Roblox stock leapt Tuesday, with toymaker Hasbro reaching a deal to launch some digital products with the online games platform.
The deal will feature a range of Roblox-inspired Nerf blasters and a Roblox version of the classic board game Monopoly. No financial terms of the agreement were released in a joint statement.
Roblox shares bounced up as much as 8.9% to an intraday high of $81.70 then pared the gain to 7.8%. The stock began trading last month on the New York Stock Exchange and spiked up during its trading debut.
A platform popular with kids, Roblox allows players to jump from games created by other people or to build games themselves. Hasbro shares on Tuesday were up 2%.
The Nerf blasters will include a redeemable code for players to use a virtual blaster on their avatars and each Monopoly: Roblox 2022 edition game will include a redeemable code for a virtual item.
The products will add to Roblox’s lineup of titles which includes “Adopt Me,” in which players care for virtual pets. Tuesday’s statement said NERF later this year will launch its own branded experience on Roblox, with detail set for release later this spring.
America’s favorite anthropomorphized spuds are getting a rebrand.
Toymaker Hasbro announced on Thursday that it’s dropping the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” from its Potato Head toys beginning this fall. According to Fast Company’s Elizabeth Segran, the decision was based on the way toddlers play with the toys: Young children often make families with the Potato Heads, and not all families look the same.
“Culture has evolved,” Kimberly Boyd, a senior vice president and general manager at Hasbro, told Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists – with the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ – is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”
Dropping the titles will allow kids to adding whatever type of clothing and accessories they want to the potatoes, allowing for more varied expressions of gender and sexuality, Fast Company reports.
Hasbro noted in a tweet Thursday afternoon that the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys it currently sells aren’t being discontinued, but will be part of the broader Potato Head product line.
But the decision to modernize the spuds seems to have stirred some strong feelings, particularly among conservative critics, who are calling the decision silly and over-reactive.
TV host Piers Morgan has tweeted multiple times about the move, saying it was made in order not to “upset a few wokies.”
Others have postedcomments such as “It’s time for Republican states to secede” and “I’m ready for the apocalypse now.”
While much of the social media uproar surrounding the potatoes and their genders appears to be at least partly joking, the decision to drop their titles does point to a broader trend in the toy industry: modernization.
As Insider’s Tanya Dua reported this week, other legacy toy brands including Mattel are thinking of ways to reposition their decades-old brands. Barbie, for instance, has transitioned from a plastic supermodel with impossible proportions and a fixation on dating to a role model for young girls – these days, Barbie is speaking out about racial equality and pursuing a career that has nothing to do with Ken.
And she’s no longer just a thin, white, blonde woman: Barbie now comes in 175 different skin tones, ethnicities, eye and hair colors, body types, and abilities. As a result of these changes, sales have increased 19% year-over-year, according to Insider.
Hasbro, for its part, has also seen sales rise, even amid the pandemic. But as CNBC reports, its success is driven in part by its relationship with Disney: Hasbro holds the master toy license for Marvel and Star Wars content, and it also makes companion toys for wildly popular franchises like “Frozen.”