joe and He-Man. Neither will ever happen, I don't think. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, DSTZach said:

 

And it's not like we aren't always aiming for tentpoles. Sonic has tons of interesting animal characters, and could have gone forever, but as we can see fans are particular about how their hero is portrayed (cough movie cough). I think Sonic has a LOT more characters overall than Mario, unless you count clouds, plants and bullets.

The only other costumed universes I can think of like Marvel and DC are G.I. Joe and He-Man. Neither will ever happen, I don't think. 

I always preferred Sonic over Mario as a kid but I'm pretty sure all of the Mario characters are way more recognizable than any of the Sonic characters and you could get a lot more mileage out of that license.

 

It's definitely interesting to see how these licenses play out.  I would've never guessed that Nightmare Before Christmas would get as many sets as it did while something like 1980's TMNT or Bruce Lee couldn't even make it to production.

 

I think these would work for well for tentpoles (some are never going to happen like you mentioned though):

 

* Nintendo

* Mortal Kombat

* Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

* Star Wars

* DC

* He-Man

* GI Joe

* WWE

* Harry Potter

 

You can probably get a least a box set or wave of 2-packs out of these:

 

* Indiana Jones

* Austin Powers

* James Bond

* Rocky

* Horror (Freddy, Jason, etc.)

* Princess Bride

* Goonies

* Home Alone

* Die Hard

* Jurassic Park

* Warriors

* Gremlins

* Rambo

* Dumb & Dumber

* Ace Ventura

* The Neverending Story

* Karate Kid

* Dark Crystal

* Labyrinth

* Captain Planet

* Tick

* Kick-Ass

* Dick Tracy

 

Edited by MisterMiracle

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I'm probably gonna start rambling here, but I think the biggest problem with things right now is people are unsure if they should have unbridled consumption of the products we get, or never-ending cynicism. There's nothing wrong with feeling either, but when it becomes the basis of your feelings that can be the problem, especially when I see discussions boil down to "How dare you complain about people complaining about complaining about things". 

People talk a lot about X or Y line being cancelled, but Kingdom Hearts and Sonic really struck a chord with me. I've mentioned before my deep love for both properties, and seeing the lines fizzle out before they got on their feet really hurt. It's wrong to think that DST is in their office scheming of "How can we ruin a toyline for this one exact person," but like...Not getting a figure of Aqua, Riku, Knuckles, Shadow, etc. from my favorite properties is probably best compared to how Aliens fans felt when they didn't get Ferro or a clean Bishop, or when Marvel fans have an incomplete team of X-Men from a certain era. 

Do I think that we're in the endgame? I'm not really sure. Personally, I've been trying to just lead my collecting life with a "Things may not last forever, but I want to enjoy it as much as I can while I still have it" attitude. I'd be devastated if Minimates would end, but I'm happy I had the time of my life collecting over the years.

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Knuckles would have been in Sonic Series 2, we never got a chance to show the prototype. I think Series 1 was an all-star set, but oh well. 

Rocky was a tentpole for JAKKS Pacific, and I still have no idea how that happened. Six or more Rockys, six opponents, two trainers, one wife, one announcer, a referree and some meat? I don't think it could be a tentpole for Minimates. We tried before. 

 

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Mario has maybe eight characters: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser, Princess, Wario, Waluigi. Right? Then some generic baddies shaped like things? 

Sonic Heroes has I think 12 playable characters in it plus Eggman, and there are more racers in the Sonic hoverboard game, and I don't think that includes Robot Sonic or Super Sonic or Peaches and Cream. It's a lot of characters. 

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1 minute ago, DSTZach said:

Rocky was a tentpole for JAKKS Pacific, and I still have no idea how that happened. Six or more Rockys, six opponents, two trainers, one wife, one announcer, a referree and some meat? I don't think it could be a tentpole for Minimates. We tried before. 

You're definitely right about that!  I still have that entire Jakks line.  I think the only figure they didn't make was a Clubber Lang in blue.  There are multiple looks for each character though (street, training, pre-fight, post-fight, etc.) which should be plenty for at least a box set from each movie or multiple waves.  I didn't even know Minimates existed back when the original Rocky stuff was released.

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3 minutes ago, DSTZach said:

Mario has maybe eight characters: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser, Princess, Wario, Waluigi. Right? Then some generic baddies shaped like things? 

Sonic Heroes has I think 12 playable characters in it plus Eggman, and there are more racers in the Sonic hoverboard game, and I don't think that includes Robot Sonic or Super Sonic or Peaches and Cream. It's a lot of characters. 

Sonic may have more characters...I just think Mario has more recognizable characters.  I'm pretty sure if I were to survey my middle school students that most of them would be able to identify ALL of the Mario characters while they would probably know Sonic and maybe would know Tails, Knuckles or Eggman.

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49 minutes ago, MisterMiracle said:

 

* Nintendo

* Mortal Kombat

* Mighty Morphin' Mighty Powers

* Star Wars

* DC

* He-Man

* GI Joe

* Indiana Jones

* WWE

* Rocky

 

 

Not a bad list. Indiana Jones and Rocky though don't really fit though; no matter how many movies they have to draw from you'll still have people that will only want the title characters (you can also throw James Bond into that category). The other one I'd add is Harry Potter; I really wish DST had tried to lock that up before Lego brought HP back. And maybe they did! I remember Chuck saying that he thought Harry Potter's time had passed in an AskDST a few years ago, and I thought he was crazy, but maybe that was just a smokescreen.

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2 hours ago, nandoninny said:

.....i bought most of the KREO and the ones i didn't buy i certainly regret not buying.

ooh we should talk

i bought tons of these and maybe we can  help each other out with missing ones

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I think an awesome way to do James Bond is one box set per film. It would give us so many goddamn James Bond's, but somehow less than Spider-Man and Wolverine... There could also be a "Legacy" type wave similar to Star Trek's in which a different more gadget-y Bond variant is paired with a different variant of an iconic villain or side character. 

Also, Indiana Jones would be brilliant. Probably my most wanted line aside from maybe Hellboy. Collectors would go wild. I could see army dumps for these movies being hot commodities. Maybe DST could work towards a partnership with Lucasfilm similar to the one they got with Miramax. That would allow for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Labyrinth, Willow. Lots of properties that definitely have a following, but don't see much merchandising (aside from Star Wars, I mean. The whole purpose of that series is to sell toys). This would be a gamble, but I think it could pay off in a big way. 

I know I'm probably assuming some things about DST's business model, but I thought I'd voice my personal pipe dream. 

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Indy would be awesome.

Bond would be tough and unlikely. 

 

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I would have loved more Invincible and other Image characters, although I’m assuming those just didn’t sell well.

Indie comics in general just have so many great characters that don’t have any figures from any other brand. And a ton of them are crossing over into movies and tv now.

I really think that’s where minimates could have struck gold.

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3 hours ago, DSTZach said:

Indy would be awesome.

Bond would be tough and unlikely. 

 

I hear there's a hell of a time trying to get likeness rights for the Bond actors.

RE Harry Potter, if Fantastic Beasts 2 couldn't kill the franchise nothing will. But while I'd love Potter minimates I'm not gonna lie I'm really glad Lego got to it. I absolutely love the castle builds. LOVE them.

It's kinda hard to think of properties that have wide appeal and could sustain a collectable minifigure line for more than a few box sets. Ask me about 6 years ago and I would've said Doctor Who, but recently I haven't heard anyone really give a damn about it. I can't see a world in which DST gets Star Wars anytime soon. Steven Universe has a massive fanbase and would make for great minimates, but there's not a massive character pool and there's little to no variation in the characters to have more than two or three box sets. Though I'd love to see DST have a bit of brand melding and make vinimates with some small amount of articulation (Like Godzilla's) for the Diamonds and the Fusions while making minimates of the rest of the cast.

Over in video game land I could see God of War killing it as well as Smash Bros (Again there's no damn way that's happening though). Actually thinking about it, games may be the most fertile ground for something that could carry for a while. HALO did reasonably well if I recall correctly. COD would just be generic soldiers and Lego has Overwatch (Which I am slightly sad about since they really would be better as minimates) but nobody is doing Final Fantasy right now I don't think. Metal Gear doesn't have a toyline either. Would either of those be able to sustain a line? Ehhhh... Final Fantasy maybe and Metal Gear prolly not. But I still say God of War. Kratos has many different armors and weapons that could be thrown in so it's not like we'd be getting the same look over and over. Hell they could even throw in Cod of War in one of the sets. Then we'd have all the various gods and monsters and they could honestly make this waves and not box sets. Is it likely? No. But it does have potential as a multi wave license.

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51 minutes ago, Trekker 42 said:

I hear there's a hell of a time trying to get likeness rights for the Bond actors.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Minimates don't need likeness rights. At least that's what I'm remembering about the discussions had on the Alien(s(3(:Resurrection))) forum. That's why DST was still able to go ahead making Ripley Minimates, but without the specific "OK" from Weaver herself, considering her disdain for toys with violent connotations. This is because they're block figures and therefore caricatures rather than an actual representation of the real thing. 

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On Mario vs. Sonic: There's no contest here, Mario has more popular characters and more variations that fans would buy, plus a lot of enemies fans will buy multiples of. I have at least 5 different Marios from the Jakks 4" line and would buy that many more if they made the right ones. As was already said, Sonic is the license you get when you can't get Mario. If DST ever did snag the license though I'm afraid it would have the same design issues as Muppets.

I think the talk about licenses underlines how few there are that can support multiple waves, or even multiple boxsets. Even as a big fan of minimates I wouldn't touch half the stuff mentioned here and the other half is unlikely to happen, even with all the upheaval in the toy landscape.

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On 6/6/2019 at 10:17 PM, Smashmaster12 said:

.......... people are unsure if they should have unbridled consumption of the products we get, or never-ending cynicism. There's nothing wrong with feeling either, but when it becomes the basis of your feelings that can be the problem, especially when I see discussions boil down to "How dare you complain about people complaining about complaining about things". 

 

Sorry to single out one quote from one post in an especially intriguing thread but personally I have to say that I have an unbridled consumption of the products we get & never-ending  cynicism . Seriously I'm not trying to be clever or sarcastic that's how it is with me .....& I reckon I'm not alone. 

One thing is remaining very clear .....nobody can see a way of improving distribution of what we all feel ....despite varying levels of cynicism.....is a great toy line. I'll put it bluntly ...unless you have an established distribution network then it wouldn't matter what bloody set of characters you decided to manufacture , whatever it might be .   I'm positive that that's the main reason why Minimates have stalled & it will take a pretty radical step to regain momentum . Have I the answer ? No but I've thought about it at great length ...great length .

I remind you that I'm an ol' fart living in the UK so I have some but little knowledge of how things are in the US regards how people buy stuff .....all stuff not just Minimates ?  In my country shops (stores) are in massive decline & in my limited, remaining life-time things ain't likely to change . Skynet Online distribution must IMVLO (in my very lofty:wink:opinion) be embraced with both arms & hugged 'til it is breathless .  Shipping is a huge factor in the limitation of selling any sort of stuff online , free shipping is a myth because trust me you are paying . That said ,Minimates must be one of the lightest/smallest things that anybody can ship ,another good reason to sell online . 

So if we are buying online we will have needed to see what we are getting before we buy it , right ? Oddly enough Marvel Minimate packs currently fail to show me or anybody else what I'm (clearly) buying because of (I believe) some licensing issue ??  I personally love to see packaged minimates but TBQH I'll live without the current (I'll call it 'retail ') packaging . The current retail packaging is a joy to me but if people were buying online in this 'new future' then the packaging could be dispensed with , a tragedy for me but hey I'll live with it if we got some flat carded artwork thrown into the deal ....instantly we'd have a Minimate CCG as well .  

As an exercise ....Take a new Marvel Minimate 2-pack ,carefully remove all the tape from each opening  ,remove the tape from each part of the clear-plastic trays & any accessory & then place them ready to reverse the operation . Reverse the operation as quick as you can .   You will get quicker at it but I can tell you this ....add the price of every unique individual tray ,unique printed box & their assembly & you will realise ( if you hadn't) the cost of all this 'packaging' as part of the price you pay for the Minimates themselves.

I made a living out of printing packaging & I know how much it costs & where it all ends up ....burnt,recycled,buried or as David Attenborough has just found out .....in the sea  .....:sarcasm-1:who knew !!

If what I have described above takes place then marketing resources need to be transferred from packaging to promotion in the form of some serious Minimate Studios-type internet catalogue .  What I regularly see as Minimate fan inspired promotion could all be harnessed as direct product promotion. 

Another massive issue facing Minimates & all toy consumption is the current US/China trade war , I know ....I hate politics too but it must be a worry for anybody that is in the toy industry .  China apparently exports $25bn -worth of toys to the US (The Economist) :wacko:   Future pricing must be a nightmare .

A whole post from me without aiming a single 'nasty' towards DST .

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Sorry, really more of a lurker than poster but this discussion has caught my attention.  I saw people mention getting a type of license and mention brands that have been recently licensed or are currently on shelves from other companies. (would punch a clown for Indy mates)  I wonder how many of the brands we wish would be approached or release as minimates by DST are tied up by companies like Mega-Construx, Super7, McFarlane Hasbro, Lego, etc...  

Also, with card and roleplaying games going through sort of a Renaisance could a license like Warhammer or Magic the Gathering be a viable option? Maybe Elder Scrolls or Dungeons and Dragons even?   All have plenty of colorful characters and option for people to switch parts and make their own characters.  I know DST had some experience with Pathfinder and Dragon's Age.  I don't know how well those did, but I know I personally own cases of them and would love Dungeons and Dragons mates based off the game or cartoon. 


That being said I don't believe the end is anywhere close. I just believe we're in another low spot like when the LoTR and DC lines ended.

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I think roleplaying games would be neat! I'm not into them, but I can see the minimate function working very very well. Consumers can buy multiple figures and accessories to build their own characters from the game at hand. At least I think that's how they work. 

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Wow, that tabletop RPG idea is great! You could buy parts for different classes like mage, archer, thief, ranger, paladin. There could be orcs, ogres, elves, humans and then different parts to customize them. Then you could use them for tabletop sessions. D&D springs to mind first, but this would also be awesome for Shadowrun and other tabletop games. You could have villain packs and army building. I wonder if Hero Clix makes this not able to happen. 

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I love the idea of RPG minimates.

DST will never go for it though. Not enough men in business suits. Haha.

But seriously, the non-humanoid and larger scale monsters could be a serious problem. And other than the fairly recent Mojo minimate, DST has been falling kind of short in the ingenuity department.

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