the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is March 26 - April 2, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...

Happy Friday! 

There is a new feature in our POP PlayBase: Your Own Blog! Paul Fish is one of our many members using the POP Playbase as a business tool with which to post searchable blog entries. We will share some of them here and will soon feature top blogs on our POP PlayBase homepage

 

More features to come next week! In the meantime, enjoy Paul's Toy Stories... and join POP NOW!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

Dear Tim . . . Will People Ever Shop for Toys in a Store Again? tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments

It’s Palm Sunday afternoon as I write this, and I did what I always do on Palm Sunday…store check at Target, of course. It’s a particularly fun and festive time: T-minus 6 days until the baskets have to be filled, and parents are scooping up candy and pondering the plush aisle. And let’s not forget it’s our industry’s second-highest sales period of the year. It’s a good store check day.

 

I will be walking toy aisles until I keel over. I retired (twice, silly me), and I couldn’t kick the competitive crawl. As my wife and I would head into Walmart for a few quick things, I’d nod my head – you know – over there, and she’d just roll her eyes and tell me to call her when I was done.

 

First of all, you have to check out your own company’s stuff – on shelf, in-stock, priced right, picked through? Then you scan the aisles for any interesting new competitive entries, or ogle the awesome new LEGO Star Wars helmet display (it lights up! They got power to the plano!).  Read More...

University Games: Making the Rules and Breaking the Rules! tBR Company of the Week

(Happy 35th  Anniversary,

Bob Moog and University Games! )

University Games is well-known for being a board game company with an enduring presence and unique character. The company fittingly launched on a sunny, prank-filled day on April 1, 1985, when the company’s co-founders, Bob Moog and Cris Lehman, reminisced about how fun and learning were a part of their everyday lives as kids. As adults, they recognized a developing niche in social interaction and learning games.

 

The company philosophy has always been to offer games that encourage social interaction and imagination through gameplay, with learning sprinkled in to season the game. That same year, we introduced the Murder Mystery Party as our first game. Not the typical game, the Murder Mystery Party revolutionized what it meant to entertain: included in the box are story settings, well-thought-out character profiles, clues, evidence, a complete party planner, invitations to send to friends, and even menu suggestions.

 

36 years later, these parties-in-a-box continue to be enjoyed over dinner with friends, with family and over Zoom calls. Read More...

HOG WILD TOYS, 25 years of Wacky FUN! tBR Company of the Week

The journey from self-proclaimed funky, fun and functional company to playing in the “toy major leagues” has been an imaginative and irreverent trip for Hog Wild Toys.

 

25 years after opening its doors, the Oregon-based company is now on the way to expanding its footprint in the toy business. They’ve recently made impressive inroads in both the games and outdoor toys aisles, been recognized in the industry awards arena with both TAGIE and TOTY nominations, and made their mark as a go-to brand in the world of blaster toys with its ever-‘pop’ular Atomic Power Popper line.

 

That’s not to say that they’ve left their legacy of “irreverent” roots, where they proudly and loudly boast about embracing the absurd and rejecting the conventional.

Founded in 1996, Hog Wild Toys settled into a successful, cozy niche, producing bold, on-trend and quirky product lines. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

Twitter said to have held acquisition talks with Clubhouse on potential $4B deal. Twitter held talks with Clubhouse around a potential acquisition of the live drop-in audio networking platform, with a deal value somewhere around $4 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg. TechCrunch has also confirmed the discussions took place from a source familiar with the conversations.

British Retail Consortium responds to Covid status certificates proposal  The British Retail Consortium has joined growing opposition to the introduction of Covid status certificates for shoppers. As “nonessential” retailers, including toy shops, prepare to reopen next week, the BRC said checking Covid status certificates, or any form of documents, at the door would not be appropriate in a retail setting.

Stricken Suez ship Ever Given owner declares General Average  Despite no reported loss of cargo and minimal damage to the vessel when it got stuck in the Suez Canal, the cost of salvage operation and possible compensation claims are expected to amount to a sizeable bill. The maritime principle of General Average is one of the most established and widely recognised laws in relation to shipping. 

OOOOO - a new step in eCommerce  Toy World finds out what innovative new ‘entertainment commerce’ platform OOOOO offers, how it works and why toy companies should get involved.  The OOOOO premise is deceptively simple; the mobile app-based entertainment commerce platform lets users watch content and buy the products featured quickly and easily by tapping on an icon that adds it to their basket. If QVC and TikTok had a baby, it would probably look something like OOOOO.

(the above posted after April 2nd)

French police on trail of international gang of Lego looters. Three suspects reportedly said they were part of team specialising in stealing collectible sets. French police say they are building a case against an international gang of toy thieves specialising in stealing Lego – and they have warned specialist shops and even parents to be aware of a global trade in the bricks.

Retailers enjoying Easter boost. Easter celebrations look set to rival Christmas this year, as the holiday marks the first time for months that many families and friends will be able to get together. The BBC reports that ‘shoppers are pulling out the stops to make the most of the chance to escape lockdown misery’, with some even going so far as to put up an Easter tree with decorations. 

A new lawsuit could change how Amazon does business with 3rd-party sellers forever. Amazon's e-commerce empire relies on third-party sellers, but the company has long held that it is not responsible when products from these independent merchants turn up counterfeit, defective, or even dangerous. But a brewing lawsuit may change all that, and alter how Amazon and other e-commerce players do business...

Argos reports booming toy sales as delayed celebrations take place. In addition to higher Easter spending, 41% of Argos shoppers said they had increased spending on this year’s special occasions to £100 or more. In a nationwide poll, six in ten shoppers told Argos they were ‘going big’ on special occasions such as Easter. Data from Argos has revealed that they are spending more than double the amount on Easter treats...

Consumers spend $32b on apps in Q1 2021 - App Annie. App Annie revealed this week that in the first quarter of 2021, consumers have spent $32 billion on in-app purchases on both iOS and Google Play globally. Consumers spent a total of $21 billion on iOS and $11 billion on Google Play respectively. As for gaming specifically, App Annie reported customer spending rose 32% to $22 billion for the quarter. 

Fortnite maker Epic Games targets $1.7 billion in fundraisingEpic Games Inc. is in advanced talks to raise as much as $1.7 billion, which would double the fundraising haul over the last year for the maker of the popular shooting game Fortnite.The terms value the business at about $28 billion, people familiar with the discussions said. The company has already secured commitments of more than $1 billion, and ...

Controversial Hololens military deal moves into production phase at $22B. Once demoed as augmented reality hardware for use with video games like Minecraft, Microsoft is moving forward with a $22 billion Hololens deal with the U.S. Army that will put the militarized version of the headset into production. While Hololens wasn't made exclusively for video game applications, when introduced in 2015 it was marketed ...

Gameplay capture platform Lowkey raises $7 million and launches new mobile appGameplay capture platform Lowkey has raised $7 million through a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Lowkey allows users to watch, capture, and edit short gaming videos that can be shared online, and is being pitched as a way for creatives to capture footage that can be shared on social apps like Instagram, ...

Nexon sinks $874 million into Hasbro, Bandai Namco, Konami, and Sega Sammy. Maplestory publisher Nexon has invested $874 million in Hasbro, Bandai Namco, Konami, and Sega Sammy. The Tokyo-based company described the move as a series of "long-term friendly investments with no intention of acquisition to activism," and indicated it picked those four companies because of their "well-managed global IP." 

Giant ship blocking Suez Canal is freed; incident on key trade route cost the global economy billions of dollars. The mammoth cargo carrier blocking the Suez Canal was finally freed on Monday afternoon, nearly a week after it wedged sideways, blocking a key waterway and causing billions of dollars worth of damage to global trade. Ship tracking data showed the Ever Given heading north at a speed....

UK Toyshops among retailers allowed to open until 10pm: indie retailers reactAnnouncing the temporary measures, communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “To support businesses to reopen and recover, I’ve extended measures to allow shops to stay open for longer. This is part of a package of support to help reopen our shops and high streets safely, backed by £56m.” 

Nordisk Games acquires 30% stake in Supermassive. "There are few studios better at creating rich, narrative-driven games, built around unique stories and IPs," said Nordisk MD. Nordisk Games has acquired a minority ownership share in Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games. Nordisk, which already owns Avalanche Studios and 40% of MercurySteam among others, will hold a 30.7% ownership in the studio. 

505 Games acquires Ghostrunner franchise and tech licenses for $5.8 million. 505 Games has acquired the Ghostrunner IP from Polish publisher All In Games for €5 million ($5.8 million). The Italian company worked with All In Games to co-publish the fast-paced cyberpunk slasher, developed by Polish studio One More Level.  According to a translated press release, 505 Games will take full control of the property ...

Sandbox & Co. acquires edutainment company Fingerprint. Sandbox & Co. has acquired children's entertainment company Fingerprint, the company announced this week. The acquisition combines Fingerprint's content and subscription services along with Sandbox's portfolio of global brands. This has led to the formation of Sandbox Kids, which Fingerprint CEO Nancy MacIntyre will lead. 

newyork-toy-600px-x-400px.jpg

 

Program Highlights

  • A++ rated insurer, $20 Billion in assets

  • Exceeds Wal-Mart and other leading retailers insurance requirements

  • Variable rate based on sales projections

  • Foreign & Domestic Liability coverage

  • Blanket additional insured vendors

  • Employee benefits liability

  • All certificates and claims handled in house

  • Quick quotation turnaround

  • Product recall expense $250,000 limit

 

Additional Coverage

  • Umbrella up to $50,000,000

  • Ocean Cargo & Property

  • Commercial Auto

  • Lead coverage

  • Intellectual properties (copyrights, trademarks, & patents)

  • Credit Insurance

  • US Customs Bond Insurance

  • Health Insurance

Call us today at 800-392-6958 (ext. 318)

for a free consultation and quotation for your business needs.

185 Newman Springs Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

Contact: Jason Welch: tel: 732-842-2012 (ext. 318), fax 732-530-7080, jawelch@york-jersey.com or Bob Witkin bobwitkin@york-jersey.com

Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Rick Derr's April Letter from America - This month, Rick looks at how the latest crazes are driving sales for indies in the US.

History in the making… and playing: How the pandemic has shaped toy trends of the future

(the above posted after April 2nd)

The magic of tech: the latest digital trends and what they mean for retail and gaming . . . . . Preparations for a summer of British back gardens helps retail sales to ‘modest comeback’, in ONS’ latest data . . . . . Mattel’s Christopher Keenan Talks Preschool Trends

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Sumo revenue jumps 40% as it eyes more acquisitions . . . . . . PUBG Mobile's lifetime revenues pass $5bn . . . . . Lego reports massive increase in sales in 2020 . . . . . After Beeple’s $69.3M NFT trade, Funko could be next to Pop . . . . . Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) Given Average Rating of "Buy" by Analysts . . . . . Here’s Why Mattel (MAT) Became a Strong Performer in Longleaf’s Q4 2020 Portfolio

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Nintendo reportedly expecting another record year for software, with a series of major games. Nintendo is reportedly expecting to ship 250 million units of software in its next fiscal year – comfortably beating its existing all-time records – thanks to a line-up of (mostly unconfirmed) blockbuster games. Per anonymous sources of Bloomberg, Nintendo has briefed some partners and suppliers on its expectations for April 2021 to March 2022, and set expectations of shipping 250 million games.

$676.64 million in sales expected for Mattel, Inc.this quarter. Equities research analysts forecast that Mattel, Inc. will report sales of $676.64 million for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $718.10 million and the lowest estimate coming in at $640.00 million. Mattel reported sales of $594.10 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 13.9%.

$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.

Hasbro, Inc. forecasted to post FY2024 earnings of $6.58 per shareHasbro, Inc. - Jefferies Financial Group issued their FY2024 earnings estimates for shares of Hasbro in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, March 9th. Jefferies Financial Group analyst S. Wissink forecasts that the company will post earnings per share of $6.58 for the year. 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Watch the trailer for heartwarming Sesame Street documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. Today's trailer is brought to you by the letters "E" and "W." The documentary features more than 20 interviews with many of the minds behind the show, as well as archival behind-the-scenes footage from its earliest days, as well as a look at the art of the puppetry that brings it all to life.

Opinion | Making augmented a reality: How AR is empowering future generations of play. With brands like Pokémon and LEGO paving the way for toy manufacturers (big and small) to bring augmented reality into their products, and as the technology continues to blend hands-on play with endless digital universes, it’s small wonder why the AR toy trend has caught the imagination of so many. Here, Martin Herdina....

The 6 Ps of Being A Great D&D DMBeing a DM is one of the best parts about playing Dungeons & Dragons, in my opinion. When someone comes to me and asks “What do I need to do to be a great Dungeon Master?”, I always fall back on a tried and tested model – the 6 Ps. These are some quick Dungeon Master tips and tools you can use to make sure that you are covering all of the bases as a DM.

(the above posted after April 2nd)

John Baluch, ToyWorld (UK) - Bring me sunshine… it’s the Friday Blog (on a Thursday)! As Easter approaches, most of the UK has been basking in glorious sunshine for the past couple of days. I doubt I am the only person who has been WFG (working from the garden). A stream of phone calls, advance planning for our forthcoming bumper May edition and a chance to kick back and read our April print issue have....

Facebook’s Instagram for Kids Will Be Money. Its potential Instagram-like app for children could pay off handsomely. Investors should know better by now than to accept a big move by a social-media company as solely altruistic. Facebook has confirmed it is exploring the development of an Instagram-like app for children under 13 to enable them to keep up with family and friends in a safe and ad-free environment.

Opinion | Foundation of success: What can retailers learn from the LEGO approach? As global pandemics go, the onset of Coronavirus, while forcing many to navigate a treacherously rocky road to begin with, hasn’t fared too badly for the toy industry; a global business that has provided support and entertainment to families and children worldwide. Among some of the last year’s biggest successes was LEGO, who ...

Board games retailers can use as a customer on-ramp to miniaturesBoard games featuring miniatures or based around miniatures properties can be a useful tool to help introduce board game enthusiasts and non-wargamers to miniatures product lines.  These gateway games often have scenario-driven elements or outright board game mechanics combined with stripped-down miniatures skirmish rules. 

Amazing Toys R Us Transformers pop-up store opens in Hong Kong. Toys "R" Us in Hong Kong has opened a pop-up Transformers retail store IN the Windsor House Shopping Mall in Hong Kong, China. The store itself looks more like a playground with big figures from the Cyberverse series including Optimus Prime, Megatron, and of course Bumblebee. The store will be opened from March 25th to May 2nd, 2021 with...

Women soldiers finally get their due in toy industry. While women have served in the Army since its incarnation, women soldiers have been missing from the army of children’s imaginations. Until now. The little green Army man, who faces combat in backyards, bedrooms and backseats will finally be joined by the little green Army woman. A toy manufacturer recently announced that his company will be producing little...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Where’s the Fun From? – Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em RobotsIn this installment from his YouTube series, Where’s the Fun From?, Guest Contributor, author, documentary filmmaker, and toy industry veteran Tim Walsh tells the origin story of one of the most fantastic pieces of plastic ever created, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Tim Walsh recently founded a new game company called Roo Games. Additional Where’s the Fun From? episodes are available on his Seize the Play YouTube channel.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle original art goes prime time at Bruneau & Co. An ink and watercolor original artwork by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brought $13,800 at Bruneau & Co’s March 27 sale. The work was featured in the 1985 issue 23 of the comic launched by Mirage Studios only one year earlier. The comic would go on to have a 30-year run until its last issue in 2014, inspiring ...

Satellite Launcher from Ideal. In 1957, Ideal launched its own space race with the release of Satellite Launcher. The Launcher was made of high-impact plastic in bright colours and measured 17-inches long x 6 ¾-inches high x 6-1/2-inches wide. With a Batmobile-esque base, the toy was mobile and could be rolled by a child to a launch location of their choice. 

List of Vintage Toy Makers & Manufacturers. This list of vintage toy manufacturers starts in the mid 1800s and continues into present day. This list included Marx, Schoenhut, Hasbro and 105 more. Hopefully this list comes in handy when you’re out and about at the antique mall. If there are some major toy manufactures that are not listed here, please leave the info in the comments section below so I can add it to the list.

Toy stories: 100 years of American toy adverts – in pictures.  A detail from an advert for toy cars made by the Hubley Manufacturing Company, 1936. Photograph: The Jim Heimann Collection / Taschen publishers​​.  From electric train sets to Arnold Schwarzenegger action heroes, a new book from Taschen brings together American toy adverts of the 20th century. “Whenever you ask someone, ‘What was your favourite ...

Funko reveals NFT plans but not everyone is happy. Funko, makers of ridiculously popular pop culture toys, is wading into the NFT market, with plans to launch its first non-fungible tokens in June. Though NFTs have been controversial, not least for their focus on digital ownership rather than physical collecting, Funko argues that its strategy will combine both more affordable tokens with the vinyl toys it’s known for. 

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_3_SEL

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

MarVista Entertainment has signed a multi-picture deal with NY’s MiMO Studios to co-produce at least 5 live-action kids movies. As part of the agreement, MarVista will represent the new MiMO titles and seek acquisition, financing, production and distribution partners for them. MiMO will also develop and co-produce content based on MarVista’s existing IP library. 

(the above posted after April 2nd)

Jazwares, Hasbro Hit the Gas with Micro Machines General Motors Vehicles. Jazwares and Hasbro are introducing licensed vehicles into the Micro Machines collection in the modern era for the first time. Officially licensed rides were a staple of the original Galoob Micro Machines of the ’80s and ’90s, and this time around it’s General Motors (GM) providing the iconic cars that are being zapped with the shrink ray. 

Back to the Future comes to Hot Toys with new Cosbaby figuresBack to the Future returns as Hot Toys has announced new Cosbaby figures are coming soon for the hit sci-fi film. Both of your favorite time travelers are back with Doc Brown and Marty McFly getting the Cosbaby treatment. Both figures are designed after the beginning scenes of the film when they test out the DeLorean time machine with Einstein. 

CreateOn & Dr. Seuss partner for Magna-Tiles sets. CreateOn, the colorful creation studio that transforms Magna-Tiles into innovative new applications for kids and grownups with popular licenses and custom personalization, announces a partnership with iconic children’s author and brand, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, a leading children’s entertainment company representing the legacy of iconic author Dr. Seuss.

Garbage Pail Kids join Super Impulse Micro Figure line. Super Impulse has expanded their Micro Figure line to include the “gross out” characters from Garbage Pail Kids. The Garbage Pail Kids Micro Pop Figures, the original line from Topps, are now available in micro-sized figures, with nostalgic roots and over-the-top zaniness that will appeal to kids, adult collectors, and pop culture junkies. T

Kidicraft unveils new Plush and 3D Puzzle collection. A new addition to Kidicraft’s portfolio, the Plush and 3D Puzzle range includes four plush characters that each accompany a 300-piece Prime 3D puzzle. The Plush and 3D Puzzle range includes four characters that are sure to be popular: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Batman and Superman. 

Zag inks ‘Miraculous’ new consumer products deals with Crayola, Kid Designs, more. Business is booming for ZAG’s Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir in the U.S. Following the news that Disney Channel picked up seasons four and five of the hit animated series, ZAG Executive Vice President, Global Operations Julian Zag revealed that the company has inked new licensing deals to extend the brand into new product ...

Spacetoon, Pocket.Watch ink pact for ‘Love, Diana’Love, Diana is expanding internationally thanks to a new deal between pocket.watch and Spacetoon. Spacetoon will serve as the master consumer products licensing agent for the Love, Diana brand across the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) in an effort to deliver new toys and other products to kids throughout the region. 

Pop in a Box releases exclusive Marvel Poison Captain America Funko Pop! vinyl figure. Online retailer Pop in a Box has just launched a new and exclusive Marvel Comics Poison Captain America Funko Pop! Vinyl Figure, perfect for any rare Marvel Pop! collection. The Pop! is based on the Marvel Comics Hive Arc, when a group of inter-dimensional creatures known as Poisons invade Earth-17952 and assimilate with Venomized...

Marvel announces 'Marvel: Avengers Mech Strike' short-form content and licensing program. Marvel announced the Marvel: Avengers Mech Strike short-form content series and themed licensing program for kids' products. According to a License Global interview with Paul Gitter, SVP of Marvel Licensing, Marvel will be launching eight different short-form Marvel: Avengers Mech Strike series on the Marvel HQ ...

Epic and Hasbro team to launch Fortnite ‘The Foundation’ figurine. Epic Games has partnered with Hasbro to launch a new Fortnite figurine based on an iconic character from the Zero Point Crisis storyline: The Foundation. The figurine measures 6" in height and can be posed using any of its 20 points of articulation. As you’d expect, the company is also limiting the number of units that can be ordered by a single customer. 

Storypod officially launches in the U.S., teases licensing deals. Following a massively successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the Storypod screen-free audio player is officially for sale in the U.S. Storypod is a 360-degree speaker that kids can use to listen to classic and original stories, songs, and rhymes that are activated using 3.5-inch yarn figures called Crafties. “The dominance of screens in our lives is a particular...

LEGO reveals its Dark Side with the launch of its LEGO Star Wars Helmets collectionThe LEGO Group has unveiled three new LEGO Star Wars construction sets for adult builders to recreate some of the most iconic designs from the Star Wars galaxy, including two new additions to the LEGO Star Wars helmet collection. First revealed last year, the helmet collection features a bust inspired by Darth Vader and a helmet...

Godzilla NFT collectibles headed to Topps’ WAX BlockchainTopps Digital continues to introduce new products on the WAX Blockchain. Topps is celebrating Toho’s franchise by bringing the studio’s monsters, including Godzilla, to NFTs via the WAX blockchain on March 31. In May 2020, Topps announced a partnership with the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX). On March 31, 2021, at 1 p.m. ET, T

Bicycle Games will release 'The Mandalorian Theory 11 Playing Cards'. Bicycle Games will release three new themed sets of Theory 11 playing cards in late Q2. The Mandalorian Theory 11 Playing Cards will come in a Beskar-colored box with an embossed Mandalorian helmet and The Child on it. The Avengers Theory 11 Playing Cards come in a cosmic foil box. The 007 Theory 11 Premium Playing Cards deck comes...

Osmo joins forces with Philadelphia Union to merge STEAM learning, sports. Osmo is getting into a whole new game. The award-winning STEAM educational brand has entered into a multiyear partnership with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. Under the new deal, the maker of educational games for kids ages 3-10 and up will merge sports and learning in a program built around three main community platforms. 

ZAG & CrazyLabs re-team for Miraculous mobile game. Following the global success of the first official mobile game Miraculous Ladybug & Cat Noir, ZAG Games has partnered again with game developer and publisher CrazyLabs—the #3 worldwide top game publisher in 2020 by global downloads (App Annie)—to create a second mobile game for the property, Miraculous Ladybug Puzzle RPG. 

L.O.L. Surprise! joins the world of Roblox. L.O.L .Surprise! is moving into the Roblox world, bringing the dolls’ fashions, surprises and personalities to game play. L.O.L. Surprise! Official Party is a kid-safe digital game that marks the first doll collection to bring renowned global gaming influencers into the experience of playing directly with fans. 

nancy lombardi ad.540x250.jpg

People . . . 

The “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes David Capon, president of FoxMind Games, the company behind the viral hits Go Pop! and Pop-It! On the show, Capon discusses the invention of Go Pop! and the massive trend of poppable fidget toys that FoxMind Games is currently in the midst of. Additionally, Albritton and Capon discuss the critical components of creating games that...

Inspired by sibling, teen inventor combines shirts and fidget toys. One afternoon, Jose Rodriguez Jr. watched as his little brother Joel scrambled in searching for his fidget toy. The fidget toy is important for Joel, who has Asperger's Syndrome and likes to play with it to relax. That’s when an idea struck Rodriguez: What if he could find a better way for Joel and others with autism to keep track of their fidget toys? 

Disney Branded Television has promoted Lauren Kisilevsky to SVP of original movies and expanded her remit to include developing and overseeing production on a growing slate of new movies for Disney Channels and Disney+. Kisilevsky joined Disney Channels in 2010 as VP of original movies, mainly overseeing films for the linear channels, including the Descendants and Zombies franchises.

LA-based edutainment company Encantos has brought in Scott Traylor as its new chief product officer, with responsibility for overseeing product development and supporting its go-to-market strategies. Prior to joining the Encantos team, Traylor founded tech company 360KID and worked as a strategic consultant. Over the course of his career, he's created products for companies such as Sesame Workshop, Scholastic and...

SPIN MASTER NOMINATES ED CLARK, MAX RANGEL TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS. The company nominated former TD Bank Group President and CEO Ed Clark and Spin Master Global President and CEO Max Rangel to stand for election at its annual general meeting on May 6. Clark is on deck to join the board as deputy chair while Rangel will serve as a director.

(the above posted after April 2nd)

Doug Schwalbe hangs his own shingle  The Co-Production Company is already at work on shows with YouNeek and Superprod, but the former DreamWorks exec is looking to make more scripted live-action shows for kids. When he left DreamWorks in October, someone offered Doug Schwalbe (pictured) a small piece of advice: “Don’t try to be clever. Name your company something straightforward.” 

Brian Simpson to move on from Toytown Toytown's head of buying for just under a decade, Brian has decided the time is right to take on a new challenge outside the toy industry. Speaking openly with Toy World last night, Alan Simpson, Toytown’s managing director and Brian’s father, said that while the news was something of a surprise to him, Brian goes with his total blessing and best wishes for the future.

Meet "Mr. Hot Wheels," the Legend Behind Every Car-Loving Kid's Favorite Toy. Our kids club, R&T Crew, got an inside look at Larry Wood's most beloved designs. "Mr. Hot Wheels" Larry Wood has been a part of the Hot Wheels team for over 51 years. He has loved cars since he was a kid and says he gets his design inspiration from a range of different places, including blockbuster movies, cultural icons, fantasies, and even...

Pandemic’s creator is making a board game about climate change. Matt Leacock’s next board challenges you to stave off climate chaos by cutting emissions and increasing resilience. But can the climate crisis be turned into a compelling game? Leacock is now designing a detailed cooperative board game called Climate Crisis, along with Matteo Menapace, a cooperative game creator based in the UK.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Chris and Jennifer Armstrong of Solid Roots. The family-focused company produces games, including Mind the Gap, Hipsterology, and Trapped, alongside the Hangup + Hangout Device Detox Box. On the show, the Armstrongs explain how they turned the classic white elephant gift game into a marketable product, and how Jennifer’s live event...

Kim Culmone, SVP and global head of design Barbie and fashion dolls at Mattel Is Revolutionizing The Way Barbie Empowers Children Through Doll Play, Neuroscience.  Ninety-eight percent of girls feel immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way, and 74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone. Barbie, a flagship brand of Mattel, Inc., has committed to providing girls the resources needed...

Kickstarter vice president and head of community Luke Crane is departing the company after launching, and quickly canceling, a controversial game project on the crowdfunding platform in February. Kickstarter confirmed Crane’s departure, which it described as a “mutual decision,” in a statement to Polygon. The project in question was a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) collection titled The Perfect RPG

Roominate Sales Tripled After the STEM Toy Company Appeared on 'Shark Tank'. Avid Shark Tank viewers might remember Roominate, the STEM-friendly toy line that entrepreneurs Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen pitched to the “sharks” back in a 2014 episode, during the ABC series’ sixth season. Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner took the bait and offered the duo $500,000 in exchange for a 5-percent equity stake in the company...

Dan Bock brings Powernine inventory to TCGplayerDan Bock is putting his $20 million worth of Magic: The Gathering inventory on the TCGplayer platform and joining the company as an advisor, the company announced.  Bock is a past Magic Pro Tour player, the owner of PowerNine Company, and owns more Power Nine cards, including Black Lotus cards, than any other person or company.  

Activision Blizzard will appoint Armin Zerza as its new CFO. Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard will name Armin Zerza as its new chief financial officer following the retirement of Dennis Durkin. Zerza currently serves as chief commercial officer of Activision Blizzard and chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. He will assume his new role of CFO during the second fiscal quarter after current CFO Durkin...

Activision Blizzard hires former Trump administration 'bully' Brian Bulatao. Activision Blizzard has quietly hired a former member of the Trump administration to be its new chief administrative officer. The news comes as the company public announced the appointment of a new CFO. As reported by Kotaku, the Call of Duty publisher has brought in Brian Bulatao, who was previously under Secretary of State...

GameStop hires Amazon executive as chief growth officer. GameStop Corp said on Tuesday it named Amazon.com Inc executive Elliott Wilke as chief growth officer, the latest top level appointment after shareholder Ryan Cohen took charge of the video game retailer's e-commerce pivot. The company's shares, which were at the heart of a Reddit-driven retail trading frenzy early this year, rose nearly 5% in pre-market trading. 

Certain Affinity hires Dan Ayoub to head Toronto studioCertain Affinity announced today that Dan Ayoub has joined the developer's Canadian operations. Ayoub will serve as the vice president and general manager of Certain Affinity's Toronto studio, which it opened in 2019. Most recently he was general manager of education at Microsoft. Prior to that, he was the former external studio head at 343 Industries and has...

Kidicraft is delighted to appoint Graham Burnett sales agent for Scotland to meet the demands of rapid growth at the co. Graham brings with him a wealth of industry experience as he has been working in the toy, craft and stationery industry for the last 15 years in Scotland and the North of England. A well known figure to retailers, he has a well-established network of customers that will now be able to benefit...

540 x 250.gif.gif

Companies . . .

WarnerMedia’s CEO says that in 2022 his movies will debut in theaters before they stream. A chat with Jason Kilar, who wants to unwind his controversial streaming plan. A few months ago, WarnerMedia upended Hollywood by streaming all of its new movies on HBO Max on the same day they debuted in theaters.  Now it wants to put the genie back in the bottle. 

HASBRO UNVEILS ‘SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS’ TOY COLLECTIONIn recent years, Hasbro’s G.I. Joe brand has been a largely collector-focused endeavor, particularly with last year’s launch of the 6-inch scale G.I. Joe: Classified line and the 3.75-inch G.I. Joe Retro Collection. On Aug. 1, a new collection of kid-focused toys will begin hitting stores and they’re inspired by Paramount Pictures’ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Small World - Zuru talks to Toy World about 5 Surprise Mini Brands Toy World spoke to Will Collinson, UK general manager at Zuru, to find out exactly why small is so big this year.  “In a matter of weeks, Mini Brands shot into the top 30 ranking items in NPD, which, given the low ASP, is remarkable,” enthuses Will. “We therefore expect Toy Mini Brands to follow suit. If brand growth in the USA is anything to go by – which...

Moose Toys Partners with Super League Gaming for Special Minehut Gameplay. Super League Gaming is bringing Moose Toys’ Heroes of Goo Jit Zu and Treasure X: Ninja Gold brands to the digital world of Minehut in honor of its “Spring Break” gameplay program. The in-game event runs through April 11, and features two special challenges inspired by the Goo Jit Zu and Treasure X universes.

DR. SEUSS CELEBRATES ‘THE LORAX’ WITH SUSTAINABLE BRAND PARTNERSHIPS. Dr. Seuss Enterprises is celebrating Earth Day in a big way by honoring the 50th anniversary of The Lorax. The beloved tale of the title character who “speaks for the trees” is taking center stage in a new lineup of eco-friendly toys and consumer products, including home decor, pet toys, apparel, publishing, and more.

Geomagworld magnetic learning and creative toys, including the Geomag and Magicube lines, have been awarded  STEM.org Trustmarks. In an era where STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) branding is being applied to a multitude of different products from different makers, STEM.org seeks to review and analyze new toys using a strict set of guidelines. 

SPIN MASTER LAUNCHES TOY RECYCLING PROGRAM WITH TERRACYCLE. “As a global company that creates innovative toys and games that inspire magical play experiences, we recognize the need to help preserve our environment for the benefit of the children we entertain today and for generations to come,” says Tammy Smitham, vice president of communications and corporate citizenship, Spin Master.

BriteBrush Introduces New Elmo Toothbrush for Kids. Brushing teeth is about to become a lot more fun BriteBrush, winner of three top parenting awards and the Good Housekeeping Editor’s Choice for Best Smart Toothbrush for Kids, has introduced a new edition featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo, advancing their mission to make it fun to brush right and instill healthy habits for the whole family.

Spin Master Corp. has issued its second annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. With a vision of bringing kids and families together through the timeless magic of play, Spin Master seeks to be an inclusive employer, enhance the communities in which it operates and minimize environmental impacts with efforts in four CSR key areas: products, people, community, and environment. “When we published our...

LOL Surprise Official Party, a kid-safe digital game is now available on Roblox, offering fans interactive doll characters with outfits, accessories, dance-offs, challenges, and more. Fans can enjoy a free gaming experience that includes a wide range of features, including interactive doll characters, which allow players to mix and match LOL Surprise outfits and accessories, fun dance offs, surprising challenges...

The Insights People rebrands as The Insights Family and launches Portal 4.0. The kids’, parents, and family market intelligence outfit, The Insights People has officially rebranded as The Insights Family, with a renewed purpose of ‘being the voice of children. parents, and families,’ as well as a ‘business-critical partner for the world’s top brands.’  The company, which provides real-time data on their attitudes, behaviour, and...

Toys R Us could be plotting a theme park. After a failed comeback last year, Toys R Us may have a return plan that’s bigger than ever. Like other physical stores, the 73-year-old toy store chain struggled as consumer tastes and shopping patterns changed. A 2017 bankruptcy (forced by private equity vultures who bought the chain in 2005 and saddled it with billions in debt) led to the entire chain closing all U.S.-based...

HOT WHEELS INTRODUCES THE MATTEL GAMES MINI COLLECTION. Some iconic Mattel Games are racing into the diecast aisle as part of a new Mini Collection in the Hot Wheels mainline assortment. The 2021 Mattel Games collection wraps an assortment of five Hot Wheels cars in special deco to honor classic games from the Mattel portfolio, including UNOMagic 8 Ball, and Pictionary. 

(the above posted after April 2nd)

Little Tikes launches new partnership with webuyanycar.com for its iconic Cozy Coupe. Little Tikes has finally partnered with webuyanycar.com to launch a brand new online car buying service that allows owners of the much-loved Little Tikes Cozy Coupe to sell their pre-loved toy car. The site, webuyanycozycoupe.com has gone live today, April 1st, and will accept any model and age of Cozy Coupe... 

AURORA WORLD CELEBRATES ECO NATION SUCCESS WITH MID-YEAR PLUSH ADDITIONSEco Nation toys are super-soft plush crafted from fabric and fiber fills made from 100% recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or plastic bottles. Each one features embroidered eyes in lieu of plastic, and they come with labels, hang tags, packaging and displays that are also made from 100% recycled materials.

Moose Toys’ ScrunchMiez Takes Hair Wear to the Next Level. Moose Toys is expanding its wearable product line with ScrunchMiez, dynamic hair accessories that are styleable, collectible, and playable, all in one. Each scrunchie can transform from a hair tie to a small, cuddly animal plush. A matching colored clip helps tighten-up braids and ponytails, but can also attach to the back of the plush for wearability.

Wow! Stuff signs global rights for Love, Diana Continuing its top tier pre-school licence acquisitions, Wow! Stuff has acquired the global rights for the Love, Diana brand. With over 4.4b monthly views on YouTube and over 180m active subscribers, Love, Diana licensed merchandise is already selling fast at retail.

TALKIN’ TOYS: YWOW BRANDS CEO DISCUSSES NOVELTY PUZZLES AND PACKAGING INNOVATIONS. YWOW Brands makes novelty puzzles that stand out thanks to the company’s attention to detail, such as eco-friendly packaging with DIY elements that kids can repurpose and puzzles that come in funky shapes rather than a typical square or rectangle. The Toy Book spoke with the company’s CEO Michele Rudelli to discuss ...

University Games unveils first ever all female Subbuteo  The Lionesses make history as the first ever all female Subbuteo Main Game will be launched to the UK market this May. 2021 will see a UK-first ... The fully licensed Official England Lionesses Subbuteo Main Game will contain the 11-player Lionesses Team and an 11-player Red and White Team, along with the Subbuteo pitch, ball and goal sets.

VTech partners with Save the Children VTech has collaborated with Save the Children to organise events across multiple countries to support vulnerable children in need globally. VTech has pledged to donate US$1 to Save the Children for every baby monitor and toy sold through its online shops in Canada and Hong Kong and every baby monitor sold through its online shop in the US.

Kangaru Toys plans expanded licensing offering to the UK and Europe through Two in 1 DirectTwo in 1 Direct has detailed a new licensed segment from the international scented stationery, toys, and activities specialist, Kangaru Toy, following the recent news that it would handling the outfit’s UK business. Kangaru will be making its UK debut at what it has billed ‘an exciting stage of the company’s development,’...

Brainstorm eyes growth of StikBot spin-off range Klikbot as multi-category range hits the right notesBrainstorm is putting its Easter eggs in the Klikbot basket, with expectations for the continued growth of the popular StikBot spin-off range thanks to this season’s launch of Klikbot Kreatures and Klikbot Zanimation Studio. The latest extensions to the brand arrive as Brainstorm’s popular StikBot line continues to ...

Popeye deluxe set from Mezco Toyz. Mezco Toyz has expanded its articulated action figure line with Popeye the Sailor and his nautical crew. Everyone’s favorite one-eyed sailor comes in a deluxe box set along with Olive Oyl, Bluto, and Rough House, as well as a playset designed to resemble Rough House’s Café. Several of the highly detailed figures come with accessories.

Asmodee launches Love Your Game Store UK campaign  The nationwide Love Your Game Store campaign will encourage consumers back into games retailers from April 12th with prize incentives. From 12th April to 31st May, anyone who makes an in-person purchase in a participating independent retailer can enter themselves into a random draw, from which one lucky winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize.

TTPM Announces the Launch of TheToyAuthority on TikTok. Dedicated to featuring on-trend, fun, and buzzworthy products, TheToyAuthority is the new premier destination for toy launches, in a format never seen before. TTPM, the leading video product reviewer for toys, baby gear, and pet gear, is expanding their digital toy expertise to a new platform: TikTok! 

ZAG INKS ‘MIRACULOUS’ NEW CONSUMER PRODUCTS DEALS WITH CRAYOLA, KID DESIGNS, MORE. Business is booming for ZAG’s Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir in the U.S. Following the news that Disney Channel picked up seasons four and five of the hit animated series, ZAG Executive Vice President, Global Operations Julian Zag revealed that the company has inked new licensing deals to extend the brand...

PlayMonster LLC and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) inked a partnership deal for Snap Ships that will bring the intergalactic building fun to the Cub Scouts. A Cub Scouts Modular Design & Build Preview Adventure will launch this year in which kids will learn modular design with and without instructions using Snap Ships. Additionally, PlayMonster will provide 10,000 Snap Ships samples to kids attending BSA day camps...

HwaHwa Studio expands Meoshi World globally With popularity on the rise for K-pop and Korean culture in general, the timing seems right to bring the book-based IP to international audiences, says Lima Kim. HwaHwa inked its first international publishing deal this week, giving LA’s Jokar Productions the license to publish and distribute its range of Korean supernatural creature encyclopedias in the US and LatAm, and to...

OnBuy appoints chief commercial officer as company expands. OnBuy has announced the appointment of Mark Lister as chief commercial officer as part of a series of C-suite hires to oversee the growing company. OnBuy announced its best year so far in 2020, which saw it achieve 605% year to date growth. The marketplace continues to grow and achieved 830% year on year growth in February this year.

Kidicraft unveils new Plush and 3D Puzzle collectionA new addition to Kidicraft's portfolio, the Plush and 3D Puzzle range includes four plush characters that each accompany a 300-piece Prime 3D puzzle. The Plush and 3D Puzzle range includes four characters that are sure to be popular: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Batman and Superman. Each Plush & Puzzle SKU has an appealing plush character which stands...

Visit the 'Cursed City' in new 'Warhammer Quest' Warhammer Quest:  Cursed City will be the next title in Games Workshop’s series of miniatures-based adventure board games.  It will be available for pre-order starting this weekend. Set in the city of Ulfenkarn, ruled over by the vampiric Radukar the Wolf and his Thirsting Court,

Z-Man Games unveils 'Carcassonne 20th Anniversary Edition'Z-Man Games unveiled Carcassonne 20th Anniversary Edition coming soon to retail stores. The classic, evergreen tile placement game gets an upgrade for its 20th anniversary. The new edition offers a new look, enhanced visuals, and a new gameplay experiences. Tiles feature a high gloss, UV spot print as well as new illustrations and it includes...

Wizkids announces a $399.99 'Dungeons & Dragons' Tiamat Miniature! WizKids announced D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Gargantuan Tiamat for release in September. The newest WizKids premium miniature is a Gargantuan Tiamat, the five-headed draconic goddess who first appeared in the Greyhawk supplement by Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz. 

Two new board games coming from WizkidsWizKids has announced two new games releasing this August:  Zombie Princess and the Enchanted Maze and Free Radicals.Zombie Princess transforms the knight-saving-princess trope by turning the princess into a zombie who hunts the knights.  In Free Radicals, players assume control of 10 factions that are competing to unlock the secrets of The Sphere, ...

Konami details upcoming 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' releasesKonami Digital Entertainment has announced several new products for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game to be released late Summer 2021. Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Legendary Duelists - Synchro Storm brings power ups to strategies that specialize in Wind type Monsters. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Sherry duels with a deck that has a focus on Wind Synchro monsters, with cards...

Crowbits from ElecrowElectronics manufacturer, Elecrow, has a new line of coding toys called Crowbits to encourage STEM learning and creativity. Capitalizing on the booming STEM/STEAM toy market, the Crowbits line of kits help early learners and coding newbies nurture their curiosity and experiment with creating their own electronic objects of play. 

'Upzone' Pop Up Terrain comes to tradeEverything Epic will be offering the Upzone Pop-Up Terrain System into distribution this spring, with three sets now on pre-order. The Upzone Pop-Up Terrain System takes the classic “pop up” book and converts it into functional three-dimensional terrain for tabletop games, including miniatures games and role playing games. 

Pretzel Games announces 'Camel Up: Off Season'. Pretzel Games announced Camel Up: Off Season for release in summer 2021. This game is a follow-up to Steffen Bogen's Spiel des Jahres 2014 winning race game Camel Up. In Camel Up: Off Season, the racing season has ended, and the camels resume their day jobs as they help merchants seek their fortunes. 

Tonies outlines plans to ramp up diversity and inclusivity within audio story portfolio. Tonies has outlined its efforts to introduce greater diversity into its portfolio of audio-storytelling figures in order to better reflect the world of storytelling today. In an exclusive interview with ToyNews, the award-winning children’s audio system underlined new efforts it will be making to ensure that children ‘are able to identify with...

VR Distribution introduces Kids Against Maturity. VR Distribution, the company that brought huge hits like Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme and Beat That to the UK, has signed an exclusive distribution deal for a game the VR team predicts will be the next big thing: Kids Against Maturity. Launched initially in the US, Kids Against Maturity was a number one seller in the Toy and Games category on Amazon.com...

Blue Orange Games unveils 'Zoom in Barcelona' and 'Spin Circus'. Blue Orange Games unveiled Zoom in Barcelona and Spin Circus, two new board game titles, for release in Q2. Zoom in Barcelona is a game where players take on the roles of photographers who are competing to capture the best photos of the city that include the 400 dragons hidden throughout the city on buildings and sculptures. 

Pottick Law Ad new as of Nov 2020.jpg

Video Games, Gaming Hardware and Game Development News . . .

Sega is Metacritic's game publisher of the yearSega has topped the chart of review aggregate website Metacritic's game publisher of the year rankings. The company had 38 products scored over the year, 95 per cent of which were judged "good" - including the notable Persona 5 Royale and Yakuza 0 - and zero per cent as "bad". This gives the publisher an average Metacritic score for its 2020 releases of 81.6 per cent. 

Sony confirms it's sunsetting PlayStation 3, Vita, PSP stores. Sony has confirmed that this summer, it will be shutting down the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PSP stores on web and consoles for good. The news comes somewhat unceremoniously from an update to Sony's support page. A drop-down menu for discontinued services now says that the console and web stores for the three listed platforms...

PlayStation Plus games for April 2021 revealed. There’s some cracking games coming to Playstation Plus on 6th April that will have gamers withstand Freaker Hordes in Days Gone and destroy zombie hordes in Zombie Army 4: Dead War.  Playstation 5 players will also be able lead a revolution in Oddworld: Soulstorm. All three of these games will be available to download from 6th April until 3rd May.  

Nintendo releases Mario is Missing! Remastered + Bowser’s Jury for Switch, announces new amiibo. We’ve known for some time now that March 31st would be the end of Mario’s 35th Anniversary celebrations, and the final day of availability for Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Since its announcement, we’ve all held out hope that Nintendo would change their minds on this odd release strategy, and at the very least sell the ...

Game market analyst SuperData Research has been shut down by Nielsen. Nielsen Holdings is shutting down game market intelligence company SuperData Research.  SuperData was acquired by Nielsen back in 2018, and provided a variety of quantitative and qualitative insights on free-to-play games, console titles, mobile software, PC releases, streaming media, VR platforms, and more.  

Analogue’s Pocket is the latest gadget delayed due to the ongoing global electronic components shortageAnalogue’s Pocket is the latest gadget to be negatively impacted by the global shortage of chips and electronic components. The sleek and modern device that allows you to play Game Boy cartridges will now launch in October, an additional five-month delay, the company announced today. 

The huge new Among Us map gives you more ways to be sneaky. Among Us’ huge Airship map finally arrived on Wednesday, offering new tasks for crewmates, new ways to get around, and new ways to plot against your friends as the imposter. I tried out the new level for an hour or so last night, and players who might have grown bored of the well-worn pathways of Among Us’ other levels will have a lot to play with...

Activision shrinks Call of Duty file sizes so you can download other games. Activision is finally doing something about the tremendous file sizes of recent Call of Duty games. The company is announcing that both Modern Warfare and the free-to-play Warzone will be much easier on hard drives after the next update.

Cyberpunk 2077’s latest patch fixes hundreds of bugsCD Projekt Red released an update for Cyberpunk 2077 with hundreds of bug fixes. Patch 1.2, a 34GB or more download depending on platform, is live on PC and consoles, with a Stadia update coming later this week. Fixes range from quality-of-life improvements to game-crashing bugs, including improvements to vehicles, police forces, NPC behavior, quests...

Bang & Olufsen’s luxurious gaming headset costs as much as an Xbox Series XBang & Olufsen has announced Beoplay Portal, its first wireless gaming headset. The product maintains the company’s signature sophisticated look, and it has more features than your average headset. These were created with the Xbox ecosystem in mind, and with a push of its pairing button, they can connect to the Series X, ....

PUBG Lite is shutting down at the end of April. There are a few different versions of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — the game that popularized the battle royale genre and inspired a legion of competitors — which you can play on everything from your underpowered phone to your high-end gaming rig. At the end of April, however, the list will be one entry shorter: PUBG Lite, the free-to-play version of the ....

The best wired or wireless gaming headsets to buy. If you’re shopping for a gaming headset, you have a lot of options. While there are some great ones out there, it’s easy to pay too much, to accidentally purchase a headset that doesn’t work with your desired console or platform, or to get one that’s just uncomfortable. Knowing a thing or two about headphones might aid in your search, but gaming headsets have only....

League of Legends: Wild Rift makes one of the world’s biggest games more accessible. League of Legends is one of the most popular games in the world, and it has been for the better part of a decade. But it’s also incredibly intimidating: a 5 vs. 5 competitive experience with all kinds of complex rules and quirks. It’s not a game you pick up and understand right away. 

Monster Hunter Rise has shipped over four million copies. Capcom has announced that its latest game in the Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter Rise has shipped over four million copies. The ever-important context here is that "shipped" doesn't equate to "copies sold" but considering the fact that Monster Hunter Rise only launched last last Friday, March 26th 2021, that number is a strong indicator...

Call of Duty Warzone stat-tracking site shuts down after cease and desist from Activision. A fan website that tracks player statistics in Call of Duty Warzone has shut down following a warning from Activision and its legal representatives. SBMM Warzone lets users check out a player's number of kills, deaths, wins and other stats, and helps to rank other players in Warzone lobbies by skill, the goal being...

These TikToks are a playful look into the harsh realities of game development. Leslee Sullivant approaches the camera curiously. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and she’s dressed in an olive green button-up against a bar background. “Are you one of the new hires?” she asks. “Oh, you’re the intern!” She offers to sneak you a drink when she learns you’re underage and asks about your boyfriend. 

Nintendo Switch beats out PlayStation in important sales milestoneNintendo has finally surpassed PlayStation in an ever-important sales milestone. Specifically, the feat that Nintendo has accomplished comes in regards to its sales of the Switch. The popular Japanese gaming company's most recent console has been flying off of store shelves for years at this point...

Godzilla takes on the mobile game world with three brand new games for iOS and Android. Toho Games, the game division of Toho Co., Ltd. today announces the 2021 worldwide release of three free-to-play Godzilla mobile games: “Run Godzilla“, “Godzilla Destruction“, and “Godzilla Battle Line“. “Run Godzilla” will be released worldwide (excluding Japan) on March 25, 2021. 

Ghost of Tsushima to receive film adaptation. Sucker Punch Productions' Ghost of Tsushima is the next PlayStation IP to be developed for film, Sony announced today. Chad Stahelski, director of the John Wick film franchise, will serve the same role. "If anyone could bring to life the razor-sharp tension of Jin's katana combat, it's Chad Stahelski," said Sucker Punch game director Nate Fox.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Malware hidden in Call of Duty cheat software proves that cheaters never prosperHackers have been hiding malware in cheating software for Call of Duty: Warzone and have been trying to spread it to “cheating cheaters,” as a report from Activision calls them . You can read the full report here, but it explains that there’s been a campaign by hackers to try to get Warzone players to download a fake cheating engine. 

Press Releases . . . 

EEBOO’s SUSTAINABLE PUZZLES & GAMES GIVE A NOD TO MOTHER NATURE EVERYDAY BUT ESPECIALLY ON EARTH DAY. eeBoo and eeBoo Piece & Love 2021 Spring Collection Proves Environmental Literacy Can Be Screen-Free, Sustainable, Beautiful and Fun! Sustainable practices have always been at the heart of the eeBoo and Piece & Love brand, making it easy for parents and puzzlers to make the eco-conscious choice. Reduce, reuse, recycle has been the axiom of this lifestyle brand from its first days. Focused on responsible sourcing and manufacturing, eeBoo uses 90% recycled board, vegetable inks, and avoids plastic.

MOTHER MAY I? ADVENTERRA PUZZLES & GAMES TEACH LITTLE ONES HOW TO BE KIND TO MOTHER EARTH. Earth Day Is The Perfect Time To Teach Young Citizens To Be Eco-Friendly Via Edutaining Games Using Logic, Teamwork, And Visual Memory.  Ever hear of sugar cane shrink wrap? It’s one of the many steps Adventerra Games uses to lead by example as a global eco-friendly company. With Earth Day 2021 arriving on the April calendar, now is a perfect time to show children as young as toddlers how they can make a positive impact on behalf of the planet. Serious environmental topics like composting, recycling, climate change, endangered animals, and water conservation are introduced in a fun and memorable way.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .

HASBRO PULSE FAN FEST: ALL THE BIG REVEALS!. We’re living in unique times, and with a continued lack of trade shows, conventions, and fan events, everyone is adapting. Hasbro is no exception, and they were among the first to connect with fans and collectors through weekly livestreams and a dedicated Hasbro PulseCon last year. Now, as a replacement for the usual Entertainment Brand Preview Event that Hasbro usually holds in its showroom at Toy Fair New York (TFNY) every February, the company is throwing its first-ever Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest!

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, returns June 12 as a virtual event, and its organizers say they’ve secured commitments from two of the three big platform holders, Nintendo and Xbox. And after months of speculation whether the event would have an online paywall, the Entertainment Software Association said the event will be free to everyone. 

(the above was posted after April 2nd)

TTPM announces launch of TheToyAuthority on TikTok. TTPM, the leading video product reviewer for toys, baby gear, and pet gear, is expanding their digital toy expertise to a new platform: TikTok! Dedicated to featuring on-trend, fun, and buzzworthy products, TheToyAuthority is the new premier destination for toy launches, in a format never seen before. “TikTok has become the go to for innovative short form content...

Tokyo Game Show 2021 will be online. The organisers of Tokyo Game Show have announced this year's event will once again be held online. The show will take place from Thursday, September 30 to Sunday, October 3 and will build on the online-only format of the 2020 show, brought about by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hades wins Best Game at BAFTA Games Awards 2021. Hades was the undisputed winner of the BAFTA Games Awards 2021, bringing home five trophies. Supergiant's hit won Best Game, Artistic Achievement, Game Design, Narrative, and Performer in a Supporting Role for Logan Cunningham -- his first BAFTA win. Animal Crossing, The Last of Us Part II, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure each won two awards. 

Toy Industries of Europe opens call for Play for Change Awards 2021 with Covid-19 Special Commendation addition A Covid-19 Special Commendation category has been added to the roster of this year’s Toy Industries of Europe Play for Change Awards, as the awards programme designed to celebrate company practices and the empowerment of children makes its return for a second year. 

Booking for Toy Fair 2022 is now open Toy Fair 2022 will take place from the 25th-27th January at Olympia, London, using the Grand and National Halls. In a statement, the BTHA added: “The safety of all participants is extremely important to us, so we will be following government guidance to ensure we conform with all regulations and safety measures.

Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition cancelledSpielwarenmesse was to be moved to summer for the first time this year, but the organisers have now taken the decison to cancel the event. In an email to exhibitors, the team at Spielwarenmesse expressed its disappointment at having to take the difficult decision, writing: “Today we regret to inform you that Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition has been cancelled.

San Diego Comic-Con has announced the name and dates for the November convention it’s holding as a partial replacement for its canceled summer show . The event will be called Comic-Con Special Edition, and will be a three-day show on Thanksgiving weekend, Friday-Sunday, November 26-28. While much about the event, including space accommodations, travel restrictions, capacity restrictions, and safety...

Toy Association & Clamour to Showcase Influencer Top Toy Picks for Spring & Summer 2021. Top-tier influencers will vote for their favorite toys and games to be featured in the Spring & Summer 2021 Influencer Choice List, presented by the Toy Association & Clamour.

RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

Bill Gamson, Sociologist and Inventor of Games, Dies at 87. He created a game of simulated baseball that was a precursor to today’s fantasy sports. As a professor, he devised a role-playing game to help students address societal problems.  Mr. Gamson, an eminent sociologist who explored the structure of social movements and whose childhood love of games led him to create one that became an inspiration for the fantasy sports industry, died on March 23 at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 87. The cause was sarcoma, a type of cancer, his son, Joshua, said.

Barry Walker  - owner of Conways toy stores and a former member, director and chairman of the Toymaster buying group, sadly passed away on Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer.

RYU ASADAOne of the most prolific Hot Wheels designers of the past 20 years has taken his final lap.

Ryu Asada joined Mattel in 2004 as a designer on the Matchbox brand before making his way to the Hot Wheels Team. Over the course of his 17-year career, Asada designed dozens of 1:64-scale die-cast vehicles for the $1 Hot Wheels mainline assortment, most recently serving as designer project lead. “Ryu courageously battled Stage IV colorectal cancer for four and a half years. Even throughout extensive surgeries and chemotherapies, he stayed positive and continued doing what he loved to do — designing Hot Wheels and sharing his passion for cars with the world. He had a strong will and fought until the end. He took his final lap at the hospital on March 23rd from complications of the cancer. His co-driver in life, Hazel Diaz Asada, whom he met at a drawing class at the University of Oregon 21 years ago, was, like always, by his side.

Gerry Crown - Founder of Crown & Andrews (Australia), an Entrepreneur, Bon Vivant, Champion Rally Driver, Serious Golfer, Loving Husband and Father and a real English Gentleman passed away March 12th, 2021 peacefully in his sleep. A beloved member of our toy & game industry family, we are very happy to have captured him in a video conversation with Adi Golad last fall. Many of his friends came together virtually from around the world to pay tribute: Gerry Crown... the Kingdom of the Heart. 

Peter A. Flihan, Jr., Peter started as a buyer at B.Altman & Co, Buyer for Child World, Commonwealth Toy and then seeing a niche in that market, he and Linda Hejduk started their own stuffed toy manufacturer, Westcliff Limited. His son Peter joined them soon after, where they enjoyed more than a dozen years in business, travelling extensively to South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China.

JOIN THE PEOPLE OF PLAY (POP) PlayBase

It's Linkedin + IMDb + Match + Wikipedia + Fivrr!

  • Display your entire portfolio, adding unlimited products, videos, photos, media, and more

  • An easy-setup Profile and a real real live helpful person to talk to if you have questions

  • Advanced Search for industry contacts by roles, skills, location, and more

  • Free POP Pub networking – just one connection can change your life!

  • FULL access to information of products, people, and companies

  • Exclusive discounts and events 

  • Find person-to-hire based on skills (company membership)

  • Opportunity to Launch Advertisement Campaigns, targeting members of the industry (company membership)

People and companies are registering and new features are being added by the minute... what are you waiting for? We've got the most powerful platform in our industry! Join here:  www.peopleofplay.com 
 

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. TTPM Announces Launch of TheToyAuthority on TikTok

  2. ZAG Signs New Miraculous Consumer Products Partners

  3. Rainbow High from MGAE Makes Netflix Debut

  4. Toy Association to Showcase Influencer Top Toy Picks

  5. Spacetoon Announces License Deal with Love, Diana

  6. Snap Ships & Boy Scouts of America Launch Partnership

  7. Wow! Stuff Announces Love, Diana Line

  8. Schleich & Brilliant PR Named Finalists in PRSA Awards

  9. Nerf Launches Search for Chief TikTok Officer

  10. Precious Moments Renews Multiple License Agreements

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Bring me sunshine… it’s the Friday Blog (on a Thursday)!

  2. The April 21 issue of Toy World is out now

  3. Updated: Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition cancelled

  4. Brian Simpson to move on from Toytown

  5. Toyshops among retailers allowed to open until 10pm: indie retailers react

  6. Wow! Stuff signs global rights for Love, Diana

  7. B&M plans move into online

  8. Argos reports booming toy sales as delayed celebrations take place

  9. Panini launches UEFA Euro 2020 Tournament Edition official sticker collection

  10. Booking for Toy Fair 2022 is now open

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

  1.  Dan Bock Brings PowerNine Inventory to TCGplayer
  2.  WizKids Announces a $399.99 'Dungeons & Dragons' Tiamat Miniature!
  3.  ICv2 Miniatures Week 2021
  4.  Rolling for Initiative -- A Matter of Miniatures
  5.  San Diego's November Con Gets a Name, Dates
  6.  Terrain Options for Miniatures and TTRPG Customers
  7.  Bicycle Games Will Release 'The Mandalorian Theory 11 Playing Cards'
  8.  High-End Miniatures Products Proliferate
  9.  Ultra Rare 'Magic: The Gathering' Splendid Genesis Promo Card Auctioned Off by Heritage
10.  Konami Details Upcoming 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' Releases

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

Total Licensing

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: New Camel Up Game, Ecos Expansion Released
Pretzel Games has announced Camel Up: Off Season, AEG has released an expansion to Ecos, and new online gaming platform GameApart has launched.


Video of the Week! 

Where’s the Fun From? – Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots

In this installment from his YouTube series, Where’s the Fun From?, Guest Contributor, author, documentary filmmaker, and toy industry veteran Tim Walsh tells the origin story of one of the most fantastic pieces of plastic ever created, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Tim Walsh recently founded a new game company called Roo Games. Additional Where’s the Fun From? episodes are available on his Seize the Play YouTube channel.

 

Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher