Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hasbro Faces Challenging Times in Board Game Business

The Wall Street Journal reports that Hasbro continues to face challenges in its board game business.   Naturally, mobile and social gaming, as well as other forms of entertainment, have threatened the board game industry for some time.  However, the Wall Street Journal reports that, "Sales of Hasbro's games and puzzles dropped 9% over the last three quarters, far more than overall sales of board games, which declined 3% in the same period, according to researcher NPD Group. Hasbro's game sales slid 3% last year, even as industry-wide game sales edged up 1%."   Some observers claim that Hasbro has neglected its board game business as it has tried to become a broader entertainment company.   The company, naturally, rejects such criticisms. 

I decided to take a quick look on the Amazon site.   What the are the most popular board games on Amazon right now?  The top three games are produced by GameWright, MindWare, and PlaSmart.  Each firm appears to be independent (i.e. not owned by a major toy company).  I found this fact quite interesting.  It appears, then, that the board game business may not have substantial barriers to entry, nor economies of scale that provide incumbent players such as Hasbro a formidable advantage.   In fact, these independent firms often use a form of crowdsourcing to generate new games.  That is, in addition to creating games in-house, they solicit game ideas from inventors around the world, and then select the best ideas.   They often build on and expand those ideas to create their games. 

Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal suggests that Hasbro has spent a considerable amount of time trying to modernize its classic board games, rather than emphasizing the development of many new titles.  These independent firms, of course, focus on bringing totally new ideas to market.  Some of Hasbro's modernization attempts have not gone so well, and in fact, have invited some humorous response.  Check out Stephen Colbert's take on a new version of Monopoly that Hasbro introduced recently (start watching at the 5 minute mark):

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Brian W said...

Great article in Sloan management review this past fall about the age of the consumer innovator. Companies must re-evaluate their innovation approach in order to survive, especially when top line growth is slow and many companies are slashing R&D to stay afloat.

Bose said...

Though Hasbro has taken the time, he has provide that quality stands high, this years the Hasbro games will be on top.Sales Report Form