Duhhhh….It’s called Bakugan…
WHAT IS IT ?
I stopped playing with my marbles many years ago but if you want to be the cool parent, uncle or aunt this holiday period it sounds like you’re going to have to revisit those yesteryear days. The latest hot fad from Japan has made it to US shores with the new ‘Bakugan Battle Crawlers‘. Amazon has this description of the latest evolution of the Pokemon style game.
The popular and fun anime TV series “Bakugan Battle Brawlers” has spawned this strategic game that pits a variety of “Bakugan warriors” — such as “Juggernoids,” “Fear rippers,” and “Robatallians” — against each other for points. With this Bakugan Battle Pack, kids 4 and above will enjoy the challenge of earning points by rolling their Bakugan (or shooting them from a launcher) onto magnetic cards where the plastic spheres burst open to reveal the fearsome warrior apparatus inside. Kids will also love the way the Bakugan transform suddenly into warrior mode, and fans of the show will have an especially good time with the game.
Bakugan, meaning ‘exploding sphere’ has been developed alongside electronics giant Sega and is further reenforced with a hit TV series on Cartoon Network which was launched on September 8. Apparently, “Americans are currently snapping-up 2.5 Bakugan spheres every second, which are outselling Transformers and Star Wars action figures. To keep up with the high demand Spin Master is having to produce 300,000 sets every day”.
WHY IS IT RELEVANT ?
Besides ensuring that you know your Bakugan from your Backgammon when confronted by plastic marble wielding youths, I actually think this is an impressive piece of highly refined cross-media marketing. The TV show has introduced the kids to the Bakugan universe and characters, the toys are the next wave of attack by bringing the imaginary world into the physical world, and with Sega as one of the main players it’s not hard to imagine that a Bakugan video game is already in the works heading back into the virtual and a repeat of this virtuous cycle. Over 180M Pokemon Games have been sold since entering the market. What we basically have here is a proven formula for printing money 🙂
At $39.99 for 6 plastic balls and a few playing cards with hundreds of additional Bakugan to collect and swap, not to mention advertising revenue, video games, etc. This is going to be a huge money maker.
One interesting quote from a parent had this to say, “My son (almost 6) hasn’t touched a video game, watched tv, or played with any other toys since he got it. He just spends all his free time with his Bakugan (haven’t decided if this is good or bad).”
There’s lots to learn from models like this. Obviously they’re not unique and we all grew up playing with Star Wars figures or Barbie Dolls but the extent to which these fads are manufactured today is either inspiring or scary depending upon how you look at it…