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...

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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 . . . 

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

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. ted 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...

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...

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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!

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...

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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.”

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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.

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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,"

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.

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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