the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Dec 4 - 11, 2020. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with most recent at top of each section.   The previous week drops off each 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 briefing of the week's news...

Happy Friday and Happy Hanukkah!

Our POP Week Int'l Innovation panels are filled with such an abundance of interesting information, entertainment and news, in the spirit of the season, we will be sharing them with you, highlighting one each week in our Video of the Week section. We will start with the opening session: Mattel 75 Years and Fisher-Price 90 Years, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Moderated by Richard Dickson (President and COO, Mattel) with panelists Jill Barad (Consultant, Prior: CEO & Chairman of Mattel), Tom Kalinske (Executive Chairman at Mixed Dimensions, Prior: CEO of Sega America, Leapfrog and Mattel) and Neil Friedman (Advisor, Prior: President of Alex Brands, ToysRUs, Mattel, Fisher-Price, Tyco Preschool). You'll love watching this panel!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

tBR Company of the Week - Brilliant PR and Marketing - Always On

Brilliant recently lit up Times Square for its client, Schleich, in the culmination of the brand’s year long power of imagination campaign.

It was nearly 15 years ago when a former executive in the products packaging space working closely with buyers for Walmart looked down while trying to pump milk for her twins in front of her laptop and said “there must be a better way!” Shortly thereafter, a friend gave her the gift of a hands-free pumping bra, at that time, a relatively niche product known only within cult circles of passionate moms. True to her nature, Kathleen Tomes called the “1-800” number on the product packaging and told the folks on the other end of the line that someone needed to be promoting them. They offered her the chance to do so, and within two years, that product was the subject of the then largest acquisition in the history of Medela, the leading breast pump brand. In the process, Brilliant PR & Marketing was born.

 

“Our competitive edge is that we didn’t start the company as PR pros. We were sales people at heart, and knew the type of dogged, scrappy efforts it takes to get products on shelves and then inspire consumers to buy them” said Kathleen Tomes, president and founder. “Starting from that core ethos, but then adding some of the best agency talent over the years has made us fundamentally different from our competitors. Our mantra is ‘everything to the end of the sale.’”

 

This spirit of genuine passion, scrappy action, consistent results and leveraging consumer awareness to create true impact for businesses remains at the core of Brilliant PR & Marketing today. What began as a small network of “work from home” moms generating media coverage for a handful of baby and maternity brands has evolved over the last decade into a powerhouse, multi-service agency synonymous with the juvenile and family products industry for verticals including toys and games, mom and baby, learning brands, housewares, lifestyle and more.

 

According to a few of their current clients, the agency is “brilliant” because: Read More...

tBR Person of the Week - Mary Jo Reutter - Hats, Hats, So Many Hats!

For the holidays, what do you say, game inventors? Let’s gift ourselves with a bit of credit for all the many things we do before a game ever goes to market.

To be a successful game inventor, we must have a level proficiency at many, many … many things. Some are obvious, some unexpected – and some are just a little odd. It got me to thinking, What are all of the skill sets we use when inventing games?

 

We Wear Many Hats

“Game designer” (we’ll get back to that one).

Technical Writer – Rules seem easy, but that’s after they’ve been poured over, tested and perfected. There’s as much of an art as there is a skill when it comes to getting rules right.

Graphic Designer (look and feel) – Even if a game changes completely after licensing, the early look and feel influence the initial buy decisions and can drive final game design as well.

Model Maker (prototype) – Building some form factor that can be played, changed, played again, rinsed and repeated until it’s just right.

Engineer – A prototype can take many forms, even just in paper. Sometimes in complex schematics and structural design, with electrical or mechanical components. sentence

Cost Engineer and Package Designer – Even if we’re not involved in the final forms, our early decisions in the overall design affect the final decisions. So at least a small level of proficiency here goes a long way.

 

That’s the practical stuff. But let’s get back to that first item – “game designer.” That’s the `Secret Sauce. The intangible. The thing that’s referred to as “creativity.” But what does that mean?

 

The Secret Sauce... Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Toys and games help slow fall in UK inflation  Figures show that the UK inflation rate fell to 0.3% in November from 0.7% in October. The rising price of toys and games has helped slow a drop in inflation for the UK, which has fallen dramatically since October due to the timing of the most recent nationwide lockdowns. 

With Americans stuck at home, trade with China roars back. American imports from China are surging as the year draws to a close, fueled by stay-at-home shoppers who are snapping up Chinese-made furniture and appliances, along with Barbie Dream Houses and bicycles for the holidays. despite Mr. Trump’s restrictions on Chinese goods, including tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of its imports, there is little sign...

Roblox purchases digital avatar firm Loom.aiUser-generated gaming platform Roblox announced the acquisition of Loom.ai for an undisclosed sum. Loom.ai is a San Francisco-based startup founded by former LucasFilm and DreamWorks staff.

Keywords acquires High Voltage Software for $50m. Game services provider Keywords Studios has added yet another company to its roster of studios, with the acquisition of High Voltage Software for a total consideration of up to $50 million.

UK high streets draw crowds, while Germany asks public to forgo pre-lockdown splurge. As Germany braces itself for another strict lockdown that is set to last until 10th January, images have emerged over the weekend showing huge crowds of British shoppers stocking up for Christmas. Reports from Germany and Britain highlight the contrast between how different countries are approaching the festive season.

EA to acquire Dirt developer Codemasters, scuppering Take-Two deal. EA has agreed to purchase Dirt developer Codemasters in a deal that values the UK studio at roughly $1.2 billion. The purchase is notable for a number of reasons, not least because it comes just weeks after Take-Two announced it would acquire Codemasters for approximately $994 million. EA, however, has scuppered those plans at the last minute...

Authentic Brands reportedly in talks for Debenhams and Arcadia Group. The US retail firm Authentic Brands, which counts Barneys, Juicy Couture, Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers among its portfolio of stores and brands, is reportedly considering a double takeover bid for both Debenhams and Arcadia Group. The department store chain Debenhams announced earlier this month that it had failed to find a buyer...

Leyou shareholders approve Tencent takeover. Chinese technology firm will go private from December 23. Leyou Technologies Holdings is finally on course to be sold, as shareholders approved an acquisition by Chinese giant Tencent. The deal was voted for during an extraordinary general meeting earlier this month, with the meeting notes revealing that 97.7% of shareholders who took part were in favor of a takeover.

Roblox delays IPO to 2021. User-generated games platform Roblox has delayed its IPO to 2021. According to Reuters, the company is hoping to get a higher IPO pricing, following in the footsteps of Airbnb and Doordash. They both started trading last week -- on the Nasdaq and New York stock exchanges respectively -- and saw their value soar. Roblox was expected to join the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the year...

Hong Kong IPO Makes This 33-Year-Old Chinese Toy Tycoon A Billionaire Several Times OverChinese toy billionaire Wang Ning saw his wealth surge almost three fold this year, thanks to strong investor demand for the initial public offering of his Pop Mart International Group. Wang, who owns just under 50% of the company following the sale, now has a net worth of $3.2 billion.

The BTHA calls for Government intervention to ease UK ports and ‘save the festive season’The British Toy and Hobby Association and the British Retail Consortium are calling on the Government to intervene at British ports where congestion caused by Covid and a backlog of PPE has left shipments of toys and gifts unlikely to be delivered in time for Christmas. The BTHA is among a number of industry bodies calling for an...

Busiest U.S. seaport, buried in imports, plucks out toys to load Santa’s sleigh. Workers at the busiest U.S. seaport are plucking containers of toys off ships and out of massive stacks of cargo swamping docks at the Southern California trade gateway to get holiday gifts under trees in time for Christmas. “We’ve never had this much cargo,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said on Tuesday, when ...

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Toy Industry 2021 — The Outlook for the Global Toy Business . . . November Retail Sales Signal Holiday Season Growth . . . Argos poll reveals the top gifts that the nation missed out on as children . . . Videogames sales rise record 35% in November . . . The unexpected toy trends of 2020 . . . Ever a doll moment: Dolls’ pram searches are up 23 per cent and the sector is going from strength to strength . . . The biggest trends for children's toys in Spain this Christmas . . . Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Mattel, Glu Mobile, JAKKS Pacific and Hasbro . . . WildBrain Spark: How kids’ viewing habits changed in 2020 (and how to prepare for 2021)

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Nintendo and Sony share prices rise to record highs . . . Where Will Hasbro Be in 5 Years? . . . Pandemic Pushing Toy Sales: 3 Stocks to Watch . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential .7% Upside . . . We're Watching These Trends At Hasbro

Financial Reporting . . . 

Five mobile games topped $1b in revenue this year - Sensor Tower. A year dominated by a global pandemic has seen five mobile games break $1 billion in revenues so far, according to Sensor Tower. The mobile data firm said Tencent scored the two biggest hits of the year with PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings, which have brought in $2.6 billion and $2.5 billion so far this year, respectively.

Future Financial Reporting . . . 

Equities analysts predict that Mattel will announce earnings of $0.22 per share for current quarter, 5 analysts have issued estimates for Mattel's earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.30 and the lowest is $0.18. Mattel posted earnings of $0.11 per share in the same quarter last yr, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 100%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings results Feb. 11.

Amazon and Apple eye historic $100 billion in holiday quarter. The holiday season could be historic for two of the stock market’s biggest names, with sales that are expected to surpass a milestone that has rarely been reached in Wall Street history. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. are each expected to report revenue above $100 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 …

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

Ark. Girl, 7, Plays with New Female Army Figurines Inspired by Her Viral Letter to Toymaker. Last year, Vivian Lord's letter to various toy companies asking them to design a female version of the iconic Green Army Men figurines went viral. "It was a heartfelt letter,” Jeff Imel, president of BMC Toys, told NPR at the time. “And it reminded me of being a kid and always wanting that toy that you couldn’t get in the...

Less COVID-19, More Toys: A Toy Store Near You Season Two Arrives on Christmas. The Nacelle Co. — makers of Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us and The Movies That Made Us — will launch the second season of A Toy Store Near You on Christmas day. The docuseries was initially intended to showcase the plight of store owners as they struggled to adapt to business during the pandemic. Now, the series has been retooled...

A peek into the world of India's toy start-ups Even before the Prime Minister urged Indian entrepreneurs to promote India’s cultural heritage through home-grown toys in his monthly radio address in August this year, a start-up culture had slowly begun taking shape in the segment over the last five years.

The Strong Museum now includes decades of files from the LGBTQ Game Archive. The Strong has added another treasure trove of game development artifacts to its museum, this time through a partnership with the LGBTQ Game Archive. In doing so, The Strong has acquired primary sources as well as articles, websites, blogs, web forums, videos, and images covering decades worth of history on LGBTQ themes in games.

How a real-life monopoly made Monopoly the world's biggest board game.  In 2013, Euromonitor pegged Monopoly’s annual revenues at ~$400m. By one estimate, that accounts for ~30% of all mass-market board game sales in the world — equivalent to Google’s share of the US ad market. The pandemic has created another boom: Gaming sales for Hasbro reached a record high in Q3 of 2020.

A new addition to the UNO Artiste series is the first to feature original artwork by a living artist. The art in the deck, featured from the contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abneyin, was designed specifically for the card game and combines representation with abstraction.

UNO Artiste Series pays homage to influential artists by incorporating their work directly into a deck of cards. This new deck was also created...

'The View' shares 2020's hottest toys and must-haves for the holidays. With everything kids have gone through in 2020, they deserve an amazing holiday celebration. Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth Werner share the hottest holiday toys this year on "The View." Star Wars The Child Animatronic - He may look like "Baby Yoda," but this lovable creature is called The Child -- and now you can become his protector with this...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Shaker Maker from Ideal (1971). Released in 1971, Ideal’s Shaker Maker allowed children to create their own toy figures using a special powder called “Magic Mix.” The magic behind the mix was a form of plaster of Paris that was non-toxic, strong, and reasonably fast-drying.

Australia's best-selling toys over the past 50 years: What kids wanted for Christmas since the 1970sTake a trip down memory lane as we chronicle the most sought-after toys for Aussie kids over Christmas from 1980 to now. These are the toys that defined the childhoods of entire generations. From Pokemon Cards to Pogo sticks and every water-shooting, beeping, spinning, battery-munching monster in between, here are some of the biggest selling toys over the past 50 years.

Pop Pop Pop Attack from Hasbro (1981). A vintage dealer advertisement from 1981 for the Pop Pop Pop Attack game from Hasbro. Two players equipped with handheld launchers attempt to be the first to pop all of their discs over the wall that divides the playing field. Designed for ages 6 and up, Pop Pop Pop Attack was promoted for its “tension filled, frantic play.”

Rare 'Harry Potter' book sold for $84500 after sitting on woman's shelf for 17 years  Like an invaluable Horcrux ditched in a Hogwarts Castle bathroom, a recently uncovered children's book's true value is only coming to light, years later. A rare first issue hardback copy of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" -- the first in the famous series by J.K. Rowling -- sold for around $84,500, after being discovered by an English...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . . 

JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced the extension of its global toy rights with Nintendo of America, Inc. JAKKS will continue to design, manufacture, market, and sell various Nintendo and Super Mario branded toy product lines worldwide. In 2020 alone, an array of new JAKKS innovative Super Mario products have been released to an excited global audience, most recently with the launch of Super Mario It’s-A Me Mario! 

LEGO expands on its LEGO Art series with Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse 2D wall art setsThe Danish construction toy maker is expanding its LEGO Art series once more with the addition of the new LEGO Art Disney’s Mickey Mouse set, allowing older builders to celebrate the iconic Walt Disney character – alongside Minnie Mouse – in 2D mosaic wall art form.

Wow! Stuff ramps up pre-school toys portfolio with Moonbug’s CoComelon. The British toy innovation company, Wow! Stuff is continuing its move into the pre-school category having signed a multi-territory licensing agreement with Moonbug Entertainment for its popular 3D animated series, CoComelon. Launching in 2021, Wow! Stuff will unveil a new range of products based on the kids’ show.

Asmodee, Blok Party to bring ‘Catan’ to TapTop Digital. Asmodee Entertainment has announced a new partnership with Blok Party to bring “Catan” to their TapTop digital tabletop device in 2021. Since its creation in 1995 by Klaus Teuber, “Catan” and its many expansions have sold more than 32 million games around the world. The game is published in more than 40 languages and is sold in more than 70 territories.

High Roller Games Releases Bob Marley Game. Developed in collaboration with the Marley family, High Roller Games has announced the release of the first edition of “Bob Marley: The Game of Peace, Love and Unity.” HRG celebrates his 75th anniversary by producing an environmentally friendly board game that brings people together. Players can experience the life of Bob Marley by forming a band and ...

Sophie La girafe, RaZbaby link for infant line. Sophie la girafe has announced a new partnership with RaZbaby in the United States. The duo have launched a unique plush toy that holds and keeps the pacifier in place to bring calm, serenity and softness to baby day and night. RaZ-buddy Sophie la girafe is a plush toy that is soft and functional to go with a pacifier or teether. The plush is now available.

Green Board Games adds BrainBox Harry Potter to 2021 portfolioBrainBox, the successful range of 10-minute educational games, is set to expand into the Wizarding World with the upcoming release of BrainBox Harry Potter in May 2021. The BrainBox series contains addictive memory challenges in which players have 10 seconds to study a card before answering questions on what they saw.

New LEGO Minecraft sets have appeared on LEGO.com. Two new LEGO Minecraft sets have appeared on LEGO.com, bringing the Minecraft pig to life at its largest scale yet. 21170 The Pig House and 21164 The Coral Reef have been added to LEGO.com, giving LEGO Minecraft fans a peek at the newest entries to the theme. One set brings an entirely new location and the other is a huge Minecraft pig, just another day in LEGO Minecraft.

Cepia’s Cats vs. Pickles get supersized with Huggers, Jumbo Plushies. The world of Cats Vs. Pickles is expanding. Launched at Toy Fair New York this past February, the line of collectible plush inspired by viral memes became an instant hit with kids and collectors this year. Now, the line includes two new scales for kids to love: Jumbos and Huggers. Jumbos are 10-inch plush characters with weighted bottoms. 

Posh Paws lines up Sing 2, Minions 2, Jurassic World and Classic Monsters plush with Universal. Posh Paws International has extended its long-standing partnership with Universal Brand Development to continue producing its licensed plush products as the studio rolls out new film and TV content across its blockbuster animated franchises. Leading the charge will be the launch of a range of soft toys based on the December...

PMI signs global roll-out agreement with PikyKwiky for hit card game series Matchify. PMI is continuing its expansion into the games category, having signed a new global agreement for Matchify and its range of card-based family games developed by the UK games publisher PikyKwiky. In a new deal brokered by Big Picture Licensing, PMI has secured the global rights to develop new games currently in the PikyKwiky pipeline under the Matchify brand.

Waka-Waka: PAC-MAN’s Path to Licensing Success Over the Last Four Decades. PAC-MAN celebrates 40 years in 2020. To honor the iconic video game character, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. has announced a slate of new partnerships that highlight the unique value of the pizza-shaped sprite. One of the reason’s the character has been able to find new success away from the joystick is because it was designed to reach...

Far Out Toys, Pocket.Watch partner for Love, Diana collectible dolls. Love, Diana, the Pocket.watch brand based on popular YouTube channel “Kids Diana Show”, is expanding its toy offerings with its partnership with Far Out Toys. Far Out Toys’ Love, Diana collection will include a line of 2.5-inch mini-figures and accessories called Princess of Play, and a line of 3.5-inch dolls, accessories, playsets, and pets called Fashion Fabulous.

Sunny Days Entertainment builds a Barbie dreamhouseSunny Days Entertainment just released its own version of Barbie’s famed Malibu estate, and kids and parents can build the structure in seconds. Created under license from Mattel, the Barbie Dreamhouse Pop-Up Tent brings the iconic slanted roof and pink styling to living rooms everywhere. The tent is built for fun and measures more than 7 feet wide.

Toy Vault to produce merch based on Kovalic IPs. Toy Vault has signed a multi-year licensing agreement to produce toys and collectibles based on properties created by polymath creator John Kovalic.  The properties involved include the Dork Tower and Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink comics, and the My Little Cthulhu and Mythos Buddies figures. This is the second major new Toy Vault license announced this year; a license with Paizo ...

‘Dungeons & Dragons’ heads to the big screenParamount Pictures and eOne are getting ready to hand the Dungeon Master’s Guide to the duo behind Game Night. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have penned a new screenplay for Dungeons & Dragons. The duo will also direct the film.

People . . . 

The Jim Henson Company has hired Sidney Clifton as its first SVP of animation and mixed media. Starting in January and reporting to president of television Halle Stanford, she will oversee the development and production of Henson’s animated and live-action TV content, including hybrid projects and formats that use its proprietary Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. Clifton’s animation producer credits include Black...

Industrial Designer Reveals How He Invented Award-Winning Toy. After studying product design at Art Center, it took over a decade before industrial designer Dan Klitsner found serious success--but when he did, it was huge. In the '90s he conceived of a kinetic toy for kids--something like a cross between a tool and a game-- that would provide audio commands meant to be followed by the wielder. Called Bo It!, it was licensed... 

Talking Games with Spin Master's Julien Sharp on the 'Power Kid Podcast'  

Sharp works constantly to find new ways to increase sales across Spin Master’s games global business unit while collaborating with inventor relations, licensing, production, global brand marketing, and retailers to make it happen. On the show, Sharp shares her origin story and path...

Inside the Workshop of a Classic-Toy Inventor, in “Eddy’s World”Eddy Goldfarb went on to invent more than eight hundred toys, including the popular games Battling Tops, KerPlunk, and Shark Attack! The documentary demonstrates the lingering joy that Goldfarb takes in the small, precise work of inventing. —work which, in the course of his long life, came to include his family members. He shared patents with Anita,...

Zynga veterans launch VR gaming company ForeVRA pair of Zynga veterans have launched a new VR game studio in California, called ForeVR. Marcus Segal and Mike Pagano Doom will lead the new company, which is focused on developing "mass-market virtual reality gaming experiences for all ages and geographies." ForeVR also already employs a number of other former senior leaders from companies such as EA...

Game designer Rachel Lowe launches the official The Elf on the Shelf Board GameAward-winning board game designer Rachel Lowe has partnered with The Lumistella Company to bring its flagship property, The Elf on the Shelf to the traditional board gaming space in time for Christmas. The move acts to cement Elf on the Shelf as part of the festive tradition for families across the UK.

SPIN MASTER NAMES MAX RANGEL GLOBAL PRESIDENT, REVEALS EXEC SHIFTS FOR TOYS, ENTERTAINMENT, AND DIGITAL GAMES.

  • Chris Beardall will be been appointed president of Spin Master Toys

  • Jennifer Dodge will be appointed president of Spin Master Entertainment

  • Fredrik Loving will be appointed president, Spin Master Digital Games.

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Companies . . . 

Goliath marks 40th anniversary by unveiling new logo. Over the past four decades, Goliath has become a global player with offices in 15 countries. Turning 40 is generally considered to be a big deal – hitting middle age – but for Goliath, it marks how the family run business has grown, learning from experience to become the global player in the toy and games industry that it is today.

Lego bets on China’s children with hundreds of new stores. Stores are needed to address the particular challenges of China, says Cindy Chiu, who oversees the company’s retail operations in Asia. Lego is a relative newcomer in the country, so few Chinese parents played with the bricks as children. Stores give families a chance to experience Legos directly, building a connection with the brand.

Kindi Kids, the popular dolls from Moose Toys, are shrinking down a mini size. The Kindi Kids Minis are 4-inch bobblehead figures with glittery eyes and poseable bodies. The line first debuted last year with 10-inch bobblehead dolls and playsets, and was a huge hit with preschoolers for the holiday season.

MGA Entertainment supports UK Children’s hospitals with LOL Surprise MGAE Cares dollMGA Entertainment is to donate a portion of the sales from its new limited-edition LOL Surprise MGAE Cares Frontline Hero doll to a number of children’s hospital charities around the UK and Republic of Ireland. The move is part of the MGA Entertainment Cares programme, a global effort to provide essential support and PPE to...

Walmart debuts My Life As Autism Advocate doll. The retailer introduced its My Life As Autism Advocate doll, “a perfect companion for the kids who want to help others learn how to be kind, patient, and supportive of everyone.” Two female dolls are available for preorder, and boy versions are slated for release at a later date.

Hasbro unleashes new Star Wars: The Black Series archive collection, Mandalorian collectibles. For the penultimate installment of the weekly series of new product reveals, Hasbro unleashed another full bounty of toys and collectibles inspired by the expanding adventures from a galaxy far, far away.

Aporta Games unveils 'Capital Lux 2: Generations'. Aporta Games unveiled Capital Lux 2: Generations, a standalone sequel to their 2016 tactical card game, which will release into trade in February. Capital Lux 2: Generations is the sequel card-drafting game to Capital Lux that revolves around how character cards are played.

Learn a new 'Pokemon TCG' gameplay mechanic in 'Sword & Shield: Battle Styles'.

The Pokemon Company International announced Sword & Shield: Battle Styles, an expansion for Pokemon TCG, will be releasing on March 19, 2021. This expansion features the new Battle Styles gameplay mechanic.

CoComelon passes 100 million YouTube subscribers, 100 billion views and sees ‘sell-out success’ of Jazwares toy line. Moonbug Entertainment has hit several record-breaking milestones for its wildly popular CoComelon brand having surpassed 100 million subscribers on YouTube and clocked nearly 100 billion views on the social media platform.

'Kids on Brooms' do battle with wands in a brand-new card game. Renegade Game Studios announced Duel of Wands: Kids on Brooms Card Game for release in Q1 2021. The kids are on their brooms, and looking to test their skill and cunning in magical duels.

Funko, Inc. will release 'Groundhog Day: the Game' into U.S. trade. Funko, Inc. will release Groundhog Day: The Game, a new card game, into U.S. trade in January. Join weatherman Phil Connors as he relives February 2 over and over again in this brand-new cooperative card game. Players need to strategically react to the townsfolk and events in each round of play in an attempt to create the perfect day.

Modiphius Entertainment teases new 'The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms' sets. Modiphius Entertainment teased new The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms miniatures sets for release in 2021. The next wave of The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms miniatures game line will feature a brown dragon miniature that will be on pre-order soon. They also mentioned that new sets will include releases for the Dwemer, Dark Brotherhood, The....

Asmodee USA will bring new 'Agricola' expansion to U.S. tradeAsmodee USA will bring the Dulcinaria Deck, a new expansion for Agricola, to U.S. trade on January 22. Like previous Agricola expansion decks, the Dulcinaria Deck comes with 120 cards for Agricolamost of which are new. It adds 60 new minor improvements and 60 occupations to the revised Agricola reprint from 2016.

Modiphius Entertainment announces 'Fallout 2d20 RPG'. Modiphius Entertainment announced Fallout 2d20 RPG, based on the popular video game line, for release in Q2 2021. This is Modiphius’ second role playing game tied to Fallout; the first, tied to its Wasteland Warfare skirmish game, was released last year. The Fallout 2d20 RPG will run on Modiphius’ 2d20 game engine and launch in 2021.

Looney Labs opens its vaults to relaunch three games. Looney Labs has announced plans to re-release a trio of older titles that have been out of print for years: Seven Dragons, Oz Fluxx, and Martian Fluxx, all set to hit the streets on March 11. Out of print since 2017, Seven Dragons is a domino-style card game in which players must match dragons by color to create an unbroken series of seven panels.  

Restoration and Mondo release new 'Unmatched Set'. Restoration Games and Mondo Games will release the newest title for the Unmatched tactical skirmish game just in time for Christmas:  Little Red Riding Hood vs Beowulf. Unmatched:  Little Red Riding Hood vs Beowulf features two legendary characters that players can use to fight duels. Little Red Riding Hood vs Beowulf can be played on its own or combined with any...

Epoch Making Toys sees 2021 as ‘year of huge potential for Super Mario Games’ after initial “resounding success”. EPOCH making toys has earmarked 2021 as a ‘year of huge potential’ for Super Mario Games, as the international toy firm prepares to bolster a range of official Nintendo licensed products launched to UK retail this autumn/winter. The toy firm will now expand the reach of the initial launch portfolio as well as...

Bandai America adds one-piece figures to Anime Heroes lineBandai America is giving the people what they want! After fan requests for One Piece Anime Heroes figures poured in after the initial launch of the collectibles line, Bandai answered the call with new figures from the series. Preorders for Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji figures are now available on Amazon. 

UNO Artiste Series features unique, contemporary artA new addition to the UNO Artiste series is the first to feature original artwork by a living artist. The art in the deck, featured from the contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abneyin, was designed specifically for the card game and combines representation with abstraction. UNO Artiste Series pays homage to influential artists by incorporating their work directly into...

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

Cyberpunk 2077 developers were "updating the last-gen version until the very last minute". Management at CD Projekt Red have addressed a number of queries about console versions of Cyberpunk 2077, giving some insight into why it runs poorly on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.  Joint-CEO Adam Kiciński recognised that despite strong sales and feedback on PC, Stadia and users on next-gen consoles, feedback...

EA Play won’t come to Xbox Game Pass for PC until 2021. PC gamers subscribed to Xbox Game Pass for PC or the pricier Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier will need to wait just a little while longer until they have access to EA Play on Windows machines. Today, Microsoft announced that EA Play would arrive on PC as part of Xbox Game Pass sometime in 2021. 

UK Members of Parliament call for ban on bulk buying consoles. A group of Members of Parliament in the UK called for the establishment of strict rules around the reselling of consoles in the country. As reported by VGC, six MPs from the Scottish National Party proposed an Early Day Motion on Monday asking for legislation to prohibit the "resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above...

Fortnite focuses in on boosting playability on lower-powered PCs. Fortnite is widening its reach by making the already-massive battle royale more appealingto players with hardware on the lower end of the spectrum. Fortnite dev Epic Games launched what it calls Performance Mode today. That includes changes geared at offering a smaller download of Fortnite as well as higher performance for players that might've...

Monster Fight Club enters 'Cyberpunk Red: Combat Zone'. Monster Fight Club is producing Cyberpunk Red:  Combat Zone, a tabletop miniatures game based on the latest version of R. Talsorian’s iconic role playing game.  The game will release in 2021. In Cyberpunk Red:  Combat Zone, players control gangs of cyber-enhanced characters fighting for control of a city’s lawless zones.

Among Us launches for the Nintendo Switch. Among Us, Innersloth’s breakout hit of 2020, is coming to the Nintendo Switch today. The news was announced during a special indie game-focused Nintendo Direct. The game will feature crossplay. The game picked up the award for best multiplayer title of the year during this year’s Game Awards. A new airship map is expected next year.

Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service is now available on Android. Amazon’s cloud gaming service, Luna, is now available on Android, Amazon announced on Tuesday. Like the iOS version of Luna, there’s no separate Luna app to download — instead, you’ll access the service through the Chrome web browser. Amazon launched Luna in early access in October, where it was initially available on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and...

Spelunky is coming to the Switch along with other great-looking indies. At its latest indie showcase, Nintendo revealed a handful of intriguing titles coming to the Switch in 2021. The biggest reveal is that Among Us, one of 2020’s biggest games, isn’t just coming to the Switch, but it’ll be available later today. Classic rouguelike series Spelunky is coming to the Switch next year. 

CD Projekt offering refunds to Cyberpunk players on consoles after shaky launch. CD Projekt Red (CDPR) is offering refunds to Cyberpunk 2077 players on consoles who feel let down by the state of the game at launch. The Polish studio has also apologized for not showcasing Cyberpunk on base last-generation consoles, with that decision coupled with the title's shaky performance leading some to accuse CDPR...

Familiars.io is a simple, Pokémon-style multiplayer game that you can play right inside TwitterFamiliars.io is a minimalist monster-catching game that went online last year, and right now, you can play it inside Twitter. As developer Nigel Nelson tweeted this afternoon, he ported the entire game to an embedded Twitter card. That means that you can play it directly through Twitter’s web interface or mobile app.

Snapchat is releasing Bitmoji Paint, a massively multiplayer online painting gameToday, Snapchat is getting a new original game called Bitmoji Paint. As the name suggests, the game involves Bitmoji — those cutely grotesque customizable avatars — and painting. It’s Snap Inc.’s fourth title from its internal games studio. “Our goal with Bitmoji has always been to be the world’s avatar, to give people a digital version...

Steam breaks concurrent users record at nearly 25m. Steam reached a new high in terms of concurrent users, with 24.8 million registered. PC Gamer first reported data from SteamDB over the weekend, saying that Valve's store had reached an all-time high of 24,776,635 concurrent users. But since then, the all-time peak hit 24,804,148 concurrent users, indicating that Steam broke its own record twice in the past couple ...

Electric Gamebox booths bring group gaming to the high streetAfter a year of video calls and online quizzes, a new business is hoping to make screen-time more social with its immersive group gaming booths. Each room at the Electric Gamebox has 360-degrees of visuals projected on to touch-sensitive walls, for groups of up to six players. While its venues can currently only host household groups due to the current ...

UK games industry made record $3.84 billion economic contribution in 2019The UK games industry made a record £2.91 billion ($3.84 billion) contribution to the country's national economy in 2019. The latest numbers only accord for the impact of game development and publishing, suggesting the "full size and economic contribution" of the entire UK games industry, including support services, retail, esports,...

CDPR estimates Cyberpunk 2077 has recouped development, marketing costsAccording to a brief report shared by CD Projekt, Cyberpunk 2077 has likely already made enough money to cover both its development and marketing costs. The CD Projekt board notes that it is considering both estimated licensing royalties and pre-order sales of Cyberpunk 2077 across all digital distribution channels.

Among Us developers reveal an all-new map, The Airship, coming early 2021Indie developer Innersloth revealed its fourth map, The Airship, for the online social deduction game Among Us during The Game Awards on Thursday, following the game’s win for best multiplayer title of the year. The Airship features new tasks for players to accomplish, and is far more elaborate than previous maps.

The best gaming mouse you can buy. Finding the right gaming mouse amid all of the options available can, frankly, be a struggle. There are a lot of factors to consider, like how it looks, how it feels in the hand, the button selection and arrangement, the quality of its sensor, and whether you want a mouse that’s wireless or wired. These details, minor as they seem, can have a major impact on your experience with the mouse...

CD Projekt: Polarizing Cyberpunk 2077 launch 'the wrong approach'. CD Projekt Red management have taken responsibility for the rocky launch of Cyberpunk 2077 on last-gen consoles. Many players (especially those on base last-gen consoles) have been plagued by a swathe of bugs and frequent crashes.

Subscription library Ubisoft+ is now on Google Stadia. Ubisoft has officially launched its pay-for-access subscription library Ubisoft+ on Google Stadia, essentially rolling all the benefits of cloud-based game services into its $14.99 per month service.

Apple introduces privacy labels to make data mining transparent. Apple yesterday introduced new app privacy labels on its stores, which allow users to see what type of data is collected by the applications they download and use. these new labels mean developers now need to disclose their privacy practices when they submit an app to the App Store.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Parents warn against dangerous lithium 'button' batteries in holiday toysParents of children in the ICU are warning others about the dangers of holiday toys that use lithium batteries. The button batteries are common in household items, toys, remotes and even singing greeting cards. Experts say batteries, if swallowed, can burn through a child’s esophagus in just two hours.

Cyberpunk 2077’s 1.04 patch makes changes to reduce epilepsy risk. Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red (CDPR) is rolling out an update to the game that could reduce the potential for some sequences to induce epileptic symptoms. The risks of seizure were brought to light by Game Informer editor Liana Ruppert earlier this week. The 1.04 hotfix is now live on PlayStation consoles and PC, and CDPR is working ...

Magformers UK joins Covid-19 fight with launch of a toy sterilising storage box. Magformers UK has joined the global fight against Covid-19 with the launch of its new Dothams UV-C Steriliser Box, a storage box that has been found to kill up to 99.9 per cent of deadly germs and viruses using ultraviolet light.

Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony release joint commitment to online safety. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony today released a joint statement expressing a collective commitment to ensuring their online spaces are free from hate and harassment, and safe for younger players.n who have swallowed toy magnets.

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Press Releases . . . 

KIDSTUFF PUBLIC RELATIONS CHOSEN TO REPRESENT HESS TOY TRUCK IN 2021. Madison, WI (December 16, 2020) — KidStuff Public Relations, a boutique PR firm focused exclusively on helping toy and game manufacturers and retailers grow, has been named public relations agency of record for Hess Toy Truck, one of the best-selling and longest running toy brands in America. For over 30 years families have heard the jingle, “The Hess Truck’s back and it’s better than ever!” signaling a new season of excitement around the arrival of a new great toy, and for nearly 60 years they’ve gotten to experience these incredible toys! With an unmatched reputation for outstanding quality at affordable pricing, each... 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . . 

Esports to debut as medal event at Asian Games 2022. Esports will officially become a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, set to take place in Hangzhou, China. Esports will join the "intellectual titles" category, which already features events such as chess. The 19th Asian Games will take place from September 10 to 25, 2022. This marks the end of three years of uncertainty when it comes to the inclusion of esports.

Gen Con pushes back badge registration and event submission. Gen Con, LLC. announced that it has postponed badge registration and event submission for Gen Con 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic affected many facets of the gaming world, but the most significant change was the cancellation of Gen Con 2020 as a live event. In hopes of hosting a live event for Gen Con 2021, they have pushed back their badge registration...

HKTDC announces consolidation of its 2021 trade fairsIn an email to exhibitors, Horasis Lung, exhibitions project manager for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) said: “With many pandemic-related travel restrictions remaining in place, exhibitors and buyers may have difficulty joining the Toys & Games Fair scheduled for 27th-30th April 2021.

The Last of Us Part II dominates The Game Awards 2020The Last of Us Part II took home the top prize at The Game Awards 2020. Naughty Dog's long-awaited sequel dominated the show, nabbing the Game of the Year award along with other honors including Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Audio Design, Best Performance, Innovation in Accessibility, and Best Action/Adventure.

Adrienne Appell Named SVP of Marketing Communications at The Toy AssociationAppell will be responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of the organization’s communications strategies, active digital footprint, key messaging, and value of play and brand integrity programs.

Hyve Group reveals dates for the all-virtual Spring Fair @ Home 2021Hyve Group has confirmed the dates of its Spring Fair @ Home virtual event, an all-digital show that will take the place of the in-person Spring Fair 2021 that was cancelled last month over the continued uncertainty surrounding covid-19 restrictions.

Who made Kidscreen’s Hot50? Disney+, Apple TV+, Moonbug, Blue Zoo and Ludo Studio all joined the list for the first time this year...read on to find out which companies came out on top. In the broadcasting category, Netflix took the top spot for the seventh consecutive year—a result no other company has been able to achieve since the Hot50 launched in 2014. The SVOD had a busy year expanding its preschool and live-action...

Obituaries - Remembering Those that have Passed . . .

(If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we can share with our industry)

Francis Spear Francis passed away peacefully on 13th December.  Francis was born in the town of Fuerth, near Nuremberg, into a Jewish toy trade family. His great grandfather, Jacob Wolf Spear, started J. W. Spear & Soehne in 1878. By the time Francis was born into this close-knit family – he was the youngest of five grandchildren – the company was being managed by his grandfather Carl Spear and a great uncle. ...  

When (Francis) he joined Spear’s Games, Francis worked in a number of different departments, but his passion was for the production side of the business and he took on the role of production director, overseeing the manufacturing process. Francis became managing director of J. W. Spear and subsequently its chairman. He was respected by many in the toy trade for his honesty, loyalty and modesty. When the company was sold to Mattel in 1994, Francis purchased farmland in Hertfordshire. Read More...

Glyn Davies   Toy World is sad to report that Glyn Davies passed away in Liverpool on November 20th, after catching coronavirus. Glyn had turned 70 in July. Glyn worked in the toy trade for many years as a rep and national account executive for several toy companies, including Blue Box, Rainbow, Mondo and Fisher Price. His final role of a long and distinguished toy trade career was at Bandai. Julian Boyers, former managing director at Bandai, commented: “I was deeply saddened to hear of Glyn’s death, which happened very quickly and unexpectedly.

Jimmy Hunter, the founder of Hunter Toys, passed away on November 14th, 2020. Jimmy took on the role of BTHA Chairman from 2000-2002 and was heavily involved for many years with both Toy Fair and the BTHA’s ‘Value of Play’ initiatives. He was the champion for Total Fun, the consumer event held in the early 2000s, while he was also the brainchild behind the longstanding Golden Teddy awards. His daughter Sally Hunter, who has followed in Jimmy’s footsteps by building a long and successful career the toy trade, told Toy World: “The fact that the Golden Teddy awards are still being presented so many years later gives me goosebumps.

Simon Holdsworth, Managing Director at Thos Holdsworth & Sons Ltd, passed away on November 14th, 2020. "Many of our staff have worked alongside Simon for more than 20 years.  Words like mentor, great boss, good friend, awesome storyteller, gregarious, quick witted, dynamic, proud, demanding, knowledgeable and tireless are just some of their comments.  He is, and always will be our champion!  Our legacy for Simon is to keep the company running smoothly and exemplify the excellence that he demanded from us each and every day.  There will be many memories, and no doubt a number of stories from your time spent with Simon, perhaps encouraged by his favourite tipple of a G&T or a wee glass of Grand Marnier!  In the coming weeks, I hope that we get the chance to remember the good times and raise a glass in his honour." - Fleur Tisdale, 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

eplay November Issue

ToyWorld (UK) December Issue

The Toy Book Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards Special Edition

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Licensing Expo 2021 Dates Announced

  2. AT&T to Sell Crunchyroll to Funimation Global Group

  3. Genius of Play Launches Ambassador Program

  4. Insert Name Here Collabs with Care Bears

  5. Dune 2021 Action Figures Launch at Retail

  6. Toy Association Pushes for Action Against Counterfeits

  7. David Levine Named Head of Studio at Moonbug

  8. Hasbro Partners with 'Dream Machine Tour'

  9. Kellytoy Unveils New Valentine's Day Squishmallows

  10. Poetic Brands to Produce Gigantosaurus Apparel

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Rolling up our sleeves …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Shipping rates and port congestion continue to cause concern for suppliers

  3. Early Christmas shopping sees November toy sales rise in latest NPD report

  4. First non-lockdown shopping weekend in December dwarfs Black Friday

  5. Endless supports management buy-out of Amscan International

  6. Character’s year end results reveal £5m profit and positive outlook for coming year

  7. Toy World features on Toys That Made Christmas Great show

  8. Exclusive: NPD details the toy market’s overall performance in 2020

  9. Exclusive: Omni Alliance helps toy companies expand into the US market

  10. New 2021 dates announced for Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe

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

  1. Rolling For Initiative -- Who Could Buy WotC?
  2. Wizards of the Coast Unveils New Deets on 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair: Ultimate Edition 2'
  3. 'Put Them in the Iron Maiden...'
  4. GameStop Closing 700 Stores This Year
  5. Wizards of the Coast Teases 'Secret Lair' Drops for 2021/2022
  6. The Op Unveils New Deets on 'Smash Up: Marvel'
  7. TCG Market Analysis: November Trends for 'Magic: The Gathering,' 'Pokemon TCG,' and 'Yu-Gi-Oh!'
  8. TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed TCG Products - November 2020
  9. Plastic Meatball Partners with King Features Syndicate to Make 'Flash Gordon' Products
10. Take on Homelander in 'The Boys: This Is Going to Hurt - The Board Game'

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

1. Iconic: MinaLima, the graphic design duo of the Harry Potter movies, opens up about the look and feel of the franchise

2. Kids Design Award Germany: Discover the clever winning product of a young female designer that helps kids keep order and have fun

3. Joys of fatherhood: Find out from a young German entrepreneur what it means to be a modern dad

4. ASS Altenburger: Read how the traditional German card and board games manufacturer makes a profit during lockdown

5. Scandi collaboration: Explore „Bygglek", the fun storage solution for every home made by Lego and Ikea

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

Video of the Week! 

wrong Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with

The POP Week panels were on two separate platforms, there are very slight changes to the version on YouTube we are sharing here. Our first shared panel is....

Mary Couzin intro to POP Week 2020 and Opening Keynote: Mattel 75 Years and Fisher-Price 90 Years, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Moderator: Richard Dickson (President and COO, Mattel, Inc.)

Panelists: Jill Barad (Consultant, Prior: CEO & Chairman of Mattel), Tom Kalinske (Executive Chairman at Mixed Dimensions, Prior: CEO of Sega America, Leapfrog and Mattel),

Neil Friedman (Advisor, Prior: President of Alex Brands, ToysRUs, Mattel, Fisher-Price, Tyco Preschool)

 

Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

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

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher