Sphero, known for its popular BB-8, BB-9E, and R2-D2 iPhone-controlled droids, today confirmed that it is discontinuing all licensed products.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Sphero CEO Paul Berberian confirmed that Sphero is cleaning out its remaining licensed inventory and has no plans to produce more.

star wars sphero 3
Sphero will no longer make BB-8, BB-9E, R2-D2, Lightning McQueen cars, or talking Spider-Man toys. None of the products are available from the Sphero website anymore, with Sphero instead selling its own Bolt, Mini, and SPRK+ products.

The licensed products are now "legacy products" no longer in production, though App Support is set to continue for at least two years.

Berberian said that Sphero is discontinuing its Disney partnership because the licensed toy business "required more resources" than it was worth, with sales waning over time after a movie was released.

"When you launch a toy, your first year's your biggest," he says. "Your second year's way smaller, and your third year gets really tiny." The opposite is true of the company's non-licensed educational robots, he says, which become more popular year after year.

With its licensed partnerships at an end, Sphero will now focus on expanding its educational ecosystem with the goal of getting more products into schools.

Update: Sphero has provided a statement on its plans not to renew its Disney licenses:

At Sphero, our goal is to keep kids learning through the excitement of play. Through our Disney partnership, we were able to develop robots that allowed iconic personalities to come to life. As we develop a roadmap for the future, Sphero products will continue to build on our successes, expand interactive play and STEAM learning efforts, while keeping products accessible for all ages.

In today’s world, we know STEAM education is more important than ever. There’s a huge opportunity to inject our technology into this field to teach kids crucial real-world skills, through fun, interactive learning. Sphero robots are currently in 20,000+ schools and in many more homes; our vision is to bring coding into every classroom and living room.

In 2019, we will not be renewing our Disney licenses. We’re looking forward to a future of many new products that continue to encourage STEAM learning through play. Look for a new product to be announced at CES that inspires creativity and taps into the A of STEAM learning.

With the new announcement about Sphero's focus on education, the online Apple Store is now selling Sphero's Bolt robotic ball, introduced back in September. Bolt is aimed at teaching children basic programming with advanced sensors, an LED matrix, and infrared communication.

Tags: Disney, Sphero

Top Rated Comments

hondo77 Avatar
36 months ago
Now I'm really conflicted about what to do—try to see if I can setup an Amazon account to sell this thing and make a hefty profit, or give my daughter a Christmas present I know that she'll love? It's also getting close to the wire on getting her a replacement. What would you guys do?
So the choice is whether to give your daughter something she'll love or making a few bucks. Is this a joke?

My polite response: Toys are meant to be played with. Give it to her and enjoy her happiness.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roar08 Avatar
36 months ago
Too bad. I was hoping for a BB-8 TLJ edition that rolls 30 minutes longer than you want it to, and in frequently meaningless directions.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djeeyore25 Avatar
36 months ago
Drat! I was so looking forward to their Star Wars Holiday Special collection.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
36 months ago
Father of the year right here.

What’s your child’s happiness when there’s $940 on the table.

o_O
Yeah that’s easy for you to say. So you wouldn’t even consider it? Not even for a moment? I bet you go silent like the last guy. Like my kid couldn’t be happy with another toy…you must have never been poor in your life if you can just shrug off $1000 which buys a whole lot more toys and then some. It’s difficult for me to get out of that mindset sometimes. I grew up in a lower income abusive household.

Lots of people love to crap all over fathers. Makes me wonder how many of the accusers are trying to make themselves feel better about being a bad dad themselves. I had a bad father growing up. A father who abused me physically and verbally. A father who played mind games and always had me scared. A father who would slam my head into the side of the bathtub repeatedly, punch holes in walls, throw me across the room, tell me how I was a bleeping piece of bleep among other things, who punched me so I ran away from home, a father who placed his job above his family, a father who became a grandfather and at the earliest hint of him starting to do the same thing to his grandchildren was cut out of their lives forever by me because I had the courage to finally stand up to him. My own mother disowned me because of that. I lost two sisters over that. They are still captive to him.

I am definitely not a bad father and have been praised before on the forums for the way I parent in other discussions. I teach my kids that possessions like toys aren’t important. When I’m building something or fixing something on the house I include my daughter, and more recently my son now that he is old enough. I get them involved and allow them to gain a sense of pride from a job well done that they had a role in. When they have a question about the world I more often than not take the time to sit down with them and explain the basic science behind what is going on in a way that they can understand (including sketches on the iPad), along with related processes and how it all works together. I have been recruited to much higher paying jobs in my field (I am basically what is known as a unicorn, I do full stack web design and development and am also a photographer and app/print designer). I took a lower paying job at a university and is less stressful in a smaller town so that I can be with my family more (no overtime, 10-15 minute commute) and raise them in a safe place, while also building platforms and resources for people like George P. Smith who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry a few weeks ago and is working to make the world a better place.

And you know what? By the time you had written your comment I had already decided to give my daughter the one thousand dollar robot toy so stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Being a good father is a process that you have to work at it every day. I may not be father of the year but I’m definitely a contender, so get off my back and go find someone like my dad and harass them.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mcdj Avatar
36 months ago
Sphero is discontinuing its Disney partnership because the licensed toy business "required more resources" than it was worth...
In other words, Disney probably doubled or tripled the licensing fees.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
36 months ago
So the choice is whether to give your daughter something she'll love or making a few bucks. Is this a joke?

My polite response: Toys are meant to be played with. Give it to her and enjoy her happiness.
It’s a toy and $1000 is $1000. So you’re telling me that a week before Christmas someone shows up at your house and offers you $1000 to buy a toy you paid $60 for your kid for Christmas and you wouldn’t consider it, especially if you could use that money to get even more toys? She has other toys already lined up for Christmas and I would use part of the money to get her something nice. She already probably has too many toys. We buy a lot of extra toys second hand for our licensed daycare so there are a lot of toys around the house. That being said I don’t really need the $1000, I just grew up kinda poor so it still seems like a lot to me. My grandpa’s voice is in my head telling me to be cheap!

If you can get a grand, sell it. I'm sure you already have other Christmas presents for her and she won't miss what she doesn't know about. You can ask her if there's one thing she really, really wants and possibly get that for her. Guaranteed she'll enjoy it and you'll have money to spread further.
Yeah this is what I was thinking, I wasn’t quite sure if I would get that much, like if they are actually selling on Amazon (and I would be a new seller with 0% feedback) or if it would go down after Christmas? I could also do eBay but they’re only going for $350 there and at that point with the seller fee and potential risk and $60 I already spent, IDK if it’s worth the hassle. And so realistically that’s probably the truer market value.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...