the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is July 23 - 30, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 

Happy Friday! ​

Jimmy Fallon got his game on this week, and it's too good not to share! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

​​

Mary

tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers Answers:  Emergent Strategist or Master Planner?

Working as an entrepreneur versus in a formal company role, I have had the opportunity to learn more about my authentic work style, the style that comes most naturally to me. I have realized that I am, at my core, an experiential learner. With a strong bias for action, I develop a broad-brush strategy, jump in, start experimenting, and learn and refine as I go. To be sure, I have always admired the people who are master planners, those who mastermind outcomes, especially since that is not my strong suit. I have often wished to be more like that.  

 

But now I am starting to appreciate the benefits of my own natural work style…I call it “emergent strategizing.”  It fits with my experiential learning style. My CFO for my consulting firm Funosophy, Inc. once said to me, “Nancy, you extract more learning from experience than anyone else I know.” Yes, learning and growing is my heartbeat.

 

One of the reasons I now feel more confident in my emergent approach is that several years ago, I read a great deal about neuroscience and evolution (45+ books, many academic). I came to appreciate the genius of Nature. “Nature programs for success” became my mantra as it relates to growth and development, whether it was about kids and play, growing a business, or my own growth and development. Turns out, Nature is an emergent strategist . . . Read More . . . 

Ahren Hoffman, Just Zipping Along - tBR Person of the Week

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

 

In 2007 I fought to get my internship approved at the National Lekotek Center, a toy lending library and resource center for children with special needs in Chicago, IL. I had no idea that the toy industry would continue to be a common theme throughout my career after this internship! It was an amazing experience to provide therapeutic play for kids with special needs and “prescribe” toys for the entire family. Toys and play are a powerful influence on skill development for children of all abilities and I had a front row seat. 

 

After my internship, I got my first job at a Lekotek affiliate site. I continued to provide therapeutic play and participated in the review of toys for the Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids through the National Lekotek Center. The rest is history! 

I became a member of the Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld family on July 26, 2021 and am thrilled to be back in the toy industry as their Marketing Team Lead.  Read More . . . 

Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld - makers of Thinking Putty®, Land of Dough and More!:

tBR Company of the Week

At Crazy Aaron's we make Thinking Putty®, Land of Dough and other creative, innovative products to inspire curiosity, wonder and to educate and delight our customers all over the world. 

 

In 1998, Crazy Aaron’s launched into a successful niche producing Thinking Putty®. Aaron’s very first product that hit the market was Coral Reef, a mesmerizing, sparkling blue putty containing Color Shock™ technology. Since then, a multitude of new products and product lines have been created all with the intention to never steer away from the company’s mission statement. However, in March of 2020, Aaron found himself using chemistry in a way he never expected to do. 

 

2020 catapulted Crazy Aaron’s into a new line of product development, hand sanitizer. In just 72 hours, our engineering team successfully changed over the production line to produce hand sanitizer, obtained the necessary government approvals, and donated the first 100 gallons to local first responders. We continued to donate sanitizer as the year rolled on including 2,000 gallons and 737 automated dispensers to the Camden County School District in New Jersey as teachers and students were going back to school. Read More...

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Toy Prices Are Going Up Ahead of the Holiday Season. Companies race to import enough toys for holiday shopping and try to pass along higher shipping costs. Hasbro Inc., Mattel Inc. and other manufacturers say they are navigating supply-chain disruptions and rising costs for materials and labor, leading them to raise prices to recoup some of the added costs.

(the above posted after the Bloom Report went out on July 30th)

Cards Against Humanity Is Exploring a Possible Sale. The company is seeking to be valued at around $500 million in a transaction, the people added. The company generates earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of between $40 million to $50 million a year.

Cards Against Humanity hasn’t made a final decision on pursuing a sale and could decide to remain independent.

The Last Remnants of Original Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us Inventory Hits the Auction Block.  This week, Motleys Asset Disposition Group in conjunction with eBid Local liquidated more than 370 pallet lots of merchandise that has been warehoused since the end of the initial 70-year legacy of Toys “R” Us in the U.S.

Employees at Activision Blizzard will hold a walkout Wednesday in protest of widespread harassment allegations across the company, a spokesperson on behalf of the group told Axios. The latest: The company has extended paid time off to all employees planning to attend the walkout, sending a "strong signal they intend to work with us," the source said late Tuesday.

Gaming outlets halt Activision Blizzard coverage. Multiple gaming outlets have said they will at least temporarily stop covering Activision Blizzard games in light of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the publisher and its various responses to it.The Gamer editor-in-chief Kirk McKeand announced his decision on Twitter, saying, "We're going to stop covering Activision and Blizzard games until there's some real change and this gaslighting bollocks ends.”

Research finds popular games skirt Chinese loot box disclosure laws. China has required game developers to disclose loot box odds to players since 2017, but a new paper published in the journal Behavioral Public Policy has found that many publishers aren't obeying the spirit of the law, or sometimes even the letter of it. 

Entrust Global, parent company of brands Beckett and DragonShield, recently acquired Southern Hobby Supply, a distributor of sports card and trading card game products in N. A. Southern Hobby is an authorized distributor for brands Magic: The Gathering, Panini, Pokémon, Topps, Ultra Pro, Upper Deck, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more. For 31 years, it has been a supplier for more than 1,000 hobby and specialty stores. 

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Program Highlights

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

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Stories & Comments . . .

Man's 'Schitt's Creek'-inspired toys get him a Netflix deal. A Canadian man used his old toys to recreate scenes from "Schitt's Creek" and Netflix took notice.

Take a Look At Mattel's First Pixar Studio Series with Disney's Up. The Pixar Spotlight Series from Mattel is setting up to be one of their coolest collectible franchises for Disney and Pixar fans. The main series has yet to kick off with collectibles featuring iconic characters for The Incredibles, Toy Story, and Wall-E. Mattel did release their very first figure for the upcoming line this year during San Diego Comic Con...

(the above posted after the Bloom Report sent on July 30th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UKShip just got real …it’s the Friday Blog!  As pictures of empty supermarket shelves make headline news in the UK, there are rumours that the government is mulling over implementing a new ‘eat nowt to help out’ strategy to help relieve the pressure on the food supply chain. Looking at my post-pandemic waistline, it may not be the worst idea. Meanwhile, the toy industry continues to grapple with logistics challenges of its own. 

Intel chief warns of two-year chip shortage. Intel's chief executive, Pat Gelsinger, says the worst of the global chip crisis is yet to come. Mr Gelsinger predicts the shortage will get worse in the "second half of this year" and it will be "a year or two" before supplies return to normal. The disruption, caused by huge demand for devices, the pandemic, and poor relations between the US and China, has created ...

Changing the World TOY BY TOY.  Understanding the challenges and opportunities that sustainability presents for the toy industry. Toys play a crucial role in children's lives; they stimulate and prolong playing, essential for healthy physical and intellectual development. Paradoxically, the very same items that bring joy to children jeopardise their future.

Top TikTok toy influencer Rhia.Official reveals how brands can win big on the platform. In this guest piece by Fanbytes, Rhia talks about the secrets to her success and how toy brands can tap into TikTok. It should come as no surprise to anyone that toys have well and truly found a home on TikTok. The platform has been driving the ‘holy grail’ combination of mass sales and brand love, as well as giving birth to..

'Snake Eyes' is better than expected, thanks to a guy you've never heard of. For about an hour, “Snake Eyes,” the latest installment in Hasbro’s "G.I Joe" film franchise, is honestly pretty good. The movie, which opens in theaters on Friday, has “Crazy Rich Asians” leading man Henry Golding as its star, and a shockingly good turn from British actor Andrew Koji. Of the three “Joe” films, this one, directed by Robert Schwentke, is...

The Board Games That Ask You to Reenact Colonialism. A newish wave of sophisticated, adult board games have made exploitation part of their game mechanics. A reckoning is coming. The board game “puerto rico” begins after everyone around the table receives a mat printed with the verdant interior of the game’s namesake island. Players are cast as European tycoons who have trekked across the Atlantic at the height of..

Facebook reduces advertising targeting for teenagers. Facebook Inc. is ending some targeting advertising of its youngest users and adding some privacy protections amid scrutiny over the social network’s plan to launch an Instagram kids product. Facebook will no longer let marketers show ads to people younger than 18 based on their interests or their activity on other apps and websites. 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

How the Super Soaker's inventor made a big splash. When inventor Lonnie Johnson took a simple squirt gun and ramped it WAY up, he had no idea what a hit it would be. Since the early 1990s, the Super Soaker has soaked up more than $1 billion in toy sales. But Johnson hasn't stopped there. Correspondent Mo Rocca reports on how Johnson, a former engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, continues to make a big splash.

Where’s the Fun From? – Wiffle Ball. In this installment from his YouTube series, Where’s the Fun From?, Guest Contributor Tim Walsh tells the origin story of how David A. and David N. Mullany invented Wiffle Ball and changed summers forever! Author, documentary filmmaker, and toy industry veteran Tim Walsh recently founded a new game company called Roo Games. 

Battling Tops from Ideal Toy CompanyReleased in 1968 by Ideal Toy Company, the Battling Tops tournament-style game challenged players to have the last Battling Top spinning in the arena. A complete Battling Tops game included a molded plastic playing field/arena, eight player-assembled spinners (each consisting of a disc and spindle), spinner pullers, strings, pegs, and spinner stickers with the monikers...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Disguise Enters the Battle with Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Costumes, Accessories. Kids and adults can look forward to joining the Arashikage Clan of ninja warriors just in time for Halloween with a full range of Snake Eyes-inspired costumes and accessories from Disguise. The lineup is based on the new G.I. Joe film and will hit stores in September. 

YouTube media franchise Spy Ninjas and Scholastic signed a three-year publishing deal in the U.S. and Canada, brokered by the brand’s licensing agent Surge Licensing. Expected to start rolling out in fall 2021, Scholastic’s Spy Ninjas publishing program will launch with an official guidebook for the brand, followed by a range of graphic novels and activity books.

Love, Bonito teams with Mattel for Barbie capsule. In a partnership with Mattel, Southeast Asia apparel brand Love, Bonito has launched a Barbie-sized assortment of its The Staples collection. With the aim of empowering young girls and women to pursue their limitless potential, the Love, Bonito x Barbie collaboration is a multi-faceted partnership featuring apparel, cause-driven goals and toy accessories.

Moonbug, Star Editions launch ‘Cocomelon,’ ‘Blippi’ shop. The e-shop features exclusive products and a range of toys, games and customizable gifts for both. Licensee Star Editions has created a bespoke online shopping destination for fans, all under Moonbug branding. Products include the master toy licensee ranges from both Bandai and Jazwares..

Brainstorm Ltd teams with ViacomCBS UK to launch PAW Patrol and Blue’s Clues & You Torch and Projector sets. Brainstorm Ltd has secured a new partnership with ViacomCBS Consumer Products UK that will see the toy firm add both PAW Patrol and Blue’s Clues & You to its successful Torch and Projector range. Under the new deal, 

McFarlane Toys partners with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create new DCDirect collectibles with exclusive global distribution. McFarlane Toys’ huge success story with their DC Multiverse action figures is getting bigger and better as they announce they are further expanding their relationship with DC and Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP).

Boat Rocker’s hit series Dino Ranch set for season two and new themed toys. Following a successful first season, the second season of Boat Rocker’s pre-school hit Dino Ranch will launch on Disney Junior and Disney+ US & Latin America in 2022 and a broad licensing programme has also been developed, with Boat Rocker partnering with Jazwares on a full line of Dino Ranch themed toys, available this autumn. 

Live-action Pokémon series reportedly in development. Joe Henderson, showrunner and executive producer on Lucifer, is said to be writing and producing the new Netflix series. Variety has reported that a new live-action Pokémon series is in early development at Netflix. Although information is limited at this stage, sources have told the platform the project will be similar in appearance to the Detective Pikachu..

Quantum Mechanix Inc. (QMx) announces partnership with Mattel to produce Q-Figs for Masters of the Univserse. Quantum Mechanix today announced the company has entered into an agreement with Mattel Inc. to create a new line of their best-selling Q-Figs for Masters of the Universe. This licensing deal will allow QMx to produce a new collection of their massively popular Q-Fig collectibles based on Mattel’s...

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People . . . 

Entertainment One Names Jillian Share Co-President of Film Production. The executive is charged with overseeing the development and production of the studio’s expanding global film slate alongside Zev Forman. Her hire will allow eOne’s to expand production of features based on toy maker and parent Hasbro’s IP as well as other original projects like All the Old Knives, starring Chris Pine and Thandie Newton; the...

(the above posted after Bloom Report release on Friday July 30th)

Hidden Role: The Brains Behind your Favorite Games podcast with Leslie Scott -JENGA. When inspiration strikes, how does someone take it from an idea to a success story? Learn from the extraordinary journey of Leslie Scott, from a childhood in East and West Africa to the inspiration for and development of Jenga and beyond.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes The Heart Supply‘s Johnny Schillereff to the show. Schillereff founded Element Skateboards in 1992 and built a world-renowned brand known for manufacturing high-quality skateboard decks, apparel, and footwear. After reaching more than $200 million in sales, he sold Element in the early 2000s. Now, along with his family, Schillereff has launched a new brand...

Giochi Preziosi confirms Julia Cake as new UK country manager at Flair. Joining from Magic Box UK, Julia is looking forward to an exciting year ahead for Flair and growing the company's portfolio. Julia grew up in an entrepreneurial family manufacturing business, making doll pushchair covers in the UK. Since then, she has cumulated 20 years’ toy experience, having held positions at Mattel and Schleich, among...

GP Flair MD Simon Hedge moves on. Simon Hedge, managing director of GP Flair, has announced his intention to leave the company at the end of July 2021. Simon has been part of the toy industry for more than 30 years and was a founding member of the former Flair Leisure Products when it was established in 1995. 

Check Out The Op's Ross Thompson’s Story. What else should we know about what you do? I work in marketing and events. It has always been a passion and I never really spend my time doing just one thing. Over the last 10 years, from Kingdom-Con, regular work and the SCA, I have worked on marketing and promotions in my career and hobbies.

Join The Strong National Museum of Play’s Christopher Bensch and Lisa Feinstein for an exclusive evening with 2014 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductee Jill Barad and a behind-the-scenes look into the museum’s collection. In this episode of Cocktails with the Creators, you’ll meet Jill Barad, former Chairman & CEO of Mattel Inc. You will hear firsthand how she successfully took Barbie from under $200 million to $2 billion ...

Character Options announces new roles in sales restructure. Character Options has today confirmed several high profile changes to its sales structure as part of an internal review, which the company says will help to ensure the company is well positioned for future growth. Home grown talents Richard Dinham and Anthony Thorpe have been promoted to senior national account managers in recognition of their first-rate...

The LEGO Group appoints new head of marketing UK. The Lego Group has announced that Isabel Graham will be joining the UK & Ireland division as head of marketing. Starting in October, Isabel will be responsible for Lego UK & Ireland’s marketing strategy and execution. She brings to the role a wealth of experience from across The Lego Group, having worked for the company for almost 10 years...

 

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Companies, Brands . . .

Arthur to end after 25 seasons. The show will wrap up in 2022, but PBS KIDS and GBH plan to explore ways to leverage its large back catalogue, says Carol Greenwald. The series for four- to seven-year-olds has been a staple for both US-based pubcasters since its launch in 1996, following the adventures of aardvark Arthur Read and his friends and family through more than 250 episodes.

LeVar Burton Tunes Into Tonies with a Custom Figure, Reading Challenge, and MoreLeVar Burton is bringing some of his Reading Rainbow magic to today’s kids with the help of Tonies. This fall, the PBS star will be visiting kids’ Tonieboxes as their personal narrator through his own Tonie figure.

Bonkers Toys, Pocket.Watch Partner for Ryan’s World Galaxy Explorers. Starting next week, Ryan’s World — pocket.watch’s hit YouTube series — will blast off into Walmart stores with an intergalactic-inspired toy line from Bonkers Toys. Kids can embrace space exploration, learn about the solar system, and enjoy new Galaxy Explorers-themed figures. 

Just Play Debuts ‘Learning Activity Centre’ on Amazon.  Just Play inked a deal to serve as the U.S. distributor and licensor of Early Learning Centre, a UK toy brand geared toward preschoolers with a 50-year lineage of quality products. The company is rolling out new products and initiatives via the Learning Activity Centre on Early Learning Centre’s Amazon brand store.

ZURU’s Upcoming Dino-Themed Toys Are Juras-sick! The toy company is set to release its fourth series of its Smashers brand, expanding on its Series 3 Dino Smashers. Series 4 provides kids with an unboxing experience and features light-up dinosaurs, lava-themed compound play, and the classic Smashers eggs.

Jada Toys Goes Green with B-Kind Doll Line. The new B-Kind doll line from Jada Toys promotes positive messages of kindness and creativity. The characters — Brianna, Koral, Ivy, Nora, and Daisy — each have a unique passion and come with a special DIY activity for kids to complete. Brianna helps kids learn about recycling, while Koral teaches kids about keeping the oceans clean. Ivy is .. . 

Hasbro Debuts a New Wave of Ghostbusters: Afterlife Toys. uring Toy Fair New York 2020, Hasbro previewed a wide range of new toys for kids and collectors based on the new Ghostbusters film that got held up in the shuffle between pandemic-related theater closures and other delays. Now, Hasbro is back on track with a formal look at new product offerings for kids and collectors alike.

A CHRISTMAS STORY, SUPER MARIO ADVENT CALENDARS COME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! It’s true, we’re just five months away from Christmas, and Jakks Pacific is celebrating Christmas in July with a pair of new collectible advent calendars that gamers and movie buffs will want to get their hands on! 

Toymaster teams up with The Good Play GuideThe partnership with The Good Play Guide, experts in child development, play and parenting, has been undertaken to enhance Toymaster’s commitment to its members of real value, exceptional service and a year-round marketing programme with a portfolio of deliverables. These are set to include seasonal and developmental milestone articles and blog posts...

TALKIN’ TOYS: CARRERA RACES INTO THE FUTURE. Classic play is back in a big way, and the toy industry has broken sales records as kids and adults forge new bonds through the power of play. Two categories that have been speeding back into the mainstream are slot racing and R/C — a pair of evergreen staples that are ever-present but don’t necessarily always get headlines and attention.

WildBrain Television picks up The Fabulous Show with Fay and Fluffy.  Produced by Lopii Productions, the preschool cabaret series is hosted by a drag duo, and aims to foster inclusivity, kindness and a love of reading. The 26 x 11-minute cabaret-style series is aimed at kids ages three to six, and stars drag duo Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé. With a focus on encouraging kindness and inclusivity, and fostering a love of reading....

New Koosh products are here, and PlayMonster along with content creator group Dude Perfect have launched their collaboration to celebrate. As part of this collaboration, the company invites families to film their own Koosh commercials to share on social media with the hashtag #KooshChallenge. The best submissions will be shared on @KooshOriginal social media channels and win a prize pack consisting of...

WarnerMedia greenlights & acquires more preschool fareFall-launching US block Cartoonito has commissioned Dylan from 9 Story and CBC, as well as picking up Bing, Odo and Pocoyo. Based on a book series by bestselling illustrator/author Guy Parker-Rees, Dylan (pictured) is an interactive CG-animated comedy about a multi-colored dog who wants to try out every career. 

Crayola and OceanX | “We’re encouraging partnerships to have a profound impact on supporting our planet” The global non-profit ocean exploration organisation, OceanX has expressed its hope that its new partnership with the children’s arts and crafts brand, Crayola, will inspire more collaboration between brands and conservation groups.

Miko to join 2021 Disney Accelerator scheme. The Disney Accelerator is a programme designed to accelerate the growth of innovative companies from around the world. Eight companies have been chosen to participate in the three-month mentorship programme, connecting them with the creativity, imagination and expertise of Disney, and providing unique access to Disney’s leadership team...

London’s iconic Hamleys makes major play for video gaming market with new department launchThe iconic London toy store and toy retail brand, Hamleys is making a major new play for the video gaming market with the opening of a new state-of-the-art console, PC and gaming accessories department in its Regent Street location. The new 1,326 square foot gaming space is situated within the Lower Ground Floor of the …

J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Mascot Gets Mattel Action Figure. The fully articulated figure celebrates the production company's twentieth anniversary. In celebration of the return of Comic-Con, Mattel has released a new Bad Robot figure, immortalizing the mascot of the production company behind Lost, Westworld, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. The figure is being released as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive...

TALKIN’ TOYS: THE EGGMAZING FOUNDERS DISCUSS BECOMING AN EVERGREEN TOY CO. Scott Houdashell invented The Eggmazing Egg Decorator back in 2015. The Eggmazing spins the egg within a base, while kids can hold a marker to the egg to create intricate designs. Houdashell teamed up with his long-time friend Curtis McGill, and the pair started the company Hey Buddy Hey Pal Investments (HBHP).

Disney closing at least a dozen stores in Canada amid e-commerce pushWalt Disney Co. is expected to close most of its Canadian stores this summer as part of the company’s broader plan to focus on its e-commerce business and reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint. The mass media and entertainment conglomerate says it’s closing at least 60 stores across North America, including most of its locations in Canada. 

The London Toy Company reveals its first TfL train sets made from recyclable plastic. The London Toy Company has lifted the lid on its venture into new toy categories this year, with the launch of its Transport for London licensed train set and trains, all made from recyclable plastic.  The new launch marks the first time that The London Toy Company has entered the plastic toys market, having made a name for itself in the...

Gods, Angels, and Destroyers descend upon 'Dragon Ball Super Card Game'. Bandai unveiled Unison Warrior Series 7[B16], a new booster set for Dragon Ball Super Card Game, which will hit stores in February 2022.The Unison Warrior Series 7[B16] focus on a theme of Super Saiyan Gods, Angels, and Destroyers from both Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. 

All roads lead to Rome in 'Caesar's Empire'. Luma Imports will release Caesar's Empire, a road-networking board game set by Holy Grail Games, which will hit stores in October. This new road-builder is set in the world of Asterix (see "Asterix New GN Adventure "), and focuses on the comic series' main antagonist, Julius Caesar, instead of Asterix, Obelix, and his pals.

Lucky Duck Games launches 'Divinus' on Gamefound. Lucky Duck Games launched Divinus, a new app driven tabletop game, for preorder on Gamefound. In Divinus, the Nordic Gods have invaded the Ancient Greek pantheon and a clash between Gods is eminent. It has been prophesized that a new Divinus will rise up and take power.

The Hood and his gang threaten NYC in 'Marvel Champions: The Card Game'. Fantasy Flight Games will release The Hood Scenario Pack, for Marvel Champions: The Card Game, into retail this fall. A new gang is terrorizing New York City, and it's up to the superheroes to stop The Hood. This scenario pack comes with 78 cards that showcase the Hood and his notorious organization of supervillains.

Fantasy Flight Games reveals two new 'Star Wars: X-Wing 2E' squadronsFantasy Flight Games revealed BTA-NR2 Y-Wing and Fury of the First Order, Squadron Packs for Star Wars: X-Wing 2E, which are now on preorder. The BTA-NR2 Y-Wing pack allows players to update their Resistance squadrons with reworked versions of a classic ship. They are ideal for patrolling small planetary governments and for security ops. 

Pokémon takes over Harrods toy floor with 25th anniversary pop-up. The Pokémon Company International is taking over Harrods’ toy floor for a month-long activity built to celebrate the brand’s 25th anniversary this year. From July 27th, Pokémon fans will find themselves immersed in a distinctive branded area in the iconic London department store, featuring digital screens and displays themed with 24 Pokémon ...

Rio Grande Games electrifies 'France & Italy'Rio Grande Games will release  Power Grid: France & Italy, an expansion for Power Grid: Recharged or Power Grid, into retail on July 29. Power Grid: France & Italy comes with two all-new maps to add to Power Grid: Recharged or Power Grid. It also features small rule changes to reflect the power culture in these countries. 

Steve Jackson Games announces 'Munchkin Farkle'. Steve Jackson Games announced Munchkin Farkle, a reimagined version of the classic dice game, for release in November. Farkle is a classic dice game that dates back to the 80s, but has only been commercially marketed since 1996 with Pocket Farkel by Legendary Games. Now, SJG has blended Farkle with Munchkin to produce a humorous hybrid. 

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

Facebook freezes Oculus Quest 2 sales over potential skin irritant. Facebook has put a temporary freeze on sales of its Oculus Quest 2 following reports of adverse skin reactions to the foam used to cushion the VR headset's display. A blog post explains that the company has heard reports over the last seven months from "a very small percentage" of Quest 2 owners detailing "skin irritation" after using the headset,...

Nintendo is shutting down its Dr. Mario mobile game. Nintendo has announced that Dr. Mario World, a mobile take on the puzzle game series, will go out of service on November 1st, with sales of its in-app “diamond” currency ending today. The game was launched a little over two years ago, and is the first of Nintendo’s mobile games to be shut down, unless you count the Mii-themed social network Miitomo.

Hamleys makes major play for video gaming market with new department launch. The iconic London toy store and toy retail brand, Hamleys is making a major new play for the video gaming market with the opening of a new state-of-the-art console, PC and gaming accessories department in its Regent Street location. The new 1,326 square foot gaming space is situated within the Lower Ground Floor...

Valve says every game it has tested on the Steam Deck is hitting at least 30fps. Valve says the Steam Deck is capable of playing every piece of software the company has tested on it at 30fps or more. The company announced the portable console earlier this month, and explained it uses a custom APU described as a "Zen 2 + RNDA 2 powerhouse" to run the latest triple-A titles "in a very efficient power envelope.

Super Mario 64 probably won’t be the last million-dollar video gameEarlier this month, a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 sold for $1,560,000 at auction, a staggering price that nearly doubled a record set just two days before by a similarly pristine copy of The Legend of Zelda. The auctions could mark just the beginning of even more eye-poppingly large video game sales. 

Facebook relents, launches Instant Games hub as web app. It’s not quite taking its ball and going home, but Facebook has finally decided to follow in Microsoft’s footsteps and launch its Cloud Gaming app as an in-browser web app, rather than through the iOS App Store. Apple’s rules have put both Microsoft and Facebook on the back foot in trying to get their respective cloud gaming services onto iOS devices. 

Pokémon Unite turns monster battles into a team sportGames like League of Legends and Dota 2 are massively popular, and have been for the better part of a decade. But they can also be impenetrable to new players and viewers: there are so many characters and strategies that figuring out what’s happening on-screen is a huge challenge. The just-launched Pokémon Unite aims to fix that. 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Ultra PRO Sounds the Alarm on Counterfeit Goods.  Ultra PRO recently sounded the alarm that counterfeit Ultra PRO collectible storage goods are being sold on the open market. Ultra PRO has been a strong brand in the collectibles storage space for decades, and now, their staple products are being counterfeited thanks to increased and a streaky supply chain. 

Police Warn Kids to Stop Pointing What Look Like Real Guns at People in 'Dangerous' Prank. Police in Roxboro, North Carolina, are warning residents about a popular but "dangerous" prank involving toy guns that began as a trend on TikTok, and there are fears that "tragic consequences" could result. On Monday, the Roxboro Police Department posted an announcement about the prank on Facebook. 

Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

TALK ABOUT PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE! WORST-CASE SCENARIO® CARD GAME DEBUTS AS ACTUAL PANDEMIC DISPERSES  All Things Equal Tabletop Game Inventor Brings Humor About Fear Factors To Family Game Night As Everyone Realizes It Could Always Be Worse!

Miami Beach, FL (July 27, 2021) – After more than a year of virtual learning, lockdowns and mask mandates, what could possibly be worse? How about having to tackle a champion sumo wrestle or being chased by a gorilla or oops, you super-glued your hands together? If you smiled at those crazy situations, you are ready to play The Worst-Case Scenario® Card Game ($19.99) available exclusively at Target and Target.com now.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . . 

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

American Specialty Toy Retailing Assn (ASTRA) will give retailers a first look at the newest products at its first in-person trade show since 2019, on August 5-8, in Minneapolis. While inventory issues as well as increased shipping delays and costs pose a challenge to keep items in stock, this year’s Marketplace & Academy — themed “Play It Forward” — aims to give retailers a leg up on back-to-school, Halloween, and ...

Covid status checks will be in place at Autumn Fair as the show readies to open its doors in September.  Autumn Fair has introduced Covid-19 status checks for all attendees on arrival at the show this year, as it prepares to open its doors for the first time in 18 months since the pandemic hit, this September 5th to 8th. The show’s organiser has also updated its Safe & Secure Guidelines to deliver new health …

5th Annual BlogOn Toy Awards open for entries  The winners of the 16 categories of the BlogOn Toy Awards will be announced on social media on 4th Oct. The BlogOn Toy Awards are perfect for toy companies big and small and are an ideal way to raise product awareness. The awards now receive over 200 entries per yr, but the cost of the entry has been kept the same as last year to help make the awards as accessible as possible. 

PAX West Requires Vax Proof or Negative Test.  The policy by the show, run by Penny Arcade and geek event powerhouse ReedPop, takes health and safety policies to a new level, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus creates a new surge in Covid cases in the U.S.  Pax West is the first major live geek culture show in the U.S. since the advent of the global pandemic and its requirements for attendance are the strictest we’ve seen.

Join the Toy World Fantasy Football League. The Fantasy Football competition is now open for the new Premier League season and details on how to join are here. With less than 20 days to go until the new Premier League season kicks off on Friday 13th August, players of the official Premier League Fantasy Football game can now join the legendary Toy World Masters League.

Toy World partners with Kuehne + Nagel on special shipping webinar. Set to take place on 12th August, readers are urged to get in touch to register for this informative free event.  Toy World has been leading the coverage of how the escalating shipping crisis is affecting the toy industry. Over recent weeks, we’ve seen container prices skyrocket to unaffordable levels, shipping companies charging arbitrary fees amounting...

GAMA unveils Horizons Fellowship Program. The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has unveiled the Horizons Fellowship Program, which includes a $30,000 accelerator fund earmarked for underrepresented communities in the games industry. This new accelerator fund was established by GAMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee to help historically underrepresented publishers and retailers, based on...

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

Jack Hirsch, founding U.S. president of VTech Electronics North America. Hirsch began his career with Jewel Companies as a buyer and merchandiser in the 1950s and then with Mattel handling sales in the early 1970s. He also founded Waddingtons House of Games in the U.S. and worked as a representative of VTech toys before making the transition to the company’s founding president in the U.S. He served as president until 1991, when he moved into the role of Chairman of the Board. He remained actively involved in daily business activities for many years, before transitioning to an advisor role. “We were incredibly sad to learn of Jack Hirsch’s passing,” said Andy Keimach, president of VTech Electronics North America. “As VTech Electronics North America’s founding president in the U.S., Jack was a pioneer of electronic learning products with a lifetime of dedication to the toy industry. His contributions will never be forgotten as his legacy lives on through the company and resonates throughout the toy industry.”

William E. “Bill” Celeste - Bill was employed in the Purchasing Dept. of Western Publishing for 28 years then became Vice President of Purchasing at Patch Products in Beloit for 16 years, retiring in 2011. Many people have lost their phone friend and entertaining storyteller! William E. “Bill” Celeste, age 73, passed away peacefully Sunday evening, July 18, 2021, at his residence after a year long struggle with cancer.

Peter Lockey The director and co-founder of The Puppet Company, Peter Lockey, passed away on 1st July following a short battle with a brain tumour. Toy World is sad to report that Peter Lockey has passed away just shy of his 64th birthday. His son Sam, sales director at The Puppet Company, which this month marks its 20th anniversary, told Toy World the story of how his father came to be in the toy trade. “Previously a teacher, like my mum (Sue, co-founder), dad went into working for the family luggage business, after which he partnered with his father, Eric – who is also very creative – to make pine furniture.”

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Ship just got real …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Toy World partners with Kuehne + Nagel on special shipping webinar

  3. Giochi Preziosi confirms Julia Cake as new UK country manager at Flair

  4. Mattel posts strong second quarter results

  5. Hasbro beats forecasts to post 54% Q2 revenue growth

  6. GP Flair MD Simon Hedge moves on

  7. The Lego Group appoints new head of marketing

  8. Toynamics UK & Ireland to distribute Timio learning device

  9. Miko to join 2021 Disney Accelerator scheme

  10. Top TikTok toy influencer Rhia.Official reveals how brands can win big on the platform

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

​- 'Flesh and Blood TCG' Tells the 'Tales of Aria'
Dragons Return to 'Warhammer Age of Sigmar'
Ultra PRO Sounds the Alarm on Counterfeit Goods
Rolling for Initiative -- Two Publisher Promotions that Worked
Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming Segment Sales Surge in Q2
Exploding Kittens Acquires 'Happy Salmon'
Games Workshop North America Trade Sales Up 44%
Daiyu Adds a New Card Rarity to Their Next 'Gate Ruler TCG' Set
CFB Marketplace Set to Go Live
The Pokemon Company International Announces Two New 'V Battle Decks'

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: What Next Announced, MicroMacro Wins Spiel des Jahres 2021 Award. Big Potato Games has announced an ‘action-adventure board game’, the Spiel des Jahres 2021 winner has been announced, and Big G Creative has released a new party game.

Video of the Week! 

After debuting on our POP Week Event Platform to over 13,700 viewers,  we have moved our panel discussions to YouTube and ar sharing them almost every week here on the Bloom Report! 

Industry Awards: Important or Not?

Panelists: Lisa Orman (President, Kidstuff PR) and Lea Culliton (President, HABA USA)

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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