To be frank, I haven’t been paying much attention to the Mattycollector subscription drive this year. Last year, I did a fair bit of agonizing over Club Eternia before re-upping very late in the game. Sure, I chuckled a bit and wondered what was behind Mattel’s announcement that they would *limit* subscriptions for 2015 – but I still waited to see Mattel’s 1st quarter selections for Club Eternia, then subscribed without much further thought.
So it was somewhat of a surprise to see the subscription drama starting to unfold just like it did last year – with an impassioned plea from Toy Guru followed by a confirmation from the Four Horsemen along the lines of “hey, this isn’t a marketing ploy – it’s real.” To state the obvious, this is not good news for Mattycollector. And it begs the question if the collector-oriented site will follow Masters of the Universe Classics into the sunset after 2015.
Let’s face it – there’s not much left to sustain Mattycollector. In its heyday, the site featured three concurrent subs covering its Masters, DC, and Ghostbusters brands. But those good times are long since past. Mattel couldn’t sustain the DC or Ghostbusters product lines. And it wasn’t for lack of trying – sometimes it felt like they were throwing random products at us just to see what would stick. In addition to the core 6-inch DC and Ghostbuster figures, we got Megos for both brands and 12-inchers for Ghostbusters – all short-lived. And the attempt to extend DC with Total Heroes on Mattycollector faced a similar fate.
A lot of us took offense when it looked like Mattel was pointing the blame finger our way. Saying that not enough of us subscribed to keep those lines alive was not very collector-friendly – but it was decidedly Mattycollector-friendly. Said another way, Mattel couldn’t come up with products at a price that collectors wanted to buy.
Oil and labor costs may have forced Mattel to price its figures out of our reach, but it’s much harder to make that argument for the Mattycollector Epic Creations. The “premium” segment of collectors are used to footing a much bigger bill for movie and TV props, and yet the Ghostbuster and Batman props still tanked. Maybe it was too much of a stretch for the Mattel brand to be relevant and credible in that product category. The Back to the Future Hover Board certainly didn’t make the case for Mattel’s shift from mass market to premium product provider.
That leaves us with Masters of the Universe Classics as the lone survivor for 2015… if it does indeed survive. The proclamation of a limit to the number of subs they’d accept smacks a little of hubris now. In an about face, Mattel said it would follow the DC game plan if the sub didn’t make it – converting the reveals from SDCC into quarterly offerings and an SDCC exclusive. (It’s just too bad there’s no Tier 2 offering for Mattel to pull out of the Doomsday machine.)
So get ready, good people. You may have already subscribed. You might subscribe this weekend during the Club Eternia Last Chance. But the writing may already be on the wall… All Toys (sic) Lines Must End!