NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- From innovative tech toys and licensed characters to enriching playthings that teach and inspire, 100 finalists for the prestigious 2017 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards were unveiled today by the Toy Industry Association (TIA). Between now and January 15, 2017, consumers can visit www.ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite toy picks in each of the 14 categories - including new categories for 2017, like Action Figure of the Year, Doll of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Vehicle of the Year. The TOTY winners will be announced in February. "This year's TOTY finalists represent the finest examples of play value, originality and innovation across the hundreds of companies that make the U.S. toy industry the strongest in the world," said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of the Toy Industry Association. "Perhaps most importantly, these outstanding nominees have brought joy, laughter and learning to millions of children and families around the globe. We send each TOTY finalist good wishes and look forward to honoring the top toys of the year at the TOTY Awards gala in just a few months!" This year's finalists were selected from 700 nominees submitted by more than 250 companies of all sizes. A more rigorous and transparent judging method was introduced this year, with 25 judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists, reviewing and ranking products in specific categories relevant to their areas of expertise. The judges then participated in a live discussion to debate any categories that did not draw an undisputed roster of finalists during the judging period. They considered each product's creativity, originality and innovation; design and promotion; excellence; and marketplace acceptance before narrowing the field to the slate of finalists.