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Author: Kobalt Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1219  
Subject: Re: Open Letter to Hasbro Date: 6/28/2000 4:21 PM
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Recommendations: 3
Hasbro, Inc.
1027 Newport Ave.
Pawtucket, RI 02861


Dear Hasbro,

As a concerned shareholder and enthusiastic game player, I am writing to suggest that, while Hasbro has done a fine job of running a toy company, there are three initiatives into which Hasbro needs to invest more time, money and equity. If done properly, Hasbro can propel itself to the top spot in the toys and gaming world.

Hasbro Interactive Division

I was futilely searching for something on AskJeeves.com when, in the "what are people asking jeeves" box, I saw someone asking where to find Monopoly Leagues. Bowling leagues may have atrophied over the past two and a half decades, but the need for interaction, association, and competition hasn't disappeared. Hasbro recognizes the power of this need in its purchases of the largest company selling role playing games (RPG) and in its wise investment in the Games.com portal. I hope the Games.com portal is just the beginning of its online gaming initiatives. Online leagues and competitions, higher-level competitions of Hasbro games at large screen game facilities, and intensely Internet based games and cooperative puzzles are all initiatives from which Hasbro can potentially profit. I would love to play a Hasbro first person shooter on a 10 by 15 foot screen in a nearby facility. How about educational games in conjunction with Kaplan Education? In addition, the success of Everquest should spur efforts on your part to develop Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and other RPG branded online and computer games. In addition, Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft and Starcraft are great examples of how adding an online component to traditional computer gaming can be highly profitable.

Leveraging Role Playing Game Properties

Purchasing Wizards of the Coast was an excellent decision by Hasbro, Inc. It is now time for Hasbro to grow and extend those acquired brands as never before. I can't wait to see the prime time (or Saturday morning or Cable) D&D cartoon and play the online game. And the movies. Finally, movie technology advanced enough to make fantastical creatures look believable has been used by the company with the best medieval fantasy brand in existence to make a great D&D movie! You can make these a reality. In addition, the coming animated Tolkien films should energize your Wizards of the Coast division to develop additional game and merchandise offerings of tie-in or pseudo-tie-in products. That the short animated preview was downloaded 1.7 million times in the first hour it was posted is evidence that this alternate universe has widespread appeal. A useful merchandising model to learn from may be the comic book world's model, with images and stories reproduced across every imaginable product.

Adult toys

One of the great, untapped markets in toys and gaming is the adult toys market. As the baby boomers retire, there will be a growing market for toys and games to occupy their time. Few toy companies have appealed to the adult toy and game market as a significant and discrete market segment. Although many adult toys and games do exist, they are not marketed as such. Almost every ad I have ever seen for a toy or game has had a child or a family playing it, with the scenes being either MTV overload or Valium dull, respectively. Hasbro should experiment with more adult marketing. I think you may be surprised at the positive results.

In addition, I do find there could be more development time put into toys made for adults. Yes, there are plenty of interlocking metal loop puzzles, serious board games, and day trading software packages, but it seems to me there should be a larger variety of games and toys available to me. What happened to kite-flying innovations, recumbent bicycles, and pervasive lawn games? I do not necessarily suggest Hasbro pursue these items, but I have a sense we have lost physicality, collegiality and other positive traits from many of our leisure toys, activities, and games. If nothing else, shouldn't someone try to sell me a GameMan instead of GameBoy, getting rid of the abrasive brat as poster boy for the game?

Pursuit of these initiatives moves Hasbro into higher margin businesses, rounds out its high quality name brand offerings, and allows the Hasbro name a challenger to the throne held by Mattel. We have stood behind Hasbro in the past. Prove to us we should have the confidence to stand behind you in the future. Thank you listening to our concerns and we hope to hear from you soon.



Yours Truly,


Hasbro Board Members of the Motley Fool




Some specific questions that I need help addressing before the letter goes wide.

CONTENT AND CHARACTER QUESTIONS
What should I add, subtract, modify?
Can someone take Hasbro to task on financial?
Tone, phrasing, continuity, unity, organization?
Should I say “You should” or “Hasbro should”?
Need letter conclusion help?

PROCESS AND POSTAL QUESTIONS
Who do I address it to? Do I CC?
Will they respond to us?
Do you all want to be credited (“Gaming Members of the Motley Fool”) or just blame it on me?

Kob
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