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Hasbro changes the rules of board game biz

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Jeremy Hobson: Hasbro — the toy and game maker — said this morning it lost more than $2 million last quarter, compared with a $17 million profit in the same period a year ago.

As our senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports, the company wants to change the rules so it doesn’t lose the game.

Bob Moon: Hasbro executives hope to breathe new life into their most popular brands — with a fresh take, for example, on playing Monopoly. The company’s marketing chief John Frascotti talked about it at a recent toy fair presentation.

John Frascotti: Our consumer research told us that people want to play Monopoly faster. So this year, we’re introducing Monopoly Millionaire, where the first person to accumulate a million dollars wins the game.

It’s a focus on a new set of “three Rs” — reimagine, reinvent, reignite. A new version of the company’s Game of Life lets players use an iPad’s touchscreen as a high-tech spinner, and then watch a video to see the results of their “life decision.”

Frascotti: We’re introducing several new gaming innovations this year that’ll feature this convergence of analog and digital play, and clearly these are not your typical board games.

While Hasbro’s board game business has lagged, it reports selling more than 13 million digital games last year for play on the iPhone and iPad. It’s also banking on the sale of rights to movies based on popular board games, like Battleship, which has already topped box office charts in Europe and is due for U.S. release next month.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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