Sphero Discontinues Disney Products Including BB-8 and R2-D2

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Sphero, known for its popular BB-8, BB-9E, and R2-D2 iPhone-controlled droids, today confirmed that it is discontinuing all licensed products.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Sphero CEO Paul Berberian confirmed that Sphero is cleaning out its remaining licensed inventory and has no plans to produce more.


Sphero will no longer make BB-8, BB-9E, R2-D2, Lightning McQueen cars, or talking Spider-Man toys. None of the products are available from the Sphero website anymore, with Sphero instead selling its own Bolt, Mini, and SPRK+ products.

The licensed products are now "legacy products" no longer in production, though App Support is set to continue for at least two years.

Berberian said that Sphero is discontinuing its Disney partnership because the licensed toy business "required more resources" than it was worth, with sales waning over time after a movie was released.
"When you launch a toy, your first year's your biggest," he says. "Your second year's way smaller, and your third year gets really tiny." The opposite is true of the company's non-licensed educational robots, he says, which become more popular year after year.
With its licensed partnerships at an end, Sphero will now focus on expanding its educational ecosystem with the goal of getting more products into schools.

Update: Sphero has provided a statement on its plans not to renew its Disney licenses:
At Sphero, our goal is to keep kids learning through the excitement of play. Through our Disney partnership, we were able to develop robots that allowed iconic personalities to come to life. As we develop a roadmap for the future, Sphero products will continue to build on our successes, expand interactive play and STEAM learning efforts, while keeping products accessible for all ages.

In today's world, we know STEAM education is more important than ever. There's a huge opportunity to inject our technology into this field to teach kids crucial real-world skills, through fun, interactive learning. Sphero robots are currently in 20,000+ schools and in many more homes; our vision is to bring coding into every classroom and living room.

In 2019, we will not be renewing our Disney licenses. We're looking forward to a future of many new products that continue to encourage STEAM learning through play. Look for a new product to be announced at CES that inspires creativity and taps into the A of STEAM learning.
With the new announcement about Sphero's focus on education, the online Apple Store is now selling Sphero's Bolt robotic ball, introduced back in September. Bolt is aimed at teaching children basic programming with advanced sensors, an LED matrix, and infrared communication.

Article Link: Sphero Discontinues Disney Products Including BB-8 and R2-D2
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,936
14,620
Central U.S.
I was really tempted to buy that BB-8 for my daughter that was only like $50-60 on Amazon. The problem is she would always have to use her iPad to control it and we've set strict limits on her iPad time. Around that time I was also thinking about the Ollie—are they discontinuing that as well? It has been out of stock on their site for a long time and can be difficult to find online, especially in certain colors. Hopefully they are just replacing it with an Ollie 2 while clearing inventory. I kind of want one, lol.

Speaking of licensed robot toys, a few years ago I stashed away a Wall-E RC robotic toy for my daughter who wasn't old enough yet to play with it. I found it at Toys R Us (RIP) for $60 which was a good deal when I looked it up online. I had forgotten about it until I was cleaning out and organizing my storage room so I figured I would just give her the Wall-E since she still loves robots and that movie. I happen to look it up online a couple days ago and it's going for nearly $1000 on Amazon (link). Now I'm really conflicted about what to do—try to see if I can setup an Amazon account to sell this thing and make a hefty profit, or give my daughter a Christmas present I know that she'll love? It's also getting close to the wire on getting her a replacement. What would you guys do?
 

redman042

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2008
2,914
1,366
The problem with costly toys like this is they lack long-term engagement. The robots that teach programming can be much more engaging. But robotics has a ways to go before we will be able to purchase something in this price range that keeps our attention for more than a week.
 
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hondo77

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2011
26
34
Now I'm really conflicted about what to do—try to see if I can setup an Amazon account to sell this thing and make a hefty profit, or give my daughter a Christmas present I know that she'll love? It's also getting close to the wire on getting her a replacement. What would you guys do?
So the choice is whether to give your daughter something she'll love or making a few bucks. Is this a joke?

My polite response: Toys are meant to be played with. Give it to her and enjoy her happiness.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
Damn. And there I was waiting for the Jar Jar toy. It would have sensors to detect objects in the room and proceed to trip over them in an increasingly painful attempt at comic relief.

Other features would include:

- A deafening fanfare of shrieks to wake you up at 3AM

- A painfully short loop of quotes from the film, repeated unprompted at inopportune moments

- The ability for it to keep talking even when you’ve removed all batteries or pummelled it to a pulp with a blunt object
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,327
13,685
In between a rock and a hard place
I was really tempted to buy that BB-8 for my daughter that was only like $50-60 on Amazon. The problem is she would always have to use her iPad to control it and we've set strict limits on her iPad time. Around that time I was also thinking about the Ollie—are they discontinuing that as well? It has been out of stock on their site for a long time and can be difficult to find online, especially in certain colors. Hopefully they are just replacing it with an Ollie 2 while clearing inventory. I kind of want one, lol.

Speaking of licensed robot toys, a few years ago I stashed away a Wall-E RC robotic toy for my daughter who wasn't old enough yet to play with it. I found it at Toys R Us (RIP) for $60 which was a good deal when I looked it up online. I had forgotten about it until I was cleaning out and organizing my storage room so I figured I would just give her the Wall-E since she still loves robots and that movie. I happen to look it up online a couple days ago and it's going for nearly $1000 on Amazon (link). Now I'm really conflicted about what to do—try to see if I can setup an Amazon account to sell this thing and make a hefty profit, or give my daughter a Christmas present I know that she'll love? It's also getting close to the wire on getting her a replacement. What would you guys do?
If you can get a grand, sell it. I'm sure you already have other Christmas presents for her and she won't miss what she doesn't know about. You can ask her if there's one thing she really, really wants and possibly get that for her. Guaranteed she'll enjoy it and you'll have money to spread further.
 

sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,504
2,417
In other words, Disney probably doubled or tripled the licensing fees.
Or maybe it just what the article said:
Berberian said that Sphero is discontinuing its Disney partnership because the licensed toy business "required more resources" than it was worth, with sales waning over time after a movie was released.

"When you launch a toy, your first year's your biggest," he says. "Your second year's way smaller, and your third year gets really tiny."

The opposite is true of the company's non-licensed educational robots, he says, which become more popular year after year.
 

Dustin Lenzz

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2018
51
80
So...
‘These aren’t the droids... yada-yada...’
And on another note...
‘Luke be a (Last) Jedi tonight..’
 

NexusEclipse

macrumors newbie
Jan 2, 2009
18
5
So the choice is whether to give your daughter something she'll love or making a few bucks. Is this a joke?

My polite response: Toys are meant to be played with. Give it to her and enjoy her happiness.
My view is that if give a toy to a kid, they will get bored with it quickly or worse yet, destroy it. It’s a fact. Sell it and get something else. Add it to her future school fund if you feel guilty.

I actually did the same thing but it is too late for me. I inadvertently gave a 1,600 stuffed animal to my daughter (15+ year old beanie baby I found at my folks house still in a plastic bag with a tag). She had many stuffed animals and this is just one of them (though this is one of the favorites).
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,936
14,620
Central U.S.
So the choice is whether to give your daughter something she'll love or making a few bucks. Is this a joke?

My polite response: Toys are meant to be played with. Give it to her and enjoy her happiness.
It’s a toy and $1000 is $1000. So you’re telling me that a week before Christmas someone shows up at your house and offers you $1000 to buy a toy you paid $60 for your kid for Christmas and you wouldn’t consider it, especially if you could use that money to get even more toys? She has other toys already lined up for Christmas and I would use part of the money to get her something nice. She already probably has too many toys. We buy a lot of extra toys second hand for our licensed daycare so there are a lot of toys around the house. That being said I don’t really need the $1000, I just grew up kinda poor so it still seems like a lot to me. My grandpa’s voice is in my head telling me to be cheap!

If you can get a grand, sell it. I'm sure you already have other Christmas presents for her and she won't miss what she doesn't know about. You can ask her if there's one thing she really, really wants and possibly get that for her. Guaranteed she'll enjoy it and you'll have money to spread further.
Yeah this is what I was thinking, I wasn’t quite sure if I would get that much, like if they are actually selling on Amazon (and I would be a new seller with 0% feedback) or if it would go down after Christmas? I could also do eBay but they’re only going for $350 there and at that point with the seller fee and potential risk and $60 I already spent, IDK if it’s worth the hassle. And so realistically that’s probably the truer market value.
 

H.E. Pennypacker

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2017
397
949
NYC
I was really tempted to buy that BB-8 for my daughter that was only like $50-60 on Amazon. The problem is she would always have to use her iPad to control it and we've set strict limits on her iPad time. Around that time I was also thinking about the Ollie—are they discontinuing that as well? It has been out of stock on their site for a long time and can be difficult to find online, especially in certain colors. Hopefully they are just replacing it with an Ollie 2 while clearing inventory. I kind of want one, lol.

Speaking of licensed robot toys, a few years ago I stashed away a Wall-E RC robotic toy for my daughter who wasn't old enough yet to play with it. I found it at Toys R Us (RIP) for $60 which was a good deal when I looked it up online. I had forgotten about it until I was cleaning out and organizing my storage room so I figured I would just give her the Wall-E since she still loves robots and that movie. I happen to look it up online a couple days ago and it's going for nearly $1000 on Amazon (link). Now I'm really conflicted about what to do—try to see if I can setup an Amazon account to sell this thing and make a hefty profit, or give my daughter a Christmas present I know that she'll love? It's also getting close to the wire on getting her a replacement. What would you guys do?
Because it’s being advertised at $1000 doesn't mean it’s selling for $1000. In regards to your daughter present. Guess you need to determine what’s a higher priority, possibly making a large profit, or give your daughter the gift you meant to give to her. The only way I seeing you getting a father of the year award is if you give her the gift or sell it for $1000 and put the profits in her college fund. Just my opinion.
 
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jeffrow925

macrumors newbie
Aug 6, 2016
6
12
Glad I got my RD-D2 off their site on Black Friday for $36 shipped. It took forever but I’m supposed to receive it today. Can’t wait to play with it and sit it on my desk.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,936
14,620
Central U.S.
Because it’s being advertised at $1000 doesn't mean it’s selling for $1000. In regards to your daughter present. Guess you need to determine what’s a higher priority, possibly making a large profit, or give your daughter the gift you meant to give to her. The only way I seeing you getting a father of the year award is if you give her the gift or sell it for $1000 and put the profits in her college fund. Just my opinion.
Her college fund is already maxed out for the year, lol. And yeah, I see what you’re saying about the price. I was just saying to someone else that I looked up Ebay today and it’s only going for $350 so now idk if it’s worth the hassle with sellers fees and the $60 I already put into it along with the “Ebay risk”. If I make an Amazon sellers account it might take forever to sell and idk if I’d have to file taxes on it or whatever. At the end of the day I’m not hurting for cash so she’ll probably just get it.
 

denro55

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2011
3
0
Glad I got my RD-D2 off their site on Black Friday for $36 shipped. It took forever but I’m supposed to receive it today. Can’t wait to play with it and sit it on my desk.
I am also glad I bought my R2D2. I am such a geek I just love it. I did jump on ebay tonight and buy the two I didnt have since I expect them to go up in price after the announcement...
 

inhalexhale1

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2011
1,037
685
PA
Speaking of licensed robot toys, a few years ago I stashed away a Wall-E RC robotic toy for my daughter who wasn't old enough yet to play with it. I found it at Toys R Us (RIP) for $60 which was a good deal when I looked it up online. I had forgotten about it until I was cleaning out and organizing my storage room so I figured I would just give her the Wall-E since she still loves robots and that movie. I happen to look it up online a couple days ago and it's going for nearly $1000 on Amazon (link). Now I'm really conflicted about what to do—try to see if I can setup an Amazon account to sell this thing and make a hefty profit, or give my daughter a Christmas present I know that she'll love? It's also getting close to the wire on getting her a replacement. What would you guys do?
Father of the year right here.

What’s your child’s happiness when there’s $940 on the table.

o_O
 

iZac

macrumors 68020
Apr 28, 2003
2,054
1,235
Shanghai
Not that I’ve charged my BB-8 in a year or so I don’t really have a problem, but they mention App Support will continue for two years ... so little BB-8 will be a paperweight in 25 months time?
 
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Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,107
5,912
I bought all four* and I don’t regret it, they’re great.

*no love for R2-Q5 here then?
 

YaBe

Cancelled
Oct 5, 2017
867
1,528
App support only for 2 years? I mean when you make a toy that relies on a phone, either you release a remote control when you are done with it or you should support it.

This is planned obsolescence, you want to play with your toy? too bad you upgraded the phone.
 
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