In 1983, Hasbro began producing “My Little Pony” plastic toys that were primarily marketed to young girls. The original toy line ran for a dozen years, but as a video from the PBS biweekly Idea Channel web series notes, the 2010 fourth generation incarnation of the ponies led to a television program that appealed to a whole new audience: adult men. Fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” the animated television series that premiered on cable channel Hub TV that year, became known as “Bronies” with Wired magazine reporting that their love of the show led to “teenage, twenty- and thirtysomething guys … creating pony art, posting fan videos on YouTube and feeding threads on 4chan.” A 32-year-old computer programmer told Wired, “First we can’t believe this show is so good, then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life, then we can’t believe we’re walking down the pink aisle at Toys R Us or asking for the girl’s toy in our Happy Meal.”
One group of Bronies in the United Kingdom apparently pushed their adoration of the brand too far for Hasbro’s tastes when it began developing an MMO (massively multiplayer online) game called “My Little Pony Online.” However, in a post to the game’s official blog on December 15, 2012, the developers said they received a complaint about trademark and copyright infringement four weeks after releasing the first episode of the game.
“Hasbro is not to be blamed here,” the post authored by administrator ToastyJustice said. “As per U.S. Trademark law, as soon as an infringement comes to light, they are obligated to defend the trademark, or they will lose it. They had no choice in the matter, regardless of what they thought of the project or how it benefited them.”
The developers said that while “MLPOnline is officially dead and buried,” about 75 percent of the old team remains and they changed their name to Starlight Studios. The post also noted that the developers selected a new project that will be pony related, and they hope to have it completed in time for Bronycon 2013, an annual convention held on the east coast of the United States for fans of the television series.
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