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Yes, the Pokemon league helps to drive Pokemon sales. The same thing happened with the Magic league.

As for 4 Kids Entertainment, I'm still on the fence with that one.

You see, the reason I like Wizards of the Coast is because they've proven that they can take a concept (collectible card games) and reinvent it into further success (Magic, leading into Pokemon). However, they're also diversified within their little niche of hobby games; they purchased TSR and Five Rings Publishing, and so they release world-famous role-playing games as well, like Dungeons & Dragons and Alternity. Their board games (like the discontinued Robo Rally) and their traditional card games (like Guillotine) are also extremely fun, usually with a social twist from standard game plots. In Guillotine, for example, you play rival executioners during the French Revolution trying to, ahem, collect notorious heads of state. It's one thing to manage to score a card worth a lot of points, but it's so much more enjoyable when you get to give Marie Antoinette the ax.

Whenever I look 4 Kids Entertainment over, however, I ony see Pokemon. Heck, even their investor relations web pages blatantly show nothing but wall-to-wall Pokemon. Pokemon is a fad. This means that it will die down. I only see further growth for 4 Kids if they can prove they can get the licensing rights to the next big thing. If that next big thing is American, chances are that most of the licensing will remain strictly in-house.

Wizards was able to create a fad (Magic: the Gathering) and turn it into an industry. If 4 Kids proves that they can turn the licensing business into something consistently revenue-generating, then I'll be interested in them, too, but not before then.

After that, we have to look at the whole of Hasbro as a company, and not just one department; after all, my shares represent pieces of Monopoly and Furby, too. Their financials look reasonable, their reasons for the Wizards acquisition are the good ones (because they're great game designers and marketers, not because Pokemon is so cool) and they recognize the need to make their old ideas new and fresh again. The original G. I. Joe has hit the shelves again, repackaged and with marketing showing both the importance of the character's history, and the need to consider our past when looking to the future. They are reaching out more to the consumer directly, through the internet, choose-the-new-Monopoly-token contests, engaging computer games from Hasbro Interactive, tournaments, etc. By appealing to the customer directly, they will be in a superior position to determine how people want to spend their time.

When valuating Hasbro, I asked myself not only whether they were producing the toys and games that both children and adults would play with right now, but also whether this would remain so 5-10 years down the line. Decide the answer to that question for yourself, but I say yes, they will.
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