If you’ve ever lost a game of Connect Four, had your battleship sunk, or been tempted to throttle a family member because your shoe landed on Boardwalk, you have Hasbro to thank for those memories. For nearly 100 years, Hasbro has been behind toys and games, alternately bringing joy or tantrums to children around the world.
Now, after a fair amount of speculation, Hasbro is ready to move its business into 3D printing territory as part of a new deal signed with Shapeways. The first piece of the Hasbro pie to be offered up to digital manufacturing is My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which is currently broadcast in 170 countries around the globe.
“Hasbro has a rich portfolio of iconic brands and popular characters, and SuperFanArt is a great opportunity for the Shapeways community to design and create with fan favorites,” said Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO and co-founder, Shapeways. “We’ve already seen a passionate MY LITTLE PONY following on Shapeways and are thrilled that Hasbro is opening its doors for the design community to actively work with a global brand.”
SuperFanArt is the name of the web portal for the new service, and is already stocked with a number of My Little Pony models ready to be printed. To get the ball rolling, Shapeways brought in five artists from around the globe to design the first models, which look to be printed via stereolithography. Prices for the models run from $25-$90 and will be available at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, as well as online.
Along with the launch models, Shapeways will be offering an opportunity for artists to submit new models to be added to the line-up. That seems like a fantastic way to grow the store without having to contract artists for models, instead just picking the best submissions and offering a cut of sales.
The My Little Pony run is also an experiment. If Hasbro sees interest and banks a good return, other pieces of the pie are bound to show. This move can also be seen as a proactive effort to curtail piracy. Rather than sit around and bemoan how these newfangled 3D printers are stealing sales, Hasbro is offering a legitimate outlet for digital creativity.