Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest 2021: A Collector’s Dream Come True?
Just two weekends ago, Hasbro hosted a digital version of their annual Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest, a day long awaited each year by collectors new and old alike. But was the event’s news happiness and sunshine for all? We’re not so sure.
Hasbro usually has some awesome tricks and hidden releases tucked away, and this year was no different. Some truly remarkable figures were announced for toy lines like Transformers, Marvel Legends, Star Wars, and G.I. Joe.
Just prior to the Fan Fest live stream, the air was electric and the anticipation was palpable. Throughout the course of Friday, April 9th, social media was plastered with ongoing announcements and giveaways.
Posts like “Oh my god, they’re giving away Jabba’s Slave Barge!” and “Yeah, we totally need another half dozen versions of Iron Man,” could be read around every corner of the digital world. But when people tried to purchase pre-orders, things started to take a strange turn.
Hasbro Pulse Premium: pay to play?!
Prior to the event, Hasbro made it very clear via Facebook that pre-orders would open at 5pm EST. Sadly, this was not the entire truth. Pre-orders actually opened a few hours prior to 5pm, but only for those purchased the $50(!) +tax(!!) Hasbro Pulse Premium membership.
A business whose motto is “Where Fans Come First” seems to have shifted the meaning of “fan” to “those whose pockets are deep enough to skip the line.”
Pulse Premium members were given exclusive early access to pre-orders; their purchase window opened as soon as the guest panels closed (~1pm), way more than enough time for sought-after items to go out of stock.
Many consumers only want one or two figures, not enough to warrant paying a yearly membership fee, but by the time 5pm rolled around, most of the popular items were already sold out and unavailable to the public.
In no time flat, Fan Fest went from jamming harbor cruise to flaming Viking burial at sea.
Though this would be slightly less frustrating had Hasbro communicated the early access, they were vague at best leading up to the event. The only concrete mention of the premium membership’s early pre-order window was buried in a menu at the very bottom of the Fan Fest event page.
Hasbro to HasNO
This year’s Fan Fest was an amazing spectacle to behold primarily due to the announcement of the programmable, voice activated, self-transforming Optimus Prime.
During the reveal, hearing Optimus Prime, Rollout!, and watching the Autobot transform while also emitting screen-accurate sound effects was a goosebump-ridden thrill ride. This was the Optimus Prime of every child’s dream since Transformers debuted in 1984.
However, this dream-brought-to-life has a $700 price tag, so it, too, will be largely unattainable to the average consumer.
Hasbro has access to some of the greatest names in toys, but problems with distribution have been a plague on their namesake. With every new release comes exclamations of joy followed by groans of anguish as the screenshots are as close as most people will ever come to obtaining these figures.
Hasbro will always hold a special place in the hearts of the toy collector. And in fact, with every passing year we see more and more awesome toys come from them. The toy designers should be held in the highest regard for their amazing job at bringing our favorite characters to reality.
The marketing and sales divisions, on the other hand, need to reevaluate some things.
All in all, for some, this year’s Fan Fest was a dream fulfilled. For most others, a Ouija board would be nice to summon the ghost of bountiful Christmases past. But Hasbro makes Ouija now too so, good luck with that.
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