It is ludicrous to think that a big toy company wants to run out of product when there is still demand for it. The marketing "buzz" is rarely worth the hits to actual sales especially in an environment where every sale counts and parents are penny pinching. And kids are fickle beasts...how long will the buzz last if they can't get the set by 2013 Christmas. If I was a betting man (and I am), I would bet money that the executives in charge of the Skylanders launch are asked DAILY by the CEO where/when the product will be ready. Where are the toys? When will they arrive? Why did you not make more?
We could go into forecasting conservatively (how many times have toys like this been tried and fail?) and the miserable supply chains that have to feed a toy like this (jebus. plastic and microchips? ouch), but that's all boring operations stuff. They had a conservative forecast and didn't build a supply chain that could cover a major jump in demand...just in case this didn't take off, so they wouldn't have to eat the losses there...so everything they have now is what would have served a normal rollout while they try to build up the infrastructure to support the bigger business.
The fact that the brand is building "prestige" and cache is a nice side effect, but that does NOT generate profits...which is what a company wants in time for their quarterly reporting.
I can see why there is a conspiracy theory regarding it though. I mean parents have to work to buy the toys and then have to work to buy them? That's awful (and terrible business! You want parents to buy these toys EASILY!).
I read the article. This line cracked me up:
“Of course that’s all he wants for Valentine’s Day, Easter and everything. He asks all the time and we look constantly,” said Bertrand, adding that she’s on the Toys ‘R’ Us website three times a day checking to see if new stock of Skylanders has arrived.
To which my father would reply "How's it feel to want, kid? Get used to it." Yeesh.