the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is April 9 - 16, 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...

Working with Reps in the US CHITAG POP I

Happy Friday! 

When I started out in the toy industry as an inventor and a self-manufacturer, working with  reps was critical to my success. I believe the benefits of working with reps and the services they provide could be better understood by more people in all corners of our industry, so I asked Christine Blumberg, Owner/Principal of RGB Sales to put together this panel: Working with Reps in the U.S. Joining Christine is Nicole Bortnick (Co-Owner, BGN Sales Group, LLC), Carl Buchbinder (President, Toyology Inc), Tom Rushton (President, Revenew Sales), Erin Griffin (Specialty Sales Rep Partner Erin Griffin Group), Brad Ketz (President, Ketz & Associates).

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

Dear Tim... What’s It Take to Sell An Idea to Your Boss? tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments 

Did you realize that last Sunday was the culmination of one of our most storied and legendary annual professional sporting events? Yes it was.

 

Of course I’m talking about Wrestlemania 37.

 

Oh, you were thinking the Masters? Silly. What’s this column usually about, anyway?

 

Roman Reigns prevailed, no doubt against a cavalcade of worthy opponents, chairs, ladders, and whatever else the crowd in the Tampa stadium might have been throwing. (Fact check: I’ve been to Wrestlemania before. It was awesome. And I never need to go again.)

 

But the wonderful, spectacular circus that is the WWE is, as most of you know, a pretty magical magnet for kids, and a mighty marketing machine in its own right. Kids – and collectors – have been following the travails of their favorite Faces and Heels – and snapping up the toys for fully a generation now.

 

So what’s all this got to do with how to sell your boss on an idea?  Read More...

Ed Gartin: The BIG IDEAS are in the Bag - tBR Person of the Week 

What exactly do you do in the industry?

I like to tell people, “I make cool stuff.” 

That means I get to work with a team of super-talented people to create products that will entertain, excite and sometimes even educate kids and families. Sometimes I’m the designer. Sometimes I’m the catalyst and other people make it happen. It just depends on who is on the team and what company I am working with, but either way, I love it because we are making cool stuff.

 

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

I have always loved games and I was fortunate enough that a trading card game company called Decipher needed a creative person to manage their art department. 

 

What do you think is the key to success in the Toy and Game industry?

I think it’s your “tribe.” I think the people you work with, hang out with and surround yourself with — your tribe — will make all the difference. I believe if you are part of a great group of people, you will be successful in this industry. So, make sure that you are around genuinely talented, but still humble, people who are much better than you at what you want to do. I wouldn’t have found success without the help of some amazing people along the way. Read More...

The Importance of Preserving How We Play with The Strong National Museum of Play: tBR Company of the Week

“Play is training for the unexpected.” -Marc Bekoff, Contemporary American biologist

 

For people everywhere, 2020 was a most unexpected year. But throughout it all, we played. And through play, we explored new ways of connecting with each other and sharing our creativity, whether by converting board games to video chats or communicating via driveway chalk drawings. And that’s why the history of play is important. It shows how we all work together to continue to meet the challenges and unknowns of the future with hope, community, and creativity.

So when the pandemic resulted in The Strong closing to the public last March, we worked to continue to provide the services our audiences needed to help cope with the pandemic, all the while remaining committed to maintaining the long-term stability of museum programs and initiatives. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

Studio Retail agrees sale of Findel Education in management buyout. Findel Education has been sold to management in £30m cash deal. The business has been sold to West Moorland 221 Ltd, a newly-formed company owned by investment funds managed by Endless. In addition to the acquisition price, the group has made available a working capital facility of £2m to Findel Education.

Container rates increase sharply as Suez fallout continuesThe Asia-Europe route has been affected as a result of vessel and equipment capacity in Asia, with a knock on effect on container rates. According to Drewry’s WCI index, rates from Asia to North Europe have increased by at least 5%, to around $8000 per 40ft container. However, in practice, shippers are paying much more – and that is if they can find a line....

(the above posted after April 16th)

How the pandemic helped Walmart battle Amazon Marketplace for sellers. Between 2009 and 2014, Walmart’s Marketplace business, where outside merchants hawk everything from baby blankets to power tools, counted no more than six sellers, and was described by one expert as “in limbo.” But what was treated as an afterthought for years has emerged as an important leg in the world’s biggest retailer’s L-T...

Alibaba reacts to antitrust probe findings. After an antitrust probe found the company to have abused its market position, Alibaba says it will invest to retain merchants and customers. Alibaba Group Holding was given a record fine from China’s antitrust regulator, but claims that the decision has no material negative impact on the company’s business. 

Egypt impounds Suez megaship over multi-million compensation claim. Canal authorities say the Ever Given will not be allowed to leave Egypt until a compensation amount is settled with its owners. UK Club, the insurer for the Ever Given, said in a statement that Egypt had filed a compensation claim for $916m against Shoei Kisen. The insurer added it was disappointed that the container ship and its crew were being ...

Asia’s Richest Man Rebuilds a 261-Year-Old British Icon. Hamleys toy-store chain plans expansion across Asia, Europe under Mukesh Ambani’s ownership. A struggling 261-year-old U.K. toy-store chain is seeking a new lease of life in the hands of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, who’s looking to India where about a fifth of the world’s babies are born to fuel its revival.  

UK Suppliers discuss support for retail reopening Toy World editor Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to leading suppliers to discuss how they are supporting toyshops as part of the big retail reopening. Over the lockdown period, suppliers have endeavoured to keep channels of communication with their customers open, however they have been trading. Now that toyshops in England and Wales are reopening...

Sweeney and Cook set to testify at Apple vs. Epic Games trial. Both Epic Games and Apple have submitted provisional witness lists ahead of their antitrust court trial next month, which could see Apple CEO Tim Cook and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney take the stand. The two companies provided separate preliminary lists of witnesses to call during the trial, which is slated to play out over three weeks in May. 

Big tech companies flock to the gaming industry: Enthusiast Gaming CEO. Some big technology companies are ramping up their investment in the video gaming industry as younger generations pour into the space, said the head of a Canadian gaming content firm. Adrian Montgomery, chief executive officer at Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc., told BNN Bloomberg that major tech companies like Microsoft Corp. are...

AppLovin IPO raises $1.8bn. Mobile services and publishing company AppLovin has raised almost $2 billion in an Initial Public Offering.Reuters reports the company sold 22.5 million Class A common shares, while existing shareholders sold a further 2.5 million shares ahead of its listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Shares were priced at $80 each, the midway point in the previously set price range of $75 to $85 per...

Capcom ends ransomware investigation, finds culprit gained access via old VPN. Capcom has concluded its investigation into last year's cyber attack and confirmed that no more information has been compromised. Back in January, the company said the personal information of 16,415 people had been leaked following the ransomware attack, but has now downwardly revised that figure to 15,649 people. It also indicated that information relating to roughly 390,000 customers, business partners, and other external parties may have been compromised

Up the local | Toy shops rejoice at re-opening ‘buzz’ as shoppers go loco for local. Months of pent up spending, Christmas hangover, and consumers looking for friendly, non-digital interaction with their local retail scene spilled out onto High Streets across the UK on Monday, April 12th as the country took its next step forwards in the easing of lockdown. Queues for barber shops extended around street corners, while coffee drinkers populated the outside seating arrangements of their favored haunts, as the morning light cast new life across a retail landscape.

Epic nets $1 billion in funding, including $200 million investment from Sony. Epic Games has secured $1 billion in funding to support its "long-term vision for the metaverse." The round places Epic's equity valuation at $28.7 billion and includes a $200 million strategic investment from Sony, which last year purchased a minority stake in the Fortnite developer for $250 million.  Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said the cash will allow the company to "accelerate" its work around creating social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys
The Epic Games Store is hemorrhaging cash to deliver exclusives and free games. Epic's bid to disrupt the digital distribution status quo with the Epic Games Store (EGS) is costing the company hundreds of million of dollars each year.  Court documents submitted by Apple ahead of its high-profile showdown with Epic indicate the Fortnite creator lost around $181 million on the EGS in 2019, and was projected to lose another $273 million on the storefront in 2020. Epic has committed $444 million in minimum guarantees for 2020 alone.

China's toy exports hit $33.5b in 2020China, the world's biggest toy exporter, saw its toy exports continue to grow in 2020 despite the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. China exported approximately $33.5 billion worth of toys in 2020, up 7.5 percent year-on-year, according to the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association. Toy exports have continued to rise this year, with the export value hitting $5.02 billion in the first two months, up 96.8 percent compared with the same period last year.

UK mobile studio Tripledot nets $78 million with an eye on acquisitionsUK mobile games company Tripledot Studios has raised $78 million in Series A funding to accelerate its growth and finance studio acquisitions.  The investment round featured Eldridge, Access Industries, and Lightspeed Venture Partners, and values Tripledot at close to $500 million just three years after it launched. Tripledot was founded by industry veterans from King, Facebook, Peak Games and more. It currently has over 90 employees across two offices in London and Minsk.

DKB Toys acquires outdoor leisure and multi-game tables specialist MightymastDKB Toys and Distribution has acquired the outdoor leisure and multi-game tables specialist, Mightymast Leisure in a move that will ‘bridge the gap between traditional toy sales and larger game table products.’ Mightymast boasts more than 25 years in the supply and manufacture of games and sports equipment, and has become recognized among industry leaders in products such as table football and pool tables, as well as outdoor leisure items such a lawn games.

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Earth Day roundup: Kidcos go green . . . . . Study: Kids biz optimistic, but bracing for change . . . . . How The Pandemic Has Changed The Toy Business And The Latest Trends In Toys . . . . Pre-school UK - How 2021 is shaping up . . . . . Games & Puzzles (UK) - The next move

(the above posted after April 16th)

A look at Pocket Money and Collectibles (UK) . . . . . Twitch continues to grow in Q1 2021, but YouTube Gaming is lagging . . . . . Games spending passes €2bn but audience has shrunk | Italy Annual Report . . . . . New research reveals growing number of older gamers . . . . Price increases for consumers seem inevitable, licensing execs say . . . . . The five greatest challenges facing the global licensing industry . . . . . Fidget toys explode in popularity . . . . . Retail sales explode in March as consumers use stimulus checks to spend heavily (US) . . . . . NPD UK insight - how will 2020 shape 2021?

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) to Post FY2021 Earnings of $0.78 Per Share, Jefferies Financial Group Forecasts . . . . . Hasbro (HAS) Earnings Expected to Grow: Should You Buy? . . . . . 3 Toys & Games Stocks to Watch in a Prospering Industry

(the above posted after April 16th)

March retail sales are expected to have surged as consumers spent $1,400 checks . . . . Stonemaier Games sales up 40% in Covid year . . . . . Roblox stock surges to record high on new partnership . . . . . Mattel (MAT) Surges 62% in 6 Months: Will the Rally Continue? . . . . . Hornby reports encouraging group sales

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Spin Master Corp. will report its first quarter 2021 financial results after markets close on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Ronnen Harary, Co-Founder and Director, Max Rangel, Global President and Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The call-in numbers for participants are (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191.  A live webcast of the call will be accessible via Spin Master's website at http://www.spinmaster.com/events.php. Following the call, both an audio recording and transcript of the call will be archived on the same website page for 12 months.

Nintendo reportedly expecting another record year for software, with a series of major games. Nintendo is reportedly expecting to ship 250 million units of software in its next fiscal year – comfortably beating its existing all-time records – thanks to a line-up of (mostly unconfirmed) blockbuster games. Per anonymous sources of Bloomberg, Nintendo has briefed some partners and suppliers on its expectations for April 2021 to March 2022, and set expectations of shipping 250 million games.

$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

TTPM, the leader in video product reviews for toys, baby, and pet gear today announced their Spring 2021 Most Wanted List featuring the hottest toys in three categories: outdoor, entertainment and imaginative play. “Our editorial team tests and reviews countless products each day. This year we’re seeing the most innovative in three big categories: outdoor, entertainment and imaginative play,.” said Jim Silver, CEO, TTPM. 

POP QUIZ WITH WENDY SMOLEN: MAY 2021. Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s never too early to start dreaming about hot toys and tinsel. Admit it: We all wish to produce (or snag!) that one must-have toy of the year. In sync with the Toy Book’s Holiday Toy Preview, this Pop! Quiz will challenge your memory of past playthings that drove parents and kids wild. Ready to reminisce?

Toys for Tots will expand their year-round efforts by distributing one million toys, books, and games to families in need this spring and summer. Though primarily known as a Christmastime charity, they have recognized the current need to provide emotional support and deliver hope to children. With children losing in-person classroom learning due to COVID-19, the organization will focus donating STEAM-related toys...

Tom Hanks and the Entire ‘Toy Story’ Cast Had To Record All of Their Lines Twice. In a separate interview with Graham Bensinger, Hanks admitted that working on Toy Story was by far the most difficult job of his life.  “… As an actor, I will say that the hardest physical work I’ve ever done as an actor has been the recording of those movies,” Hanks said. “Because you cannot move. You have no costume to hide in. 

Meet The Adults Who Still Sleep With Security Blankets. Her pink dress is faded and a bit frayed. The glossy, hard surfaces of her arms, legs, and face are smudged with dark patches. One eye is discolored — a cloudy whitish-blue; the other is popping out of its socket. Her name is "Alice Doll," and she belongs to Kathleen Walsh (31), who openly acknowledges that Alice Doll is a mess, even if that doesn't make her any less special. 

(the above posted after April 16th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Beyond all expectations…it’s the Friday Blog!. It’s been a good week. The sun is shining, stores have re-opened, along with bars and restaurants, and I can finally look forward to getting my hair cut again. I will no longer look like my teenage self / a Justin Hayward tribute act – frankly, the relief is palpable. Even better, the toy retailers we have spoken to over the past few days have given...

Where’s the fun in fungible? | Could the toy industry be key to unlocking the potential of the NFTs market? For those who remember typing BRB into their MSN chat box, or anyone still wrestling with the WFH concept, there’s a new acronym in town, and it’s potential to shape the future of entertainment and the collectables space is boundless. It’s probably time we all got to know NFTs a little better.

Can kids with autism and ADHD learn more effectively by playing tabletop games? Tabletop games could transform the way children and teenagers who are on the autism spectrum or have ADHD learn in classrooms, a board game designer has suggested. And a Queensland University of Technology professor in child development and education agrees that using educationally targeted board games and other...

Opinion | Spring/Summer sales bloom: Seizing the secondary seasonal sales opportunity. Kids Brand Insights’ Steve Reece takes a look at the growing sales opportunities of the Spring/Summer seasonal spend, and the best way the industry can rely on the Great British summertime.  One of the fundamental challenges of being in the toy business is the cashflow cycle. With the majority of toy sales coming in the back end...

Chinese consumer group claims animation sector needs guidance. Many western animation studios and brand owners have identified the Chinese market as offering great potential for expansion, but recent developments have highlighted that significant cultural differences remain, which may present a challenge and even a potential barrier to entry. 

String theory | The enduring legacy of Gerry Anderson and creating sci-fi worlds. If ever you needed an excuse to spend the day streaming episodes of Thunderbirds, Stingray, or any of the plenty other titles in the vast, yet iconic, library of Anderson Entertainment, then let the matter that today marks the first ever Gerry Anderson Day be it. If you don’t need an excuse, then you’ll be pleased to know that this...

I'm a 17-year-old Fortnite gamer who's won over $646,000 in two years since going pro. I average about 10 hours of gaming daily. Since going pro two years ago, I've won over $646,000 competing. I've also earned additional money through my corporate sponsorships. People often ask what I do with all my winnings but besides upgrading my PC from time to time, I don't really spend any of it. I'm not flashy and I don't ...

Could Apple and Google pull the plug on mobile game monetisation? | Opinion. As consumer and governmental pressure mounts over loot boxes, services like Apple Arcade indicate a desire by platform holders to move away from the monetization free-for-all. Compared to the imposition of legal restrictions, this week's bad news for the loot box monetization trend seems relatively benign. 

Despite social pressure, boys and girls still prefer gender-typical toys. A recent meta-analysis overviewed 75 studies on children's gender-related toy preferences. The results found that "gender-related toy preferences may be considered a well-established finding." It's a controversial topic: Some people argue that these preferences stem from social pressure, while others say they're at least partly rooted in biology...

Kick flipped | Has the toy industry helped fuel a surge in female skateboarders? The toy industry’s increased engagement with the UK skateboarding scene is one among a number of factors contributing to a surge in participation in the sport, particularly among younger girls starting out for the first time. According to Skateboard GB, the official body for UK skateboarding, the past year has witnessed a ...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

My Kids Actually Prefer Classic 90s Nickelodeon to the New Stuff. The wife and I broke down and decided to give Paramount+, via my Prime membership, a try. The kids were wanting to watch some show, and the only place we could find it was there. The bonus for me, is that it includes a whole lot of Nickelodeon programming from the late 80s and the 90s.

Star Bird from Milton Bradley (1978)In 1978, amidst the hoopla surrounding Kenner’s burgeoning Star Wars toy universe, Milton Bradley released Star Bird, a hand-held “space transport with electronic circuitry”. The all-plastic toy was constructed of multiple detachable pieces that could be mixed and matched into various space-faring configurations. 

How Invincible pays homage to an '80s toyline. One of the most dangerous beings in the universe of Invincible is a tribute to a largely forgotten line of action figures from the 1980s. The fifth episode of Invincible season 1 introduced several new supervillains, including a savage alien mercenary known as Battle Beast. Beyond being one of the most dangerous beings in the universe, Battle Beast is also ...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

JAKKS Pacific and SEGA of America renew their partnership for the classic & modern versions of the Sonic the Hedgehog Collection, with JAKKS to design, manufacture, market, and sell Sonic the Hedgehog branded toy product lines worldwide beginning in 2022. The renewed agreement includes rights to produce action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush and other collectibles. 

Jazwares has entered into a multi-year deal with Marvel to produce a new line of costumes and costume accessories, set to hit NA retailers in 2022. The announcement comes as Jazwares expands its offerings into the costume segment, with additional licenses expected in the months to come. The line will include an assortment of officially licensed costumes, costume accessories, and pet costumes from the Marvel...

(the above posted after April 16th)

Hello Kitty and Friends Join the Squishmallows Squad for Kawaii Cuddles. Jazwares’ Kellytoy division is unleashing a whole ‘lotta Kawaii cuteness into the world with plush versions of the Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, Tuxedo Sam, Pom Pom Purin, and My Melody. Like all Squishmallows, the plush toys are made of soft and squishy materials and polyester stuffing that makes each character as puffy as ...

Let Your Looney Side Loose with 12 Looney Tunes LEGO Minifigures. LEGO is diving into the world of Looney Tunes with 12 limited-edition mystery bag mini-figures launching later this month. The assortment will include Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Porky Pig, Petunia Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Tasmanian Devil, and Marvin the Martian. 

Spin Master: On a Roll!. Kids’ entertainment powerhouse Spin Master continues to make waves in 2021 with digital games, iconic toys and the megawatt feature film release of “PAW Patrol.” “Spin Master kicked off 2020 as the new master toy licensee for Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ iconic Batman franchise and other DC Super Heroes,” says Adam Beder, EVP strategic partnership and franchise development, Spin Master. 

Barbie and Zara’s newest product haulMattel's Barbie has launched a clothing collection with international fashion company Zara, marking the first time the two brands have collaborated on a line that incorporates product and digital marketing elements. The new collection will serve as an anniversary celebration of a previous drop, as a Barbie line launched in summer 2020 that included a range of printed t-shirts...

Kangaru Toys paints partnership with the National Gallery for drawing, painting, and activity sets. Kangaru Toys has landed a new licensing partnership with The National Gallery to develop and launch a series of drawing, painting, and activity sets.Under the deal, the new range will be specially developed for the National Gallery, bringing together Kangaru’s expertise in the arts, crafts, and activity sector, and the ...

Back to the Future releasing new Playmobil sets – how to buy. Back to the Future's time-travelling DeLorean is unquestionably the most iconic vehicle from the franchise, but it isn't the only one worthy of a toy recreation. LEGO released its brick-by-brick recreation of the DeLorean eons ago, and now its rival Playmobil is getting in on the fun with two other classic rides from the first two movies. 

Arcane Tinmen unveils 'Harry Potter' licensed card accessories. Arcane Tinmen unveiled new Harry Potter licensed card accessories for release on May 28. This series of accessories will include four different designs of Brushed Art Sleeves featuring Harry Potter house crests: Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor. The artwork is printed onto the sleeve, which is designed not to peel or split. 

Steamforged’s Sonic: The Card Game sees players race through buildable levels and dodge enemies. Steamforged Games has revealed more details on its upcoming, officially licensed tabletop title, Sonic: The Card Game, its new fast-paced, pick up and play game developed in partnership with SEGA. Aimed at Sonic fans aged six years old and upwards, the new game features colourful Sonic graphics and a racing theme.

New Pokémon Snap was given to Bandai Namco because of Pokkén Tournament. Bandai Namco was tapped for New Pokémon Snap, a game about portraying Pokémon not as static figures across from one another in a battle arena or wandering aimlessly through tall grass, but as real, living creatures. Both games seem to me to be part of a growing trend where The Pokémon Company lends its license to third-parties ...

Starbreeze pens licensing deal with PopReach to re-launch Payday Crime War. Starbreeze has signed a licensing agreement with Canadian publisher PopReach to re-launch mobile title Payday Crime War. The terms of the agreement will see Starbreeze net a non-recoupable upfront payment of $250,000, while PopReach will receive the complete source code to Payday Crime War and access to Payday 2 content. 

Moose Toys secures Master Toy partnership with Mediatonic and Devolver Digital for megahit game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. Moose Toys, an innovative leader in the toy industry, is launching the first-ever Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout toy line in partnership with Mediatonic and Devolver Digital. Moose is the Master Toy Licensee and will create a collection that supports the hugely popular multiplayer game. 

Genius Brands inks Netflix deal for ‘Rainbow Rangers,’ teases new Master Toy licensee. Genius Brands International is expanding the reach of Rainbow Rangers this year.The company inked a deal with Netflix to begin streaming the first season of the series beginning this July. Audiences in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East will have access to the series via the streaming service. 

Maestro Media set to launch 'The Binding of Isaac' card game. The video game franchise "The Binding of Isaac" will launch a brand-new edition of its card game "The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls" this summer, in partnership with Maestro Media and in association with Studio71 Games. As one of Maestro Media's first projects, "The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls: Requiem" will be the next expansion for the card game..

MGA Entertainment inks deal with Riva Technology and Entertainment, eyes digital gaming, NFT expansion. MGA Entertainment (MGAE) inked multiple brand licensing deals with Riva Technology and Entertainment (RTE) for the development and publishing of mobile games based on L.O.L. Surprise! and Rainbow High. The new deal follows a successful entry into the Roblox platform and a hit Nintendo Switch game ...

Hasbro reveals Ghostbusters : Afterlife-themed Mini-Puft Surprise Toys! Hasbro is thrilled to reveal for the first time its new product offering for its Ghostbusters: Afterlife line of toys – the Mini-Puft Surprise! These adorable and collectible figurines are detailed to look like the characters from the 2021 film, (see clip HERE), as each series of 1.5 inch Mini-Puft figures is inspired by the original Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man! 

Microids signs Smurfs license for four more games. French publisher Microids announced that it has signed a publishing deal for four more Smurfs games. The games will cover a variety of genres and are scheduled for release over the next five years. The four new Smurfs games are actually an extension of the relationship between Microids and Smurfs license holder IMPS. 

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People . . . 

AZHELLE WADE: EMBRACING THE TOY LIFE: FINDING YOUR PLACE IN OUR WORLD OF PLAY.  “I didn’t choose the toy life. The toy life chose me.” That tends to be a common thread among most career “toy people.” A majority of the people working in the toy industry initially chose other careers or followed different dreams that somehow led them to the toy life.

Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes Radio Flyer‘s Chief Wagon Officer, Robert Pasin. Pasin is the grandson of Antonio Pasin, who in 1917 created The Liberty Coaster, a wooden wagon crafted in a one room workshop. Now, Robert leads the charge at Radio Flyer as the company continues to produce timeless toys for kids, including tricycles, scooters, go-karts, and the iconic little red wagon.

Genius Brands Intl has appointed Harold Chizick, co-founder ChizComm Ltd & ChizComm Beacon Media, to the new position of president, global content sales, marketing, and consumer products. Chizick will report directly to Genius Brands’ Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward. “Since acquiring ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media earlier this year, I have experienced firsthand the level of expertise....

WildBrain has hired former Spin Master director Lorna Withrington as its new VP of development for animation. In newly created role, Withrington will lead the Toronto-based prodco’s efforts to create original animated IPs and new content for its existing brands. Reporting to EVP of content and current series Stephanie Betts, she now oversees director of development Todd Brian and development manager Holly Nichols.

Wow! Stuff expands team with new hires. The team is expanding to support ongoing development of the company portfolio as Wow! Stuff takes on more top tier licensed brands. Wow! Stuff has been recruiting consistently over the last year, despite the challenges and restrictions that Covid-19 has presented. The hires include: Ross Coffield, Teddy Edwards, Steve Carpenter, Chris Jobson, and Manmit Bansal.

Disney ups Jane Gould to new EVP role. Gould will now provide consumer insights to more Disney brands, as well as oversee scheduling strategy for ABC Entertainment originals and Disney Branded TV acquisitions.

'I'm A Compulsive Maker': These Toymakers Refuse To Give Up. Tom Karen, now 95, invented the Marble Run in the 1960s. He's still making toys today. Karen officially retired in 1999, but when we speak, the designer says he’s been working on new toys “during the last few days”. His passion for his craft has been alive since childhood, he says. 

(the above was posted after April 16th)

Sony Pictures Animation taps VP of creativeFormer Pearl Studio head of development Justinian Huang joins the studio shortly after Sony signed a first-look deal with Netflix. Reporting to Kristine Belson, Huang joins SPA following a recent Sony Pictures first-look agreement with Netflix. The deal includes kids/family and animated titles, a Netflix spokesperson told Kidscreen.

Toy World welcomes new assistant editor Sam Giltrow. Sam has joined the Alakat Publishing team and will be working alongside editor Rachael Simpson-Jones. Sam trained at the renowned National Council for the Training of Journalists’ Harlow College, and brings with her extensive knowledge of the publishing sector and many years’ experience, from starting out as a newspaper reporter to most recently working...

Former Shaftesbury, eOne execs join Wind Sun Sky Entertainment. The Vancouver-based multimedia company launched by Catherine Winder has hired Jay Bennet and Romney Grant to round out its executive team. In a world of heroes and villains, singing monsters, and genetically engineered Tyrannosaurus Rex’s, rises leading multi-platform entertainment company Wind Sun Sky Entertainment (WSS).

Walmart named a former Disney CCO &VP and founding member of private women’s networking org Chief as its 1st head of creative. In the newly created role, Jean Batthany will lead consumer-centric communications across all channels and help develop marketing at all consumer touch points for the giant retailer, according to a posting to her LinkedIn profile. At Disney, Batthany led creative, innovation, design and digital ...

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes back Wind Sun Sky Entertainment CEO/executive producer Catherine Winder (The Angry Birds Movie, Super Dinosaur). Winder is a former Lucasfilm exec who worked with George Lucas to assemble the team behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and now also leads Skybound North Entertainment, the company behind the Amazon hit, Invincible, and more.

ZAG grows e-commerce efforts with new hire. Former Disney exec Christophe Vallade will drive online growth and brand positioning as VP of global e-commerce. Vallade started in the role this week, and is responsible for online growth and brand positioning for the LA-based animation studio’s licensed products. He joins ZAG from The Walt Disney Company in France, where he most recently served as head of...

Sutikki hires three to build content and CP. Former BBC exec Jo Redfern has been named the global brand director, while former Discovery Kids VP Danielle Davies joins as content strategy director. On the consumer products side, Sutikki has named Anthea Morrissey as its first global creative and product development director. 

Ubisoft hires ex-Uber HR director as new chief people officer. Ubisoft has found its new chief people officer in Anika Grant, a once senior director of HR at Uber and global HR director at Dyson with nearly two decades of experience in HR leadership. As Ubisoft new CPO, Grant sees herself heading up the French company's global recruiting, talent management, leadership development, compensation and benefits, and the improvement of its organizational performance.

Playmobil appoints toy retail’s own Hana Sellwood to territory manager role. Playmobil has appointed Hana Sellwood to the role of territory manager for the South East of England.Sellwood joins the toy firm with over 12 years of experience in the industry and an expertise within the retail scene. Over the course of her career, Sellwood has held positions such as store manager and toy buyer for the majority of her time...

OnBuy appoints new CFO as ‘global expansion is well underway. The online marketplace, OnBuy.com is continuing its hiring spree, this time with the appointment of a new chief financial officer in the form of James Watts. Watts joins the marketplace with 12 years’ experience from roles at Deloitte, WPP Group and most recently, Richmond Group, previously the parent company of Amigo Loans. 

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Companies, Brands . . .

The award-winning Shashibo puzzle toy has a new edition that’s perfect for Earth Day or any day. Shashibo Earth puts a globe-centric artistic spin on the magnetic transformation puzzle. Shashibo is powered by 36 rare Earth magnets and transforms into more than 70 shapes. Each 3-inch Shashibo cube features four art designs, creating a kaleidoscope effect when users open the cube and create shapes. 

TheToyAuthority's 23 Days of Play Giveaway is Now Open! TTPM‘s recently launched TikTok channel TheToyAuthority announces a 23 Days of Play giveaway. Between April 22 and May 14, you can enter for a chance to win a different prize each day. Unlock a prize daily by visiting the giveaway calendar each day, clicking the prize for that day, and providing your first name, last name, and email address to enter. 

Bandai unveils new Tamagotchi Pix  The new device takes the core of Tamagotchi play and further immerses users into the Tamagotchi universe with exciting new features. This device will be the first to feature a built-in camera that allows users to take pictures with their virtual pet and interact with it in new ways.

Zapf speaks to kids about single-use plastic for World Earth Day The manufacturer of Baby Annabell and Baby born has released a video highlighting children’s understanding of single-use plastics on the planet.  Zapf says the video makes it clear that children understand the impact single-use plastic has on our planet, with many of them voicing concerns about the safety of animals – including one young boy who urged...

Just Play, which manufactures licensed face masks for kids, will donate 1 million of its face masks through the end of the year to various organizations that support childrens’ livelihoods. The company has already donated more than 620,000 face masks to children’s hospitals in Texas, Colorodo, Los Angeles, and Orange County, in addition to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation in South Florida, ....

A year into its efforts to remove the use of virgin (non-recycled) plastics from its Bunch O Balloons brand, ZURU revealed that it has exceeded its goal by 57%. Last year, the company set a goal of removing 800 tons of virgin plastic from its water balloon line, but thanks to the use of recycled materials and increased orders for 2021, the company has marked a 1,200-ton reduction. 

Why Facebook won’t sell ads in its planned Instagram app for kids.  Facebook has kept mostly quiet about its plans to build a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13, which has already drawn the ire of parents, child advocates and U.S. lawmakers concerned with kids mental health and data privacy. But the company is willing to proclaim that the already-controversial app will not carry ads, despite...

HASBRO UNVEILS TOYS INSPIRED BY MARVEL STUDIOS’ ‘SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS’. Hasbro’s product line is geared toward satisfying both kids and collectors with action figures and roleplay items across several price points. The line includes 6-inch scale figures of Shang-Chi and Wenwu ($14.99 each), along with 12-inch Titan Hero Series figures ($9.99). 

Activision Blizzard donates $4 million to University of Michigan to establish esports minor. Housed in the University of Michigan School of Information, the multidisciplinary program will have an endowed chair and will commence in 2022. Esports are spectator events of organized video game competitions. University of Michigan will use Kotick’s $4 million gift to fund a professor to develop the program....

MATTEL FILMS PARTNERS WITH VIN DIESEL FOR ROCK ‘EM SOCK ‘EM ROBOTS MOVIE. Mattel Films is collaborating with Universal Pictures and Vin Diesel’s One Race Films on a live-action film based on the classic tabletop game, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Diesel (The Fast Saga, Guardians of the Galaxy) plans to star in the film and will produce alongside his sister, Samantha Vincent (The Fast Saga) while Kevin McKeon will lead the...

LEGOLAND introduces families to LEGO Braille Bricks with hopes to roll event plans out globally. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is introducing introducing visually impaired children to its new LEGO Braille Bricks for the first time with the launch of a series of special events for families and kids. The first of the LEGO Braille Bricks special events took place at one of Merlin Entertainments’ LEGOLAND Discovery Centres ...

Magic Box launches new vehicle concept with T-Racers  The T-Racers ‘Mix and race’ concept allows children to design and build the cars they want by mixing and matching vehicle parts. T-Racers are made of five different parts which can be interchanged, forming 500 possible combinations and allowing children to personalise their cars. 

(the above was posted after April 16th)

Microsoft (MSFT) on Thursday debuted a new kids mode for its Edge web browser, the first such feature from any major browser. The move, the company says, is meant to ensure that parents can let their children jump online without worrying about the kind of content they’ll come across. Available starting today, Microsoft Edge Kids Mode is designed to prevent kids 12 and under from gaining access to sites ...

Toymaker Funskool launches 40 products. Funskool India has converted 15 traditional Indian toys and games such as kho-kho, kabaddi, chathuranga and gilli danda into board games. With an aim to encash the upcoming summer holidays, the company has launched diverse range of products from traditional games to puzzles and creatives.

McDonald’s Pokémon Happy Meals are coming to the UK, following US scalper chaosMcDonald’s will be selling Pokémon Happy Meals in the UK from May 19, possibly containing the highly sought-after 25th anniversary cards which caused widespread sellouts in the US. The fast-food chain’s latest Happy Meal range, based on SpongeBob SquarePants, launched in the UK today, and the boxes feature a small tab at the top...

Marvel Comics and Spin Master Games unite for a new X-Men board game; Marvel United X-Men is coming! The game just launched a Kickstarter campaign and, as with all Kickstarters, those that get in early can reap the rewards of their support through extra bonuses and cheaper price points, making it a no-brainer for any X-Men die-hards out there. 

Mattel drives sustainability with first carbon neutral Matchbox die-cast car. Tesla Roadster, made from 99% recycled materials, will form brand sustainability blueprint for the future. Mattel’s Drive Toward a Better Future commitment will see a range of innovative electric vehicles and environments that model the real world, and are designed to engage kids in a greener future of driving.

Exploding Kittens unveils first tabletop word game, A Little Wordy  The Exploding Kittens team says the new game is a portable, only takes a few minutes to set up and is accessible for different vocabulary levels. Hit tabletop game creator Exploding Kittens has announced the launch of its new game A Little Wordy, a sneaky, tile-unscrambling word game for would-be word wizards. 

UNO Goes High Fashion with Its Newest 50th Anniversary Deck. UNO is turning 50, and Italian fashion designer Vivetta Ponti is giving the iconic card game a makeover to celebrate. Launched on the Mattel Creations platform, Ponti’s limited-edition deck is a collaboration with Vogue Talents, a Vogue Italia property.

Spin Master Puts New Spins on ‘Bakugan’ & ‘Mighty Express’ as 3rd Seasons Launch on Netflix. The launches of more Mighty  Express and Bakugan are accompanied by further distribution partnerships, licensing deals and multiplatform expansions. The first half of Bakugan: Geogan Rising – S3 of the popular anime series and global franchise (www.bakugan.com) — debuts on Netflix Thursday, April 15. 

Netflix is giving its Kids profiles a revamp, the company announced today. While adults’ profiles are personalized with horizontal rows of recommendations that appear as they scroll down, the Kids profiles’ redesign is more visual in nature. When kids now log in to their account on a TV, they’ll be greeted with their favorite titles and characters right at the top of the screen, Netflix says.

Hasbro and Roblox Corporation announced an official partnership to introduce a range of Roblox-inspired Nerf blasters as well as a Roblox version of the Monopoly board game. The Nerf Roblox blasters represent the most popular experiences and games from the Roblox online global platform, including Adopt Me!, Arsenal, Jailbreak, Mad City, Murder Mystery 2, and Phantom Forces. They will hit U.S. shelves in fall, with...

Scrabble words beamed onto UK landmark buildings To mark lockdown easing and National Scrabble Day, inspirational words spelled out in Scrabble tiles lit up reopening pubs and retail buildings. Words like ‘reunion’ ‘family’ ‘freedom’ and ‘hope’ were beamed on much-missed locations like the quintessential British pub, re-opening retail and restaurant areas, and iconic cultural landmarks.

Geomagworld - making the difference As 'green toys' increase in importance to consumers, Geomagworld tells us how the company is building on its current eco-friendly credentials. Nikki Jeffery, international media relations manager at Geomagworld, spoke to Toy World about how the company is furthering its position as a leading toy manufacturer when it comes to sustainability. 2021sees the introduction of 20 new items...

Smyths Toys' The Oscar Show goes live Featuring the retailer's popular character, The Oscar Show will be available on YouTube and can also be streamed on music platforms. As toy stores reopen in England and Wales after the latest retail lockdowns, retailers have come up with increasingly inventive ways to engage with customers. At Smyths, the company’s Oscar mascot character has been busy in the studio,...

Cool cats and kittens Toy World spoke to Joeri Hoste, director of international sales at Exploding Kittens, about the company's games and what lies ahead for 2021. Exploding Kittens is the studio behind the best-selling card game of the same name as well as Throw Throw Burrito and the new two-player Tacocat Spelled Backwards. We asked Joeri about what major elements the studio focuses on when designing its games.

Robosen & Hasbro Unveil Optimus Prime Robot. At Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest April 9, Robosen Robotics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd announced that they are teaming up with Hasbro to bring their programmable robotics to market through the Transformers franchise. The ‘Transformers Optimus Prime Auto-Converting Programmable Advanced Robot – Collector’s Edition’  is now available for pre-order at Hasbro Pulse, retailing for $699.

Wizards of the Coast lifts 'Magic: The Gathering' in-store play suspension for Japan. Wizards of the Coast has lifted their Magic: The Gathering in-store play suspension for Japan, but not for North America, Latin America, and Europe. As COVID-19 vaccines roll out and populations get closer to achieving some level of immunity, WotC has begun to lift its in-store play suspensions for various regions. 

Playmobil supports the indie retail scene with new customer loyalty scheme. Playmobil has committed further to its support of independent retailers across the country with the launch of a new loyalty scheme in which customers can collect stickers with every brand purchase to exchange for a gift from the popular toy maker. 

Images from Hubble Space Telescope recreated in Lego. As part of the Lego Go Beyond space campaign, images from the famous Hubble Space Telescope have been recreated in Lego bricks and unveiled in 168 Lego stores across the globe. The campaign kicked off with the launch of the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery last month, which features both the shuttle and the famous Hubble Space Telescope. 

Lucky Duck Games announces 'Chronicles Of Crime: 1900'. Lucky Duck Games announced Chronicles of Crime: 1900, a new game in the Chronicles of Crime - The Millennium Series, for release on April 29. Following up on Chronicles of Crime: 1400, the year 1900 version challenges players to take on the role of Victor Lavel, a young French journalist who has it in his blood to solve crimes. 

Relax and watch lilies bloom in 'Gentle Rain'. Mondo Games announced Gentle Rain, a tile placement game, for release in May. In this solo game, players try to place lake tiles so that all eight types of lilies bloom. It involves tile placement mechanics to complete a puzzle, and is meant to provide relaxing gameplay. This game is easy to learn, and is sized perfectly for cash wrap display.  

Iello USA will release 'For the King (and Me)' into U.S. retail. Iello USA will release For the King (and Me), a re-themed version of Biblios, into U.S. retail on July 15. In For the King (and Me), players help a young monarch govern his lands that is not adept at ruling. Players will distribute duties, and use their influence to bid on the most high-profile jobs in an auction phase.

Games Workshop will release 'Be'lakor, The Dark Master' and his tome. Games Workshop will release a Be'lakor, the Dark Master miniature and the Be'lakor book, for Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Broken Realms, into to retail soon. Be’lakor, the Dark Master, the first of the Daemon Princes, is a figure of incredible ancient power. 

WildBrain CPLG to represent Brawl Stars across Europe. WildBrain CPLG is extending its partnership with Line Friends for the online mobile game Brawl Stars. As part of the deal, WildBrain CPLG will represent Brawl Stars — on behalf of its global rights holder, Line Friends — across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Iberia, Benelux, Nordics, CEE, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. 

Sneak off to get baked in the 'Stoner Parking Lot'. Mondo Games revealed Stoner Parking Lot, a new party game, for release in May. In this compact party game, players are trying to sneak out of a metal show to "spark up" without alerting the other players who are looking to steal their stash. Players partner up to collect essential cards like weed, a mixtape, a bong, a lighter, a six-pack, and pizza.

Ares Games will release a 'Diabolik' Board Game into U.S. retail. Ares Games will release Diabolik: Heists and Investigations, board game by Pendragon Game Studio, into U.S. retail in August. Diabolik: Heists and Investigations is a hidden movement and deduction game by Luca Maragno, inspired by an Italian comic series of the same name. 

Serpent folk slither their way into 'Epic Encounters'. Steamforged Games revealed Epic Encounters: Chambers of the Serpent Folk, a new encounter-in-a-box, for release in July. Chambers of the Serpent Folk showcases an adventure-themed the Serpent Folk, snake-like enemies that wield various weapons. This encounter-in-a-box is set in the ruins of an ancient tomb where players accidently awake its supernatural...

Hasbro announces new line of Fortnite toys. Hasbro and Epic Games are working together again to create  a new line of Victory Royale toys for Fortnite fans. Fortnite has transcended gaming for a while. At this point, everyone has heard of Fortnite – even non-gamers. It’s a cultural icon at this point and has been immortalized by Hasbro toys before. Now, Epic and Hasbro are teaming up again to bring modern Fortnite ...

Toy Vault announces more 'Pathfinder Puzzles'. Toy Vault, Inc. announced that they will release new Pathfinder Puzzles in June. They were granted the Paizo license to produce Pathfinder and Starfinder collectibles back in 2020. This second wave of 1000-piece puzzles feature are from the covers of Pathfinder RPG books. 

Ultra PRO offers up 'Magic: The Gathering's' Mystical Archive.  Ultra PRO announced Magic: The Gathering Mystical Archive Playmats for release in June. Magic players can now use art from Strixhaven's Mystical Archive as the backdrop to their duels. These playmats are made-to-order and can feature any of the 60 plus

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

Apex Legends has amassed 100 million players in two years. Apex Legends has amassed 100 million players worldwide, according to developer Respawn. The milestone comes just over two years after the free-to-play shooter launched, and a few weeks after it arrived on the Nintendo Switch. The title is also available on PC and current and last-generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles. 

FunKey S from FunKey ProjectFunKey Project lets you play retro games on-the-go with its FunKey S handheld video game console. FunKey S is a foldable compact console that clips onto a keychain and easily slips into a pocket. The micro-sized console features a full-colour display and mono speaker within its tiny 42.5 x 44.5 x 13.8 mm clamshell format. 

The Overwatch League is bringing back some live matches with a trio of events in China. The Overwatch League kicks off its fourth season this week, and while the majority of matches will be played remotely, today the league announced plans to hold multiple live events in China. There will be three events spread across three cities — Hangzhou in June, Shanghai in July, and Guangzhou in August — and the....

Over 475,000 players have been permanently banned from Call of Duty: WarzoneOver 475,000 permanent bans have been handed out in Activision's Call of Duty: Warzone since it launched.  That number comes straight from developer Raven Software, which said it remains "committed to rooting out cheaters and repeat offenders" across Call of Duty: Warzone, Modern Warfare, and Black Ops.

The Games Fund launches $50m early-stage investment fundVenture capital fund plans to invest approximately $2 million each in companies across the US and Europe. The Games Fund announced the launch of a $50 million early-stage investment fund which will support video game companies within Europe and the US. TGF has said it will invest approximately $2 million in pre-seed to Series A funding ...

Total War developer Creative Assembly opens third UK studio. Total War maker Creative Assembly has opened its third studio in the UK as it continues to scale up. The company has grown by over 20 percent in the last year, and now has over 800 permanent employees on its books. All three of Creative Assembly's UK studios, including the new West Sussex office, have been refurbished to support a more flexible ...

Nintendo to focus more on original IP. "New game series as well as long-sellers such as Mario and Zelda" will be the focal point going forward, president Shuntaro Furukawa says. Nintendo is to focus on developing more original IP for the Switch going forward. President Shuntaro Furukawa said in an interview with Nikkei (translated by VGC) that creating new series and developing new entries in well-known ... 

Hot Wheels Unleashed reveals first gameplay trailer. The first gameplay trailer for the upcoming release of Hot Wheels Unleashed has finally been revealed. First announced earlier this year, the upcoming racing game is one that is meant to offer up an arcade-like racing experience. And based upon the first footage that we have now seen of the title, it seems to be shaping up quite nicely. 

The team behind Age of Empires IV wants you to learn history while playing the game. Age of Empires games have always taken place against a historical backdrop, but Microsoft and Relic Entertainment want to take things even further with Age of Empires IV. The game will feature narrated documentaries throughout the campaigns, time period-accurate language and music, as well as art and game design....

Report: Sony's relentless pursuit of blockbusters is stifling its developers. Sony's focus on blockbuster franchises and its star studios is causing unrest at the PlayStation maker. That's according to a new report from Bloomberg, which details how Sony's unwillingness to grant some of its internal studios more autonomy has created a morale-sapping hierarchy of favoritism within the company. 

Twitch sets new record with over 2bn hours watched in March. Grand Theft Auto V becomes the number one game watched for the first time as sleeping streamers gains popularityTwitch set a new monthly viewership record in March with 2.06 billion hours watched, according to StreamElements analytics partner Rainmaker.gg. That figure represents a year-over-year growth of 105% for Twitch. 

Flash is dead. These games from the early 2000s hope to live on. In mid January, a streamer named QuackityHQ rallied his hundred thousand viewers to log in to the video game “Habbo Hotel” en masse. His plan was to overwhelm the game’s servers and send a message to the developers: That longtime “Habbo” fans were unhappy with recent changes following a transition from Flash to Unity...

Death Stranding earned $27 million on PC in only 5 months. Death Stranding first launched on PlayStation 4 in 2019, but its PC launch the next year still managed to turn heads despite its 8-month stint as a PS4 exclusive, 505 Games parent company Digital Bros says that the Kojima Productions-developed game generated over $27 million in gross revenue between its launch and the end of 2020.

EA gets golf game exclusivity for The Masters. Electronic Arts revealed this week that it has obtained exclusive rights to the Masters Tournament for its upcoming return to golf games. With this exclusivity deal, all four major PGA tournaments -- Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, US Open Championship and The Open Championship -- will only be available via EA Sports PGA Tour: Road to the Masters.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

'IMMEDIATELY STOP USING': Major recalls at Costco, The Bay, Canadian Tire and Toys R Us this past week have triggered multiple warnings from Health Canada. Health Canada is warning shoppers after some major recalls at well-known Canadian stores in the last week involving more than 90,000 items. A recall at Hudson's Bay stores involves a Battat B. toys glowing plastic infant toy teether in the shape of a blue, green and red smiling firefly character named Firefly Frank. The firefly teether is made of textured loops that light up when shaken …

Research shows: children are not suitable for too many toysA study in the United States found that the more toys a child have, the lower the happiness index and the more likely to lose concentration. Toys can train children’s concentration and creativity and also allow them to explore interests. Every child likes toys, but too many toys can make them unable to concentrate. Due to the limited concentration of children, too many toys can’t make them concentrate, can’t develop new ways of playing, and can’t use their imagination and creativity.

Press Releases . . . 

Wallshoppe Launches New Barbie™ Wallpaper Collection, Designed in Collaboration with Mattel. Available exclusively through Wallshoppe, the Barbie™ x Wallshoppe collection features a wide variety of vintage designs inspired by the legacy of this ground-breaking doll. Barbie™ founder Ruth Handler created a doll to show girls they had choices - that they could be anything. Just as the original Barbie doll revolutionized the toy industry, 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

American Tabletop Awards 2021: The best board game winners. Here are the four winners and more recommended games from the third annual American Tabletop Awards. The last year encouraged families to find creative ways to have fun while staying indoors that went beyond just watching television and playing video games — and many households turned to board games for comfort and old-fashioned game nights....

ASTRA: SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT TOY STORES, MANUFACTURERS, AND REPS IN 2021. What does ASTRA) look like in 2021? Due to the success of ASTRA’s Summer Camp virtual event in 2020 and our members’ need for new products, ASTRA successfully completed its Winter Camp from Feb. 19-23.  We kicked off our camp by passing a virtual torch and lighting a campfire at the opening ceremony...

WOMEN IN TOYS’ 30TH ANNIVERSARY WONDER WOMEN AWARDS RESCHEDULED FOR TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues amid vaccine rollouts, the live event space is still on shaky ground with many organizations hitting the reset button with eyes on 2022. The latest move comes from Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT), which rescheduled its 30th Anniversary....

(the above posted after April 16th)

GAMA Plans 2021 Holiday Gift Program.  Customers buying games at local game stores can buy a second copy of the same game at 50% off and have it immediately donated to the local Toys for Tots. GAMA is launching the program earlier this year in order to build on the success of the 2020 program, which had nearly 20 publishers, dozens of stores, and hundreds of consumers participate.

Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), producer of the GAMA Expo trade show and Origins Game Fair, had a tough pandemic year in 2020, with plunging show revenues and a substantial loss, according to the organization’s financial statements.  Show revenues dropped from $2.48 million in 2019 (from the organization’s Form 990) to only $810,000 in 2020.  

ReedPop and ViacomCBS Consumer Products have partnered for Star Trek: Mission Chicago, a new fan convention planned for Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center April 8 to April 10, 2022. Star Trek conventions are age-old, geek culture institutions that began showing up shortly after the Original Series ended in 1969. The first recognized Star Trek convention happened back in New York City in 1972...

Spring & Autumn Fair to launch Online Marketplace The Online Marketplace is a brand extension to the Spring & Autumn Fair live events, offering the retail community an additional trading platform.

The Toy Trust details its Around the World in 80 Hours 2021 fundraising event. The Toy Trust has detailed its new fundraising initiative for 2021: Around the World in 80 Hours, an industry-wide attempt to cover 40,075 kilometres, akin to circumnavigating the globe. Kicking off at 9am on Friday, June 11th this year, the event will call on the toy industry to take part, by any non-motorised means, in attempting to cover...

GAMA announces dates for GAMA Expo 2022. The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced the dates for GAMA Expo 2022. The 2022 dates for GAMA Expo will be March 14 to March 18 in Reno, NV. It will remain at the Peppermill Resort & Casino for another year, where it has been since 2018 (see "New Venue a Winner for GAMA Trade Show"). 

The UK’s Outdoor Toy Awards returns following a pandemic-induced break. After taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s Outdoor Toy Awards are back in action. This year’s program will feature 10 categories to honor outstanding products that kids and families have embraced in the era of lockdowns and staycations.

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.

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.

Bill Gamson, Sociologist and Inventor of Games, Dies at 87. He created a game of simulated baseball that was a precursor to today’s fantasy sports. As a professor, he devised a role-playing game to help students address societal problems.  Mr. Gamson, an eminent sociologist who explored the structure of social movements and whose childhood love of games led him to create one that became an inspiration for the fantasy sports industry, died on March 23 at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 87. The cause was sarcoma, a type of cancer, his son, Joshua, said.

Barry Walker  - Owner of Conways toy stores and a former member, director and chairman of the Toymaster buying group, sadly passed away on Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer. Toymaster’s Yogi Parmar sent out an email to the trade over the weekend, which stated: “Barry was instrumental in the formation of the Toymaster buying group and a driving force for the Toymaster brand. He also served for many years in a variety of roles on the board of the British Association of Toy Retailers (BATR), the forerunner of the TRA.

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

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Hasbro Nerf & Monopoly Brands Partner with Roblox

  2. ZAG Continues to Grow Executive Team with New Hires

  3. Rainbow Rangers Greenlights Season 3, Heads to Netflix

  4. Robosen & Hasbro Unveil Optimus Prime Robot

  5. Brainbase Adds Moose Toys and Chefclub as Customers

  6. MGAE Signs Brand Licensing Deals for Mobile Games

  7. Sutikki Announces Trio of Executive Appointments 

  8. Fall Guys Names Moose Toys Master Toy Partner

  9. WildBrain CPLG to Represent Brawl Stars Across Europe

  10. DinoCity Heads to New Channels Globally

ToyWorld (UK)

1.Beyond all expectations…it’s the Friday Blog!

2. Moose Toys signs master toy deal for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

3. Hamleys’ global expansion plans eye Indian market

4. Egypt impounds Suez megaship over multi-million compensation claim

5. Hornby reports encouraging group sales

6. Playmobil announces independent retailer loyalty card scheme

7. Exclusive: NPD insight – how will 2020 shape 2021?

8. Midco Toys opens doors to new Burton store

9. Mattel drives sustainability with first carbon neutral Matchbox die-cast car

10. Chinese consumer group claims animation sector needs guidance

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

​-  Exclusive Card Spoiler: 'Flesh and Blood TCG' 'Monarch'
-  WizKids Unveils 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Adult Green Dragon Premium Figure'
-  Upper Deck Launches 'Civil War' Story Arc in 'Marvel Vs. System 2PCG'
-  TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed TCG Products - March 2021
-  WizKids Offers Free 'Snowbound Bugbear Promo Box' to Retailers
-  Stonemaier Games Sales Up 40% in Covid Year
-  Rolling for Initiative -- 'Strixhaven', Oh 'Strixhaven'! Where Art Thou?
-  'Flesh and Blood' and 'Digimon CG' Climb Higher
-  GAMA's Tough 2020
-  Toy Vault Announces More 'Pathfinder Puzzles'

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

Total Licensing

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Equinox Released, Chronicles of Crime 1900 Pre-Order
Plan B Games has released Equinox, the next entry in Chronicles of Crime: The Millennium Series is available for pre-order, and Umbra Via from Pandasaurus Games is out now.

Video of the Week! 

Working with Reps in the US CHITAG POP I

We are circling back to the content rich POP Week panel videos with:

Working with Reps in the U.S.

Moderator: Christine Blumberg (Owner/Principal, RBG Sales)

Panelists: Nicole Bortnick (Co-Owner, BGN Sales Group, LLC), Carl Buchbinder (President, Toyology Inc),

Tom Rushton (President, Revenew Sales), Erin Griffin (Specialty Sales Rep Partner Erin Griffin Group),

Brad Ketz (President, Ketz & Associates)

 

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