the Bloom Report

Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is Dec. 24 - 31, 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 . . . 

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Happy New Year!

We in the toy industry are an optimistic bunch. We sell dreams, hope, happiness and fun. Here's to a happy, healthy and playful 2022.

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

R.I.P. - Rest in Play: Remembering those we have lost . . . 

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There is more information about our colleagues pictured above and others we've sadly lost this past year here

Our R.I.P. is by separated by decades. This is a new feature, if we have missed some of our friends and colleagues, please let us know. 

POP Week's Friday's POP DUO:

Marty Abrams, President of MEGO and Brian Volk Weiss, Founder, CEO, The Nacelle Co.

Watch on POP's hompage!

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And, to help some Northeasterners get to NYTF faster . . . 

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The North Atlantic Rail’s high-speed train would take passengers from Boston to NYC in just 100 minutes.

Traveling to NYC in under two hours could become a reality in the near future, according to the North Atlantic Rail Initiative (NAR). Reaching up to 200 miles an hour, the new high-speed train would take passengers from South Station to Penn Station in about one hour and forty minutes. The current travel time from Boston to NYC on Amtrack’s Acela trains is almost four hours.

The initiative also seeks to improve commuter services all throughout the New England and New York areas providing significant updates to the local rail system. NAR’s new regional railway system would include an east-west link between Boston and Springfield that would continue on to Hartford; improved commuter services between Concord, New Hampshire, and Boston; frequent high-speed rail between Kingston, Rhode Island and Providence and Boston; and connections to Pittsfield from Connecticut.

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Travel ban to Germany lifted for UK visitors.  The German authorities have announced that from 4th January, all countries previously on the virus variant areas list – including the UK -  will move to the high-risk list. The change means that from 4th January, travelers from these countries will be eligible to enter the territory of Germany, while being subject to the same restrictions as the majority of world travelers. 

The new trading card division of Fanatics has acquired the trading card business of Topps from Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners, the companies announced.  Topps’ candy and gift cards division will remain with the current owners and be renamed The Bazooka Companies, Inc. The acquisition comes after Fanatics announced in August that it had acquired exclusive licenses to ...

Enesco has completed its acquisition of Allen Designs, a growing creative and whimsical line of quality and functional products sold by retailers around the world. Leading the continued development and execution of her brand will be creator and designer Michelle Allen, who joins the Enesco Team.

(the above posted after December 31st)

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 global version of Steam appears to be banned in China. Steam Global seems to have been banned in China, according to a report from TheGamer. Only the Chinese version of Steam remains accessible in the country, which currently offers a limited library of just 103 games — a very small fraction of the over 110,000 games that Steam Global has at this time of writing. 

Shoppers shun Christmas sales as footfall drops amid Covid fears. The number of people taking advantage of post-Christmas sales on Monday fell by 32% compared with 2019, new data shows, amid persistent Covid concerns. Retail analyst Springboard said footfall figures were better than Boxing Day. But popular shopping destinations such as central London saw a drop caused in part by disruption to rail services. 

NPD offers an update on China’s toy business. Over the past few years, China has been standing tall as an emerging consumer market for the toy industry. While the headlines often focus on the country as the key manufacturing base for the global toy business, sales have been booming as well as Chinese families catch up to their international counterparts in terms of play and consumption. 

Everything that has happened since the Activision Blizzard lawsuit was filed. The ongoing lawsuit against Activision Blizzard has made public some truly terrible and horrendous behavior that occurred across multiple studios and offices. Many women were allegedly sexually harassed, assaulted, and psychologically traumatized while the folks in power at the companies involved seemingly did little to stop or limit this behavior. The lawsuit was filed on July 20 by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after a years-long investigation …

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - DECEMBER 2021 . . . . . . . TOP 50 COMICS - DECEMBER 2021 . . . . . .  . 10 Best Manga of 2021

(the above posted after December 31st)

The Top 100 Video Games of All Time . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . Best of 2021: The trends and events that defined the year for game developers

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

B&M reports increased revenue as UK store expansion continues . . . . . . Twitch viewership grew 45% year-over-year for 2021

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Analysts expect Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) to report sales of $1.66 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $1.68 billion and the lowest estimate coming in at $1.63 billion. Mattel posted sales of $1.63 billion during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 1.8%. The company is expected to report its next earnings report on Tuesday, February 8th.

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.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

Barbie and Balmain Want to Make Toys the Next Big Fashion Frontier. The first high-fashion collaboration of the year is here, and it’s surprisingly good. First out of the gate: Balmain, the French high fashion house, and Barbie, the ultimate plastic doll. It may signal the official breaching of the next big fashion frontier: the world of toys. Though the marriage of Mattel iconography and material iconography is not exactly...

Opinion piece: Catherine Van Reeth, director general of TIE, on how toy companies can lead the conversation on inclusivity & diversity.   As we start 2022, it is good to reflect on how the toy industry is ever changing and evolving. Toys have always been a reflection of society and give children a way to mimic the adult world. For example, there have been toy versions of handset phones, followed by various versions up...

Ten-year-old Ryan Kaji and his family have turned videos of him playing with toys into a multimillion-dollar empire. Why do so many other kids want to watch? Over the protests of my fellow concerned parents, I want to admit something: I don’t care all that much about screen time, the great child-rearing panic of the 21st century. 

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE COMICS BUSINESS IN 2022?  Happy New Year!  It’s the first column of 2022 and that means it’s time for industry forecasts!  After what appeared to be another good year for comics retail, publishing and licensing, what kinds of trends and disruptions can we expect for the year ahead?  Here are a few things I’ll be watching for.  More creative licensed projects.  One of the more interesting publishing...

If you were a kid in the 1980s, you probably, at some point, had a Cabbage Patch Kids doll. The soft-bodied baby-like dolls, each of which came with its own “adoption certificate,” were a worldwide phenomenon that reportedly generated about $2 billion in sales throughout the decade, while garnering endless media attention and controversy, and causing a series of violent customer outbursts and riots in numerous retail stores across N.A. in the fall and winter of 1983. If you turn over the doll and look on the left bum cheek, you’ll find Xavier Roberts’ signature. 

(the above posted after December 31st)

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 Toy Book’s 2021 Unboxed: the top 25 toy stories of the year2021: we made it through another year! If life — and doing business — in the pandemic era has taught us one thing, it’s that all bets are off. No matter how well you can plan for things, the world has a way of throwing unexpected curveballs that are cause for constant readjustment. 

Your kids like fidget toys? Here's why. First there were the fidget spinners, then the squishies, then the pop toys, then the faux game controllers, bendable this-and-thats and a number of other hand-held items that my kids could manipulate with one hand. mInitially, I fluctuated between feeling mildly enthused and agnostic about them. 

Pre-auction bidding on 'The Rocket Copy' Of 'Action Comics' #1 passes $1.6 million. CGC-graded 6.0 "The Rocket Copy" of Action Comics #1 with white pages has already passed $1.6 million in pre-auction bidding at Heritage Auctions.  The live bidding for this item will occur at the January 13-16 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in Dallas, Texas. 

 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Back in the day: the video games we were playing in December 1981It’s time to cast your minds back as we take a look at what was new on the computer games scene in December 1981.  This month saw the release of a computer that came to be known by nearly all schoolchildren for years and whose legacy lives on just a smidgen today in the ARM processor of many mobile devices, I am speaking of the BBC Micro – a computer famed for its technical achievements as well as introducing an entire generation to the educational game Granny’s Garden. 

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Hasbro Introduces a New Potato Head: The Yamdalorian.  Spuds are the way! The latest Star Wars-inspired Potato Head toy from Hasbro has arrived, and it might be the funniest thing we’ve seen in a long time. Say hello to “The Yamdalorian and the Tot,” a Potato Head set inspired by the titular character from the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and his adorable space-toddler sidekick, Grogu.

Disguise Announces Squid Game Costume and Accessory Launch in North America and APAC in 2022. Disguise, Inc. announces design and development of costumes and masks based on Netflix’s hit series Squid Game for 2022. Squid Game became a fast favorite on Netflix this year with over 142M views in just 4 weeks, becoming their most watched show to date.

Jakks Pacific extended its long-running Sonic the Hedgehog licensing partnership with SEGA of America to include the upcoming Netflix animated series, Sonic Prime. Under the new deal, Jakks will design, produce, and market a full range of action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush, and collectibles inspired by the show. Disguise — the costumes and seasonal division of Jakks Pacific — is on board as the official costume...

The world of Play-Doh is expanding thanks to a new pact between Hasbro and Creative Kids.  Creative Kids inked a multi-year, international licensing deal with Hasbro to create and produce a new range of Play-Doh branded products, including toys, air dry compounds, and modeling clay. The first wave of new products is set to launch this spring with more to follow. 

JAKKS Pacific, Disguise and Sega of America Announce "Sonic Prime" Toy and Costume Collection. JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced a partnership with Sega of America, Inc. for the upcoming animated Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic Prime. Under this partnership, JAKKS will produce action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush and other collectibles associated with the upcoming new show. 

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People . . . 

HASBRO NAMES CHRIS COCKS AS CEO, ERIC NYMAN AS PRESIDENT AND COO. The company’s board of directors named Chris Cocks as Hasbro’s new CEO and member of the board effective Feb. 25. Cocks takes over for interim CEO Rich Stoddart who stepped in to lead the company following the death of longtime CEO Brian Goldner last fall. Stoddart will become chair of the board. Cocks joined Hasbro from Microsoft in 2016 and currently serves as president and chief operating officer of Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming division.

Jazwares has announced that Jeremy Padawer joins the c-suite as Chief Brand Officer. Padawer is a toy industry veteran with deep expertise in brand development across multiple toy categories including collectibles, as well as an experienced executive in e-commerce and animated content. Padawer has been instrumental in Jazwares’ growth since joining the company in 2019 when Jazwares acquired Wicked Cool Toys

Funko announced that Charles Denson, a current member of the Board, has been appointed Chairman of the Board. Mr. Denson replaces Ken Brotman of ACON Investments, who will continue to serve as a board member. “I feel very privileged to take on this role at such an exciting time for Funko,” said Mr.Denson. “The company is at the center of fan culture and innovation in consumer products...

Making It In the Toy Industry, a podcast hosted by The Toy Coach, Azhelle Wade, is celebrating the launch of its 3rd season. This is the only toy podcast designed to support and inspire inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporate toy people with advice and insider tips about concept development, marketing, sales, and manufacturing.

Talking strategy with MGM’s Robert Marick. Home to Bond, Rocky and The Pink Panther, MGM is a powerhouse of a studio. We asked Robert Marick, EVP Global Consumer Products & Experiences, to tell us about developing licensing strategies for some of the most iconic properties in entertainment, and how his stints at Disney, Mattel, Twentieth Century Fox and Discovery have shaped his approach to global brand mgt.

Industry veteran Andy Moberg has joined Fun In Motion Toys as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. The exciting news was announced by Kevin Daniels, Founding President of Fun In Motion Toys.  His distinguished industry career has included senior management positions at University Games, Play Visions and Toysmith. Throughout, he has played a major role in creating a wide variety of remote control, flying, ...

(the above was posted after December 31st)

‘Power Kid Podcast’ top 10 episodes of 2021. We made it through another year, and that means that it’s time to take a look at some of the biggest hits of 2021! On the “Power Kid Podcast” — presented by The Toy Book Podcasts by Adventure Media & Events — host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design delivers fresh conversations with some of the biggest names and rising stars in the toy, game, and family entertainment industries. 

UM-Dearborn students built STEM toys and donated them to the local toy library. Students in the IMSE 382 manufacturing course delivered for the holidays.  You have to hand it to Assistant Professor Georges Ayoub for finding ways to make engineering education both rigorous and fun. A couple semesters ago he had his students concept, design and manufacture original board games — a highly detailed process that involves a surprisingly wide range of skills in the engineer’s toolbox.

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Companies, Brands . . .  

What Do You Meme? Spreads Holiday Cheer by Donating $500,000 Worth of Party Games.  What Do You Meme? celebrated the spirit of giving this past holiday season by partnering with Volunteers of America-Greater New York and Good360 to distribute games to select families. The company is expected to reveal its first corporate social responsibility program in the weeks ahead.

LEGO Friends Celebrates 10th Anniversary with 8 New Building Sets.  As we ring in the new year, the LEGO Group is celebrating a big milestone: a whole decade of LEGO Friends building sets. To mark the 10th anniversary, the LEGO Group is releasing eight new LEGO Friends sets, including the Tree-Planting Vehicle, the Pet Clinic, and more.

MGA Entertainment’s 2020 line Rainbow High has expanded its pantheon of dolls! The Rainbow High Pacific Coast Dolls sport swimwear, beach accessories and textile patterns that are ideal for a coastal themed display. Pacific Coast dolls launch after the successful debut of the Rainbow High Netflix series in March 2021. The Pacific Coast line will include these characters:

Cloudco Entertainment has launched its new Care Bears: Unlock The Magic animated series on China’s CCTV14 public broadcasting network and French free-to-air television channel, Gulli. These content launches come in tandem with new toy deals in both territories that will support the new TV series as well as the Care Bears’ forthcoming 40th anniversary in 2022.

Far Out Toys has officially announced an open casting call for new talent to represent the Glo-Up Girls doll line in 2022. The announcement comes on the heels of a momentous year for the fashion doll line, which debuted in retail stores across the UK and on Target.com in the US in the Fall of 2021. The line is expanding in the US this year, starting with Target stores nationwide in February. 

Moose Toys and Hinkler, both based in Melbourne, and between them they are donating almost 10,000 toys and books to beneficiaries, including the Monash Children’s Hospital, Eat Up, Igniting Change, Katalyst Foundation, Mirabel Foundation, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Toy Drive.

Genius Brands International, Inc. in partnership with Spafax Inflight Entertainment, announced it has been selected by JetBlue to feature Kartoon Channel! content as part of its inflight entertainment experience.  The partnership is expected to launch in January 2022 and includes a sampling of Genius Brands’ hit content, including...

USA Today and Reviewed.com have picked the Joovy Kooper for the coveted Best Parenting Products list. California inventors created the lightweight stroller for easy maneuvering for on-the-go parents. Now the ingenious design is an Editor’s Choice for features like a compact fold and plenty of storage for all those diapers and wipes.

(the above posted after December 31st)

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.

Lego’s official Sonic the Hedgehog set recreates picture-perfect Green Hill Zone. After months of waiting, Lego’s official Sonic the Hedgehog set is finally here: a $69.99, 1,125-piece recreation of the iconic Green Hill Zone stage, complete with Lego-ized versions of the titular heroic hedgehog, a handful of classic Sonic villains, Dr. Eggman, and — of course — the Chaos Emeralds. 

Banpresto welcomes the TinyTAN Q posket collectible figure line to America. TinyTAN Q poskets will be launched in the United States. The Q posket line, which has previously been released only in Japan, is much anticipated for all the K-pop and BTS fans in the U.S. Q poskets are available in all seven characters of BTS members, RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook, and can be pre-ordered where collectibles are sold. 

PSI expands distribution via deal with CMON. Publisher Services Inc. will expand distribution of titles from its publisher clients in Asia and the Middle East through a new deal with CMON Asia, the companies announced.  Under the new partnership, CMON Asia will act as a sub-distributor for PSI in those international markets, and provide logistics and sales support.  

Add 'Brigante Celts' to 'D&D' town encounters. WizKids will release WizKids Deep Cuts: Brigante Celts, a miniatures boxed set, into retail stores in April 2022. WizKids Deep Cuts: Brigante Celts boxed set comes 13 miniatures that are primed and ready to paint. The miniatures feature deep cuts to make painting easier and come in clear packaging displays. 

Corvus Belli will release 'JSA Action Pack'Corvus Belli will release JSA Action Pack, for the Infinity miniatures game, on January 27, 2022. The Japanese are a new independent member of the Non-Aligned Countries. They are constantly besieged by the StateEmpire and its fearsome allies. This Army Pack is a good entry point into a JSA force, and has all the miniatures players would need to start playing with this faction. 

Honda Shogo is an electric ride-on toy made for kids in hospitals. Honda has revealed a new electric ride-on toy called the Shogo. It’s more than just a plaything like the ride-on toys parents can pick up for children at the store. Instead, it’s a ride-on toy specifically designed to bring a bit of happiness to very sick and hospitalized children. Honda engineers designed Shogo to reduce the stress and anxiety for kids and families ...

Cubicle 7 will release 'Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game 2E Starter Set'. Cubicle 7 will release a Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game 2E Starter Set into retail stores in Q2 2022.  Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game 2E Starter Set comes with 100 pages of introductory rules to start players off on their time traveling adventures. It includes "The Timeless Library" book, which is a new adventure module. 

Earn the favors of geishas in 'Hanamikoji'. Asmodee USA will release Hanamikoji, a new printing of a classic EmperorS4 card game, into retail stores on January 21, 2022. In Hanamikoji, players take a stroll down the geisha street in the old capital of Hanamikoji. There, they will attempt to earn the favors of seven geisha masters by obtaining their performance items of choice. 

Games Workshop previews next 'Warhammer 40,000' battlebox. Games Workshop previewed Eldritch Omens, the next Warhammer 40,000 Battlebox, which will release in 2022. The new Battlebox features a clash between the forces of the Asuryani and the Heretic Astartes. It contains enough components to build 16 miniatures, many of which are entirely new sculpts for Warhammer 40,000. 

Wizards of the Coast reveals full product line deets for 'Kamigawa Neon Dynasty'. The Next 'Magic: The Gathering' Standard Set.  Wizards of the Coast revealed the full product line details for Kamigawa Neon Dynasty, the next Magic: The Gathering Standard Set, for release on February 18, 2021. For more information on future releases of Magic products, 

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Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

Longtime Blizzard employee spouted hateful garbage on Discord server. Geoff Fraizer, a former early Blizzard employee who was responsible for much of the company’s web content over the past 23 years, has been posting bigoted and hateful messages in a Discord server going back to May 2021. ABetterABK founder and organizer Jessica Gonzalez tweeted screenshots of Fraizer, allegedly under the username...

9 great games for your new Android Phone. Load your phone with these recommendations, many of which are free.  In addition to being a popular mobile OS, Android is one of the most bustling gaming platforms on Earth. If you have a recent Android phone or tablet, or even one that’s a couple of years old, you should be able to run a majority of the games available in the Google Play Store. 

Poll: here are Japan's Top 100 video games of all time. Last night on Japanese television, there was a three-hour special to rank the hundred most popular video games of all time as voted by over 50,000 people in Japan. Since this poll has such a huge sample, the TV Asahi results are probably a fairly accurate barometer of people’s current gaming tastes in the country. A panel of celebrities commented on the games...

Despite everything, Cyberpunk 2077 was a Steam top seller & most-played title in 2021. Perhaps it was an understatement when we said Cyberpunk was having its first “good day” when it creeped its way to the top of the Steam charts earlier this year. As it turns out, the beleaguered role-playing game, which has received a number of updates since its dumpster fire of a release, was quietly trucking along all of 2021 on at...

11 things every new Xbox Series X/S owner should try or consider. Congratulations, you got a next-gen console. It’s hard to believe that over a year after the launch of the Xbox Series X/S, it’s still so damn hard to find one. But you did it. Or someone who really loves you did and gifted it to you for the holidays. How nice of them!

8 great games for your new Playstation 5. If you’re lucky enough to have one, that is.The PlayStation 5 was released in November 2020, but it’s still incredibly hard to get. The chip shortage has rendered it nearly impossible to log onto your favorite retailer’s site and order one. In other words, among the no-doubt massive amount of people who want a PS5, very few are actually able to get one these days. 

8 great games for your new Xbox. Many of these games play well on Series S, tooThe latest generation of Xbox consoles recently celebrated their one-year birthday, though like the PS5, your chances of easily buying one aren’t so great (the $300 Series S is far easier to find in stock than the $500 Series X is). 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Tesla disables gaming while driving featureTesla has agreed to make changes to its Passenger Play feature that allowed games to be played on its touchscreen while the car is in motion. It follows an investigation launched by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency said it had been informed by Tesla that a software update would disable the feature while driving. Elon Musk's car firm had faced criticism that the feature was dangerous. The New York Times reported that Tesla had contacted the NHTSA directly.

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

SmartLab Toys Inspires Budding Scientists, Launches the Most Advanced Human Body Discovery Toy with Ultimate Squishy Human Body

Raising the bar for all other human body kits, this comprehensive kit features a 16-inch-tall human anatomy model with realistic removable squishy organs, articulated joints and an electronic sound module powered by SmartScan Technology. 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . . 

The Toy Association expects to safely host Toy Fair New York at the Javits Center from February 19-22, 2022. All who enter Toy Fair will be required to wear masks. “Our steadfast requirement for proof of vaccination and mask wearing was seen as somewhat controversial last spring and today provides confidence that all health and safety standards are in place,” added Pasierb.

Toymaster confirms details of 2022 May Show. The popular annual event will return to the Double Tree by Hilton Majestic Hotel in Harrogate from 17th-19th May.  The Toymaster buying group has officially sent out the invite to its 2022 May Show, which makes its highly anticipated return this year after being forced to sit out 2021 due to Covid. Running from Tuesday 17th May to Thursday 19th May (with a set-up day on the 16th)...

The British Toy and Hobby Association has released a statement reassuring the trade that the annual Toy Fair will take place as planned from 25th-27th January. The official statement, sent out today, reads: “Over the past months and weeks, we have continuously been monitoring the government regulations and industry guidance in order to best prepare and work towards delivering a safe and successful Toy Fair 2022 for...

The Children’s Media Conference has announced that its Editorial Director Greg Childs has been awarded an OBE for Services to Int'l Trade and the Children’s Media Sector in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List. The award has been presented to Greg in recognition of his considerable contribution to children’s media throughout his career, which started at the BBC where he worked for 27 yrs, primarily as a director, producer...

China Toy Expo and China Kids Fair, organized by China Toy & Juvenile Products Assn, originally scheduled for Feb.23-25, 2022 at Shanghai New Int'l Expo Center will be postponed to Oct 19-21, 2022 at the same venue. Though the COVID-19 situation has largely been controlled within China, the recent scattered new cases still pose great challenge and threat to large-scale tradeshow. (from email)

(the above posted after December 31st)

Childcare registration is now open for GDC 2022. Parents: If you've been eager to attend GDC next year but are in need of safe childcare options during the event, we've got exciting news. In-person childcare is returning to GDC 2022! The Game Developers Conference is once again partnering with KiddieCorp to provide a children's program at the Moscone Center during GDC 2022, for kids ages 6 months to 12 years old. The team of excellent childcare workers will engage your children with activities they want to attend, providing you with that critical peace …

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

John Madden: NFL coach, broadcaster and video game icon dies at 85. Legendary American Football coach and commentator John Madden has died at the age of 85, the National Football League (NFL) has announced. The league said he died unexpectedly and did not give a cause.  Madden led the then-Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory in 1977 and became a hugely popular television analyst after retiring from coaching. He later became the face of Madden NFL Football, one of the most successful sports video games ever.  "Nobody loved football more than Coach," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.  "There will never be another John Madden, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the NFL what it is today."  Madden coached the Raiders from 1969 to 1978. He won Super Bowl XI when they went through the 1976 regular season with a 13-1 record.  He boasts the best winning percentage of NFL coaches who have taken charge of more than 100 games.  But he will perhaps be best remembered for his three-decade career in commentary, after retiring from coaching at just 42.  Known for his unpretentious style, Madden travelled to games in his own bus because he suffered from claustrophobia. He also developed a fear of flying.  Many younger fans know him as the man who gave his name to Madden NFL, published by EA Sports since 1988. The video game became so influential that some players and coaches learned new tactics from playing it.  Madden NFL became renowned for its realistic gameplay. EA first approached Madden with the idea in 1984, but it took four years before he was finally satisfied with the game, insisting it had to be as realistic as possible.  John Madden won 16 Emmy Awards and covered 11 Super Bowls from 1979 to 2009. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.  "People always ask, are you a coach or a broadcaster or a video game guy?" he said when was elected to the Hall of Fame. "I'm a coach, always been a coach." 

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., popular Australian toy stalwart Jeff Hunter sadly passed away just before Christmas. 

Jeff was a hugely popular, larger-than-life character who was always seen at global toy industry shows and social events in Hong Kong, London, Nuremberg and many other places around the globe. Jeff’s daughter, Madeleine Hunter, product manager at Hunter Products, posted the following notice on LinkedIn: “As many of you know, we lost our Dad, the greatest salesman, Jeff Hunter on Thursday at 12.30am. He was surrounded by the six of us, as he would have wanted. Dad could sell ice to the eskimos and he got the biggest buzz when he got the order. He was a big kid and he just loved toys. Dad, we will ‘never never never give up’ and we will ‘sell, sell, sell’ and get that massive hit we always talked about – I promise you that. Rest in Peace Dad, your bubbly energy and enthusiasm will live on inside us all every day.”

MGA’s Isaac Larian referred to Jeff as “a legend in our industry”, while Richard North added the following tribute to Jeff: “For those who don’t know Jeff, he would light up any room he entered and leave it brighter than when he walked in. For those who did know Jeff, they will know he was always laughing and his stories were legendary and often carried words of wisdom. I know he would be proud to know that I’ve forgotten most of them simply because by the morning of any night out with Jeff and Jimbo, my head would hurt and my memory had gone. God bless you Jeff and your fantastic kids, who take the business forward in your amazing spirit and honour.”

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.

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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​​

Adventure Media & Events (US) - on vacation this week

aNb Media (US) - on vacation this week

ToyWorld (UK) - last week's highlights - on vacation this week

  1. Tidings of comfort and joy …it’s the Christmas Blog!

  2. NPD reveals UK’s best-selling toys in run up to Christmas

  3. Organiser insists Spielwarenmesse 2022 will take place

  4. Nuremberg announces February show to go ahead – but will UK visitors be able to attend?

  5. BTHA issues statement on Toy Fair

  6. Dear Santa – most requested toys revealed

  7. The Playground Podcast – 2021 Year in Review

  8. BBC Studios signs three new UK deals for Bluey

  9. WiT announces finalists for 30th Wonder Women Awards

  10. SmartZone seeks agents to join growing business

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

Paizo Unveils 'Pathfinder Dark Archive'
Wizards of the Coast Reveals Full Product Line Deets for 'Kamigawa Neon Dynasty'

Chaosium Will Release New Printing of 'Call of Cthulhu 7E: Starter Set'
Rolling for Initiative -- Three Trends that Will Likely Continue
Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty' Buy-a-Box Promo
Add 'Brigante Celts' to 'D&D' Town Encounters
Games Workshop Previews Next 'Warhammer 40,000' Battlebox
Cubicle 7 Will Release 'Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game 2E Starter Set'
Square Enix Announces 'Final Fantasy TCG: Rebellion's Call'
U.S. Holiday Sales Up 8.5%

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain) - on vacation this week

The Bugg Report (Australia)

 

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Star Wars Love Letter, Fish N'Chips Pre-Order
Z-Man Games has announced a Star Wars themed Love Letter game, Asmodee has a new dexterity game for pre-order, and Asmodee is also set to be acquired.

 

Video of the Week . . . 

Molly Wright: How every child can thrive by five.| TED

"What if I was to tell you that a game of peek-a-boo could change the world?" asks seven-year-old Molly Wright, one of the youngest-ever TED speakers.

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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

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

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

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Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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