the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Jan. 1-8, 2021. 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! 

Still basking in the afterglow, we continue to highlight our POP Week International Innovation panels in our Video of the Week section (end of this page). This week: Licensing Your Ideas: Perspectives for Individuals and Companies with Derek Gable (President of West Coast Innovations (Invention and Product Development) & Greg Murphy (Principal, Landmark IP). Check it out!

 

Last October, Alan Hassenfeld suggested we add an Obituary section and archive to the Bloom Report, called Rest-in-Play. (near the end of this page). It has been one of the most welcomed additions and has generated many comments, memories, well wishes. If there is someone you would like us to add, just send me a note. 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

tBR Person of the Week - Nancy Lombardi: Toy Industry Freelance Copywriter

This is an amazing time to be in the toy industry. It’s incredible to see that U.S. toy industry dollar sales increased by 19.1% in the first three quarters of 2020, according to NPD Group. I know the holiday season was a great one for many toy companies. This proves that kids and families want and need toys.

 

Here’s another catchphrase we need to switch up: You’re Muted!

 

2020 showed us that the toy industry is no longer muted. There’s been an unprecedented return to play, which we need to quickly capitalize on. And, as more aspects of life continue to shift online, I can provide great, attention-grabbing copy that shines a light on your company, its mission, and its products. Read More...

tBR Service of the Week - People of Play

Do you want to find people/companies/products and do you want to them to find you?

Of course you do! For $50/year, they can! Or, for $250/year, they can find you and you can find them, have access to premium content, enjoy the POP Pub, find information and make connections to further your business! 

Many times a day someone reaches out to me asking me if I know some person or some company:

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The POP platform/database is your access to vital and immediate connections! There are already over 400 profiles from our recent events and we've only just begun. Over the next month, we will be reaching out to my nearly 50,000 strong database and my 30,000 linkedin connections to join this platform which gives you the best of linkedin+IMDb+Match.com for the toy and game industry. 

 

People and companies are registering and new features are being added by the minute... what are you waiting for? We've got the most powerful platform in our industry! Join here:  www.peopleofplay.com 
 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Target has blockbuster holiday season as sales surged 17%. Target reported a blockbuster holiday season with sales soaring as traffic grew and consumers spent more per shop often utilizing pickup and other same-day shopping options. On Wednesday morning, Target announced its comparable sales grew 17.2% in November and December with same-store sales increasing more than 4% and comparable digital sales jumping 102%. The numbers were a large improvement from the 2019 holiday season.

Toy industry approaches 2021 with cautionToy manufacturers and retailers, who normally would be hitting the global trade show circuit – Hong Kong, London, Nuremberg, New York — are approaching 2021 cautiously, with a focus on well-known brands and products. New brands and properties may be particularly challenged this year, as retailers tighten their merchandise mixes to focus on properties and products with a quantifiable track recordto try to avoid the peaks and valleys that were hallmarks of 2020.

Take-Two officially ends pursuit of Codemasters following EA offer. Take-Two has officially lapsed its offer to acquire Dirt developer Codemasters after being outbid by EA. The Rockstar Games and 2K Games parent company had initially offered to purchase Codemasters for $994 million, but EA scuppered those plans a few weeks later when it tabled a bid of around $1.2 billion. 

Toys and E-Commerce: Adapting the Past to Win for the Future If anyone left in the toy business that didn’t believe eCommerce was a required skill, 2020 should have put the issue to rest.  Analytics provider IRi reported US toy sales up almost 20% through the first three quarters, and while Q4 and final 2020 numbers are still unpublished, it’s a safe bet that eCommerce once again captured the lion’s share of the growth.

CD Projekt faces scrutiny from consumer protection org over Cyberpunk 2077. Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is now responsible for one of several potentially troubling inquiries faced by the Polish developer CD Projekt Red following Cyberpunk 2077's tumultuous launch. The Polish consumer rights group is keeping an eye on CD Projekt to gather details on the state of the game's Xbox One...

Report: Tencent and Alibaba may get blacklisted by the Trump administration. The outgoing Trump administration could blacklist Chinese tech and game companies Alibaba and Tencent, potentially preventing American investors from trading their stocks on home soil. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, which claims to have spoken with sources familiar with the matter, the two companies would be blacklisted...

The FTC slams Tapjoy over deceptive ads, pledges to keep 'gatekeeping giants' in checkThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has found that U.S. mobile advertising platform Tapjoy misled users by cheating both developers and players out of compensation and rewards. According to the FTC, Tapjoy has been engaging in 'middleman misconduct' by encouraging prospective players to engage with its dynamic ...

FTC wary of Apple and Google "squeezing developers". The Federal Trade Commission has warned against the power of Apple and Google hold over mobile developers, suggesting this is partly responsible for the rise of harmful monetisation practices. In a statement regarding the recent order for mobile ad platform Tapjoy to better police fraudulent campaigns, FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra commented on the market...

Epic acquires RAD Game Tools. Epic Games is now the owner of RAD Game Tools.In a short post on Epic's website the company announced that it's picked up the Kirkland-based software developer. "Together Epic and RAD plan to integrate RAD's powerful technology into Unreal Engine to benefit the developer community and gamers alike," stated the company. Epic CTO Kim Libereri also credited RAD with developing...

Twitch, Discord suspend Trump-related accounts after Capitol assaultDiscord has now followed Twitch in banning Trump-related accounts. It's announced a ban of "The Donald" Discord server. A spokesperson told tech reporter Casey Newton that the decision was "due to its overt connection to an online forum used to incite violence and plan an armed insurrection. "That's a much more major step than Twitch's ban...

The Toy Store owner ceases UAE operations leaving suppliers ‘owed millions’. The Dubai-headquartered Gulf Greetings General Trading LLC – owner of the toy retail brand The Toy Store – has abruptly ceased its operations, closing stores across some of the biggest shopping malls in UAE in what has been called an “unmitigated disaster” by a number of suppliers now left out of pocket. 

UK competition regulator to investigate Nvidia's takeover of Arm. The acquisition of British semiconductor firm Arm by Nvidia is to be scrutinised by the UK's competition watchdog. In a press release, the Competition and Markets Authority said it will launch a formal investigation later this year, looking at "the deal's possible effect on competition in the UK." Since Brexit came into effect on January 1, the CMA has taken...

Playtika launches IPO, looks to raise as much as $1.6b. Mobile publisher Playtika has launched its initial public offering of 69.5 million shares at an estimated price between $22 and $24 per share, looking to raise up to $1.67 billion for a total valuation of $10 billion. According to Seeking Alpha, proceeds from the IPO will be used for general corporate expenses, as well as potential repayment of loans under Term Loan. 

Gulf Greetings General Trading, owner of The Toy Store, closes operations The group owns The Toy Store locations in many of UAE's largest malls, and is the exclusive representative of Hallmark Cards for the GCC region. Suppliers are claiming they’ve been left millions of dirhams out of pocket after Gulf Greetings General Trading LLC abruptly ceased trading on Friday. As reported by ArabianBusiness.com, the retail holdings...

GennComm LLC and Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company Resolve License Dispute. GennComm is the owner of certain patents relating to memory foam in plush toys. GennComm's patented technology was developed by GennComm's ImaGENNation team, with Jeremy Medwed as inventor. In 2018, Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company (BHTB) introduced its successful Squeezamals® product line featuring a unique look and...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Games, Puzzles and growing Kidult market fuel toy sector’s 2020 success, says NPD . . . Opinion: A new retail terrain – The immense global shift to online shopping . . . Video games have replaced music as the most important aspect of youth culture . . . Sustainability and family buying power lead ’21 predictions as The Insights People launch Parents Insights . . . Breaking News: UK toy market increases 5% in value during 2020 . . . The current direct-to-consumer surge ‘must be taken seriously,’ warn indie UK toy sellers

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

JAKKS Pacific Inc. soars 6.99% on January 12 . . . Hasbro, Inc. given consensus rating of "Buy" by brokerages . . . GameStop holiday sales down 3.1% in 2020 . . . Games Workshop valued at £3.8bn as hobby demand fuels its latest sales surge . . . My Favorite Video Game Stocks for 2021 . . . Shares of Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) Climbed by 10.57% in Last Six Months . . . Smyths Toys UK operation declares £31m dividend after record performance

Future Financial Reporting . . . 

Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) today announced that it plans to release its full year and fourth quarter 2020 financial results on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at approximately 4:05 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Hasbro to Webcast Feb 2021 Investor Events to include Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Earnings Conference Call on Feb 8th and a Virtual Investor Event on Feb 25th. Hasbro, Inc. announced that it will webcast its fourth quarter and full year 2020 earnings conference call on Monday, Feb 8, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. Certain financial and statistical information...

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 . . . 

National Rubber Ducky Day 2021: 12 facts you may not know about this bath toy. Every Jan. 13, National Rubber Ducky Day is celebrated to pay tribute to the rubber duck toy that is likely found in nearly every household in the country. In honor of National Rubber Ducky Day, here are 12 facts that you may not know about this popular bath toy. Rubber duckies can trace their origins back to the late 1800s.

Playing by ear: How audio storytelling toys are crafting a new category in the global market. Growing up, we’re told not to play with our ears just in case the wind changes direction. Well, those winds certainly have changed and today, children are using their ears to engage in play more than ever before. Modern sensibilities couldn’t fly in any greater opposition to the beliefs of generations gone by, and, thanks to a...

Metamorphosis: the U.S. toy industry word for 2021. Dictionary.com chose “pandemic” as the 2020 Word of the Year, but its People’s Choice 2020 Word of the Year contest resulted in “unprecedented” as the winning word to describe the year. “Unprecedented” is the same word I would use to describe the U.S. toy industry in 2020. When all is said and done, the total U.S. toy industry* should easily eclipse the $30 billion mark...

Exclusive: Rick Derr's letter from America In this month's letter from America, Rick discusses how independents must maximise the advantages of coexisting with Amazon, rather than simply trying to compete with it. Amazon is now part of our families, Rick notes. In the US, there are over 112m Prime service subscribers and this represents one of every two American households. Additionally, Prime membership...

Toying with creativity. The 32-year-old father from Zhengzhou, Henan province, has made more than 120 toys from waste cardboard in the past three years. His toy-making videos have gone viral on the internet and many netizens comment that it shows an environment-friendly way to spend quality time with children. His Douyin account has garnered nearly 3.4 million followers. "When other children ask their parents to...

History of Monopoly through 50 unique editions. The Monopoly game has long been attributed to an unemployed man named Charles Darrow, who was said to have thought up the game in the early 1930s, sold it to the Parker Brothers in 1935, and made millions from his enormously successful creation.

Looking for a toy industry job in UKToy World brings you a round-up of our recruitment section for anyone currently seeking a new opportunity. Positions open with: Green Board Games, Clementoni and a mystery company! 

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Swack! from Ideal (1968)Released in 1968 by Ideal, the Swack! game teases audiences to “Take the cheese with care…do you dare?” Similar to other games of anticipation, such as Pie Face and Perfection, Swack! tests players’ nerves as they anxiously make their moves under imminent threat of a jump scare. The object of the game is “to carefully take cheese pieces off the trap and be the first player to reach the finish space...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . . 

TOMY teams with Universal Brand Development to launch Jurassic World Toomies. TOMY has embarked on a new licensing collaboration with Universal Brand Development to launch a new line of pre-school toys for its popular Toomies brand, based on the blockbuster Jurassic World franchise. Jurassic World is a $5 billion global franchise, and with Jurassic World: Dominion scheduled for release in June 2022, the brand is set...

Vivid Goliath brings classic games Pig Goes Pop and Gooey Louie home for 2021 portfolio. Classic Goliath games Pig Goes Pop, Gooey Louie, Doggie Doo, and Triominos will be joining the Vivid games portfolio this autumn/winter as the toy maker outlines its plans to ‘diversify more than ever’ with a wide range of titles to suit all ages and price points. Already, Vivid Goliath has enjoyed a ‘strong positive response’ to its A/W 2021...

From a Licensing Perspective — Edition 1. by Kelvyn Gardiner from Asgard Media, whose career in licensing dates back to 1979. Since then Kelvyn has been marketing licensed products all over the world and works with some of the worlds biggest brands. In the popular imagination, in business as well as private life, January is a time for renewal. New year, new ideas, fresh starts. Turn your life around with a healthier style of...

Bethesda lands Indiana Jones license. Bethesda Softworks today announced that it is making a new Indiana Jones game in collaboration with Lucasfilm. In a post on Twitter, the soon-to-be Microsoft subsidiary announced that the game will feature an original story, and will be developed at its MachineGames studio with Todd Howard serving as executive producer. The post mentioned neither platforms nor a release window...

Calm is a popular sleep and meditation app. It recently partnered with Spin Master Games to create Calm Puzzles. These are jigsaw puzzles featuring zen, tranquil landscape scenes (Calm Coral, Foggy Mountains, Hidden Waterfalls, Jasper Lake, Sunflower Fields and Waterfall Mountain). These Mindful Puzzles are available to purchase on Amazon and in stores at Target and Walmart. You can listen to peaceful audio...

Renegade Game Studios reveals three 'Power Rangers' expansions and a pre-painted Megazord FigureRenegade Game Studios revealed three Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid expansions and a Painted Megazord Deluxe Figure which will release in April. The new Legendary Rangers Forever Pack expansion upgrades Dinozords to Thunderzords, and adds new combat decks. 

Sesame Workshop teams with SKOOG for new immersive play platform. SKOOG, a new media tech company on a mission to offer children new creative and immersive play, has secured a global partnership with Sesame Workshop to launch an interactive platform that merges tactile technology with a content library featuring the popular Sesame Street characters. SKOOG aims to combine multi-sensory play with interactive...

Chronicle Collectibles disappears leaving questions, unfilled orders. Texas-based Chronicle Collectibles has essentially gone MIA. Chronicle, which was producing a variety of licensed collectibles inspired by Star Trek, Outlander, Stargate, Fallout, the Terminator, and more was touting the launch of a Jurassic World Kickstarter project as recently as last July. Following numerous reports on social media regarding vastly delayed...

Puerto Rican superhero La Borinquena flies into licensing. Somos Arte (We Are Art), the Brooklyn based independent creative services studio behind the hit comic superhero franchise, La Borinqueña, has selected FanGirl Consulting & Brand Management, LLC as its agent focusing on licensing, promotional partnerships, and brand integrations. In 2016 award-winning graphic novelist, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, created...

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People . . . 

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes legendary toy designer Eddy Goldfarb and his daughter Lyn. Eddy Goldfarb is a prolific inventor that holds 300 patents. During the course of his career, nearly 800 of his products — including KerPlunk and Hydro Strike — have been brought to market. He was a 2003 inductee into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and a 2010 recipient of the TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jazwares announced the appt of Laura Zebersky as president along with promotions for Kelly Deen, Gerhard Runken & Jonny Taylor

Jazwares, a global leader in toys and licensing, announced the promotion of Laura Zebersky to president. A 15-year veteran of the toy industry, Laura most recently held the title of chief commercial officer, where she oversaw Jazwares’ global licensing, marketing, and sales efforts. 

Valerie Marderosian appointed CEO of WeVeel Current CEO Danny Kwok will continue to provide leadership in a new role within the Global Business Unit. She joins WeVeel from the position of vice president of Marketing & Product Development for IG Design Group Americas. Valerie will be replacing WeVeel’s CEO of three years, Danny Kwok, who will continue to provide leadership in a new role within the Global Business Unit.

Justin Roiland to become Squanch Games CEO following departure of Tanya Watson. Squanch Games CEO Tanya Watson is departing the Trover Saves the Universe developer after over four years at the helm. The outgoing chief exec will be replaced by studio co-founder and current chief creative officer Justin Roiland, who many will known as the co-creator and voice acting supremo behind Rick and Morty. 

Wilton Bradley welcomes Hannah Pickersgill as international sales managerHannah bolsters the International Sales team headed by Laetitia Westerman, with whom she has previously worked in the toy industry. Hannah brings with her a range of international sales experience in the toy trade, with experience that has been consolidated over the last 11 years 

Boat Rocker Studios welcomes Denise Gomez as Director of Licensing, AmericasBoat Rocker Media‘s Boat Rocker Studios division appointed Denise Gomez to the newly created role of director of licensing for the Americas. Gomez joins the company from WarnerMedia, where she spent 14 years at Cartoon Network across a variety of roles, most recently as senior director of licensing. In her new role, Gomez will manage licensing...

The return of Peter MooreThe word 'veteran' can sometimes be used a little too liberally when it comes to labelling video games execs, but it's certainly appropriate for Peter Moore. After working in the sportswear industry, Moore joined Sega way back in 1998, contributing to work on the Dreamcast and eventually rising to president and COO for the Japanese publisher's North American operations. He later left to spend four years at Microsoft, where he helped build the Xbox business and announced release dates with tattoos on his arm.

Fun Family Games. We're spending more time at home these days, but it doesn't have to be boring! Nick Metzler from Spin Master Games is showing us a few new games you and your family might like.

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Companies . . . 

The board game Risk is becoming a TV series. After establishing quite a few of its toys and games at films, Hasbro is now moving into the world of prestige television, with the classic board game Risk set to become a series produced by Beau Willimon, who created the American version of House of Cards for Netflix and worked as its showrunner for its first four season. 

Lego Ninjago celebrates 10 years. Today, LEGO Group is celebrating 10 years of the LEGO Ninjago brand. The journey started in 2011 and in the time since, many kids have grown up with LEGO Ninjago and the LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu television series. Master Wu and the ninjas Kai, Cole, Zane, Jay, Lloyd, and Nyahave taught kids valuable lessons about life, while they use their courageous ninja skills to fight the forces...

Wizards of the Coast announces that Retail Improvement Grants are now available for 2021Wizards of the Coast announced that applications for Retail Improvement Grants are now available for 2021. In 2019, WotC unveiled a program that would assist stores in moving from WPN to WPN Premium by infusing them with retailer grants. The 2021 grants can be applied for through the WPN site, and used for four...

Asmodee USA will release 'The Initiative'. Asmodee USA will release The Initiative, a new board game by Unexpected Games, in Spring 2021. Unexpected Games is a new studio headed up by Corey Koniecka, who was the former VP of Research and Design at Fantasy Flight Games, and their debut game is a cooperative game that allows players take on the roles of teenagers who've discovered a mysterious board game called...

Renegade Game Studios unveils 'Hadrian's Wall'. Renegade Game Studios unveiled Hadrian's Wall, a fortress-building board game, for release in Q2. In this game, players assume the roles of Roman Generals who have been charged with building a milecastle with a bordering wall. Players will build their fort and wall, man the defenses, and attract civilians over the course of six rounds. 

The Pokemon International Company ynveils 25th anniversary special 'First Partner Collector's Binder' and 'First Partner Packs'The Pokemon Company International announced that it will be releasing First Partner Collector’s Binder and First Partner Packs for Pokemon TCG, to celebrate 25 years of Pokemon, in 2021. Pokemon is turning 25, and The Pokemon Company International is celebrating with new special...

Game Review: “Titanic: The Game” Allows Players to Relive the 1990’s Blockbuster Film in a New Way. James Cameron’s Titanic has a heartbreaking ending, one in which Rose is separated from her true love Jack, whom she will only meet again in the afterlife. But what if that wasn’t the case? In Titanic: The Game from Spin Master Games, the ending might be different. Inspired by the blockbuster 20th Century Studios...

Hasbro Marvel Legends she-hulk figure available for pre-order! A brand new Hasbro Marvel Legends 6-inch-scale She-Hulk Figure has been announced for pre-order on Pulse as well as other retailers. Fans, collectors, and kids alike can enjoy this Marvel Legends Series 6-inch She-Hulk figure, inspired by the character from Marvel entertainment. 

Pegasus Spiele announces 'Doodle Dungeon'. Pegasus Spiele announced Doodle Dungeon, a drawing game by Ulrich Blum featuring art by John Kovalic, for release in Q1.The dungeon bosses are tired of being looted and have forced the best architects in the world into their service to create a hero-proof dungeon. In this game, players will draw out blueprints for these dungeons, and add all-kinds of monsters, traps and...

Matagot treases a trio of titles. French game publisher Matagot has revealed plans for three new games releasing this year, including the dexterity game Tiny Acrobats and the party game Platypus, both scheduled for Q3 release, as well as the deck-building game Nine Ravens. Tiny Acrobats, from Meeple Circus creator Cedric Millet, builds on the ideas from his earlier design, challenging players to use wooden “meeples...

Funko taps ChizComm as multi-media partner for the launch of new toy line Snapsies. The pop culture specialist, Funko, has appointed the media expert ChizComm Beacon Media to handle the multi-platform media for its newest toy line, Snapsies. The appointment has been made as Funko continues its push towards a more diversified toy portfolio. Under the appointment, ChizComm Beacon Media will handle kids media ...

Peppa Pig makes a splash in the U.S. to celebrate 10 year broadcast anniversary on the Nick Jr. channelHasbro  is sharing details of its 10th anniversary celebrations for Peppa Pig in the U.S. which will mark a decade since the popular preschool show first aired on the Nick Jr. channel to American audiences in February 2011. Hasbro is honoring the brand milestone with a year-long pipeline of new content,...

Two beloved monsters will be featured in the next 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' TCG booster set.Konami Digital Entertainment announced Lightning Overdrive, a new booster set for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, which will release into retail stores on May 14. This new set brings Number 39: Utopia, from Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, back as Number C39: Utopia Ray, and upgrades Akiza's Black Rose Dragon.

Asmodee launches new Brain Games and Two-Player Games ranges to fend off lockdown boredom. Asmodee has detailed the launch of two new key ranges for the year as the UK board gaming giant looks to reinforce its belief that ‘there’s a perfect game for every occasion’, particularly over the UK’s extended lockdown period. As part of an update to its existing collections, Asmodee has unveiled new lines...

Collectable plush brand Cats vs. Pickles lands in UK to ‘mirror sell-out success in the US’. Cats vs. Pickles, an international children’s IP that has rocketed to fame on YouTube, is looking to mirror its US success as it prepares to set all four paws down on the UK’s shores this year. Made available to the UK market through Paul Fogarty’s TWO IN 1 Direct, Cats vs Pickles will introduce its eclectic range that spans more than 100...

Disney Launches Marvel Must-Haves 52-Week Merch Reveal Event. Following the success of last year’s Mando Mondays promotion, Marvel gets into the action with a full year of consumer products reveals. The event begins with a look at new toys, collectibles, and other items inspired by WandaVision, which hits Disney+ tomorrow.

HASBRO INTRODUCES HYBRID TABLETOP GAME FOOSKETBALL. Hasbro Gaming is kicking off a new year with a game that combines a pair of classics. Kids 8 and up can face-off in Foosketball, a two-player tabletop game that combines elements of basketball and foosball. Players attempt to master their Foosketball figure to shoot baskets across the court. 

Big G Creative Uncovers Treasure with Bluffaneer Dice Game. Big G Creative taps into a world of treasure with a game inspired by a lost story. The legend of the Bluffaneer was once thought to be gone forever at the bottom of the deep, blue sea. It was a rowdy tale of pirates who wandered the world for gold — and Big G Creative has uncovered it. 

ViacomCBS Kids & Family is combining its live-action production under a single team so that all Awesomeness and Nickelodeon development, current series and studio functions will now be handled collectively. Nickelodeon’s Shauna Phelan (pictured left) and Zack Olin (pictured right) will lead the consolidated team. Phelan is currently SVP of live-action scripted development and production at Nick...

SPIN MASTER FLIES HIGH WITH SUPERCROSS DEBUT. As the new master licensee for the high-flying off-road motorcycle brand, Spin Master is rolling out bikes in two scales in the first wave of products to hit stores this spring. “We’re starting off the new year with the first-ever Supercross toy line, recreating the adrenaline and excitement of the popular live events at home, introducing play opportunities never before seen in...

Sneak peek at AsmoFair – The Toy Fair Edition 360° virtual stand tour AsmoFair - The Toy Fair Edition, which is the third edition of the company’s virtual show, runs from 17th-23rd January, with over 300 hours of meetings offered. These include evening and weekend slots in order to accommodate retailers’ needs – and prospective attendees can get a glimpse of what’s in store with a video preview on the virtual stand...

Beau Willimon Adapting Hasbro Board Game ‘Risk’ As TV Series As Part Of New First-Look Deal With eOne. Beau Willimon, creator of Netflix’s House of Cards, is overseeing a TV remake of classic board game Risk after signing a first-look deal with Hasbro-owned eOne.

Willimon, who also created Hulu space drama The First, will write and oversee the development of a series adaptation of the strategy game,

UNO CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF BEING WILDThe No. 1 card game in the world according to the NPD Group is celebrating 50 years of fun with a yearlong celebration filled with new products, events, and partnerships. The basic history of UNO is a famous one — the oft-recounted tale of Merle Robbins, an Ohio barbershop owner and card game enthusiast, who created the game and sold the original version out of his barbershop. 

Toys“R”Us Asia: leaning into 2021 with hope  John Baulch talks to Toys“R”Us Asia’s chief commercial officer, Jo Hall, about the past year and how the retailer has emerged stronger than ever from the challenges it has faced. Jo Hall’s name is synonymous with the heyday of two of the UK’s largest and most successful toy retailers – Toys“R”Us and Woolworths. In an illustrious toy trade career spanning more than 30 years...

Hasbro has created a new global purpose organization, which will be led by newly appointed chief purpose officer Kathrin Belliveau. The team will handle all of the toyco’s more philanthropic missions, including global government relations, global communications, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, ethical sourcing and social impact. Belliveau will report to Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner. 

Cartamundi builds Global R&D Center to ‘centralise vision’ for product innovation Cartamundi, a leader in the manufacture of games and playing cards, is building a new Global R&D Center in Turnhout to work closely with Cartamundi’s R&D departments around the world. The new center, the firm states, will be ‘crucial for Cartamundi’s strength and digital transformation,’ and will act as the base for ‘a team of …

Toikido lands master toy deal for smash-hit game AmongUs  Darran Garnham's Toikido has partnered with Innersloth Games on the master toy deal, which covers categories including collectibles, figures, plush, play sets, RC and more. Darran Garnham, formerly CEO EMEA at MTW Toys, is off to a strong start with his new venture, Toikido, landing a master toy deal with the studio behind the lockdown smash-hit game AmongUs...

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

Star Wars games are now housed under a revived Lucasfilm Games brand. The powers that be at Disney have shuffled some of its many brands and set up Lucasfilm Games to handle any and all games using the Star Wars license, both retroactively and moving forward. It's somewhat of a revival, given that the LucasArts was previously known by Lucasfilm Games decades before coming under Disney's wing.

Twitter says gaming posts up 75% in 2020. Gaming was a more frequent topic of conversation on Twitter in 2020 than ever before, the company confirmed today in a summary of gaming activity on the platform last year. According to Twitter, there were more than 2 billion tweets about gaming last year, up 75% year-over-year, and with a 49% jump in the number of accounts posting about gaming. 

Lucasfilm Games taps Ubisoft Massive to create new open-world Star Wars title. The recently revived Lucasfilm Games is partnering with Ubisoft studio Massive Entertainment to create a new open-world Star Wars title. The Swedish developer most recently worked on multiplayer shooters The Division and The Division 2, but will now be turning its attentions to a galaxy far, far away. 

Core gamers generated 66% of mobile revenues in 2020.  A new report shows that core gamers generated two thirds of all mobile games revenues last year, despite the games themselves only accounting for a fifth of all downloads. That's according to App Annie's State of Mobile 2021 report, which shows that 66% of consumer spend on games across iOS and Android were spent on core games like PUBG Mobile and...

Steam saw 21% more games sold in 2020. Valve today released an assortment of statistics for the 2020 performance of its digital storefront Steam, providing further perspective on just how much the games industry grew while the global pandemic limited people's entertainment alternatives. Over the course of 2020, Steam saw 120 million monthly active players, with daily active players of 62.6 million. Game sales...

MSI’s 2021 gaming laptops get Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series mobile graphics cards and Wi-Fi 6E support. MSI has introduced its early 2021 lineup of portable gaming laptops during CES on Wednesday. The big news is that all the new releases have been outfitted with Nvidia’s brand-new GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards. In addition to improved frame rates and ray tracing, these chips will deliver Nvidia’s latest...

LG’s new batch of gaming monitors includes 4K / 144Hz panel with HDMI 2.1. LG has unveiled three new gaming monitors as part of its CES 2021 announcements, following its introduction of a new flagship entry in its UltraFine series earlier this week. The new batch of displays includes a model refresh on LG’s 27GN950 gaming monitor with HDMI 2.1 support, a 32-inch 1440p display, and a 34-inch 1440p ultrawide...

Hogwarts Legacy is delayed until 2022. One of the year’s biggest games has been delayed. Today, Warner Bros. announced that Hogwarts Legacy — an open-world, action roleplaying game set in the Harry Potter universe — will be launching next year instead of in 2021. “We are giving the game the time it needs,” the developer said in a tweet. No specific release date was announced. .

Valve’s Steam Year in Review shows PC gaming on the rise — and VR, too. Valve is doing its part to illustrate gaming’s growth last year with its Steam 2020 Year in Review report. It includes some rather impressive numbers, like the fact that PC gamers increased their playtime by over 50 percent last year, and that each month, 2.6 million people bought a game on Steam for the first time. 2020 was a rough year, and many...

The end of Flash: What legacy will it leave behind? Developers explore the influence the 24-year-old program had on the games industry. On the 31st of December 2020, Adobe began the End of Life (EOL) cycle for its web development program Flash Player. After a three-year-old announcement by the company that it would eventually block all content from running on the software, it is finally coming to an end on the...

Forget power fantasies: pandemic-era players crave companionship | Opinion. Games that provide relaxed, social experiences have always had appeal -- their newfound importance will be a lasting effect of the pandemic. As we cautiously tiptoe into a new year -- hoping in this instance that it's more of a reboot than a direct sequel -- it might seem a little naïvely optimistic to start by thinking about how things will...

43 million games sold in the UK in 2020 | UK Annual Report. Almost 43 million games, over three million consoles and nearly 10 million game accessories were sold in the UK last year. This is according GamesIndustry.biz analysis of GSD market data. GSD covers all physical retail sales, as well as download sales from most major games companies. Across both physical and digital, 42.7 million games were bought, which...

Among Us was 2020’s most downloaded mobile game. In 2020, more mobile users downloaded Among Us than any other game worldwide. Data released by Apptopia ranks the year’s breakout hit at 41 million downloads in the US and 264 million downloads worldwide — beating out games such as PUBG Mobile and Roblox, which both remain in the top 10 highest-grossing games of the year. Despite being released in 2018...

HyperX made its first 60-percent mechanical gaming keyboardMost major gaming peripheral companies have already introduced 60-percent mechanical keyboards, which are more compact than full-sized versions and have become trendy in recent years for aesthetic and size reasons. But at CES 2021, HyperX is finally following suit by debuting its first compact model called the Alloy Origins 60. 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

US environmental agency warns against Xbox Series X, PS5 energy consumption. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X each draw 160 to 200+ watts of electricity when used, which is higher than their predecessors and more power than a 60-inch TV. That's according to the US' Natural Resources Defense Council, which measured the energy consumed by next-gen consoles and today published a lengthy report on...

Playing it safe – Awareness is growing around the hygienic protection of toys. As the country continues to tackle a raging new strain of the Coronavirus, and the world continues its fight against the pandemic, it’s little surprise that company priorities have shifted towards heightened health and safety measures, not only in their practices but in the services and products they offer. 

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Press Releases . . . 

Spin Master Goes Full Throttle with the Launch of the Supercross™ Toy Line. Spin Master, a leading global children's entertainment company, reveals a new line of Supercross™ toys commencing a multi-year licensing agreement with Feld Entertainment as the new global master toy licensee for the premier off-road motorcycle racing series. Infused with Spin Master innovation, the first wave of Supercross toys delivers reimagined play experiences and heightened authenticity for kids, collectors and fans of the brand.

10-YEAR-OLD BOARD GAME INVENTOR CREATES SWEETEST WAY TO SPEND FAMILY GAME NIGHT. Forget The Cookie Jar! Shuffle The Cards, Throw The Dice And Move Your Token Towards The Candy Jar With Candy Collections! Fairfax Station, Virginia (January 10, 2021)– When a grownup asks 10-year Cybele McKenzie what she did during summer 2020, she has an unbelievable tale that’s actually pretty sweet. The spunky big sister to two young brothers created a board game called Candy Collections! ($24.99). In a period of 15-20 minutes, the whole family can move one of six tokens around the board enough times to collect 20 or more points by adding the numbers on Candy cards in their hand. In this game, as only conceived from a kid’s perspective, beware of the green “veggie” cards where players lose points!

NEW YEAR, NEW INTENTIONS: BRIGHT STRIPES LAUNCHES LUNAR-INSPIRED WISH*CRAFT FOR TWEENS. Creative Playtime Is The Best Time For 8-14-Year-Olds To Handle Beautiful Materials As They Explore Painting, Journaling Or Jewelry Designing Bloomfield, NJ (January 8, 2021) – Parents have been encouraging their kids to reach for the moon for generations. This type of aspirational thinking is now tucked into a new collection of crafty kits called, aptly, Wish*Craft. Mystical Moons Paint a Scarf ($19.99) or Moon Phase Journal ($19.99) encourages kids too old to be read Goodnight Moon an outlet to dream of what might be. Children older than 8 years old can put their emerging technical skills to the challenge in this collection of DIY kits. Find them online at https://www.brightstripes.co/wishcraft.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

Licensing International Asian Awards Winners — 2020. The Licensing International Asian Awards ceremony, which used to be held at the Hong Kong International Licensing Show, was moved online for 2020. This year’s Awards feature 64 nominees across 13 categories judged by a panel of Asian licensing experts from all areas of the industry, followed by voting from the licensing community.

Information is power: Toymaster's Brian McLaughlin updates Toy World  Brian McLaughlin, retail manager at Toymaster, spoke to Rachael Simpson-Jones about how the buying group continues to support its members in these challenging times. “The working relationships that make the toy industry what it is have come to the fore,” Brian tells us. “It’s fair to say that the generosity of spirit and entrepreneurship the toy trade...

The Game Manufacturer's Association (GAMA) announced that they have pushed Origins Game Fair back till the Fall due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns.  Origins Game Fair 2021 was originally scheduled to take place on June 16 to June 20. They have decided to move Origins to September 30 to October 3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the proposed vaccination distribution timeline varying from state to state. 

The board of SAZ has decided to make its new model License Agreement for games available not only to SAZ members, but to all interested game authors/designers and publishers. In this way, we, as an interest group, want to help ensure that fair conditions for game authors are enforced as widely as possible. This model License Agreement has been completely revised in cooperation with our legal advisor and on the basis of our experience.

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

Kim Merrill, Chief Executive Officer Insignias Global, formerly of Uproar. 

Steve Lightle.  Comic artist Steve Lightle has passed away due to cardiac arrest tied to COVID-19, his wife posted on his Facebook account.  He was 61. Lightle was best known for his time on Legion of Super-Heroes, on which he followed artist Keith Giffen in 1984, and for his brief run on the relaunch of Doom Patrol beginning in 1987. He was also a cover artist for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics over the years.

Dennis Watts  Toy World is sad to report that Dennis Watts passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve, following a long battle with illness. After a career in engineering design,  Dennis entered the toy industry in 1974, taking over his father Fred Watts’ toy shop in Melton Mowbray. Dennis acquired another local toy shop  in 1978  and from the two shop names, he formed the Arbon and Watts business. During the 90s and 00s, the retail stores won the Midlands region Toy Shop of the Year award on five separate occasions. In the mid 90s, Dennis created Mail Order Express – the idea behind the new operation was to work with selected supplier partners to carry entire ranges. In 1999, Mailorderexpress.com was launched online, leading to a massive expansion in the early 00s, as the company rode the wave of the initial internet boom.

Kelly Flock. Former Sony, LucasArts, and THQ executive Kelly Flock has passed away. A number of notable industry figures shared the news online, and paid tribute to Flock's leadership abilities and commitment to giving new voices a chance to shine. Flock spent decades working in the industry at a number of high-profile companies, holding several senior positions at Sony, including president and CEO of Sony Online Entertainment.

Oscar Koveleski, founder of the Auto World and Kidracer brands, died Monday (Dec. 28th) at the age of 88. In 1958, Koveleski — a race car driver and scale model enthusiast — launched Auto World as a mail-order store from the basement of a home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The operation, which initially placed ads in the back of magazines, became a popular catalog business and pioneered the hobby and specialty retail space through its extensive offerings of slot-racing cars and track sets, plastic model kits, R/C cars, building supplies, and other items from brands including TYCO, Aurora, Scalextric, and more. “At that time slot cars were a mainstream toy,” says slot car evangelist Dave Kennedy, former brand manager for Hornby Hobbies’ Scalextric/Airfix lines and former North American marketing manager at Carrera of America. “They became a staple toy in every mass-market store and catalog … everyone — and I mean everyone — that is in the business now follows in Oscar’s footsteps.”

Diana Green, a long time buying director of Greens Toymaster, passed away at home on 13th December after a short illness. Toy World is sad to report that Diana Green, a popular and well respected toy industry figure, passed away peacefully on Sunday 13th December after a short illness. Diana was a well known figure in the industry since the 1970s, having worked as buying director for Greens for much of this time. Working alongside her husband Geoff, Diana selected ranges for the Snowfold buying group’s FOB import programme, which supported members ranges and margins from the 1980’s. Later, she served as a member of Toymaster’s Merchandise Committee for many years, as the Greens Toymaster chain expanded to a total of 17 stores.

Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Toy Association Updates 2021 Trade Show Schedule

  2. WIT Opens 2021 Wonder Women Nominations

  3. Robo Fish from ZURU Swims Back Into Retail

  4. Squishmallows Easter Squad Delivers Basketful of Fun

  5. ChizComm Signs Bazooka Candy Brands

  6. M.O.F.O.S Action Figures Launch this Month
  7. Nickelodeon and NFL Team Up for Junk Food Collection

  8. CASETiFY to Launch New Disney Collection

  9. Kraft Heinz Partners with G&S Metal Products

  10. Sonic Drive-In Forms Licensing Partnership with Slim Jim

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. This too shall pass …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. The bumper 2021 January issue of Toy World is now available to read online

  3. Specialist toy retailers react stoically to latest lockdown

  4. Smyths Toys UK operation declares £31m dividend after record performance

  5. New lockdown sees complete closure of non essential retail throughout the UK

  6. Toy Fair New York 2021 called off

  7. Cats vs. Pickles arrives in the UK

  8. Dolu ‘delighted’ with UK-Turkey free trade agreement

  9. Playmobil unveils two VW icons

  10. B&M sees 16% revenue growth in Q3

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

  1.  Wizards of the Coast Unveils a Buy-a-Box Promo and a Release Date for 'Time Spiral: Remastered'
  2.  Rolling for Initiative -- January 2020 Predictions and RIP Jackie Cassada
  3.  Renegade Game Studios Hires Matt Holland
  4.  Keep Track of Planeswalker Loyalty with 'Oversized Loyalty Dice'
  5.  Plaid Hat Games Will Release a New Edition of 'Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn' Card Game in Q
  6.  Games Workshop Reveals 'Glutos Orscollion, Lord of Gluttony'
  7.  Goodman Games Announces a New 'Dungeon Crawl Classic' Based on a Fred Saberhagen Novel Series
  8.  Tabletop Alliance Non-Profit Organization Created to Enhance Educational and Community Programs
  9.  Fire Up Some Nomad Faction Spirit with the 'Tunguska Cheerkillers'!
10.  Paizo Announces a Brand-New 'Starfinder RPG' Technology Rulebook

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)

Casual Game Revolution

WizKids releasing Waddle, Rio Grande Games announced a new train-themed board game, and Fantasy Fluxx releases this week.

Video of the Week! 

Licensing Your Ideas Perspectives for In

The POP Week panels were aired on two separate platforms, there are slight changes to the version first aired on our website with over 12,000 viewers and on this

separate YouTube version we just uploaded

Licensing Your Ideas: Perspectives for Individuals and Companies
Panelists: Derek Gable (President of West Coast Innovations (Invention and Product Development) & Greg Murphy (Principal, Landmark IP)

 

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