the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Dec 18 - 25, 2020. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with 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...

Reuben Klamer

Merry Christmas! 

As I mentioned last week, we're sharing our POP Week International Innovation panels, highlighting one each week in our Video of the Week section (end of this page). This week: Reuben Klamer and Eddy Goldfarb – two TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Honorees, 150+ combined years of inventing and friendship. 

We honored Reuben in 2009 with a TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award. Reuben then championed his friend Eddy for the 2010 TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award. Who could say 'no' to either of these two? Both are nearing 100 now, you'll enjoy watching and listening to them! Eddy's daughter, Lyn, a filmmaker with a documentary about Eddy, moderates this memorable video. 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! May your holiday season be warm and wonderful! 

Mary

Eddy Goldfarb

tBR Service of the Week - People of Play

Do you want to find people/companies/products and do you want to them to find you?

Of course you do! For $50/year, they can! Or, for $250/year, they can find you and you can find them, have access to premium content, enjoy the POP Pub, find information and make connections to further your business! 

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The POP platform/database is your access to vital and immediate connections! There are already over 400 profiles from our recent events and we've only just begun. Over the next month, we will be reaching out to my nearly 50,000 strong database and my 30,000 linkedin connections to join this platform which gives you the best of linkedin+IMDb+Match.com for the toy and game industry. 

 

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 
 

tBR Company of the Week - Plus-Plus: One shape, endless possibilities!

By now you have probably seen them - the clear tubes, hanging on spinner racks, or standing in shelf displays, full of pieces that look like two ‘plus’ signs mashed together. But did you know that every one of those colorful toys is made in Denmark in a zero-plastic-waste, wind-powered factory?

 

Plus-Plus was created in Denmark in the 1980’s, and for many years was sold exclusively to kindergartens and schools around Scandinavia. Educators loved its simple shape, which fosters open-ended creativity in a broad age range of children. Then in 2009, a group of private investors purchased the company, seeing sales potential beyond the Nordic region.

 

In 2012, sporting a new brand look and logo, Plus-Plus made its debut at Spielwarenmesse in Nurnberg, Germany, where it found its first international distributors. Plus-Plus pieces were available in two sizes and in 3 color ways - Basic, Neon and Pastel. Ryan Hamilton and Bret Faber, at the time with their distribution company, Geared for Imagination, recognized the potential in the brand and secured the rights for United States distribution. Plus-Plus launched in the US in the summer of 2012 at ASTRA Marketplace and the Atlanta and New York Gift shows. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Games top the charts as Amazon reveals record-breaking holiday season. Following strong performance in the toy and game categories during Black Friday and Cyber Week, Amazon says that gaming continued to top the charts through December. Holiday season best-sellers included the ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game, the Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic Retro Toy by Basic Fun!, Hasbro‘s Jenga Classic...

Toy craze pays a high price. Chinese "blind box" toymaker Pop Mart International fell up to 15 percent after being criticized by state media regarding a boom in its mystery boxes. Pop Mart generates most of its profits from "blind box" toys - a mystery box containing a collectible figurine. State media Xinhua News Agency said over the weekend that the boxes are causing overspending among the young. It indicated that...

Jail sentence upheld on man who copied LegoA six-year prison sentence for a man surnamed Li who infringed the Lego toy company’s copyright had been upheld, the city’s high court said on Tuesday. Li was fined 90 million yuan (US$13.18 million) and another eight people jailed for up to four and a half years, the same as the sentence at the first trial at Shanghai No. 3 People’s Intermediate Court in September. 

Tencent officially acquires Splash Damage parent Leyou in $1.5 billion dealThe ink has dried on Tencent's acquisition of Leyou Technologies, meaning the Chinese video game and technology giant now owns Splash Damage, Digital Extremes, and a handful of other developers acquired by Leyou over the years. Earlier in the year, news broke that Tencent was looking to acquire Leyou. The deal, a $1.5 billion...

(the above posted after December 25th)

TikTok and Walmart debut new livestream shopping capability. The social media platform TikTok has pioneered a new method of online shopping, having partnered with the US retail giant Walmart to launch a new shoppable livestream capability for its users to engage with. The new in-app shopping tool was piloted last week when Walmart hosted a one-hour livestream session that enabled customers to shop for...

Christmas container chaos is global as Greek toy retailer Jumbo sees major shipment delays. The Greek toy and gift retailer, Jumbo, has revealed that some 6,000 containers of the some of the best-selling toys this year, are stuck on cargo ships and shipping containers around the world, in an echo of the current chaos being experienced at UK ports. The issue has arisen as warehouses in Greece become overwhelmed ...

Digital gaming just had its best revenue month ever in NovemberDigital games spending set a new monthly record in November, rising 15% year-over-year to $11.5 billion globally. According to SuperData's monthly digital spending report, this was driven by a 9% rise in mobile spending, but also a 22% increase in PC spending to reach a new record high, largely driven by the launch of World of Warcraft's Shadowlands...

US COVID-19 relief bill would punish streaming of copyrighted contentA COVID-19 relief bill under consideration by US legislators also includes a number of measures related to copyright law that could negatively impact game streamers. This raises particular questions for YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Gaming, considering the games influencers often showcase involve a number of copyrights, from the games...

TikTok owner reportedly in talks to buy stake in Chinese mobile games publisher. China-based ByteDance, best known as the owner of social media platform TikTok, is planning to purchase a share of a local mobile games publisher. That's according to Reuters and its four anonymous sources, who say the company is in talks with CMGE Technology Group Ltd to arrange a potential deal. ByteDance is said to be...

Parents feeling guilty about Covid ignites boom in toy salesCelebrating the holidays might be pretty ho-hum, but one area that’s booming is toys. After a terrible year of remote school, canceled birthday parties and little vacationing, parents and grandparents ridden with so-called “Covid guilt” are spending a lot more on puzzles, crafts and games. And this is setting up the U.S. industry for its best Christmas in years...

Welsh supermarkets block toy aisles as Government bans sale of non-essential itemsToys have been caught up in a sweep of ‘non-essential- items blocked off from sale across some of Wales’ supermarket retailers after the country’s government introduced level four restrictions over the weekend. With just days before a Christmas like non other, the Welsh Government announced on December 19 that ...

Investors reportedly considering class action lawsuit against CD Projekt Red. CD Projekt Red's own investors are reportedly exploring the possibility of suing the developer for misrepresenting Cyberpunk 2077. The New York Times cites a post on Polish financial website Bankier, in which a Warsaw-based attorney and CD Projekt investor announced he and his team are analysing whether there are grounds for a class...

Tier drop explodes. New Tier 4 restrictions have been introduced in London, the South East and east of England, forcing the sudden closure of non-essential retail once again.The new restrictions came into force at midnight on Saturday, with people encouraged to stay at home, while non-essential shops and businesses have been ordered to close. Click and collect services will still be able to operate in Tier 4. 

MAG Interactive acquires mobile studio Apprope for $6 million. Swedish game company MAG Interactive has purchased mobile studio Apprope for an initial SEK 50 million ($6 million). Founded in 2012 and also based in Sweden, Apprope is best known for creating casual word and trivia titles like Word Mansion and Word Bubbles, the latter of which has amassed 10 million downloads and generated sales of roughly...

Facebook Wades Into ‘Fortnite’ Maker’s Dispute With AppleFacebook Inc. said it would assist the company behind the popular videogame “Fortnite” in its high-profile legal battle with Apple Inc., as the social-media giant ramps up its own counterattack against what it says are the iPhone maker’s self-serving measures cloaked in the interest of privacy. Facebook has been feuding with Apple for months on issues ranging...

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Games Top the Charts as Amazon Reveals Record-Breaking Holiday Season

(the above was posted post December 25th)

GamesIndustry.biz presents… The Year in Numbers 2020 . . . Best of 2020: The trends and events that defined the year for game devs.

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Hasbro Target of Unusually High Options Trading (NASDAQ:HAS) . . . Reflecting on Spin Master's (TSE:TOY) Share Price Returns Over The Last Three Years . . . Buffalo Games went from closed down to killing it in 2020

(the above was posted post December 25th)

Is Hasbro (HAS) A Good Stock To Buy Now?

Financial Reporting . . . 

UK-based marketplace OnBuy eyes Unicorn status as it sees a 605 per cent year to date growth. The online marketplace, OnBuy.com is edging ever closer to achieving unicorn status as the UK’s ‘answer to eBay and Amazon’ reveals a 605 per cent year to date growth to round off “a list of incredible 2020 successes” for the business. OnBuy has made no secret of its mission to revolutionise the eCommerce sector by ...

Clementoni reports significant growth in 2020 Putting success down to the dramatic rise in sales of puzzles and innovation across the Baby Clementoni range, the company expects to see in excess of 25% growth by year end. The company has built a solid presence across three main categories – infant, science/construction and adult puzzles – translating into strong performance for puzzles in particular. 

Future Financial Reporting . . . 

Equities analysts predict that Mattel will announce earnings of $0.22 per share for current quarter, 5 analysts have issued estimates for Mattel's earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.30 and the lowest is $0.18. Mattel posted earnings of $0.11 per share in the same quarter last yr, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 100%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings results Feb. 11.

Amazon and Apple eye historic $100 billion in holiday quarter. The holiday season could be historic for two of the stock market’s biggest names, with sales that are expected to surpass a milestone that has rarely been reached in Wall Street history. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. are each expected to report revenue above $100 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 …

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

Rare white kiwi Manukura that inspired book and toys dies. A rare white kiwi that inspired a children's book and toys has died. Manukura hatched in 2011, but the female North Island Brown Kiwi was born with white feathers. She became a huge attraction at both Pukaha Mount Bruce, New Zealand's North Island wildlife centre, and online. Replica soft toys were of Manukura were sold around the world. "

Cameroon Appreciates End to Toy Weapon Gifts. Cameroon rights groups and activists say they are gratified that for the first time since 2016, parents no longer give children and teenagers toy guns as gifts during end-of-year feasts. In 2016, rights groups launched a campaign to ban toy guns, mostly imported from China, saying they lead to violence. Alternative gifts for children include educational electronic toys. 

Local girl wins board game competition Young Inventor Challenge  with “Chicken Poo Bingo”  Local 9-year-old inventor Cooper Dean, along with her father, Ryan, introduced her contest-winning board game, “Chicken Poo Bingo.” ...

The Design Process of Transformers Toys  Have you ever wondered how they designed the original Transformers toys? Perhaps you are a child of the '80s or have small children who crave these toys and would love to know the secrets behind their design?...

(the above published after December 25th)

Yes, Santa's house now has a 3D tour on Zillow The “toy-lover’s paradise nestled on 25 idyllic acres” includes Santa’s three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, as well as multiple tiny homes for all his elf workers. In addition, the Jolly Old Elf’s complex is made complete with a “state-of-the-art toy-making facility,” a garage that can hold a sleigh and stable space for eight reindeer — plus the occasional “red-nosed company”...

Tiny Tim putting smiles on children's faces with the only toy they own   Alton C. Thacker is the President of the Tiny Tim Foundation. The Tiny Tim Toy Factory just happens to be the largest car manufacturer in the state of Utah. He held one of his toy cars in the palm of his hand and said; “That was our first Jeep. It took 11 cuts on the band saw. We need to do 1 cut. So, this is the latestJeep. The Jeep Wagoneer.”

It’s time to turn it all off.  Next year, as life begins to return to normal, Dubit's David Kleeman makes the case that we should tell kids to please go away... at least for a little bit. Dubit has already speculated that there will be a drop in kids’ screen media time when they are liberated from staying home and physically distancing. But what if children’s media providers didn’t simply wait nervously for kids to play themselves out and...

Pokémon Go creators say Covid is ‘existential to our game’Pokémon Go was ready to kick off a new major event in March. Battle League — which asks players to walk in order to gain entry — was similar in spirit to many of Niantic’s initiatives within its game, one that encourages players to leave home and socialize. But outside, COVID-19 was beginning to take hold. 

TikTok is quickly becoming a marketing destination for toy companies with the help of influencers and original content. Several toy companies, like Zuru Toys and MGA Entertainment, use a mix of influencer marketing campaigns and original content to boost TikTok engagement ...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Gem Mint 10 'Pokemon TCG' Charizard #4 Hologram Card hits the Heritage Auction block in JanuaryThe year 2020, aside from being a trying year for many people, was also The Year of Charizard. The uptrend began in October when rapper Logic paid $220,574 for the card. Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction on January 14-17 in Dallas, Texas

Kandy Kitchen from Transogram (1966)Tiny marshmallows and gum drops were the house specialty at Transogram’s Kandy Kitchen. Released in 1966, the candy maker set paired children with Mr. Kandy Man, a mixing apparatus anthropomorphized with a head and two arms. In addition to Mr. Kandy Man, the set included a covered tray, a candy shaped tray with various shapes cut out of it, a spatula, mixing spoon, and two...

This Hot Wheels is worth an estimated $150000  Bruce Pascal, an avid Hot Wheels collector, was only 7 years old when these car toys hit the market in 1968. “It’s hard to explain the craze today, but Hot Wheels was huge. All of my friends were saving up to buy all the Hot Wheels they could,” Pascal told Volkswagen in a recent interview.

Action Force 1982 by Palitoy. An in depth look into how Palitoy’s Action Man brand was scaled down to a 3 ¾ inch figure and developed into the Action Force concept. A fascinating video that explores how to reinvent a well-established brand in the face of a potentially deadly marketing assault from no less a threat than when the Star Wars Empire strikes back. 

(the above posted after December 25th)

Fisher-Price: 90 years of building classic toys. All told, more than 27 million have been sold, and counting. They are the touchstones of our youth: The Rock-a-Stack, the Xylophone, and those Little People.  No matter how old we are, everyone remembers their favorite childhood toys – like a toy that everybody knows, the Corn Popper. Then there’s the lesser-known Bunny Scoot. It was introduced in 1931, part of the first...

LEGO Minifigure A Visual History New Edition. LEGO minifigures first came on the scene in 1978. The one-and-a-half-inch-tall figures were created to expand the world of LEGO and children’s imaginations. Prior to minifigures, characters had to be created using only LEGO bricks, which left a little to be desired when it came to creating personalities that matched the child’s own environment. 

Showboat from Remco (1962). In 1962, Remco released Showboat, a replica river steamship and theater. Budding child entertainers could to stage their own two-act plays in the whip, which stood a whopping 25-inches long by 14-inches tall. While it was not designed for use in water, a set of rollers allowed it to move across the floor as if navigating down a waterway. 

Christmas themed video games from the '80s. All throughout the '80s, video games were added to children's lists for Santa. Early gaming companies like Atari pushed their latest video games in television advertising to capture kid's attention. The E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial game is infamous for rushing production to have available for the 1982 Christmas shopping season which is why most rank it as one of the worst games. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . . 

Skybound Entertainment and Diamond Select Toys CollectDST team up for Invincible action figures. Skybound Entertainment and Diamond Select Toys announced new Invincible action figures hitting stores in Summer 2021. From the Skybound/Image superhero comic book by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley, the new line will feature Invincible and his father Omni-Man, each with interchangeable parts and...

Ares Games and Universal Brand Development end their 'Battlestar Galactica' licensing agreement. Ares Games announced that it will be ending its licensing agreement with Universal Brand Development for Battlestar Galactica-branded games, which lasted a little under two years, on December 31. Under this license, Ares produced the Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles game as well as its expansions. 

(the above posted after December 25th)

Buffalo Games expands licensed puzzle lineup with new Marvel, Star Wars designs. Buffalo Games is no stranger to licensed jigsaw puzzles, offering an extensive lineup of designs that includes images from Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Pokémon, and some retro favorites. But this spring, the company is adding a more heroic license to its puzzle offerings: Marvel. 

Melissa & Doug will continue to evaluate licensing as ‘an area of growth for the firm’. The global toy maker, Melissa & Doug has expressed its plans to continue to evaluate licensing “as an area to grow its reach”, as it looks for the right platforms through which to reach more parents and children. The traditional toy specialist hit a major milestone last month when it revealed the details of its ‘biggest push into the licensing...

Pre-school IP CoComelon ramps up games, toys, and arts & crafts activity with Crayola, RMS International, and moreThe hit pre-school digital series CoComelon is increasing its activity across the toys, games, and art & crafts sectors, having landed a raft of new licensing partnerships, including an agreement for colouring and activity books from Crayola. RMS International will produce CoComelon wooden puzzles...

Sideshow, Critical Role team for licensed collectiblesThrough a brand-new partnership with the team behind Critical Role, the most popular story-driven and worldbuilding digital media brand in the world, Sideshow is poised to launch a new collection of fine art and collectible figures based on the show’s popular and long-running campaigns set in the fantastical world of Exandria.

People . . . 

Game of Thrones games maker dies 'after poisoning'A Chinese tycoon who died on Christmas Day was poisoned, Shanghai police say. Lin Qi, 39, was the chairman and chief executive of games developer Yoozoo, best known for the Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming strategy game. The Shanghai police statement pointed to one of Mr Lin's colleagues - identified only by his surname Xu - as the main suspect. Mr Lin was believed...

ReMKEable! These remarkable Milkwaukeeans turned good ideas into fun, inspiration and uplift for themselves & others: Peggy Brown, kid's toy and game designer and creative guru. Hers wasn't a typical kid - and, like all great mamas, Peggy Brown's mom Irene spotted her daughter's talent early on. She didn't know that her girl would become one of the world's most sought-after toy and game inventors, but she...

Artist Michael Lau, nicknamed the “Godfather of Designer Toys”, discusses the place of art in the city. Growing up in Hong Kong, “toys were like our friends,” says Michael Lau, who was the first artist to make collectible vinyl figurines, sparking a trend that has influenced major international artists such as Kaws and Takashi Murakami. “Other than being good company, toys provided us with emotional support,” Lau...

(the above posted after December 25th)

LEGO appoints Colette Burke to EVP and CCO role as it eyes omnichannel and global expansion. The LEGO Group has appointed Colette Burke as its executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Burke will take up the role from January 1st 2021. She joins the LEGO Group from the consumer electronics company, Bose Corporation, where she held the position of vice president global sales. Her 25 years career...

Rovio has named Alexandre Pelletier-Normand as its new CEOAlexandre Pelletier-Normand has been appointed as the new CEO of Rovio Entertainment, following the previously announced departure of Kati Levoranta. Levoranta spent the past four years leading the Angry Birds maker as CEO, but will be leaving the company at the end of December. Pelletier-Normand, who currently leads Rovio's video game business...

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Companies . . . 

MATTEL LAUNCHES HOT WHEELS DESIGN SHOP, OFFERING MONTHLY APPAREL COLLECTIONS. The Hot Wheels Design Shop, which launched this week, is a collection “recognizing the intersection of car culture and streetwear” and featuring monthly drops of limited-edition apparel and accessories. This collection is primarily geared toward teen and adult Hot Wheels fans, with only adult sizes available.

Real-life Pokemon Dynamax Band toy coming soon from Takara Tomy JapanTakara Tomy has been known to make some pretty cool Pokemon toys, and their latest - a Dynamax Band straight out of Pokemon: Sword & Shield - is no exception. The company just announced that pre-orders are open for this toy that will allow you to simulate Dynamaxing. Although it's a toy it has some pretty neat features. 

Mattel launches Hot Wheels Design Shop, offering monthly apparel collections. A new, online store from Mattel‘s Hot Wheels brand aims to drive sales in a new way. The Hot Wheels Design Shop, which launched this week, is a collection “recognizing the intersection of car culture and streetwear” and featuring monthly drops of limited-edition apparel and accessories. This collection is primarily geared toward teen and adult...

Pegasus Spiele will release 'Spy Connection' into U.S. trade. Pegasus Spiele will release Spy Connection, a spy network board game, into U.S. Trade for Q1 2021. Spy Connection is route-building game where players are trying to complete missions by travelling along a spy network. Players must build a network, using a limited number of resources, and strategically travel along the network to complete their assigned...

Iello USA will release 'Detective Charlie' into U.S. retail. Iello USA will release Detective Charlie, a cooperative deduction game by Loki, into U.S. retail on January 21. In this new family game, players work together to help Detective Charlie solve a mystery. There are strange occurrences happening in the city, and the inhabitants all have a piece of the puzzle. Players need to cooperatively examine clues, while they mind the clock...

Fend off dragons while digging for dice combos in 'Dice Miner'Atlas Games will release Dice Miner, a dice drafting game, into retail in Q1 2021. The dragons have returned. Now, the dwarves need to return to the ancient caverns while fending off these formidable foes. In this game, players choose a dwarf hero and try to build dice combinations by drafting dice from a 3D mountain game board. Each die has different...

Iconic Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper, Drill ‘N Fill playsets get a modern upgradeA pair of classic Play-Doh playsets from the 1970s are getting a modern upgrade for 2021. Officially slated for release at mass retailers beginning Jan. 1, the latest editions of Hasbro‘s Play-Doh Drill ‘N Fill Dentist and Play-Doh Crazy Cuts Stylist both hit Walmart a little bit early. For more than 40 years, these playsets have been sparking...

Douglas debuts Green Friends eco-friendly plush. The wreaths on everyone’s doors aren’t the only thing that’s green right now: Douglas introduced a new line of Green Friends to hit shelves early next year. The collection is made from 100% recycled plastic, including the outer body materials, the internal stuffing, the pellets, and even the hang tags. Embroidered eyes will replace traditional plastic eyes sometimes found...

Games Workshop teases 'Warhammer: The Old World' factions. Games Workshop teased a few of the factions and cities in their upcoming Warhammer: The Old World. Warhammer:The Old World was announced back in 2019, and in early 2020, GW released a map of the world. Recently, they've added to the map by including the cities that exist during this timeline. Four factions were revealed: the Bretonnians, the Orcs...

Astrocam Flying Model Starter Set from Estes IndustriesBudding rocketeers have a new gateway to the world of model rocketry, the Astrocam Flying Model Rocket Starter Set from Estes Industries. Designed for beginners ages 10 and up, the set comes with a high-tech twist: an HD digital video camera that records in-flight sights and sounds on a 16 GB Micro SD memory card. The Astrocam is installed in the rocket’s...

The Queen’s Gambit Funko Pops immortalize the show in plastic. In what will hopefully be the last surprise of 2020, Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit is getting its own set of Pop! Vinyl figurines from Funko. The three figurines will feature Anya Taylor-Joy’s main character, Beth Harmon, in a variety of outfits from the show, none of which are chess-related, but all of which are stylish. Fans can purchase the Pops to own a piece of...

(the above posted after December 25th)

Barbie's Parent Company Mattel Turns 75, COO Richard Dickson On The Milestone The brands' variety includes 176 different dolls, including nine body types, 36 skin tones, and 94 hairstyles. Dickson believes that gives them the honor of claiming Barbie as the most diverse doll in the world. This variety makes the entry price point all the more impressive from a production standpoint. But that is aided by controlling the supply...

In True Tesla Fashion, The Hot Wheels Cybertruck Has Been Delayed It pains me to say, but I've got some bad news—the Tesla Cybertruck has been delayed. I'm not talking about the "real" one; I'm talking about the radio-controlled Hot Wheels version being built for Cybertruck enthusiasts young and old. It turns out that veteran toymaker Mattel has pulled a Tesla of its own, delaying the release of its long-awaited...

Bethpage toy company Design Edge Inc. sees a renaissance in play  Toys and games have gone from quaint to near-essentials in this era of enforced cocooning, and a Bethpage toy company has seen its business flourish. Design Edge Inc., which has designed and developed toys for some of the world’s largest brands, including Fisher-Price, Hasbro and Disney, has seen a rise in design and development work as toy sales ... 

Exploding Kittens creator unveils three new titles. Asmodee will supply new games A Game of Cat and Mouth, Tacocat Spelled Backwards and A Little Wordy to the UK market. Retailers will be able to get a closer look at all three of these titles at the third edition of AsmoFair, Asmodee’s pioneering virtual trade show running from 17th-23rd January.

FX Digital, Zodiak Kids Announce U.S. Launch of Alexa Voice Game. "Let's Play: You Decide" is the latest Amazon Alexa voice game to be released by digital agency FX Digital to the U.S. market. Zodiak Kids, part of Banijay, has collaborated with FX Digital to turn the series into an interactive voice experience. It has already launched in the U.K. The game invites children on an adventure through a series of interactive...

Mando Mondays comes to a close with new Mandalorian merch from Hasbro, Funko, Mattel. The second season of Star Wars: The Mandalorian came to a thrilling conclusion this past Friday, and with that, Lucasfilm’s Mando Mondays promotion is wrapping up with one final batch of Mandalorian merch that will be hitting toy retailers beginning next year. Following the big reveal a few weeks back that the...

Luma welcomes everyone to 'Dragon Parks'. Luma Imports will release Dragon Parks, a drafting game by Ankama, in Q1 2021. Dragon Parks puts players in the role of the owners of a group of islands where dragons roam freely.  Players will have to manage their dragon’s appetites and the tourists’ expectations. Dragon Parks is a drafting game, using transparent cards to add or cover dragons within their parks.  

First-ever Britains re-release to mark 100th anniversary in 2021. Britains, Europe’s oldest specialist in agricultural toys and collectibles, is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year with the re-launch of its original Fordson Major Tractor, a limited edition of only 7,500 units available from July. In 1921, Britains unveiled its first farm vehicle, the ‘4F’ Tumbrel Cart. Shortly after World War II came to an end, Britains introduced...

PlaymatesToys Announce Previews Exclusive Eastman and Laird 6” TMNT Action FiguresBusting out from the classic colored comics by Eastman and Laird come the Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesElite Series action figures from Playmates! Featuring 34 points of articulation, each figure is outfitted in their original red bandana and comes with personal weapon accessories. With a personalized sewer lid base and...

Dominate the high-seas with a new 'Dystopian Wars' two-player starter set. Warcradle Studios announced Hunt for the Prometheus, a two-player starter set for Dystopian Wars 3E steampunk-themed naval battle game, which will release on January 30, 2021.

Dystopian Wars is a tabletop naval battle game system that was originally released into the U.S. market by Spartan Games in 2011. 

Claim Alexander the Great's throne in 'Successors 4E'. Ares Games announced Successors 4E, a strategy game by Phalanx Games, for release in 2021. Successors is a card-driven movement strategy game that focuses on the war to succeed Alexander The Great. The upcoming fourth edition of this game has an updated board layout, charts, cards, and a revised rulebook that fixes issues with previous editions. 

Wizards of the Coast reveals two 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Kaldheim Commander Decks'Wizards of the Coast revealed Elven Empire and Phantom Premonition, two new Kaldheim Commander Decks for Magic: The Gathering, which will release on February 5. As a late addition to the Kaldheim product line, WotC will release two Commander decks along with the new set. The Elven Empire deck will be centered around Lathril, Blade of the Elves, The Phantom Premonition deck revolves around Ranar the Ever-Watchful.

Rio Grande Games announces 'Iberian Railways'Rio Grande Games announced Iberian Railways, the next board game in the Winsome Rail Game Series, for release in Spring 2021. In this game, players take on the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of Spain and Portugal's ventures into railroad building. Players begin the game with no money and no income, and have to take out high-interest loans to build railways. 

Trunki partners with Addmaster to launch antimicrobial ride-on Abbie the AmbulanceTrunki, the UK team behind the popular ride-on luggage carrier for children, has teamed up with the Stafford-based company Addmaster to welcome the first antimicrobial addition to its range. Trunki has now launched Abbie the Ambulance in time for Christmas, a version of its popular ride-on that comes with in-built Biomaster...

Capture legendary monsters in Amigo's 'Monster Expedition'. Amigo Games will release Monster Expedition, a new monster-hunting board game by Alexander Pfister, into U.S. retail in March. In this standalone game set in the world of Carnival of Monsters, players take on the roles on of members of the Monstrological Society and are off to hunt monsters in three exotic ecosystems. 

Brainstorm readies launch of KlikBot Kreatures. KlikBots were available from August this year, exceeding all expectations and selling out in record time. The new range, KlikBot Kreatures, will land in the UK from the end of December, with January availability. The new range will not only have more collectability, with blind assortments and rare gold KlikBot Kreatures available in CDUs of 12, but there are even more play...

Steamforged Games reveals 'Peaky Blinders: Faster Than Truth'. Steamforged Games revealed Peaky Blinders: Faster Than Truth, a new card game based on the popular TV Series, for release on February 26, 2021. In Peaky Blinders: Faster Then Truth, players can take walk on the lawless streets of 1920s Birmingham as they try to garner resources to beat their rivals. 

Paizo, Inc. announces 'Pathfinder Adventure: Malevolence'. Paizo, Inc. announced Pathfinder Adventure: Malevolence, a new standalone adventure for Pathfinder RPG, for release in Q2 2021. Malevolence is a horror adventure for Level 3 characters that features new monsters, mysterious magical items, and spells. The adventure revolves around a haunted house that players can explore to find out the truth about...

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

Yep, that sugar rush you feel coming on is Candy Crush Saga’s holiday in-game event! The most binge-worthy game on Earth has gifted us with three festive mini-games that are beckoning us back to the colorful Candy Kingdom. Candy Crush’s mini-games — Sweet Winter Memories, Yeti’s Sleigh Ride and Gift Delivery — are jam-packed with all things “tasty” and “divine.” And they’re inspired by many of the faces you’ve...

Gamasutra's Best of 2020: The top 10 games of the year. Looking back at the games we played this year reads a bit like a soundtrack to a disaster film, with each game representing a specific piece of time. We dove into Animal Crossing headfirst as lockdowns began. Then Jackbox was a go-to for Zoom happy hours with friends and family. As time--and the pandemic--wore on and as reality sunk deeper into our lives...

Nier: Automata surpasses 5 million shippedSquare Enix and Platinum Games' Nier: Automata has now surpassed 5 million copies shipped and sold digitally since the game first launched on PlayStation 4 and PC in 2017 and on Xbox One in 2018. Helped along by a Game of the YoRha Edition re-release last year, Nier has steadily crossed sales milestones over the past few years. It surpassed 3 million shipped in June 2018,...

(the above posted after December 25th)

31% of young UK gamers struggle to track spending on loot boxesA study by the Gambling Health Alliance suggests young people are not only regularly spending on loot boxes, but struggling to keep track of how much they have spent. The  study found that 31% of young gamers say they are unaware of how much they have spent on loot boxes, while 33% say they do now feel in console of their spending. 22% of...

CD Projekt now pledges to help refund retail copies of Cyberpunk 2077. Both Microsoft and Sony have launched special refund initiatives for Cyberpunk 2077, and CD Projekt Red now says it is looking at other ways to help players outside of those purchasing platforms to receive refunds for the game if they so choose. Building on its original refund pledge from earlier in the week, CD Projekt Red now says that it...

Riot confirms it’s making a League of Legends MMO. League of Legends developer Riot Games is working on a massively multiplayer online (MMO) roleplaying game in the League universe, Riot’s VP of IP and entertainment, Greg Street, tweeted on Thursday. “My recent job at Riot has been to help develop the League universe, which we’re going to need!” Street said. “My new job is to kick off a big (some might say massive)...

Epic Games Store now offers Spotify, signaling app store ambitions beyond just games. Spotify is now available on the Epic Games Store, signaling developer Epic’s ambitions to turn what has so far been strictly a games store into a more general app distribution platform. The Spotify app is free to download on the Epic Games Store, just like it is on the App Store, Google Play, or as a direct download for your PC or Mac. 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

US Customs and Border Protection Officers Nab $1.3 Million in Bootleg Toys in New York, New ..Bootlegs, knockoffs, counterfeits, whatever you want to call them, these illicit toys continue to make their way into the market. Thanks to the work of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark, more than $1.3 million worth of counterfeit toys are out of the distribution channels...

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Press Releases . . . 

Retailers Rejoice As Dam LLC Unveils More European Brands To Stock In Store. Toy buyers will be asking their sales reps what’s new with the buzz of Belgium-based distributor DAM (rhymes with mom) expanding its 2021 catalog from one to three European brands. DAM arrived on the American toy scene last year with a booth at ASTRA’s Marketplace in Pittsburgh. Now, three innovative collections – Scratch, Avenir and Scrunch – will spotlight European style, modern designs, and thoughtful, eco-friendly products to anyone in a playful mood! Last summer, ASTRA members were the first to see the stylish packaging of Scratch, a brand DAM designs and manufactures themselves. 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

Talkin' Toys: Christian Ulrich Discusses the Launch of Spielwarenmesse BrandNew. Christian Ulrich: "In July, the toy industry will finally gather again at the Spielwarenmesse Summer Edition. In the run-up to the event, we will be taking advantage of the enormous reach of our digital platforms, giving companies the opportunity to present their new products to the global trade through Spielwarenmesse BrandNew. 

RPG categories for Origins Awards changedThe categories for role playing games in the Origins Awards have been changed, Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design parent GAMA is announcing today.  This change was made “…based on feedback and input from the RPG jury and publishers,” GAMA Executive Director John Stacy explained. The categories for games released in 2020 had undergone a number of...

RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . .

(If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we can share with our industry)

Diana Green Diana Green, long time buying director of Greens Toymaster, passed away at home on 13th December after a short illness. Toy World is sad to report that Diana Green, a popular and well respected toy industry figure, passed away peacefully on Sunday 13th December after a short illness. Diana was a well known figure in the industry since the 1970s, having worked as buying director for Greens for much of this time. Working alongside her husband Geoff, Diana selected ranges for the Snowfold buying group’s FOB import programme, which supported members ranges and margins from the 1980’s. Later, she served as a member of Toymaster’s Merchandise Committee for many years, as the Greens Toymaster chain expanded to a total of 17 stores.

Mercedeh Ward - Mercedeh Ward contributed to the toy industry she loved in a myriad of ways over the course of her 35-year career. A mechanical engineer by training, with a degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mercedeh leveraged her considerable smarts and work ethic to ensure thousands of toys reached the market to deliver happiness to children. Her amazing career spanned multiple companies (in order): Mattel, Equity Marketing, Playmates, Spin Master, MGA, Funrise, Zippity Blue, and Spin Master (again). At a time where there were few female engineers in the toy industry (and no one had yet heard of STEM), Mercedeh became the go-to product development expert for girls toys in Southern California, where executing the right aesthetic was paramount. She made major contributions to many powerhouse brands, including: Barbie, Bratz, and Amazing Amanda (first major animatronic doll). In her second stint at Spin Master, she helped drive the success of the #1 preschool brand, Paw Patrol.

Francis Spear Francis passed away peacefully on 13th December.  Francis was born in the town of Fuerth, near Nuremberg, into a Jewish toy trade family. His great grandfather, Jacob Wolf Spear, started J. W. Spear & Soehne in 1878. By the time Francis was born into this close-knit family – he was the youngest of five grandchildren – the company was being managed by his grandfather Carl Spear and a great uncle. ...  

When (Francis) he joined Spear’s Games, Francis worked in a number of different departments, but his passion was for the production side of the business and he took on the role of production director, overseeing the manufacturing process. Francis became managing director of J. W. Spear and subsequently its chairman. He was respected by many in the toy trade for his honesty, loyalty and modesty. When the company was sold to Mattel in 1994, Francis purchased farmland in Hertfordshire. Read More...

Glyn Davies   Toy World is sad to report that Glyn Davies passed away in Liverpool on November 20th, after catching coronavirus. Glyn had turned 70 in July. Glyn worked in the toy trade for many years as a rep and national account executive for several toy companies, including Blue Box, Rainbow, Mondo and Fisher Price. His final role of a long and distinguished toy trade career was at Bandai. Julian Boyers, former managing director at Bandai, commented: “I was deeply saddened to hear of Glyn’s death, which happened very quickly and unexpectedly.

Jimmy Hunter, the founder of Hunter Toys, passed away on November 14th, 2020. Jimmy took on the role of BTHA Chairman from 2000-2002 and was heavily involved for many years with both Toy Fair and the BTHA’s ‘Value of Play’ initiatives. He was the champion for Total Fun, the consumer event held in the early 2000s, while he was also the brainchild behind the longstanding Golden Teddy awards. His daughter Sally Hunter, who has followed in Jimmy’s footsteps by building a long and successful career the toy trade, told Toy World: “The fact that the Golden Teddy awards are still being presented so many years later gives me goosebumps.

Simon Holdsworth, Managing Director at Thos Holdsworth & Sons Ltd, passed away on November 14th, 2020. "Many of our staff have worked alongside Simon for more than 20 years.  Words like mentor, great boss, good friend, awesome storyteller, gregarious, quick witted, dynamic, proud, demanding, knowledgeable and tireless are just some of their comments.  He is, and always will be our champion!  Our legacy for Simon is to keep the company running smoothly and exemplify the excellence that he demanded from us each and every day.  There will be many memories, and no doubt a number of stories from your time spent with Simon, perhaps encouraged by his favourite tipple of a G&T or a wee glass of Grand Marnier!  In the coming weeks, I hope that we get the chance to remember the good times and raise a glass in his honour." - Fleur Tisdale, 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

eplay November Issue

ToyWorld (UK) December Issue

The Toy Book Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards Special Edition

Casual Game Revolution

Kidscreen's most-read stories of 2020

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

​Toy Book - Looking Back at the Most-read Stories of 2020. 

aNb Media (US)

  1. DAM LLC Adds More European Brands to Catalogue

  2. KidStuff PR to Represent Hess Toy Truck in 2021 

  3. Wild Kratts Expands Licensing Program

  4. Toonz and OTTera Partner for Kids and Family OTT Platform

  5. Sideshow and Critical Role Team for Licensed Collectibles

  6. HBO Max Acquires Preschool Series Love Monster

  7. Cloudco and Harves Open First Care Bears Entertainment Experience

  8. Riki Group Names The Fixies Licensing Agent in China

  9. Lucky Helmet Chosen to Represent Demon Slayer

  10. Seuss Series Joins Kartoon Channel! 

ToyWorld (UK)

​On Christmas Holiday

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

  1.  Wizards of the Coast Reveals Two 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Kaldheim Commander Decks'
  2.  Games Workshop Updates the Status of 'Warhammer' Releases Going into 2021
  3.  Rolling for Initiative -- Another Look at the 'Dragonlance' Lawsuit
  4.  WizKids Unveils Another Figure for Their 'Dungeons and Dragons' Chromatic Dragon Series
  5.  Sony Pulls 'Cyberpunk 2077'
  6.  Play Out the Pacific War Campaign in 'Fire in the Sky'

  7.  RPG Categories for Origins Awards Changed
  8.  Wizards of the Coasts Teases 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Time Spiral: Remastered'
  9.  River Horse Reveals 'The Dark Crystal Adventure Game'
10.  Dominate the High-Seas with a New 'Dystopian Wars' Two-Player Starter Set

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

1. Iconic: MinaLima, the graphic design duo of the Harry Potter movies, opens up about the look and feel of the franchise

2. Kids Design Award Germany: Discover the clever winning product of a young female designer that helps kids keep order and have fun

3. Joys of fatherhood: Find out from a young German entrepreneur what it means to be a modern dad

4. ASS Altenburger: Read how the traditional German card and board games manufacturer makes a profit during lockdown

5. Scandi collaboration: Explore „Bygglek", the fun storage solution for every home made by Lego and Ikea

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

Video of the Week! 

Reuben Klamer & Eddy Goldfarb 150 Combin

The POP Week panels were aired on two separate platforms, there are slight changes to the version first aired on our website with over 12,000 viewers and on this

separate YouTube version we just uploaded

Reuben and Eddy - 150+ Combined Years of Inventing & Friendship

Moderator: Lyn Goldfarb (Director, Producer at Lyn Goldfarb Productions)

Panel: Reuben Klamer (Founder, President of Toylab, Inventor of Game of Life, 1-2-3 Roller Skates and more!) and  Eddy Goldfarb (Founder of Eddy & Martin Goldfarb & Assoc., Inventor of Yakity Yak Teeth, Kerplunk and more at http://www.eddysworld.net/)

 

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