The line has been continuous in one country or another since its inception (with a technical break in 1996 when no new ponies were released), with newly redesigned ponies released in the U.S. in 1997 and again with the current line in 2003. For the current release, conceptual/toy designer Gayle Middleton was hired to redesign the MLP world for toys and licensing. Collectors refer to each line as a 'generation' (eg. G1 for 1982 to 1995, G2 for 1997 to 2003 and G3 for 2003 to the present).
The second-hand market price value for ponies fluctuates widely. The value of any given pony may either appreciate or depreciate at any time. Many individual ponies are not very valuable because they were manufactured in large numbers. Other toy companies have chosen to mimic My Little Pony designs (and in some cases use actual My Little Pony molds) and create what are commonly referred to as 'fakies,' a very few of which may be valuable to collectors, but most are worthless.
A veritable flood of licensed My Little Pony merchandise has been released for the current generation. The characters can be found on items ranging from bedding and home decor to clothing and dishware and school supplies. Plush ponies have been given away as theme park prizes and used in crane machines. There is a huge 3' plush pony line which was first available for sale in Australia (characters including Rainbow Dash, Minty, Sweetberry, and the special Kimono, which was used as a prize by Red Rooster Restaurants and Target, among others). McDonald's has also featured ponies in its Happy Meal promotions on more than one occasion, as have other fast food chains. Eight characters were used in the first U.S. McDonald's promotion, while other countries chain restaurants had only four.
Due to the 1980's nostalgia trend that is currently going on in the western world, My Little Pony merchandise aimed at adults have also appeared, including T-shirts depicting G1 ponies with such slogans as 'Livin' in the 80's' or 'I Love Rainbows.'
Hasbro sold the digital gaming rights to various properties (including Pony, Magic: The Gathering, Tonka, Playskool, and Transformers) to Infogrames for $100 million in 2000, buying back the rights for $65 million in June 2005.