December 2 - 9, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Festive Friday!
The merriest celebs will be at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair this weekend! Come out and play with your consumers…. Learn what interests them and they’ll be sure and tell you why!
At the Fair we will hold our Play in Education (PIE) Conference and it is SOLD OUT. Rachele Harmuth, Head of ThinkFun, will ignite teachers’ and educators’ thinking about the importance of bringing MESH (Mental Emotional Social Health) to kids and classrooms everywhere.
Be sure and check out this week‘s book review! You will learn just about everything about Marvin Glass and Associates, the studio that invented the toy invention industry. What you don’t learn in the book, you can learn on the History Channel show, The Toys That Built America, and see me on the show providing color commentary!
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!
"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 & Founder, Little Kids Inc.
"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.
Book Review by Julia DeKorte
A World Without Reality: Inside Marvin Glass’s Toy Vault by Bill Paxton
In A World Without Reality: Inside Marvin Glass’s Toy Vault, Bill Paxton takes readers on a journey through the life of Marvin Glass and his legendary toy design company, Marvin Glass and Associates. A thorough history of Glass’s life, the ups and downs of his company, and all the toys, games, and limitless fun he left his mark on, this biography is full of rich history and exclusive insider information about the unique and mysterious Marvin Glass.
Weighing in at nearly six pounds, this large biography covers every detail of Glass and his company. Split into twelve chapters followed by six appendixes, Paxton spares nothing to tell the legendary story of MGA. The chapters are chronological, beginning with family history as far back as Glass’s grandparents’ emigration to Chicago from Russia in the late 1800s. Readers learn how MGA came to be, different partners, inventors, and designers he worked with, and the origin stories of many of America’s favorite toys and games, including Lite-Brite, Operation, Simon, Mouse Trap, and many, many more. Paxton tells Glass’s history like a story, captivating readers for the entirety of the biography.
Industry Commentary - Mark Chernick
Walking Trade Shows in China “The Art is in the Eye”
As manufacturers of toy products, most of us walk the trade shows in China and Hong Kong to search out new product concepts, new materials, new technologies, new design concept and adapt them to our own concepts.
A favorite saying of mine is “there is no such thing as a pure invention, everything comes from other sources”. Or, in simpler terms, “one path leads to another”.
Walking trade shows in China is a vital and critical way of exposing yourself to new assets, but also to new factories, agents, and design companies operating in China or Hong Kong.
However, walking a trade show and “seeing” and “understanding what you are looking at” are two totally different concepts.
Financial and Legal
Parents file lawsuit saying their kids are addicted to Fortnite. A Canadian Supreme Court judge authorized the filing by Quebec parents against Fortnite's manufacturer Epic Games. Parents say their kids are so addicted that they don't take care of regular everyday hygiene such as showering. Some kids are so dependent on Fortnite, they've stopped eating and sleeping, according to BBC News and reported by Insider.
***The above posted after December 9th***
More than half of Nickelodeon Studios’ production workers have voted in favor of unionizing with entertainment industry union The Animation Guild, or TAG (IATSE 839). The 177 staffers include production managers, production coordinators, post-production assistants, art production coordinators and asset coordinators. It’s the largest group of production workers ever to organize with TAG, which represents more...
Pitfalls lie ahead as China charts exit from zero-Covid. After unprecedented mass protests against zero-Covid, Chinese authorities have made their most decisive move yet to exit the punishing policy. On Wednesday, officials announced the end of forced centralized quarantine, allowing people with mild Covid to isolate at home, as well as limits to lockdowns, fewer checks of Covid test results, and freer travel around the country.
Walmart CEO: Inflation on toys, clothing and sports equipment is easing. Finally, shoppers are getting some good news about prices: Inflation is falling on discretionary merchandise just in time for the holidays, Walmart chief Doug McMillon said Tuesday. “In toys, sporting goods, apparel, categories like that, prices have come down more aggressively,” McMillon said in an interview on CNBC.
TikTok sued by Indiana over security and safety concerns. The popular social media app TikTok has been sued by the US state of Indiana. Its attorney general Todd Rokita has accused TikTok's parent company ByteDance of violating the state's consumer protections laws. The state alleges that the app fails to safeguard young people and privacy.
FTC rift could help Microsoft seal Activision Blizzard deal. The Federal Trade Commission is now reportedly split on whether or not to approve Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to The New York Post, a rift has formed within the U.S. regulator that could pave the way for the seismic $68.7 billion deal to gain approval.
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Sales in GameStop’s collectibles category, which includes tabletop games, were $207.3 million, up 8% over $192.2 million in the year ago period, a slower growth rate than the blistering 26% growth rate last quarter. Collectible sales are up 20% for the first three quarters. Overall sales were down 9% in the quarter to $1.19 billion from $1.30 billion in the same quarter a year ago, dragged down by declining sales in game software, hardware, and accessories.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
The Global Toy Report 2022. License Global looks at the health of the global toy market to set the tone for the business of play.
Prime Video Replaces Netflix As No. 1 Streaming Service In U.S., According To Longtime Industry Tracker Parks Associates; Peacock Cracks Top 10
NOVEMBER 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS
Toy World's December’s Talking Shop
NOVEMBER 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS
Stories, Comments, and Advice
'The View' shares 2022's hottest toys and must-haves for the holidays. Learn about the newest toys that your kids can enjoy year-round! The holidays are just a few days away, but there's still plenty of time to get the little ones in your life the perfect gift! “The View” gets the inside scoop on the hottest holiday toys from toy expert, Elizabeth Werner.
INSIDE THE WORLD OF CONTEMPORARY BOARD GAME DESIGN. Modern board games can help us understand complex real world scenarios, while also having fun. We take a look inside the current boom for new games and how they are designed. The cover of Daybreak, a new cooperative board game exploring climate change, presents an optimistic vision of the near future with a sunrise breaking over ...
FROM THE EDITOR: A CAUTIOUS APPROACH TO A ‘PHYGITAL’ FUTURE; TOYS GO LATE NIGHT ON SNL. I had a chance to do my weekly retail run the other day where I made stops at all of the local big boxes, including Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, and Meijer. While inventory levels didn’t appear alarmingly high, each store was still showing heavier-than-usual stock levels for this time of the year.
HASBRO'S FIRESIDE CHAT AND THE DIRECTION OF 'MAGIC: THE GATHERING' I listened to the Hasbro "fireside chat" a couple of times and gleaned some interesting information from the discussion. One of the more striking bits, at least to me, was the breakdown of Magic: The Gathering player demographics. According to Wizards of the Coast, there are approximately 50 million active Magic players with a mean...
A girl named Madeline, with a vivid imagination and remarkable awareness of how bureaucracy can dash dreams, got her wish when she asked Los Angeles animal control authorities for a license to own a unicorn — if she’s able to find one. The first-of-its-kind permit came with strings attached, however: The mythical creature must be provided ample exposure to sunlight, moonbeams and rainbows and have its horn polished at least once a month with a soft cloth.
A new documentary about the 75-year history of Bazooka Bubble Gum Turns 75. Featuring interviews with toy designer David Vonner, Ming Chen, and cartoonist and editor Art Spiegelman, this is the definitive look at the origin of the name, flavor, and the comics we know and love featuring Bazooka Joe. Fun fact: I learned that former Disney CEO Michael Eisner owns the company now. Wild. You can watch the whole thing down below.
The Countries that Pay the Most and Least for LEGO. The price of LEGO differs depending on the country where you shop. In fact, TheToyZone found a 744% difference between the average price of LEGO in the most and least expensive markets. We researched the prices of eight popular LEGO sets in marketplaces across roughly 200 countries where new LEGO sets are sold and totaled up the average price for each territory.
***The above posted after December 9th***
John Baulch, Toy World - Fab-yule-ous…it’s the Friday Blog! Two weeks to go, and as the temperature gauge plummets alarmingly, things are definitely hotting up at retail. By all accounts, since we got Bonfire Night out of the way, there has been a tangible upsurge in retail footfall and consumer spend. I went into town for a screen break yesday, and it was the busiest Thursday lunchtime I have seen for a very long while.
These Kids Are Raking In Millions From YouTube. They're Not Even 10. - WSJ - They're expanding into everything from streaming shows to branded toys to ... Toy makers often pay young YouTube celebrities to play with their ...
Generation Media’s Jonathan Chambers suggests how marketers can predict when Christmas spirit will kick in for consumers. Deciding the timing of H2 marketing has always been a tricky business – let alone in 2022 when the cost-of-living crisis and Qatar World Cup have undoubtedly impacted and altered consumers’ media and retail behaviours.
Oxford Word of the Year 2022 - Goblin Mode. The public has spoken! After opening the choice of Word of the Year up to English speakers for the first time in its history, over the last two weeks more than 300,000 people cast their vote. The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression reflecting the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past twelve months, one that has potential as a term of lasting cultural significance.
History and Nostalgia
Who first thought of Lionel Trains? Joshua Lionel Cowen, an engineering entrepreneur, designed his first electric train as a store window attraction around 1900. After customers began asking to purchase the train rather than the product it was meant to advertise, Cowen founded the Lionel Manufacturing Company to meet the demand.
***The above posted after December 9th***
Who first thought of Matchbox Cars? In 1947, English die casters Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith founded Lesney Products and along with partner Jack Odell, began to make small toys to fill the demand during wartime. In 1952, Odell created the Matchbox car after being inspired by a rule at his daughter’s school that stated students could only bring toys that fit inside a matchbox. So, Odell scaled down Lesney’s road roller...
Hawaiian Eye from Lowell Toy Mfg.. Released in 1963 from Lowell Toy Mfg., the Hawaiian Eye board game was based on the TV series of the same name that ran on ABC from 1959-1963. With box art featuring three of the show’s stars — Robert Conrad, Anthony Eisley, and Troy Donahue — the strategy game drew inspiration from Clue.
Irwin Toy 2002: It’s all new. 2002 marked the beginning of a new era for Irwin Toy of Toronto, Canada. The struggling toy company had been sold to a private investment group the previous year, which injected new capital. Unfortunately, the new owners couldn’t right the ship. They declared bankruptcy and liquidated the company after 75+ years of operations and less than 18 months after it was sold.
Beat the Clock from Lowell Toy Mfg. Released in 1954 by Lowell Toy Mfg., Beat the Clock board game was based on the TV series of the same name that ran on CBS from 1950-58. With box art that featured the show’s stars, Host Bud Collyer and Hostess Roxanne, the group party game challenged players to complete stunts before time ran out.
Here's what 10 popular toys looked like when they were released compared to what they look like now. Some toys are so popular that they stand the test of time. Iconic playthings like Barbies, Hot Wheels, and Transformers have transformed over decades. See how some of the most beloved toys have changed since they were released. The Barbie brand included one doll when Mattel launched the iconic toy in 1959.
Popular toy of prehistoric children revealed by new research. Over the past century, thousands of pieces of slate engraved with images of owls have been unearthed from tombs and pits across the Iberian Peninsula, in what's now Portugal and Spain. The artifacts date from around 5,000 years ago, and for more than a century their function has flummoxed archaeologists.
Licensing and Entertainment
Super Nintendo World officially opens at Universal Studios Hollywood on Friday, February 17, 2023. The opening marks Super Nintendo World’s official arrival to the United States – Universal Studios Japan got a version of the themed land in 2021. The all-new, dynamic land will be located within a newly-expanded area of Universal Studios Hollywood in the lower section of the park, near the Transformers ride.
IDW Entertainment is moving into animated content with a trio of fantasy book adaptations on its development slate. The company’s two-pronged strategy with these projects is to broaden its kids TV portfolio and also experiment with the medium of animation, says senior director of kids, family and animation Daniel Kendrick. “We’re playing with some out-of-the-box visual styles on these properties,” he notes, ..
Disney Branded Television’s ‘Superkitties,’ and Digital Soundtrack to Premier Jan11, 2023. SuperKitties, an adorable, action-packed animated series about Ginny, Sparks, Buddy and Bitsy ― four cute and cuddly kittens who are brave, smart, strong and kind and with their talents combined, turn into Superkitties when trouble arises ― is set to premiere Wednesday, Jan. 11,with a simulcast on Disney Channel and Disney Jr.
Genius Brands, SMAC Productions — Michael Strahan’s production company, and Blue Origin — Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company — are coming together to produce Blue Origin Space Rangers, an animated TV series made to inspire kids with space travel. “Blue Origin Space Rangers will be groundbreaking for Genius Brands in its creative scope, and for me personally, it is a dream come true given my lifelong passion ...
GET A FIRST LOOK AT HASBRO’S STAR WARS: BOBA FETT ELECTRONIC MASK. As part of this season’s Bring Home the Galaxy campaign, The Toy Book, in collaboration with Hasbro and Lucasfilm, has your first look at the all-new Star Wars: Boba Fett Electronic Mask. Kids ages 5 and up can imagine epic adventures and galactic duels with this Star Wars mask inspired by one of the most iconic characters from a galaxy far, far away.
Rec Room and Mattel are bringing Masters of the Universe to a virtual universe! Rec Room is a virtual reality game available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Oculus Quest, Meta Quest 2, and as an app for iOS or Android. The multiplayer game places players within a center area (the rec center) with entrances to mini-games created by the developers, as well as a number designed by other players.
***The above posted after December 9th***
Personalized messaging platform Cameo has launched an exclusive kids section, offering products featuring popular Moonbug IPs as part of a new partnership with Candle Media. Cameo Kids is targeting kids ages one to seven with a variety of personalized video options for US$25. The new service comes to market with a suite of popular kids characters ...
King Features Syndicate has announced Rebel Girls, the award-winning global girl empowerment brand, is joining its roster of licensing properties. Under the agreement, King Features will represent Rebel Girls worldwide for promotions, collaborations, and merchandise across all categories, including apparel, accessories, collectibles and more.
Luxury stroller wagon brand WonderFold announced the release of their new Animalini 2.0 Parent Console in collaboration with Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand, tokidoki. Designed with hook and loop fasteners to attach easily to any WonderFold stroller wagon, WonderFold’s versatile consoles are equipped to carry personal belongings and everyday essentials to save parents from juggling armfuls while...
ASPIRE, the dedicated Corporate & Lifestyle division of world-leading licensing agency WildBrain CPLG, has secured a deal with Asia Kingston for a range of e-mobility products for the internationally renowned Swiss motorsport brand, Sauber Motorsport, which owns and operates Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN. Under the partnership, Asia Kingston has developed Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN-branded e-bikes and ...
Ahlan Simsim, the early childhood development initiative launched in 2018 through a partnership between Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee, has now reached one million children with direct services across Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. That achievement complements the 23 million children reached across the Middle East and North Africa region by Ahlan Simsim’s...
Sloomoo Institute – an experiential destination that taps into the joy of multi-sensory play through hand-crafted, artisanal slime and #satisfying experiences – is excited to announce it is teaming up with leading global children’s entertainment company Spin Master, makers of Kinetic Sand. This collaboration seeks to enhance Sloomoo Institute’s tactile installations with the addition of the mesmerizing,...
Dorel Juvenile, a segment of Dorel Industries and the world’s largest juvenile products manufacturer, has announced the launch of an exclusive Maxi-Cosi Home Collection fashion line in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids. The coordinating collection of essential baby gear for the home is designed with Pottery Barn Kids’ signature Wheaton Stripe fabrication, a best-selling textile design featuring...
MGA has collaborated with Hersheys, Pez, Chupa Chups and more to create a collectible range of L.O.L. Surprise! Loves Mini Sweets. The new, collectible, first of its kind line-up of L.O.L. Surprise! Loves Mini Sweets, produced in collaboration with internationally known confectionary partners, launches exclusively at Smyths Toys in December and at wider retailers in January.
The Piñata Smashlings ‘Piñataverse’ will span animated content, gaming, toys including plush, collectibles and play sets, trading cards, books and much more, all arriving from summer 2023. Pinata SmashlingsThe innovative and fast-growing entertainment company Toikido has partnered with P.M.I and Character Options to deliver Piñata Smashlings, an immersive and captivating IP it says is set to become...
Just Play will take on a global master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for the Easy-Bake brand, with products to launch from 2024. Leading global toy company Just Play has announced a worldwide master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for its iconic Easy-Bake brand. Just Play’s product line of Easy-Bake ovens, baking sets and accessories is expected to launch at retail in select markets from 2024.
Going back to the princess well that has traditionally been a breeding ground for its blockbuster hits, Disney has commissioned a new musical feature film from director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) that will center around an Indian princess protagonist based on a real-life historical figure. The British filmmaker will direct the pic and share a producer credit with Lindy Goldstein (The Nutcracker and ...
Film fans have reacted with glee and excitement to a triple drop of blockbuster trailers that landed last week. Slated to arrive in cinemas in June 2023, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the seventh movie in the Transformers franchise. Set in 1994, the film introduces a new breed of robots, Maximals, who favour animal shapes as their alternative form. Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman), Airazor, Cheetor and Rhinox unite ....
Craft Buddy welcomes Paddington Bear. Paddington Bear is the latest addition to Craft Buddy’s prolific licensed ranges, following the company’s success with Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Peter Rabbit and The Smurfs. To continue its success with the launch of Crystal Art Buddies, Craft Buddy is also expanding the L.O.L Surprise! collection to add even more sparkles to the glittery dolls.
Jabuka Games appoints Nutt Heads as exclusive distribution partner. Jabuka is extending its reach in the game aisle across North America. The Canadian company has named Nutt Heads Brands as its exclusive distribution partner. The Jabuka word game, originally created in 2019 by Martin Russocki, features interchangeable letters so players can challenge their opponents by forming different words.
Toys ‘R’ Us jumps into the metaverse with Anybodies deal. The digital space is still the wild west, but Toys “R” Us has a roadmap for its upcoming journey into the metaverse. WHP Global, the parent company of Toys “R” Us, formally announced a partnership with Anybodies, a Web3 technology agency.
Monopoly goes big in Saudi Arabia. London-based production company The Path Entertainment Group has announced a partnership with the Al Hokair Group, as part of its existing licensing agreement with Hasbro, to bring "Monopoly Lifesized" to millions of people in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Rainbow High’s Paris Hilton fashion doll taps further into kidult market. Rainbow High is a brand of fashion dolls known for bright colors and high quality appreciated by kid and adult collectors alike. The line has an associated animated series on Netflix, also called Rainbow High, that recently had a celebrity cameo from Paris Hilton.
MrBeast unveils NERF Blaster. Official partnership between digital collector and Hasbro now available. Following NERF’s partnership announcement with digital creator, MrBeast (AKA Jimmy Donaldson), comes the reveal of the NERF Pro Gelfire X MrBeast Full Auto Blaster. The new blaster was officially revealed by the creator himself in his latest giveaway challenge video and is now available for pre-order...
Trailers released for new Transformers, Guardians of the Galaxy and India Jones movies. Film fans have reacted with glee and excitement to a triple drop of blockbuster trailers that landed last week. Slated to arrive in cinemas in June 2023, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the seventh movie in the Transformers franchise.
Op Games and Hasbro launch Monopoly: Britney Spears. Usaopoly, the board game and puzzle publisher behind licensed games Telestrations, Blank Slate, and Hues and Cues, and Hasbro, have announced the launch of Monopoly: Britney Spears, the ultimate collection of her greatest hits.
Bratz and trailblazing fashion brand Mowalola collab on new premium, limited-edition dolls. MGA Entertainment (MGA) announced today a collaboration between its popular fashion doll brand, Bratz® and the London-based, new-gen fashion brand, MOWALOLA, on a haute fashion doll collection.
People of Play
Licensing agency IMG has announced the appointment of Adam Steel to the role of senior licensing director. In his new role, Adam will help drive IMG’s entertainment and gaming licensing business, which includes an impressive portfolio of clients such as Rovio, Lionsgate, Epic Games, Booba and Skydance among others.
Arcade1Up, has announced three new additions to the company’s sales team to support its growth and expanding U.S. and international business. Eric Van Kannel, Michael Fisher and Kuntha Kith have been hired as Director of Digital Sales, Sales Manager and Director of Business Planning respectively for the leader in at-home retro arcade game entertainment. All three will report to Vice President of Sales Chris Cardenas.
ZAG has promoted its top LatAm consumer products executive Angela Cortez to oversee the company’s Canadian consumer products business. The announcement was made today by Jeremy Zag, Founder and CEO, ZAG. Serving as VP, Licensing & Retail, Latin America and Canada, Angela Cortez is tasked with growing the presence of ZAG in the Canadian market–in addition...
Judith Ellis, who founded the world’s very first baccalaureate degree program in Toy Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), is retiring — and she has a new successor. To continue the legacy, Ellis names colleague Susan Baumbach as her successor. Baumbach has served as an instructor of games in the Toy Design program for 28 years, and was the first female vice president at Pressman Toy Corp.
Beacon Communications Expands Leadership Team. Under the leadership of MacNeil, Amanda Lao moves into a newly expanded role as VP of PR, Communications, and Engagement. Lao joined Beacon in 2018 and has been instrumental in charting the agency’s path forward with strategic initiatives driving client agendas. Lao, is an award-winning executive with over 11 yrs of marketing leadership experience working with...
CandyRific LLC, a candy and novelty distributor, has promoted Frank Puglia. After previously serving as the company’s creative director for nine years, and working on CandyRific’s products for about 18 years, Puglia has now been appointed as CandyRific’s executive vice president of product development.
Warner Bros. revealed a new, global leadership team, which will manage the combination of two of its branches, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Discovery Consumer Products. The team will report to Pam Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Brands, Franchises, and Experiences. Warner Bros.’ new division will manage more brands beyond those they already oversee, including HBO, Discovery, HGTV, Cartoon Network, and others.
***The above posted after December 9th***
The First Woman To Become Disney CEO. According to several new reports, Disney chief financial officer Christine McCarthy, a 22-year veteran of the company, is among the top candidates to replace CEO Bob Iger at the end of his two-year term, which would make her the first female CEO in company history. It’s only been a few weeks since Iger returned to the CEO position he previously held for 15 years, ...
The president of Jazwares is all about making wishes come true. After serving on the Make-A-Wish Southern Florida board of directors for three years, Laura Zebersky has been named the chair of the board. “During the past few years, I have had the privilege of working closely with this amazing board and leadership team and have witnessed their incredible generosity to our community,” Zeberksy says.
Gibsons is delighted to welcome Matt Smith as the company’s new Operations director, alongside five other new appointments. Matt commences his role in the new year, joining Gibsons from Mattel where he was responsible for overseeing inbound and outbound freight for the EMEA region. He brings extensive supply chain experience from his time at Mattel and previously United Biscuits, as well as from the SME sector.
Funko reveals leadership shuffle to strengthen operations. Following a tumultuous third quarter that presented record sales mirrored by weak earnings and a reduced outlook, the company says that it hopes to “strengthen its operations, drive enhanced returns for stockholders, and best position Funko to capture the significant opportunities ahead.” Brian Mariotti, chief creative officer, and former CEO of Funko...
ZAG appoints James Nunziati as head of global sales. ZAG has appointed former Zuru executive James Nunziati to the post of head of global sales, ZAG Play Toy Division, reporting to the division’s senior vice president, Helena Perheentupa. The news follows the independent animation studio announcing that it had launched a new global toy division, in August. Based in Los Angeles, Nunziati will build, drive and lead,...
SYBO names Philip Hickey as chief marketing officer. There’s a changing of the guard at SYBO as the company has appointed Philip Hickey as its new chief marketing officer. Hickey will join the team in Copenhagen. With the company’s hit mobile game, Subway Surfers, continuing to top the charts for its 11th consecutive year, Hickey will present innovative marketing opportunities for the company to expand its games...
Companies and Brands
University Games has announced the launch of the Kickstarter phenomenon Forbidden Games in the UK with a range of four strategic games that are available exclusively from Waterstones. Born from a Kickstarter campaign in 2018 and launched in the US, the Forbidden Games titles have gone from strength to strength in the strategic games market. The latest addition, Mosaic, which launched this autumn, ...
‘Neopets: Faerie’s Hope’ Launches on Mobile. Neopets is thrilled to announce the launch of their highly anticipated Match 3 game, Neopets: Faerie’s Hope. Starting now, Neopets fans in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, and Germany can dive into a captivating Neopian world full of intriguing characters, daring adventures, and compelling storylines.
The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair will once again welcome visitors when the 49th edition of the show kicks off January 9-12 at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre. And we are ready to be back to seeing toys in person! Thanks to relaxed quarantine restrictions, seeing the show in person is once again feasible for visitors from around the world, including those from the U.S.
M2 Machines is making a move that could signal a bigger change in the world of toys that can be considered collectibles. Following years of adding “chase” stickers to the packaging of its limited edition offerings, the company has revealed plans to discontinue the practice heading into 2023. Over the next few months, M2 Machines, a division of Castline, will phase out chase decals across its entire range of products.
Country Music star Tyler Hubbard, First Responders Children’s Foundation, and Mattel teamed up this week to deliver 2,000 toys to children undergoing treatment at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
The Pokémon Company International announced the next expansion for the bestselling Pokémon Trading Card Game, Scarlet & Violet, inspired by the recently released Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet video games. The Pokémon TCG: Scarlet & Violet expansion will be launching worldwide beginning on March 31, 2023.
Bazooka Companies, Inc is culminating its landmark, 75th anniversary with the premiere of a documentary that honors Bazooka Bubble Gum’s history, and its significant impact on popular culture as a pioneer in the confectionery industry and fans worldwide. The film, titled Bazooka Bubble Gum Turns 75, takes fans from the brand’s humble beginnings to the creation of the Bazooka Joe character and the comics,...
Omens Studios is further expanding its creative offering to global audiences launching its new program, the ‘Omens Multiverse’ to take animation and movie-based IPs into virtual reality and interactive experiences. The studio has two projects currently in development – Circle Line and Oasis – which will both be available as VR experiences and have NFT collections.
Inuru, a pioneer in practical and transformative light technology, is presenting its new line of paper-thin organic LEDs (OLED) at the 2023 CES, Booth 9274. Located in the Enterprise section of the North Hall near “Smart Cities,” Inuru’s 10’ X 20’ exhibit will feature an immersive cyber-punk experience, showcasing the company’s latest breakthroughs in whole electronic circuitry, condensed...
FLYBAR PLOTS EXPANSION WITH DISTRIBUTION CENTER SET TO OPEN IN SOUTH CAROLINA. Flybar, Inc. has come a long way from its roots in selling pogo sticks. The growing toy company is opening a distribution center in Greenwood County, South Carolina next month. Flybar‘s $8 million investment will create at least 36 American jobs at the new facility. “South Carolina’s booming economy and strong workforce...
***The above posted after December 9th***
Disney’s next big bet on ad-supported streaming has officially launched. On Thursday, The Walt Disney Co. rolled out the ad-supported tier of Disney+, and with it a revised suite of bundled offerings to give consumers more streaming options. Starting Thursday, the standard tier of Disney+ (with no ads) will see its price rise to $10.99 per month, with Disney+ Basic (with ads) taking its place at $7.99 per month.
Radio Flyer, GPI, Toy’n Around named ‘Best In Business’. The annual Inc. Best in Business list is out, and this year’s field includes a handful of familiar players that are being recognized for going above and beyond in putting purpose before profit. Radio Flyer, GPI, Toy’n Around, and Just Funky secured positions in a field of 240 companies being honored in the class of 2022.
Gel Blaster, a toy blaster that fires water-based Gellets, entered into a partnership deal with YouTube influencer David Dobrik. The environmentally safe, glow-in-the-dark toy is being revamped with the Gel Blaster StarFire: David Dobrik Edition. The full- or semi-automatic blaster charges with a USB-C cable and lights up using LEDs. It is designed for kids ages 9 and up and is nontoxic, stain resistant, and offers the rush of paintball without the pain.
Usaopoly along with Hasbro, take players and fans of the Princess of Pop on a musical journey with Monopoly: Britney Spears, the ultimate collection of her greatest hits, which is available now from The Op Games! The music. The moves. Her stage productions and videos. Only a few examples of what makes Britney Spears an icon.
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, Hasbro and Marine Toys for Tots have teamed up to deliver toys and games to families and children impacted by the environmental and economic impacts in San Juan, Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Fiona. Hasbro’s donated toys and games will be delivered by Fat Albert, the all-Marine KC-130 crew of...
Artica, an eCommerce technology company, has announced their major investment in SlumberPod, the first-ever portable, privacy blackout sleep pod for babies and toddlers seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. Leveraging its proprietary technology platform, Artica is bringing together world-class technology experts with seasoned brand builders to build the next phase of eCommerce.
The Insights Family – the global leader in kids, teens, parents, and family market intelligence – has announced the next exciting phase of its future growth strategy, with a significant refresh of how the company does research, data & insights, as well as the appointment of five senior industry executives to join the companies Industry Knowledge Advisory Board.
Flair’s Messi Training System campaign achieves its goal. The Messi Training System marketing campaign has reached more then 2.2m people and culminated in a meet-and-greet for one young football fan. As Argentina move into the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup, Flair GP is celebrating a successful year for the Messi Training System range which culminated in a meet-and-greet for one lucky fan.
Amazon is inching closer to launching Prime Gaming, its subscription service that offers free access to a number of titles and which ships bundled with Amazon Prime and Video plans, to its members in India, according to the company’s website. “With Prime Gaming (included with your Prime membership) unlock instant access to tons of exclusive content for your favorite games and a rotating collection...
Creative Kids Group has broadened the scope of its partnership with MGA Entertainment’s Little Tikes brand to bring their line of wooden toys to the UK and Ireland. The two companies teamed up earlier this year to produce and launch a range of wooden kitchens, vehicles, puzzles and early-learning games for kids up to age six in the US and Canada.
With the festive season underway, Zapf Creation, home of leading doll brands Baby Annabell and Baby born is getting into the Christmas spirit with the return of its 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Twelve of Baby Annabell and twelve of Baby born’s biggest influencer fans are helping to spread the Christmas cheer through a consecutive run of festive content to showcase some of the brands much-loved dolls, playsets and accessories.
The Nacelle Co. unleashes the first commercial for rebooted Robo Force brand. If you’re gonna bring back a classic toy brand, why not do it with some style? The Nacelle Co. is doing just that as it celebrates the pending release of the first products from its Very Important Toy line: Robo Force. Last year, the diversified media company behind The Toys That Made Us (Netflix), A Toy Store Near You (Amazon Prime Video)...
Hasbro and New York Times Games launch Wordle: The Party Game. Hasbro and New York Times Games have launched Wordle: The Party Game. Inspired by Wordle, the popular digital puzzle game from New York Times Games, Wordle: The Party Game, available in the UK, delivers classic Wordle gameplay, but now in a way that is perfect for game night with friends and family.
Ares Games will release 'Fighters of the Pacific' into U.S. retail. Ares Games will release Fighters of the Pacific, a naval air battle game, into U.S. retail in February 2023. Fighters of the Pacific features simulated air battles with plane tiles and modular hex-based boards without utilizing dice or rulers.
'Dog Park' is on preorder for retail. Birdwood Games will release Dog Park, a dog-walking card game, into retail on December 31, 2022. In Dog Park, players take on the roles of dog walkers looking to earn themselves the reputation of being the best in the neighborhood. The game takes place over the course of four rounds that consist of four phases each.
Bushiroad will bring 'Shadowverse: Evolve English Edition' to U.S. retail. Bushiroad will bring Shadowverse: Evolve English Edition, a trading card game, into U.S. retail stores in 2023. This TCG is based on the popular Japanese digital CCG Shadowverse, and it was first released on April 28, 2022 into Japanese marke. In Shadowverse: Evolve, players battle as one of six different classes of characters.
Complete hilarious challenges in 'Batsu! The Punishment Card Game'. Giant Fox Studios will release Batsu! The Punishment Card Game, a new party game, into retail on December 31, 2022. This card game is based on Japanese batsu-style game show in New York and Chicago where contestants are punished for bad or incorrect answers.
Creative Kids, Little Tikes expand wooden toy line to UK. After launching in North America this fall, Creative Kids and MGA Entertainment’s Little Tikes wooden toy line is expanding to the UK and Ireland. “Our team has been anxiously awaiting this partnership expansion,” says Creative Lids’ UK Managing Director Grant Gie. “We’re ready and raring to go with this unique take on classic wooden toys with such an iconic brand.”
IMC announces new Cry Babies Magic Tears audio content and Kitoons expansion. Kids can soon enjoy a whole new way to engage with material from IMC Toys’ entertainment property, Kitoons, as the brand expands into audio content. The move means fans are now able to join the popular Cry Babies Magic Tears characters on their adventures through a series of songs and audiobooks.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Microsoft pledges to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms for the next decade. Microsoft has committed to bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms for the next decade if its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved. box boss Phil Spencer broke the news on social media, and said the company is "committed to helping bring more games to more people—however they choose to play."
Dwarf Fortress hits 2-month sales target in 24 hours. Bay 12 Games' Dwarf Fortress released its 1.0 version yesterday, and has already sold 160,000 copies on Steam. Tanya Short of publisher Kitfox Games broke the news on Twitter, saying that she initially expected the game to hit that milestone within two months of release.
The 9 most busted games of 2022. 2022 was a huge bummer of a year for a lot of reasons, and buggy video games only exacerbated that feeling. It really does suck to shell out $60 or, as is quickly becoming the norm, $70 on something that is fundamentally broken at launch, especially if that something was created under exploitative working conditions.
2022 was the year big video games stopped coming out. In some ways it feels like more video games are coming out than ever before. Yet in another way, one that so many of the loudest and most expensive sides of the video game industry are built around, 2022 was a drought like no other. If you want to talk about lil’ platformers on the Switch, or city-builders on Steam, or weird horror adventures on itch.io, ...
Nintendo lands Call of Duty in 10-year Microsoft deal. Microsoft has entered into a 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles, following its plan to acquire the game's publisher. Microsoft wants to buy Activision Blizzard, which also makes Overwatch and Warcraft, for $68.7bn (£56.5bn). The deal would enable Microsoft to stop Call of Duty from appearing on rival consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 5.
Highlighted Press Releases
KIDS DISCOVER P IS FOR PODCAST ON DECEMBER 14 AS AN IMAGINATIVE AUDIO WORLD DEBUTS IN THE U.S. France’s #1 children’s subscription podcast service featuring cartoon characters Leo The Truck, Super Wings plus Zig and Sharko Say Bonjour, Hola And Hello! Paris, France (December 14, 2022) – The holiday car ride over the river and through the woods just got a little more exciting for kids ages 3 to 9 thanks to DISO (pronounced dee-ZOH), the first multilingual children’s podcast offering brought to you by France’s award-winning Paradiso Media. On December 14, three versions of the service (DISO in English, DISO en français and DISO en español) will be available to Apple Podcasts and Spotify listeners in ten markets: US, UK, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France, Argentina, Mexico.
***The above posted after December 9th***
OCEAN FRIENDS OCTOPUS, WHALE & DOLPHIN LOOK TO PRESCHOOLERS TO FIGHT PLASTIC POLLUTION. ‘Mission Ocean’ Launches December 1st From Adventerra Games Educational Eco Line Of Board Games That Kids Play, Learn Then Prep To Save The Planet. Boston, MA (December 1, 2022) – We’ve all heard of air and noise pollution. But if our ocean friends could talk, they would sound the alarm for plastic pollution! A new board game, Mission Ocean ($29.99 at https://www.adventerragamesusa.com/), alerts youngsters to the everyday dangers of floating plastic in our waters. The empowering nature of the fun-to-play board game has been endorsed by the global nonprofit, The Ocean Cleanup. With a roll of the wooden dice — made from FSC-certified wood — kids can imagine collecting plastic waste floating in the waves and scooping it up onto their ship.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Rossen Reports: These fake toys are flooding the market. Counterfeit toys are back and even harder to spot this year. In fact, counterfeits are hitting online shopping sites in record numbers. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 284 shipments of counterfeit toys worth $25 million just last year alone.
Recalled toys being sold online this holiday season, parents warned. A consumer group has a warning for parents when buying toys for kids this holiday season: watch out for recalled toys being listed for sale. Retailers are supposed to pull toys off their shelves and websites when they're recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and they usually do.
Target recalls Cloud Island 4-Piece Plush Toy Sets due to choking hazard. This recall involves Cloud Island 4-Piece Plush Toy Sets. The vehicles are a soft, knitted construction and include a blue car, a yellow bus, a red tractor, and a green truck each with a rattle inside. The vehicles measure approximately 3 inches (H) x 3.5 inches (W) x 6 inches (D). Item number 030-02-1042.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Local kid inventors from O’Fallon shine In Chicago toys and games competition. Who needs Santa’s elves when a group of young students are busy inventing toys and games? In their first year as an organization, members of the Innovators Club at St. Clare School in O’Fallon were among the top place finishers at a national contest last month.
Announcing the Kidscreen Hot50 results for 2022! Our annual list of the top 50 companies in kids entertainment has some big upsets in broadcasting and licensing, several multiple-category showings by all-rounders, and some impressive first-time entries. Following a couple of very challenging pandemic years, the kids entertainment industry came back with gusto in 2022, delivering a wide range of creative...
The 80th annual Golden Globe Awards unveiled its nominations Monday. Winners will be announced January 10 in a live, NBC-and Peacock-televised show from the Beverly Hilton hosted by Jerrod Carmichael. The HFPA-backed Globes’ 10 best picture nominees across its Drama and Comedy/Musical Comedy categories are Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, The Fablemans, Tár and Top Gun: Maverick (Drama) and Babylon...
The first-ever Children’s and Family Emmy Awards, held by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), saw a Netflix sweep led by series including Heartstopper (pictured) and Maya and the Three. The ceremony was held over two nights, with NATAS awarding the creative arts categories on December 10 and all other categories on December 11. The first night saw Disney+ live-action film Sneakerella...
Licensing International Reveals Panelists for Sports Licensing Summit. Licensing International, the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry, and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the top trade association for the sporting goods and fitness industry, have revealed the first wave of expert speakers participating in the brand-new Sports Licensing Summit.
SPIELWARENMESSE WORLD OF TOYS COMING TO NY, JAPAN. The organizer of the annual Spielwarenmesse Int'l Toy Fair in Nuremberg will make its first appearance at the Tokyo Toy Fair in Japan from June 8-11 at the Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Center. Spielwarenmesse eG is planning on hosting the World of Toys pavilion on Thursday and Friday of the fair, which is reserved for trade visitors only. The deadline to apply is Feb. 17.
2023 will see the induction of three members of the WTHRA Hall of Fame including Lorraine Bozeman, Carol Knight and Mark Parsons. A Retailer of the Year award will be given to a small west coast based toy store chain, Piccolo Mondo located in Oregon. The ToyFest Gala will take place at Resorts World’s nightclub Zouk, Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023, at 7:00 PM.
The 103 Best Book Covers of 2022. For what is now the seventh time in a row, I am pleased to present the best book covers of the year—as chosen by some of the industry’s best book cover designers. This year, I asked 31 designers to share their favorite covers of the year, and they came back with a grand total of 103 covers, representing work by 62 different designers for 54 different imprints.
The Game Awards 2022 Winners: The Full List. The Game Awards 2022 are a wrap, and Elden Ring took home the biggest award of the night: Game of the Year. God of War Ragnarok also did pretty well for itself, taking home a handful of awards.
***The above posted after December 9th***
Licensing International and the Licensing International Foundation, which supports the education of future licensing leaders, today celebrated the induction of Kathy Ireland and Salvatore LaRocca to the Licensing International Hall of Fame. Held at Gotham Hall in New York City, the 2022 Hall of Fame and Rising Star Awards event also honored the future of brand licensing, recognizing Rising Stars...
Each year, the international TrendCommittee for the Spielwarenmesse identifies three ToyTrends that offer guidance to retailers in their range selection. How they scout out these trends is explained in the latest edition of the Spielwarenmesse Podcast. The guests taking part in this latest episode of the podcast are three members of the TrendCommittee: John Baulch, publisher of Toy World Magazine, and two market...
Summer Game Fest 2023 will premiere days before E3's return. Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest will return on June 8, 2023. That alone would be noteworthy, but the now annual showcase of upcoming video games will premiere ahead of E3's return running from June 13-June 16, 2023. When E3 was canceled in 2020 and opted to go virtual in 2021 due to the pandemic, Keighley formed Summer Game Fest to pick up the slack.
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.
Kevin Conroy, the voice actor best known for portraying DC Comics' Batman, passed away from cancer at the age of 66. The news was initially reported via Diane Pershing (the voice actor for Poison Ivy on Batman: The Animated Series), and later corroborated by Warner Bros. Animation.
"Our beloved voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, died yesterday," reads Pershing's post. "He's been ill for a while but he really put in a lot of time at the cons, to the joy of all of his fans. He will be sorely missed not just by the cast of the series but by his legion of fans all over the world."
Initially an actor for stage and television, Conroy rose to voice acting prominence with 1992's Batman: The Animated Series. That series ran four seasons, but he continued to voice the comic book character throughout its many spinoffs such as Batman Beyond and Justice League.
He would go on to voice Batman in nearly every animated DC project that featured the hero, and even got to play him in live action during the CW's adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths in 2019.
Outside of animation, Conroy went on to voice Batman in multiple video games, including Rocksteady's Batman Arkham and Netherrealm's Injustice franchises. His final role as Batman is in Player First Games' MultiVersus. And beyond Batman, his voice acting career included Lords of EverQuest, Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and Max Payne 2.
In a statement from WB provided to press, Batman voice director Andrea Romano wrote: "Kevin was far more than an actor whom I had the pleasure of casting and directing – he was a dear friend for 30+ years whose kindness and generous spirit knew no boundaries. Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”
“Kevin was perfection,” continued longtime Joker voice actor Mark Hamill. "I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”
Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams and siblings Trisha and Tom Conroy.
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From the Editor: Riding the Rails to a Flipper Frenzy (The Toy Book)
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Flair’s Messi Training System campaign achieves its goal
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ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- Hasbro Announces 'Magic: The Gathering' Fireside Chat
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-'Dungeons & Dragons' Evolves Beyond 'Races'v
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- Rolling for Initiative -- How Ed Pugh Changed the Industry
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- New 'Flesh and Blood TCG' Booster Set Incoming
- 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair' December 2022 Superdrop Features 'Transformers'
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News Flash: Oh My Brain Released, G.I. JOE Mission Critical Out Now
25th Century Games has announced a new card game, Renegade Game Studios has released a new cooperative board game, and Board Game Geek has put out their annual gift guide.
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