the Bloom Report
Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is Dec. 17-24, 2021. Click Here for Last Week
News posted daily with most recent at top of each section and previous week drops off on Friday when we email you highlights.
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom
Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . .
Today as part of our Twelve Memes of Christmas on POP!, we salute Steve Casino and his peanut art. You’ve got to see the entertaining and awesome video of Steve's Peanut Art, which has been celebrated internationally! Take a break and enjoy HERE!
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This is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on how grateful we are to call you a part of our community. Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.
tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers: Take Your Ground and Empower Yourself
“Take your ground.” This was a phrase I first heard during my entrepreneurial training when I started Funosophy Inc. in 2000. I’ve since learned first-hand how empowering this concept is and I want to invite you to empower yourself as you head into a new year.
Taking your ground embodies the idea that when we acknowledge how far we’ve come, we get energized to travel even farther going forward. How often do we focus on what we have failed to accomplish? If you’re like me, you often dwell on the misses, which puts us in a fretful mode that disrupts our mojo. Conversely, when we stop to list all the things that went right, all the things we accomplished in our work and in our larger lives, it provides fuel for the ongoing journey.
I had a coach--Michel-Joy Delre-- for most of my entrepreneurial journey and she insisted that I end each year by writing her a letter listing all that I had accomplished. She instructed me to not put anything negative in the letter, no qualifiers, no “buts.” She encouraged me to be expansive, to make the list as long as possible. Accomplishments were not just relegated to work…for example, I considered every vacation I took as an accomplishment since traveling was/is a priority for me.
My letter in 2009, for example, was five pages long. Read More . . .
POP Week's Thursday's POP DUO:
Al Kahn, Former CEO 4Kids Entertainment and Kedar Narayan, Inventor and Speaker.
Watch on POP's hompage!
Financial & Legal News . . .
Riot Games to Pay $100 Million in Gender Discrimination Case. The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, was originally on track for a $10 million settlement, but in early 2020 two California employment agencies took the unusual step of intervening to block the settlement, arguing that the women could be entitled to over $400 million.
(the above posted after December 24th)
Pacific Cycle Races into 2022 under New Ownership. Amsterdam-based Pon Holdings has entered the final stages of its acquisition of Dorel Sports, the U.S.-based bicycle company owned by Canada’s Dorel Industries. The purchase of Dorel Sports includes three major names in biking — Pacific Cycle, Cycling Sports Group, and Coloi — including popular brands such as Schwinn, Mongoose, KidTrax, GT, and Cannondale.
Dark Horse Comics Sold to Gaming Giant Embracer Group. The indie publisher is home to 'Hellboy' and 'The Umbrella Academy.' The publisher’s new owner, which has 9,000 employees globally, is touting the untapped potential of the Dark Horse library, noting that 159 of its 170 of its owned properties have yet to be optioned for film and TV shows.
The Price for Asmodee, Its Sales and Profits, and Its Moves into Retail and Future Deals Embracer Group, which announced a deal to acquire Asmodee, revealed more info about the acquisition in conjunction with a presentation to analysts. The biggest news was the surprisingly high price paid, roughly €2.75 billion, or around $3.11 billion at today’s exchange rate. That’s more than double the $1.4 billion paid by owner...
Tencent is acquiring Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios. Tencent is adding to its already large roster of video game studios by acquiring Slamfire, the parent company of Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios. Turtle Rock will be “retaining its independent operations” in California and the current leadership team will still run the studio, according to a press release.
Chinese regulators reapprove Tencent app updates. Government blocked the company from updating apps and releasing new ones last month. The Chinese government has reallowed Tencent to launch new apps and update existing ones following a ban issued in November. According to Chinese media outlet The Paper (via Reuters) updates have now started to reappear in the App Store.
Apple seeks dismissal of App Store antitrust case in India. Apple has requested that an antitrust case alleging abuse of power in the Indian app market be scrapped, according to a new report from Reuters. The submission was lodged following an investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which alleged that the iPhone maker's app store rules - notably its 30% cut - hurts developers.
India: Toy imports fell in last 3 yrs: govt to parliament. Import of toys into India in the last three years has shown a decreasing trend, Parliament was informed Wednesday. Imports of other toys, reduced-size models and similar recreational models shrank 53.58% on-year in FY21 to $129.63 mill while those of video game consoles and machines, articles for funfair, table or parlour games fell 21.21% at $38.12 million.
Disappointing retail footfall as Covid nervousness grows. According to retail experts Springboard, although footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +5.5% last week from the week before, it ended with a disappointing performance, felt especially by large city centres, with footfall over the weekend declining by -8.5% in Central London and by -6.4% in cities outside of the capital, meaning that in high streets across...
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
The 10 best video games coming in 2022 . . . . . . . TOP 10 KIDS COMICS OF 2021 . . . . . . .U.S. Holiday Sales Up 8.5% . . . . . . . . Three Game Trends that Will Likely Continue
(the above posted after December 24th)
Newzoo: Games market to reach $180.3 bn in 2021 . . . . . . The brand licensing trends that will define 2022 . . . . . . The NPD Group Offers an Update on China’s Toy Business . . . . . . . . NPD reveals UK’s best-selling toys in run up to Christmas . . . . . . . . Top-Selling and Fastest-Growing TCGs on Black Friday . . . . . . . . TOP FIVE COMICS BUSINESS STORIES OF 2021
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
JAKKS Pacific slides as supply chain problems take toll on Q2 revenue . . . . . . Hot Wheels Unleashed has sold over one million copies . . . . . . . . Box Office: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Soars to Record $260M U.S. Opening, $600.8M Globally
Future Financial Reporting . . .
Keywords Studios forecasts €505m in revenue for 2021. Keywords Studios released its forecast for 2021 and the company estimates that it will generates €505 million ($570 million). This represents an increase of 35% year-over-year compared to 2020. The games service provider partially attributed this growth to reduction in costs due to COVID-19, relating to remote work, property costs, travel and business development. Looking ahead the group forecasts that the fiscal year of 2022 will see €569 million ($642 million) generated in revenue.
Stories, Comments & Advice . . .
A New Generation Stacks Up Championships in an Old Game: Tetris. The best player in the world over the last two years is a 14-year-old boy from Fort Worth. One of his main challengers? His 16-year-old brother. There is, at any given moment, someone on Twitch playing Tetris before a live audience.
Nebraska toy store to be featured on Amazon Prime series. It all started 9 years ago when Mike Bretta and his brother decided to open an vintage toy store in Lincoln. Now, their success is more than they ever could have imagined. Throughout the pandemic, sales soared thanks largely to online traffic, and that business led to 2 additional locations, with a 4th coming soon. “I never expected it to grow as big as it did," Bretta said.
(the above added after December 24th)
Why the toys your child wants for Christmas may be out of stock. Mark Carson, Co-Founder, Fat Brain Toys: We definitely are starting to run out of stock on a few items. Normally, you wouldn't see gaps like this start to come up for another week or two. Our goal would be that we're at our peak by Black Friday. We'd have an in-stock rate of about 90 percent would be the goal. This year, we're at about 65 percent.
John Baulch, ToyWorld UK. Tidings of comfort and joy …it’s the Christmas Blog! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Unfortunately, the Christmas it is most looking like is last Christmas. Yet more virus-related uncertainty saw last weekend’s retail footfall impacted in many areas, while all week there has been a seemingly never-ending ‘will he, won’t he’ debate around whether our Prime Minister would introduce new...
Toys ‘R’ Us Tries to Come Back, Four Years After Bankruptcy. The retailer, which had closed all its U.S. stores, has resurfaced at the American Dream mall in New Jersey, just in time for the holidays. Four years after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and three years since closing its 735 stores, the brand that Charles Lazarus started in 1957 has been raised from the dead in time for last-minute holiday shopping.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About “The Toys That Built America”. Toys are something that lots of people buy without giving a second thought, but the truth is that toys have a much more serious role than many people realize. In fact, toys have played a very important part in American history and that is something The History Channel hopes to explore in the new series The Toys That Built America.
RTE documentary shows the magic of toyshops at Christmas. A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of the most adored environments across the world, The Toy Shop featured a range of retail venues in the Republic of Ireland, their staff and their customers, from the youngest shopper saving up their Communion money for a special treat, to their eldest devotee, who has been going there since their own youth.
Why gender-neutral holiday presents matter for your children. Irina Gonzalez found the perfect Christmas gift: a Mega Bloks wagon with lavender wheels and a pink basket. She was delighted to buy it for her 20-mo-old son. "I really try to incorporate all colors of the rainbow into my son's playthings and especially his wardrobe," she said. "I want to raise my son to understand that clothing is just clothing, and toys are just toys...
Kidscreen’s most-read stories of 2021. News about popular IPs being adapted, acquired or licensed for consumer products attracted the most views this year, as we look back at some of 2021′s most-read stories from the Kidscreen Daily newsletter. From beloved brand reboots to big deals for ZAG's Miraculous—here are the top-10 Kidscreen Daily articles of the year.
Board games heavily influenced some of 2021’s best video games. The tabletop and digital realms became the best of friends this year.
BoardBoard games have exploded in popularity, appearing everywhere from South Park to The New York Times. But their most fascinating impact is on a recent surge of excellent video games. The charitable co-existence between tabletop and digital is not altogether new.
The Best Fidget Toys for All Ages. For reducing anxiety or just plain fun, these are the best sensory toys for kids and adults. Fidget toys have become all the rage in recent years. From occupational therapy offices, to classrooms, to work meetings, these items have spread like wildfire for their usefulness in keeping busy hands and minds focused, as well as for the simple fact that they’re just plain fun.
The Playground Podcast – 2021 Year in Review. In the latest episode of the Playground Podcast, Richard Gottlieb (Global Toy Experts) and Chris Byrne (The Toy Guy) were joined by John Baulch of Toy World and James Zahn of The Toy Book to talk about the major issues of 2021 and explore some of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in 2022.
That Fun TikTok Video? It’s Actually an Ad. Brands are flocking to the platform like never before, drawn by its more than 1 billion users and its algorithm, which can make an ad seem like just another video. Ever since young Americans began their exodus from commercial television to streaming services and social media, advertisers have searched for the digital equivalent of home shopping channels, a place online...
In Case You Missed It: 2021 in kids TV news. From the Moonbug acquisition to Disney closing linear channels, we recap the year's major shifts in kids TV that could open new opportunities for producers. It’s been another wild yr, to say the least. New content and consumer products trends emerged as families continued to try and cope with pandemic life, and the kids industry got even more creative on the problem-solving front.
Ode to Joy: How kidcos can bring joy to tough topics. Kids TV shows typically steer clear of serious topics, but some creators are using joy to keep kids engaged in issues like climate change and gender identity. After nearly two years of lockdowns, social distancing measures and worrying statistics around anxiety and mental health, kids are looking for things that make them happy.
Kidscreen: In Case You Missed It: 2021 in consumer products news. From the supply chain to NFTs, an in-depth look at some of this year’s biggest consumer products stories. It’s been another wild year, to say the least. New content and consumer products trends emerged as families continued to try and cope with pandemic life, and the kids industry got even more creative on the problem-solving front.
Rolling for Initiative -- Not Dead Yet (And Other Observations of 2021) This week, columnist Scott Thorne shares his observations on the games industry in 2021. Paraphrasing a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the brick and mortar retail store is "not dead yet". According to eMarketer, growth in brick-and-mortar retail stores outpaced that of online sales and saw their largest growth rates since 2021.
AN ORAL HISTORY OF STRETCH ARMSTRONG’S DELIGHTFUL DESTRUCTIBILITY. Jesse D. Horowitz, inventor of Stretch Armstrong: Back in 1974, after finishing basic training in the National Guard, I was living on Long Island with my parents. I needed a job. I saw an ad in the New York Times for an industrial designer, and called for an interview. I had a background at General Motors, where you’d show up to work in a shirt ...
The Scholarly Pursuit of Shrek: 20 Years of Ogres and Irony. “I am my own boss,” I tell myself as I log into a seven-hour Zoom call about the cultural legacy of Shrek (2001) at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I used to have vivid fantasies about being my own boss—creative control, music without headphones, giving yourself a day off for something you call ‘oxytocin methadone clinic.’ All of these things are true, but this logic...
Most popular Christmas toys in the world. It's that time of year when the hours of meticulous wrapping of Christmas toys are viciously undone in seconds by tiny children. LEGO and Pokémon are usually safe bets. Yet, despite tremendous advances in technology, some of the most popular toys are also the simplest ...
American Girl founder has been quietly dolling up a real-life town for decades. Pleasant Rowland created a business worth $700 million by using dolls to teach young girls about American history. Now she’s using some of that money to restore her picturesque college town to some of its former glory. The founder of the American Girl doll brand has been quietly renovating the village of Aurora in upstate NY, restoring five ...
These are all the kids' toys that adults will love too. OK, don't think I'm weird, but there are some kids' toys out now that make for great gifts for grown-ups too. I'm quite serious. If you're looking for gift ideas for adults, there are some hot toys that kids will totally love -- and that grown-ups will want to steal away from them.
Gaming disorder: Inside the clinic helping addicted teens. Alex's compulsive desire to play first-person shooters like Counter-Strike late into the night, has caused years of anguish for the family. He has also recently been diagnosed with autism. He has been a patient at the NHS's specialist clinic for treatment of addiction to video games, since earlier this year.
Pokémon will outlive us all. A wildly popular Nintendo franchise, Saturday morning cartoon, and trading card game, Pokémon had all the hallmarks of a flash in the pan. Two decades later, it’s a $100 billion empire. If you were in grade school in the United States in 1998, you probably remember it clearly. Pikachus, Charmanders, and Squirtles stormed children’s entertainment, reshaping card shops, fast-food toys...
Nearly 1 billion boxes from online shopping to enter British homes this Christmas. Leading sustainable packaging provider DS Smith estimates that as seasonal shoppers continue to turn to the internet for their gifts, consumers will have more packaging in their homes than they can recycle. The data showed that last Christmas, Brits who shopped online bought an average of 20 gifts.
Christmas: Since when do we offer toys to children on December 25? With the return of the Christmas holidays, many of us are looking for toys to give to children, ours, or those of our family and friends. We have often heard it said that “in the old days” some people only received an orange at Christmas. So, toys at Christmas, would it be very recent, and reserved for the richest?
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
HBO Max’s Beanie Mania is a fascinating retrospective on a ’90s toy obsession. Two decades after the end of the toy phenomenon that swept the U.S., the HBO Max documentary Beanie Mania revisits the history of how Beanie Babies rose to prominence through a combination of archival news footage and colorful interviews with key players of the game.
Mobile Crime Lab from Amsco. In 1976, well before fictional detective Horatio Caine (David Caruso doing his best William Shatner impression) surveyed a crime scene, donned his “sunglasses of justice”, and delivered an over-the-top one-liner to kick off another episode of CSI Miami, Amsco Toy Co. released their Mobile Crime Lab.
Beanie Babies. Pogs. Tamagotchi. 15 hit holiday season toys sure to bring you nostalgia. The scene from the 1996 holiday movie "Jingle All the Way" is one that Gen Zers and even some millennials may not be able to comprehend. Arnold Schwarzenegger's fatherly character is seen fending off other parents in a toy store trying to capture an elusive Turbo Man action doll.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Dr. Seuss characters are some of the most iconic of all time, so it’s only natural that they lend themselves to successful licensing programs. This year, in particular, Dr. Seuss Enterprises expanded its presence in the toy category with several partnerships worldwide, including games from USAopoly, plush from Aurora, figures from Funko, and more. This momentum is only the start of the company’s toy plans in 2022.
Flair GP and Tigerhead Toys have announced the return of the Messi Training collection to the firm’s portfolio in SS22. The news comes as Flair prepares for the launch of a raft of new brands for SS22 and AW22, among which will be three properties that will bring together the Flair and Tigerhead Toys teams. The Messi Training range, endorsed by football legend Lionel Messi who recently won the prestigious Ballon d’Or for a...
Funko announced its new line of collectible, interactive greeting displays called Popsies TM. Featuring celebratory messages of excitement and love, patent pending Popsies greetings will be available exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide. Popsies will feature iconic characters that represent some of the world’s most historic franchises for a wide assortment of everyday occasions.
Mattel Creations Teams Up with VeeFriends to Transform Rare NFTs into Physical Collectibles... a collaboration for the NFT community and crypto currency holders from Mattel Creations and VeeFriends with a reimagined UNO deck featuring Gary Vaynerchuk’s VeeFriends NFT signature characters. As one of the first physical products created from a digital NFT brand, the new deck offers UNO fans and NFT collectors the...
People . . .
Bob Iger Makes His Disney Exit as a Titan of Transformation. As we stroll on Disney’s historic Burbank lot toward the plaza where he is about to be photographed in front of a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands, I ask Iger if he is feeling melancholy about his decision to leave. “I’m being resolute about it — this time around. I haven’t once second-guessed it or hesitated,” he tells me.
Thousand Oaks inventor who produced talking teeth, 800 other toys still working at 100. Inspired by dentures, Eddy Goldfarb invented the Yakity-Yak set of wind-up teeth that chattered their way into gift-wrapped boxes under Christmas trees everywhere. He came up with a toy gun that shot soap bubbles. He patented "KerPlunk," a game that asked players not to drop their marbles.
‘It just makes my heart very happy.’ Bellmore girl invents new toy, donates money to families in need. Mia Monzidelis of Bellmore has always been a lover of ponies. She brought that passion to life and is now the CEO of her own business. “I decided to put my zoom-powered engine and my plush together, and I came up with the Power Pony,” Monzidelis says. The fifth grader’s creations come with bells, whistles, flashing LED lights and sound effects.Monzidelis was only 6 when she created the Power Pony and now has her own patent.
How Batman Inspired Julia Donaldson’s Animated Holiday Special ‘Superworm,’ Starring Matt Smith and Olivia Colman. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are Britain’s answer to Dr. Seuss. Ever since publishing “The Gruffalo” — written by Donaldson and illustrated by Scheffler — in 1999, the duo have delighted millions of children with their stories of robber rats, wandering whales and fantastical fish.
Living Legend Toymaker Turns Her Darkness Into Light. Melissa & Doug co-founder Melissa Bernstein is one of world's most prolific toymakers. But don't assume her life is just fun and games — she has a shelf lined with "misfit toys" to prove it. When a new toy falls flat with consumers, Bernstein, 55, plucks one out of the boxes of returns and sits it on her shelf.
HOW I BUILT THIS WITH GUY RAZ. Spin Master/PAW Patrol: Ronnen Harary built a 4B dollar toy co. without relying on market research or focus groups. Instead, he believed wholeheartedly in intuition: the "ah-hah" moment that comes from thinking like a 7-yr old. Over a 25-yr period, he and his Spin Master partners launched innumerable hit toys and amusements, including Air Hogs, Bakugan, and the smash hit franchise PAW...
Orchard Toys thanks Peter Neate for 40 years’ service. After 40 years as Orchard Toys’ Agent for the North of England, Peter Neate is retiring. Peter commented: “I have to say, Orchard have always been a pleasure to work for. They were the first agency I took on and the last one I still had.
Companies, Brands . . .
American Girl's Newest Trailblazer Hits the Slopes— 2022 Girl of the Year™ Corinne Tan™. New character braves new trails as she champions family, kindness, and respect. To celebrate Corinne™, American Girl is supporting AAPI Youth Rising—a nonprofit led by Asian American and Pacific Islander youth and allies with a mission to turn small actions into positive change
Nintendo transforms old cardboard factory into an official museum. Nintendo The oldest company founded in 1889 He was the creator of mainly playing cards until the 1970s, when he became interested in the early technologies of video games. Suffice it to say that the history of the company is rich He would like to present this idea by opening the official museum.
(the above posted after December 24th)
Ty Warner introduces Beanie Bellies. Ahead of the release of the HBO Max documentary Beanie Mania, Chicago-based TY Inc., the largest manufacturer of soft toys in the world best known for Beanie Babies, has created a BEANIE BELLY. A new shape and material made from the softest material the company has ever used, called VELVETY, will take these new Beanies directly into collector’s...
Get Your Sparkle on with Just Play’s That Girl Lay Lay Toys. Who is That Girl Lay Lay? She’s the best friend anyone could ever ask for, but she’s not a real person … at least at first! In the Nickelodeon series That Girl Lay Lay, Lay Lay is a personal affirmation app that inspires confidence and positivity. However, when Sadie wishes upon a star, Lay Lay is magically brought to life, and now, these best friends can accomplish anything.
Keeping Tamagotchi Alive. The virtual pet that turned ‘90s kids into round-the-clock caretakers turned 25 this year. The palm-sized, egg-shaped toys, with black and white pixelated screens and a handy keychain, were a self-contained universe—one that included happy moments and melancholy ones alike.“I remember, very clearly, standing in the kitchen when my sister found out that her Tamagotchi died, and just how...
OnBuy’s entire workforce has been granted the share options following unparalleled YOY growth in November. The eCommerce marketplace OnBuy, which has recorded 200% revenue growth in the last 12 months, is looking to maintain its impressive momentum by offering all of its 100+ employees the chance to grow as well, with an option to have a stake in the business.
Jazwares announced the launch of Squishmallows® on Roblox, the popular 3D gaming and experiences platform expanding the world of the immensely popular Squishmallows plush toy brand. The Metaverse game brings together two pop-culture favorites in an amazingly fun play experience for all ages. Developed in-house, the Squishmallows game is the ultimate social virtual world where fans can collect Squishmallows...
The Pokémon Co. Intl has announced the launch of a permanent Pokémon space in Berlin’s iconic KaDeWe department store, as the year of celebrations for the brand’s 25th anniversary conclude with a flourish. Following a well-received 2 month pop-up installation in KaDeWe that ended in October, the partnership has been made permanent. The new branded space features a wide range of Pokémon toys...
Mookie Toys to reunite with Ecoiffier for 2022. Mookie Toys has announced the reinstatement of its long-standing partnership with Ecoiffier. Mookie Toys has been working with Ecoiffier for over 30 years; however, over the last three years the collaboration has been limited, with Mookie Toys operating as a distributer for Ecoiffier’s summer and garden ranges.
Roll to the rescue with the MEGA Chase’s City Cruiser. Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol, they’ll be there on the double — and now, kids can be there too! With Mattel’s MEGA Chase’s City Police Cruiser, kids can construct their own version of Chase’s city police cruiser, motorcycle, and headquarters, all inspired by the Paw Patrol movie!
Achieve Galactic high scores with 'Star Trek: Super-Skill Pinball'. WizKids announced Star Trek: Super-Skill Pinball, a roll and write board game, for release on February 5, 2022. Star Trek: Super-Skill Pinball is a new version of Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade, which was originally released in 2020 (see "'Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade'").
Games Workshop will reprint 'Warhammer Quest: Cursed City' in 2022. Games Workshop will reprint Warhammer Quest: Cursed City, a standalone board game, for release into retail in 2022. This board game sold out very quickly when it was first released in Q2 2021. The game was popular because it featured some amazing Warhammer fantasy sculpts as well as engaging cooperative gameplay.
Asmodee sends a 'Love Letter' to 'Star Wars' Jabba's Palace. Asmodee USA will release Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game, a new version of the classic social deduction game by Z-Man Games and Lucasfilm, for release on February 11, 2022. The next Love Letter spinoff takes place at the palace of the most notorious gangster in galaxy, Jabba the Hutt.
Konami announces 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' 'Dimension Force'. Konami Digital Entertainment announced Dimension Force, a new booster set for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, which set to hit stores on May 20, 2022. This is a 100-card set that adds brand-new themes for decks plus cards for older decks. For older re-animate strategies, the new set has a “Red-Eyes” Zombie Synchro Monster that can Special Summon other Zombie monsters...
Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .
Activision Blizzard releases 2021 representation data. Publisher Activision Blizzard released its 2021 representation data. President and COO Daniel Alegre said that in an effort for more transparency and accountability the company is sharing its full data instead of "cherry-picking" where it excels. "One of the key areas of feedback has been the need to share more information openly as a company," said Alegre. The report says women account for 24% of its workforce.
Sensor Tower: First-time $1m mobile games in 2021 will make up 43% of Google Play market. A Sensor Tower report projects that among nearly 1000 first-time $1 million app earners in 2021, 43% are from mobile game publishers on the Google Play Store. The firm says this reflects 139 titles that reached the consumer spending milestone on the storefront.
EA and Activision Blizzard are biggest Christmas publishers. Both EA and Activision Blizzard are the industry's most dominant publishers, having spent 13 and 10 separate Christmases at the top of the sales charts since 1984 respectively, as per new data from GFK. Though, while the two companies are balanced in terms of Christmas No.1s, EA has spent 13 weeks at the top of the Christmas charts, while Activision...
So many Ubisoft employees have quit that they're calling it 'The Great Exodus'. A report on Axios says that over the past 18 months so many Ubisoft employees have left the company that those remaining have begun to call it “the great exodus” and “the cut artery.” The story says that over that time period—which coincides with both a global pandemic and a trend that’s become known as The Great Resignation...
The biggest gaming disappointments of 2021. Hell-year 2021 is almost over. It’s been a terrible year for more reasons than I can count. Pondering all the bad, disappointing, or just plain sad news that transpired within the video game industry alone is enough to make you want to jump into bed, hide under the covers, and binge on TikTok, candy, and/or Animal Crossing until you pass out.
Game Developer's Best of 2021: The top 10 games of the year. Following 2020 where our favorite games were clearly defined by themes of community and togetherness, the common thread throughout our best games of 2021 is harder to define. For us here at Game Developer, the conversation about which games to feature on our top 10 list was just as complex.
The best RPGs of 2021. There was, I would argue, no genre-defining role-playing game this year, but there were still a hell of a lot of good ones. So many, in fact, that I had a hard time keeping this list from ballooning even larger than it already is. I tried my best, and even knocked off some of my personal favorites.
Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
US safety body to probe Tesla on in-car gameplay. An investigation has been launched in the US into more than half a million Tesla cars that are equipped with touchscreens. It follows a complaint filed by a user who discovered he could play games while driving. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into some 580,000 Tesla Models 3, S and X made from 2017 to the current day.
Qatar seizes ‘un-Islamic’ children’s toys with rainbow patterns similar to LGBT flags. Authorities in Qatar have seized a line of what they called ‘un-Islamic’ children’s toys that feature rainbow patterns similar to LGBT flags. The small oil-rich peninsular will host next year’s football World Cup, and despite repeated assertions by authorities that anyone will be welcome to visit for the tournament, homosexuality ...
Toy industry rips annual ‘deaths and injuries’ report over inclusion of scooters. The federal gov. says scooters are the most dangerous toys this holiday season, but the toy industry says not all scooters are created equal. The Toy Association, a nonprofit trade group, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s annual “Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries” report mistakenly includes scooters not regulated as toys...
Highlighted Press Releases . . .
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . .
Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment Announces Finalists for WIT’S 30th Anniversary Wonder Women Awards. “Our slate of Finalists includes incredible women who continued to innovate and make their mark on our industry during the past two years of COVID and massive disruption in our industry,” said Genna Rosenberg and Jennifer Caveza, WIT Wonder Women Co-Chairs.
The Toy Association Says ‘All Systems Go’ for Toy Fair New York 2022. Over the past few weeks, many in the toy industry have questioned whether or not Toy Fair New York 2022 will happen. This week, The Toy Association doubled down on its messaging that TFNY is moving ahead under strict safety protocols. As of this week, all major retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Walmart, have committed to sending buyers.
Opening Celebration: Dangerous Games – Treacherous Toys We Loved As Kids. Dangerous Games will be on display in our Main Gallery from September 25, 2021 through February 13, 2022. Our original exhibition devoted to the wacky, whammo, wonderful world of the Slip ‘N Slide, Lawn Darts, Creepy Crawlers, Clackers, and other tantalizingly toxic toys.
Hades is the first video game ever to win a Hugo Award. Acclaimed roguelike Hades has become the first video game in history to win a Hugo Award. Supergiant's victory was announced via the Twitter account for Worldcon, or World Science Fiction Convention, which organises and hosts the awards.
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.
Mark Taylor - A legendary figure in the creation of Mattel’s Masters of the Universe (MOTU) franchise has died. Designer Mark Taylor was credited with shaping much of the MOTU aesthetic and the design for countless characters that contributed to the massive success of the MOTU brand in the 1980s. While formal credits for the development of He-Man and Skeletor have often been disputed over the years, Taylor’s work, along with that of another Mattel designer — Roger Sweet — eventually became the toys that are familiar to millions. Some key design elements that shaped He-Man and other residents of Eternia were pulled from Taylor’s Torak: Hero of Pre-History, a barbarian-esque character that was in and out of development for many years pre-dating the launch of the MOTU brand in 1982. Taylor’s work at Mattel began in the 1970s as a member of the Visual Design Group working on packaging for Barbie. Following his work on the MOTU franchise, Taylor went on to become a key figure in the development of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) line at Playmates Toys in 1987. Taylor’s work has been explored in numerous documentaries, including Power of Grayskull and The Toys That Made Us. His Christmas Eve passing was confirmed by his wife, Rebecca Salari Taylor via Facebook. Mark Taylor was 80 years old.
Jeff Hunter, Owner and CEO of Hunter Products Pty Ltd. More info to come
Barry Burlison - Tribute from Jack Morrissey: Barry Burlison was a highly talented and creative individual. He always found a way to make things he developed work and as such sell at retail. In the late 1970's I worked with him on an ingeneous greeting card project he developed called POPCORN. It was comprised of 3D Popup cards for Birthday, Thank you, Congrats, etc. Barry set the standard for this genre that exists today. He also developed Popup Cards for travel/vacation destinations, such as Graceland, Duns River Falls. Etc. The photo above is of us at the NYC Stationery Show in 1980. Barry had great success in marketing the Science Tech line with Bowen Hill Mfg in Hong Kong. The line consisted of Microscopes. Telescopes, and science based playthings including flying saucers. Barry's talent, his kindness and his humor will be missed by all that had the privilege to know and work with him.
Henry Orenstein, Hole Card Cam Inventor & Transformers Catalyst, passes Away at 98. The man responsible for changing the way we watch poker on TV, Henry Orenstein, passed away at age 98. Details of his passing weren't immediately available. Orenstein, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, is credited with inventing the hole card cam, arguably the top game-changer in poker.
The hole card camera, which exposes each player's cards to a television audience, was invented and patented by Orenstein in 1995. He didn't introduce the revolutionary product to the public until 1999 when the U.K.'s Channel 4 Late Night Poker show was first to use the hole cam.
Poker has never been the same and has grown significantly in popularity since that creative invention. Nowadays, virtually every poker event on TV or livestream utilizes the hole cam. Without it, there likely never would have been a poker boom in the early 2000s, and few recreational fans would be able to pick Chris Moneymaker out of a lineup. Orenstein lived a full life and was one of the most respected and treasured members of the poker community. He was born October 13, 1923 in Poland. He survived a Nazi concentration camp, dealt with his parents being murdered by Nazis in Germany, and emigrated to the U.S. where he became a successful businessman and poker player.
When Orenstein arrived in the U.S. in 1942, he lived with his uncle in New York. He'd go on to start a toy company that was highly profitable and innovative. The future Poker Hall of Famer left such a mark on the toy industry that he was given credit for being the catalyst behind the creation of Transformers, one of the hottest selling children's toys in history. Without his vision to see potential in an unknown toy in the 1980s, Transformers may have never become so popular. As a poker player, he could hold his own on the felt. In 1995, he reached the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table and took eighth place for $51,900. The following year, he won his first and only bracelet, a $130,000 score in $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud. In 2014, he reached the $10,000 Seven Card Stud final table and was eliminated in eighth place for $31,419.
Masayuki Uemura, the lead architect on the NES and Super NES consoles, died on 6th December at the age of 78. Uemura was an instrumental figure in the formation of Nintendo as the video game company we know and love today — his hardware design credits date back to the 1970s, and he also has a fair list of software producer credits to his name. It's no exaggeration to say that millions of players across the world have his engineering skill and expertise to thank for the systems we played in our youth and the great memories we formed with them.
Born in 1943, Uemura grew up in post-war Japan and developed an interest in playing with and constructing his own toys from a young age, partly due to the scarcity of new products available in the years following the end of World War II. He studied at the Chiba Institute of Technology and upon graduating he began his career at Sharp Corporation before eventually joining Nintendo in 1972, thanks to his relationship with Gunpei Yokoi. The two met and worked together while Yokoi was investigating Sharp's technology for use in light gun games in the early 1970s and Uemura evidently impressed Nintendo's chief designer at the time.
Primarily a toy manufacturer in those days, Nintendo's design process was naturally different to Sharp's, as Uemura told Kotaku via Matt Alt:
One of the things that surprised me when I moved from Sharp to Nintendo was that, while they didn’t have a development division, they had this kind of development warehouse full of toys, almost all of them American.
His first projects at Nintendo involved the creation of more complex electronic toys which existing staff lacked the technical know-how to design — the company had previously focused on producing hanafuda playing cards and simple toys such as Yokoi's famous Ultra Hand. As part of the newly formed R&D department, Uemura produced several light gun products such as the Laser Clay Shooting System and the original Duck Hunt (the light gun game that would eventually be reimagined for NES) before ultimately being made head of Nintendo R&D2. Yokoi's R&D1 would focus on arcade development (and later the Game & Watch handhelds) and Uemura's division would develop home consoles, beginning with the Color TV Game series. t was with these consoles that Uemura expanded his knowledge and began forming more ambitious hardware plans for a cartridge-based system. READ MORE . . .
Ian Hetherington. The founder of Imagine Software, Psygnosis and Evolution Studios, Ian Hetherington, has died after a short illness. Hetherington was part of the team that launched PlayStation: he and the Psygnosis team directly influenced the technology that went into that first console. As the head of Psygnosis, he worked on major titles including Lemmings and Wipeout. Hetherington co-founded the short-lived Imagine Software in 1982, before forming Psygnosis in 1984 alongside David Lawson and Jonathan Ellis. He stayed at the company until 1998, when he left to form Evolution Studios, another outfit based in the Liverpool area that went on to create a series of hit racing games, including WRC and MotorStorm. He left in 2007 and has since held senior roles at Realtime Worlds, Midoki and Immotion Group. He most recently appeared in a documentary marking 30 years of Lemmings. The news follows the death of fellow Psygnosis and Imagine Software founder David Lawson earlier this year. Tributes to Ian are already coming in from across the industry on social media and via email. Firesprite's Studio Art Director Lee Carus said in an email: "I really don't know where to start. He's had an impact on the entire direction of my life. If he hadn't have given that floppy haired kid from a rough estate, who dabbled in Amiga art, a chance who knows what could have happened? I wouldn't have met my partner who came up to Psygnosis on a two-week cover placement which ended up being five years. 20+ years of happy marriage later we'd later go on to have two wonderful boys who are the absolute centre of our lives. It terrifies me to think of what could have happened if Ian and I's paths hadn't crossed and I will be eternally grateful for that. But I know this isn't a one off -- he jump started so many careers and lives. It's remarkable just how much of the UK games industry you can ultimately trace back to Ian. Some of the most senior people in the industry now, owe some part of their success to working with and learning from Ian. "So sad to hear Ian Hetherington has passed away," wrote Lucid Games' Martin Linklater. "A proper games industry legend and a lovely bloke. I had the pleasure of working with Ian on a number of occasions... at Psygnosis and then Curly Monsters. RIP Ian. Deepest condolences to his loved ones"
Polish voice actor Miłogost Reczek has died at age 60. The Polish voice actor was a favorite of CD Projekt Red and was well-known for other dubbing roles in film, TV, and video games. Polish voice actor Miłogost Reczek--known in the video game industry for his roles in Polish dubs of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077--has died at age 60. He had apparently been in treatment for cancer since 2018. News of his passing comes from a Facebook post from Polish audiobook company Storytel. Reczek's gravitas and talent had previously landed him the dubbing roles for characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars films (originally played by Ewan MacGregor), and Talos, a side character in more recent Marvel movies (originally portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn). A deeper search of Reczek's filmography also shows he lent his voice to the Polish dub of children's show Thomas the Tank Engine. Polish news outlets and commentators praised Reczek's talent and contributions to the world of Polish voice acting and dubbing. "Apart from his characteristic voice, which created many unforgettable roles, Miłek also had an irreplaceable sense of humor," Storytel wrote on its Facebook page.
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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide - Added Friday Morning Chicago Time, so You May Need to Check Back for Complete Lists . . .
Toy Trade Monthly Issues
The Toy Book's Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards Special Edition
Adventure Media & Events (US)
THE TOY BOOK’S 2021 UNBOXED: THE TOP 25 TOY STORIES OF THE YEAR
aNb Media (US)
Nuremberg announces February show to go ahead – but will UK visitors be able to attend?
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)
- Asmodee to Hike Prices Again in 2022
- Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Magic: The Gathering' Brand Collaboration with Post Malone
- The Price for Asmodee, Its Sales and Profits, and Its Moves into Retail and Future Deals
- Asmodee Being Sold to Video Game Group
- Top-Selling and Fastest-Growing TCGs on Black Friday
- Game, Comic, and Hybrid Retailers on Staffing
- WizKids Unleashes New 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures'
- Achieve Galactic High Scores with 'Star Trek: Super-Skill Pinball'
- Del Rey Announces the First Book in New 'D&D' 'Classic Dragonlance' Trilogy
- Modiphius Opens Wholesale Webstore
Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)
TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month
The Bugg Report (Australia)
Video of the Week!
Steve Casino's Extraordinary Peanut Art!
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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
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Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher