The Pokémon Company International has announced their appointment of Wicked Cool Toys as master toy licensee for the Pokémon brand, starting in July 2018. Wicked Cool Toys will have the rights to manufacture and market action figures, play sets, plush, roleplay items, and other toys based on the hit Pokémon animated series in worldwide markets, excluding regions in Asia where the brand is managed by The Pokémon Company International's parent organization, The Pokémon Company.
Which means that wicked cool toys gets nearly world-wide dominance over Pokèmon merchandizing. That, not a deal to sneeze at.
Included in the press release making the announcement were the following statements:
"Pokémon is one of the most beloved entertainment properties in the world, and Wicked Cool Toys is thrilled to become part of that legacy," said Michael Rinzler, co-president of Wicked Cool Toys.
"We can't wait to deliver innovative and fun toys that embody the joy of Pokémon to kids and the brand's millions of passionate fans around the world," said Jeremy Padawer, co-president of Wicked Cool Toys.
The Pokémon Company International also announced that it has become a strategic investor in Wicked Cool Toys and will have a seat on the toy company's board of directors. Which is more in line with what we expect of The Pokèmon Company. Sure, this will help in the collaborative development of Pokémon toys but mostly the investment in Wicked Cool Toys is exactly the sort of "partnership" The Pokémon Company International engaged in with Niantic Inc., the developers and publishers of Pokémon GO. So, not quite a takeover, but almost.
Long-time license holder TOMY will continue to be a "key licensing partner" for the Pokémon brand and will produce select items as well as products inspired by Pokémon video games, such as the popular Pokémon Z-Ring, but their influence on the Pokèmon toy scene is likely to be more prevalent in the Asian markets thanks to this deal with Wicked Cool.
The development of Pokémon toys from Wicked Cool Toys are already underway, with the first products expected to arrive at retail locations in fall 2018.