September 22 - 29, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy TOTY Friday!
Looking forward to seeing many of you tonight at the TOTYs, over the next few days at Javits, at our Connolly's Pub super casual gettogether where all are welcome and around NY!
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POP Week is November 1st- 5th!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!
The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.
“I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation
"TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY
Person of the Week - Stever Starobinsky
Gel Blaster, Gel Blaster and Gel Blaster!
Hi Steve! Thank you for answering a few questions. For the few who might not know, what are your roles and responsibilities in our industry?
I have my dream job building a new active entertainment concept and play pattern overall here at Gel Blaster. My official title is SVP of Trends and New Markets and I’m working on building new ways and places to play Gel Blaster. As we continue to grow the company, I’m also looking into other categories of Play that we can bring our unique brand of engineering, marketing, and innovation.
What is it about the Toy and Game Industry that you love?
I very much believe in the power of Play and its healing abilities. I think we have the opportunity to rewrite the outdated codes as a society and actually schedule Play as a means of well being and community. I’ve always thought of myself as Kid@Heart because I see toys through the perspective and innocence of a child.. It’s really helped me build a reputation for knowing what's Next on the Play horizon and to spot trends in consumer society.
What is your claim to fame?
I don’t know if I’ve reached fame in this industry just yet but a lot of the brands I have worked with definitely have, including the agency that first gave me a chance to see the world - Diverse Marketing. Other brands and products that I have helped bring to market include Pop Sockets, Hex Bugs, Eggmazing, Minecraft Toys from Think Geek, Tonies, Mind The Gap, and now Gel Blaster.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Gel Blaster. READ MORE...
The Playground Podcast
Mary Couzin: Creating Community in the Toy Biz
I wouldn't normally post a podcast about what our team has built in the feature section of the Bloom Report, but Chris and Richard did a great job with our story. (Thank you!)
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Cartoon of the Week: Thank you, Bob Fuhrer for the funny cartoon this week!
Lexophile Lovers: "I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn't get pasta." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers!
“There’s nothing and no one that can stop you from changing the world. I see you. You’re unstoppable.” - Alicia Keys
“You will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
- H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
A surprise lawsuit sent shockwaves through the industry today as the FTC and 17 state attorneys filed a complaint against Amazon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The suit alleges that the retail and tech giant “is a monopolist that uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power.” According to the FTC, it isn’t Amazon’s size that is of issue, but its “exclusionary conduct that prevents current competitors from growing and new competitors from emerging.”
US actors' union members vote to authorize video game strike. Actors in the US have voted in favor of a potential video games strike, raising the prospect of another walkout in Hollywood. Members of the Sag-Aftra union voted 98% in favor of taking action over the gaming industry agreement that covers voice, motion capture and stunt work. Actors are already on strike from work for film and TV studios.
China's Evergrande chairman put under police surveillance. Evergrande's chairman Hui Ka Yan has been put under police surveillance as the problems for the Chinese property giant mount. Evergrande said its shares would remain suspended until further notice. It marks another low for the heavily indebted property giant which defaulted in 2021, triggering China's current real estate market crisis.
Evergrande: Why should I care if China property giant collapses? A crisis at the world's most indebted company has worsened after its chairman was placed under police surveillance. It follows earlier reports that other current and former executives at Chinese property giant Evergrande had also been detained. Evergrande suspended the trading of its shares in Hong Kong on Thursday until further notice.
‘All of Sony Systems’ allegedly hacked by new ransomware group [UPDATE]: Ransomed.vc claims to have access to some 6,000 files from the tech giant. According to a September 25 article from Australian cybersecurity publication Cyber Security Connect, the PlayStation maker was cracked open by Ransomed.vc, a new outfit of hackers that’s only been operating since September—though the publication suggests the...
Fan who waited for Star Wars DLC sues over broken promises. A new gamer lawsuit rises. Three months after Aspyr said it was abandoning promised DLC for the remaster of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords on Nintendo Switch, someone is suing the publisher for failing to make good on its original promise or to offer a refund when that was no longer possible.
Capcom uninterested in any potential Microsoft buyout offer. Microsoft has had its eye on acquiring several developers, but Capcom has emphatically stated it would reject any attempts. At Tokyo Game Show, Bloomberg asked COO Haruhiro Tsujimoto about the possibility of Microsoft buying the Japanese developer, and Tsujimoto said he would "gracefully decline" any offer made.
Hold onto your butts, Microsoft's massive Activision Blizzard deal is finally happening. Twenty months after it was first announced, Microsoft’s unprecedented deal to buy Call of Duty and Candy Crush publisher Activision Blizzard for $69 billion appears to have beaten its final boss. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority revealed on Friday that it has provisionally approved the tech giant’s latest version...
Unity apologizes for controversial changes, walks back some. In an open letter published on Friday, Unity’s president and general manager Marc Whitten apologized for the controversial changes announced on September 12 and announced that it was walking back some of the worst changes, including charging install fees for previously published games.
Deal! WGA, AMPTP reach historic contract agreement to end 146-day writers strike: ‘This deal is exceptional’. Hollywood heaves a sigh of relief. The WGA and major studios and streamers have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract that promises to end the 146-day strike that has taken a heavy toll across the content industry. Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture...
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Sales rise at The Entertainer as challenges acknowledged. Sales at The Entertainer rose by +10% over the last year, although the retailer said it had been affected by socio-economic conditions. Although sales were encouraging, profits were affected. The Entertainer has reported that pre-tax profits fell from £22.5m to £7.6m, despite the company experiencing nearly a +10% increase in sales. The toy retailer’s sales showed an increase of +1% on pre-pandemic levels, for the year ended 28th January 2023. While store sales were “up significantly”, the business …
Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after September 29th***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
John Baulch, Toy World - I’m on my way…it’s the Friday Blog! After I wrote in last week’s Blog that I had caught Covid, I was amazed at how many people got in touch to say they have also had it recently – one person was on her fifth bout! It just goes to show that Covid is still very much in circulation, although I suspect the media blackout reflects the government’s decision to carry on without lockdowns or any other form of...
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie’ Review: Sit, Roll Over, Save the World. In this sequel, the canine gang faces Taraji P. Henson’s villain who sends a dangerous meteor toward Earth. And, yes, Kim Kardashian returns too. Adventure City’s fluffiest heroes return in “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” the second film tie-in to the popular Canadian TV show. This time the gang faces a brand-new villain, Victoria Vance, a.k.a. Vee...
Kids' TV as we know it is dying - is the explosion of choice replacing it too much for our children? As public service broadcasters begin a children's TV exodus from terrestrial to online, and the government cuts funding for kids content, ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq says we're missing out on "shared family viewing experiences".
INNOVATION LESSONS FROM DISNEY‘S ILL-FATED ‘STAR WARS’ CRUISE EXPERIENCE. grew up going to amusement parks like Kings Dominion, Action Park and Great Adventure. Little did I know back then that my career would take me toward innovating on the next generation of entertainment for companies including Disney. In addition to film and TV production, I had worked in the live event/location-based...
Metaverse: What happened to Mark Zuckerberg's next big thing? There was a time before ChatGPT when the tech world was talking about something entirely different. Remember the metaverse? For a while it dominated tech news. A virtual reality world that would be so immersive, so engaging, that we would want to spend part of our lives in it. Driving the metaverse narrative was Mark Zuckerberg.
Meta announces AI chatbots with 'personality'. [This piece also contains valuable information on Meta’s VR and metaverse plans.] Meta has announced a series of new chatbots to be used in its Messenger service. The chatbots will have "personality" … Mr Zuckerberg also discussed the metaverse - a virtual world - which is a concept that Mr Zuckerberg has so far spent tens of billions of dollars on.
Meta’s Threads struggles to grow amid rivalry with Elon Musk’s X, ranking ahead of only Tumblr. Meta’s Threads real-time messaging app is struggling to attract new users like it did during its blockbuster July debut. The Twitter clone now ranks near the bottom of the most popular social media platforms, ahead of only Tumblr, as measured by the number of U.S. users, according to Insider Intelligence’s first Threads...
Amazon takes on Microsoft as it invests billions in Anthropic. Amazon will invest up to $4bn (£3.3bn) in San Francisco-based AI firm Anthropic, mirroring the earlier tie-up between Microsoft and OpenAI. It is the latest multi-billion dollar investment in a race among the big tech firms to exploit the potential of artificial intelligence. Amazon recently said it would use AI to boost its Alexa voice assistant's conversational...
All those NFTs are officially worthless. A new study suggests a huge number of NFT collections are now worth $0. Most Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), a unique asset stored on the blockchain that cannot be replicated (unless you can right-click), have no value. While I’m no fan of lifeless Bored Apes, I’m not saying that just to be mean—cryptocurrency analysts dappGambl determined that out of the 73,257 total...
The French toy market – an insider’s look. The US is well served when we have inside information on other toy markets. I am delighted to report that Yann Fresnel, a top French executive in the Toy Industry, has agreed to write about his home toy market “France” with a complete overview of first eight months of 2023. Mr. Fresnel bases his comments upon data from NPD, La Revue du Jouet, the French Toy Federation...
Chess grandmaster Hans Niemann denies using vibrating sex toy to cheat. An American grandmaster who was part of a row which rattled the world of chess has denied using a vibrating sex toy to cheat. In September 2022 Hans Niemann sat down to play Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen in chess's Sinquefield Cup St Louis, Missouri. Niemann won, but was accused by Carlsen of cheating - a claim which sparked...
History and Nostalgia
Don’t Lose ‘Em: Games with Marbles. Marbles? There can’t be that many good games with marbles, can there? In fact, the unique qualities of marbles make them perfect accessories for certain games for youngsters as well as clever design elements for some of the best strategy games. It’s also important to remember that marbles—as in “shooting marbles,” are a classic, and also ancient, game of their own.
Get in Shape, Girl! from Hasbro (1985). In the afterglow of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Hasbro released Get in Shape, Girl!, a line of fitness-in-a-box sets aimed at young girls ages five and up. The sets were primarily focused on aerobic activities, combining fitness and fashion accessories, all in a coordinated pink, purple, and light-blue colour palette.
Excalibur Auctions to offer recently discovered toy company’s archive – never before seen Airfix & Palitoy designs from 1970’s & 80’s. Excalibur Auctions, a renowned name in the world of Toys and Collectables sales is excited to offer a recently discovered archive of the toy arm of American conglomerate General Mills, owners of toy companies Palitoy and Airfix in the UK (both also known for distributing the successful...
Licensing and Entertainment
Mattel is honoring singer Stevie Nicks with her own Barbie doll. Mattel designed the doll to channel Nicks as she appears on the cover of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album "Rumours." The cover shows Nicks dressed in one of her "Rhiannon" outfits, named for the song off the band's 1975 self-titled album that Nicks said was about a Welsh witch.
Orlando Bloom to Guest-Star in ‘Peppa Pig’ Wedding Special. The actor will join fiancée and music superstar Katy Perry as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the children's franchise. Bloom will guest star as the new character and jeweler Mr. Raccoon, who assists with the preparations Mr. Bull and Mrs. Cow’s nuptials in the show’s first-ever wedding. Olivier Dumont, president of eOne’s Family Brands...
***The above posted after September 29th***
John Baulch, Licensing Biz - The show must go on …it’s the Licensing Blog! So, are we all ready for BLE next week? For some of us, that entails getting a flight back from the New York Toy Fair on Monday evening to make sure we arrive home in time for the opening of the show on Wednesday. When I started looking at my plans for the two events, that arrangement looked perfectly feasible on paper...
There will be fireworks in Peppa Pig world after pop star Katy Perry signed up to join the hit kids franchise. Perry will join as a guest star, voicing a new character, Ms. Leopard. It comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the preschool animated series, which was created by Neville Astley and Mark Baker. Perry’s performance will feature in an episode for the three-part Peppa Pig Wedding Party Special, which is set...
Littlest Pet Shop is making a comeback with a new game on Roblox along with a new line of toys. The collaboration with master toy licensee Basic Fun!, Hasbro, and Suit Up Games will feature an experience where kids can virtually collect the bobble-headed animals. “In reimagining Littlest Pet Shop for a modern audience, it was clear that we needed to meet today’s kids and kidults where they are,” says Eugene...
Goliath is joining team Garfield. The company is partnering with Paramount to create a line of plush toys inspired by The Garfield Movie, which is set to release in theaters in May 2024. “Goliath has mastered the agility to respond to the on-demand wants and needs of our audience to deliver innovative product lines to market,” says Brian Weiss, President of North America at Goliath. “Garfield has touched the hearts...
In KidZ has launched a new cooking-themed activity kit featuring Sesame Street characters like Cookie Monster, Elmo, and more. The kit was created to introduce children to foods and traditions from different cultures while fostering a fun, creative environment for families to learn together.
The Ryan’s World franchise—which already has its foot in series, video games and consumer products—is expanding again with its first-ever feature film. The live-action/animated feature Ryan’s World the Movie: Titan Universe Adventure stars kidfluencer Ryan Kaji, who has to jump into a magical comic book to bring back his twin sisters after they get trapped inside it. The film is set for a Q4 2024 delivery...
UTA has a full collection of new kids content clients ready for brand and licensing partnerships, ranging from animated YouTube hits to educational shows. Gracie’s Corner is a YouTube channel full of animated sing-along videos featuring an animated Gracie, inspired by the channel’s original kid creator Graceyn Hollingsworth. The channel boasts more than 2 million subscribers and will be adding toy...
Wildbrain expands product offerings for Peanuts brand with new partnerships. The Peanuts brand remains evergreen as WildBrain CPLG reveals new partnerships for the brand across numerous product categories. WildBrain represents Peanuts on behalf of Peanuts Worldwide across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and India.
Jazwares named master toy licensee for hit Metaverse game Royal High. As the biggest fashion-based property in gaming with over 105 million users and 9 billion play sessions, Royale High has taken the gaming world by storm, offering players a fun and engaging virtual environment where fashion and style take over. Jazwares will seamlessly translate the Royale High gaming experience into the world of toys...
The Op brings ‘PAW Patrol’ to tabletop with Monopoly and Guess Who? Usaopoly (The Op), a board game and puzzle publisher, has launched two new versions of classic kids’ games – Monopoly Junior: "PAW Patrol” Edition and Guess Who?: “PAW Patrol “– under license by Hasbro, a leading toy and game company, and Paramount Consumer Products. Produced by Spin Master Entertainment and airing on Nickelodeon...
Fun In Motion Toys inks licensing deal with Nickelodeon franchises for Shashibo. Fun In Motion Toys has inked a new licensing deal with Paramount Consumer Products to make products showcasing hit Nickelodeon franchises. This collaboration will introduce three new series of the interactive toy Shashibo, featuring characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, SpongeBob SquarePants...
Acamar and Sambro team up on new Bing toys. Acamar Films and Sambro International have announced a new three-year partnership which will see a range of arts and crafts and outdoor toy products hit the market. These new products arriving in retailers this autumn will feature characters from the multi-awarding-winning pre-school animation, Bing.
Carrera Revell races into Toy Fair with new licenses. Carrera Revell of Americas is revving up even more action ahead of Toy Fair in New York. Following the news that the company inked a deal with NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports for new slot car sets and models timed to the 2024 racing season, the company has unveiled a host of new licenses for speed-minded pop culture enthusiasts of all ages.
Path Entertainment expands Hasbro license to develop Clue immersive experience. Path Entertainment Group has announced the expansion of its licensing agreement with Hasbro, after the successful launch of “Monopoly: Lifesized” in London.The evolution of the relationship will see Path Entertainment and Hasbro create a major entertainment concept with the board game, Clue, also known as Cluedo...
Toikido partners with Panini on Piñata Smashlings. Toikido has joined forces with Panini Group to roll out new Piñata Smashlings collectibles on an international scale. The first IP to be developed in house by Toikido, Piñata Smashlings is on-track to become one of 2023’s most exciting children’s brands, having attracted over 1.3m users to its immersive Roblox game within its first month of launch.
Spin Master reveals plans for third PAW Patrol movie. The film is set for a 2026 release. Spin Master revealed it will produce a third PAW Patrol feature film. The upcoming film will be a Spin Master Entertainment production in association with Nickelodeon Movies, and is slated for exclusive theatrical release in 2026. PAW Patrol: The Movie, the franchise’s first feature film, released in 2021, grossing more than $40 million...
WildBrain, SEGA secure new licensing partners for ‘Sonic Prime’. The Sonic Prime Netflix series saw its second season release this past July, and the brand has a growing portfolio of new products on the horizon to complement it. We’ve already covered a number of licensing partnerships entered with WildBrain CPLG and SEGA of America for Sonic Prime, but there’s more where that came from...
VeeFriends joins Mattel’s Masters of the Universe franchise with action figures. Mattel is inviting a VeeFriends character to the Masters of the Universe franchise. The toy company has revealed a collaboration between VeeFriends, the entertainment company created by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and Masters of the Universe. The special edition two-pack introduces Skilled Skeleton, a character who symbolizes...
MGA named master toy licensee for Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock. The Jim Henson Company, an established leader in family entertainment for more than 65 years and recognised as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation, has named MGA Entertainment as master toy licensee for its Emmy-winning series Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, currently available exclusively on Apple TV+,...
Funko Games’ newest tabletop offerings celebrate the Holidays. The tabletop game developer Funko Games is bringing beloved franchises and characters to the table this holiday season. The latest offerings feature Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rugrats, Winnie the Pooh, and the Muppets. In collaboration with Nickelodeon, Funko Games is also introducing its first-ever Chanukah-themed...
Jada Toys unveils new product based on hit Fred Rogers Productions series ‘Donkey Hodie’. Jada Toys, one of the world’s leading toy and collectible companies, has announced a new licensing partnership with Fred Rogers Productions, the iconic children’s media company behind multiple well-loved, Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series, to create and distribute consumer products based on its hit preschool series, Donkey Hodie.
Sinking Ship Entertainment lands plush deal for Chimpanzee in Apple TV’s ‘Jane’. Sinking Ship Entertainment (SSE) has inked a plush deal with educational toy company Safari based on the character Greybeard from Apple TV+’s Jane. Jane, which released earlier this year and was produced in association with the Jane Goodall Institute, is a live-action/CG-hybrid kids and family series that follows nine-year-old Jane Garcia...
Hello Kitty: Day at the Park, a tile-laying board game featuring Sanrio’s characters. Tabletop game developer Maestro Media, and Digital Development Management (DDM), launched the Kicsktarter campaign for the “Hello Kitty: Day at the Park” board game. The game is the first from Maestro Media’s recent partnership with Sanrio, the global lifestyle brand known for its beloved characters including international pop...
Jada Toys continues collaboration with Disney for new R/C Princess Carriage. Jada Toys is expanding its long-term relationship with Disney with a new R/C ride fit for a princess. The company, known for its innovation in the R/C category, has revealed an addition to the more than 20 product offerings in its collaboration with The Walt Disney Co.
WildBrain to launch new series ‘Jonny Jetboy’ at MIPCOM: The series comes from Keith Chapman, creator of ‘PAW Patrol’ and ‘Bob the Builder.’ Jonny Jetboy, a brand-new original kids’ series from WildBrain CPLG, is launching at MIPJUNIOR and MIPCOM 2023 next month. The series comes from the mind of Keith Chapman, creator of PAW Patrol and Bob the Builder, and follows the action-packed adventures of...
Kids can hop on (Pop) a great game with Dr. Seuss Scrabble. We do not want green eggs and ham, but we do want Dr. Seuss Scrabble! The Op | USAopoly is combining one of the most iconic family game night games with one of the best-selling kids’ authors of all time! Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Scrabble: Dr. Seuss Edition combines the classic rules of Scrabble with the zany vocabulary of Dr. Seuss.
Spin Master brings Bakugan, ‘Unicorn Academy’ to the Metaverse. What do unicorn riders and Bakugan brawlers have in common? Thanks to a partnership between Spin Master and Gamefam, both will be able to enjoy their activities in the metaverse! The Japanese-Canadian anime brand Bakugan will break new ground in the metaverse with an upcoming game: Bakugan Brawl Simulator.
Spin Master launches exclusive ‘PAW Patrol’ toys in Saudi Arabia. Spin Master has announced the launch of an exclusive toy line in Saudi Arabia, inspired by the upcoming film, “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie.” This launch has already ignited a wave of excitement among young fans across the country. The new collection showcases the cherished “PAW Patrol” characters, each accompanied by their unique vehicles...
LEGO’s newest Mario set is a fantastic and affordable Piranha Plant. After some teasing and online speculation, LEGO has officially revealed its next collaboration with Nintendo: A brick-built Piranha Plant that will fit perfectly on your desk or bookshelf. Unlike previous LEGO Mario sets, this one won’t break the bank with its price tag. Nintendo and LEGO have been working together for a few years now on Super Mario...
Pudgy Penguins debuts toyline in major retail stores across US. Pudgy Penguins, the IP and brand development company behind the series of globally recognized characters, has announced that its line of Pudgy Toys is available in 2,000 Walmart stores nationwide. Pudgy Toys plushies and collectibles are now sold alongside legacy consumer brands, a testament to both the growing popularity...
Moonbug Entertainment takes Little Baby Bum to the next level with launch of new preschool series and music. Moonbug Entertainment, a subsidiary of Candle Media, has announced the launch of its Netflix preschool series Little Baby Bum Music Time and its corresponding new soundtrack, which will be available on all music streaming platforms.
Minecraft and NERF partner on Minecraft NERF World DLC in October 2023. Hasbro and Minecraft announced an exciting partnership for the popular sandbox video game. The free Minecraft NERF World DLC (downloadable content) gives players an immersive experience full of thrilling challenges involving their favorite NERF blasters combined with iconic Minecraft worlds and mobs. In this DLC, players use NERF...
ZAG appoints Nelvana to represent ZAG Heroez brands in Canada. ZAG has appointed Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana as the exclusive licensing and merchandising agent for the ZAG Heroez Miraculous and Ghostforce brands in Canada. The announcement was made by Angela Cortez, vice president, licensing, Latin America and Canada.
'Similo' does 'Lord of the Rings'. Horrible Guild will release Similo: The Lord of the Rings, the latest version of the hit card game, in Q4, the company announced. In the game, players will try to guess a secret card from Middle-earth among the 12 displayed, as a Clue Giver plays cards from their hand as clues to suggest which cards should be removed.
People of Play
Henrietta Hurford-Jones, the creative director for indies at BBC Studios Kids & Family, will be departing after 13 and a half years at the BBC’s production and distribution arm. During her time at the BBC, she notably co-commissioned and executive produced the preschool phenomenon Bluey, as well as series like Hey Duggee, Go Jetters and Supertato.
***The above posted after September 29th***
Mattel promotes Robbie Brenner to President of Mattel Films. Mattel has promoted Robbie Brenner to President of Mattel Films. Brenner previously served as Executive Producer of Mattel Films since 2018. Brenner produced Barbie: The Movie for Mattel, the record-shattering film that was released in theaters this past summer in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures.
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes Kevin Daniels, President and Co-Founder of Fun In Motion Toys to the show. Fun In Motion is the four-time Toy of the Year (TOTY) finalist behind mesmerizing toys including Shashibo, Spin Ball, and Wandini. On the show, Daniels explains how an activity invented by the indigenous people of New Zealand became the inspiration for Fun In Motion Toys’ first product.
In a move that nearly everyone saw coming, billionaire activist investor Ryan Cohen is the new CEO of GameStop. The Chewy founder has taken an increasingly large role in the mass specialty retailer over the past two years following the “meme stock” frenzy of 2021. Cohen, through his RC Ventures, is GameStop’s largest shareholder. Since Cohen joined the fray, the company has continued its ups and downs, but...
Andrew Fernandes joins Basic Fun! UK. Basic Fun! UK welcomes a prominent Industry face to the team as Andrew Fernandes takes up the newly formed role of senior national account manager. Basic Fun! has seen growth across the UK and US and is now setting its sights on building direct retail relationships across Europe.
A new era: Litzky PR reveals leadership transition. It was 1998, a decade since Michele Litzky, a publicist and marketer with both agency and in-house experience, decided to set up shop on her own. Litzky Public Relations (LPR) was blazing a new path as an agency firmly planted in the kids and family space. Fast forward 25 years and now, on the eve of Toy Fair’s long-awaited return to NYC a new era begins as Welch...
BBC Studios bolsters brands and licensing team: Suzy Raia and her team will join the licensing division next month. BBC Studios has announced Suzy Raia, senior vice president, consumer products and business development, and her New York-based team will join its brands and licensing division starting Oct. 2.
Jim Ryan is retiring from Sony Interactive Entertainment. Sony Interactive President Jim Ryan—the man who's led Sony's PlayStation division since 2019, is stepping down from his role as president and retiring from the company. News of his departure first came via Bloomberg games reporter Jason Schreier, and was confirmed by Sony in a statement a few minutes later.
World of EPI Rebrands to The Dr. Lisa Company, Appoints New EVP Sales. World of EPI, the company with a focus on authentic multicultural dolls, has officially rebranded to The Dr. Lisa Company. The Dr. Lisa Company will serve as the umbrella organization for three key divisions: toys and publishing, animation, and strategic licensing.
Moose Toys appoints Jeff Hurst SVP North American sales. Moose Toys, a leading innovator in the toy industry, today announced industry veteran Jeff Hurst joins the company as senior vice president, North American sales. He will be based out of the company’s U.S. operation in El Segundo, Calif., beginning in October.
Kartoon Studios selects Brian Parisi as its Chief Financial Officer. Kartoon Studios has appointed finance veteran Brian Parisi as its Chief Financial Officer, following former Chief Financial Officer Bob Denton’s transition to Executive Vice President, Finance & Accounting. Kartoon Studios produces, distributes, markets, licenses, and creates entertainment brands for children.
Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101 director Hideki Kamiya departing PlatinumGames. PlatinumGames co-founder Hideki Kamiya is departing the Bayonetta, Nier: Automata, and The Wonderful 101 developer after almost two decades. Kamiya established Platinum in 2006 alongside Shinji Mikami and Atsushi Inaba, having previously directed notable titles including Devil May Cry, Okami, and Resident Evil 2...
Chris Metzen appointed executive creative director for Warcraft franchise. Almost a full year after becoming an advisor for the Warcraft franchise, Chris Metzen is now its executive creative director. Under his new position at Blizzard Entertainment, Metzen will be "supporting our World of Warcraft leadership in crafting the next generation of adventurers."
Lindsay Schlesser joins Hachette as new marketing manager. Hachette Boardgames USA has hired Lindsay Schlesser as the company’s new Marketing Manager. Schlesser has more than seven years of experience with digital marketing including a stint at Bezier Games as Marketing Manager there before making the switch over to Hachette.
Ami Baio, the creator behind Pink Tiger Games, is pleased to announce her nomination for the respected Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIE) 2023, in the category of Rising Star Innovator of the Year, for her contributions to game design with Cloud Nine: A Game of Wonderful Things and Lost for Words: A Game of Untranslatable Feelings.
Companies and Brands
Following the end of her long-running TV series, many wondered what Ellen would do next. Turns out, games are part of the plan. Ellen’s Game Night Club is a new subscription service for game lovers. The program includes a quarterly delivery of games and snacks starting with Goliath’s Game Night in a Can, the title recently acquired under license from Barry & Jason Games & Entertainment, alongside CMYK’s...
Cepia is rolling into Toy Fair in a big way. The company behind Cats vs Pickles is going back to one of its early successes for the return of ZhuZhu Pets. The famed brand is back as ZhuZhu Aquarium, a new range of vibrant toy fish and accessories that kids can use to create a mess-free aquatic-themed environment.
Amazon and Readyland, a toy development company, have collaborated to let little ones join the action during storytime with the Alexa interactive book Owl & Dragon, A Magical Adventure. The book invites kids to join exciting adventures as they explore new worlds, find their way back home together, and learn a lot of lessons on the way.
YouTube has launched a series of new features, including AI-infused tools, to help content creators. The new tools include Dream Screen, a new experimental feature that allows creators to create AI-generated video or image backgrounds to shorts by typing an idea into a prompt. According to YouTube, Dream Screen enables creators to set backgrounds such as outer space or an ‘enchanted forest’ simply by typing...
Burger King® and PAW Patrol™ Are “On a Roll” With a Line of King Jr.™ Meal Toys to Celebrate the Theatrical Release of “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie™” With six unique interactive toys inspired by the beloved PAW Patrol pups and the anticipated film, the limited-edition line of King Jr. Meal toys will be available beginning September 25
'CATAN' returns to space for 'Starfarers Duel'. Catan Studio has announced CATAN Starfarers Duel, an updated reboot of 2001’s Starship Catan, with a launch scheduled for March 2024. CATAN Starfarers Duel is a two-player card game set in the same galaxy as the CATAN Starfarers board game. Using cards, the players explore and colonize planets to gather resources that are then used to upgrade their starship board.
Hasbro unveils new brand campaign: ‘All Is Fair in Monopoly. As Hasbro continues its 100th birthday celebration, the Rhode Island-based toy and game company is launching a new brand campaign for a classic that never goes out of style: Monopoly. The All Is Fair in Monopoly brand campaign takes flight on Oct. 9 in Canada and Oct. 24 in the U.S. Set to run through December, the new, multiplatform...
Mattel launches Pictionary Vs. AI. This game uses an app to incorporate artificial intelligence. Mattel is integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into one of its classic games. In Pictionary Vs. AI, all players draw images of the words while AI tries to guess the word. “Mattel is excited to introduce Pictionary Vs. AI, bringing technological advancement to create new and exciting challenges to fans who love the classic game,” ...
Read Toy World’s Mattel supplement online here. Toy World has again teamed up with Mattel to produce a supplement highlighting the company’s key brands and latest news. With Mattel preparing to celebrate Barbie’s 65th anniversary in 2024, and following the smash-hit Barbie movie that took the world by storm this year, the icon once again graces the front cover of Toy World’s standalone 2023 Mattel supplement.
$400 set of retro Pokémon cards sells out immediately [Update]. Reprints of the original Charizard and more already risk becoming a scalping nightmare. Back in February, The Pokémon Company announced it was reprinting beloved cards from the very start of the Pokémon trading card game, including the original holographic Venusuar, Charizard, and Blastoise, as part of a $400 board game set.
Creative Kids Group will be one of the first to bring the TikTok trend to retail shelves, aiming to widen accessibility with simple instructions, supplies, and attractive price points (the products will range in cost from 99 cents to $29.99). The initial line will comprise of several kits to make keychains, bubbles, and more, namely the Nano Crafts Mix Set, Nano Crafts Mini Play Kit, Nano Crafts Make and...
The LEGO Group’s new campaign emphasizes the power of play. The campaign aims to make play a priority. The LEGO Group released its new Play Is Your Superpower campaign, which features the brand’s first film that celebrates how heroes can emerge in a world that has forgotten how to play. The campaign has been created to encourage adults to make play a priority for the children in their lives.
MGA announces L.O.L. Surprise! Live School’s Out tour. Tickets for the L.O.L. Surprise! Live School’s Out Tour go on sale at 10am on Friday 29th September, with the tour slated to hit the road in February 2024. MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! dolls are about to make the school holidays even more fun with a new tour that will hit the road in 2024.
Flat River Group will release 'Lunar Rush'. Flat River Group will release Lunar Rush, a new Euro-style board game by Dead Alive Games, into U.S. retail on October 20, 2023. In Lunar Rush, players take charge of one of Earth’s four major corporate conglomerates in the middle of a "gold rush" to the Moon. These conglomerates are competing to mine the Moon for lunethyst crystals and lunarium ore.
Stars come out for new Cry Babies series. IMC Toys celebrated the launch of its latest Cry Babies Stars series with a star-studded event attended by media, influencers and celebrities at the Soho Hotel in London. Attendees included Vanessa Feltz, Heidi Range, Nadiya Bychkova, Amy Childs and their families, plus influencers and press from top-tier national media and broadcast channels.
Roma Prams heads to debut at New York Toy Fair. Roma specialises in high end, quality dolls prams, including the replica BabyStyle Egg dolls pram, and will be showing at the New York Toy Fair for the first time. Founded in 2016, Roma Prams is a British, family-run brand that designs its own collections of popular luxury dolls prams and matching accessories.
Board Game Club to showcase raft of new games. Monthly grown-up games night, Board Game Club, returns to London’s Century Club next week with a menu packed full of brand-new games. The event will take place on Tuesday, 3rd October and the organizers say they expect the new games to be hits.
Chia Pet introduces three spooky products in time for Halloween. Chia Pet is kicking off the Halloween season with three new horror-themed products. The Addams Family Wednesday Chia Pet, Addams Family Thing Chia Pet, and Ghost Face Chia Pet are the latest terracotta offerings for horror aficionados.
‘Gigantosaurus’ toys to roll out in the Middle East. Cyber Group Studios has named CMC Global, also known as Professionals at Play, as the licensing agent for its animated series, “Gigantosaurus,” in the Middle East. Under the new partnership, Dubai-based licensing agency, P@P, will oversee the licensing business development across the region.
Funko Games brings the Holiday spirit to NYTF. Ahead of Toy Fair, Funko Games, the award-winning tabletop gaming studio, presents a collection of engaging board and party games inspired by beloved holiday classics, including iconic properties and characters like Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Rugrats.
LEGO axes plan to make bricks from recycled bottles. Toy giant LEGO has scrapped plans to make its bricks from recycled bottles, in a blow to its efforts to cut carbon emissions. The company said in 2021 that it aimed to produce bricks not containing crude oil within two years. But on Monday, it said it had found that using the new material didn't reduce carbon emissions. LEGO said it remains "fully committed"...
Professor Puzzle’s new Outer Space game blasts off. One of several exciting games released by Professor Puzzle this year, Outer Space combines tactical card placement with beautiful, cosmic designs to create a truly unique gaming experience. Starting at the centre, players take turns placing their galaxy cards as they attempt to develop an expanding universe.
'Sagrada Artisans' heads to retail. Floodgate Games will release Sagrada Artisans, a new standalone game, into retail in October 2023. This standalone legacy game offers players a cornucopia of unlockable content as the campaign goes on. Players will compete against each other as rival families building up the cathedral's windows over generations.
Tomy outlines UK marketing plans for The Game of Saying ‘Huh?!’. Following its enormous success in Japan, Tomy says its latest game, The Game of Saying ‘Huh?!’, is set to be a hit with consumers this Christmas. The Game of Saying 'Huh?!Its success in the Japanese market, where it sold over £1m pieces, means Tomy’s The Game of Saying Huh?! party game is predicted to be a favourite with UK families....
Plus-Plus Brings Sustainable Toys to Toy Fair. Plus-Plus is bringing its sustainable toys, including its 2023 Toy of the Year (TOTY) finalist, Puzzle by Number Map of USA, to Toy Fair this weekend. Other products that Plus-Plus will have on display include the Axolotl 70 Piece Tube, the Learn to Build Big Activity Set, the Plus-Plus Advent Calendar, and the 240 Piece Sports Tube.
Mayfair to distribute Pythagoras Games titles in North American market. Mayfair Games has inked a deal to distribute Pythagoras Games board game titles into the North American market. Pythagoras Games is a Portuguese board game publisher. Their catalog of games include Garum, Pessoa, and 6 Castles.
My Gnome on the Roam creates interactive adventures for busy families. My Gnome on the Roam is helping families create memories by inserting short but meaningful adventures into busy schedules. The company has introduced a collection of toys, books, and tools to encourage busy families to slow down, even for 15 minutes, and enjoy an interactive adventure.
Headstart to debut Cubeez at Toy Fair. These plush stack on top of each other. Australian toy company Headstart will showcase its latest collection, Cubeez, at Toy Fair this weekend. Cubeez are cube-shaped plush collectibles with arms and legs that kids can stack on top of each other.
Hasbro Pulse Con 2023 reveals include MtG NERF Blaster and so much more. Hasbro Pulse Con surprised fans with tons of new collectibles from Marvel, Star Wars, Transformers, Dungeons & Dragons, Power Rangers, Magic: The Gathering, and G.I. Joe! Before the event, The Pop Insider covered a sneak peek of the event with a small selection of the exclusive reveals, but if you missed out on the rest of them...
Red Planet Group extends Bonkers Toys distribution deal. Red Planet Group has extended its distribution partnership with Bonkers Toys, continuing its position as the exclusive distributor within Canada. Bonkers Toys is known for the LankyBox and Aphmau brands, both inspired by YouTube creators of the same names.
The Butterfly Pig offers representation via toy medical devices: The company offers accessories like oxygen tanks, allergy pens, and more. The Centers for Disease Control report that about 27% of kids in the U.S. have a chronic medical condition of some sort, yet kids’ conditions, illnesses, and disabilities are rarely reflected in their playthings.
Games Workshop launches new 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Combat Patrol: Space Marines' box. Games Workshop launched a new Combat Patrol: Space Marines box for Warhammer 40,000, which will hit preorder on September 30, 2023. Players can start up or build on their Space Marines collection with this new Combat Patrol boxed set.
Brainstorm makes strides towards sustainability goals. Brainstorm has announced great strides in its sustainability efforts with crucial reductions in single-use plastics across the business. The company has been implementing robust practices over the past few years to ensure that its sustainability goals are met in line with its own stringent targets, and the compliance team has outlined its goals for 2024...
Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic luxury set to be released later in November. The luxury Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic set will be released later this November. The first set for the Pokémon Trading Card Game was originally released in 1996 and featured cards based on the Pokémon found in the video games.
Super Impulse to create 'World's Smallest' 'Catan' and 'Spot It!' Super Impulse and Asmodee are teaming up to produce World’s Smallest Catan and World’s Smallest Spot It! games, following their debut at the upcoming New York Toy Fair. The World’s Smallest line is a series of miniaturized toys and games begun in 2014. It includes classic games like the World’s Smallest Playing Cards and World’s Smallest Chess...
Square Enix expands Final Fantasy tabletop game line with board game and RPG. Square Enix is expanding its game line with a board game and tabletop roleplaying game, planned for Q2 2024. They will join the Final Fantasy TCG (‘Final Fantasy TCG’ Finds ‘Hidden Hope’”) in the Final Fantasy tabletop game family.
CoolStuffinc phasing out board games and RPGs to emphasize TCGs. CoolStuffInc.com is phasing out its board game and RPG selections in both its online and six brick-and-mortar stores as the result of a strategic decision to emphasize TCGs, the company announced. Board games and RPGs are being discounted at up to 70% off in the company’s online store, with many titles already out of stock.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
MGA Entertainment launches ‘Rainbow High: Runway Rush’ on consoles and PC. Outright Games and MGA Entertainment have released Rainbow High: Runway Rush across several gaming platforms. This marks the first video game inspired by the Netflix and YouTube series and fashion doll line Rainbow High. The dolls represent colors of the rainbow and encourage creativity through friendship.
Idris Elba: Actors in video games like Phantom Liberty is 'sign of the times'. Actor Idris Elba is no stranger to the world of video games, but says he has a new-found appreciation for the art form following his latest role. Elba stars as Solomon Reed in the latest spy-thriller adventure expansion for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. Asked if he sees video games becoming a growing medium of work for actors...
Velan Studios partners with Ford for ‘Hot Wheels Rift Rally’ DLC. Velan Studios’ racing game Hot Wheels Rift Rally is unleashing its first downloadable content (DLC) in collaboration with Ford. With the Ford Performance Pack ($14.99), players can digitally transform the Chameleon RC car into four Ford vehicles, which feature more than 28 customizable variants.
Capcom president says ‘Game prices are too Low’. In comments this past weekend, Capcom president Haruhiro Tsujimoto asserted that video game prices are too low, pointing to the massive increase in development costs and how game prices haven’t risen at the same rate. He suggested that increasing the price of games would be a “healthy option” for the industry.
EA pulls every old FIFA game from digital storefronts. You can no longer buy last year’s hit soccer game, FIFA 23. Nor any other older game from the famous Electronic Arts sports franchise. At least, not digitally. The publisher has pulled every FIFA game that was previously for sale on the PlayStation 5, Xbox, Switch, Steam, and Epic Games storefronts.
Fifa to EA Sports FC: Name change is big gamble for UK's best-selling game. For 30 years, the name Fifa has been as synonymous with video games as it has with real-life football. But that is set to change. EA Sports FC, the new incarnation of the football simulator made by Electronic Arts (EA), hits the shelves this week.
Resident Evil 4 remake will cost $60 on iPhone. The Resident Evil 4 remake costs $60 for its iPhone 15 Pro port, as much as is charged for standard console editions. There are ways to justify spending $60 in the App Store, where pre-orders for RE4 are currently live. You could call it spending $60 to play a great survival horror game on a tiny, but supposedly high-power console that also shows you TikToks.
Payday 3 smashes and grabs 1.3 million players in opening weekend. Starbreeze's Payday 3 released over the weekend, and has already hit 1.3 million unique players. In a new press release, the developer confirmed the milestone covers both PC and consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S), and peaked at a concurrent player count of 218,250. At l
Hit pirate game Sea of Thieves is finally getting a single-player mode. Over 25 million people have played Sea of Thieves. The pirate ship fantasy sim has some of the most beautiful water you’ve ever seen in a video game. And now Rare’s live-service multiplayer game is finally getting a way for people to play solo. A new mode called Safer Seas will let players explore in private sessions without the threat
Highlighted Press Releases
KIDS FOR CULTURE™ REVEALS ITS TOP 5 BABY GIFTS TO PICK SOMETHING POSITIVE FOR THE TOTS ON THE LIST. Self-Esteem And Confidence Are Tucked Into Every Holiday Gift Idea From Little Lingo Board Book To Positive Pals®️ Blanket Dolls With Crinkle & Teether. Nashville, TN (September 27, 2023) – Kids will quickly discover that everyone is a little different so why not gift them books and toys that help them grow into a well-rounded child? This holiday season, parents and grandparents can take a walk down the toy aisle at Walmart or click on Amazon.com and discover the Kids For Culture collection. Their Top 5 Gift Picks are priced at $12.99 and under!
KIDS BEAR WITNESS TO HOW SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS MAKE THE WORLD BETTER WITH BENE, SPARKLE & SEAWHEE. Interactive Plush Toys With A Purpose™ Line from Bene World LLC Encourages Little Ones To Show Respect, Kindness, Empathy & Selflessness At BeneBearGiving.Com. Knoxville, TN (September 25, 2023) — Could holding the door open for a friend or waving to an elderly neighbor make a difference? Yes! says an award-winning toy line that encourages the youngest citizens to consider random acts of kindness and empathy. Bene Bear® ($39.99) (pronounced Benny) is the first of several plush Bene Buddies™ available online at BeneBearGiving.com.
Safety and Counterfeiting
ALERT: Popular shop recalls children's toys sold to thousands of parents due to choking risk. Penneys is recalling two brands of children's toys sold to thousands of Irish parents due to a major choking hazard. According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Primark Limited (t/a Penneys) is carrying out a recall of the Primark Wooden Music Shaker (model 7495201...
There are new Safety Standards for children’s toys: What do you need to know? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has updated the mandatory standard for toys designed for children up to and including 36 months of age. The standard applies to various toys, including rattles, toy dummies, teethers, push and pull toys, bath toys, dolls, games, and more, designed for young children.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Voting now open for the 2023 Toy & Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Awards. Finalists for the prestigious 2023 TAGIE Awards have been announced by People of Play (POP). The TAGIEs, now in its 16th year, honor the most innovative inventors, designers, suppliers, retailers, marketers and PR teams in the toy and game industry. Public voting starts Thursday, September 21 and ends on October 20, 2023.
Toy Fair is in danger of ending its 120-yr run in NYC with some big manufacturers pressuring the lucrative trade show to move to LA, The Post has learned. Barbie maker Mattel is among the major firms that are snubbing Toy Fair NY this week following a 2-yr hiatus because of the pandemic. Other absent heavyweights will include MGA Entertainment, maker of LOL Surprise and Bratz dolls; Jakks Pacific....
The Game Inventors Convention is approaching its second year after a successful debut at 2023 Spielwarenmesse. This year’s Game Inventors Convention welcomed more than 140 participants from 20 countries, fully booked with tabletop game newcomers hoping to meet with international game publishers.
Thanking Autumn Fair attendees for their feedback, Hyve Group says the Connect meetings platform ‘did not add value in the way we expected it to’. Nicola Meadows, divisional managing director of Hyve Group, has confirmed that Connect will not return for 2024. Spring and Autumn Fair and Glee, owned by Hyve Group, have announced that the connections programme Connect will not be running in 2024...
Visitor registration for (UK) Toy Fair 2024 now open! Taking place between the 23rd-25th January at Olympia London, Toy Fair 2024 will celebrate its 70th anniversary with a sold-out floorplan and extended footprint. Visitor registration is now open for Toy Fair 2024; an unrivalled opportunity to forge new business and build on existing relationships.
Spielwarenmesse to provide new areas such as the LicenseLounge. At the leading international trade fair Spielwarenmesse, which takes place from 30th January to 3rd February, the key themes of the coming year will once again be on show. The Spielwarenmesse NewProduct gallery spotlights the latest toy launches Innovations, inspiration and market expertise: Spielwarenmesse offers them all by providing a...
Zigazoo Kids to send kid reporters to TOTY Awards, Toy Fair. The kids will test new products and conduct interviews. Zigazoo Kids, the largest social network for children, will send kid reporters to Toy Fair and the Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Three kids will report on the TOTY 2023 purple carpet on Sept. 29.
Learning Resources, Educational Insights, hand2mind exhibit together this Toy Fair. Three educational brands plan to hit this year’s Toy Fair from Sept. 30-Oct. 3, bringing interactive experiences and sneak peeks into the future. Learning Resources, hand2mind, and Educational Insights will be sharing Booth No. 455 at New York’s Javits Center.
The Paley Center plans for The Paley Honors: A Gala Tribute to Hasbro’s Centennial. The celebration of Hasbro’s 100th anniversary continues with a gala hosted by the Paley Center for Media. The Paley Honors: A Gala Tribute to Hasbro’s Centennial will be taking place Monday, Oct. 23 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. T
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 readers. Archives can be found HERE
Domenic Bettini, Director of Business Development at Playview Brands, passed away unexpectedly this morning, at the age of 55. Bettini was an esteemed expert in the toy industry and was recently appointed to his role as Director of Business Development. He was incredibly passionate and had a tremendous impact on the toy industry, with more than 20 years of notable success.
Michael Gambon, the Irish-born actor who drew acclaim from both audiences and peers for his stage and screen work, and who won even wider renown as Albus Dumbledore, the firm but kindly headmaster of the Hogwarts wizarding school, in the “Harry Potter” films, died on Wednesday night. He was 82. Mr. Gambon’s family confirmed his death in a brief statement issued on Thursday through a public relations company. “Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife, Anne, and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia,” the statement said. It did not identify the hospital where he died.
Gill Sheppard. Gill Sheppard, the owner of Rainbow Toys in Midsomer Norton, has passed away following a short battle with cancer.
oy World is sad to report that the popular independent West Country retailer Gill Sheppard passed away on 7th September after a 19-month battle with cancer. Gill and her husband Julian ran Rainbow Toys of Midsomer Norton. Gill’s friend and colleague Keith Elmer told Toy World: “They were successful and immensely popular members of both Concorde and Youngsters Buying Groups for many years, and they epitomised all that was good about independent, family run toy shops.” Keith added: “Gill will be remembered for her infinite charm and gracious nature to all customers and suppliers alike.” Toy World would like to express its condolences to Julian and the rest of Gill’s family at this time.
Philipp Gosch. Austrian game developer Philipp Gosch and his wife Michaela (née Tritthart) passed away during last week's floods in Thessaly, Greece. Authorities recently identified their bodies after they were previously confirmed missing on September 7. Known by his online profile Saphire, Gosch was a lead software developer and technical artist in Graz, Austria. He was also a founding member (and vice president of) the Game Development Graz (GDG) association. On its website, GDG called him "an integral part of the Austrian and international game development scene." "Phil was known for his contagious enthusiasm, multifaceted talents, extraordinarily kind heart, and his always fun attitude," wrote GDG. "[He was] a driving force behind bringing the community together, spreading knowledge, and organizing events like our local game jams and the Game Dev Days." Gosch created a number of games during local game jams. Several of them are playable, such as Rootsy Tootsy Platformer from this past February, and the full list can be found here. Outside of game development, Gosch was said to be an avid skater with Michaela, and the pair took part in the Euro Freestyle Championship this past August. A (translated) website from the local skating community dedicated to their memory called the activity "the first connection between the two." "Michaela traveled all over the world as a freestyle skater and conjured up maneuvers on the asphalt that were difficult for 'normal' skaters to grasp. An enthusiasm that Phil began to share more and more. [...] Michaela and Phil, we miss you, Ride in Peace!"
Nick Hancock, founder and senior producer of Active Pictures, which produced commercials for clients including Brainstorm Toys and LeapFrog.
Toy World is saddened to share the news that Nick Hancock, the founder and senior producer of Active Pictures, has passed away. Jo Dickinson, post production manager at Active Pictures and a good friend of Nick’s, writes that after a long battle with cancer, Nick died peacefully in his home, surrounded by his family, on Sunday 17th September. He leaves his wife Sarah, two daughters, Becca and Abbie, and his two dogs. Information on the date and place of Nick’s funeral will be available in the comings days, for those who would like to attend. In advance of the ceremony, readers are invited to share photos and memories of Nick. His friends and family is hoping to put together a compilation of memories to play over a drink or two later that day – these can be sent to email@example.com. Jo said: “Nick started Active Pictures 23 years ago. He was incredibly hard working and very proud of what the business became. In this time, he collated a team of likeminded people who work together like a family, and he formed longstanding personal relationships with colleagues and clients alike. Since he started Active Pictures, Nick made close to 6,000 commercials, employed hundreds of freelancers, and has shouldered all of us in our progressing careers. We will miss his strength and support, unwavering optimism and positivity, his laughter, and his way of bringing everyone together.”
Craig Mair. Toy World is sad to announce the untimely passing of Craig Mair, a well known and much loved member of the UK toy trade. Craig was well known throughout the toy industry, having spent most of his working life at The Lego Group, with subsequent periods at Wizards of the Coast, Funrise and Spin Master. Former colleague at The Lego Group, Kerry Walgrove, has penned the following obituary: Craig had a huge heart and deep sense of compassion for others. As a colleague he was reliable, fun, creative and an endless source of energy. He loved karaoke and could always be relied on for a better than average rendition of The Gambler. Craig was a key member of the Lego UK team during strong years of growth for the company, and was instrumental in winning the Lego Group some highly coveted retailer awards, As a leader, he was an excellent coach and mentor, naturally empathetic and supportive. His tenacity and love for the brand played a huge part in many of those successes.
In his younger years, Craig was a keen sportsman. At Mark Warner holidays, he taught water sports. He loved cricket, but his first sporting love was hockey. He was an excellent skier and diver and an ardent supporter of England rugby, which offset a rather dubious affection for Tottenham Hotspur. Craig was a natural host and an excellent BBQ chef. Having strong family ties with South Africa, he spent years perfecting his own biltong recipe. His family parties were legendary, with his extensive music collection and natural, overflowing generosity.
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