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Toys and Tabletop Games

Sphero won't make BB-8, R2-D2 and other Disney robots anymore

Sad beeps.

sphero-bb-8-and-force-band-19.jpg

Chin up, BB-8. Sphero will support your app for another few years at least.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Star Wars fans tempted by Sphero's BB-8 better hurry, since the company is no longer making them.

The maker of toy robots is emptying its inventory of licensed Disney products and won't be producing more, CEO Paul Berberian told The Verge on Monday. So that's it for BB-8, evil twin BB-9E, R2-D2 and chatty Spider-Man.

Sphero confirmed it won't be renewing its Disney licenses and teased a new product to be revealed at CES in January.

"In 2019, we will not be renewing our Disney licenses," said Berberian in an emailed statement. "Look for a new product to be announced at CES that inspires creativity and taps into the A of STEAM learning." 

Sphero's three-year partnership with Disney is coming to an end as the company has found the licensed-toy business too resource-intensive. Berberian said sales of the robots were brisk in the immediate aftermath of the movies they were tied to, like The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but their popularity ebbed greatly as the movies left the pop culture limelight.

On Sphero's site, a note attached to listings for all its licensed Disney robots says: "This is a legacy product and no longer in production."

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Sphero will keep supporting the apps linked to its licensed products for two years or more, Berberian noted. But make sure you don't wait too long to watch The Force Awakens with BB-8.

The Boulder, Colorado, company will continue to roll toward education, since products in that sector tend to grow more popular over time, and to focus on getting into schools.

First published Dec. 18, 5:50 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:09 a.m. PT: Adds confirmation and comment from Sphero.

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