Alas, Sphero’s BB-8, R2-D2, and other Disney-licensed robots will bleep and bloop no more. The Verge reports that Sphero has decided to clear out its remaining inventory of licensed toys—and no, it won’t be restocking any more.
In a statement to The Verge, Sphero CEO Paul Berberian said that while the toys did well soon after their related movie releases, interest just waned over time. And while the insanely adorable BB-8 reportedly sold millions of units, the company’s data reveals that most of them have collected dust since. (I too, am guilty as charged as my BB-8 is currently covered in an inch of dust on my TV stand.) Instead, Sphero seems to be shifting gears toward more education-focused robots like the Bolt.
All of this makes sense—cute home robots have had a pretty bad year—but it doesn’t make it any less sad. If you go onto Sphero’s websites, the listings for BB-8, R2-D2, Lightning McQueen, and Spider-Man products are unavailable and described as “legacy products and no longer in production.” Sad bleep blorp.
We reached out to Sphero for comment and will update if and when we hear back.
Update 12/18/2018 2:30 PM: Sphero provided the following statement from CEO Paul Berberian.
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.