The world of crowdfunding is playing an increasingly important part in deciding which toys end up in the hands of consumers. Toyology’s Peter Jenkinson explains why it deserves to be taken seriously by our industry.

All hail crowdfunding

Getting any invention under the protruding facial feature of a toy or game company exec that can make a decision, be that positive or otherwise, is tricky business.

Be you an orthodox inventor, more of a crack-pot creator or even a complete chancer, getting playthings from the back-of-a-fag-packet to shelf has notoriously, and historically, been lengthy and laborious.

All hail crowdfunding. It’s given our industry more of a shake than the much hyped 3D printing crisis that was about to engulf the toy market and change it beyond anyones control (never did, never will).

The extraordinary sales success of Cards against Humanity and the millions raised by Exploding Kittens on Kickstarter have helped a new genre of category, ‘badult’, to be born, and that is no mean feat.

Over on Indiegogo, we’ve seen ten of millions of dollars poured into all manner of playthings from drones to kids’ carts and plenty in-between.

Established brands have also been taking to crowdfunding of late and, while it may seem head-slappingly obvious that it’s a less risky financial path to take, there is huge value to be derived for any existing toy player.

We have Hasbro teaming with Indiegogo, not looking to raise cash, but instead tapping into the vast ideas network which exists there.

Hasbro can pick the top ideas that are now being crowdfunded and the winner gets a stack of cash and time at its HQ fine tuning the win.

A no brainer and a great initiative by the Hasbro marketing machine. Stacks of PR, and a ton of ideas in return for a drop in the ocean amount of cash.

But is this latter approach at risk of sullying the spirit of crowdfunding?

Well, it changes the landscape somewhat but the pace of change likely means a major player might one day have an entire platform devoted to getting the next big idea.

In fact, one might well buy out a platform like the purist toy player Toybacker.

If they do, I’m surely due a cut for this marvellous match-making.

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