the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is April 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 briefing of the week's news...

Getting into Worldwide Markets Licensing

Happy Friday! 

For those of you looking to expand worldwide, here's a panel for you! 

Getting into Worldwide Markets: Licensing vs. Distribution

Our moderator is Catherine McMillen Gill (Co-Founder & President, McGill Assoc’s) with panelists

Sandra Gomez (Founder & CEO, Ludilo), Megan Hinterman Kanous (Business Development Manager  Publisher Services, Inc.), Emile Kalis (Co-founder and Product Development Adviser, Identity Games Int'l), Alex Green (UK Managing Director, Asmodee), Bond Yuen (Manager, Broadway Toys Hong Kong).

Do you know the game Two Truths and a Lie? We are working on our version of this game for POP and it was Catherine's profile that inspired us! Believe it or not - hers are all true!   peopleofplay.com/people/catherine-mcmillen

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

 

Mary

Dear Tim... “Do you have a plan?” tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments

Tim Kilpin's mother-in-law's freezer.jpe

“I always have a plan.”

 

Armageddon Freezer That’s our nickname for my mother-in-law’s basement freezer (truly a thing here in the Midwest, by the way).  Should calamity strike, there’s enough pork sausage and strawberry jam in there to feed you all.  I can think of no rational reason why anyone over 50 years old has that much of a food stockpile.  For any reason.  Ever.  But my mother-in-law, she has a plan.

 

Do you have a plan?  Have you thought through what happens when that next big brand launch fizzles?  When your ace designer suddenly decides Broadway is calling?  When the CPSC inquires about an ‘issue?’

 

A number of years ago, I was having dinner with a future employer, the company’s CEO.  He asked several seemingly random questions about a wide variety of strategic and human resources options, and, befuddled by his apparent lack of clarity, I asked ‘do you have a plan?’  He stopped, smiled, and said, ‘I always have a plan.’  And true to his word, over the next several months and years, I watched (and eventually helped) as he rolled that plan out.  Every dot connected.  Every move made sense. 

Read More...

(Armageddon Freezer)

Story Time Chess: The Game. No Experience Required! - tBR Company of the Week

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Story Time Chess: The Game has successfully taught over 200,000 children how to play chess through storytelling. Known as the “Oscar of Toys,” Story Time Chess: The Game was honored by the Toy Association with the coveted 2021 People’s Choice Award this past February. The game is praised by parents, celebrities, chess masters and more in its ability to adequately teach children chess through silly stories, vibrant illustrations, custom chess pieces and a unique chess board.

Story Time Chess: The Game uses a curriculum based on the successful company, Chess at Three. Chess at Three is a New York City-based company founded by Tyler Schwartz and Jon Sieber. These two successful entrepreneurs created a proven curriculum based on two principles; children can learn anything through fun stories, and anyone can teach through fun storytelling. In 2006, Tyler, one of the founders and a master of chess, was tasked with teaching chess to three and five year olds at a local school. It was then that he discovered the power of stories. He created story after story explaining why the chess pieces move the way they do, and the kids loved it! Children have an astounding ability to retain stories down to the last detail and can sometimes recall a story word for word. So instead of game “rules,” both Tyler and Jon began teaching the game of chess through compelling stories that engage those young and old, and Chess at Three was born. Following this, the team added an additional partner, Harlan Alford who was the first tutor after Jon and Tyler. Harlan Alford is now COO at Chess at Three. Today the company has more than 100 tutors with in-home classes taking place in more than a dozen U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago and several around the world.  Read More...

Euan Lind: 3D Designer & Inventor of Captivating New Construction Toy STEMZ - tBR Person of the Week

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How did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

 

It rains a lot in Scotland which happens to be great weather for inventing. Thanks to my Mum, some of my earliest and happiest memories are of the patter on our tent during summer holidays, as she always packed a pillowcase full of Lego. I’ve been obsessed with making things ever since.

I studied painting and went on to teach English and art at a school in Denmark where the prominence and beauty of Scandinavian design inspired a change of direction. I returned to Edinburgh where I worked as a classroom assistant while studying a Masters in Design.

I’m fascinated with maths and geometry and my work centres on the search for interesting new forms and/or methods of building them; an area of study sometimes referred to as “Form-Finding”. STEMZ started out as one such exploration, and it was only really when I shared it at Maker Faires and saw how children reacted that I knew I’d created a toy.

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

 

The MD of our former UK and EU distributor described our first product Stems in 2018 as “the first new construction toy in 20 years” before helping us sell over 15000 units identical to our very first prototype.

Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

Could container challenges remain to the end of the year?  The world does not have enough containers in the right places to handle current cargo demand, with the shortage leading to sky-high prices. According to a report in Freight Waves, there are not enough containers in the right places to handle current cargo demand. Demand continues to outstrip the availability of containers, while the US pandemic situation ...

Global chips shortage causes concern for toy community   The computer chips which are in highest demand are not particularly sophisticated or expensive. However, they are crucial components used in many different consumer products, including toys. With the bulk of chip production concentrated in a handful of suppliers, analysts warn that the shortage is likely to last throughout 2021. 91% of chip manufacturing is based in Asia, mostly in Taiwan and South Korea, and expanding production capacity can take over a year of tooling up...

(the above posted after April 30th)

Australian retailer Funtastic plans to rebrand as Toys ‘R’ Us ANZ Although the rebrand decision still needs to be ratified by a shareholder vote, it seems likely to be approved. The change in identity follows the group’s acquisition of the Hobby Warehouse business last November, which brought the Toys ‘R’ Us licence under its control. The deal also prompted a major restructure at the business, with Hobby Warehouse ...

Amazon to pass Walmart in U.S. retail sales in 2025: Report. Amazon.com Inc. will supplant Walmart Inc. as the biggest U.S. retailer by 2025, according to a new report, suggesting the e-commerce giant has too much momentum for Walmart to stop despite big investments in its own e-commerce offerings. By 2025, U.S. shoppers will buy US$632 billion worth of products at Amazon and retail affiliates including Whole Foods...

CS:GO streamer wins lawsuit against Twitch, but remains banned from the platform. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) streamer James 'Phantoml0rd' Varga has won a lawsuit against Twitch in a legal battle that lasted three years. As reported by PCGamer, however, Twitch claims the victory was the result of a procedural error on its part, and that Varga will be prevented from returning to its platform. 

Habbo owner Azerion raises $242 million to finance more game acquisitions. Online social gaming and entertainment platform Azerion has raised €200 million ($242 million) to realize its growth plans. Azerion secured the cash by refinancing a €100 million bond issued on the Frankfurt exchange last year, and said the funds will be used to "finance multiple acquisitions across its platform," with a specific focus on adding ...

Riot issues cease-and-desist to League of Legends fan project. Riot Games has shut down a fan-made League of Legends "legacy server" that allows players to access a ten-year-old version of the game. The server, known as Chronoshift, was announced In March last year and was in development up until Riot's cease-and-desist last weekend. 

EA hits out at "sensationalist reporting" following latest FIFA Ultimate Team controversy. Publisher clarifies the meaning behind its leaked marketing document. EA insists it is not pushing players into spending money in its FIFA Ultimate Team mode, following a leaked marketing document. Ultimate Team is a game mode where players build their own football teams. 

EA says FIFA mode with loot boxes is the ‘cornerstone’ of the franchise in leaked documents. Electronic Arts wants to push FIFA players to the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) mode, which lets people spend real-world money and in-game currency to buy loot boxes with virtual athletes, according to documents obtained by CBC News. Loot boxes, which typically offer random collections of virtual goods ...

Hasbro set to sell eOne Music to BlackstoneThe jokes about Hasbro owning Death Row Records have piped down over the past two years, but now they’re about to be rendered null. As Hasbro Inc. prepares to reveal its Q1 earnings tomorrow before the bell, the toy and entertainment company entered into a definitive agreement to sell Entertainment One Music (eOne Music) for $385 million in cash. 

The latest iPhone update brings tighter privacy rules for iOS in-app advertising. Apple's latest update for iOS changes the way advertisers can gather data from iPhone users, bolstering the platform's privacy offerings for users but potentially limiting advertisers' ability to effectively deliver ads in apps on the platform. It's a straightforward change, but one game developers that rely on ad-based revenue should be...

Mighty Kingdom launches $18m IPO. Mobile developer Mighty Kingdom has filed an Initial Public Offering on the Australian Securities Exchange. The studio successfully raised $18 million at $0.30 per share, and public trading began April 21. At this IPO price, Mighty Kingdom predicts a market capitalisation of $46 million. This filing followed a $4 million pre-initial public offering launched back in December 2020. 

Facebook v Apple: The ad tracking row heats upA new feature is being introduced to iPhones and iPads this week which is causing a huge rift between Apple and Facebook. It will allow device users to say no to having their data collected by apps. Facebook has been put in a spin by this because user data - and the advertising it can generate - is what makes the company so profitable. 

Monopoly: General Court narrows Hasbro’s trade mark protection and vetoes evergreening. On 21 April 2021, the General Court ruled on the practice of re-filing identical trade marks (known as evergreening) in the judgment of Hasbro, Inc. v European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), refusing Hasbro's appeal to overturn a decision partially invalidating its EU trade mark (EUTM) for "MONOPOLY" on...

Ever Given owner appeals ship’s seizure by Egypt. Disruption caused by the blockage in the Suez Canal is likely to be felt until the end of May say reports. The owner of the container vessel Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for six day in March hitting global trade to the tune of over $1b, has filed an appeal before the Ismailia court against Egypt’s decision to seize the vessel and her cargo, according to the ship’s...

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Dubit Trends 'USA Kids & Covid' Report First Look . . . . . 2021 Q1 sees spike in investments, mergers and acquisitions . . . . . The Insights Family Issues 2021 Kids & Family Industry Report . . . . . Kids Titles Accounted for Nearly One-Third of 2020 Graphic Novel Sales . . . . . Kids' Graphic Novels: What to Watch Out for in 2021

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Digital games are up 394% at Spin Master . . . . . Wow! Stuff goes from strength to strength with new funding . . . . . Amazon Q1 sales beat estimates and grow by 44%

(the above posted after April 30th)

Toy industry set to be on a roll in 2021: 3 stocks to watch . . . . . JAKKS Pacific Reports Financial Results for Q1 2021 . . . .  Sainsbury's pre-tax profits fall 39% from impact of £485m Covid-related costs . . . . . Character Group unveils £6.1m profit for the first half as turnover increases by 44% . . . . .  WotC Segment 75% of Hasbro Profits in Q1 . . . . . Hasbro Reports First Quarter 2021 Financial Results . . . . . Sony's video game division delivers record results as PS5 sells 7.8 million units . . . . . Apple reports another blowout quarter with sales up 54%, authorizes $90 billion in share buybacks . . . . . Modders have made $350 million through Minecraft's official mod marketplace . . . .Xbox hardware revenue up 232% after first full quarter of Xbox Series X|S sales . . . . . Microsoft game revenues up 50% in Q3 . . . .Masters of the Universe, Barbie, Hot Wheels, push 47% Mattel Q1 sales boom . . . . . With over $303M in profit, CD Projekt boasts best-ever year following Cyberpunk 2077

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Roblox's real-life toy deal could be huge for HasbroFresh off of its public stock listing, video game and metaverse platform Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) is now embracing the real world. It inked a partnership with toymaker Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), which will make Roblox-game-inspired NERF blasters, a Monopoly board game, and a NERF experience within the Roblox game platform later in 2021.  But for Hasbro, this could be a new growth opportunity, and a chance to win over some new young fans of its own.

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.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

False Alarm In German Forest As Adult Toy Mistaken For WWII Grenade  A jogger, out for a run through the forest surrounding the town of Passau, reported seeing a suspected WWII hand grenade abandoned in a plastic bag. The city is equidistant between Munich, Vienna, and Prague, a region that saw many clashes during WWII.

School pupils use Plus-Plus to remember those lost to Covid-19  Each individual block represented one life lost, forming a striking and thought-provoking scene that encouraged visitors to reflect upon the events of the past year. Kids at St John’s Highbury Vale Church of England School have used colourful Plus-Plus blocks to memorialise the 84,000 people from Islington, Hackney and the City of London who have lost ...

Science of Success: You Need to Work Less and Play More!. Play harder if you want to work better. You learn a lot about business studying play.  I’ve been teaching design and working in the toy industry for over two decades, and one of the biggest takeaways I have is about how universally important play is. In fact, in my humble opinion, we’ve turned the truth on it’s head.  

Let’s Declare This the Summer of Play.  After a harrowing pandemic year, communities should roll out policies to give the streets back to kids. 

On July 5, 1976, Philadelphia capped off the nation’s bicentennial celebrations not with flags and fireworks with play. Frisbee Golf on Winter Street. Paper airplanes at Logan Circle. Kid-sized pick-up sticks at 20th and Parkway. Music was provided by a giant xylophone and kazoos on Park Town Place and a Jamaican steel band at 22nd Street. This grand day of play was organized by Bernie DeKoven, a game designer and “fun...

(the above posted after April 30th)

John Baulch from ToyWorld (UK): There is always a but …it’s the Friday Blog! Over the past few Blogs, I have talked about the toy market’s performance since stores re-opened, predominantly based on anecdotal evidence from specialist toy retailers. Having spoken to NPD yesterday, I am now able to confirm that the official data reinforces the positive feedback we have been receiving from the front line.

Six powerful ways "Sesame Street" shaped our culture, as seen in poignant new "Sunny Days" special. From an unaired episode about Snuffleupagus' parents divorcing to addressing racism, the show put kids' needs first. For over five decades, the series has both uniquely reflected and impacted culture in ways that are unprecedented for any piece of media, whether its for children or adults. 

Lots of kids and content outfits made it onto TIME's 100 Most Influential Companies list this year (TIME)  Which companies are shaping our future? That’s the question at the heart of our first ever TIME100 Most Influential Companies, a new list—and an expansion of our iconic TIME100 franchise—that highlights businesses making an extraordinary impact around the world. 

Key Insights On How Gen-Z Embraces Technology To Gain Trust In A Brand  The rising importance of Gen-Z are important, (2.56 billion people globally and 82 million in USA by 2026), because they are a relatively young population segment and their brand loyalty/disloyalty will be a force for brands to deal with over the next 40 years. You have to wonder then, what is the impact of this population segment growing up inside...

How TikTok Chooses Which Songs Go Viral. The app’s hits seem to emerge organically, but the success of artists like Megan Thee Stallion reveals a highly managed curation process.  That mysterious formula for success on TikTok has turned the app into the most important new social media platform in years—which in turn thrust it into the center of a major geopolitical dispute.

Warner Bros. is prime example of pandemic’s impact on game development. When the reality of the current pandemic first started to set in there were a lot of questions about how it would impact the video game industry. With developers working from home, some unable to work at all, and studios faced with logistical challenges, it was expected that many games would be pushed back from their planned release dates. Tons of games and studios have been impacted by the pandemic, but one seems to have been hit pretty significantly: Warner Bros. …

Strings attached: why we’re still in love with puppet TV shows. Four new series revolving around puppets highlight the enduring appeal of the format as Sesame Street enjoys its 51st season on air. Still confounded by many aspects of human behavior, single-digit viewers find it easier to identify with animate toys than with adults or even their fellow whippersnappers. 

Obviousness’ is not so obvious: how to make sure your patent will hold up in court. People often say, “The best defense is a good offense,” but for toy companies with ideas that they hope are patentable, we say, “The best patent applications start with good searches.” Perhaps that is what may be learned from a lawsuit against Mattel claiming infringement of Spin Master’s Bakugan patents for action figures (Spin Master Ltd. v. Mattel Inc.). It was not long before Choirock Contents Factory Co. Ltd., whose technology was used under license …

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Eighties toys that will bring back some memories. These small toys were items that kept the children of the eighties occupied for hours on end. From the classic Rubik’s cube to sweetie bracelets that would take all day to nibble. Rubik’s Snake was still popular among schoolchildren looking for something a little less linear. This 24-prismed contraption was named after what it looked like in its most simple form, though...

Electronic Plastic. The Electronic Plastic website pays tribute to the consumer electronics video game craze of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The online museum contains listings for more than 900 handheld and tabletop games released between 1976 and 1990. Consoles from this period typically supported just one game each and featured unique displays and custom programming. 

Remembering the original Pokémon Snap launch | UK Time Tunnel. September 2000. Ah, the memories. Britney Spears was dominating the charts with songs like Oops! I Did It Again and Lucky. Ant & Dec had established themselves as the kings of Saturday morning television. X-Men, Scary Movie and Snatch were ruling the Box Office. Then there was Pokémon. Everywhere. The hit video game franchise launched in Japan...

How Frank Lloyd Wright’s son invented Lincoln Logs, “America’s National Toy” (1916). How many architectural careers have been kindled by Lincoln Logs? Since their invention in the mid-1910s, these deceptively simple wooden building blocks have entertained generations of children, whichever profession they entered upon growing up. I myself have fond memories of playing with Lincoln Logs, which, with about 70 years ...

The Rock Flowers from Mattel (1971). Released in 1971 by Mattel, The Rock Flowers were Barbie-like fashion dolls that appealed to a generation of children fascinated by flower power, rock music, and the lively fashion styles of the times. The Rock Flowers line was initially released as a trio of dolls: Heather, Rosemary, and Lilac. The posable dolls were 6.5 inches tall with rooted eyelashes and hair. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Mattel Debuts Action Figures Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Luca. Luca is a coming-of-age film that takes place in the Italian Riviera and follows Luca as he shares a summer of adventures with his new friend Alberto. Their unforgettable fun is only threatened by one thing: They’re both sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface. Kids can collect a number of different figure packs inspired by the film.

Funko Has a New Figure Line on the Way: Gold. Funko may be best known for its Pop! vinyl figures, but that isn’t the only collectible line in its repertoire. Funko has previously launched 3" Dorbz figures, Funko 5 Star figures, Vinyl Soda collectibles, and more. The company is introducing an all-new form factor called Gold which features collectible vinyl figures of iconic musicians and star athletes from the NFL and the NBA.

Lucasfilm, Hasbro Celebrate Star Wars Day with The Bad Batch Black Series Action Figures.  Lucasfilm is ushering in a new era of Star Wars storytelling with the Disney+ debut of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, an all-new original animated spin-off from The Clone Wars. Hasbro added new characters from the series to its Star Wars: The Black Series range of 6-inch scale action figures for kids and collectors ages 4 and up. 

Spin Master has teamed up with General Mills to ramp up the breakfast table – literally.  Kids can find Tech Deck, the line of miniature action skateboards, in more than 1 million boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal across the U.S. One of three mini Tech Decks will be inside Cinnamon Toast Crunch giant size cereal boxes at Kroger stores starting today, while supplies last. Once empty, the cereal box transforms into...

(the above posted after April 30th)

Franklin Sports inked a new licensing deal with Hasbro to create and market NERF Sports products inspired by a wide range of popular sports. The reinvented NERF Sports brand kicks off with a spring lineup that includes the Power-Blast Baseball Bat and Ball Set, Flexplay Hockey Set, and Trick Shot Golf, in addition to other products, such as the NERF Sports Tennis Set and Pro Hoop Basketball Set.

Jakks Pacific, Disguise Sign on for PAW Patrol: The Movie Toys and Costumes. Under a new deal with ViacomCBS Consumer Products, Jakks will release PAW Patrol: The Movie-inspired ride-ons, ball pits, tents, activity tables, music activity mats, and kids’ furniture. Additionally, Disguise will roll out a full range of PAW Patrol costumes, costume accessories, adaptive costumes, and trunk-or-treat kits just in time for Halloween.

Mattel enters Karma's World. Experiencing massive growth in its dolls segment, the toyco has signed a multi-year global licensing deal to create products inspired by the upcoming Netflix series. Mattel has inked a multi-year global licensing deal with 9 Story Media Group and Karma’s World Entertainment for upcoming Netflix series Karma’s World. Its consumer products program, which will include dolls, styling heads, roleplay ...

Marvel’s Disney+ series get a wave of Marvel Legends action figures from Hasbro. Hasbro has unveiled a new line of Marvel Legends 6-inch figures inspired by Marvel Studios’ Disney+ series which includes Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Baron Zemo, and U.S. Agent from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch and The Vision from WandaVision, and Loki from his upcoming solo spinoff; 

‘Aliens’: upcoming super-sized vinyl toy from Funko puts Ellen Ripley in the Power Loader! “Get away from her, you bitch!” One of the most iconic finales in horror history, Ellen Ripley straps herself into the “Power Loader” at the end of James Cameron’s Aliens, using the exoskeleton machine to bring the fight to the Queen Alien. Funko is celebrating 35 years of Aliens this summer with a POP! vinyl toy that pays tribute...

Care Bears inks new deals ahead of 40th anniversary. Cloudco Entertainment has inked a slate of new licensing deals for Care Bears leading into the brand’s 4oth anniversary in 2022. The partnerships span categories including games, crafts, fashion, accessories, homeware, cosmetics, and seasonal products for both children and adults. products hitting retail this year include Camelot Fabrics and Franco for homeware; ...

CreateOn announces licensing deal with The Beatles. CreateOn is adding to its roster of licenses for Magna-Tiles — which currently includes children’s brands like Sesame Street, the World of Eric Carle, Crayola, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and Build-A-Bear Workshop. The creation studio announced a new partnership with The Beatles, addressing new markets of grown-ups, fans, and collectors. 

‘Angry Birds,’ Smurfs partnership takes flight. Smurfs will join the Angry Birds for a one-week event in the “Angry Birds Friends” game. In the event, Smurfs character Gargamel has enlisted the “Angry Birds” piggies into his army, and they have managed to capture some Smurfs. It’s up to the Birds to set them free and send Gargamel packing. Players can challenge their friends in 3 rounds of Smurf-themed “Angry Birds Friends” ...

World Book eyes toys, games, puzzles, and science kits move with JRL Group. The Chicago-based international book publisher, World Book, is looking is making its move into the toys, games, puzzles, and science kits space with the appointment of the brand licensing agency, JRL Group. Under the partnership, JRL Group will develop a strategic licensing programme that leverages the global recognition of World Book brand’s... CBeebies’ series Monty & Co. lands kids’ magazine, online store, and Tonies partnerships. The popular CBeebies and iPlayer children’s series, Monty & Co has hit the ground running with three major licensing partnerships spanning kids’ magazines, online retail, and audio stories with Tonies. Immediate Media has added the pre-school IP to its successful CBeebies magazine, while Event Merchandising is in the midst of creating and managing an online store with the aim to be fully functional, with a range of merchandise, for this summer.

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People . . . 

Michael Beckett joins Miko as company shakes up world of robotics  In his new role, Michael will spearhead licensing and content partner relationships in order to accelerate global growth. With a long history of licensing expertise and of developing his teams through rapid evolution, as the new director of licensing, 

PlayMonster has hired Hollie Holmes to fill a brand-new global head of licensing role that will see her develop and launch IPs across new and existing categories for the Wisconsin-based toymaker. Holmes is coming off a 15-year stint at Mattel, where she most recently served as sr director of global licensing acquisitions & entertainment partnerships. On the PlayMonster team, she reports to VP sales & marketing Scott Flynn.

AMIGO Games announced that Alex Yeager will become their new COO. Yeager brings a wealth of experience to his new role as AMIGO's new COO. He has 25 years of games industry experience split predominantly between Mayfair Games and Steve Jackson Games. He held a leadership role for Mayfair Games as their Vice President of Acquisition and Development, where he helped them bring AMIGO Games'...

(the above posted after April 30th)

Simba Dickie Group welcomes Florian Sieber as new CEO  Michael Sieber will retire as CEO at the end of April as Florian Sieber takes over, heralding a new generation of management for the company. Founded in 1982 as Simba Toys with just five employees, then developing into a successful, international corporate group, the Simba Dickie Group now boasts 2,950 employees and annual sales of €715m. 

Stuff Meets: Amy Corbett. Lego designer and Lego Masters judge, Amy 'Brickmaster' Corbett reveals what it takes to build like a pro. It was exciting, it was wild, it was taking what my day job is to a whole new level. I’m an expert in Lego, I build every day, but going from running a design team, to being on TV was a different world.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes toy and entertainment attorney Scott Landsbaum to the show. Over the past 25 years, Landsbaum has represented intellectual property (IP) clients, including toy companies, entrepreneurs, inventors, designers, and artists across multiple industries.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick takes 50% pay cut. Activision Blizzard has extended Bobby Kotick's employment agreement, which will see him serve as company CEO until at least March 31, 2023 -- but it comes with a pay cut. As noted in a recent filing, Kotick's agreed-upon base salary has been voluntarily reduced by 50% to align with company targets. This equates to a $875,000 reduction. In line with this, Kotick has...

Former Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono is the new president of Delightworks. Former Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono has been named president and COO of Fate/Grand Order developer Delightworks. The Japanese company announced the move in a press release (via Gematsu), and explained Ono will be replacing current president Akihito Shouji who'll be taking on the role of chairman and CEO. 

She brought kids joy with her ‘magical’ toys. And hid her own misery until it became unbearable. Melissa Bernstein creates toys intended to delight and comfort children. They’re seemingly simple, no flashing lights or blaring noises. We’re talking about metal tea sets. Astronaut costumes. Farm-animal magnets. Wooden puzzles. Puppet theaters. The kinds of toys that today’s grandparents would’ve loved when ...

Sophie Lightning named NERF Chief Tiktok Officer. Best known to her TikTok followers as Sophie Lightning or Nerfers101, Jamison has been named CTO (Chief TikTok Officer) for Hasbro‘s NERF brand, effective immediately. The social media content creator was one of 10 finalists to interview with a panel of Hasbro representatives for the position that garnered more than 1,000 applicants after an open call ...

The Nacelle Co. names Michael Goodman VP management and development. Just six months after signing a one-year, first-look deal to identify toy properties for The Nacelle Co.’s development and production slate, Michael Goodman has joined the company full-time. The Nacelle Co., producers of Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us, The Movies That Made Us, and the multiplatform A Toy Store Near You, appointed ...

Basic Fun! names Tim Ives its new general manager for the UK and ROI. Basic Fun! has promoted Tim Ives from the role of head of sales to the position of general manager for the UK and Republic of Ireland. Ives is one of the original members of K’NEX UK, and joined the company back in 2013 to head up the sales division. Following the acquisition of K’NEX by Basic Fun! in 2018, Ives continued to focus on his role as head of sales. 

Wildbrain appoints Lorna Withrington as VP development-animation. WildBrain, a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment, has appointed executive Lorna Withrington to the newly created role of Vice President, Development-Animation. As a key member of WildBrain’s Content team, Withrington will help drive the strategic vision behind the company’s diverse, multi-genre slate of original animation, ...

Johanna Faries named new Call of Duty general manager. Activision Blizzard exec Johanna Faries has been named as the new general manager for the Call of Duty franchise. Faries replaces Byron Beede, former EVP and general manager of Call of Duty. As GM, She will be responsible for overseeing the direction of the multi-billion dollar IP. Faries will also retain her role as commissioner for Activision Blizzard's...

Aardman names head of training facility The Bristol-based animation studio has appointed Mark Simon Hewis to head up its Aardman Academy training facility in a new role designed to support and develop upcoming talent, and provide opportunities for students to connect with the animation industry.

Gibsons welcomes six new team members. The appointments follow a strong year of growth and expansion for the British games and puzzles company. Neil Hartley, Demi Newman, Jazmin Gray and Rachel Riddell join the team in the new roles of assistant accountant, customer service administrator, people & culture manager and sales supervisor. And as Adam Melville and Mark Bollen leave the company after many years of service, David Eastoe and Craig Marley join the team as head of finance and head of operations respectively.

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Companies, Brands . . .

Dimian - keeping it in the family  Vice president Michele Röthling spoke to Toy World about Dimian and its move into the UK market with newly appointed distributor SJR Associates. Originating in Milan in 1959, Dimian specialises in the production of dolls, doll’s accessories and interactive plush. As the third generation of his family to work in the business, Michele is passionate about the company and its ranges....

David Bella talks 25 Years of Magic Box Magic Box International Toys is a pioneer in the creation of collectible toys and play sets. Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to CEO David Bella to find out more. Still a family-run business based in Barcelona, overseen by chief executive David Bella (whose two sons are also an integral part of the business),

Genius Brands International Scores a Hit with Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten. Following years of development, the animated series Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten is finally available for streaming via Genius Brands Kartoon Channel! According to the company, the first two episodes have already racked up more than 4 million views as series star and executive producer Arnold Schwarzenegger...

Spin Master Entertainment, Paramount Deliver First Look at PAW Patrol: The Movie. On August 20, PAW Patrol is headed to theaters everywhere in the first big-screen adventure from Spin Master Entertainment. In PAW Patrol: The Movie, the pups’ biggest rival — Humdinger — becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts wreaking havoc, prompting Ryder and the pups to kick into high gear to face the...

American Girl Commemorates 35 Years with Throwback Dolls. The American Girl brand is kicking off its 35th anniversary celebration festivities with a host of new products, events, and experiences for kids and collectors alike. For the anniversary, the original historical cast — Addy Walker, Felicity Merriman, Josefina Montoya, Kirsten Larson, Molly McIntire, and Samantha Parkington — will be reissued.

PlayMonster’s Snap Ships line is expanding into the Korean market. In partnership with third-party distributor HEM, the construction line hits store shelves in time for Children’s Day on May 5 — a national holiday celebrating children of all ages. The line will see a full national rollout across specialty and mass-market retail with media support. To add to the “Build to Battle” play experience, the Snap Ships app and...

Disney has finally showed off a first look at its “real” retractable lightsaber, which the company started teasing in April, with a new video showing the saber in action — and it looks very, very cool. As rumored, the new toy lightsaber doesn’t require any awkward plastic prop blades, instead featuring a retractable light-up blade that extends out from the (otherwise fairly normal-looking) hilt — just like the crackling energy...

A smart move for Midco Toys  Toy World spoke to Midco Toys owner Dave Middleton shortly before his new Burton shop opened, to find out about the move, and what the new store offers. Toymaster member Midco Toys is throwing open the doors to customers at both its stores today, including a new, bigger location in one of Burton’s most popular retail destinations, The Octagon.

(the above posted after April 30th)

TOMY: A century of progressive play. TOMY International discusses the core philosophy behind its classic lines and latest collaborative breakthroughs as the beloved brand approaches its 100th anniversary. Toys have run in the Tomiyama family since 1924. For almost a century, each toy has been built on the philosophy, “True toys must have an element of fresh surprise, a sense of creativity and design. 

The L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls Are Going on Their First Live Concert Tour. Following the massive success of the L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, MGA Entertainment (MGAE) is collaborating with Terrapin Station Entertainment to bring the characters to the stage for the brand’s first-ever live concert tour. Young fans will be able to see Lady Diva, Neonlicious, Swag, and the rest of the Surprise crew rocking out right before their eyes. 

Smart Toys and Games introduces SmartMax My First Acrobats  Introducing young children to the world of magnetism, SmartMax also encourages logical thinking, motor skills and imaginative play. My First Acrobats includes six different shaped geometric building blocks and three metal balls, each with a different character face. Children from 18 months and up can enjoy creating endless stacking possibilities,

GoNoodle, Tonies Join the Mindfulness Movement with Meditative Music and Audio Stories. Mindfulness has become an important skill for kids to learn and practice over the course of the pandemic, and one of the best ways to help them tune in to their emotions is by tuning up their music. GoNoodle and Tonies bring the best of both worlds together with the Mindfulness Starter Set Toniebox, which is a screen-free...

Far Out Toys Reveals Plans for a Live-action Glo-Up Girls Series. Far Out Toys’ Glo-Up Girls brand launch this summer will be supported by multiplatform content to reach kids and fans. In addition to the new collection of fashion dolls, The Glo Show will be a live-action reality series that will debut this July on YouTube to drive the emerging brand’s entertainment strategy this year.

Lockdown superhero children to get £5,000 in The Entertainer giveaway. Toy retailer to give vouchers to 250 superhero youngsters, with one lucky winner also winning a VIP shopping experience. The toy retailer is looking for children who have been superheroes during lockdown, demonstrated through activities such as helping their younger brothers and sisters with school work or supporting an elderly neighbour ...

Mattel UK supports indie retailers with dynamic digital marketing campaign  Running over a couple of months, the Mattel campaign will increase awareness and drive footfall to over 300 independent toy retailers. Activated through mobile display and Spotify, the innovative campaign will geo-target adults based on their live locations and proximity to their local toy store using a mix of dynamic audio & visual creatives.

Hasbro has announced that it is working on NFT technology to be used in the companies profile. The specific target is one of the most popular collectible card games, “Magic: The Gathering.” Ever since its introduction in 1993, “Magic: The Gathering” (MTG) has been a constant in the world of trading card games (TCGs). In the game, players collect cards via packs just like traditional sports cards would come in.

A report by Retail Insider says Disney will be closing all 18 of its retail store in Canada by the end of the summer. Two have already shuttered. According to the report, Disney made the move to re-evaluate its operations amid a “challenging time for retail and landlords in North America” as more consumers shift their shopping online. “Over the next year Disney will focus on providing a more seamless, personalized ...

Amazon launches tablet for older kids Expanding beyond preschoolers, the Fire Kids Pro for six- to 12-year-olds includes new features and content from National Geographic and LEGO. Priced betweenUS$99 and US$199, the tablet itself will feature voice and video calling functionality so users can chat with their friends. Kids can also request to download family-friendly apps like Minecraft, Zoom and Disney+, and ...

Haba rebrands as Haba Familygroup In order to align itself internationally, the Haba family of companies has renamed itself Haba Familygroup. The Haba family of companies, headquartered in Bad Rodach, Germany, announced the rebranding at a press conference. Founded in 1938, the Haba group, which manufactures wooden toys, clothing and furniture, is celebrating its 83rd anniversary this year.

Schleich & 4-H Partner for Storytelling Contest. Schleich and 4-H announced the start of the “Create Your Story” contest, calling on kids everywhere to submit stories, with two finalists to be included in a “create your own adventure” video. In addition to the contest, Schleich will be introducing multiple product offerings online and at retail, proceeds from which will benefit 4-H youth.

Spin Master's Tech Deck Brand Becomes Official Sponsor of USA Skateboarding. Spin Master’s Tech Deck brand joins forces with USA Skateboarding as the sport makes its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.  Open to all U.S. citizens, the skateboarding finals are set but fingerboarders can post clips of themselves on social media to be judged by a panel of professional skateboarders.

McDonald's set to limit Pokémon Happy Meal toy purchases in UK. Scalpers caused chaos when they gobbled up supplies during the promotion in the US. The fast food giant is yet to confirm what the included Pokémon gift will be, though it is expected to be the same limited-run Pokémon cards it offered when the same promotion ran in the US in February.

Disney kicks off ‘Ultimate Princess Celebration’. The Walt Disney Company has announced the launch of the Ultimate Princess Celebration, a yearlong event spotlighting Disney heroines. To kick off the celebration, recording artist Brandy, who starred as the title character in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” has recorded a new original song for the occasion. Brandy will also debut a music video for “Starting Now,” ...

LEGO and Universal Music Group unveil eight new additions to LEGO VIDIYO. The LEGO Group and Universal Music Group have unveiled eight new additions to the LEGO VIDIYO platform, including two new BeatBoxes, 12 Bandmates, and five unique Stage Models. The raft of new products has been launched to bring more play opportunities to the LEGO VIDIYO world with an increased variety of music genres, special effects, and stage settings. The line up now bolsters the platform launched in January this year, blending AR and physical play.

Warlord Games unveils 'Bolt Action Island Assault!'. Warlord Games unveiled Bolt Action: Island Assault!, a new miniatures starter set, for release in July. This brand-new pits the U.S. Marine Corps against Japanese island defenders in the Pacific theater during WWII. It focuses on the island-hopping campaigns that the U.S. went on to reclaim areas taken by the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. 

Pick up prime real estate for 'Marvel Crisis Protocol'. Atomic Mass Games unveiled NYC Apartment Building Terrain Pack, for use with Marvel Crisis Protocol, for release into retail in summer 2021. The NYC Apartment Building Terrain Pack is a three-story building that can be used as a prime real estate backdrop in a miniatures battle between heroes and villains. It comes with all the amenities including skylights, fire ...

SmartMax expands its best-selling My First range with My First Acrobats. The award-winning pre-school construction sets brand, SmartMax, is expanding on its best-selling My First collection with the launch of My First Acrobats, a new range designed for kids aged 18 months to five. The new My First Acrobats collection features six differently shaped geometric building blocks and three metal balls, each with a different ...

Mattel revs up the first North American date on the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour. Following a pair of international kick-off events in New Zealand and Australia earlier this month, the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour resumes in North America this Thursday. The first stop for custom car builders in the U.S. and Canada is a virtual event that will stream live on the Hot Wheels Facebook page and the throtl YouTube ...

Atomic Mass unveils three miniatures packs for 'Marvel Crisis Protocol'. Atomic Mass Games unveiled three new miniatures packs for Marvel Crisis Protocol for release in summer 2021.  These new packs feature Spider-Man and his various nemeses. Each pack comes with two miniatures for use in Marvel Crisis Protocol skirmish game in a new sculpt and likely new powers and abilities.

Thames & Kosmos anticipates ‘surge in sales’ for re-stocked FEAK range ahead of May half term. Two of the best-selling science kits at Thames & Kosmos – the speedy Rubber Band Racers and the sunlight charged Solar Powered Rovers, are now back in stock with the STEM toy and gaming specialist. The items are housed under the popular FEAK range, standing for Fun and Educational Activity Kits and are...

Games Workshop unleashes 'Necromunda: Hive War'. Games Workshop announced Necromunda: Hive War, a two-player boxed set for Necromunda miniatures game, which will be on preorder soon. The new Necromunda: Hive War boxed set comes with everything players need to pick-up-and-play a game. It comes with a rulebook that has the basic rules for the game, the six Clan Houses, and their weapons. 

Gale Force Nine brings back a classic 'D&D' board game. Gale Force Nine will release Tyrants of Underdark 2E, a D&D board game, in the latter half of 2021. Tyrants of Underdark was originally released by GF9 back in 2016 (see "Images and Info for New 'D&D' Board Game"). This game was about drow leaders battling against each other to gain control of Underdark, and it was designed by the same duo, Peter Lee and ...

'Dungeon Drop' heads to retail. Phase Shift Games will release Dungeon Drop into U.S. retail on May 4. Dungeon Drop is a compact dungeon crawling game that uses cubes to resolve quests. Players create their hero, receive a quest, and then drop the cubes on the playing field. The cubes represent loot and monsters in the dungeon, and heroes must venture into the dungeon to loot rooms. 

Mighty Mojo Toys introduces Booba Night Buddies Plush. Booba may not be a household name in the U.S. yet, but since 2014, the adventures of the non-verbal, 3D animated yet have been gaining an audience on YouTube. Designed to be inquisitive like a 5-year-old kid, Booba “explores the world without anger or resentment, only joy and wonder.” His official YouTube channel boasts 3.5 million subscribers and has racked up ...

Ares Games announces two new 'Star Scrappers' games. Ares Games announced Star Scrappers Cave-In and Star Scrappers Orbital, designed by Hexy Studio Games, for release in August. Both of these new games are set in the Star Scrappers Universe, which is an original space western setting. In Star Scrappers Cave-In, players take on the roles of Trade Guild representatives for the mining industry. 

Yoto partners with Ameet and LEGO to launch LEGO Duplo audio cards. Yoto, the audio platform for kids and firm behind the critically acclaimed and award-winning Yoto Player, has detailed a new  partnership with AMEET Publishing and LEGO Duplo. Under the deal, AMEET will co-create a series of six new audio card packs to complement its well-established LEGO Duplo range. The new series will launch this June. 

BioBall kicks off Mondo’s new eco-friendly ranges. Mondo has launched the eco-friendly BioBall and the ReNewToys series, representing the company’s new corporate sustainability policy. Mondo says its BioBall is the only ball made with a new bio-based formula, which replaces 50% of fossil-derived substances with a renewably sourced plant derivative.

Brainstorm Toys welcomes magical My Very Own Fairy Jar. Brainstorm Toys has announced the arrival of the brand-new item My Very Own Fairy Jar, which enables children to create their own beautiful fairy world and then light it up. The set includes an enchanted forest scene-setting background, coloured stones and grass green felt. Kids can accessorize with the colorful toadstools, an acorn jewel with a love heart stand,..

A.B.Gee to distribute Spin Master ranges Already an official distributor for Hasbro, Mattel and Moose Toys amongst others, A.B.Gee is now able to offer Spin Master ranges to its customers. Distribution covers the whole of the UK and Ireland, with a combination of A.B.Gee’s own sales force and agent partnerships.

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

Microsoft lowers its share for Microsoft Store PC game sales. Microsoft is lowering its revenue share for PC games sold through the Microsoft Store, the company announced today. Beginning August 1, Microsoft will reduce its take of net revenues on its PC gaming storefront from 30% to 12%. 30% has been a common take for platform holders in games, embraced by giants like Valve's Steam, Apple's...

Sega partners with Double Jump Tokyo to sell NFTs of classic game assets. Sonic the Hedgehog steward Sega has all at once announced a partnership with and investment into with the blockchain-focused company Double Jump.Tokyo. Together, the two companies aim to sell a number of digital assets for various Sega IP as NFT content this summer. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique tokens ...

GDC State of the Industry: Devs irked by 30 percent storefront revenue cutsThe Game Developers Conference (GDC) has released the results of the ninth annual State of the Industry Survey, revealing trends in the game industry ahead of GDC 2021 which will take place virtually July 19-23. The survey results show that while the pandemic caused delays for close to half of respondents, studios overall grew ...

GDC Survey: 44% of developers have had their game delayed by COVID-19. As the pandemic drags into its second year, it appears to be having a more pronounced impact on release schedules. Of the more than 3,000 developers who answered the survey, 44% responded that their current game had been delayed due to COVID-19. 49% said their games hadn't been delayed, while the remaining 7% didn't have...

The Backbone One is a stunning controller that turns your iPhone into a more capable gaming device. As the high-profile disputes about what content you can play on your iPhone rage on between Apple, Epic Games, Google, and Microsoft, a company called Backbone is focusing instead on making sure you get the most out of the games that are currently available. Like Razer did with its Kishi controller for iOS, ...

Gearbox pushes back against discriminatory Texas bills. Texas-based Gearbox Entertainment has voiced its opposition to Texas House Bill 4042, cautioning lawmakers that discriminatory legislation prevents companies like Gearbox from hiring the best and the brightest, and makes it difficult for the company to guarantee a future in the state. The legislation in question is an anti-trans bill being evaluated by the Texas ...

CD Projekt refunded around 30,000 Cyberpunk 2077 copies. Developer reports relatively few customers took it up on offer of a refund for game that sold 13.7 million copies in launch month. After Cyberpunk 2077 launched in December in a rougher state than expected, CD Projekt offered full refunds to any customers disappointed by the game. In a post-earnings conference call today, CD Projekt executives ...

Call of Duty: Warzone pulls a Fortnite with the launch of its new map. After launching a little over a yr ago, Call of Duty: Warzone is one of the most popular free-to-play titles right now, with 100 million people playing the battle royale shooter. Following a nuclear missile that destroyed the game’s map, the in-game city of Verdansk is back with a new map set in1984, as seen in the announcement trailer above.

Beloved Japanese gaming store Super Potato has opened an eBay shop. The gaming mecca has put its games for sale online. Visiting Super Potato in Akihabara is usually a key reason why many die-hard gamers want to venture to Japan. The flagship Super Potato store (of the eight total in Japan, according to its Twitter) is nondescript, yet its shelves are covered wall-to-wall in rare yet reasonably priced games and consoles. 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

NERF guns are being registered as firearms in South Australia due to new law. South Australia recently updated its Firearms Regulations 2017 legislation to ensure all gel blasters are registered with the state's police. Gel blasters are toy guns that are similar to airsoft rifles and shoot 'a super-absorbent polymer as bullets'. However, enthusiasts say they have to also register some types of Nerf guns because they operate in similar fashion to gel blasters without any modifications. As a result, they are treated like a proper firearm.

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Press Releases . . . 

TOY JUDGES APPLAUD BEGINNERS BOARD GAME WHERE KIDS SKIP THE VEGGIES BUT COUNT THE CANDIES!. Mom’s Choice, National Parenting Products Awards, Tillywig, PAL Award, Hot Diggity And The National Parenting Center Concur Candy Collections! Is Edu-taining And Oh-So-Sweet For Ages 5+  Only a kid would have thought of a board game where veggies are the bad guys and candy wins the game. That’s exactly how Candy Collections! ($24.99 at www.cybelesgames.com) was created from the imagination of an 11-year-old Virginia girl. This season, a half-dozen national toy industry organizations awarded this first-time entry its highest honors and sweetest praise as an outstanding children’s product.

CEMENT MIXER PLUSH LAYS THE FOUNDATION FOR DAYTIME & NIGHTIME FUN TOUTS TOY INDUSTRY PROS  Squeeze-Activated Hess Plush Truck Has Accolades Rolling In From Mom’s Choice, Nat’l Parenting Products Awards, The Nat’l Parenting Center & Others.  What’s green and white and adored by both babies and toy industry experts? My Plush Hess Truck: 2021 Cement Mixer ($29.99) is earning rave reviews and top honors for its interactive fun from the crib to the car by National Parenting Products Awards, The Toy Insider, Mom’s Choice Award, Hot Diggity Awards and The National Parenting Center.

(the above posted after April 30th)

PUZZLED ABOUT WHAT TO GIFT FOR MOTHER’S DAY? eeBoo KNOWS: IT’S MEMORABLE TIME TOGETHER. Giftwrap A Beautiful And Intelligent Puzzle For The Gardener, Traveler Or Birder To Create Special Memories With A Loved One In The Same Room Or from Afar.  Chances are if you ask a mom what she wants for Mother’s Day, she’ll say “just to spend time with you!” As a woman-owned and mother-run boutique lifestyle brand, the folks behind eeBoo and Piece & Love know exactly what she means. Plan some quality time on Sunday, May 9th piecing together a beautifully illustrated jigsaw puzzle. With so many to choose from at https://eeBoo.com pick the perfect theme to capture her interests ...

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) unveiled the finalists for its annual Best Toys for Kids award. The finalists include 52 products representing 10 categories. ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award program is different from other top toy lists because it reflects the collective expertise of hundreds of toy retailers who know toys inside out,” said Sue Warfield, interim president of ASTRA. “We are excited...

Positivity returns to Russia’s toy market with Kids Russia event  Industry representatives able to meet face-to-face at Kids Russia exhibition, which had both a live and digital format. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, Kids Russia, the Russian trade fair for toys and hobby products in Eastern Europe, staged a very successful event with industry representatives pleased to be able to meet face-to-face once again.

New edition of Asmofair to take place in June  Asmodee and Coiledspring Games have announced a new edition of the virtual AsmoFair trade show, to take place from 6th-11th June. Following the huge success of its previous run in January, Asmodee, in partnership with sister company Coiledspring Games, has announced a fourth edition of its pioneering virtual trade show, AsmoFair, to run in June.

(the above posted after April 30th)

ReedPop Is Moving Forward with Four In-Person Conventions This Fall Get ready for SuperCon, NYCC, ECCC, and C2E2 (with lots of safety regulations). Events will be at FL Supercon at the Miami Beach Convention Center (Sept. 10-12), NY Comic Con (NYCC) at the Javits Center (Oct. 7-10), Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) at the Washington State Convention Center (Dec. 2-5), and C2E2 at Chicago’s McCormick Place (Dec. 10-12).

Las Vegas Licensing Expo replaced by virtual event for 2021Licensing Expo will now take place virtually from August 24th-26th, while BLE and BL&IS remain slated to take place in person as planned. Licensing Expo Virtual, set to take place from August 24th-26th, is a free-to-attend event supported by an online platform that allows exhibitors and visitors to schedule and host meetings, enjoy on-demand content and...

Video game industry wins first Oscar with documentary short Colette. Colette, a short film featured in the Oculus VR game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, has won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Presented by Oculus Studios and Electronic Arts’ Respawn Entertainment, and later acquired and distributed by The Guardian, it’s the first time a video game industry project has won ...

Pokémon Go Fest is back this July as a global event. The annual Pokémon Go Fest is back again this summer, scheduled for July 17th and 18th. Last year’s event was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of taking place in person in select cities around the globe. It sounds like this year’s fest will once again happen virtually; developer Niantic describes the event as a “global event.” .

Supergiant's Hades named Game of the Year at 24th DICE Awards. Supergiant Games' narrative roguelite Hades has walked away with top honors at the 24th Annual DICE Awards this year, while also leading the pack as the most awarded game at the 2021 event. Hades, which launched out of Early Access in September 2020, was named Game of the Year during the live-streamed event today, beating out ...

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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.

Kevin James Reeder, 64, of Champaign, IL died Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at home.  Kevin was proud to be a design educator and product designer. As a design educator, he was a professor at Stanford, Ohio State and Georgia Tech, finishing his career at the University of Illinois. He was the first professor to ever achieve tenure at Georgia Tech’s Industrial Design Department and for several years was ranked as a top design educator in the United States. As a product designer, he specialized in toy design and children’s anthropometrics, creating products for Discovery, Mattel and others. He holds several patents and his work is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Peter Woods Toy World is sad to report that former Fence Club chairman and long time toy industry member Peter Woods passed away on 10th April. Peter died at home, surrounded by his family. He had suffered with declining health for the last nine months, and is survived by his wife Barbara and his three sons. The toy and licensing industries formed the backbone of Peter’s working life. From joining Disney in 1953, after working for both Warner Bros. and Republic Pictures, his career advanced through Ideal Toys, Western Publishing and Dekker, after which he worked on a freelance basis. Peter was chairman of the Fence Club in 1980, and is probably most remembered for setting up the annual golf tournament in 1979 in memory of Teddy Simmonds, who he knew well. At Disney, Peter’s boss, Eddie Davis, was one of the original members of the Fence Club, who founded the organisation with Teddy in 1960.

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.

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

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

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Tech Deck Becomes Sponsor of USA Skateboarding 

  2. Just Play to Donate One Million Children's Face Masks

  3. LEGO and UMG Expand LEGO VIDIYO Line-Up

  4. Schleich & 4-H Partner for Storytelling Contest 

  5. Yoto Partners with AMEET for LEGO DUPLO Range

  6. Hasbro Reports First Quarter 2021 Financial Results

  7. JAKKS Pacific Reports Financial Results for Q1 2021

  8. Funko Snapsies Adds Walmart as Retail Partner

  9. Licensing Expo Goes Virtual for 2021

  10. Baby K'Tan Launches New Shopify Website 

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. John's Friday Blog

  2. May issue

  3. Mattel supports indie retailers

  4. Character results

  5. Sainsbury’s results

  6. Hasbro results

  7. Dublin Toymaster member

  8. Simba Dickie new CEO

  9. Anna Knight on the cancellation of Vegas

  10. Mattel & Lego among the world’s most influential companies

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Greece Lightning Announced, New Edition of Galaxy Trucker
WizKids has announced a new racing game, Czech Games Edition will be releasing a new edition of Galaxy Trucker, and Lucky Duck Games is set to release Tranquility.

Video of the Week! 

Getting into Worldwide Markets Licensing

For those of you looking to expand worldwide, here's a panel for you! 

Getting into Worldwide Markets: Licensing vs. Distribution

Our moderator is Catherine McMillen Gill (Co-Founder & President, McGill Assoc’s) with panelists

Sandra Gomez (Founder & CEO, Ludilo), Megan Hinterman Kanous (Business Development Manager  Publisher Services, Inc.), Emile Kalis (Co-founder and Product Development Adviser, Identity Games Int'l), Alex Green (UK Managing Director, Asmodee), Bond Yuen (Manager, Broadway Toys Hong Kong).

 

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

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