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 Post subject: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:42 pm 
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I know it seems a bit counter-intuitive considering all the cool reveals we just saw at SDCC, but I keep having this nagging feeling that the days of going to the store and hunting through an aisle full of pegs for the latest figures are numbered.

I hope I'm wrong, but here's my reasoning.

A) Kids (via their moms) seem to be buying less and less of them. A primary cause of this is the multitude of alternative entertainment choices, primarily video games. Kids seem to grow up quicker and quicker these days and the "toy years" are contracting. For example, my older Godson is entering 5th grade. He rarely touches his action figures anymore, but plays Xbox daily. The younger Godson is going into 1st grade and spends a majority of his playtime playing video games.

B) Price seems to be reaching a tipping point. Like when gas was over $4 a few years back and people really began to change their driving habits, I think the recent prices we're seeing ($80 for a DCUC 5-pack, $20 for a YJ 2-pack, $8 for a Star Wars figure, $50 for a Sentinal, etc.) are starting to change buying habits for a lot of people, even the hard core collectors. At the rate we're going it won't be long before the standard 3.75 figure runs us $10. That's a significant amount of money, especially with the current economic climate.

C) Collectors' movement to online purchasing. While we are clearly in the minority of action figure purchasers, I think we can safely say we're a significant piece of the pie, especially among the mainstay properties (SW, Transformers, DC, SW, Marvel, GI Joe). A lot of us use BBTS, CSC, Amazon, EE, and so on to get our beloved plastic crack. That's got to affect the bottom line of TRU, Walmart, and Target (at least, what ever line in the ledger that accounts for Boy Toys profits).

Put it all together and the brick and mortar stores end up ordering less and less. Hasbro and Mattel make less and less, or at least plays it safer. I don't think the action figure is going to disappear completely, but I do wonder whether they'll be on the shelves in significant varieties and quantities in a decade. Or even 5 years from now.

Or will action figures morph into more of a niche hobby dominated by online retailers? Will the action figure aisle disappear into the past like VCRs and phone booths?

What is the future of our obsession?

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:19 am 
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The thing is Action Figures took over from Plastic/Metal Soldiers and video games are going to take over from Action Figures - it's all dust in the wind, times change and things get phased out.

However there is also another way to look at this things also go round in cycles hence the reason we are seeing more of the Older Action Figures making a come back with new paint schemes and a hell of a lot more playability.

I have always stated this as long as there are collectors there will be toys in one form or another.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:50 am 
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GreenArrow wrote:
I have always stated this as long as there are collectors there will be toys in one form or another.

Agreed! However the Action Figure as we call it, is not going anywhere... least in any of our lifetimes. DVD was around for a long while before VHS was truly phased out. But toys are not the same as technology... where as I agree perhaps less and less will be produced, the production will never stop and before you see them phased out... I think we'll see them replaced, as Green Arrow has stated... action figures replaced one form of toy in time another upgrade will replace them I just don't think it'll be a game console.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:35 am 
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I don't necessarily think that Action Figures will disappear, but the way that we get them surely will.

As the Digital Age continues to change the way we interact with each other and with the businesses we support, the worlds of manufacturing and retail will be forced to adapt. This may lead to more manufacturers selling directly to consumers via online outlets. It may mean that Brick n Mortar revert back to a "Mom & Pop" endeavor as big business more fully embraces digital as their main avenue.

This is the Social Media generation and, for good or ill, it will forever alter the SOP of everything from the mundane to the massive.

Toys will always be here, the form may change but will never fully go away.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:49 am 
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I have considered this before as well. Though I don't feel that video games will replace the action figure, I can see a decrease in the availability of action figures at physical stores. I think the majority of what we will see there, which isn't too different from what it's like now, will be movie tie in figures and nothing more. I'd say at some point in our lives, collecting will go from buying at stores like it is now to being a strictly online and thrift store endeavor like my retro-gaming hobby. Like most things though, a part of it may die but it will never truly be gone as long as like-minded people continue to carry our flag.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:33 am 
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Interesting statements, many of which mirror my own.

Say it's 2021 and you go into a Walmart. What will the action figure aisle (or section, as entire aisles are already disappearing) look like?

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Movie and television shows. A mix of larger and smaller items. Wrestling and as always the 5-10 feet of Star Wars.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:42 pm 
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Its getting to the point that unless a figure is on sale, clearance, or biglots, I'm gonna avoid it. Action figures are just getting to expensive. I'm not spending $10 for Young Justice figures. I wasn't about to pay those prices for JLU (with the exception of a few 3packs).
Also it seems more toy lines are being called or rebranded "collector" lines, which then makes the manufactures think they can add $3-$4 on the price. More than a few lines of those I'd be all over if they weren't $15 or more for a single figure. (Looking at you Doctor Who.)

I can see video games eliminating the action figure aisle with the excepiton of figures that have some sort of media tie-in. Action figures might get relegated to a half aisle, not a full side like they have now.
And I can completely see the trend of an action figure being atleast $10 a pop no matter scale, accessories, how it was made, etc. Although that is mostly our fault. We buy it, giving them a signal of how far they can stretch. They charge it because they know we will pay it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Honestly, while there's a certain nostalgia to hunting through the pegs looking for figures someone tried to hide behind Lava Armor Iron Man or somesuch, I wouldn't shed a tear if I could only shop for action figures online, such as at a Hasbro site. In fact, I think that'd be preferable for many people, since we often can't find figures for several months if ever in some parts of the country, while others find their local stores overloaded with those same figures. It's a real pain in the ass that online distribution would solve immediately.

In any event, while I'm sure the action figure market will go through the same ups and downs as it has the past several decades, it'll never die entirely, though I think the focus on kids will dwindle slowly as kids move at ever younger ages to digital entertainment venues. This will see fewer action figures released and likely at higher prices, and may spell the end for 3.75 inch figures as most adult collectors seem to favor the six inch scale. As the saying goes, time waits for no man, so we'd better enjoy what's coming to us now since I can see a day in the near future when we don't have half as many options even at the prices some of us already complain about.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:50 pm 
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With 3D printing improving on a regular basis I'd say that in a few years we'll just be downloading files and printing characters from our home computers. Demand will always be able to be met and release dates will be more than just a hope or a suggestion.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:05 am 
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Now that would be cool Jim, god I would invest in one straight off, can you imagine all those cartoon series from yestayear being done in either 4, 6 or 8 inch scale - with better articulation and such.

I know the figures I would make straight off Pirates of Dark Water done in both 4 and 6 inch scale.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:17 am 
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Jim_Abell wrote:
With 3D printing improving on a regular basis I'd say that in a few years we'll just be downloading files and printing characters from our home computers.

They're actually doing that in Japan now. Sort of.

http://www.dannychoo.com/post/en/26119/ ... Japan.html


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:43 am 
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Well I wouldn't do a human face it doesn't look right, I have a hard time seeing that realistic on a toy, however I could see it's uses for doing screen captures and printing out character heads, I wonder if it could do a whole figure, or just the heads.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:46 am 
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I'll be dead before this Japanese action figure technology reaches the US and is affordable enough for me to purchase it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Action Figure as we know it an Endangered Species
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:16 am 
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DrGreenEvil wrote:
Also it seems more toy lines are being called or rebranded "collector" lines, which then makes the manufactures think they can add $3-$4 on the price. More than a few lines of those I'd be all over if they weren't $15 or more for a single figure. (Looking at you Doctor Who.)


:lol: Tell me about it! I've spent more on Doctor Who alone then I would like to admit!

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