the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is April 2 - 9, 2021. Click Here for Last Week
Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights.
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom
Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...
This week we are circling back to the content rich POP Week panel videos with Connecting with Retailers Worldwide. Our moderator: Karen Klein (Kid Market Matchmaker Sales & Distribution Agency Worldwide) with panelists: Claudio Borella (CEO, Borella s.r.l. Owner, Donchisciotte, Italy), Ali Moosajee (Business Strategist & Managing Director, HI 5 Gen Trading, UAE), and Viren Mohan (Buyer, Pick n Pay, South Africa).
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!
Dear Tim . . . In an increasingly digital world of play, what’s at the core of our attraction to physical products? (Another in a great series of questions from Nick Metzler.) tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments
At one point, several years ago, I owned as many as 300 vinyl albums. But CDs followed, and then the iPod, and then streaming services. I could plug into and out of the digital music ecosystem at any time and from any place. Choice was limitless. The music was literally in the ether.
And then…my kids bought me a vintage stereo receiver and turntable, and I was right back in the physical world. Picking up new copies of albums I’d bought a generation before, opening the gatefolds, perusing the liner notes, and waiting for that magical click when the needle first hits the groove. Why? (Or, as my wife cried plaintively, ‘whywhywhywhywhy?’ I have now bought Who’s Next at least 4 times.)
How to explain why something physical, tangible, breakable, and frankly inefficient can be superior to a streamlined, nearly touchless digital experience? Read More . . .
Christopher Byrne, The Toy Guy®, President Byrne Communications, Inc. - tBR Person of the Week
When Chris is asked how he got the moniker The Toy Guy, he points to talk show host Chuck Woolery. At the time, Woolery was the co-host of the first version of a show called Home and Family. Unable to see the cue card with Chris’s name on it, he just blurted out “The toy guy” when announcing the guests for the day. He was so tickled by it, he used that whenever Chris was a guest. Byrne trademarked it.
Chris didn’t start out to be in the toy industry, though, like so many arrived in it through happenstance, opportunity, and, as he tells it, luck. Starting as a child actor and singer at age 10, he performed with many professional groups in Delaware, Philadelphia, Maryland and DC. As he says, wryly, “when a boy soprano’s voice hasn’t changed by 16, you find yourself with some great opportunities.”
Though he didn’t know it at the time, his path to the toy industry began at Boston University. Read More...
Maureen Hiron: From games mistress to Games Mistress - tBR Person of the Week
I’m Maureen Hiron and I’m thrilled to be inducted into the Games Hall of Fame. I used to be the head of the Physical Education department of an Inner London comprehensive school. Then part of that school fell on my head, and at 32 I was pensioned off from teaching. The future looked bleak. But I did have one ace up my sleeve. I was already an expert bridge player, having represented England and Britain at bridge. So I devoted my mental energies to the game. And the thought processes involved penetrated the cloud that enshrouded my brain.
Then a medical phenomenon occurred. It appeared that the former dormant areas of my brain had taken over the role of the damaged parts. The result was that I was able to reason with the intuitive mind of a child, yet still retain my acquired knowledge and 156 IQ level. The first manifestation of this came on April Fools Day 1982. I was listening to music by my favourite composer, Bach – when in a lightbulb moment I invented the first of my games. Read More...
Financial & Legal News . . .
Alibaba reacts to antitrust probe findings. After an antitrust probe found the company to have abused its market position, Alibaba says it will invest to retain merchants and customers. Alibaba Group Holding was given a record fine from China’s antitrust regulator, but claims that the decision has no material negative impact on the company’s business.
Egypt impounds Suez megaship over multi-million compensation claim. Canal authorities say the Ever Given will not be allowed to leave Egypt until a compensation amount is settled with its owners. UK Club, the insurer for the Ever Given, said in a statement that Egypt had filed a compensation claim for $916m against Shoei Kisen. The insurer added it was disappointed that the container ship and its crew were being ...
Asia’s Richest Man Rebuilds a 261-Year-Old British Icon. Hamleys toy-store chain plans expansion across Asia, Europe under Mukesh Ambani’s ownership. A struggling 261-year-old U.K. toy-store chain is seeking a new lease of life in the hands of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, who’s looking to India where about a fifth of the world’s babies are born to fuel its revival.
UK Suppliers discuss support for retail reopening Toy World editor Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to leading suppliers to discuss how they are supporting toyshops as part of the big retail reopening. Over the lockdown period, suppliers have endeavoured to keep channels of communication with their customers open, however they have been trading. Now that toyshops in England and Wales are reopening...
(the above posted after April 9th)
Twitter said to have held acquisition talks with Clubhouse on potential $4B deal. Twitter held talks with Clubhouse around a potential acquisition of the live drop-in audio networking platform, with a deal value somewhere around $4 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg. TechCrunch has also confirmed the discussions took place from a source familiar with the conversations.
British Retail Consortium responds to Covid status certificates proposal The British Retail Consortium has joined growing opposition to the introduction of Covid status certificates for shoppers. As “nonessential” retailers, including toy shops, prepare to reopen next week, the BRC said checking Covid status certificates, or any form of documents, at the door would not be appropriate in a retail setting.
Stricken Suez ship Ever Given owner declares General Average Despite no reported loss of cargo and minimal damage to the vessel when it got stuck in the Suez Canal, the cost of salvage operation and possible compensation claims are expected to amount to a sizeable bill. The maritime principle of General Average is one of the most established and widely recognised laws in relation to shipping.
OOOOO - a new step in eCommerce Toy World finds out what innovative new ‘entertainment commerce’ platform OOOOO offers, how it works and why toy companies should get involved. The OOOOO premise is deceptively simple; the mobile app-based entertainment commerce platform lets users watch content and buy the products featured quickly and easily by tapping on an icon that adds it to their basket. If QVC and TikTok had a baby, it would probably look something like OOOOO.
Esports Integrity Commission working with FBI to probe Counter-Strike esports cheats. The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) is working with the FBI to investigate match fixing and illegal betting in Counter-Strike competitions. This is a lucrative prospect for esports players and teams, with Counter-Strike tournaments paying out millions of dollars in prize money each year.
Apple will argue it faces competition from other platforms during Epic trial. Apple intends to argue that it has plenty of competition when it comes to video game transactions, pushing back against Epic Games' assertions that it maintains an "unfair and anti-competitive" monopoly. Both companies are heading to trial on May 3, 2021, to settle a legal dispute that sparked into life when Fortnite was pulled from the App...
Embracer completes $1.38 billion acquisition of Borderlands dev Gearbox. Embracer Group has completed its $1.38 billion purchase of Borderlands and Brothers in Arms developer Gearbox Entertainment. The Swedish company, which also owns THQ Nordic, Deep Silver, Saber Interactive, and others, announced the acquisition back in February but has now finalized the deal. It has also completed its purchase...
Iconic trading card company Topps is going public in deal valued at $1.3bn. The 80 year old trading card company, The Topps Co, best known for its Topps Baseball Cards and Garbage Pail Kids collectables, is going public in a SPAC deal valued at $1.3bn. The company revealed this week that it was merging with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II – a special purpose firm also known as a ‘blank check company’ ...
Play Ventures raises $135 million to invest in game startups. VC fund Play Ventures has raised $135 million to invest in video game startups, beginning with a $1.5 million pre-Series A investment into Indian mobile studio All-Star Games. The company said the Play Ventures Fund II will be used to "invest in the world's best game makers and entrepreneurs." Since December 2018, Play Ventures has invested in 24 video ...
Ubisoft acquires anti-cheat software developer GameBlocks. Ubisoft has acquired anti-cheat and performance monitoring software developer GameBlocks for an undisclosed fee. The French publisher made the purchase through its i3D.net subsidiary, and intends to integrate GameBlocks' propriety FairFight anti-cheat and player statistics system into its One Game Hosting Platform.
Brazil launches inquiry to ban loot boxes. Companies selling loot boxes could be facing a daily fine of up to $700,000. Brazilian authorities have launched an inquiry aimed at banning loot boxes in the country, on the recommendation of the Nat'l Association of Child and Adolescent Defense Centers. The association argued that the randomized monetization mechanics are a form of gambling, which is illegal in Brazil.
Funko Enters NFT Market with Majority Stake in TokenHead Developer. Funko, Inc. (“Funko,” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: FNKO), a leading pop culture consumer products company, today announced it has acquired a majority ownership stake in TokenWave, LLC, the developer of TokenHead, a leading mobile app and website for showcasing and tracking Non-Fungible Token (“NFT”) holdings.
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
(the above posted after April 7th)
Rick Derr's April Letter from America - This month, Rick looks at how the latest crazes are driving sales for indies in the US . . . . . History in the making… and playing: How the pandemic has shaped toy trends of the future . . . . . The top gaming trends for 2021 (so far) . . . . In-game spending on iPhone grew 43% in 2020 in the US . . . . . U.S. economy ‘has come a long way’ in the covid-19 era, NRF says . . . . . Download our 'State of Console & PC Games Market Worldwide 2020' report for free
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
(the above posted after April 7th)
Hasbro target of unusually large options trading (NASDAQ:HAS). . . . . . Sumo revenue jumps 40% as it eyes more acquisitions . . . . . GameStop issuing shares to cash in on stock surge . . . . . Tencent's Timi Studios reportedly earned $10bn in 2020
Future Financial Reporting . . .
Spin Master Corp. will report its first quarter 2021 financial results after markets close on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Ronnen Harary, Co-Founder and Director, Max Rangel, Global President and Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The call-in numbers for participants are (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191. A live webcast of the call will be accessible via Spin Master's website at http://www.spinmaster.com/events.php. Following the call, both an audio recording and transcript of the call will be archived on the same website page for 12 months.
Nintendo reportedly expecting another record year for software, with a series of major games. Nintendo is reportedly expecting to ship 250 million units of software in its next fiscal year – comfortably beating its existing all-time records – thanks to a line-up of (mostly unconfirmed) blockbuster games. Per anonymous sources of Bloomberg, Nintendo has briefed some partners and suppliers on its expectations for April 2021 to March 2022, and set expectations of shipping 250 million games.
$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.
Stories & Comments . . .
Can kids with autism and ADHD learn more effectively by playing tabletop games? Tabletop games could transform the way children and teenagers who are on the autism spectrum or have ADHD learn in classrooms, a board game designer has suggested. And a Queensland University of Technology professor in child development and education agrees that using educationally targeted board games and other tabletop games could improve learning outcomes for children who are neuro-diverse.
Opinion | Spring/Summer sales bloom: Seizing the secondary seasonal sales opportunity. Kids Brand Insights’ Steve Reece takes a look at the growing sales opportunities of the Spring/Summer seasonal spend, and the best way the industry can rely on the Great British summertime. One of the fundamental challenges of being in the toy business is the cashflow cycle. With the majority of toy sales coming in the back end...
(the above posted after April 9th)
Coronavirus Toys Are Going Viral. Plague doctor plushies and COVID-19 collectables are flying off the shelves. Why are we drawn to cutesified versions of the things that scare us most? LATE LAST JULY, mindless social media scrolling led me to an ad for something called the Mysterious Doctor Plague.
John Baulch of ToyWorld (UK) - Retail’s back, baby …it’s the Friday Blog! Here in England, we only have a couple of days to wait before specialist retailers can once again open their doors to the public. Hopefully, the wait will have been worth it and pent-up consumer demand will result in a healthy sales bounce over the coming weeks. By all accounts, that is exactly what has happened in Israel, where restrictions were ...
Watch the trailer for heartwarming Sesame Street documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. Today's trailer is brought to you by the letters "E" and "W." The documentary features more than 20 interviews with many of the minds behind the show, as well as archival behind-the-scenes footage from its earliest days, as well as a look at the art of the puppetry that brings it all to life.
Opinion | Making augmented a reality: How AR is empowering future generations of play. With brands like Pokémon and LEGO paving the way for toy manufacturers (big and small) to bring augmented reality into their products, and as the technology continues to blend hands-on play with endless digital universes, it’s small wonder why the AR toy trend has caught the imagination of so many. Here, Martin Herdina....
How the stimulus has led to scalping collectibles. At the start of the pandemic, people were buying up toilet paper and masks and reselling them for an overpriced amount. Now, game shops are having the same issue with collectibles. Bailey Strom, owner of Windy City Toys and Collectibles, has been in this business for the last 10 years and recently opened his store a few months ago.
Muslim advocacy group calls on platform holders to not sell Six Days in Fallujah. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on platform holders Microsoft and Sony, as well as Steam's parent company Valve, to refrain from hosting or distributing Six Days in Fallujah. CAIR said that Hi8ghwire Games and Victura's title is an "Arab murder simulator that glorifies violence that took the lives of over 800 Iraqi civilians, justifies the illegal invasion of Iraq and reinforces Islamophobic narratives."
Opinion: Six Days in Fallujah tramples over the human cost of the Iraq War. It’s frankly kind of shocking that Six Days in Fallujah has returned to the public discourse. First revealed in 2009, Atomic Games promised to let players relive the Second Battle of Fallujah from November 2004, from the perspective of real United States Marines who waged the assault. Controversy erupted. Konami, the game’s publisher, yanked its funding. Atomic Games collapsed. Six Days in Fallujah became an example of how public backlash could tank a game.
Funko : Man's collection of 7,095 Funko Pop! figurines earns Guinness record. A Tennessee man with a passion for collecting Funko Pop! figures was awarded a Guinness World Record when his total stock was tallied at 7,095 different toys. David Mebane, of Knoxville, said he applied for the world record during the COVID-19 pandemic, and due to safety precautions he had to prove his accomplishment with a 17-hour video ...
The 6 Ps of Being A Great D&D DM - Being a DM is one of the best parts about playing Dungeons & Dragons, in my opinion. When someone comes to me and asks “What do I need to do to be a great Dungeon Master?”, I always fall back on a tried and tested model – the 6 Ps. These are some quick Dungeon Master tips and tools you can use to make sure that you are covering all of the bases as a DM.
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
My Kids Actually Prefer Classic 90s Nickelodeon to the New Stuff. The wife and I broke down and decided to give Paramount+, via my Prime membership, a try. The kids were wanting to watch some show, and the only place we could find it was there. The bonus for me, is that it includes a whole lot of Nickelodeon programming from the late 80s and the 90s.
'Pokemon TCG' Shadowless Charizard #4 Holo Card auction prices continue to stabilize. PWCC sold a 1999 Pokemon Base Set Shadowless 1st Edition Holo Charizard #4 PSA 10 GEM MINT for $311,800 (plus $250 shipping) on eBay. The Gem Mint 10 Charizard #4 hologram cards continue to stabilize after their ride to the moon in 2020 (see "Gem Mint 10 'Pokemon TCG' Charizard #4 Hologram
The million dollar trading card market. The most recent T-206 Honus Wagner card to sell at auction sold for over $3 million dollars in 2020. Only 50 to 200 Wagner cards were ever produced, and only 57 are still accounted for today. In 1909, baseball cards were acquired from cigarette packs, similar to the way toys are given as a part of Happy Meals and wizard cards found through the purchase of Chocolate Frogs.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Hello Kitty and Friends Join the Squishmallows Squad for Kawaii Cuddles. Jazwares’ Kellytoy division is unleashing a whole ‘lotta Kawaii cuteness into the world with plush versions of the Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, Tuxedo Sam, Pom Pom Purin, and My Melody. Like all Squishmallows, the plush toys are made of soft and squishy materials and polyester stuffing that makes each character as puffy as ...
Let Your Looney Side Loose with 12 Looney Tunes LEGO Minifigures. LEGO is diving into the world of Looney Tunes with 12 limited-edition mystery bag mini-figures launching later this month. The assortment will include Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Porky Pig, Petunia Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Tasmanian Devil, and Marvin the Martian.
Spin Master: On a Roll!. Kids’ entertainment powerhouse Spin Master continues to make waves in 2021 with digital games, iconic toys and the megawatt feature film release of “PAW Patrol.” “Spin Master kicked off 2020 as the new master toy licensee for Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ iconic Batman franchise and other DC Super Heroes,” says Adam Beder, EVP strategic partnership and franchise development, Spin Master.
(the above posted after April 9th)
LA based MarVista Entertainment has signed a multi-picture deal with NY’s MiMO Studios to co-produce at least five live-action kids movies. As part of the agreement, MarVista will represent the new MiMO titles and seek acquisition, financing, production and distribution partners for them.
New licensing agency to rep Mr Men and Little Miss. Boutique Licensing Agency has gained its first client for representation in EMEA: Mr Men and Little Miss. The new agency is run by managing directors Maria Maranesi and Marie-Noelle Lutte. Maranesi has more than 20 years of licensing experience in global organizations, including the role of EMEA regional leader across Mattel and HIT brands.
Bandai America proudly presents “Tippies” toy series. Tippies are a line of adorable collectable toys by toy and licensing giant Bandai America that come in two sets: Peanuts and Disney. Each set contains ten figures, all of which are priced below $5. These cute, tiny, and colorful toys will appeal to adult collectors as much as children. They can be kept as desk ornaments or playthings to add into a dollhouse or a building block set.
24 Hours of Le Mans eyes toys, games, and collectables ahead of 2023 Centenary. The world’s oldest active sports car endurance race, 24 Hours of Le Mans is eyeing a new move into the toys, games, and collectables space as the prestigious annual event nears its 100th anniversary in 2023. Under the renewal of its longstanding licensing representation agreement with IMG, the brand owner, Automobil Club de l’Quest is...
Funko reveals new 'Justice League' Pop! Figures. Funko, Inc. announced new Justice League Pop! Figures which will be releasing soon. The new Justice League Pop!s feature characters from the Zack Snyder cut of the movie which recently released on HBO Max. The line features Pop! Darkseid with Staff, Pop! Desaad, Pop! Wonder Woman with Arrow, and Pop! Superman in his black and silver suit.
Rubies UK secures dress-up rights for Oddbods. One Animation has secured a deal with dress-up manufacturer Rubies Masquerade UK for its Emmy-nominated animated preschool series Oddbods, granting Rubies the dress-up rights for Oddbods characters across the UK, EMEA, and South East Asia. Set to launch in Autumn/Winter 2o21, Rubies will create a range of children’s costumes which is aligned with the latest...
Super Impulse introduces Garbage Pail Kids Pop Culture Micro Figures. Last month, Super Impulse President Alan Dorfman shared a few words with the Toy Book about the company’s new line of Garbage Pail Kids (GPK) Micro Pop Culture Micro Figures. Now, the micro-sized versions of the famous characters from The Topps Co. are making their way to kids and collectors across the U.S. as part of the World’s Smallest ...
'Godzilla vs. Kong' Headed to PubG Mobile. The new film has multiple licensing deals in the works. PubG Mobile and "World of Warships" have inked deals with "Godzilla vs. Kong."According to GeoNews, PubG Mobile will debut its exclusive in-game event "Godzilla vs. Kong." "Godzilla vs. Kong" director Adam Wingard announced the upcoming collaboration between the game and movie on social media, with a video ...
Leo&Tig plushes by De.Car2 are coming soon. Maurizio Distefano Licensing managed the agreement between De.Car2, a company of games and toys specialized in plush products from Piedmont, for the making of a collection dedicated to Leo&Tig, and 0+ Media, a part of Digital Television Russia De.Car2 will develop an entire line with the two protagonists Leo and Tig, presenting to the series fans a selection of ...
Among Us releases official plush toys. Among Us crewmate plushies have arrived. There have been impostors out there, but developer InnerSloth has unveiled its officially licensed Among Us plush, and it is as adorable as imagined. Hot off the release of the new Airship map in Among Us, developer InnerSloth is already focusing its attention towards what is next for its massive who-dun-it franchise.
Spacetoon and eOne extend multi-year partnership. Spacetoon, the family edutainment content creator, provider, and producer, announced an extension of its partnership deal with eOne, Hasbro’s global entertainment studio. This multi-year gives Spacetoon the opportunity to bring three successful eOne shows to the Middle East and North Africa. The titles, Transformers: Rescue Bots, Power Rangers Beast Morphers, and....
People . . .
Sony Pictures Animation taps VP of creative. Former Pearl Studio head of development Justinian Huang joins the studio shortly after Sony signed a first-look deal with Netflix. Reporting to Kristine Belson, Huang joins SPA following a recent Sony Pictures first-look agreement with Netflix. The deal includes kids/family and animated titles, a Netflix spokesperson told Kidscreen.
Toy World welcomes new assistant editor Sam Giltrow. Sam has joined the Alakat Publishing team and will be working alongside editor Rachael Simpson-Jones. Sam trained at the renowned National Council for the Training of Journalists’ Harlow College, and brings with her extensive knowledge of the publishing sector and many years’ experience, from starting out as a newspaper reporter to most recently working...
Former Shaftesbury, eOne execs join Wind Sun Sky Entertainment. The Vancouver-based multimedia company launched by Catherine Winder has hired Jay Bennet and Romney Grant to round out its executive team. In a world of heroes and villains, singing monsters, and genetically engineered Tyrannosaurus Rex’s, rises leading multi-platform entertainment company Wind Sun Sky Entertainment (WSS).
Walmart named a former Disney CCO &VP and founding member of private women’s networking org Chief as its 1st head of creative. In the newly created role, Jean Batthany will lead consumer-centric communications across all channels and help develop marketing at all consumer touch points for the giant retailer, according to a posting to her LinkedIn profile. At Disney, Batthany led creative, innovation, design and digital ...
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes back Wind Sun Sky Entertainment CEO/executive producer Catherine Winder (The Angry Birds Movie, Super Dinosaur). Winder is a former Lucasfilm exec who worked with George Lucas to assemble the team behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and now also leads Skybound North Entertainment, the company behind the Amazon hit, Invincible, and more.
ZAG grows e-commerce efforts with new hire. Former Disney exec Christophe Vallade will drive online growth and brand positioning as VP of global e-commerce. Vallade started in the role this week, and is responsible for online growth and brand positioning for the LA-based animation studio’s licensed products. He joins ZAG from The Walt Disney Company in France, where he most recently served as head of...
Sutikki hires three to build content and CP. Former BBC exec Jo Redfern has been named the global brand director, while former Discovery Kids VP Danielle Davies joins as content strategy director. On the consumer products side, Sutikki has named Anthea Morrissey as its first global creative and product development director.
(the above posted after April 9th)
The “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes David Capon, president of FoxMind Games, the company behind the viral hits Go Pop! and Pop-It! On the show, Capon discusses the invention of Go Pop! and the massive trend of poppable fidget toys that FoxMind Games is currently in the midst of. Additionally, Albritton and Capon discuss the critical components of creating games that...
Inspired by sibling, teen inventor combines shirts and fidget toys. One afternoon, Jose Rodriguez Jr. watched as his little brother Joel scrambled in searching for his fidget toy. The fidget toy is important for Joel, who has Asperger's Syndrome and likes to play with it to relax. That’s when an idea struck Rodriguez: What if he could find a better way for Joel and others with autism to keep track of their fidget toys?
Disney Branded Television has promoted Lauren Kisilevsky to SVP of original movies and expanded her remit to include developing and overseeing production on a growing slate of new movies for Disney Channels and Disney+. Kisilevsky joined Disney Channels in 2010 as VP of original movies, mainly overseeing films for the linear channels, including the Descendants and Zombies franchises.
LA-based edutainment company Encantos has brought in Scott Traylor as its new chief product officer, with responsibility for overseeing product development and supporting its go-to-market strategies. Prior to joining the Encantos team, Traylor founded tech company 360KID and worked as a strategic consultant. Over the course of his career, he's created products for companies such as Sesame Workshop, Scholastic and...
SPIN MASTER NOMINATES ED CLARK, MAX RANGEL TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS. The company nominated former TD Bank Group President and CEO Ed Clark and Spin Master Global President and CEO Max Rangel to stand for election at its annual general meeting on May 6. Clark is on deck to join the board as deputy chair while Rangel will serve as a director.
Atari restructures, names new CEO. Wade J. Rosen takes the helm as company splits into gaming and blockchain divisions, with former CEO Frédéric Chesnais leading the latter. Atari Gaming will focus on the firm's retro gaming business with licensing and its VCS console. The firm also plans to 'revitalise' classic Atari IP with new releases that have 'meaningful' single-player, local multiplayer and online play.
GameStop says it will name Ryan Cohen chairman. GameStop announced Thursday that Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen will become its chairman after the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which is scheduled for June 9. Cohen invested in GameStop last year, to push the video game retailer to focus on online sales and shutter unprofitable stores in malls.
Companies, Brands . . .
Marvel Comics and Spin Master Games unite for a new X-Men board game; Marvel United X-Men is coming! The game just launched a Kickstarter campaign and, as with all Kickstarters, those that get in early can reap the rewards of their support through extra bonuses and cheaper price points, making it a no-brainer for any X-Men die-hards out there.
Mattel drives sustainability with first carbon neutral Matchbox die-cast car. Tesla Roadster, made from 99% recycled materials, will form brand sustainability blueprint for the future. Mattel’s Drive Toward a Better Future commitment will see a range of innovative electric vehicles and environments that model the real world, and are designed to engage kids in a greener future of driving.
Exploding Kittens unveils first tabletop word game, A Little Wordy The Exploding Kittens team says the new game is a portable, only takes a few minutes to set up and is accessible for different vocabulary levels. Hit tabletop game creator Exploding Kittens has announced the launch of its new game A Little Wordy, a sneaky, tile-unscrambling word game for would-be word wizards.
UNO Goes High Fashion with Its Newest 50th Anniversary Deck. UNO is turning 50, and Italian fashion designer Vivetta Ponti is giving the iconic card game a makeover to celebrate. Launched on the Mattel Creations platform, Ponti’s limited-edition deck is a collaboration with Vogue Talents, a Vogue Italia property.
Moose Toys Becomes Master Toy Licensee for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. The company behind Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, Squeakee, and Kindi Kids is getting into a whole new game. Moose Toys inked a deal with Mediatonic and Devolver Digital to serve as the master toy licensee for the hit video game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. The line includes figures, collectibles, premium plush, and more
Spin Master Puts New Spins on ‘Bakugan’ & ‘Mighty Express’ as 3rd Seasons Launch on Netflix. The launches of more Mighty Express and Bakugan are accompanied by further distribution partnerships, licensing deals and multiplatform expansions. The first half of Bakugan: Geogan Rising – S3 of the popular anime series and global franchise (www.bakugan.com) — debuts on Netflix Thursday, April 15.
Netflix is giving its Kids profiles a revamp, the company announced today. While adults’ profiles are personalized with horizontal rows of recommendations that appear as they scroll down, the Kids profiles’ redesign is more visual in nature. When kids now log in to their account on a TV, they’ll be greeted with their favorite titles and characters right at the top of the screen, Netflix says.
Playmobil announces independent retailer loyalty card scheme. Customers will collect stickers with every brand purchase, which they will then be able to exchange for a gift from Playmobil. With each purchase, customers will collect one sticker per £10 spent on Playmobil playsets. Once the customer has collected five stickers, they will receive two free Playmo-Friends figures.
Hasbro and Roblox Corporation announced an official partnership to introduce a range of Roblox-inspired Nerf blasters as well as a Roblox version of the Monopoly board game. The Nerf Roblox blasters represent the most popular experiences and games from the Roblox online global platform, including Adopt Me!, Arsenal, Jailbreak, Mad City, Murder Mystery 2, and Phantom Forces. They will hit U.S. shelves in fall, with...
MGA Entertainment inks licensing deals with Riva Technology & Entertainment (RTE) for the development & publishing of mobile games based on L.O.L. Surprise! and Rainbow High. “We are delighted to partner with RTE who has a proven track record for working with the biggest IPs and delivering top quality results,” says MGAE Founder and CEO Isaac Larian. “Our digitally native fans want to experience our award....
Scrabble words beamed onto UK landmark buildings To mark lockdown easing and National Scrabble Day, inspirational words spelled out in Scrabble tiles lit up reopening pubs and retail buildings. Words like ‘reunion’ ‘family’ ‘freedom’ and ‘hope’ were beamed on much-missed locations like the quintessential British pub, re-opening retail and restaurant areas, and iconic cultural landmarks.
Geomagworld - making the difference As 'green toys' increase in importance to consumers, Geomagworld tells us how the company is building on its current eco-friendly credentials. Nikki Jeffery, international media relations manager at Geomagworld, spoke to Toy World about how the company is furthering its position as a leading toy manufacturer when it comes to sustainability. 2021sees the introduction of 20 new items...
Smyths Toys' The Oscar Show goes live Featuring the retailer's popular character, The Oscar Show will be available on YouTube and can also be streamed on music platforms. As toy stores reopen in England and Wales after the latest retail lockdowns, retailers have come up with increasingly inventive ways to engage with customers. At Smyths, the company’s Oscar mascot character has been busy in the studio,...
Cool cats and kittens Toy World spoke to Joeri Hoste, director of international sales at Exploding Kittens, about the company's games and what lies ahead for 2021. Exploding Kittens is the studio behind the best-selling card game of the same name as well as Throw Throw Burrito and the new two-player Tacocat Spelled Backwards. We asked Joeri about what major elements the studio focuses on when designing its games.
Robosen & Hasbro Unveil Optimus Prime Robot. At Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest April 9, Robosen Robotics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd announced that they are teaming up with Hasbro to bring their programmable robotics to market through the Transformers franchise. The ‘Transformers Optimus Prime Auto-Converting Programmable Advanced Robot – Collector’s Edition’ is now available for pre-order at Hasbro Pulse, retailing for $699.
(the above posted after April 9th)
Melissa & Doug: Licensing, Piece by Piece. The purpose-driven global toy brand Melissa & Doug has been in the toy industry for decades, but signed their biggest licensing deal only months ago. So, how does a toy brand go from making videos to leaving an indelible mark in the toy business? They played the long game.
WarnerMedia’s CEO says that in 2022 his movies will debut in theaters before they stream. A chat with Jason Kilar, who wants to unwind his controversial streaming plan. A few months ago, WarnerMedia upended Hollywood by streaming all of its new movies on HBO Max on the same day they debuted in theaters. Now it wants to put the genie back in the bottle.
HASBRO UNVEILS ‘SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS’ TOY COLLECTION. In recent years, Hasbro’s G.I. Joe brand has been a largely collector-focused endeavor, particularly with last year’s launch of the 6-inch scale G.I. Joe: Classified line and the 3.75-inch G.I. Joe Retro Collection. On Aug. 1, a new collection of kid-focused toys will begin hitting stores and they’re inspired by Paramount Pictures’ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.
Flair Just Play on Blue’s Clues Just Play was announced as Global Master Toy partner for Blue’s Clues in 2020, and has revealed details of the new master toy range. We spoke to Nicola Bergot, Flair’s commercial director, and Charlotte Rodgers, marketing manager for the Just Play brand, about why the property is a such a good fit, and what retailers can expect from the launch range.
Small World - Zuru talks to Toy World about 5 Surprise Mini Brands Toy World spoke to Will Collinson, UK general manager at Zuru, to find out exactly why small is so big this year. “In a matter of weeks, Mini Brands shot into the top 30 ranking items in NPD, which, given the low ASP, is remarkable,” enthuses Will. “We therefore expect Toy Mini Brands to follow suit. If brand growth in the USA is anything to go by – which...
Moose Toys Partners with Super League Gaming for Special Minehut Gameplay. Super League Gaming is bringing Moose Toys’ Heroes of Goo Jit Zu and Treasure X: Ninja Gold brands to the digital world of Minehut in honor of its “Spring Break” gameplay program. The in-game event runs through April 11, and features two special challenges inspired by the Goo Jit Zu and Treasure X universes.
DR. SEUSS CELEBRATES ‘THE LORAX’ WITH SUSTAINABLE BRAND PARTNERSHIPS. Dr. Seuss Enterprises is celebrating Earth Day in a big way by honoring the 50th anniversary of The Lorax. The beloved tale of the title character who “speaks for the trees” is taking center stage in a new lineup of eco-friendly toys and consumer products, including home decor, pet toys, apparel, publishing, and more.
Geomagworld magnetic learning and creative toys, including the Geomag and Magicube lines, have been awarded STEM.org Trustmarks. In an era where STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) branding is being applied to a multitude of different products from different makers, STEM.org seeks to review and analyze new toys using a strict set of guidelines.
SPIN MASTER LAUNCHES TOY RECYCLING PROGRAM WITH TERRACYCLE. “As a global company that creates innovative toys and games that inspire magical play experiences, we recognize the need to help preserve our environment for the benefit of the children we entertain today and for generations to come,” says Tammy Smitham, vice president of communications and corporate citizenship, Spin Master.
BriteBrush Introduces New Elmo Toothbrush for Kids. Brushing teeth is about to become a lot more fun BriteBrush, winner of three top parenting awards and the Good Housekeeping Editor’s Choice for Best Smart Toothbrush for Kids, has introduced a new edition featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo, advancing their mission to make it fun to brush right and instill healthy habits for the whole family.
Ares Games inks an agreement with Ergo Ludo editions. Ares Games inked an agreement with Italian game publisher Ergo Ludo Editions to publish and distribute Ergo Ludo's English versions of their games. This agreement will begin with the release of Ensemble onto the worldwide games maker. It is a cooperative game for two to ten players the features a limited communication mechanic.
Looney Labs will be distributed by Universal in Canadian retail markets. Looney Labs announced that they have added Universal for Canadian distribution. The addition of Universal as a distributor comes as a push by Looney Labs to make their games more accessible to retailers in Canada. Universal has three shipping locations across Canada, which will now carry the full-line of Looney Labs products.
The Insights People rebrands as The Insights Family and launches Portal 4.0. The kids’, parents, and family market intelligence outfit, The Insights People has officially rebranded as The Insights Family, with a renewed purpose of ‘being the voice of children. parents, and families,’ as well as a ‘business-critical partner for the world’s top brands.’
Hornby is steaming onto TV screens this autumn with documentary series on UKTV’s Yesterday. Hornby will be steaming onto TV screens this autumn in a new observational documentary following the iconic British miniature model maker scheduled to broadcast on UKTV’s factual channel, Yesterday. Currently in production, the new series will follow Hornby’s staff of engineers and model makers, as well as ...
Games Workshop unveils a new 'Warhammer Underworlds: Two Player Starter Set'. Games Workshop announced a new Warhammer Underworlds: Two Player Starter Set that will be on preorder starting April 10. The new Starter Set allows players to pick up the fundamentals of the arena skirmish game easily. It will come with two warbands,
'Bristol 1350' is headed to retail in April. Facade Games will release Bristol 1350 into retail on April 28. This is the fourth standalone title in the Dark Cities Series that includes Deadwood 1876 and Tortuga 1667. This time it is set in the town of Bristol during the dreaded Black Death. It is a cooperative racing game where players are trying to escape the plague by making it with their cart-mates to the countryside.
Asmodee USA will release 'Botanik' into U.S. retail. Asmodee USA will release Botanik, a tile placement game by Space Cowboys, into U.S. retail on May 28. In Botanik, players attempt to develop the most efficient network of meca-botanics to save a strange world. Players collect tiles and create machines by continuing to add tiles after they release them from the Registry.
The Playmobil YouTube channel ushers viewers into a world of adventures among characters and sets from the popular Playmobil toy line. First created in 1974, the Playmobil brand remains popular with generations of children by evolving to meet their play and entertainment needs. That approach informs the toy company’s YouTube channel, as well.
Two new games announced to celebrate Deadpool's 30th anniversary. Two new games have been announced for release that are both aimed at helping Marvel fans celebrating Deadpool's 30th Anniversary. Deadpool's "Nerdy Thirty" rolls and now game companies are getting in on the action. Mondo Games also will release a new Unmatched: Deadpool set.
Brainstorm eyes growth of StikBot spin-off range Klikbot as multi-category range hits the right notes. Brainstorm is putting its Easter eggs in the Klikbot basket, with expectations for the continued growth of the popular StikBot spin-off range thanks to this season’s launch of Klikbot Kreatures and Klikbot Zanimation Studio.
ZAG, Crazylabs set to launch ‘Miraculous Ladybug Puzzle RPG’ mobile game. ZAG Games and CrazyLabs are teaming up for a second mobile game. Following the success of the Miraculous Ladybug & Cat Noir game, the companies are developing the Miraculous Ladybug Puzzle RPG. The game is said to be a fresh take on the popular bubble shooter genre with RPG elements wrapped in fighting levels that star characters ...
'Shards of Infinity' heads 'Into The Horizon'. Into the Horizon, the third expansion set for Ultra Pro Entertainment and Stone Blade Entertainment’s Shards of Infinity deck building game, will be releasing in May. Into the Horizon features two new mechanics. The Ingeminex are monsters that seek to harm all of the players, but players can fight them in order to gain rewards.
Spin Master Corp. has issued its second annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. With a vision of bringing kids and families together through the timeless magic of play, Spin Master seeks to be an inclusive employer, enhance the communities in which it operates and minimize environmental impacts with efforts in four CSR key areas: products, people, community, and environment. “When we published our...
LOL Surprise Official Party, a kid-safe digital game is now available on Roblox, offering fans interactive doll characters with outfits, accessories, dance-offs, challenges, and more. Fans can enjoy a free gaming experience that includes a wide range of features, including interactive doll characters, which allow players to mix and match LOL Surprise outfits and accessories, fun dance offs, surprising challenges...
Toys R Us could be plotting a theme park. After a failed comeback last year, Toys R Us may have a return plan that’s bigger than ever. Like other physical stores, the 73-year-old toy store chain struggled as consumer tastes and shopping patterns changed. A 2017 bankruptcy (forced by private equity vultures who bought the chain in 2005 and saddled it with billions in debt) led to the entire chain closing all U.S.-based...
HOT WHEELS INTRODUCES THE MATTEL GAMES MINI COLLECTION. Some iconic Mattel Games are racing into the diecast aisle as part of a new Mini Collection in the Hot Wheels mainline assortment. The 2021 Mattel Games collection wraps an assortment of five Hot Wheels cars in special deco to honor classic games from the Mattel portfolio, including UNO, Magic 8 Ball, and Pictionary.
Life is Strange dev Dontnod is branching into third-party publishing. Life is Strange and Tell Me Why developer Dontnod Entertainment is moving into third-party publishing. The French company will partner with Danish studio PortaPlay on an upcoming co-production pitched as an original title that "embodies Dontnod's editorial values."PortaPlay is best known as the developer behind Broken Lines...
Video Games, Gaming Hardware and Game Development News . . .
Pac-Man 99 is a new battle royale game for the Switch. Nintendo has announced Pac-Man 99, a new multiplayer game that’ll be included with its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. Like Tetris 99 and the recently departed Super Mario Bros. 35, the game pits dozens of players against each other in a battle royale-style fight to the end.
Microsoft adds touch controls to Xbox Cloud Gaming titles. Microsoft has announced the addition of touch controls to a selection of titles available via its Xbox Cloud Gaming service. Over 50 games can now be played from an Android phone, including Sea of Thieves, Gears 5, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Celeste, Hello Neighbor, Yooka-Laylee and Dead Cells.
Threes creator forms new studio Vodeo Games to create 'cozy-crunchy' experiences. Threes creator Asher Vollmer has founded a new studio called Vodeo Games with the aim of delivering annual releases that offer a "cozy-crunchy experience." The studio comprises a 13-strong team of developers spread across North America. Its debut game will be a "turn-based, mouse-bouncing adventure" called Beast Breaker onster Hunter Rise shipments now at 5 million globally. Capcom has announced.The feat was achieved in just ten days, which is slightly behind its predecessor Monster Hunter World, but that game was released on more platforms. Monster Hunter Rise is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, whereas Monster Hunter World was released for PS4 and Xbox...
Disney owns three of top five brands in US mobile games - Newzoo. Marvel, Star Wars, and classic Disney characters were among the highest revenue-earning franchises in mobile games for 2020. With Apple implementing new privacy rules on iOS apps, market research firm Newzoo believes mobile game makers will increasingly rely on IP-based games in order to draw attention to their games.
Build-A-Bear’s adorable Animal Crossing: New Horizons collaboration is here. Build-A-Bear has finally revealed what its new Animal Crossing: New Horizons-themed lineup will look like with two stuffed animal versions of fan-favorite Isabelle and infamous loan shark (loan raccoon?) Tom Nook, decked out in island outfits that match the game. Of course, because it’s 2021, you simply can’t just buy...
Epic just made streaming Fortnite easier than ever with a new Houseparty integration. Epic is further stitching together its various platforms with a new Fortnite integration for its social video app Houseparty that lets you stream your gameplay to friends. The integration builds on an existing one that uses Houseparty’s video chatting capabilities to bring live video chat into Fortnite, and now...
Apple Arcade now includes a selection of classic and award-winning iOS games. Apple Arcade was originally launched as a subscription-based home for iOS games hosted exclusively within its library, but Apple is expanding the subscription library's offerings by adding premium games already found elsewhere on the App Store. The slight shift, along with a handful of new additions to the Arcade Originals line...
Atari’s restless ghost has released NFTs. Atari, the corporate entity / brand of Theseus, has just made around $110,000 by selling —you guessed it — NFTs (shout out to Ars Technica for doing the math). The tokens in question are 3D models of the Atari 2600 game cartridge for Centipede — 10 of them black, 100 of them red. The NFTs are being sold as part of the Atari Capsule Collection ...
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
Press Releases . . .
Wallshoppe Launches New Barbie™ Wallpaper Collection, Designed in Collaboration with Mattel. Available exclusively through Wallshoppe, the Barbie™ x Wallshoppe collection features a wide variety of vintage designs inspired by the legacy of this ground-breaking doll. Barbie™ founder Ruth Handler created a doll to show girls they had choices - that they could be anything. Just as the original Barbie doll revolutionized the toy industry,
EEBOO’s SUSTAINABLE PUZZLES & GAMES GIVE A NOD TO MOTHER NATURE EVERYDAY BUT ESPECIALLY ON EARTH DAY. eeBoo and eeBoo Piece & Love 2021 Spring Collection Proves Environmental Literacy Can Be Screen-Free, Sustainable, Beautiful and Fun! Sustainable practices have always been at the heart of the eeBoo and Piece & Love brand, making it easy for parents and puzzlers to make the eco-conscious choice. Reduce, reuse, recycle has been the axiom of this lifestyle brand from its first days. Focused on responsible sourcing and manufacturing, eeBoo uses 90% recycled board, vegetable inks, and avoids plastic.
MOTHER MAY I? ADVENTERRA PUZZLES & GAMES TEACH LITTLE ONES HOW TO BE KIND TO MOTHER EARTH. Earth Day Is The Perfect Time To Teach Young Citizens To Be Eco-Friendly Via Edutaining Games Using Logic, Teamwork, And Visual Memory. Ever hear of sugar cane shrink wrap? It’s one of the many steps Adventerra Games uses to lead by example as a global eco-friendly company. With Earth Day 2021 arriving on the April calendar, now is a perfect time to show children as young as toddlers how they can make a positive impact on behalf of the planet. Serious environmental topics like composting, recycling, climate change, endangered animals, and water conservation are introduced in a fun and memorable way.
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .
Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), producer of the GAMA Expo trade show and Origins Game Fair, had a tough pandemic year in 2020, with plunging show revenues and a substantial loss, according to the organization’s financial statements. Show revenues dropped from $2.48 million in 2019 (from the organization’s Form 990) to only $810,000 in 2020.
ReedPop and ViacomCBS Consumer Products have partnered for Star Trek: Mission Chicago, a new fan convention planned for Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center April 8 to April 10, 2022. Star Trek conventions are age-old, geek culture institutions that began showing up shortly after the Original Series ended in 1969. The first recognized Star Trek convention happened back in New York City in 1972...
Spring & Autumn Fair to launch Online Marketplace The Online Marketplace is a brand extension to the Spring & Autumn Fair live events, offering the retail community an additional trading platform.
(the above posted after April 9th)
HASBRO PULSE FAN FEST: ALL THE BIG REVEALS!. We’re living in unique times, and with a continued lack of trade shows, conventions, and fan events, everyone is adapting. Hasbro is no exception, and they were among the first to connect with fans and collectors through weekly livestreams and a dedicated Hasbro PulseCon last year. Now, as a replacement for the usual Entertainment Brand Preview Event that Hasbro usually holds in its showroom at Toy Fair New York (TFNY) every February, the company is throwing its first-ever Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest!
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, returns June 12 as a virtual event, and its organizers say they’ve secured commitments from two of the three big platform holders, Nintendo and Xbox. And after months of speculation whether the event would have an online paywall, the Entertainment Software Association said the event will be free to everyone.
Day of the Devs is taking game submissions for its Summer Game Fest showcase. Double Fine Productions and iam8bit's Day of the Devs is officially a go for 2021. The organizers behind the indie-geared showcase are partnering up with Summer Game Fest to run Day of the Devs digitally alongside the next Summer Game Fest this June.
Spin Master’s Tech Deck named official sponsor of Skateboard GB’s National Championship 2021. Spin Master has struck up a new partnership with Skateboard GB that will see its popular fingerboard brand, Tech Deck, become one of the official sponsors of the National Championships 2021. Confirmed to take place on April 11th in Manchester, the one-day competition will be the only British Olympic ...
Summer Game Fest (UK) returns in June. Summer Game Fest, which debuted last year as a digital “celebration” of video games with news, events, and playable content, is returning this year, kicking off in June. We don’t know much about what to expect just yet, but “the roster of participating publishers and developers, along with an event schedule outline, will be revealed in the coming weeks,” according to a press...
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.
Terry Stephens - Popular toy stalwart has passed away at the age of 85. Terry spent many years in the toy retail business, where he rose to become a director of C.T.S., Upper Thames Wholesalers and retail buying group Youngsters. Later in his career, Terry switched to the other side of the fence, where he spent his twilight toy trade years working on the sales side for Gibsons Games.
Bill Gamson, Sociologist and Inventor of Games, Dies at 87. He created a game of simulated baseball that was a precursor to today’s fantasy sports. As a professor, he devised a role-playing game to help students address societal problems. Mr. Gamson, an eminent sociologist who explored the structure of social movements and whose childhood love of games led him to create one that became an inspiration for the fantasy sports industry, died on March 23 at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 87. The cause was sarcoma, a type of cancer, his son, Joshua, said.
Barry Walker - Owner of Conways toy stores and a former member, director and chairman of the Toymaster buying group, sadly passed away on Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer. Toymaster’s Yogi Parmar sent out an email to the trade over the weekend, which stated: “Barry was instrumental in the formation of the Toymaster buying group and a driving force for the Toymaster brand. He also served for many years in a variety of roles on the board of the British Association of Toy Retailers (BATR), the forerunner of the TRA.
Ryu Asada joined Mattel in 2004 as a designer on the Matchbox brand before making his way to the Hot Wheels Team. Over the course of his 17-year career, Asada designed dozens of 1:64-scale die-cast vehicles for the $1 Hot Wheels mainline assortment, most recently serving as designer project lead. “Ryu courageously battled Stage IV colorectal cancer for four and a half years. Even throughout extensive surgeries and chemotherapies, he stayed positive and continued doing what he loved to do — designing Hot Wheels and sharing his passion for cars with the world. He had a strong will and fought until the end. He took his final lap at the hospital on March 23rd from complications of the cancer. His co-driver in life, Hazel Diaz Asada, whom he met at a drawing class at the University of Oregon 21 years ago, was, like always, by his side.
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News Flash: Ensemble Announced, First Marvel Villainous Expansion. Ares has announced they will be releasing an English language version of Ensemble, the first Marvel Villainous expansion has been announced, and Bicycle has released details on three games set for release this summer.
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