Playmates Toys, Inc., one of the toy industry’s most respected and innovative companies, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year licensing agreement with Microsoft and 4Kids Entertainment. The toy company will serve as master toy licensee for Viva Piñata™, a new animated series that airs on 4Kids TV, 4Kids Entertainment’s Saturday morning children’s programming block on FOX, as well as an upcoming video game by Microsoft Game Studios and Rare, Ltd., exclusively for Xbox 360™. The deal was announced today at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.
Playmates will have the exclusive master toy rights for a full range of products including interactive and electronic character-based figures, electronic hand held games, playsets, and role-play items. The initial launch of Viva Piñata toys is anticipated to be available at retail in the United States and Canada by Fall 2007.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with Microsoft and 4Kids on this exciting new brand,” said Lou Gioia, Playmates Toys SVP of Marketing. “We look forward to translating the energy and excitement of the ‘Viva Piñata’ world into an innovative line of interactive toys that for the first time are able to connect the physical world to the digital world.”
“The high-energy, multi-platform Viva Piñata marks Microsoft’s first venture to broaden Xbox 360 beyond its core gaming audience and into the world of children’s entertainment,” said Jeff Bell, Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Our investment and commitment behind Viva Piñata will demonstrate to customers, retailers and third-parties that we are intent on building a broad-reaching brand with exciting growth potential.”
“4Kids is excited to have Playmates on board as its first licensee for Viva Piñata,” said Al Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, that produces the show as well as serves as licensing agent for the franchise. "The Viva Piñata franchise has all the earmarks for a successful property, including a collectible stable of characters with a fresh and innovative storyline that kids already love,” he said.
The “Viva Piñata” animated television series follows the high-energy adventures of a cast of living piñata animals in a vibrant world where anything and everything can happen. The animals have action-packed adventures and survive the trials and tribulations of being Piñatas. Created by 4Kids Entertainment, known for such powerhouse properties as Yu-Gi-Oh!®, Pokémon®, Cabbage Patch Kids and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the engaging piñata characters and their magnetic personalities will entertain and excite audiences worldwide.
“Viva Piñata” for the Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system hits stores November 2006, inviting gamers to create an immersive world where living piñatas inhabit an ever-changing garden environment. Beginning with a few basic tools, players build and take control of their environment to attract and host more than 60 species of wild piñata, utilizing hundreds of customizable elements to create their very own distinctively unique thriving paradise. “Viva Piñata” brings a vibrant and engaging gaming experience to the Xbox 360 platform. Appealing to kids and adults, casual gamers and enthusiasts alike, this uniquely customizable and social game offers reward and challenge for everyone regardless of their skill level.
Other licensed product expected to be announced soon include social expressions and party goods and Halloween costumes.