With video games starting to become popular in the American market in the late 1980s, toy sales were being affected during the holiday season and LJN was among the companies that were hit as a result.
LJN manufactured action figures featuring several top stars from the WWF in the 1980s, but that stopped once the 1990s began. LJN started working on video games and the direction of the company, as well as the toy market itself, began to change. In an interview with Fightful owner Jimmy Van, former LJN Product Design Manager Bill Stanhope said video games may have been a big reason as to why LJN no longer worked on WWF action figures.
"I had heard a lot of things. Back at the time, toys were going through a flux anyway. As you can imagine at Christmas time, any parent would go, 'I have $100 or $50 for my kid this year at Christmas. This is my budget.' So you buy a bunch of toys, a bunch of underwear and boom, you're done if it's a boy. If it's a girl, it's a different set of things. Now comes video games and a video game console is pretty expensive and the games themselves are pretty expensive. But everyone was asking for them. How many toys were you going to buy? You're not going to buy as many toys because your budget now includes these video games. The toy market was going down anyway and LJN followed that into the video lines. I think that was a big, big push. I think it was the direction of the company going into the video games and realizing that they don't have to do this," Stanhope said.
Stanhope also spoke about meeting with Vince McMahon regarding the WWF action figure line and you can check out his comments at this link.
You can check out the full interview in the video at the top of the page. If you use any of the quotes above, please give a H/T to Fightful and credit Fightful for the transcription.
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