dinsdag 28 februari 2012
The brony issue
However, this new fanbase seems to exist almost separately from the more traditional my little pony fans. They have their own sites, their own fora. Now this isn't all that weird considering that the bronies are completely different people than the original collectors (young men vs. women in their early 30's, generally speaking) and because they are interested in different parts of the MLP universe. Bronies focus almost solely on the TV show, while collectors seem to be more into the collectibles and consider the show only a part of the gen4 franchise and gen4 only a part of a larger MLP legacy.
To illustrate, let's look at the recent New York toy fair. A group of toys based on characters from the tv show were announced, together with a castle playset with the first boy MLP in over 10 years. These ponies were quickly dubbed the brony-set because it is widely believed that Hasbro created these ponies to cater to the brony fanbase. This in turn upset some collectors who felt that Hasbro was only listening to bronies now.
In my opinion, the problem isn't that there will soon be a "brony set". In fact, I think it's great that Hasbro is considering other demographics than just their target audience of little girls - and to be honest, I can see this set being very popular with girls as well! I don't believe for one moment that girls only want pink and princesses. The problem, however, is that bronies aren't the first who ever asked for less pink, more variety and boy ponies. Collectors have been asking for this for over a decade (ever since the gen3 launch) and Hasbro didn't listen even once. In fact, they did the exact opposite thing from what was asked; they released the core 7 which meant more pink and less variety.
Judging by the response online to this new set, it's bound to be a success. So why did Hasbro wait this long to release a set like this? Why do they seem to listen to bronies more than they did to collectors? Is it because bronies are simply a lot more vocal than collectors are? After all, collectors generally keep to their own fora and websites, while bronies seem to spam My Little Pony all over the internet. Maybe collectors have been too timid and polite all this time, and Hasbro never considered them a group large enough to make profit of to warrant a large release like the brony-set.
Or maybe Hasbro just needed proof that there was a different demographic for their line and simply couldn't believe that My Little Pony could have such a universal appeal until they saw it happen. Whatever the case, it's bound to be an exiting year with these upcoming MLP toys. I just really hope that Hasbro will also reconsider some other ideas collectors have had for a while; for example, release collector edition sets, make the fair pony a gen1 pony, more variety in the line with for example sea ponies or maybe a gen4 release of other gen1 ponies like Applejack? I'm exited to see what Hasbro comes up with and I think it's amazing that they seem to hear the voice of fans more nowadays!