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August 19-26, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

Our main events are BACK in-person for our 20th YEAR!  New events, new venues, new timing and new ways to connect are all happening up-close and in-person!

 

The Inventor events and TAGIEs will be in November as always, and we are adding a crazy fun POP Pub Night Roast to crank up the fun. The public consumer Fair will be moving toward the holidays in December at Rosemont Convention Center, where we‘ll have Girl Scout and Boy Scout overnight “Camp-outs” and we’ll be partnering with a chocolate show to bring more people and more delicious fun to all! And.... even better - there’ll be a roughly 30% cost savings for exhibitors!

 

Wait! – There’s more! This year, part of the Inventor events will be in Chicago and hosted by Radio Flyer, the TAGIEs will be at the historic Epiphany Hall and in the coming years we’ll be hitting the road to different cities and featuring a different host company each year. As Angus Walker of Hasbro said, “It is analogous to the Olympics in bringing together people from all companies at one host company and city.”​

Join us! Book NOW! 

  • Inventor Pitches and Innovation Conference (includes POP Roast and Pub Night at Radio Flyer, TAGIEs at Epiphany Hall) November 17 -20

  • Toy & Game Int’l Excellence Awards (the TAGIEs) and After Party November 19 at the historic Epiphany Hall

  • Young Inventor Challenge November 19th at Radio Flyer

  • Holiday Toy and Game Fair with Girl Scout and Boy Scout indoor sleepovers December 10-11 at Rosemont a Chicago suburb adjacent to Chicago and near O'Hare airport (link will be posted next week)

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues! You can also comment on the posts in the News Feed! 

Mary

"I am a long-time reader and champion of the Bloom Report. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry  is unmatched and  I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool." 

- Jim Engle, President and Founder, Little Kids Inc. 

"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

Not only do I read the Bloom Report every week, I make everyone important in the running of our company across the globe read it as well. -Dennis Callaghan, Tree Toys and Roo Games

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Person of the Week - Andres Alfonso, Educational Insights

Sparking a Passion for Toy Design through Skateboarding

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A Q&A with Andres Alfonso of Educational Insights

 

Andres Alfonso is the UI Digital Design Manager at Educational Insights, the Southern California based educational toy and game manufacturer committed to "igniting the spark" in every child. Andres has spent the last five years volunteering with the Next Up Foundation, which stimulates increased interest in school, promotes higher education, and presents career opportunities to underserved children in Los Angeles through skateboarding and the arts.

 

Andres is currently preparing to kick off a six-month after school design workshop for the Next Up Foundation. We sat down with him to learn more about his work with the foundation, talk about how his passion for skateboarding sparked, and hear how it led  to his career in graphic design and work at Educational Insights.

READ MORE...

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Book Reviews by POP's Julia DeKorte

Brick by Brick

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David Robertson’s masterpiece, Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry gives an intensive, in-depth look into the world of LEGO: its founding, financial downfall, and exponential success through its attempts to master the rules of innovation.

Beginning with Ole Kirk Christiansen’s founding of LEGO in his garage in 1932, Robertson covers LEGO’s history since before plastic bricks were even an idea. Moving chronologically through the heads of the company, Robertson analyzes the decisions LEGO made in an attempt to become the strongest brand among children and families, and where they went wrong.

In what became known as the Poul Plougmann era, LEGO began chasing innovation without truly knowing what that meant to the company. Plougmann hastily applied the seven universal truths of innovation to LEGO, setting the concept of innovation on a pedestal higher than the core values of LEGO, which began LEGO’s decline. Robertson breaks down each universal truth in terms of how LEGO applied them and the success they brought, leading readers to believe LEGO was on its way to achieving its goal in the same way that company executives were at the time.

In the next chapter, Jørgen Vig Knudstrop and Jesper Ovesen are introduced as new hires to figure out why LEGO’s fiscal health was in danger if these rules of innovation had just been implemented. Robertson allows readers to feel the same shock that senior managers did with this storytelling technique, making the book engaging as well as interesting. He then breaks down the rules of innovation again, this time explaining how LEGO went wrong, the core problem being that the true LEGO values had been set aside.     READ MORE...

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3 Truths and a Lie - Ken Lewis

To be part of the game, all you need is a POP profile with your Fun Facts completed and let us know! We'll do the rest! 

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Don't forget to add your skills and expertise on your POP profile...

if you don't have a POP profile, you're probably missing great opportunities!

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From a ​M​ajor ​C​able ​N​etwork​ Talent Booker​: ​"​We are working on a toy related docuseries. The series is focused on the entrepreneurial endeavors of our characters through interviews. Some of the topics we're interested in covering are the history of video games, action figures, toy designers, dolls/plush toys, building sets, puzzles and tech boosted toys. If any of these topics speak to you, please add the topics to your expertise in your POP Profile. We have discovered great contacts we are using in the series through POP and looking for more!​"​

"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies

I recommend populating your skills and expertise as well as writing about subjects you love. People will discover you on POP - I was just asked to keynote for a big event! -Gert Garman 

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Financial and Legal

 

Sony is acquiring mobile game developer Savage Game Studios, the company announced on Monday. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Savage Game is joining a newly created PlayStation Studios Mobile Division, which will focus on creating games based on new and existing PlayStation IP. Sony says the new studio, which will operate independently from console game development, aims to reach new...

LA-based Invisible Universe, the studio behind digital-first IPs like Qai Qai and Clydeo, is testing out a “community-driven” approach to its latest project. On the heels of raising US$12 million in funding, the company has launched The R3al Metaverse, featuring five NFT-inspired characters living together. 

 

California lawmakers have passed a bill that seeks to make apps and other online spaces safer for kids in the absence of robust federal standards. The bill, if signed into law, would impose a set of new protections for people under the age of 18 in California, potentially punishing tech companies with thousands in fines for every child affected by any violation.

 

Last Friday, the UK energy regulator Ofgem announced a huge rise in the energy price cap; as a result, starting in Oct., a typical household will pay £3,549 a year for gas and electricity, compared to the current £1,971 figure. There have also strong suggestions that the cap will rise again in Jan. and April 2023, which will inevitably put many people’s household finances under considerable strain and impact both consumer...

 

Animation Ireland is asking the Irish government for a long-term tax credit program to keep the country’s industry competitive and productive. It is asking the government to extend Ireland’s current tax credit scheme, (referred to by its regulatory code, Section 481) through to 2029. It is currently set to expire in 2024.

 

Toronto-based producer/investor Productivity Media has taken a minority stake in  Vancouver’s Wind Sun Sky Entertainment  and the two companies will collaborate to create new kids and family content together. The focus for both partners is on multiplatform animated series in the vein of WSS’s virtual summer camp brand Camp Bonkers, which launched in 2020 and offers music and arts & crafts programs for kids...

 

G.I. Joe Inventor Sues to Break Hasbro’s Kung-Fu Grip on Toy’s Copyright. Stanley A. Weston says that the rights to the military action figure should revert to him. In his complaint, Weston said that he signed a contract in 1964 with the company granting the company the copyright interests in the figures. But Weston claimed that the statutory period on the contract expires in 2020, at which point the copyrights...

***The above posted after tBR sent on August 26th***

 

Hasbro Considers Sale or Restructuring of Entertainment Assets. The world's largest toy company spent $4 billion to move into Hollywood. Now it's having second thoughts.  In August 2019, Hasbro Inc. announced it was paying about $4 billion to acquire Entertainment One (eOne), the Canadian media company best known for the kids’ TV series “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks.” 

Walmart has reportedly cancelled ‘billions in orders’ due to overstocks as the retailer attempts to clear out inventory excess. Walmart has found itself with higher-than-usual stock levels, which the company says is a result of delayed orders from Q1 and Q2 that it has only recently taken delivery of. Together with current, existing orders, this means that Walmart’s warehouses and stockrooms are now overflowing. A shift by...

 

Asmodee’s parent co. Embracer Grp to acquire IP rights to the literary works Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. Embracer Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary Freemode has entered into an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Co., which owns a vast intellectual property catalogue and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games...

Legal claim filed against Sony over 30% store cut. Suit accuses PlayStation maker of "abuse of market power" and overcharging consumers. A lawsuit that seeks to win compensation for almost nine million UK consumers was filed against Sony last week, accusing the PlayStation maker of abusing its status to overcharge players, developers and publishers. According to consumer rights expert Alex Neill, Sony is...

PlayStation sued for £5bn in the UK over ‘rip-off’ games. Sony PlayStation is being sued for £5bn in the UK over allegations it "ripped off its customers" with overpriced games and in-game purchases. The group legal action, led by consumer rights champion Alex Neill, could see almost nine million gamers compensated. 

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Financial Reporting

 

BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP STUFFS THE COFFERS WITH THE HIGHEST FIRST HALF REVENUES IN COMPANY HISTORY

 

Bed Bath & Beyond shares fall 21% after announcing it will close about 20% of stores, reduce its workforce, and may sell new shares

 

***the above posted after August 26th***

 

Macy’s claims it can achieve $1b annual sales from Toys R Us in store areas in the US

Macy’s cuts full-year forecast despite strong quarter, fearing shoppers will pull back on spending

 

Singing Machine Announces 92% Increase in First Quarter Revenues

Minions posts the biggest pandemic-era opening day yet for an animated title in China

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero beats expectations with US$20.1-million opening weekend

 

 

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

UK Toy shoppers return to the high street and out-of-town specialist retailers, says NPD. Parents continue to buy toys, but sales to grandparents and other relatives are down, data shows.

 

LatAm Kids Are Worried About Bullying, Online Privacy

Netflix in the UK has joined Amazon Prime Video in claiming it will not be cutting spending, despite the cost of living crisis and its recent battles with subscriber declines. 

 

***the above posted after August 26th***

 

HotWheels, Star Wars, Ninja Turtles a hit with 'kidults' as toy sector bounces back.

How do Europe's gamers compare to America's? 

Obscure video game movies could flood the industry following Sonic’s success

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

The Legacy of America's Most Remarkable Kid. At 14, he had just published his autobiography. He was making plans to expand his 350-acre farm to buy up surrounding farms to convert to regenerative agriculture. He was saving money to build a house for his parents and another for his autistic older brother. He was polishing a movie script and a series of children’s books teaching business literacy for kids. He was looking for a celebrity to endorse his line of luxury toiletries made from the milk of his goat herd. He was breeding heritage turkeys. He was writing guest essays for notable bloggers higher up the political food chain. And, in his spare time, he had the task of grading the road to his farm using the John Deere tractor he bought new for himself for his 11th birthday.

 

TTPM, the leader in video product reviews for toys, baby, and pet gear announced their Best of Baby 2022 List. The list features the best Baby Gear across 10 categories, designed to educate parents. “After countless hours of rigorous testing and inspection, these are the baby products parents can rely on to raise their baby with care. Parents depend on our expert team to help them make informed shopping decisions.” said Jim Silver, CEO, TTPM.

Walmart unwrapped its 2022 Top Toy List this week with 55 curated picks for the holiday season, more than half of which are exclusive to the retail giant. Top brands this year include LEGO, CoComelon, Jurassic World, Hot Wheels, L.O.L. Surprise!, PAW Patrol, Barbie, Magic Mixies, and more.

***The above posted after August 26th***

John Baulch, Toy World, Everyone wants a happy ending ……it’s the Friday Blog!. Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the water, it’s ‘throwback to 2021’ time, as supply chain disruption is firmly back on the agenda once more. The potential impact of this week’s strike at the port of Felixstowe – the UK’s largest container port, which deals with around half of the UK’s standard-size container traffic – has been...

In China’s Version of ‘Minions’ Movie, Morality Triumphs. When their latest film, “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” opened in China last Friday, censors decided to impose some law and order. In the original version, the film’s two main villains make a bold escape, unpunished. But on Chinese social media, photographs of what appeared to be a jarringly different epilogue stitched into the credits section soon began to circulate...

 

SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE SWITCHING FROM CARGO VESSELS TO WOODEN SAILING SHIPS. "IT'S ACTUALLY MORE EXPENSIVE AND TAKES MORE TIME TO SHIP BY CONTAINER SHIP." Everything old is new again — at least in the cargo industry. This week, Insider reported that a handful of companies are ditching expensive cargo vessels that rely on fossil fuels and are switching back to good ol' sailing ships.

YouTube isn’t cool with videos of Tesla FSD beta testing on kids. YouTube removed two videos from its platform showing Tesla drivers using their own children to conduct vehicle safety tests. The tests were meant to prove that Tesla’s Autopilot and “full self-driving” (FSD) beta software — the automaker’s advanced driver assistance systems which have automated driving features but do not enable the cars to drive themselves...

 

UK Indie retailer Midco Toys unveils top predictions for Christmas. Midco owner Dave Middleton has decided to reveal the list now to help those consumers who are starting their Christmas shopping early. Speaking to Toy World, Dave explained that the list reflects “what we sell, which is a bit different to a lot of other retailers. Stranger Things has been massive for us all year, as have Squishmallows, Pokemon and Funko. 

How the controversial Barbie brand made a comeback. Barbie is a 63-year-old doll, and its longtime iconography has made it a major staple of Mattel’s business. Though iconic, the brand has had a troubled past regarding its promotion of unrealistic beauty standards for children, according to parents and some researchers. Since the hiring of CEO Ynon Kreiz in 2018, Mattel began to make major changes...

Xbox: TV key to taking cloud gaming mainstream. Microsoft's Harrison Hoffman says streaming a game needs to be as simple as watching a movie on Netflix. Xbox believes its TV app with Samsung – and no doubt future partnership – will be crucial in making streaming video games via the cloud a mainstream pastime. 

 

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History and Nostalgia

 

The Bizarre History of Dollhouses. Today’s dollhouses descended from 16th-century “baby houses.” Baby houses were made of cabinets divided into tiny compartments and were used to display miniature furniture and household accessories, all of which were finely made. They were exclusively for adults and were only found in the homes of very wealthy European ladies, who used the displays to show off their wealth and...

 

***The above posted after August 26th***

 

Slime Monster Game from Mattel (1977). In Mattel’s Slime Monster, players competed to defeat a creature that invaded a town and oozed the green, viscous compound. Mattel introduced Slime in 1976, packaging the non-toxic, water-soluble combination of guar gum and borax in trashcan-shaped packaging. The Slime Monster game represented the company’s first attempt to “gamify” the toy.

Shrink Machine from Wham-O (1968). Several years before Shrinky Dinks came on the scene, Wham-O unveiled Shrink Machine, a creative toy that allowed children to create “shrinkies” out of plastic. The toy was powered by an internal 40-watt appliance light bulb installed below a heater plate. The internals were housed in a red plastic case with a clear, hinged plastic cover. 

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of Big Wheels? Ray Lohr created the first version of the Big Wheel from tricycle parts that he re-assembled upside down. In the 1960s, designers at Louis Marx & Co. did the same, creating a tricycle that handled more like a racecar than a bike. Low to the ground, the Big Wheel allowed kids to pull skid-outs at high speeds, a perk that made them quite popular. 

 

\Do you ever wonder who first thought of Rubber Duckies? The rubber duckie first appeared in the late 1800s, shortly after Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber. Surprisingly, the first rubber duckies didn’t float. In fact, they were solid, heavy, and intended as chew toys. Then in the 1930s, two separate rubber duckie bath toys were created, and the association between rubber duckies and bath time was born.

 

Blast from the past: 30 toys that defined the '80s. From talking stuffed animals to handheld video games, the toys of the time helped shape a generation. Some of the toys that defined the time have crazy stories about them. Take, for example, shopping for a Cabbage Patch Kids doll around Christmas in 1983, which meant parents were putting their safety at risk with the many riots that ensued, ...

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of American Girl Dolls? American Girl dolls were created by educator and newscaster Pleasant Rowland. After a visit to historic Williamsburg, Virginia and a Christmas shopping trip for her nieces, Rowland was inspired to create her line of 18-inch dolls that each represented a different era of America’s past. The first three were Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly. Rowland first sold the dolls by direct mail and between September and December of 1986, American Girl dolls made $1.7 million. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

 

Pop Mart x Chupa Chups Create a Magical World with Satyr Rory. Pop Mart, China’s leading creator and manufacturer of pop art toys, has teamed up with Perfetti Van Melle to create a playful collaboration that brings together the world of Chupa Chups with the popular character Satyr Rory, an adorable mythological creature of Korean designer Seulgie. This September the collectible range will be launched in China, including...

 

WildBrain Television Announces Three More Original Greenlights from Canadian Producers Exclusive to Family Channel. WildBrain Television, one of Canada’s most-loved kids’ and family broadcast networks, announces that Family Channel, its flagship broadcast network, has greenlit three new content projects across live-action and animation, in partnership with independent Canadian producers.

 

Italian broadcaster Boing, a joint venture between RTI Mediaset and Warner Bros. Discovery, has ordered the live-action game show Wild Things – kids edition for kids and families. The series is an adaptation of the Wild Things format, inspired by the classic kids book, Where the Wild Things Are, and is produced by France’s Banijay. In it, four teams compete doing various challenges in the forest, often wearing bulky...

 

Commissioned by BBC CBeebies and made by Alphablocks Ltd and Blue Zoo animation studios, the multi-award-winning creators of smash-hit shows Numberblocks and Alphablocks, Colourblocks helps young children dive into the world of colour. “With the third show in our ever-expanding learning universe, we fully expect to grow our audience of super-engaged learners and give them a confident on-ramp into the...

Canada’s Corus Entertainment is rebranding its kids and family streamer Nick+ as Teletoon+, based on the branding of its kids channel of the same name. The shift will take place on Sept. 1, and the new streamer will feature commercial-free and downloadable content. It will be offered through apps, cablecos and subscription services such as Prime Video for an additional $5.99 per month.

 

Apple TV+ has revealed its fall lineup of new content, featuring a robust kids lineup targeting the space between preschool and teen. Children make a big leap from preschool series to tween series without much in between and the streamer is filling that gap with 90′s-style series as inspiration, which families can enjoy together without anyone feeling like it is too young or too old.

 

Cowabunga! Playmates Toys Reissues Classic TMNT Toon Turtles.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been roaming toy departments for decades, and now a popular sub-line from 1993 is back at the Bullseye. The Classic Toon Turtles action figure four-pack comes in a TV-shaped box with figures that actually look like the characters as they appeared in the original cartoon series.

 

London-based CAKE has acquired international distribution rights to the YouTube original series Super Sema. UK- and Nairobi-based Kukua produces the 20 x five-minute CG-animated preschool series about twins who turn to science and technology to protect their African village from a villain and his army of robots. Actor Lupita N’Yong’o (Black Panther) executive produces.

 

Tonies has announced three new arrivals to the Toniebox. Fans of CoComelon can now enjoy JJ and CoComelon sharing stories and captivating songs. Each Tonie is suitable for age 3+ with content that is approximately 40 minutes long. Three brand new PJ Masks Tonies; Owlette, Catboy and Gekko are filled with superhero stories and songs. 

 

Ravensburger has announced a collaboration with Disney to launch Disney Lorcana. This brand-new trading card game (TCG) will feature beloved Disney characters in both original and reimagined art styles that live in an all-new world with unique and magical gameplay. The game is slated for global release in autumn 2023.

 

IMC Toys Launches Cry Babies Magic Tears Licensing Program with Key Partners Including Bendon Publishing, Happy Threads and Intimo
This Fall, fans of Cry Babies Magic Tears will have even more to love as IMC Toys signs deals with three leading licensing partners to create products in the publishing, arts and crafts, daywear, nightwear, swimwear and luggage categories.

 

Bounce Partners with MGM to Launch ‘The Pink Panther and the Case of the Missing Diamond’ Interactive Outdoor Adventure. The Pink Panther Diamond has been stolen! Pink Panther remains one of the most iconic global franchises. Known for his suaveness and style, Pink Panther continues to attract new generations of fans around the globe.  Now, in partnership with MGM, the Bounce app will give users...

 

Disney & Miko Announce Exclusive Collaboration.  The magical worlds of Disney and Pixar have arrived on the Miko 3 robot. The collaboration is a historic first for the consumer robotics space and the latest indication that AI will play a growing role in the future of kids entertainment. Miko, a consumer robotics company specializing in kids education and entertainment, unveiled its Disney collaboration today to customers...

 

Tubby Todd Launches Eric Carle Themed Skincare CollectionWorld of Eric Carle has announced an exciting new partnership with Tubby Todd on its Limited Edition Sweet Apple Skincare Collection!  The Collection features iconic Eric Carle illustrations from the classic children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar in a nostalgic, sweet apple scent.

 

VP Racing Expands Licensing Program in the UK and Europe with Kustom Yard. VP Racing Fuels, Incorporated, a global leader in performance fuels, lubricants, and additives, has announced that they have entered into a license agreement with Kustom Yard Limited, a UK-based licensee, and distributor of automotive lifestyle products, for an apparel, accessories and gift and novelty program for the European market.

 

Previous License This! winners, The Charmsters, have announced a licensing deal with cosmetics brand Winky Lux, launching on National Entrepreneur Day on Nov. 15. The likenesses of The Charmsters’ characters, Architect Aaliyah, Reporter Rita, Entrepreneur Ella, Coder Cora, Innovator Ivy and Blogger Bailey, will be featured on Winky Lux packaging. 

 

UK-based Jetpack Distribution has inked deals with broadcasters in the UK and Europe for more than 760 half hours of content, with preschool series Chuggington leading the pack. IFC Media in Czech Republic and Slovakia, Danish pubcaster DR and Latvia pubcaster LTV all picked up various seasons of the CG-animated series about a young team of trains

Multiple prodcos are taking a horrifying trip to Zombie Town, a live-action adaptation of R.L. Stines’ 2012 tween mystery novel. Canada’s Trimuse Entertainment, India’s Toonz Media Group and LA-based Lookout Entertainment and Viva Pictures have all signed on as executive producers on the project, while Viva will also serve as the feature-length film’s distributor. Zombie Town is set to premiere in theaters across... 

 

Rap icon Snoop Dogg has teamed up with producer Claude Brooks and singer-songwriter October London to create an animated online kids series that’s packed with (educational) hip hop rhymes. Doggyland—Kids Songs & Nursery Rhymes aims to develop social, emotional and cognitive abilities in preschoolers. Four episodes were released on the Doggyland YouTube channel this week, and a new one will drop weekly..

***The above posted after August 26th***

 

BBC is tuning up its schedule with a commitment to broadcast family-friendly competition series The Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever. Featuring nine- to 14-yr-olds going head to head singing original songs, the event will simulcast on December 11 across CBBC, BBC One and BBC iPlayer. This aged-down version of a popular singing contest for adults launched in 2003, and kids from 39 different countries...

 

Caroline Mickler Limited has signed two new licenses for Novel Entertainment’s internationally renowned Horrid Henry brand. Winning Moves, a maker of international family favorite games, has launched a special Horrid Henry edition of the classic Top Trumps card game. Games, toys and arts and crafts developer John Adams Leisure, meanwhile, is planning a Horrid Henry version of its popular book-making studio Bookeez.

 

Toho International along with HUF Worldwide have officially launched a limited-edition capsule collection inspired by Japanese cinema’s world-famous King of the Monsters, Godzilla. Available now exclusively at Urban Outfitters as well as HUF retail and ecommerce stores, the apparel and skateboard collection features artwork by contemporary graphic artist Kosuke Kawamura. 

Back to School with the Squirrels as Hey Duggee Returns for Fourth Season. Multi award-winning hit animation Hey Duggee will begin its fourth season on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer on 5 September as we learn all about the Squirrels’ first days at the Clubhouse. Five special episodes released daily on CBeebies will reveal what happened when each Squirrel visited Duggee for the very first time as children in England...

 

Productivity Media Partners with Wind Sun Sky Entertainment to Expand Media Strategy. Productivity Media, Inc (PMI), co-producers and financiers of high-quality original film and TV, is partnering with Wind Sun Sky Entertainment (WSS), pioneers in multi-platform digital entertainment, to expand its’ media footprint and innovative content offerings.

 

Wondery Reups Three Kids Podcasts. The studio is focused on growth in the co-listening space, and has put new seasons of Whose Amazing Life?, The Adventures of Cairo and Melon's House Party in the pipeline to achieve it. Seeking to meet a heightened demand for co-listening content since launching its Wondery Kids subscription service on Apple Podcasts last year, Amazon’s podcast studio has renewed kids and family...

 

Moonbug Entertainment has announced its distribution deal with The Walt Disney Company in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, expanding its partnership with Disney in multiple territories. Go Buster and Lellobee City Farm, both spin-off series of the world-renowned Little Baby Bum, will now be available on Disney+.

 

LA’s Toybox Labs has signed licensing deals with Universal and Paramount to develop two new ranges of printable toys for its namesake 3D printer.  The Paramount partnership will result in 3D prints based on popular characters and environments from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants franchise, and Toybox will work with Universal on a line of unique 8-Bit designs featuring Illumination’s Minions IP. 

 

Miko, a consumer robotics company specialising in kids education and entertainment, has unveiled its Disney collaboration to customers in more than 140 countries. The latest edition of Miko will include animated storybooks featuring characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ Moana, Frozen, The Lion King, Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story, Big Hero 6, and Coco, adding to its fast-growing kids content...

 

Dropping a few days before season five of karate-themed hit Cobra Kai starts streaming on Netflix, a new competition series from Warner Bros. Discovery is coming to Discovery+ next month. Kiddie Kai (six x 60 minutes) is produced by New York-based Hot Snakes Media and set in the “Blackbelt Byway,” a martial arts hot spot in the Southeast US. Following kids and their families through a season of training and...

 

Devolver Digital is growing internationally. The digital entertainment company signed several worldwide licensing partners for its popular video game, Fall Guys. The multiplayer party game will now partner with seven brands to bring new merchandise across the globe, including Moose Toys, Hasbro, Wow! Stuff, Bandai, Kotobukiya, Super Impulse, and ItemLab. 

 

In conjunction with Hasbro, Bettinardi Golf is collaborating with one of America’s most iconic board games, Monopoly, which will combine Bettinardi’s superior American craftsmanship in golf with the beloved Mr. Monopoly, along with the timeless icons from the game. The assortment will feature a wide range of products that will launch online over the course of three days and include putters, wedges, headcovers, metal ...

 

Prime Video has announced the host and judges for their brand new series Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge. The series will be hosted by actress, producer, and Emmy award-winner Tamera Mowry-Housley, with critically acclaimed pastry chef Clarice Lam and accomplished cake designer and pastry chef Joshua John Russell as judges. The series will premiere on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide...

 

Welcome to J Balvin’s token Madness! For August 2022, Hasbro and J Balvin have teamed up to create Monopoly: J Balvin Limited Edition. Balvin, who is known for his colorful style and smiley face design which he incorporates into this one-of-a-kind board, becomes the first globally recognized Latin star with his own Monopoly game. 

 

Highly Spirited And LAPC Conjure Up Scarygirl Film. Based on an IP created by Aussie author and illustrator Nathan Jurevicius, the project will target a girl-skewing audience in the eight to 12 range. Production on the CG-animated feature film is currently underway in Queensland, and Scarygirl is expected to premiere in October 2023, distributed by Australia’s Madman Entertainment there and in New Zealand.

 

Success Of Moley Sparks New Prodco. Two Daughters Entertainment will build on the quirky animated show’s success with help from former Dreamworks Animation head Bonnie Arnold and a new sub-distribution deal in China. It’s not often that a mole gets international attention, but this week’s news that Moley creator James Reatchlous is launching a new UK-based production company with big Hollywood names did the trick.

 

Zoonicorn Dines Out On New CP Deals.   The preschool brand has inked licensing deals with SRM Entertainment and E Graphic Design for home-based products featuring the design-friendly hybrid of unicorns and zebras. Zoonicorn launched stateside in 2015 as a plush toy and clothing line. 

‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game’ video game announced. Video game publisher, Good Shepherd Entertainment, and entertainment studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), have revealed a new entry into the multiplayer horror genre: “Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game,” a new 3v7 asymmetrical online multiplayer game inspired by MGM’s 1988 cult classic horror film. 

 

Raft of licensing partners sign up for Fall Guys videogame. Moose Toys, Hasbro and Wow! Stuff are among the worldwide licensing partners for record-breaking videogame Fall Guys. Developed by Mediatonic and published by Epic Games, Fall Guys is a multiplayer party videogame where hordes of clumsy beans take on bizarre obstacles and chaotic game show rounds in an epic quest for the Crown.

Pouch Australia and Imagination Entertainment secure licensing for ‘PAW Patrol’. The Australian creators of the original Play Pouch, in partnership with Imagination Entertainment, have secured licensing rights for Paramount’s animated preschool series, “PAW Patrol.” The PAW Patrol Play Pouch provides a place to play, is easy to pack away and offers a compact and portable toy storage solution. 

 

‘Clash of Kings’ signs global licensing deal with Dunhuang Inspiration. A licensing agreement has been reached between mobile game, “Clash of Kings” and Dunhuang Inspiration – part of the Dunhuang Culture & Tourism Group.  The two-year deal, brokered by art and cultural IP specialist ARTiSTORY, gives “Clash of Kings" exclusive access to the historic assets, artworks and location-based resources of Dunhuang...

Wizards of the Coast licenses 'Doctor Who'. Wizards of the Coast licensed the BBC's Doctor Who for a new Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond collaboration. The Doctor's Tardis has landed in the Magic Multiverse as part of new licensing collaboration. This announced product line will include brand-new Commander Decks, Collector Boosters, and Secret Lair drops. 

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People of Play

Insight Editions is growing its company. The pop-culture publisher revealed a restructuring of its editorial, sales, and marketing departments. This shift is the latest in a year of strategic hiring, product development, and growth. To begin with, Vanessa Lopez — formally an executive at Insight Editions — has been promoted to vice president and co-publisher in recognition of her role in expanding the company’s licensing and...

Hasbro-owned multinational Entertainment One (eOne) has promoted Ben Megargel to SVP of development for unscripted TV. Upped from his previous role as VP, Megargel will continue to expand the company’s unscripted slate, including titles based on Hasbro IP. He originally joined the company in 2014 as director of development and has helped to create shows including BET+ docuseries The Impact ATL, ...

 

LA-based Funko has hired former Disney and Microsoft exec Dave Renke as its head of strategic initiatives  Renke moves over to Funko from edtech company Age of Learning (owner of ABCMouse.com) and will launch and lead programs aimed at creating new content and commerce opportunities through partnerships and new products. Renke joins Funko in the midst of a broad expansion of the toyco’s product...

 

Moose Toys is celebrating another addition to its global team, with the appointment of Geraint Roberts as senior national account manager.Based in Cornwall, Geraint has already started his new role and is responsible for leading the Smyths account across both UK and Ireland, as well as the CE business.

 

Fun in Motion Toys is growing its leadership team. The toy company tapped Abner Silverio to join its team in a newly created position as vice president of product development.  “Coming soon after being honored as #281 in the 2022 INC. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, Abner is absolutely the right person at the right time,” says Kevin Daniels, founding president of Fun in Motion Toys.

A Farewell from Maddie Michalik, Editor, ToyBook. One brisk winter day in New York City, I was standing in a toy closet looking for a specific product. I was so amused and giddy that I was even inside something called a “toy closet,” filled with endless products that looked familiar and those I had yet to learn about. My task? I was looking for a Slinky to create an Instagram post. An eager intern wanting to impress, I searched...

 

***The above was posted after August 26th***

 

A Children’s Show About Everything, Especially Music. The creator behind the series “Bluey” on Disney+ says, “I didn’t want the usual kids’ TV scoring.” Joff Bush, the composer for “Bluey,” said he draws from classical music because “these are great pieces of music, and they don’t have to be heard in a concert hall where we’re all sitting quiet. They can be for everybody.”

 

Adventure Media & Events LLC, publisher of the Toy Book, the Toy Report, the Toy Insider, and the Pop Insider, named James Zahn as editor-in-chief of the Toy Book effective immediately. The announcement was made by Laurie Schacht, CEO. Zahn previously served as deputy editor of the Toy Book, a position he held since March 2021.

 

AVOD platform Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDBtv) is promoting its content and programming co-heads, Ryan Pirozzi and Lauren Anderson, into top-level positions. At Amazon Studios, Anderson has been upped to head of AVOD original content and programming, with responsibility for Freevee and Prime Video’s FAST channels. Before joining the company, she served as chief content officer for NBCUniversal/Snapchat...

Paramount Consumer Products is growing its Web3 business. The global media and entertainment company tapped Misan Harriman to serve as its creative advisor for its Web3 business. In this new role, Harriman will bring his experience in the creation and collection of NFTs to advise on Paramount’s relationships in the Web3 space, as well as create his own collections for the company in the future. 

 

Chicago toy and game designer reflects on career in new memoir 'A Game Maker's Life' Jeffrey Breslow discusses his new memoir "A Game Maker's Life" and some of his most defining moments and creations.

An intrepid team of eight Winning Moves women is raising money for Sarcoma UK by undertaking the Welsh 3 Peaks challenge in memory of Alana, who died last year aged just 32. Claire Simon, Global Marketing manager at Winning Moves and a friend of Alana, told Toy World: “Last year, everyone at Winning Moves lost a wonderful colleague and friend too soon. Alana Duncan, who was a project manager at...

 

Flying Bark eyes anime & 2D with new creative director. LEGO: Monkie Kid director Sarah Harper will lead the company's expansion into original content and anime-influenced projects. With a remit to expand the company’s slate of originals, Harper will head up the After Bark production arm that launched in March to make animated content for teens and adults. She has been with Studio 100-owned Flying Bark since...

 

The Rock Father Podcast with James Zahn | Episode 2: Pumpkin Everything & Fighting the Too Sooners. This week, James Zahn discusses the not-so-early arrival of seasonal merchandise at retail — including Halloween and Christmas — and how the “too soon” crowd of complainers is back out in force. On the show, Zahn breaks down his experiences with the “too soon” crowd while working at Walmart and...

Nolan Bushnell needs no introduction. When he arrives at Two Bit Circus in downtown LA, I recognize him as soon as he steps out of his car: the grandfatherly goofball with a shock of white beard, tall and casual in a baseball cap and sneakers.  It is a warehouse filled with gaming stations, baroque furniture, art installations and other sensory stimulants. A life-size Hungry Hungry Hippos awaits players—children and child-like...

Creative Kids appoints new international sales manager. Arts and crafts company Creative Kids has appointed Maria Betania De Freitas is its new international sales manager. Maria started in consumer products at Sambro, where she managed existing European accounts and then opened new horizons for all the company’s categories around the world.

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Companies and Brands

 

Mattel‘s Fisher-Price is getting into the festive fall season with its latest Little People Collector set. The Little People Collector Día de Muertos figure set honors the customs, symbols, and rituals of the time-honored holiday of remembrance that takes place on Nov. 1. The trio of 2.5-inch Little People figures comes in a colorful window display box. Each figure contains authentic design details, including calaveras (skulls)...

 

Grow Your Crew with Freeny’s Hidden Dissectibles – One Piece (Warlords Edition) from Mighty Jaxx. Award-winning future culture company Mighty Jaxx sets sail with Series 4 of their Freeny’s Hidden Dissectibles: One Piece (Warlords Edition).    This collection of blindboxes features seven of the most powerful pirates in the world of One Piece including Kuma, Weevil, Doflamingo, Law, Buggy, Mihawk, and keep an eye out for...

 

From Bratz to L.O.L. Surprise!, MGA Entertainment has championed diverse and inclusive brands throughout its history. Bestselling brand Rainbow High has now launched its fourth series of dolls and features characters with albinism and vitiligo. In a campaign to celebrate the launch of this line and to highlight the importance of inclusivity in the toy industry generally, the brand has partnered with both Zebedee Talent...

Projecting its ambitions for the future, Magicbox has unveiled its new corporate image with an inspirational, animated logo that embodies the company’s vision to be fresh, fun and full of magic. The move comes as the company also announces its smart new headquarters in Barcelona.  “The new animated Magicbox logo represents our number one aim to excite children though our toys,” said UK...

 

Toys ‘R’ Us Asia Debuts New Store Concept in Hong Kong.  The new toy destination seeks to improve the shopping experience while focusing on child development and grouping toys by play category, rather than brand. New themed areas will include cars and vehicles, creative corner, and more.

 

Melissa & Doug Launches New Toys to Inspire Infant and Toddler Development.  The collection of 16 infant and toddler toys is designed to inspire learning and development through open-ended play. The target demographic ranges from newborns to 2-year-olds and the toys feature a variety of shapes, textures, and themes designed for discovery and imagination

 

Basic Fun!, Hasbro, and Shaquille O’Neal will kick off a month-long Tonka Playcation promotion tomorrow with an event in New York City. The campaign, timed with Tonka’s 75th birthday, calls upon families to put down their screens and take a “Playcation” together with their favorite Tonka vehicles

 

Reydon Sports is exploring a hybrid of sport and toy lines through an innovative set of products from Franklin Sports.  Reydon’s B2B model allows it to supply and service the world of retail via its UK distribution centre, and the company is now making a huge splash in Europe for the Franklin Sports brand. The 16+ SKU launch for Reydon has unveiled a collection of sporting product lines which fit perfectly into any toy, ...

 

Playmobil is extending its range of Fi?ures with new My Fi?ures play sets, which each come with a classic play scene and 6 disassembled figures to allow children to create and customise their own characters. Playmobil Fi?ures have always been popular with little ones, for their surprise element and the opportunity to build, create and customise each figure, allowing children to make any character they wish.

 

Spin Master is readying for a fun-filled holiday season beginning with five innovative toys making Walmart's 2022 Top Toy List. Spin Master's Kinetic Sand® Swirl N' Surprise™ Playset, Bakugan® Genesis Collection™ Pack, Purse Pets™ 'Glami-cone', PAW Patrol® Big Truck Pups Truck Stop HQ™ and Gabby's Dollhouse™ Gabby's Purrfect Dollhouse™ have all been selected to join the ranks of this year's most-wanted toys.

 

Retailers in the land down under will soon be able to stock Create A Castle productsThe Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award-winning Create A Castle inked a distribution deal with TOMY Australia. Under the new deal, Create A Castle products will be available throughout Australia in time for the holiday season.

 

Boti is teaming up with sister company, Goodmark Europe, to distribute its product in the French market. Goodmark has a successful track record in launching multiple party and seasonal products in France. While celebrating its 10th anniversary with the most successful year since the company began, Nico Blauw, CEO of Boti, says the time is right to expand to France.”Together with our sister company Goodmark NV...

 

Moose Toys launched its newest addition to the Magic Mixies line, the Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball. This interactive toy features a spellcasting wand that lets kids have the power to wield magic as they create a Magic Mixie. With a wave of the wand, little wizards can give the Mixie its voice, color, fortune telling powers, and more. 

 

The dudes and dudettes at PlayMonster are collaborating with PlayMonster's Dude Perfect again. The Beloit, Wisconsin-based toymaker inked a renewed deal with the popular YouTube stars to promote Koosh Flix Stix, one of the latest products to hit retail based on Hasbro’s long-running Koosh brand.

 

KESS ROLLS ITS DROP DOTS D20 INTO A KICKSTARTER HIT. Tabletop gaming fans will soon be able to roll a D20 unlike any other. Kess recently hit the Kickstarter funding goal for its Drop Dots D20 Jumbo Dice. The campaign, which at press time, still has three days to go, introduced gamers to a new take on the D20 (a 20-sided die system) that pairs the form and function of Kess’ spiky-but-soft Drop Dots with colorful, oversized dice. 

TANGLE SERVES UP BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTIONS FOR FALL. Specialty retailers looking to score the interest of kids and budget-minded parents have some new options to consider from Tangle. The new Tangle Phone Fidget is priced at just $10 and functions as a 3-in-1 accessory. It’s a fidget, a phone stand, and a therapy device that can help calm and bring focus to kids, especially those with ADHD.

 

FOAM DART BLASTERS GO VIRTUAL IN ‘NERF ULTIMATE CHAMPIONSHIP’. Even in the virtual reality (VR) space, “it’s NERF or nothin.'” Following months of teasing, NERF Ultimate Championship has launched on Meta Quest 2. The VR title was developed in-house at Secret Location, a VR studio run by Hasbro’s Entertainment One (eOne) division. NERF Ultimate Championship invites players to form a squad and master...

 

TONIES EXPANDS LINEUP WITH CAR ORGANIZER, NEW CHARACTERSAt this summer’s ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Long Beach, California, the Tonies booth was hoppin’ with some early looks at new products for late summer and fall. The leader in screen-free audio experiences for kids has been a big hit at specialty toy stores and continues to expand its reach into the mass market.

Hasbro kicked off Power Rangers Day, Aug. 28, by revealing plans for the 30th season of its Power Rangers franchise through its entertainment studio, eOne. The news comes as the toy and entertainment giant wraps up Power Week, a celebration of the franchise packed with new toy reveals. The 30th season, Power Rangers: Cosmic Fury, begins filming this Fall in New Zealand and will debut in debut ...

 

Electric 2022 for Elenco and Snap Circuits with Anniversary Celebrations and TOTY Nominations.  2022 has been an exciting year for Elenco, with a big end-of-year planned. This year, Elenco has been celebrating 50 years in business as the pioneers and leaders of STEM learning, while Snap Circuits celebrates 20 years of teaching and encouraging kids through play. 

 

Netflix has teamed up with Virginia-based disability advocacy group RespectAbility to launch a new program designed to give disabled TV writers, animators and executives some industry experience. The Children’s Content Lab will run online and in person (NY) from Oct. 17 to Nov. 17, providing training and networking opportunities to selected applicants who are pursuing a career in preschool and children’s TV. 

As a part of its plan to invest in content that prepares young kids for the real world, educational app-maker Lingokids is using its new podcast programs to tackle life-skill topics such as career development and mental wellness. The Madrid-based company tells Kidscreen that recent in-house research helped it identify a demand for content that helps kids develop “21st-century skills.”

 

***the above posted after August 26th***

 

Micro Games of America, a division of MGA Entertainment (MGA), has announced the launch of its Kickstarter campaign to bring its new AR-enhanced tabletop game Haunt Your House, the first title in its new, proprietary App-Vanced Game series, to market. Combining the best of tabletop and AR gaming in an immersive and social experience for families and gaming enthusiasts alike, the beta version of the game...

New Pokémon Trading Card Game ‘Sword & Shield – Silver Tempest’ Expansion Coming Soon. The Pokémon Company International unveiled the latest expansion of the best-selling Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), Sword & Shield—Silver Tempest, coming to participating retailers around the world starting on Nov. 11, 2022.

 

Kids2 announced the launch of Baby Einstein Connectables, an innovative STEAM inspired line of multi-sensory, magnetic activity blocks that ignite baby’s curiosity. This latest Baby Einstein line is connectable, collectable and offers infinite possibilities for creative play and learning. “We know that there is a strong desire from parents for early exposure to STEAM learning. But when you stroll down the baby aisle, these type of...

 

Smart Teddy Lets Moms Vent with ‘Smart Teddy Mom Challenge’. What is your biggest parenting challenge? Is it getting kids to brush their teeth? Getting them to sleep? Learn their ABCs? Whatever it is, Smart Teddy, the interactive talking teddy bear, wants to know. In advance of Nat'l Teddy Bear Day, September 9th, Smart Teddy is calling on moms to share their biggest parenting challenge in the Smart Teddy Mom Challenge...

 

Disney Kicks off World Princess Week with Toys and Costumes Fit for Royalty. World Princess Week had its inaugural run last year as part of the Ultimate Princess Celebration. Now it’s back in full force with new toys and products meant to inspire fans to show their best Disney Princess qualities in their daily lives.

 

Dobble and GWR are joining forces and holding #TheGameTrain Day to make summer holiday travel more enjoyable for families, and to get ‘More People Playing More Games More Often’. #TheGameTrain, which launched yesterday, will see Asmodee game Dobble on the various Great Western Railway trains, travelling from Paddington to Oxford, Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway.

 

Mattel, Inc. and Mattel Children’s Foundation have announced that they are partnering with Save the Children to invest in the next generation. From Aug 28 through Oct 1, when shoppers purchase select Barbie, Matchbox, and Little People items at Target stores nationwide and online at Target.com, a portion of the retail price from each sale, up to a certain amount, will be donated by Mattel to Save the Children’s...

 

Republic Records Launches Kids Division. The newest label from the company with Drake, Ariana Grande, Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift on its roster will feature family-friendly artists and tunes. The new division, which opened its doors on August 19, is headed up by Bree Bowles, the company’s former VP of marketing and strategy. 

 

Bandai UK has teamed up with The Entertainer to bring a splash of colour to the launch of its new True and The Rainbow Kingdom toy collection. The True costume character will kickstart its tour at the Braehead Shopping Centre in Glasgow this month, making its way into England and finally ending up at The Entertainer’s Brighton store in October. 

 

Following success overseas, the Nebulous Stars magazine will be released quarterly and aimed at 7-10 yr olds. Nebulous Stars magazine  will see the first issue dropping in Aug 2022. The UK roll-out means Nebulous Stars is now published in nine languages and available in 16 countries worldwide – Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Slovenia, Spain,...

 

MGA Entertainment’s Fashion Doll brand Rainbow High has announced the launch of its Rainbow High Mini Accessories Studio. The first accessories line to join the Rainbow High portfolio since the brand first hit shelves in 2020, the new range lets fans of the brand collect over 50 fashionable accessories for their Rainbow High dolls.

 

An experiential destination built by WowWee just suffered a major setback. Months of work went up in flames as fire destroyed WowWee‘s Playhouse LA. The hands-on play experience at 454 North Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood was nearing completion when the accident occurred. According to Sydney Wiseman, VP of creative development and brand strategy at WowWee, the incident took place around 5...

 

The latest addition to the historical doll collection from Mattel‘s American Girl has arrived, and her story and development were spawned by a tweet from a fan who just happened to be a NY Times best-selling author. Claudie Wells celebrates the Harlem Renaissance with a backstory rooted in New York City, circa 1922. 

 

Following the opening of its first U.S. location and a new flagship in South Korea this summer, Chinese retailer Pop Mart has planted its flag down under. The purveyor of original “art toys” opened its first full-line brick-and-mortar store in Australia this week at Chadstone — The Fashion Capital in Melbourne. The permanent location follows the success of a pop-up store, five Robo Shops, and an official digital storefront...

 

The LEGO Group just pulled back the curtain on the LEGO Ideas Motorized Lighthouse. The inspiration for the set comes from a 20-year-old LEGO fan from Canada, Sandro Quattrini. Quattrini submitted the original concept on the LEGO Ideas platform, where it received 10,000 votes. The LEGO Group then commissioned the concept to make it into a real set. 

 

Pumpkin Spice season is here, and Build-A-Bear Workshop is getting in on the fun with the release of their very own Pumpkin Spice Bear!  If you know someone who can’t get enough pumpkin spice lattes this fall, the Pumpkin Spice Bear is the perfect festive gift for them to fall in love with. Its pumpkin orange fur and sparkly gold paw pads create an unbearably cute solution for any caffeine fix!

10 Minutes With … Jazwares. License Global catches up with Sam Ferguson, vice president, global licensing, Jazwares, to talk about how brands keep innovating within the toy space and the appeal of the U.K. and European market. We’re one of the fastest growing toy companies on the planet, currently the industry’s #5 toy manufacturer in the U.S.*, with more than 1,000 employees across the world. 

 

'My Little Pony: Adventures In Equestria Deck-Building Game'. In the My Little Pony: Adventures in Equestria Deck-Building Game, players will work together to complete challenges.  As Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and more, players will need to travel amongst different locations throughout Ponyville, get new cards to improve their decks, complete tasks for resources, and overcome obstacles.  

Steve Jackson Games unveils two Holiday family games. Steve Jackson Games unveiled The 12 Dice of Christmas and Bad Christmas, two new holiday family games, for release in Q4. In The 12 Dice of Christmas, players attempt to grab dice with right numbers on them in order to by presents. Bad Christmas is a card game where awful presents are exchanged between players. 

 

Asmodee brings 'Box Monster' to U.S. On September 2, Asmodee will release Box Monster, a dexterity-based cooperative children’s game from Korean publisher Mandoo Games. The Box Monster eats everything: pizza, teddy bears, grandma’s false teeth, until it gets indigestion.  That’s where the players come in.  They must reach into its “stomach” to pull out the bad things. 

 

'Dulce' offers confection competition. Stronghold Games has announced Dulce, a game about competitive confectionaries, set to release on September 7. In Dulce, players compete to create the perfect desserts from farm to table.  First, players strategically plant beans such as cacao, vanilla, and peanuts on their personal player board, then harvest them for use in their factories to create tasty sweets.

PlayMonster releases new edition of Jeff Foxworthy’s Relative Insanity party game. PlayMonster is delivering the humor of American comedian Jeff Foxworthy in a brand-new edition of the original Relative Insanity party game. Relative Insanity 2nd Generation features new setup and punchline cards to spruce up game night. This version follows the same rules as the original. 

 

GF9 seeks lost souls in 'Enola Holmes' boardgame. Gale Force Nine has announced Enola Holmes:  Finder of Lost Souls, a deduction-based boardgame set to release in November, produced under license from Legendary. Enola Holmes is a one-against-many style board game in which most of the players must work together to unravel the “criminal’s” plot by solving a series of puzzles, acting as the titular Holmes...

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Gamers face price rise on PS5 but not Switch. Gamers looking to buy a new console face a price rise if they want a Sony PlayStation 5, but not if they choose a Nintendo Switch. PS5s will cost an extra £30 in the UK, with EU consoles going up by €50 (£42) and Canadian consoles by CAD $20 (£13). Sony is increasing its console prices because of inflation, it says, but Nintendo says that despite rising costs, its prices will stay the same. 

The Settlers of Catan will become a holographic AR board game in early 2023. Catan, one of the most critically acclaimed board games ever made and one that averages over a million copies sold per year, is about to leap off the tabletop thanks to a unique augmented reality gaming system that’s been in development for over a decade now. Tilt Five, a startup founded by a former Valve engineer, has just announced that a 3D...

 

MultiVersus, nearly a month old, surpasses 20 million players. Since Player First Games' MultiVersus went into open beta in late July, the game's gradually become a hit,  success keeps on growing. Today, Warner Bros. announced Player First Games' free-to-play platform fighter has recently surpassed the 20 million player milestone. Earlier in the month, MultiVersus logged 10 million players across all systems, and was the most...

 

Video games sales fell 9% in July. July 2022 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories fell 9% when compared to a year ago, to $4.18 billion. The total is slightly lower than the $4.19 billion generated in July 2020. Year-to-date spending has reached $30.5 billion, a 10% decline when compared to the same period in 2021. Subscription content remained the only major spending category that...

Highlighted Press Releases

 

TANGLE® UPS THE GAME THIS SEMESTER WITH PHONE & FOOTBALL FUN FROM MORNING TO NIGHT. Get Kids To Always Pick Up With $10 Tangle® Phone Fidget™ Then Make It Friday Night Lights Every Day With $20 NightBall® Matrix Football.  School days these days involve phones and football as much as French and Fine Arts! Tangle® has two creative tools to add to the back-to-school shopping list that are affordable and delightful for kids of all ages and abilities! Tangle® Phone Fidget™ ($10) is actually three phone accessories tangled together in vibrant colorways. Tangle® NightBall® Matrix Football ($20) is small enough to be a sure catch for the rookies. The light-up football means more moving outside, no matter how close it is to bedtime.

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

The growing category of toy blasters that fire projectile rounds made of super absorbent polymer (essentially, gel) is in the crosshairs yet again. Following months of headlines regarding consumer misuse of toy water bead blasters leading to scuffles with law enforcement, a new conflict has emerged over patented technology that may power some of the blasters. This week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) voted to institute an investigation of “certain soft projectile launching devices, components thereof, ammunition, and products containing same.”

 

Huffy Corporation Recalls Ride-On Toys Due to Fall and Injury Hazards. This recall involves Blue's Clues Foot to Floor Ride-on Toys. The ride-on toy is made with plush light blue fabric with spots and is in the shape of the cartoon dog character Blue’s Clues.  The ride-on toy has four wheels and has handlebars tucked behind the dog’s ears. 

Epoch Everlasting Play Recalls Kidoozie™ Activity Desk Toys Due to Entanglement and Entrapment HazardsWhen attached to a crib, a protruding knob on the activity desks can become entangled with clothing on a child, posing an entanglement hazard. The opening in the handle on the desks can also pose a jaw entrapment hazard to children under 18 months.  

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

Alma Train Party at Grand Central Station in NYC a Big Success. Over the weekend, the Alma Train Party was held in Grand Central Station, inviting local families to show up and celebrate with Alma’s Way series creator Sonia Manzano. The event was a rousing success, seeing high attendance from children and their families. The special “block party”-like event featured activities and stations from some of the Bronx’s...

 

The Mölkky World Championships were organised last weekend in Samoëns, France in which almost 800 competitors participated.  Mölkky is a skittle pin game similar to bowling or petanque and uses 12 wooden pins numbered one to 12  which are knocked down by a bigger pin – the Mölkky. The player to reach exactly 50 points wins. While some companies sell their own branded version of the game such as Finska... 

 

***The above posted after August 26th***

 

The Games Industry Conference, a new B2B event, will launch in the UK in February 2023.  Planned elements include an exhibit hall, B2B programming, and open networking.  The show will be open to people with a business interest in tabletop games, including publishers, designers, distributors, retailers, buyers, manufacturers, and logistics and fulfillment companies. The show is a joint venture of the UK Games Expo...

 

The Big Christmas Press Show returns this September, and this year is bigger than ever. The toy industry always has a particularly large presence at the show, and companies including Moose, JoJo Maman Bébé, Sambro Toys, Schleich and Epoch will all come together under one roof to showcase to the media their hottest products and offerings for Christmas. CIJ Group is delighted to welcome back one of its biggest and...

 

Top Pokémon Competitors Crowned at the 2022 Pokémon World Championships for the TCG and Video Game. The 2022 Pokémon World Championships came to a close yesterday following four days of intense matches and friendly competition in London, UK. The best Trainers from around the world attended the annual event to take part in the premier tournament for Pokémon video games and the Pokémon ...

 

The Game Awards sets a date: December 8th. Mark your calendars and get those predictions in because The Game Awards returns on December 8th. Geoff Keighley’s award show / marketing sizzle reel will be held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the show’s ninth year. This is the ninth year for the program in which fans and journalists vote for their choice of winners in categories like Content Creator of the Year and Best Narrative Game. The hallowed Game of the Year award is also doled out during the ceremony.

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

Michael John Lyden, of Greendale, Wisconsin passed away Friday, August 26, 2022 peacefully at the age of 80. Born in Fall River, Massachusetts he spent his youth along the eastern corridor from Rhode Island to Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The toy industry was his heart and soul, along with the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle (done proudly only in pen) and endless books loaned from the library. He adored visiting zoos around the world, fascinated by Snowflake, the albino gorilla at the Barcelona zoo and Tandi & Khanya, the rare white lion cubs (along with generally most animals).
He adored long evenings at restaurants, discos, bars around the world, making new friends wherever he frequented. From Carlos & Charlie's in Hollywood to TJ's Piano Bar in Westport Connecticut, to most recently his daughter's wine bar in Greendale, Wisconsin, he was one to charm the socks off of anyone he met. Given the opportunity he'd gladly take you up on a well-made steak tartare with the perfect frites. He adored gushing stories about the golf courses he'd played or flying the Concord all while extending the evening with a sambuca and coffee, with exactly three beans for good fortune in life.
He loved regaling new friends and old with stories of his time spent in the toy industry, starting as a teenager as a stock clerk in the first Toys "R" Us in Virginia. From there he worked tirelessly and steadfastly to rise the ranks at Toys R Us, then to Mattel. At Mattel he led the development of Hot Wheels as Vice President of Boys Brands in El Segundo, California. At Tyco Toys in Mount Laurel, New Jersey he rose to President of Tyco US where along his journey he was instrumental in the creation of the legendary Garfield telephone of the 80s, and Tickle me Elmo of the 90s. His favorite times were spent at Toy Fair every year in New York City, and with his many dear colleagues he made over 50+ years in the industry.
He was the ultimate perfectionist, with a lust for life that is rarely encountered. He endeared himself to many throughout his broad and unique life around the world.

He was the proud father of daughters Kelly (Jeff), Megan and Jennifer (Jason); Grandfather of Russell, Jessica (Steve), Rachel (Brett), Elle, Sadie and Uma; Great-Grandfather of Zachary, Emilie, Madelyn, Nikolai, Hazel and Theo. He is survived by his sisters Frances (George) and Colleen. He is preceeded by his parents Francis and Evelyn (nee Lassonde) Lyden. 

 

Ralph Eggleston,  Longtime Pixar animator  and the Oscar-winning director behind the 2000 short film For the Birds who also worked in the art departments of films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles — has died. Eggleston died in San Rafael, Calif., on Monday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, according to Variety. Pixar Animation Studios confirmed Eggleston's death in a statement released on Twitter Monday. "In memory of Ralph Eggleston — animator, director, art director, storyboard artist, writer, production designer, and our dear friend. Pixar and the world will be forever grateful," the studio tweeted. Among his colleagues, Jorge R. Gutierrez, director of The Book of Life, also honored the moviemaker with a tribute.

 

Rob Hale, the indie game developer best known as Squid in a Box, has passed away. Earlier this month, Hale died of cancer, and his partner CJ recently broke the news on the Steam forums of Hale's game, Waves 2: Notorious.

"Rob was very passionate about their work, and ever so dedicated, over the years we were together they were always dreaming big and trying so hard to create the best game they could possibly make," wrote CJ. "It was a joy to support Rob, through that initial Kickstarter, and the years of indie development that followed."

Prior to indie development, Hale had worked as a modder and developer on triple-A titles. Their first solo game, Waves, was a twin-stick shooter that released in 2011. Waves 2 released as an Early Access title in 2015 and will remain unfinished. Despite that, CJ pointed out that Rob was "dedicated to their craft," even when that ambition didn't always lead to success.

"I know they would have liked to have completed that final project," CJ continued, "but as Covid encroached, the need to have a more stable income was looming and between these factors and Rob’s struggles with their health, they never got the time to cap off this particular branch of their legacy."

Both Waves games have been made free to play on Steam, something CJ said Hale had been considering in the months before his passing. "I hope this can be seen as a parting gift to all those out there that haven’t yet played either of these games."

Liz Goulet Dubois - It’s with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Liz Goulet Dubois,, one of Fred’s most prolific and influential product designers. Liz was instrumental in launching the Fred brand back in 2004 — helping define the brand language of fun and functional products and accessories. Many of Liz’s early designs have become cornerstones of the brand, and remain best-sellers today.

Along with designing some of Fred’s most beloved products, Liz also mentored the young designers that joined the Fred team over the years. She was wonderfully weird, and looked at the world through a different set of lenses - fostering the sense of whimsy and playfulness that has been the foundation of the brand.

Liz left the company back in 2018 to focus her efforts on writing and illustrating children’s books. She thankfully was able to see the publishing of her first book in a series, Duck and Cluck: That Egg Is Mine!, released this past January. The sequel is due to be released next spring. Visit duckandcluck.net for more information.

A scholarship fund has been set up in Liz’s name through The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for young authors/illustrators who are looking to break into the field.

Through the month of August, we will donate all profits from the sale of Liz’s collection of products on our site to her scholarship fund. https://www.genuinefred.com/.../designer-liz-goulet-dubois

Liz’s life revolved around being creative. Though it was cut short, the contributions she’s given to so many through her designs and illustrations live on. She was loved, and will be missed.

Her Friends at Fred

Amparo Serrano, One of Mexico’s most successful artists and toymakers has - known to many fans as Amparín — died last week following an accident in her home outside of Mexico City. The 56-year-old artist and designer was the creator and founder of Distroller, the international company behind the colorful Neonate Babies, Chamoy & Amiguis, and Virgencita Plis brands. Serrano founded Distroller in 2004 and built a business that quickly expanded across toys, licensing, and entertainment. The Neonate Babies aka Ksi-Meritos became an international hit that led to the opening of a few experiential Distroller World stores in the U.S. While the stores closed on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic, Distroller has remained a popular direct-to-consumer toy brand and recently exhibited at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.

 

Travis Day. Travis Day, an Irvine-area game designer who spent over a decade at Blizzard Entertainment, has died at age 41. The news comes from his sister Rachel Day, a VFX artist and producer at Bonfire Studios. No cause of death was given.

Day's journey in the video game industry began at 2005 at Blizzard Entertainment, where he worked first as a customer service representative, then quality assurance tester. He would eventually become a game designer on World of Warcraft and system designer on Diablo III. He also worked on major expansions for both titles.

In 2018, he left Blizzard Entertainment and joined Phoenix Labs, working on Dauntless. According to his Twitter profile, he also spent time at Lightspeed LA, Tencent's Irvine-area game development studio.

Day's colleagues left kind words for him in response to the news shared by his sister Rachel. He was described as "a pleasure and chat to work with," and "a friend, colleague and caring individual who shared his life and insights with anyone who would listen."

For her part, Rachel Day said that "Travis was loved greatly by friends and family and will be deeply missed."

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