the Bloom Report

Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide

Below is August 1 - 7, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted each day with newest articles at top of each news section. 

The previous week drops off each Friday when we send you highlights via email. 

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!

 

Please meet Graeme Thomson, our Managing Editor of the Bloom Report. I was fortunate to get to know Graeme and his wife Catherine while staying with them in their villa high on a mountain in Italy overlooking picturesque Caprese de Michelangelo (such a treat!). They are former financiers from the UK and the Far East, Italian villa restorers, board game inventors, story tellers, art and literature aficionados and much more. Graeme's culinary skills match many a chef. He's toyed with opening a restaurant and it is our good fortune he has not! They are now living in Chicago and I'm looking forward to a time when we can once again enjoy meals together... while discussing plans for the Bloom Report of course. 

Stay Calm and Play On,

Mary Couzin

Glenn Drover of Forbidden Games - the Journey: tBR Company of the Week

My journey in the games/toy space started in 1990 when I was hired by MicroProse, a pioneer in the PC/ Video game industry. My entry-level job was district sales manager for the Midwest based out of Chicago. I was responsible for calling on regional game stores and distributors who sold our games.

 

I was thrilled as I was a huge fan of the company’s products, and a devoted gamer. Scoring an entry-level job on the business side was not exactly in line with my game-designer dreams, but I was ‘in’, and anything seemed possible from there.

 

As the video game industry grew quickly in the 90’s from being predominantly populated by small fanboy companies, to large-scale corporate game factories, I was able to ride the wave and learn quickly at companies like Maxis and Activision. My responsibilities grew as well, and I ended my first decade in the biz as a Senior Director of Sales for the Central U.S., calling on retailers like Target, WalMart, Gamestop, Sears, and Kmart, and managing almost $200 million in revenue.

 

But my creative heart was still tugging me toward game design, so one crazy morning I decided in the shower that I was going to leave my stable corporate job, cash in my stock options and start a board game publishing company. I dried off, got dressed, woke my wife, told her the ‘big news’, and left for the airport. She told me later that when she finally woke up, she couldn’t remember if it was real or some crazy dream.   Read More...

tBR Person of the Week: Brenda Tamburo Andolina – Necessity IS the Motherlode of Invention

Plato, you were so right. 

 

Have you been able to stop for a minute to take in what’s happened to your life? Your career? Your grooming? While we’ve moved from hovering to hunkering to hanging – things, lots of things, have changed everywhere. Maybe you’ve lost some customers or a wonderful project you were working on evaporated overnight. And, if you’ve been downsized or furloughed from “work” (the old type, in an office, with less snacking and no kids), you now have no rules.

 

Feel off-kilter?

 

That’s entirely understandable in this window. But think about this: In your lifetime, there’ll be a handful of occasions when you will need to demonstrate true grit. A handful. And this may very well be one of them, so step up and be bold where you can.

 

A few years ago, my job was eliminated. I would say I was sad, but I had no time to think about that as I was busy mourning my father’s passing and getting divorced. But, in the time that followed through today, I found a new vocation and a better way forward for living my life. Necessity bore invention.

 

The Valentina Group was founded in 2019 and it’s been the greatest release of creativity and strategic thinking that I’ve been able to enjoy in quite a while. I LOVE my clients and appreciate the amount of trust they have in me and license they give me in championing their brands. I work with a fabulously talented group of freelancers amassed from collaborations throughout my career. I see opportunities everywhere, and I network with abandon. I now wake up with a tingle in my soul.   Read More...

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Apple pulls Fortnite from App Store over Epic’s new in-app payment option. Epic and Apple are locked in a battle of wills, each having made their own grand gestures today over in-app purchases and Apple’s steadfast insistence that it takes 30 percent cut of a game’s App Store revenue. Apple has now completely pulled Fortnite from the App Store …

Maxi Toys acquired by King Jouet. Coronavirus had put the future of the European toy store chain in jeopardy, but a buyer has now been found. The French Gueydon family, the main shareholder of the King Jouet toy chain, has acquired Maxi Toys in a deal that will save the majority of both the jobs and stores.

Rubies and Bristol Novelty to merge operations in forward looking response to Covid-19. Rubies Masquerade and Bristol Novelty have detailed the merger of its operations and office functions in a forward looking move to house all of its products under one banner as the industry begins to shake itself off from lockdown. It comes, the firm has stated, as companies the world over look to adapt to navigate the...

U.S. Retail Imports Head Toward Lowest Number Since 2016. The recent 16% spike for the toy industry was driven largely by sales of stock-on-hand, while individual toymakers have charted sales declines due in part to a reduction in orders of new product. This pattern extends to the rest of the consumer products and retail industry as a whole, as shown in the latest Global Port Tracker report …

Boris Johnson warns 'long, long way to go' for UK economy. Between April and June, the number of people in work fell by 220,000, the Office for National Statistics said.

The drop in the number of people employed was the largest quarterly decrease since May to July 2009, the depths of the financial crisis.

Mobile developer Big Run Studios nets $5.25 million to expand operations. Mobile developer-publisher Big Run Studios has netted $5.25 million in seed funding, meaning it has raised a total of $6.6 million to date. The funding round was led by early stage venture capital company Transcend Fund and joined by Galaxy Interactive, which previously invested $1.4 million into Big Run back in March.

UK retail sales lift 3.2 per cent but provides ‘little cause for optimism’, says BRC. UK retail sales have risen 3.2 per cent for July, the British Retail Consortium has confirmed, but suggests that the lift should provide ‘little cause for optimism’ as many high street shops continue to struggle.

Talks underway to turn JC Penney and Sears stores into Amazon fulfilment centres. Both chains filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and have been closing locations across the US, as the pandemic kept consumers at home and shopping online. In June, JC Penney announced plans to close 154 stores this summer, while Sears announced plans to shut down 96 stores in November last year.

Walmart Canada’s new infrastructure development fee raises concerns. According to Walmart Canada, the new fee aims to recover some of its $3.5b modernisation costs. Toy companies in Canada and the US are reportedly shocked by the announcement of a new fee, which Walmart Canada published in a letter to more than 3,000 suppliers, signed by chief executive Horacio Barbeito and chief merchandising officer...

(the above posted after August 7th)

The Nintendo Switch has crossed 60 million lifetime sales.The Nintendo Switch has sold over 60 million units worldwide, according to the latest figures from Nintendo. More specifically, the hybrid console has sold 61.44 million units to date. That figure includes sales of the handheld-only Switch Lite and the original console.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies in under five months, according to the latest numbers from Nintendo. The twee lifestyle simulator has sold 22.4 million units, to be exact, and becomes just the second Switch title to surpass 20 million sales.

Zynga enters into agreement to acquire Istanbul-based Rollic, one of the fastest growing hyper-casual mobile game companies. Zynga Inc., a global leader in interactive entertainment, today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Istanbul-based Rollic, a mobile games developer and publisher with an exciting portfolio of popular hyper-casual games that have been downloaded more than 250 million...

Retail edges toward pre-lockdown levels in the U.K. The U.K.'s retail sector has seen many changes since the beginning of COVID-19, but it is beginning to recover in some areas already. Even with the boom in online shopping, shoppers have struggled to help retail sales reach pre-lockdown levels since February. Now, after months in lockdown and economic uncertainty dominating the media, total retail sales saw a 13.9...

Fortnite developer Epic Games secures $1.78 billion in funding. Epic Games has secured $1.78 billion in fresh funding that takes the company's post-money equity valuation to $17.3 billion. The Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer explained the cash injection consists of primary capital and secondary purchases from employee equity holders.

The Peterkin Group of companies was acquired by Toy Brokers Holdings Limited, the parent company of John Adams. Peterkin is well known for its range of dolls and kites, trading under the brands of Dollsworld and Brookite, which are distributed in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Peterkin UK, based in Leicester is in the process of being fully integrated into the Toy Brokers Holdings ‘Hercules House’...

U.S. hiring slowed dramatically in July as coronavirus cases surged, ADP report says. U.S. businesses appeared to slow their hiring dramatically in July, adding only 167,000 workers to their private payrolls — a steep drop from analysts’ expectations. The numbers reported Wednesday by ADP mark a significant departure from the more than 1 million jobs that some economists had predicted and a sharp falloff...

Kids business draws real investment. A recent flurry of activity in children’s entertainment is being driven by a combination of streaming platforms’ voracious appetites for kids’ content and the availability of cheap capital to fund acquisitions. In part, deals also are being driven by the licensing and merchandise that can go along with them.

NBCUniversal Focuses on Layoffs and Streamlining as NBC’s Paul Telegdy Faces Probe. Netflix's Bela Bajaria turned down overture for top programming post. NBCUniversal is stepping up efforts to reorganize its top leadership structure with the goal of streamlining content and programming operations as it prepares for significant layoffs across the company. At the same time, NBCU is poised to launch an investigation...

India to impose import restrictions to counter China routing. New Delhi is considering measures to prevent trade partners mainly in Southeast Asia from re-routing Chinese goods to India with little added value, two government sources said, amid strained ties with Beijing and a push for self-reliance. The moves will mainly target imports of...toys...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Uptick in gaming looks set to last . . . Mexican Toy industry takes a bit hit although board games see surge in sales . . . The NPD Group: U.S. consumer spend on video game products continues to break records . . .  Exclusive: NPD looks at the UK toy market in recent months . . . 

(the above posted after August 7th)

TOP 20 COMICS - Q2 2020 . . . How offering private servers for ARK: Survival Evolved Mobile created a triple win situation . . . Games and puzzles specifically performed the strongest, experiencing a 37% increase in sales in the 12 markets . . . Charting the rise of hyper casual gaming . . . Near-Term Prospects Look Bright for Toys & Games Industry 

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Mobile classic Subway Surfers surpasses 3 billion lifetime downloads . . . Fall Guys has sold over 2 million copies on Steam alone . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 11.4% Upside . . .  Blizzard Trading Lower Despite Blowout Quarter . . . FUNKO REDUCES WORKFORCE 25% . . . Investors Appear Satisfied With Hasbro, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:HAS) Prospects

(the above post after August 7th)

Hasbro Is Preparing for a Strong Finish to 2020 . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 13.4% Upside

Financial Reporting . . . 

Paradox reports upturn in revenue as expansion packs drive growth. Stellaris developer-publisher Paradox has reported a strong financial quarter. According to its fiscal report for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020, quarterly revenue increased by 20 percent year-on-year to SEK 464.9 million ($53.3 million), while operating profit rose by 29 percent to SEK 199 million ($22.8 million).

Sega reports loss despite strong video game sales. Net sales and profits are down at Sega Sammy, which released its financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2020. According to the fiscal report, net sales dipped by 33.5 percent to 48.3 billion yen ($454.4 million), with the company reporting a loss of 3.3 billion yen ($31 million).

Party City announces second quarter 2020 financial results and successfully completes reset of capital structure. Party City Holdco Inc. announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020. Total revenues decreased 54.8% on a reported basis to $254.7 million and decreased 54.6% on a constant currency basis. Total Retail sales decreased 56.3% on a reported basis and 56.3% on a constant currency basis …

SUMR Brands announced financial results for the 2nd quarter ended June 27, 2020. Net sales for the three months ended June 27, 2020 were $38.2 million compared with $46.4 million for the three months ended June 29, 2019. The Company’s results reflect the strategic restructuring of its international operations and negative impact of COVID-19 on revenue on revenue, primarily via store closures and...

Bandai Namco will merge gaming and toy divisions in 2021 restructuring due to major decrease in overall sales numbers. In a surprising move, Bandai Namco has announced plans to merge its gaming division with its Toys and Hobby unit in 2021. This announcement came as the company revealed its financial results for the first quarter of its fiscal year. That period begins on April 1 and extended until June 30 2020.

Funko releases Q2 2020 results. The company is the latest to reveal the substantial impact of coronavirus on its business. Sales decreased 49% to $98.1m in the second quarter of 2020 compared to $191.2m in the second quarter of 2019. On a geographical basis, sales in the United States decreased 36% to $77.9m, while a 71% decline in sales was seen internationally, reflecting more significant impacts from Covid-19. 

(the above posted after August 7th)

Spin Master Reports Q2 2020 Financial Results.  Q2 2020 Financial Highlights as compared to the same period in 2019. Total Revenue of US$281.1 million decreased by 12.4% from US$321.0 million. Gross Product Sales decreased by 10.9% to US$282.2 million from US$316.8 million. Gross Product Sales decreased by 12.0%. Gross Product Sales increased slightly in North America and declined by 21.6% in Europe and...

Zynga Announces Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results. Reports Highest Quarterly Revenue and Bookings in Zynga History. Generates Best Quarterly Operating Cash Flow in More Than Eight Years. "We delivered tremendous results in Q2, achieving our highest quarterly revenue and bookings and generating Zynga’s best quarterly operating cash flow in more than eight years. We also executed our transformational...

Call of Duty franchise helps Activision Blizzard to record Q2 results. Activision Blizzard has announced record second quarter financial results thanks to bumper engagement figures led by the Call of Duty franchise. For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, the publisher reported GAAP net revenues of $1.93 billion, which is a notable increase on the $1.40 billion amassed during the second quarter of 2019.

Disney doubles down on streaming as earnings suffer. While the media giant's revenue was down 42% in Q3, thanks to continued fallout from COVID-19, Disney+ has reached 60.5 million paid subs four years ahead of schedule. Disney is turning its attention to streaming after further fallout from the pandemic has adversely affected its Parks, Experiences and Products segment in Q3. Overall, Disney’s third fiscal quarter...

PlayStation recently released its fiscal results for the first Quarter of 2020; between April and June. Despite the PlayStation 5 being on the horizon, Q1 2020 served as the best Quarter ever for the console manufacturer, with PlayStation bringing in over $5.6 Billion in revenue and $1.15 Billion in profit. What’s perhaps even more notable however is the fact that almost three quarters of all software sales were digital.

The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima driving software sales at Sony. Sony experienced a strong quarter thanks in part to the performance of titles like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima. As noted in the company's fiscal report for the 3 months ended June 30, 2020, consolidated sales rose by 2% to 1.96 trillion yen ($18.5 billion), while profits increased by 53% to 186.94 billion yen ($1.76 billion).

Engagement hits unexpected highs at EA as Q1 live services revenue crosses $1.1bn. EA, like many other major game companies, is reporting better than forecasted player engagement for its most recent quarter due in no small part to the current global pandemic and its own ‘Stay Home, Play Together’ initiatives. For the quarter ending June 30, Electronic Arts reported net revenue of $1.46 billion, most of...

Monster Hunter and Resident Evil driving growth at Capcom. New releases and digital sales are driving growth at Capcom, which just published its financials for the first quarter ended June 30, 2020. According to the fiscal report, consolidated net sales rose by 32.2 percent year-on-year to 23.7 billion yen ($222.8 million), while profits increased by 44.2 percent to 7.8 billion yen ($73.3 million) over the same period.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) today reported strong results for its fiscal first quarter 2021 ended June 30, 2020. In addition, the Company provided its initial outlook for its fiscal second quarter ending September 30, 2020 and increased its outlook for the fiscal year 2021, ending March 31, 2021. For additional information, please see the fiscal first quarter 2021 results slide deck posted to the...

Future Financial Reporting... 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

Dora paved the way…now we need nuanced inclusivity. To move beyond the "Brown brush," creators need to be more specific when it comes to the identity of their characters, says Mariana Diaz-Wionczek. When it comes to representation of Latinos in the media, the language we use to refer to different communities matters. Along with physical features and story elements, language can help validate kids’ identities. 

UK survey finds positive links between playing games and literacy. New research published by the National Literacy Trust indicates video games can have a positive impact on the literacy, creativity, and wellbeing of young people. A survey of 4,626 young people aged 11-16 in the UK found that games can often provide children with a route into reading and writing.

25 diverse toys to teach kids how to embrace different cultures . Representation is so important for children of color, and sadly, it’s still somewhat rare. Seeing one’s self reflected in play is a crucial part of cultural and social development, and it can have a real impact on kids’ self-esteem.

Diverse toys for kids: what brands to buy. It is now easier than ever for kids to find toys that symbolize them and their families. From a customizable doll that looks like the child it is made for to mix-and-match families that allow for many races in one family – or two dads or two moms – options in the toy industry have expanded.

Top 5 trends that could change 2021 consumerism. Consumerism in the U.K. and Europe is facing change daily. As retail keeps its head above water and shoppers slowly step out of the house, License Global looks at the emerging trends that could redefine U.K. and European consumer culture in 2021.

“Press Engine democratises the ability to talk to press” – Is Press Engine the answer to discoverability? Once upon a time all serious games PR was done in close proximity to a bar. Everyone knew everyone and it was all very matey. Review slots were agreed many months in advance, with a big shiny preview piece as part of the deal. And review code came by post in a jiffy bag.  However true that once may have been...

Adverty enters into agreement and completes integration with SuperAwesome to enable kid-safe advertising. Adverty has signed an agreement with the leading kidtech platform SuperAwesome, to allow compliant, kid-safe ads to be displayed in relevant mobile games using Adverty’s in-game ad technology. The completed platform integration allows for frictionless access between SuperAwesome’s connected...

LEGO is launching braille bricks for students across the US. The LEGO Foundation designed and created a line of bricks molded with studs that correspond to numbers and letters in the braille alphabet. The foundation is sending the blocks, free of charge, to school districts across the United States.

Squatter to Fly with New Growth Plan. Squatter’s focus on sheep farming reflects the inextricable link between this industry and Australian history more broadly. Since 1797, wool has been central to Australia’s economy, agricultural practices and to the collective consciousness of its people. Early settlers soon discovered that with its infertile soil and dry climate, Australia was well suited to the production of high quality wool...

Families Stuck At Home Turn To Board Game Catan, Sending Sales Skyrocketing. Entrepreneurs love the game. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a fan. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman reportedly has played it in job interviews to size up applicants and as a tool for making venture capital deals. In its 25th year, Catan has sold more than 32 million units, according to company figures, one of the bestselling board...

(the above posted after August 7th)

John Baulch from ToyWorld UK! Never mind the b*****ks… it’s the Friday Blog! Let’s be honest, for much of this year, trying to make a firm plan has often felt like building on quicksand. Conditions have continued to shift constantly – witness the revisions we’ve seen to the UK’s virus control strategy in recent weeks, not to mention our hokey-cokey approach to travelling abroad. This week, a large number of people very...

Forest 5th grader wins national Young Inventor Contest to create original game idea. A young boy in our area just won an opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to have his original board game idea sold in stores nationwide. Andrew Hebdon is a rising fifth grader at Forest Middle and winner of the Young Inventor Challenge. In the national contest, kids have the opportunity to develop their own original toy and game ideas...

Design Edge: Video Killed the Sell Sheet Star. When I (Matt Nuccio) entered the toy business many moons ago, the majority of inventors sold their concepts by garnering interest via the almighty sell sheet. Great sell sheets would be adorned with bullet points, call outs, insets, and of course, a great money shot of the product in action. While pitching a new concept with a prototype was always far better than with a sell sheet...

Chris James - the Casual Gamer - News Flash: Santorini New York, X-Men Mutant Insurrection. A standalone sequel to Santorini has been announced, Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new cooperative dice game, and IELLO has released Mia London and the Case of the 625 Scoundrels.

Radio Flyer: How the Little Red Wagon Became a Classic American Toy. The historic toy company Radio Flyer is best known for its little red wagons which have become one of the quintessential childhood toys in America. While styles have changed over the years for the radio flyer wagon, the red tin and push handle toys have become an institution. Did you know it's already been over 100 years since the company was...

The August 2020 Issue of Toys and Family Entertainment Magazine is Here! Read about the games and puzzles that exploded with popularity during the pandemic, plus insights from the NFL Players Association, ASTRA, Design Edge, The Toy Association Women In Toys, Licensing and Entertainment, and more!

Indoor climbing frame start-up Sawdust and Rainbows climbs ladder to European success. An indoor wooden climbing frames start-up, Sawdust and Rainbows is climbing its way out of lockdown with international sales ‘going through the roof’ at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and parents and families in need of indoor entertainment and activity.

Zimpli Kids to donate 100 per cent of Rainbow Baff Bombz profits to the NHS. Zimpli Kids is donating 100 per cent of the net profits from its Rainbow Baff Bombz to NHS Charities Together, in a show of solidarity and appreciation of the effort of the NHS throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Rainbows have become a symbol of support for the NHS over the past few months and a means of passing on a message...

Riot Games addresses industry burnout and crunch by giving employees a week off. Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends and Valorant, will be giving employees the week of August 10th off to “disconnect, recharge, and reboot,” the studio announced. In an industry known for overwork and enforced overtime, referred to as “crunch,” to ship and maintain games, Riot is giving employees a break to help with...

Celebrating tech's unsung women pioneers, Brenda Romero calls for game dev gender parity. Game industry veteran and Romero Games cofounder Brenda Romero appeared at GDC Summer to deliver a talk about some of the hidden histories of women in computing, and how their work has influenced the way we make games today. Romero's core argument was that just a handful of notable women throughout history...

Latvian-made wooden toys in high demand abroad. Wooden toys produced in Kurzeme, Latvia, are gaining popularity abroad, especially the Asian market, Latvian Radio said. Latvian Investment and Development Agency business incubator head in Kuldīga, Līga Raituma, said that export rates have been not only over several years, but also during this period of crisis.

Cancelled Lego Osprey sold out within an hourThe Lego Technic Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is rapidly becoming one of the most famous Lego sets of all time. Since the set was suddenly pulled due to anti-war campaigners pointing out that it broke Lego's own rules, it's inevitably become a collector's item, selling for £1,000 or more on eBay.

The 15 Most Expensive Happy Meal Toys from McDonald’s. There’s no doubt that McDonald’s knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to include toys inside their Happy Meals. Spring forward a few decades, and some of those toys are worth a fortune! So, after reading through our list, you might want to dig around your attic, as you could be sitting on several hundred dollars worth of Happy Meal toys.

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

20 years ago, Nintendo transformed the RPG genre with Paper Mario. Paper Mario made its debut in Japan on Aug. 11, 2000, as Mario Story after a whopping four years of development. Here's how Intelligent Systems made it happen.

High Score review: Netflix’s story of gaming’s “golden age” is honestly solid. High Score, the newest docu-series launching August 19 on Netflix. Split into six 40-minute episodes of gaming's so-called "golden era," which begins with Space Invaders in arcades and ends with Doom…

TRG Restoration. Don’t junk those old tin toys! The TRG Restoration YouTube channel showcases the process of restoring vintage tin toys and other objects. Many beloved objects of play languish in basements, closets, barns, and storage units after childhood, often deteriorating...

Lone Ranger Adventure Sets from Gabriel (1973). The Lone Ranger Rides Again! toy line comprised a series of 8.5-inch and 10-inch action figures, articulated horses, a covered prairie wagon, tepee, and numerous playsets. Gabriel was known for dedication to quality and detail...

110 Camera from Fisher-Price (1986). Before digital photography became commonplace, Fisher-Price offered children, ages 5 and up, a camera that used 110 film cartridges. The camera was designed to be kid-friendly, complete with shock-resistant, cushioned end caps, a “break-away...

(the above posted after August 7th)

This is the world’s most valuable Hot Wheels collection, worth $2m. In total, 59 year-old Bruce Pascal has 7,000 cars in his possession and they are insured for the cool sum of $1.5 million USD (approx. $2 million AUD). If news of the staggering collection has you running to find your own cars stashed away somewhere, keep in mind that Pascal has been collecting Hot Wheels since the age of seven.

What’s It Worth? on A&EThe value of a collectible, such as a vintage toy, involves two distinct and often opposing factors: what someone is willing to pay to acquire it, and what it’s worth to the person who owns it. What’s it Worth?, a new series from A&E, attempts to bridge these forces. Hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, the show “scours the country in search of hidden treasures held by everyday people who are...

Show ‘N Tell from G.E. (1964). In 1964, General Electric (G.E.) released a phonographic/filmstrip viewer aimed at the growing children’s education and entertainment markets. Advertised as a home entertainment center, the Show ‘N Tell was built to resemble a small television set and deftly combined a four-speed phonograph with an 11-inch monitor for slide film viewing.

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_SEL_L

Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Ravensburger to launch immersive The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game based in the cult classic ’80s film. Ravensburger has detailed the upcoming release of The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game, a new cooperative board game adaptation of the cult film. The new title will join the firm’s growing slate of licensed titles that already features the likes of Jaws and Disney’s Hocus Pocus.

‘Marvel Mania’ Celebrates Fifth Anniversary with Global Activations and Retail Celebrations. The preeminent Marvel retail celebration ‘Marvel Mania’ makes its anticipated return bringing kids, families and fans new ways to wear, collect, connect and play with Earth’s Mightiest Super Heroes. Now in its fifth year ‘Marvel Mania’ – the only campaign to bring all the Marvel Super Heroes together – offers an exciting...

Nickelodeon enters The Tiny Chef’s kitchen. In its second deal with Imagine's kids team, Nick will launch the stop-motion series based on a wee Instagram puppet globally. Nickelodeon’s Burbank animation studio will produce the new preschool cooking show in association with Imagine Kids & Family and IP owner Tiny Chef Productions. This is Nick’s second project with Imagine; the first was live-action sci-fi series...

Moose Toys, Blueprint team for ‘Kindi Kids’ range. Bulldog Licensing, which represents the licensing and merchandising rights for Moose Toys’ preschool brand “Kindi Kids” throughout the U.K., has announced a new deal with Blueprint Collections for a collection of licensed stationery and bags.

The London Toy Company teams with Wow! Stuff and Warner Bros to launch Harry Potter plush. The London Toy Company has collaborated with the teams at both Wow! Stuff and Warner Brothers to develop its first range of plush toys based on the ever-popular Harry Potter franchise. The firm, who rebranded from High Resolution Designs this year, already specialises in the development of ultra-realistic...

Nelvana and Spin Master expand Bakugan franchise with new international broadcast partners. Nelvana, a world-leading international producer and distributor of children’s animated and live action content, together with Spin Master, a leading global children’s entertainment company, have secured new international broadcast partners for Season 1, Bakugan®: Battle Planet™ (100 x 11 min) and Season 2,...

Moose Toys’ hit doll line Kindi Kids lands bag and stationery items with Blueprint Collections. Moose Toys popular toy brand Kindi Kids is building out its licensing programme thanks to a new partnership with Blueprint Collections to launch a range of licensed bags and stationery items. In a deal brokered by Kindi Kids’ licensing and merchandising representative, Bulldog Licensing, the new licensed range will include …

Licensing mixtape: how video games became a major driver for licensing. According to Newzoo, 2.7 billion play video games. From action games like the "Assassins Creed" series or the light-hearted "Raving Rabbids" franchise, consumers come from all demographics to play all kinds of video games. This vast and diverse fanbase provides ample opportunity for those in the licensing to latch onto the next great brand.

Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! adds ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V,’ ‘My Dog Chocolo,’ More. Genius Brands International inked multiple deals to bring approximately 230 new episodes of programming to its new Kartoon Channel! app. The new additions are toplined by 148 episodes of the global anime hit, Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. Additionally, Kartoon Channel! licensed episodes of the YouTube series, My Dog Chocolo, Mondo TV’s Invention...

Chipotle, Tony Hawk skate towards food, gaming deal. Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it is teaming up with skating legend and brand superfan Tony Hawk to offer his go-to Chipotle order exclusively on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com. The first 2,000 fans who order the burrito will also get access to the “Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2” Warehouse Demo for PlayStation 4, Xbox One or PC.

A Deeper Data Dive. As much as the EU created an economic monolith, it’s still a collection of disparate cultures and languages, and its children have wildly divergent interests and favorites. Taking a trip through the most recent sets of Brand Trends’ Kidz Global reports assembled for Licensing International shows how much kids’ tastes and preferences vary.

Transformers activate World of Warships collaboration. World of Warships is partnering with Transformers for a limited-edition collaboration. Autobots and Decepticons will be introduced for a limited-time as themed ship skins and commanders.

Hasbro, TOMS team for ‘Candy Land’ kicks. Hasbro has lent the imagery of “Candy Land” to TOMS footwear. The collection is the first planned in a series between the two brands, opening up a world of possibilities for toy and game-themed footwear.

Mattel reveals lineup of Minecraft Dungeons toys. Minecraft Dungeons has been extremely well-received since launch, finding a spot in the 10 top eShop charts since it released. Being a spin-off of the hugely popular Minecraft series certainly helps!

(the above posted after August 7th)

Super Impulse, Topps collaborate on Wacky Packages Minis.The makers of World’s Smallest are bringing a classic trading card and sticker brand into the physical realm. Wacky Packages Minis is a new line of miniature parody products created by Super Impulse under license from The Topps Co. The new collection includes 66 collectible toys that are based on the parody stickers that Topps originally launched back in 1967.

Moonbug Appoints MGA Entertainment as Worldwide licensing agent for Little Baby BumFollowing the success of its Little Tikes toy line based on Moonbug‘s Little Baby Bum YouTube channel, MGA Entertainment (MGAE) is taking the reins as the worldwide licensing agent for the property. Moonbug appointed the company behind L.O.L. Surprise! and the iconic Cozy Coupe to develop a global consumer products...

Warner Bros. Consumer Products unleashes Wonder Woman 1984 collection. Warner Bros. Consumer Products has launched a new collection of lifestyle products and experiences inspired by “Wonder Woman 1984,” the follow up to 2017’s “Wonder Woman.” Swarovski, Mattel and Reebok among multiple companies that have signed on to make “Wonder Woman 1984” products.

Jam City partners with Care Bears to launch ‘Unity Bear’ exclusively for Panda Pop Game. Jam City, the LA based mobile entertainment co. announced it has partnered with Care Bears, Cloudco Entertainment’s iconic brand of huggable bears from Care-A-Lot, to debut Unity Bear, a brand-new bear that will make its first-ever appearance in Panda Pop, Jam City’s award-winning mobile game that has more than 140 million...

Intellivision lines up Mattel, USAopoly, and Sesame Workshop partnerships for its gaming system reboot Amico. Intellivision Entertainment, the video game industry pioneer and team behind the upcoming Intellivision Amico launch, has detailed significant additions to its game portfolio, as well as new licensing partnerships with the likes of Mattel and Sesame Workshop. Tommy Tallarico, CEO of Intellivision...

PAW Patrol goes prehistoric as Spin Master introduces new Dino Rescue sets. PAW Patrol is ready to jump into Jurassic action and RYDER and Pups have their paws full when a secret Dino World yelps for help! With dinos roaming wild, there’s bound to be T-Rex sized trouble. Saving the day is even more adventurous with the coolest new rugged uniforms, vehicles and all new dinosaurs introduced.

Design-led pre-school brand Lemon Ribbon eyes master toy partner in franchise-building plans. The brand extension, collaboration and licensing agency, Glue Creative Thinking is embarking on a mission to bring the children’s lifestyle brand and online platform, Lemon Ribbon, into the pre-school toy space by ‘tapping a gap in the market for a design-led pre-school property.’ Lemon Ribbon is an online activity hub...

Official launch of AEW’s Unrivaled Action Figures first wave. The first wave of AEW’s Unrivaled action figures, which is created and brought to us by Jazwares and Cool Wicked Toys, will be in stores in summer of 2020. The first wave includes top stars such as AEW TNT Champion Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes, AEW World Tag Team Champion Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and The Young Bucks.

Panini and Epic Games launch new Fortnite Trading Cards collection. The collectable stickers and trading card specialist, Panini, has detailed the launch of its new line of official Fortnite trading cards, scheduled to land at retail this week. The new range has been developed in partnership with Epic Games, owners of the Fortnite franchise. The video game drops players on an island full of battles, missions, and experiences in...

Angry Birds to fly high with IMG. IMG today announced it has been appointed by Rovio Entertainment Corp., the global games-first entertainment company, as the exclusive worldwide consumer products licensing agent for the iconic Angry Birds franchise. The first Angry Birds game launched on mobile devices in 2009, rocketing to viral status and spawning a brand that continues to draw tens of millions of...

LEGO celebrates Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’s 40th anniversary with new Bespin Duel set. Promotional images have been revealed for the new LEGO Star Wars Bespin Duel set which is inspired by the iconic Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader duel in Cloud City scene from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. A Toys R Us Canada exclusive, there’s speculation that the set will also make its way to LEGO...

Cra-Z-Art, Nickelodeon expand deal for Slime, modeling compounds. Cra-Z-Art and Nickelodeon are bringing Nick’s iconic green goo to kids around the world. In a strategic expansion of the companies’ current licensing deal, Cra-Z-Art will distribute Nickelodeon pre-made Slime, DIY Slime Kits, and modeling compounds globally. For the past three years, Cra-Z-Art has marketed Nickelodeon products exclusively in the U.S...

Spin Master and Feld Entertainment Inc. expand partnership with new five-year licensing agreement for Supercross. Spin Master Corp., a leading global children's entertainment company, announced today a licensing partnership with Feld Entertainment Inc. as the new global master toy partner for Supercross, the premier off-road motorcycle racing series, attracting top professional riders from around the world, chasing...

Square Enix’s Avengers game is getting a PlayStation-exclusive Spider-Man character. Square Enix’s Avengers game will arrive this fall, and it’ll bring back console-exclusive content in a big way: the company announced that PlayStation players will get exclusive access to a playable Spider-Man character sometime in 2021.

Funko, Spotlight Licensing tease The Last Kingdom Pop! figures. Spotlight Licensing has announced a collaboration with Funko to create stylized Pop! vinyl figures as well as Pop! t-shirts, keychains, enamel pins and related accessories based on the popular Netflix Original television series “The Last Kingdom” from Carnival Films.

The Op launches ‘Friday the 13th’ licensed board game. The Op has released a game inspired by slasher flick Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake is the film’s first-ever licensed board game. The game allows players to interact as camp counselors, using survival tools to try and escape Jason’s wrath.

MGA Entertainment, Nighthawk Interactive bring L.O.L. Surprise! to Nintendo Switch. The colorful squad of L.O.L. Surprise! characters are about to conquer a whole new realm: video games.MGA Entertainment Inc. (MGAE) partnered with Nighthawk Interactive to debut the L.O.L. Surprise! game, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch this fall. The game will arrive just as MGAE’s latest collection of L.O.L. Surprise! toys hits stores.

Spin Master powers up DC Batman range with super hero marketing. Leading UK toy company, Spin Master, continues its partnership with Warner Bros. to bring Batman’s adventures to life with innovative toys. As one of the newest toy licensees for the iconic Batman franchise, Spin Master is bringing its unique twist to innovative product including action figures, remote control vehicles, water toys, games and puzzles.

Harry Potter collectibles range launches to celebrate the wizards 40th birthday. Celebrate Harry Potter’s 40th birthday today by checking out the brand-new Harry Potter collectibles range on award winning pop culture website Fanattik (www.fanattik.co.uk). From a limited-edition silver-plated Hogwarts train ticket to a fine art set containing some of the most famous locations from this amazing film franchise, all these officially licensed pieces are now available to view on the Fanattik website.

Bill Nye and Abacus Brands Introduce First Branded VR Science Kit In Time for the Holidays. Bill Nye, the famous American educator who has made science entertaining and accessible to millions of Americans through his Emmy winning TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” has joined forces with Abacus Brands to create an all-new Virtual Reality Science Kit for kids, being launched this Fall. “Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit” – the first...

People . . . 

All in the Family: The Morrison Family. Over the years, I’ve run into TJ Morrison at toy events all over the world and shared stories, but didn’t know his family history until recently. His dad, Doug, recounts their story which starts with Hasbro’s Animal Fun Keyboard, moved quickly to Star Wars toys and much more. I love Doug’s advice, “Never be afraid to try something new, even if you fail at first, keep trying.” I’m a believer!

Women In Toys appoints Delanie West as its first Diversity and Inclusion Chair. In her role, West will be leading the team’s efforts to cultivate diversity, inclusion, and belonging as critical priorities across its global community. The drive will commence with the new initiative, Black Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment and its focus on attracting, recruiting, spotlighting, and advocating for Black women in ...

Power Kid Podcast, host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks Kate Clark, founder of Yottoy. For the past 25 years, Yottoy has been creating plush toys based on top licenses, including Paddington, Eloise, Madeline, The Velveteen Rabbit, Babar, Corduroy, and more. On the show, Clark explains how plush design has changed and evolved, and how the plush medium can be used to best represent the iconic look...

IDW Publisher Jud Meyers, who was active in the position for less than a week, has left the company, according to a brief statement from IDW Publishing.  "IDW Publishing has parted ways with Jud Meyers and would like to thank everyone for their discretion," the statement said through a spokesperson.  The spokesperson did not respond to questions about who was carrying out the Publisher duties now, or the plan...

(the above posted after August 7th)

TOY INDUSTRY VET GENE MURTHA APPEARS ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. Host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with toy industry veteran Gene Murtha of the Score Association. Murtha’s lengthy career has included executive roles at Fisher-Price, Tyco, Mattel, Main Street Toys, Coleco, General Mills, and GUND. He now serves as vice president and director at the Score Association, working on a mission to...

Q&A with toy inventor Eddy Goldfarb. Eddy invented more than 800 toys and holds almost 300 patents. Some of his well-known hits include Yakity Yak Teeth, Battling Tops, Hydro Strike, Shark Attack, Vac-u-form, KerPlunk and Stompers. He started in the business with Marvin Glass and moved to California …

Pandasaurus Games hires Danni Loe. Pandasaurus Games announced that Danni Loe has been hired as their new Marketing Manager. Loe has held similar positions in the games industry at Iello USA, Renegade Game Studios, and most recently, at the Games Manufacturers Association.

Funko’s Andrew Perlmutter joins Igloo board of directors. Funko President Andrew Perlmutter joined the board of directors at Igloo Products Corp. The move comes as Igloo moves further into the licensed space with partnerships for coolers based on properties including Star Wars, Scooby-Doo, and MTV.

Alex Morgan is now A Barbie Girl. Alex Morgan has done it all. She’s won two Women’s World Cups, one Olympic gold medal, one NWSL championship and one Champions League trophy. Now she’s being immortalized with the Alex Morgan Barbie doll.

Toynamics welcomes Emma Finch to national account manager role for Skip Hop and Hape brands. Toynamics UK and Ireland has appointed Emma Finch to the role of national account manager. Finch previously worked at Skip Hop UK and brings with her a great experience of the nursery industry. In her new role, Finch will be active in integrating the Skip Hop and Hape ranges with her customers for Toynamics...

Sega Group president and chief publishing officer Kenji Matsubara has resigned. Sega Group Corporation president and chief publishing officer Kenji Matsubara has stepped down due to "personal reasons." The company broke the news in a short press release, where it explained that Matsubara's request for resignation has been received and accepted with immediate effect.

Ubisoft exec Tommy Francois departs after misconduct allegations. Ubisoft editorial vice president Tommy Francois has left the company after being accused of workplace misconduct. A company spokesperson confirmed the news to Gamasutra, but declined to comment further when asked if Francois had resigned or been dismissed as a result of an investigation.

Hopster CEO to step down. After eight years, founder Nick Walters will exit the preschool streamer in September. Miki Chojnacka and Tyrell Ellis will take charge as co-CEOs. Chojnacka has served as chief creative content officer since 2015. In her new role, she will continue to oversee Hopster’s brand, content and creative strategy, and will also look to grow its original content, partnerships and global awareness.

Alderac Entertainment Group CEO John Zinser is currently hospitalized after brain surgery, the company announced in a post on its website.  The ordeal began on Thursday, July 30, when Zinser was taken to the hospital and a CT scan revealed a mass in his brain.  The mass was removed in a surgery on Saturday; while the pathology report is not yet available, "there are some encouraging signs that the mass was...

Mattel Mourns the Passing of Former Chairman and CEO Bryan G. Stockton. Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO of Mattel said, “We are saddened by the news of Bryan’s sudden passing. The entire Mattel community joins me in sending our deepest condolences to his family. Bryan was a beloved leader at Mattel whose many contributions to the toy industry will live on for years to come.” Stockton spent 15 years at Mattel...

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Companies . . . 

FAO SCHWARZ REOPENS NYC FLAGSHIP WITH NEW SAFETY MEASURES, BRAND EXPERIENCES. The iconic toy soldiers at FAO Schwarz have been “fine-tuning their piano keys” over the past few months in order to get back into the business of play during the COVID-19 era. Alongside the reopening, FAO Schwarz has added an Iron Studios brand shop to its store. Kids and collectors can shop a variety of action figures...

Fisher-Price launches a work-from-home play set, as millions of American parents continue to work remotely. The "My Home Office" playset, available starting Wednesday for $24.99, features a laptop with four fabric "apps," a smartphone, headset, and coffee cup. The playset is part of a collection designed for babies and preschoolers whose parents are spending more time at home due to the pandemic.

Bring the LEGO City Adventures Tv series to life with the new LEGO City Main Square set. Families can now bring the excitement and buzz from city life into the comfort of their own homes – as The LEGO® Group launches the brand-new LEGO® City Main Square set. Designed for the whole family to build and re-build together, this latest product is the ultimate set in the entertaining world of LEGO® City …

Mattel celebrates International Lefthanders Day with Left Hand UNO. Mattel Games is celebrating International Lefthanders Day with a new UNO deck aimed at giving lefties and advantage. Left Hand UNO switches the numbers to the opposite side of the card so that left-handed players can better see their hand.

Abacus Brands to release Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit this Fall. Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit features uses augmented reality (AR) tech to illustrate scientific themes as animated and live-action versions of Nye appear to pop out of each page of the included 80-page, illustrated interactive workbook. Kids can use the included VR Goggles along with a compatible smartphone to view lessons from Nye in a VR tour of his actual lab.

The fight for supremacy is on in Marvel Future Fight’s new Inhumans vs. X-men update. Netmarble’s latest update today for the popular mobile game MARVEL Future Fight brings all-new Inhuman and X-Men characters and uniforms that are inspired by Marvel’s “Inhumans vs. X-Men” comic storyline as well as other popular Inhumans adventures. This update also brings numerous other improvements for player...

DC Direct shuttered amid WarnerMedia restructuring. After a 22-year run, the in-house toy and collectibles arm of DC Comics is no more. Launched in 1998, DC Direct marketed a collector-focused range of action figures, statues, prop replicas, and other items. For eight years, the division rebranded as DC Collectibles prior to returning to its DC Direct name during Toy Fair New York last February.

Xbox narrows down Series X launch window to November 2020. Both Xbox and PlayStation have yet to actually disclose a set-in-stone launch date for their next generation consoles, but Xbox is inching ever-so-closer to doing so.  The company officially announced today that the Xbox Series X will launch during the month of November

Funko reveals second wave of PlayStation Pop! vinyls. Funko and PlayStation have revealed their second wave of Pop! vinyls in preparation for the release of the PlayStation 5. The figures, which will sell exclusively at GameStop, include characters from games like “Ratchet & Clank,” “Death Stranding,” “The Last of Us,” “The Last of Us 2” and “Twisted Metal.”

Hasbro will release an animatronic Baby Yoda into U.S. Retail. Hasbro will release Star Wars Collection: The Child Animatronic Edition, an animatronic The Child toy from the hit series The Mandalorian, into U.S. retail on November 1. Hasbro has applied the old Disney Imagineer animatronic magic to the global sensation known as The Child.

Minecraft: Education Edition is available on Chromebooks just in time for the school year. Microsoft is adding Chromebook support to Minecraft: Education Edition, offering another way for schools to teach virtually this upcoming school year. Designed specifically for a classroom setting, Minecraft: Education Edition provides tools for educators like virtual chalkboards and a Classroom mode that allows teachers....

Microsoft delays Halo Infinite to 2021. Microsoft and 343 Industries are making the decision to delay the launch of Halo Infinite to 2021. 343 Industries says the delay is related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as employees have shifted to work from home and development of large games has been particularly difficult for many in the industry.

Kinder unveils African-inspired range for Animal Adventures. Kinder is launching its Animal Adventures range across Kinder Surprise and Chocolate for a second year, following last year’s South American-themed toy range. This year 21 African wildlife toys will replace last year’s toys, made with “tailored materials and functions to improve the physical play experience”.

Micro Puzzles, Viz Art Ink collaborate for hand-drawn puzzle collection. Micro Puzzles entered into a new licensing deal with Gregg “Viz” Visintainer’s Viz Art Ink for a colorful new collection of puzzles.The offerings feature Viz Art Ink creations reproduced on Micro Puzzles’ signature 150-piece, 4- by 6-inch puzzles.

Mattel has the power in new Masters of the Universe toy line reveal featuring UNO, Fisher-Price and Mega Construx. Mattel has unveiled a new generation-spanning collection of toys, action figures, tabletop games and even a themed version of its popular card game UNO all based on the Masters of the Universe franchise, proving that the global toymaker really does ‘have the power.’A launch that will coincide with...

Trump’s executive order against Tencent will not affect its games businesses. Donald Trump has signed two executive orders – one that will prohibit Americans from doing business with TikTok-owner ByteDance, and the second prohibits transactions related to the app WeChat, owned by Tencent. The news set off concerns that Tencent’s considerable number of video games businesses would be affected by the order.

Massive Warner layoffs gut DC Comics, DC Universe. The merger between AT&T and Time Warner into another monolithic media megacorporation has seen a massive wave of layoffs targeted primarily at Warner Bros. this week. One area hit hardest overnight was DC Entertainment, with reports of huge swathes of staff at both DC Comics and DC Universe laid off.

Microsoft’s new Xbox Series S console confirmed in leaked controller packaging. Microsoft is rumored to be unveiling its second, cheaper next-gen Xbox console this month, and it looks like it will definitely be called Xbox Series S. The Verge has obtained photos of Microsoft’s new next-gen Xbox controller in white, complete with packaging that mentions the Xbox Series S.

Scottish board game outfit Taxi Game sees sales surge as it readies five new launches for 2020. The Scottish outfit of developers behind the board game Taxi Game has witnessed a sales surge ‘eclipsing even the national increase in board game sales,’ thanks to an increase in demand for the entertainment medium by families spending more time together at home. The business has seen its best quarterly sales...

Games Workshop will release new 'Warhammer 40,000' paint sets that include miniatures. Games Workshop will release Space Marines: Assault Intercessors + Paints Set and Necrons: Warriors + Paints Set, for use with Warhammer 40,000, on August 15. Games Workshop also unveiled three new starter sets for Warhammer 40,000, Recruit Edition, Elite Edition, and Command Edition.

Amazon rebrands Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming. Amazon is rebranding Twitch Prime, which gives Amazon Prime subscribers perks on the company’s live streaming platform, by dropping the Twitch name and emphasizing the Prime part of the brand. The service will now be known as Prime Gaming.

Rainbow Designs unveils innovative new pre-school toy line for The Adventures of Paddington. Rainbow Designs has lifted the lid on its new range of pre-school toys based on the new The Adventures of Paddington TV series. The innovative toy range has been developed by Phat Mojo and distributed in the UK by Rainbow Designs. The new collection has been designed to engage a new generation of fans...

FFG plans new figure pack for 'Journeys In Middle-Earth'. Fantasy Flight Games will release Dwellers in Darkness Figure Pack, for The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth, in October, the company announced. The new figure pack will contain three new miniatures of the iconic villains from the Shadowed Paths campaign …

Asmodee USA reveals 'Mysterium Park' for U.S. trade. Asmodee USA revealed Mysterium Park, a mystery-solving board game by Libellud, for release in Q4. In Mysterium Park, the former director has disappeared, and a ghost has appeared to help players solve the mystery.

Amazon stumbled as it worked to break into the lucrative video game industry. Now it’s trying again. On Monday, Amazon announced Prime Gaming, which is essentially a rebranding of its Twitch Prime service that provides exclusive game content. Just over a month ago, the company pulled its original big-budget game, Crucible, from digital store shelves after it was panned as a “hollow and forgettable experience.”

(the above posted after August 7th)

Argos unveils its Top 12 Christmas Toys list. Argos will continue producing its Christmas gift guide, having scrapped its twice-yearly catalogue earlier this year. Argos has announced the 12 toys it thinks will be topping Christmas wish lists this year, with licensed plush, construction sets, collectibles and tech toys all making an appearance.

Beyblade Content, toys to arrive ahead of 20th anniversary specialThe first generation of Beyblade content is now available on the brand’s YouTube channel, marking the beginning of many celebrations from APK Emotions NY ahead of the cartoon’s 20th anniversary.

Content will be dropped weekly, featuring classic episodes in English and Spanish.

Fisher-Price launches Rainbow Rangers toys at Amazon, Walmart. Mattel has launched the first Fisher-Price toy line for the colorful preschool series Rainbow Rangers, available now at Walmart and Amazon. Rainbow Rangers is a rescue-based series that follows the adventures of seven girls who are Earth’s first responders, protecting people, animals, resources, and the natural beauty of the planet.

Ubisoft wades deeper into the world of game streaming with new Parsec partnership. Ubisoft is no stranger to cloud-based game streaming given its past with Google Stadia, but it looks like the company is exploring other facets of the technology through a partnership with streaming tech company Parsec. The two companies have come together on a strategic deal that will see Ubisoft using Parsec’s...

Schleich’s 85th anniversary celebrations to kick off this month... and unveiled a Limited Edition Golden Lion figure. Created in 1935 and named after founder Friedrich Schleich, Schleich was originally based in Stuttgart where the company initially made and sold velvet-covered dolls made of wire and wood. The first bendable figures came in 1957, before the world-famous blue Smurfs 1965. 

Fall Guys attracts 1.5 million players within 24 hours of launch. Fall Guys has attracted over 1.5 million new players within 24 hours of launch, according to developer Mediatonic. The game launched on PS4 and Steam on August 4, but was made available to PlayStation Plus...

Epic brings new cars to Fortnite as part of today’s Joy Ride update. As part of the new 13.40 update known as Joy Ride, Epic Games is introducing a new series of new cars for Fortnite. While they aren’t the first vehicles to drop onto a Fortnite map near you — we previously saw golf carts, shopping carts, planes, bikes, and even massive robots — the more typical four-wheeled cars will likely add a new wrinkle to...

Boss Fight Studio announces The Umbrella Academy action figure line. Boss Fight Studio, creator of fan-favorite, highly articulated figures announces their latest action figure line, The Umbrella Academy from television studio Universal Content Productions and brokered by UCP’s licensing agency, Striker Entertainment! With characters based on the wildly popular Netflix show, the action figures will feature...

The Machine Empire threatens the Power Rangers. Renegade Game Studios has announced Power Rangers: Villain Pack #2 - The Machine Empire, a new expansion for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, for release on September 30. The Royal House of Gadgetry have set their sights on the planet Earth and only the Power Rangers can stop them.

Microsoft to launch xCloud on GamePass on September 15th, available on android devices. Microsoft has announced that it is bringing its cloud-streaming service xCloud to Xbox Game Pass on September 15th of this year, in supported countries. The service will have over 100 games from Game pass available, which will be playable on Android devices via an app. Achievements, game saves, progression and all other...

CMON reveals that 'Massive Darkness 2: Hellscape' will launch soon. CMON Limited revealed that Massive Darkness 2, the sequel to the Massive Darkness dungeon crawl board game (see "Review: 'Massive Darkness' (Board Game)"), will be coming to Kickstarter on August 4 at 3 PM EST. In Masssive Darkness 2, ten years have past since the Lightbringers defeated the Darkness and saved the land. The Darkness has…

Good Smile Company’s newest figure, POP UP PARADE Ruby Rose is now available for pre-order! TOKYO, JAPAN, August 4th, 2020- Good Smile Company, Inc., a premier Japanese collectible figure maker, announced on August 3rd, 2020 (PT) that POP UP PARADE Ruby Rose is now available worldwide. 

Fantasy Flight Games unveils two new expansion packs for Star Wars: Legion. Gen Con Online News. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled two new Expansion Packs for Star Wars: Legion, Anakin Skywalker Commander Expansion and Darth Maul and Sith Probe Droids Operative Expansion, for release in November.

Funrise Toys launches BFF Bright Fairy Friends. Funrise Toys has launched a collectible doll line called BFF Bright Fairy Friends. There are 12 dolls in the collection, each with rainbow, light-up wings; a motion-activated, twinkling fairy jar; and four fairy surprises for kids to unbox.

Families can get to know the fantastical fairy characters before taking them home with Funrise’s new animation series on YouTube.

Rubik’s solves Rubik’s Cube App. Rubik’s has produced the world’s first Rubik’s Cube official app. The app uses phone cameras and artificial intelligence processing to track a real 3D Rubik’s Cube and enhance the on-screen video in real-time, with arrows ‘painted’ on the Cube’s tiles to help teach how to solve it. 

Halo Infinite's multiplayer is a free-to-play mode. Microsoft and 343 Industries look to be taking a page from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s standalone and free-to-play Warzone mode for their upcoming launch of Halo Infinite. While previous Halo games have locked access to multiplayer behind a full game purchase, the Halo team announced via tweet that Halo Infinite's multiplayer mode will be free-to-play.

Subway Surfers’ Subsurf Toys slide into Walmart. SYBO Games’ Subway Surfers have made their way to Walmart. The first collection of Subsurf lifestyle toys from Alpha Group USA arrives at Walmart alongside an update to the popular mobile game that finds the Subway Surfers characters running through Little Rock, Arkansas, and a digital version of a Walmart store.

Fantasy Flight Games unveils massive Twilight Imperium expansion. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled Twilight Imperium: Prophecy of Kings, an expansion for Twilight Imperium core game, for release in Q4. Prophecy of Kings is a huge expansion that is packed to the brim with new content for Twilight Imperium. It features forty new system and hyperlane tiles, and adds new planets and obstacles to the map.

Flip-A-Mallows Named 2020 Plush Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine. Kellytoy, a subsidiary of Jazwares, LLC, announced today that Creative Child Magazine has named its all-new line of Flip-A-Mallows™ — the “reversible” addition to the Squishmallows® family — a 2020 Plush Toy of the Year. Before this national publication announces winners of its highly-respected award, every new plush product...

Tomy is launching an extensive marketing campaign centred on its newest line, Ricky Zoom – the first ever all-bike show for pre-schoolers. The company says the large-scale campaign has been devised to promote and celebrate the growth of Tomy’s licensed toy product offering and support its retailers. Partnering with property owner Hasbro as master toy licensee, Tomy has created an innovative and engaging Ricky...

Jazwares and Hasbro are teaming up for a retro revival that will delight all fans of the ’80s and ’90s collectables hit, Micro Machines, with the relaunch of the entire line, including new play-sets and Micro Machine vehicles. The new retro-launch has landed at Target and Walmart stores across the US this week. Returning for the first time in over 10 years, the classic toy automobile collection enjoyed a popularity for...

Universal and AMC announce theatrical window agreement. The agreement follows a turbulent relationship between Universal and AMC Theatres, triggered by issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Universal and AMC Theatres cinema chain have announced a multi-year agreement in which films released under the Universal Pictures and Focus Features banners will be shown in AMC Theatres...

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . 

MANGA IN THE COVID ERA: BINGE READING, BOX SETS, VOLUME 1S, MORE  ICv2 Interview: VIZ Media Vice President Publishing Sales Kevin Hamric.  VIZ has been doing extraordinarily well during the pandemic period.  Our sales are beyond expectations.  We started off the year strong, and then the pandemic hit, and we took a look at our business.  We even had talks about, should we revise our revenue budget and our goals?  

How Pokemon Go evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 has created existential and logistical problems for game developers of all stripes. When the pandemic began, Niantic didn't just need to send its employees home for safety, it needed to make sure its massively popular game didn't drive players out into the world to catch or spread the very infectious disease.

From impulse purchase to scented stress relief: How Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is surviving the pandemic. With retail stores shuttered, play dates canceled and schools moving into homes, Crazy Aaron’s product sat on shelves, no word of mouth or last-second purchases to lift sales. Within the first week of shutdown, Crazy Aaron’s was able to pivot to hand sanitizer production. In recent months, putty sales ...

Konami builds on Yu-Gi-Oh! Remote Duel. Konami is building on its Remote Duel program, which allows Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Tournament Stores to organize online duels, with remote invitationals.  Konami Vice President Card Business Yumi Hoashi explained the program.  "Because currently under the social distancing guidelines, it's impossible to be able to set up a duel with two opponents face to face and...

 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Disney, Viacom, others will limit data collection to settle children's privacy battle. Disney, Viacom and other companies have agreed to limit data collection and behavioral advertising techniques in children's apps, to settle privacy lawsuits brought by parents. “Children will be protected from advertising based on any past online activities or any previously collected data in the subject app or anywhere else...

In-game advertising, the compliance perspective. With more than a quarter of the world’s population playing games across PC, console and mobile, we'll take a deep dive into how, when and why you should be looking towards leveraging a Consent Management Platform

Some Nerf Supersoaker water pistols have been recalled due to a safety issue - here’s how to tell if you’re affected. The decorative sticker on the water tank of the Super Soaker XP 20 and Super Soaker XP 30 water blasters "may contain levels of lead in the ink that exceed regulatory...

"The presence of lead is limited to the decorative sticker affixed to the water tank of the blasters,” the company clarifies.

(the above posted after August 7th)

Shanghai Police Announce Arrests in Hasbro Transformers Criminal Copyright Case. Shanghai may be becoming the venue of choice for criminal prosecution of intellectual property infringement.  The Shanghai Public Security Bureau announced the arrest of several...

Hasbro pulls Trolls doll after complaints it grooms children for abuse. hese petitioners aren’t playing around. A doll based on the movie “Trolls” is being pulled from shelves after online watchdogs slammed the toy for allegedly promoting pedophilia. 

Millions of children in India suffer from lead poisoning. A UNICEF report reveal that around 275 million Indian kids suffer from lead poisoning. Soil, water, air and surfaces can be the potential sources of lead alongside utensils, toys …

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Press Releases . . .

KIDS AMPLIFY THEIR ‘INSIDE VOICES’ THANKS TO JAMMIN WITH YOU’S EXTENSIVE VIRTUAL LESSONS. Become a Virtuoso, Virtually, During The Summer 2020 Lull And Into The Hybrid School Year As Other Childhood Activities Get Postponed.  Another day, another announcement that something your child signed up for is being cancelled. Karate, preseason practice, ballet? Oh no! Jammin With You is coming to the rescue for kids whose summer camps are cancelled and for schools across the country forced to drop the arts and extracurriculars because they are going virtual. Jammin With You, the kid’s music institution in New York City and Boston, passionately believes in the power of music to bring joy...

Spin Master Declares August 11 Global Kinetic Sand™ Day in Celebration of the Original, Magical Sand. To celebrate the day, Spin Master is teaming up with Hilaria Baldwin, mother of four, co-host of Mom Brain podcast, author and contributor at TODAY.com and People, not to mention Kinetic Sand aficionado. "I am so excited to partner with Spin Master to kick off the first-ever global Kinetic Sand Day,"

(the above posted after August 7th)

PlayMonster CEO Bob Wann Announced as a Nominee for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Announced today by the Toy Industry Association, PlayMonster CEO and Chief PlayMonster Bob Wann has been named a nominee for induction into the prestigious Toy Industry Hall of Fame as part of its 2021 awards program.

Fun, Balancing Act for Players of Endless Games' New Dropsy Card Game. A card game where all you have to do is get three of the same color. Sounds simple right? It was, until Endless Games turned it into Dropsy, the game where players can't discard and they have to hold their cards in some unusual ways while trying to get the three-of-a-kind.

Cra-Z-Art Announces Expanded Nickelodeon Licensing Deal. Cra-Z-Art, a prime manufacturer and leader in trendy toy, art, and school supply products, announced today a strategic expansion of their current licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to market and distribute pre-made Slime, DIY Slime kits and modeling compounds globally. Previously, the company only sold those items in the U.S. 

Spin Master and Feld Entertainment Inc. Expand Relationship With New Five-Year Licensing Agreement for Supercross™. Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY) (www.spinmaster.com), a leading global children's entertainment company, announced today a licensing agreement with Feld Entertainment Inc. (www.feldentertainment.com) as the new global master toy licensee for Supercross™, the premier off-road motorcycle...

Funrise Toys Announces Launch and Availability for NEW BFF Bright Fairy Friends Flying Onto Retail Shelves. Funrise, Inc., an industry leader and global innovator in the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of children's toys worldwide, announced today the launch of its NEW BFF Bright Fairy Friends small doll line, now available for purchase.

 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals  . . .

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

GDC 2021 shifts back four months to July with hybrid event. The conference is being billed as a ‘hybrid event’ and will take place from Monday, July 19th through Friday, July 23rd, 2021 at both the Moscone Center in San Francisco and online. With the format being described as an inaugural event for the format, suggesting that a greater online presence will be an ongoing element.

Facebook Gaming to build on its inspirational SheTalksGames series as Exclusive Media Partner of the Women in Games Awards.  “Facebook Gaming are delighted to partner once again with the MCV/Develop Women In Games Awards” said Cheryl Savage, Director of Gaming, Facebook EMEA. “This is the 5th year in which we have participated in the Women In Games and we are looking forward to...

DreamToys 2020 will go digital this year due to Covid-19 impact on the UK. The Toy Retailers Association and DreamToys committee today announced, DreamToys 2020 will take place as a digital event this year. “Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, it is not possible to hold a large-scale physical event to announce the DreamToys list,” commented Gary Grant, chair of the DreamToys selection committee …

Toy & Edu China, first-ever Licensing China together welcome 61,553 visitors. Held at the brand-new Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China and Licensing China hosted 1,321 exhibitors from eight countries and regions across seven halls (140,000 sqm), while 61,553 visitors attended. Together, the fairs including the debut edition of Licensing China.

Asmodee introduces its own virtual trade event AsmoFair for 2020AsmoFair.Taking its own stance against the swell of cancelled industry shows this year, the board game distributor has partnered with its sister company Coiledspring Games to launch the virtual event that will run from September 2nd to September 5th.

The Toy Insider prepares to unwrap Holiday of Play @ Home. Following the success of its first-ever virtual event, Sweet Suite @ Home, our sister publication, the Toy Insider is getting ready to help sleigh the holiday shopping season. Set to take place on October 22, the Toy Insider’s 9th annual Holiday of Play event is going virtual this year …

NYCC OFFICIALLY CANCELED, ONLINE EVENT IN THE WORKS. ReedPop announced today that, while there will be no in-person event at the Javits Center this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company will partner with YouTube for a digital version of the event. From October 8-11, the New York Comic Con YouTube channel will exclusively stream panels from Starz, CBS All Access, DreamWorks Animation, Hulu, FX, and more.

Messe Frankfurt hails success of Licensing China a ‘positive step towards the return of trade shows’. Messe Frankfurt has heralded the success of its three events, Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and the inaugural Licensing China, as the first positive steps for the return of B2B events and in-person interactions in the region. The trio of events were the first fairs to be held by the organisation since Feb...

The Asian Animation Summit goes virtual for 2020. The ninth annual Asian Animation Summit has bitten the bullet and confirmed that this year’s event will take place in the virtual landscape, a move made in response to the continued travel restrictions and health and safety issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Summit will now take place online from November 16 to December 4 this year.

(the above posted after August 7th)

Spielwarenmesse details Covid-19 safety measures for 2021 Nuremberg toy fair. Spielwarenmesse’s Nuremberg toy fair will be going ahead next year, with numerous health and safety features implemented to make the annual international gathering Covid-19 safe, the show’s organizers have confirmed. Among the numerous measures that will be taken and put in place at the international toy trade show...

Develop:Brighton to be replaced by a digital event. Tandem Events has announced Develop:Brighton Digital, an online-only event to replace this year’s Develop:Brighton, which was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online event will take place from 2-4 November 2020, and this year’s Develop:Star Awards will be also be held digitally, and will take place on Wednesday 4 November.

Voting opens for 2021 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees. The Toy Association is making plans to honor the next round of inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. This year’s nomination process differs in that members are invited to cast their votes for 1 of the 4 living nominees through Aug. 31. The nominees are: Philip Bloom, founder and former publisher, The Bloom Report; William C. Killgallon: chairman of the board...

ASTRA is excited to announce the ASTRA Camp™ experience, a creative reimagining of the virtual trade show and conference. This two-week virtual event on August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 invites the specialty toy industry to take part in an adventure packed with opportunities to discover new products and manufacturers, connect with fellow campers, and gain new business insights into navigating the Q4...

Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China prep for opening. More than 1,300 exhibitors are on deck to test the waters at the first major in-person toy and licensing trade show to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After being postponed twice, Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China will open their doors from August 6-8 at the new Shenzhen World Exhibition...

“It feels as though the games industry is moving into a new phase” – Women in Games Awards sponsor Creative Assembly on the growing diversity in our industry. With the Women in Games Awards 2020 returning on November 25th, we’re taking the opportunity to not only look ahead to the awards, but to look back on the year as a whole. It has obviously been a difficult year – one that has introduced new and unexpected challenges, while reminding us that there’s still much to be done to remedy long-standing problems in the industry.

plaY-room buying event cancelled. The plaY-room buying event was scheduled to take place Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th September, but the pausing of lockdown easing means this is no longer possible. In an official statement, the group said: “AIS (plaY-room) was very optimistic that mindsets were shifting in their favour when Public Health England stated that it could ‘invite customers into the workplace for...

Enjoy live GDC podcasts hosted by Gamasutra throughout GDC Summer! GDC organizers confirm that the hosts of the GDC podcast will be producing a daily, hour-long show of game industry news, discussion and interviews during GDC Summer!Broadcasting live to GDC Summer attendees for an hour every afternoon next Tuesday-Thursday, the GDC Podcast Live! hosted by Gamasutra will give you an opportunity to...

LEGO and the National Trust launch Young Explorers competition for ‘stay-cationing’ families this summer. The LEGO Group UK and Ireland has teamed up with the National Trust to launch the first Young Explorer competition, in which the pair will encourage kids across the UK to get creative in the outdoors this summer. To coincide with National Play Day on August 5th, and National Trust’s Play Week, running...

League of Legends world championship will be held in Shanghai starting in September. Even though many esports tournaments this year have been postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Riot Games announced that it will hold the League of Legends World Championship 2020 in Shanghai from September 25th to October 31st. The company says by hosting the event at one site rather than...

Gayming Magazine launches LGBTQ-focused games awards. Gayming Magazine, the online video game outlet, is launching “the world’s first award ceremony celebrating all that is great about LGBTQ video gaming.” The awards, which will celebrate games that represent and champion the LGBTQ community, will take place next year.“The Gayming Awards will be the world’s first award ceremony celebrating...

The Licensing Leadership Summit, which was set to take place this November in New York City, will now go virtual as part of Festival of Licensing. The Summit is the only virtual conference to unite C-level executives from the world’s largest players across manufacturing, retail and brands to discuss, debate and collaborate on the future of brand licensing. The executive conference will take place Oct. 28-29. 

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

Toyworld (UK) 

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) 

 1.  Konami Builds on 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Remote Duel'
  2.  Wizards of the Coast Shakes Up 'Magic: The Gathering' with Surprise Bannings
  3.  Repos Productions Announces New Edition of '7 Wonders'
  4.  Games Workshop Teases 'Blood Bowl: Second Season Edition'
  5.  WizKids Announces 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures: Ogre Zombie - Paint Night Kit'
  6.  Fantasy Flight Games Unveils Massive 'Twilight Imperium' Expansion
  7.  Fantasy Flight Games Unveils 'X-Men: Mutant Insurrection'
  8.  New Ships Join the Fight in 'Star Wars: X-Wing'
  9.  AEG CEO John Zinser Hospitalized After Brain Surgery
10.  'The Galaxy's Most Wanted' Comes To 'Marvel Champions Card Game'

Spielwarenmesse Magazine-Monthly, not Weekly  (Germany) 

TOYS Magazine (Germany) 

Toy & Hobby (Australia) 

Week ending 07 August

Week ending 14 August

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

 

 

Tabletop Wire (US)

  • TBA

Video of the Week

CHITAG's Young Inventor Spring Challenge 2020 Winners Reveled!

Thank you Mattel, Magformers, Scholastic and ASTRA

for making this inspiring event possible! 

 

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 Philphilip.bloom100@verizon.net   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher