the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is April 30 - May 7, 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...

Happy Friday! 

Continuing in our POP Week series, this week we are sharing... Spin Master - The Beginning! The Stories!   Ben Dermer (SVP Creative Development, Deputy Creative Officer) moderates Anton Rabie (Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Spin Master) and Ben Varadi (EVP, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer) reminiscing about the earliest of years in building Spin Master... and what a story it is! Enjoy! 

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

 

Mary

April Mitchell on Team Creativity, Innovation, Dr. Pepper and More! tBR Person of the Week

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

It just happened naturally actually! I didn’t see it coming and didn’t even know it was a profession like many people! I have a background in education and have four kids, so fun is something that happens on a daily basis in our house. As a teacher and mom I would make learning resources and games to help add fun to learning for my kids as well as make them relatable to themes the kids were into or enjoyed-that’s just something I did. In several classes during college we were assigned to make learning resources and learning games- I still have one of them actually! I never really thought of what I was doing as inventing or product developing until I invented my first product in the housewares industry out of need to fix a problem. Soon after I developed another product in the housewares industry- and had licensed them I got my wheels spinning and I thought – why not take some of the things we do and games we play and develop them so others can enjoy them too. And that is exactly what we are doing! Four of my concepts should be out within the next year or so.  Read More...

Paul Fish - Toy Stories Chapter 5: Hot Wheels Re-Branding - tBR Person of the Week

I am posting some anecdotal Toy Stories about a number of my favorite toys I've worked on in my career.

Toy Stories Chapter 5:  Hot Wheels Re-Branding!

In the early- to mid-90’s, Hot Wheels was a perfectly respectable evergreen brand, but we all knew that its potential was far greater than its performance. So, we went into full overhaul mode. We started with a message focusing on four core values: Power, Speed, Performance and attitude. These values needed to be present in every product, packaging and marketing material. We revised the packaging for more consistency across the brand, bringing back the Wall of Blue, utilizing the same fonts, etc. We created several collectible series of 4 basic cars each, to give kids and adults earlier and multiple successes in completion. We also brought back the race car program to the big leagues with NASCAR and Kyle Petty.

We also created a new advertising campaign with our agency, FCB. They presented several options, and most of us hated their favorite choice: Hot Wheels, Leading The Way. I felt like that slogan could be applied to anything. “Retail Merchants of American, Leading the Way!” or “Metamucil, Leading The Way!” They were insistent, though, and fought for it to the bitter end. Ultimately... Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

ZURU & MGA Entertainment have reached an agreement to end litigation involving ZURU’s 5 Surprise toy line & MGA’s L.O.L., Surprise! products. On May 6, ZURU received notice from the court that it had dismissed MGA’s lawsuit filed in 2019 against ZURU in California state court, which alleged that ZURU’s 5 Surprise product infringed the trade dress of MGA’s L.O.L. Surprise! In that proceeding, MGA sought a ....

(the above was posted after May 7th)

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...

Toys 'R' Us creditors call for jury trial on executive stay payBankruptcy administrators for defunct retailer Toys "R" Us Inc. are trying to put its former top leaders on trial before a jury over the millions of dollars in bonuses they pocketed days before the company's plunge into bankruptcy. The proposed jury trial concerns the practice of corporate executives collecting bonuses shortly before their businesses file...

Australia introduces tax break for games. The Australian government unveiled its Digital Economy Strategy, which includes a brand new tax break for game studios. The Digital Games Tax Offset is a 30% tax relief "to support Australia taking a greater share of the AU$250 billion global game development market," the announcement said. It's the first ever federal tax incentive for the Australian game development scene,...

Robust domestic demand lifts U.S. trade deficit to record high. The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a record high in March amid roaring domestic demand, which is drawing in imports, and the gap could widen further as the nation’s economic activity rebounds faster than its global rivals. Manufacturers lack the capacity to satisfy the surge in demand because of resource constraints and bottlenecks in the supply chain. 

Zynga to acquire mobile monetization and ad platform Chartboost for $250 million. Social game developer Zynga has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire mobile monetization and advertising platform Chartboost for $250 million in cash. Chartboost currently has over 700 million monthly users and operated an advertising platform that includes a Demand Side Platform and Supply Side Platform,...

Sony facing lawsuit over PlayStation Store exclusivity. Sony Interactive Entertainment is up against a class-action lawsuit by consumers regarding exclusivity on its digital storefront. That's according to a report from Bloomberg, which claims that Sony is accused of operating a monopoly by only allowing digital games to be bought through its online store.

Tencent in talks with US Committee to retain Epic and Riot stakes. Tencent has entered negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States concerning its stakes in Epic Games and Riot Games. According to Reuters, the CFIUS has been investigating whether users' personal data handled by Epic and Riot could constitute a "national security risk" because they are Chinese-owned. 

Activision Blizzard wins patent lawsuit after nine years. After nine years of procedures, Worlds Incorporated has lost its case against Activision Blizzard. The Massachusetts-based company was suing the publisher for patent infringement. The lawsuit was filed in 2012, with Worlds Inc. arguing that Activision Blizzard was violating fives patents it owned covering a "system and method for enabling...

Overgrowth dev Wolfire Games files antitrust lawsuit against Valve over Steam fees. Overgrowth and Receiver developer Wolfire Games has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve after taking issue with the "extraordinarily high cut" of revenue it takes from Steam developers and its alleged "unassailable" monopoly on PC game distribution. 

Facebook acquires Onward dev Downpour Interactive. Facebook and its VR-focused subsidiary Oculus have announced the social media giant's acquisition of Downpour Interactive, the studio behind the 2016 early access VR game Onward. Details of the acquisition aren't offered in the announcement blog, but Oculus notes that the studio's success with Onward, its inaugural game, drew it to Downpour...

newyork-toy-600px-x-400px.jpg

 

Program Highlights

  • A++ rated insurer, $20 Billion in assets

  • Exceeds Wal-Mart and other leading retailers insurance requirements

  • Variable rate based on sales projections

  • Foreign & Domestic Liability coverage

  • Blanket additional insured vendors

  • Employee benefits liability

  • All certificates and claims handled in house

  • Quick quotation turnaround

  • Product recall expense $250,000 limit

 

Additional Coverage

  • Umbrella up to $50,000,000

  • Ocean Cargo & Property

  • Commercial Auto

  • Lead coverage

  • Intellectual properties (copyrights, trademarks, & patents)

  • Credit Insurance

  • US Customs Bond Insurance

  • Health Insurance

Call us today at 800-392-6958 (ext. 318)

for a free consultation and quotation for your business needs.

185 Newman Springs Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

Contact: Jason Welch: tel: 732-842-2012 (ext. 318), fax 732-530-7080, jawelch@york-jersey.com or Bob Witkin bobwitkin@york-jersey.com

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Hello dolly - Toy World examines the Dolls category . . . . . Reunited and it feels so good - Toy World speaks to UK retailers . . . . . April 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Author, Manga, Superhero Graphic Novels . . . . . Supplier Support - how suppliers are backing up retailers

(the above was posted after May 7th)

The U.S. video game industry grew 30% in Q1, NPD says . . . . . U.S. economy could see its fastest growth since the 80s, NRF says

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Yoto secures £17m to fuel European and North American growth . . . . . The Last Gameboard Closes $4 Million Seed Financing led by TheVentureCity with Participation from SOSV and Riot Games . . . . Hasbro to Participate in the J.P. Morgan 49th Annual Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference

(the above was posted after May 7th)

Preschool, outdoor toys spike as Spin Master reports 21.6% Q1 sales boom . . . . . Rovio's game revenue grows 3.4% as Angry Birds 2, Dream Blast revenue remains flat . . . . . Call of Duty, King push Activision Blizzard to record Q1 revenues . . . . . Profits on the up at Nintendo as the Switch nears 85 million lifetime sales . . . . . The Zacks analyst blog highlights: Mattel, Google, Playtika Holding, Activision Blizzard and Zynga . . . . . KeyCorp increases Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) price target to $105.00 . . . . . 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%

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.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

The newest fidget craze is popping toys. Adults and kids all over the world have been buying up this endlessly reusable version of a longtime favorite fidget activity: popping Bubble Wrap. Made of silicone and coming in a range of colors, shapes, and sizes, they are half-sphere “bubbles” that can be pushed in, making a satisfying soft popping sound. After “popping” them all, you can turn the toy over and start again from the...

(the above posted after May 7th)

BARBIE MAKER MATTEL TACKLES PLAYTIME IN A POST-COVID WORLD  CEO Ynon Kreiz on the future of screen time, values in the toy aisle and the continuing evolution of the famous doll. It’s no longer enough to sell kids on a new toy with a flashy commercial and count on them to beg their parents to buy it. Covid-19 has reiterated “the importance of physical play, and how much priority parents and children place on quality...

Letter from America - licensing for indies This month, Rick Derr of Learning Express Toys, Lake Zurich, looks at the success of licensed ranges for indies across the US and beyond. Rick says that two questions he often gets asked are why Learning Express Toys doesn’t stock more licensed product and whether he sees huge sales based on the latest hit YouTube, TV or movie-based property. 

John Baulch, ToyWord (UK): Supply and demand… it’s the Friday Blog . Good old ‘supply and demand’ – the basic premise on which so many businesses are predicated. The past year has seen so many business models flounder because either supply or demand were cut off. Thankfully, the toy market wasn’t affected on either count: demand for toys actually rose during the pandemic, while the ever creative and resilient toy...

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.

Naked 'Nerf Wars' taking over Lakota school district. "Nerf Wars" is a game where students use Nerf guns to go around and shoot other students who are not on their team. 300 students pay an entry fee of $5 to participate with the winning team collecting the first place prize of $1,200. Rules of the game call for students not to target players on school property, school function or inside their homes. They are fair game...

Popular video games generate licensing efforts. It’s clear from NPD’s first quarter videogames sales figures that community-based games – have emerged as top sellers not only for consoles but also for licensing. NPD’s list of the best-selling games in first quarter featured several with community-based themes with long-time licensing staple “Minecraft” joining “Among Us” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” 

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...

GoPopAd_BloomReport2021.jpg

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

The Hollywood Squares TV Game from Ideal (1974). Released in 1974 by the Ideal Toy Company, The Hollywood Squares TV Game is modeled after the game show of the same name, which originally aired on NBC from 1966-1981. Prominently displayed on the box is a photo of Peter Marshall, who was the original host of the television version throughout its entire first run. 

Nostalgia trip | From Hungry Hungry Hippos to Pound Puppies, Brits reveal their best-loved toys of the 1980sHungry Hungry Hippos, Pound Puppies, and the TreeTots Family Treehouse have all been named among the top ten most era-defining toys of the 1980s, according to a survey of some 40,000 nostalgic British parents this year. Taking participants on a trip down memory lane to an age dominated by...

Tyco Dino-Riders Mini-Comics. When Tyco’s Dino-Riders toy line launched in December 1987, a miniature comic was included with each of the dinosaur toys. The first issue was 16-pages long and introduced the storyline developed to market the action figures: a battle between the superhuman Valorians (good) and the humanoid Rulons (bad) taking place on pre-historic Earth with the help of dinosaurs. 

Golferino from Hubley (1962). Released in 1962 by Hubley, Golferino was a 9-hole tabletop miniature golf course molded in high-impact plastic. Players took turns directing Mr. Golferino and pressing the control button to hit the ball. Each hole had its own hazards and different par. Sinking the steel ball in the ninth hole caused a bell to ring and a gold-coloured loving cup to pop up. 

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_3_SEL

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

The One Where LEGO Releases Another Friends Set. If you bought the 2019 LEGO Central Perk set faster than Joey can chug a gallon of milk, then we have news for you. LEGO revealed a second set inspired by the iconic ’90s sitcom, and it is, as Chandler would say, “perfection.” The new set includes a whopping 2,048 pieces that fans can use to build not just one, but both of the main apartments featured on the show ...

Dude Perfect & PlayMonster Partner for Koosh Launch.  To kick off the release of Koosh that’s slated for this summer, PlayMonster has partnered with YouTubers Dude Perfect for a branded content campaign celebrating the toy line’s retail launch in July. Known for their stunts, trick shots, and challenges the Dude Perfect team — Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, Garrett Hilbert, and twins Coby and Cory Cotton — plan to bring ....

Pokémon - truly legendary  Pokémon licensing director Mathieu Galante told Toy World what there is to look forward to in the months ahead for fans and retailers alike. It’s a major year for Pokémon, with the franchise celebrating its 25th anniversary as retailers report record sales of its trading card games and consumer products.

(the above posted after May 7th)

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...

Garfield and Odie mosey into the plush aisles through Dan Dee and ViacomCBS partnershipGarfield is moseying into the plush aisles of retailers across the globe, thanks to a new partnership between Dan Dee International and ViacomCBS Consumer Products. The new global licensing agreement will see a selection of Garfield and Odie plush products land at retailers worldwide with a range spanning everyday...

Golden Bear, 8th Wonder, and MV Sports expand Acamar Film’s Bing licensing successThe popular kids’ property and pre-school series, Bing is continuing to expand its UK licensing programme, building on the success the IP has seen across the toys and wider consumer product space to date. Last year, demand for Bing products enjoyed an 11 per cent year on year increase, while this year, Acamar Films – the London-based studio behind the IP – has welcomed strategic new categories to the portfolio, dialing the UK licensing programme up to 25 licensees.

Star Wars Day: treasure trove of new collectables released. Star Wars Day has arrived, and with it, several new toys and assorted collectibles for fans of the sci-fi franchise. New items unveiled this May the Fourth include figures, books, posters and clothes, among much more. Several items for the newest Disney+ Star Wars series, The Bad Batch, dropped on Tuesday coinciding with the series premiere on the streaming service. 

Funko brings Disney classics to the tabletopFunko Games will release a pair of Disney-themed games into the trade on August 1:  Disney it’s a small world and Disney Mickey and the Beanstalk Game. Disney it’s a small world converts the iconic amusement park cruise into a board game.  The three-dimensional board features fun-loving children and animals from around the world, as they are presented in the Disneyland ride. 

Accio Harry Potter Toys! Spin Master reveals its Wizarding World Collection. Spin Master is expanding its partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products as the new toy licensee for the Wizarding World franchise with a full line of toys based on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts brands. New dolls, figures and accessories, playsets, vehicles, games, plush toys, and role-play items are expected to launch this fall. 

King Features Builds Global Momentum for Gaming Phenomenon Cuphead with New International Agents and Expanded Licensing Program. King Features Syndicate, a unit of Hearst and home to some of the world’s most popular entertainment characters, along with its local agents, today announced a robust international expansion, including new agents and licensing deals for the global gaming sensation Cuphead. 

Fanattik partners with Hasbro to launch Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons gifts and collectables. The pop culture gifting specialist, Fanattik, has signed a new partnership with Hasbro for its popular Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons franchises. The team will work with the brands to develop pop culture focused gifts and collectables including money boxes, clocks, gifts, and more. 

Tonies adds Bob the Builder, Paw Patrol and more to rangeThis spring, Tonies is adding five new Tonies to its extensive range of stories, songs and audio as it welcomes Paw Patrol, Bob the Builder, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Famous Five, and Mia and Me to the Tonies family. In a statement, the company said: “Now, more than ever before, parents are searching for alternative ways to entertain, educate and ...

Funko Games unveils 'Seinfeld: The Party Game About Nothing'. Funko Games unveiled Seinfeld: The Party Game About Nothing, a new two team trivia game, for release on June 15. This new two team trivia game lets players answer questions and complete challenges revolving around the classic 90s TV show. Teams score points by answering trivia questions, acting out charades, and guessing who said or did some of shows' bits. 

Golden Bear signs as plush partner for The Baby ClubGolden Bear will develop a plush range of characters from the popular CBeebies show, starting with Baby Bear. The company has signed as plush partner for hit CBeebies show The Baby Club, in a deal brokered by Rockpool Licensing. The on-screen baby club, now in its third season, is presented by Giovanna Fletcher and Nigel Clarke and broadcasts twice daily on the BBC.

nancy lombardi ad.540x250.jpg

People . . . 

Industrial Design Student Wins Grant for Setting Up 3D Printing Filament Recycling SystemRyan Colwick hopes to spread Protocycling beyond the ID department. Life experience makes for a good industrial designer, and Ryan Colwick has plenty. On the academic side, he's got degree in both Architecture and Graphic Design and is now zeroing in on his Masters of Industrial Design at the Design School at Arizona State...

Yogi Parmar promoted to managing director of Toymaster  The buying group says Yogi’s promotion recognizes his dedication, management skills and expertise in all things Toymaster. A statement from Toymaster chairman Chris Blatcher reads: “I am pleased to announce that Yogi Parmar, who is currently joint interim managing director of Toymaster Ltd, has been promoted to the permanent role of managing director. 

(the above posted after May 7th)

Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes CreateOn‘s Steve Rosen and Aaron Singer to the show.

CreateOn’s partnership with Magna-Tiles is rapidly expanding to include licensed building sets from iconic brands, including Sesame StreetDr. SeussThe World of Eric Carle, Build-a-Bear Workshop, and The Beatles

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'...

BBC Studios grows licensing and consumer products division with double hire.  BBC Studios is expanding its consumer products division with the appointment of Louise Rigby and Gaby Dior as its new licensing managers, with a focus on expanding the programmes around Bluey, Hey Duggee, BBC Earth, and Doctor Who. 

540 x 250.gif.gif

Companies, Brands . . .

Hasbro, Inc. is hosting their inaugural Monopoly Charity Classic Event this May, featuring Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Josh Gad (Frozen), Ellie Kemper (The Office), and Daymond John (Shark Tank). Participating celebrities will battle it out virtually for the $350,000 Community Chest in celebration of Monopoly updating all 16 of its Community Chest Cards. Fans can tune into the game live on Hasbro and Hasbro Gaming’s...

Story Time Chess won a Gold Stevie Award in the Game-based Curriculum Solutions category for the 19th Annual American Business Awards. Nicknamed the Stevies — from the Greek word for “crowned” — the American Business Awards allow organizations of all sizes in the U.S. to submit nominations, including public, private, for-profit, and nonprofit. Awards will be virtually presented to winners during a live event...

PBS KIDS selects creators for podcast accelerator.  EXCLUSIVE: Career growth and play are at the heart of its podcast pilots from indies, PBS North Carolina and The Brooklyn Library. Six teams of podcast creators have been chosen to participate in a pilot accelerator program run by PBS KIDS, PRX and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). They’ll each produce a pilot episode for their concept that may end up on PBS...

The Entertainer extends its Quiet Hour shopping initiative to run every day across all 171 stores  The family-owned high street toy retailer, The Entertainer, has extended its Quiet Hour initiative to run every day in every one of its 171 stores across the country, in a bid to create a calmer shopping environment for autistic people and shoppers uncomfortable with the hustle and bustle of the shopping experience. 

Board games veterans launch All About Games consultancy  The founders say All About Games is a unique consulting company created to serve the board games industry. Three Asmodee veterans have opened a new and unique consulting company for the board games/tabletop industry: All About Games. The founders, Carol Rapp, Cedric Delobelle and Daniel Steel, share between them more than 60 years of passion,...

Just Play Products LLC announces opening of UK subsidiary Jan 2022  Just Play has already established new subsidiaries in Australia and New Zealand, and says the UK entity will further bolster its global expansion. The company has grown consistently for over 11 yrs and now ranks as one of the leading companies in NA.  Just Play benefits from global business hubs in Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Hong Kong and China...

Netflix to launch first L.O.L. Surprise movie. EXCLUSIVE: The brand is unboxing its first feature film in October, and it will support a major new toy push, says MGA's Anne Parducci. L.O.L. Surprise: The Movie (working title) is a 45-minute mixed-media adventure that stars a young girl who finds herself in the popular dolls’ CG-animated world, where she must help them create a movie.

TOMY enters a licensing agreement with Unanico & Raydar Media to produce toys inspired by the Netflix Original Series, Buddi. The series geared toward kids under 4 launched last year and seeks to build “emotional intelligence through the lens of imagination with non-verbal cues, sowing early seeds of creativity.” Buddi follows five bright and colorful friends that exude joy as they...

Mattel Games‘ latest UNO deck is dedicated to celebrating inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community. UNO teamed up with the It Gets Better Project (IGB) — a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting, empowering, and connecting to the LGBTQ+ community globally — for UNO Play with Pride. The colorful, 112-card deck is available exclusively at Target beginning this month.

LEGO and The LEGO Foundation make $1million donation to Save the Children India  The LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation are making a $1 million donation to help Save the Children India support families and children most at risk in Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and West Bengal from the most recent outbreak of Covid-19. The money will be used to deliver learning to around 20,000 children aged three to …

New Monopoly Lifesized experience encourages players to get on board  An immersive game, to open in London this August, will see players moving around a 4D full-sized board and taking on challenges as they go. Hasbro has teamed up with Gamepath (a new division of international theatre producer Selladoor Worldwide) to bring together the board game, escape rooms and team challenge. 

First The Entertainer-branded store to open in Spain  Based in Valencia, the store was part of the Poly Group’s store estate and has been refurbished and rebranded to look like a typical The Entertainer store in the UK.  Two and a half years ago, The Entertainer acquired Spanish toy retail chain Poly Group, giving the retailer a firm foothold in the Spanish market. However, this latest move takes The Entertainer’....

Playmobil unveils two new Back to the Future sets  A Hoverboard Chase set and Marty’s Pick-Up Truck have joined master toy partner Playmobil's exclusive Back to the Future collection. The first Playmobil DeLorean Time Machine was launched in 2020, when the iconic time-travelling car from Back to the Future in a miniature format generated a great deal of hype.

Goliath’s The Floor is Lava game sees sales heat up  Vivid Goliath says The Floor is Lava is fast becoming a hot property in the toy industry, with a huge growth in sales this year and popular celebrities getting in on the action. The popular children’s playground activity, which sees kids attempt to avoid touching the floor at all costs by leaping from one object to another, launched as a game for autumn/winter last year and...

Mattel Gives Barbie And Other Toys A Green Makeover With New Recycling Program. Mattel is giving parents a way to keep past-their-prime Barbies, castoff Matchbox cars, and unwanted Mega construction bricks out of landfills with a toy takeback program announced today.

The program, Mattel PlayBack, promises to give unloved old toys a second life by recycling their plastic parts into new products.

Lemada licenses Accentuate's Rats to Riches for Israeli market Accentuate and Lemada have worked together on localized content to ensure relevance of the Hebrew version of Rats to Riches in Israel. Lemada has already secured listings with Israel’s largest on-line shop K.S.P., as well as with a variety of independent game stores in the Israel. 

All dolled up – Mattel on the Dolls category. Kelly Philp tells Toy World what Mattel considers to the biggest opportunities in the Dolls category, and talks new additions and expansions. Mattel is expanding its presence in the Dolls category for 2021, with the July launch of new fantasy-themed large doll, My Garden Baby, additions to its licensed doll ranges including Spirit and Harry Potter, and expansions to Polly Pocket...

(the was posted after May7th)

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...

The kids are alright – KidsKnowBest. Toy World spoke to Joel Silverman, co-founder and CEO, and Rob Lough, co-founder and chief brand officer at data-led creative media agency KidsKnowBest. The agency lives or dies by the quality of its firstparty data, which dictates where media is placed, ensuring research is grounded and trustworthy. 

T-Racers from Magic Box in pole position for success Magic Box Toys reports that new 2021 launch T-Racers has achieved the top spot in Spain, becoming No.1 Toy Property for the month of April. The completely new vehicle concept allows kids to swap parts to create their favourite cars, which they can then race. Each T-Racer is made of five different parts which can be interchanged, forming 500 possible combinations...

Mattel debuts the 12th Barbie DreamhouseIn an effort to encourage even more play, today Mattel releases a new Barbie DreamHouse that features many customizable components and trendy looks. Kids can change the ambience of the home with eight different colored lights, three songs, and two soundscapes to choose from. In addition, the pool and slide can be moved and placed in nearly limitless configurations. 

Bandai announces the next two 'Dragon Ball Super CG' booster sets. Bandai announced Unison Warrior Series Set 05 [DBS-B14] and Set 06, new booster sets for Dragon Ball Super: Card Game, for release into retail stores. Unison Warrior Series Set 05 [DBS-B14] will drop in stores in July. It will feature 292 types of total cards. The rarity breakdown is as follows: 60 commons (normal/holo), 38 uncommons, 30 rares,...

Tonies to open exclusive pop-up within Harrods’ Fourth Floor Toy Department. An exclusive Tonies pop-up is preparing to open at the world-renowned department store, Harrods and its Fourth Floor Toy Department this May 29th, welcoming kids and families to the world of the popular children’s audio player. The pop-up will feature best-selling Tonies from the company’s collection of over 100 characters, including stories...

Math Wizard from Osmo adds two new titles. Osmo‘s Math Wizard learning series announced the debut of two new titles: Amazing Airships and Enchanted World Games. Now with four titles in total, Math Wizard is also slated to release an additional fifth title in fall 2021. The STEAM brand’s curriculum-inspired Math Wizard series’ active learning approach allows children to learn math via tactile play and use of creativity...

'Gaunt's Ghosts' haunt 'Warhammer 40,000'. Games Workshop revealed Gaunt's Ghosts, a new miniatures set for Warhammer 40,000, which will hit retail stores soon. Ibram Gaunt and his Astra Militarum regiment, otherwise known as Gaunt's Ghosts from Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel series, make their return to battlefield with new sculpts.

Dodge disaster in 'Happy Little Dinosaurs'. Unstable Games will release Happy Little Dinosaurs, a new card game, into retail in June. In this lightweight card game, players take on the roles of dinosaurs trying to avoid a sudden doom. Players pick a dinosaur, and at the start of each round, flip a Disaster card. Disasters can be natural, emotional, or predatory, and there is a Meteor card that can act as all three types.

Cuddle up to a Pink Beholder after a stressful 'D&D' campaign. WizKids unveiled new Dungeons & Dragons Phunny Plush toys, by Kidrobot, for release in September.Last year, WizKids released a small, adorable group of Magic: The Gathering Phunny plush toy into retail in August. This year, they are putting their expanded D&D license to work and releasing new plush toys. 

Mattel releases first major Barbie campaign since 2015Mattel is hoping to encourage more doll play with its first big campaign for its iconic Barbie doll since "Imagine the Possibilities" back in 2015. The “A Doll Can Help Change The World,” campaign, developed with BBH LA, builds on the brand’s “You Can Be Anything” platform, with a touching film based on the findings of a recent neuroscience study conducted by a team...

Modiphius Entertainment reveals 'Dark Brotherhood' Minis For 'Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms'. Modiphius Entertainment revealed The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms - Chapter 2 Dark Brotherhood Bundle, a new miniatures bundle, for release in late May. The Dark Brotherhood are assassins from the Skyrim video game that follow the orders of the Night Mother. 

All the right notes | Halilit sees ‘fantastic growth’ of musical instruments amid pre-school sector boom. Halilit has reported “fantastic growth” of its musical instrument range over the past 12 months, citing an increase in demand driven by parents keen to help their children engage in online music classes throughout the pandemic. 

Wentworth Wooden Puzzles unveils its Mini Mindful jigsaw puzzles for Mental Health Awareness week. Wentworth Wooden Puzzles has designed and released a new range of Mini Mindful jigsaw puzzles with the aim of providing the mindfulness and wellbeing benefits of jigsaw puzzling, across scaled down dimensions, to help them slot better into people’s days. 

Thames & Kosmos bolsters creative STEM toy portfolio with new wave of CREATTO kits. The latest wave of the best-selling creative STEM toy range, CREATTO Series Two has landed at the UK toy firm, Thames & Kosmos UK, as the firm readies for further sell-out success of the range this season. A versatile building system for children aged six and upwards, CREATTO first landed on UK shores in September 2020...

Become the mayor of 'Tentacle Town'. Monster Fight Club will release Tentacle Town, a resource management board game, into retail in Q2. In Tentacle Town, players are vying to become the new mayor of a town that is being attacked by giant tentacles from the sea. To accomplish this, players will need to recruit new citizens, put them to work completing tasks, and build up the various districts in the town while fending...

Modiphius Entertainment unveils two new 'Elder Scrolls' miniatures sets. Modiphius Entertainment unveiled Dwemer Centurion and Ballista and Dwemer Spheres and Spiders, miniatures sets for use with Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms, which will release in late May. The Dwemer are an ancient Dwarven race from Skyrim that built colossal, high-tech underground cities. 

Playmobil Dino Rise series launches ahead of new range. First teased in March this year, Playmobil has now confirmed the launch of its exciting and innovative dino adventure, with the new Dino Rise play world set to be launched at the end of May. In the run up to the release of the toy range, an accompanying series, Dino Rise – The Legend of Dino Rock, will engage fans of the prehistoric giants. 

Maisto relaunches Muscle Machines diecast brand. A familiar brand from the past is racing back into the die-cast aisle this year: Muscle Machines. Maisto is relaunching the brand of beefed-up and tooned-out muscle cars with a fresh approach aimed at connecting with a new generation of kids and collectors. Muscle Machines was launched in 1999 by Funline and changed hands a few times prior to joining...

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...

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.

Pottick Law Ad new as of Nov 2020.jpg

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

Nintendo wants to teach programming to the world with Game Builder Garage. "Anyone can be a game programmer." That's the mantra at the heart of Game Builder Garage, a new educational title from Nintendo that wants to help aspiring game developers take their first steps on the road to creative fulfillment. It uses a visual programming language built around creatures called 'Nodon' which serve functions...

EA beefs up EA Sports with acquisition of Super Mega Baseball dev Metalhead Software. Electronic Arts has acquired Metalhead Software, the Canada-based developer behind the Super Mega Baseball series. The exact price of that acquisition was not disclosed. EA angles the deal as a way to bolster its long-running EA Sports division through the addition of an established sports-minded developer like Metalhead...

Activision betting big on mobile after CoD Mobile player spending tops $1 billion. Activision Blizzard intends to bring all of its franchises to mobile platforms in some form, according to company COO and president Daniel Alegre. Alegre was outlining the publisher's mobile strategy during a recent investor Q&A (via Seeking Alpha), and explained the company wants to build on the success of Call of Duty Mobile,...

A host of Stadia developers have left Google to join Jade Raymond at Haven Studios. After Google Stadia shut down first-party game development operations, a number of developers have reemerged at former Stadia games boss Jade Raymond at her new Sony-backed Haven Studios. Haven was formed by Raymond earlier this year following her own departure from Stadia, with the veteran developer...

Activision turns Crash 4 dev into Warzone support studio, denies layoff rumors. Crash Bandicoot 4 developer Toys for Bob has confirmed it's supporting development on Call of Duty: Warzone amid rumors of layoffs at the Activision-owned studio.  In a tweet posted yesterday, the studio said it will be assisting with development on Season 3 of Call of Duty: .

Activision has all studios working on Call of Duty. It has now been revealed that the future of Call of Duty is looking pretty bright as the efforts towards the franchise are more significant than ever before. This is since we now know that all of the studios that Activision owns are now Call of Duty studios. How we know this is not because of the publisher itself but rather one of these Activision-owned studios..

Roblox Ready Player Two Hub Reaches Huge Visitor Count. Roblox has already grown an incredibly loyal following, with numerous toys and hubs being developed for the sandbox game. The Ready Player Two Hub in Roblox, however, has managed to accumulate nearly 29 million visitors at the time of this writing. The Ready Player Two Hub revolves around the sequel to the novel Ready Player One..

Microsoft’s app store changes crank up the Apple pressure. Microsoft shook up the PC gaming industry this week with the announcement that it was cutting the fee it takes from game sales on the Windows store. On the surface, it’s a welcome move, with Microsoft matching the 12 percent cut that Epic Games takes, and putting more pressure on Valve, which still takes a 30 percent cut on most Steam purchases. 

As Epic v. Apple approaches the courtroom, Valve is getting sued over Steam too. Just two days before Apple gets dragged into a California court to justify its 30 percent App Store fee — and two days after Microsoft axed its 30 percent cut on PC — we’re learning that gaming giant Valve is now facing down lawsuits against its own 30 percent cut and alleged anticompetitive practices with its PC gaming platform Steam. 

Epic vs Apple

Three key discoverability takeaways from the Epic/Apple lawsuit. Listen here, we’re back again, and we’ve got a newsletter which features… oh no, the Epic/Apple lawsuit. Haven’t you all heard enough about that already? Well, we agree that there’s been a lot of coverage.

But not many outlets have gone deeper into what GameDiscoverCo cares about. What does the data exposed by the discovery process...

Epic spent at least $11.6 million on free games and gained 5 million new users in return. A new document released as part of Epic’s legal battle with Apple has revealed how much Epic paid developers to give away their games for free following the launch of the Epic Games Store in December 2018. The document, which was spotted by writer Simon Carless, covers the 38 games given away free between December...

Judge presses Epic CEO during second day of Apple antitrust trial. A U.S. judge on Tuesday pressed the chief executive of "Fortnite" creator Epic Games on how the fundamental changes the game maker is asking her to force on Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) App Store would affect the livelihoods of millions of developers who make software for Apple devices. 

Epic v. Apple trial surfaces Walmart's rumored 'Project Storm' streaming service. Walmart's unannounced cloud gaming service codenamed 'Project Storm' has been detailed in confidential emails shown during the Epic Games vs. Apple trial. Back in 2019 it was rumored that Walmart had been courting developers and publishers with a view to breaking into the game streaming business, and now an email ...

Epic v. Apple trial offers rare look into Epic financials, billions of Fortnite revenue. In just two years, Epic saw over $9 billion in revenue from Fortnite alone. That notable chunk of change is one of the many interesting revelations that have come to light as Epic and Apple enter the courtroom to settle the anti-consumer allegations Epic very visibly levied at Apple last summer. 

Epic paid devs nearly $12 million for 9 months of Epic Games Store free games. Epic Games paid out nearly $12 million to game developers and publishers in an early effort to use free game promotions as a way to drive new users to its then-fledgling Epic Games Store. This data comes straight from Epic Games itself, and is one of the many documents shared as part of the legal battle between Epic and iPhone...

Epic expects Epic Games Store to be profitable by 2024. Court documents also reveal details of $146 million Borderlands exclusivity deal and $11.7 million spent on free games. The profitability of Epic Games Store has once again been brought into question as the antitrust trial between Epic and Apple kicks off. Following the companies' opening statements, the proceedings primarily concentrated on examining ...

Here are Apple’s and Epic’s full slideshows arguing why they should win at trial. Both Apple and Epic have released their opening presentations on why they feel they should win this week’s trial, which is set to determine the future of the App Store. In the documents, which you can look through below, each company lays out its case. The lawsuit started when Apple removed Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App...

Fortnite made more than $9 billion in revenue in its first two years. After a meteoric rise to popularity in 2018, Fortnite generated more than $5 billion in its first year for Epic Games, new financial documents reveal. The document, made public as part of Epic’s court battle with Apple over the latter’s App Store practices, shows that the game brought in more than $9 billion for Epic in 2018 and 2019. 

Epic-backed expert says Apple’s app store profit is as high as 78 percent. An expert witness for Epic Games testified that Apple’s App Store had operating margins above 70 percent in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, new court documents show. Ned Barnes testified that information from Apple’s Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis group show the App Store had a 77.8 percent operating margin in 2019, and 74.9 percent ...

Apple faces Epic Games in court. After months of hype and warring words, Epic Games is finally getting its day in court with Apple. The trial began on Monday - and is one of the most important in Apple's history. Apple boss Tim Cook will be giving evidence, the first time he's given testimony at a trial. nAt stake is the future of the App Store and the amount it charges developers - a wildly lucrative money spinner ...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Toy Association offers families "Top 5 Tips" for safe outdoor playWith summer just around the corner and families gearing up for an active season outdoors, The Toy Association is offering parents key advice on how to keep their kids safe, whether they are playing with ride-ons, having fun at the park or pool, or simply exploring nature.

Press Releases . . . 

Ty Warner, owner of the largest manufacturer of plush in the world, announced today the sale of Max the dog Beanie Baby.  Max was introduced on the YouTube Originals Color the Spectrum Livestream event hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and YouTube star Mark Rober with a long list of celebrity guests on Friday, April 30 netting more than four million views to date.

(the above posted after May 7th)

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.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

World Video Game Hall of Fame Reveals 2021 Inductees.  Animal Crossing, Microsoft Flight Simulator, StarCraft, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? were inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The group was among a packed field of finalists that included Call of Duty, FarmVille, FIFA International Soccer, Guitar Hero, Mattel Football, Pole Position, Portal, and Tron

ToyFest West 2022 Dates Announced.  ToyFest West, now in its ninth year, will take place February 28-March 2, 2022 at the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Las Vegas. Registration is current open to attendees for free, and will open to exhibitors in the fall. On the camaraderie of the event, WTHRA Board of Directors member Blake Goldenberg says, “Those of you that have joined us at our annual trade show know exactly...

Behind the scenes at Toymaster  As the toy trade is missing the traditional Toymaster May show, Brian McLaughlin tells us why the group's focus on gathering and sharing information with members has never been more important. With retailers in some areas able to reopen at the start of April, Toymaster has been hard at work supporting its members in every way possible, from helping fit out the new Burton Midco ...

The Toy Association and Mojo Nation are teaming up for a new Brands Untapped space at Toy Fair New York 2022. The curated, experiential space will showcase collaborations between toymakers and licensing partners across multiple industries, including apparel, food and drink, hospitality, live events, video games, TV and film, and publishing.

(the above posted after May 7th)

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.

ABC Kids Expo heads to Orlando in SeptemberABC Kids has announced the 18th annual ABC Kids Expo, taking place in-person from September 26-28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida Previously held in Las Vegas, the annual juvenile products industry show is reimagining the event as an all-inclusive B2B buying trade show with a new location and format. This year’s expo will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott...

There’s still time to enter the Play for Change AwardsThe second annual Play for Change Awards, organised by Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), aims to build on last year’s well-received first edition. Entries are open until 19th May, so there is still time to take part. TIE recognizes that toy companies today are innovating beyond product and increasingly considering the impact their company has on kids’ futures and the planet. 

MGM to host virtual licensing summit. The MGM Licensing Group announced an upcoming virtual licensing summit from May 18-20 for the second year in a row. The event will showcase upcoming initiatives and sneak peeks for brands including Legally Blonde, The Addams Family, Rocky, Creed, Vikings: Valhalla, and Pink Panther.

PlaytimeFun_BubbleAd_FIN.jpg

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.

Candace Irving - She worked with Mattel in Public Relations for many years and then moved on to Warner Brothers where she worked in Licensing (thank you, Sherry Gottlieb for letting us know.)

Jon Seisa passed April 26th, 2021. Principal Art Director, Designer & Illustrator with expertise in toy/doll/consumer product design, theme park & show design, architectural conceptual vision, graphics & logos, character design & theatrical costume design. He loved envisioning new innovations & solutions to meet the client's design criteria, aiming for the stars to get the moon, capturing the epitome in design & refining ideas & products to their greatest intensity and potential. His work was pivotal in the creation of the original Barbie doll and did an amazing amount of work for Disney that will live on forever. (Thank you Marcia Reece for letting us know.)

Richard Halliwell. Richard Halliwell, who co-created Warhammer Fantasy with Rick Priestley, Bryan Ansell, and Jervis Johnson for Games Workshop in its earliest days, has passed away, according to a Tweet by colleague Graeme Davis. In addition to co-creating the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy, Halliwell continued to develop the game in the 1980s, ultimately working on three editions.  He also co-designed Dark Future, an apocalyptic car racing game in 1988, and designed two games based on 2000 AD comics: Rogue Trooper and Block Mania.

John Paul Leon. Well-known Marvel Comics and DC Comics comic book artist John Paul Leon passed away Sunday after a 14-year battle with cancer, according to a GoFundMe page posted by his studio-mates, Tommy Lee Edwards and Bernard Change.  He was 49. Leon began his professional career with a series of illustrations for Dragon and Dungeon magazines, while he was still a teenager.  While attending School of Visual Arts in New York, he drew the DC Comics/Milestone title, Static.

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.

JOIN PEOPLE OF PLAY (POP) PlayBase

It's Linkedin + IMDb + Match + Wikipedia + Fiverr!

  • Display your entire portfolio, adding unlimited products, videos, photos, media, and more

  • An easy-setup Profile and a real real live helpful person to talk to if you have questions

  • Advanced Search for industry contacts by roles, skills, location, and more

  • Free POP Pub networking – just one connection can change your life!

  • FULL access to information of products, people, and companies

  • Exclusive discounts and events 

  • Classified Ads

  • Find person-to-hire based on skills (company membership)

  • Opportunity to Launch Advertisement Campaigns, targeting members of the industry (company membership)

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. ASTRA Unveils 2021 Best Toys for Kids List

  2. Spin Master Releases Q1 2021 Financial Results

  3. ABC Kids Expo Heads to Orlando in September

  4. Math Wizard from Osmo Adds Two New Titles

  5. American Girl Celebrates 35th Birthday with New Album

  6. Crunchyroll and Gucci Collab for Bananya Apparel

  7. MGM to Host Virtual Licensing Summit

  8. GinoBot Smart Toy Launches Kickstarter Campaign

  9. Snap Ships Launches in Korean Market

  10. Semaphore Licensing Signs YouTuber SypherPK

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Supply and demand… it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Could container challenges remain to the end of the year?

  3. Global chips shortage causes concern for toy community

   4. T-Racers from Magic Box in pole position for success

  1. Michael Beckett joins Miko as company shakes up world of robotics

  2. Exclusive: Letter from America – licensing for indies

  3. Wow! Stuff goes from strength to strength with new funding

  4. Amazon Q1 sales beat estimates and grow by 44%

  5. Addo Play unveils brand-new website

  6. Exclusive: Dimian – keeping it in the family

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.

PlaytimeFun_SprinklerAd_FIN.jpg

Video of the Week! 

Spin Master - The Beginning! The Stories! 

Moderator: Ben Dermer (SVP Creative Development, Deputy Creative Officer)

Panelists: Anton Rabie (Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Spin Master)  and

Ben Varadi (EVP, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer)

 

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