the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Jan. 8-15, 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!

 

Life's a pitch! This week's POP Week International Innovation panel (link in our Video of the Week section at the end of this page) is Pitch like a Pro to Manufacturers and Retailers with moderator Tim Walsh (Co-Founder, Roo Games; Founder, The Playmakers) and panelists: Tanya Thompson (Director Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations for Gaming, Hasbro), Adam Hockerman (Vice President, New Business, PlayMonster), Leila Nosrati (Principal, Master Toy Advisors), David Winter (Head of New Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations, Jazwares), Gillian Ruan (Enterprise Innovation & Inventor Relations Manager, Mattel)

 

Next week we are announcing new innovative events! Watch this space! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

tBR Person of the Week: Dave Kennedy - Slot Car Evangelist

I’m Dave Kennedy and I’ve been given the moniker of “ slot car evangelist. “

 

In the 60’s and 70’s slot cars were a main stream hobby and toy. But as the culture in the US changed, as the buying habits and play patterns changed slot cars were marginalized here in the US and nearly died as a hobby. Gone are the days of tv broadcasts of slot races on the evening talk shows and a slot car track in every small town across North America.

 

I’d been into slot racing since I was about 5 years old (I’m 50 now) and as one of the few people doing slot car marketing since 2007 I can tell you it’s been a hard road to travel.

 

The near death of the hobby in the mid 70’s here in the US means that we’ve lost several generations of children. The job of exposing parents now to the hobby means doing lots of basic, very “retail marketing” events to get controllers in the hands of kids and parents to show them the fun of racing scale miniature cars around a plastic, electrified slot track.  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:

  • in some role

  • with certain skills

  • located in

  • that invented

  • that supplied

  • that promoted

  • Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!

 

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 . . .

Chinese government encourages workers not to travel home for Chinese New Year Some Chinese factories may keep running during the Spring Festival holidays this year, as workers are incentivised to stay in order to curtail the spread of Covid across China. China’s week-long Spring Festival holidays are less than one month away. During this time, factories traditionally shut down for a couple of weeks as migrant...

European Commission fines Valve, others $9.4 million for 'geo-blocking' gamesThe European Commission has fined Valve and five major publishers a combined €7.8 million ($9.4 million) for breaching EU antitrust rules. The fines have been levied against Valve, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax, who were all found to have engaged in "geo-blocking practices" by restricting cross-border...

Brexit charges start to hit British online sellers Estimates say up to 150,000 British sellers on Amazon and other online marketplaces have been affected by new Brexit charges. All UK exporters to the EU – including those who trade on platforms like Amazon and eBay – now have to contend with customs declarations and, in many cases, VAT registrations & tariffs, incurring extra charges that will impact their profit margins...

Fears grow of major price (UK)  rises due to increased shipping costs. Industry concerns about major price rises are now attracting media attention, as toy suppliers report ocean freight can outweigh the cost of the stock. BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money program and the BBC news website featured a story which quoted James Owen, owner of Outdoor Toys, who suggested that sky-high transport costs and port...

CD Projekt faces a second class-action lawsuit over Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt has confirmed receipt of another class-action lawsuit from a law firm representing its own investors. The Polish studio previously confirmed it was facing legal action from the New York-based Rosen Law Firm, which claims the company misled investors over Cyberpunk 2077-- in particular, the state of the game on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Games (multiplatform) investments reached $33.6bn in 2020 across 664 transactions. In its annual report, InvestGame highlighted that the US was predominant in the investment landscape last year, representing 36% of the total deal value, followed by China at 27%.Mergers and acquisitions represented $12.6 billion last year, across 219 deals. It was dominated by purchases from Tencent (23 M&A deals), Embracer...

Italian game company daVinci Editrice S.r.l. (a/k/a/ dV Giochi) is acquiring Ghenos S.r.l.  The combination will allow dV Giochi to expand its offerings, extend its commercial network, and merge the two companies’ teams. The companies are in different parts of the tabletop game market: dV Giochi, which publishes perennial hit card game Bang!, publishes games appealing to families and casual players...

(the above posted after January 15th)

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 caution. Toy 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 check. The 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 assault. Discord 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.

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 . . .

Kids Insights – The direct approach: Will 2021 be the year for direct to consumer selling?  . . . Prepare for 2021 with new gaming audience insights . . . Top 10 Consumer Themes to Leverage in 2021 (Australia) . . . Chris Byrne - Inside the pandemic products trend . . . Full Year 2020 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Kids Graphic Novels . . . FULL YEAR 2020 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS WITH ACTUAL SALES . . . Nintendo Switch accounted for 87% of consoles sold in Japan last year | Japan Annual Report . . . 2020 sees record US games spending at $56.9bn | US Annual Report . . . Why toy renting is set to take off in 2021 . . . Mobile gaming up 9% among kids

(the above posted after January 15th)

Kids trends to watch from CES 2021. . . 2021 is the year to be ‘non-toxic’ . . . The French Toy Market; A 2020 Review . . . A Record Year Amid a Pandemic: US Edtech Raises $2.2 Billion in 2020 . . . 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 . . .

Is Hasbro stock a buy?  . . . JAKKS Pacific Inc. soars 9.72% on January 19 . . .  Playtika IPO raises $1.88bn . . . IPO plans value Krafton at up to $27bn . . . Jefferies Financial Group Comments on Mattel, Inc.'s Q4 2020 Earnings

(the above posted after January 15th)

Where Will Walmart Be in 5 Years? . . . 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 . . .

Spin Master Corp. to Report Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Financial Results on March 1, 2021. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET).

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...

“Transformation at Hornby accelerates” as hobby firm is on track for 20 per cent Q3 sales increase. The hobby specialist, Hornby has said it expects to see between 15 to 20 per cent higher sales in the financial year ending March 31st, stating that the “transformation at Hornby continues to accelerate.” The model train company has issued early reports that its third quarter of the financial year...

Capcom raises forecasts thanks to growing digital salesCapcom has raised its full-year financial forecasts ahead of next week's Q3 results report, thanks to high digital sales of its games. The Japanese publisher previously announced on May 8 it expected net sales of ¥85 billion ($792.9 million), and both operating and ordinary income of ¥25.5 billion ($246.6 million) -- all of which were higher than the company's...

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.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Inauguration to include programming aimed at kids along with a message from Jill Biden. The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced a lineup of television programming in the days leading up to the inauguration focused on getting families and their kids involved in the inauguration and the process of it all. On Wednesday, actress Keke Palmer is set to host an inaugural first: a curated livestream for youth...

Wastebuster calls on industry with Toy Take Back and Recycle to Read campaign. The environmental awareness platform, Wastebuster has partnered with Products of Change to bring together a cross-sector of stakeholders to share knowledge, resources, and finance, to develop an efficient, environmental, and sustainable means of recycling plastic toys.

NO TOY FAIR? NO PROBLEM. DON’T LET THE LACK OF TRADE SHOWS MEAN A LACK OF 2021 PRESS. Many brands seem to be under the impression that their yearlong media and influencer results hinge on Toy Fair New York. Yes, we have seen tremendous results from setting up thousands of media appointments on the Javits Center floor, erupting clouds of smoke from science lab demonstrations, landing on-site TV...

Standing up to Amazon – a successful trading terms strategy As a new trading year dawns, so do new trading terms with Amazon. Asha Bhalsod of Etopia Consultancy highlights the need for successful Amazon negotiation skills. With the pandemic bringing such strong growth in eCommerce, many toy manufacturers experienced double-digit growth through Amazon.

Would calls for an Amazon boycott harm small businesses? In her Viewpoint column, Amy reacts to reports that Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, has called for a boycott on Amazon in Spain, as similar calls for boycotts in other countries aim to prevent the dominance of the retail giant and protect smaller competitors. With over 9000 small businesses operating on the Amazon platform and 2000 of them in the Catalonia region...

Toy World - You are invited: suppliers present virtual showrooms Toy World caught up with suppliers that have been making inventive arrangements to present their new ranges over the traditional preview and trade fair season. With options ranging from video presentations and zoom appointments to PowerPoint presentations, digital cataloges and immersive tours, there are a whole host of ways for buyers to view...

Another Heritage Auction brings yet another record-setting sales number for 'Pokemon Tcg 1st Edition' sealed product. Heritage Auctions sold a Pokemon TCG 1st Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box at auction for a new record of $408,000 on January 15. The new year brings new highs as another sealed Pokemon TCG 1st Edition Base Set sold for an astronomical number, beating out the $360,000 sale that happened in...

The triumph of mobile core games heralds a demographic shift | Opinion. Perhaps the most striking nugget of data from what's been released thus far is a stat from mobile app tracking service App Annie, which reported that around two-thirds of the revenues from mobile games last year were from what it classified as "core games" -- titles like PUBG Mobile and Honour of Kings, which are competitively oriented, and...

(the above posted after January 15th)

Exclusive: Perfect ten – a look at top toy lists  James Ford puts top toy lists under the microscope and examines how helpful they are to retailers and the industry as a whole. As almost every retailer puts out their own list and writes their own agenda, James examines the various ways in which top toy lists serve a purpose to retailers and toy companies alike, drawing on his experience of buying toys at Debenhams and...

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.

Steve Reece Opinion: Made, paid, and played in India – How India is playing a new role in the global toy market  With a small but rapidly growing domestic toy market and plans now underway for the country to overhaul its position in the global toy industry to become an international hub for toy design and manufacture, India is becoming an increasingly important player on the global toy market stage.

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 UK? Toy 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 . . .

Nerf Wrist Flyers from Parker Brothers (1977). As part of its continued expansion of the Nerf product line, Parker Brothers released Nerf Wrist Flyers in 1982. Marketed to children ages 5-12, the set included three pre-assembled delta-wing gliders and a wrist-mounted launcher. Each glider was decorated in a patriotic motif and was made of the same polyurethane foam as other Nerf products.

Egypt makes 'major discoveries' at Saqqara archaeological site. Egypt unveiled Sunday ancient treasures found at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo. including sarcophagi over 3,000 years old. A stone sarcophagus was also found, as well as "a papyrus around five meters long containing the 17th chapter of the book of the dead... masks, wooden boats, games the ancient Egyptians used to play".

Where’s the Fun From? – Who Invented Slip ‘N’ Slide? In the latest installment from his YouTube series, Where’s the Fun From?, Guest Contributor Tim Walsh tells the story of a father who changed summers forever with the invention of a wet, yellow landing strip for airborne children, the Slip ’N’ Slide. Author, documentary filmmaker, and toy industry veteran Tim Walsh recently founded a new game company...

(the above posted after January 15th)

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 . . .

The Sanderson Witches are headed the hobby channel in Ravensburger's 'Hocus Pocus: The Game'Ravensburger NA announced that Hocus Pocus: The Game, a new board game based on the 1993 Disney movie, will be releasing into retail stores in February. This game was originally released into Target and onto Amazon back in 2020. 

IMG, Epic Games bring football to ‘Fortnite’. Epic Games and more than 20 top clubs around the world are celebrating global football in “Fortnite” via partnerships facilitated by IMG, “Fortnite’s” licensing representative. Starting Jan. 23, players can choose from 10 different variants of new “Kickoff Set” outfits to represent their favorite club in-game. Each outfit can be swapped to any of the 23 football clubs participating. 

Zag, Roblox ink ‘Miraculous’ game dealZag Games, the new games division launched in October 2020 by global independent animation studio Zag, has announced a partnership with Israel-based startup Toya to create its first game for the Roblox platform for the ZAG and ON kids & family (Mediawan Group) hit “Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.” Scheduled for release in April, the new “Miraculous Ladybug & Cat Noir” ...

What Do You Meme? Inks License Deal with SpongeBob  The fastest growing game company, What Do You Meme?, has inked a licensing deal with ViacomCBS for Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants property through 2022. The partnership will produce themed games under the flagship What Do You Meme? brand, as well as several pool floats under What Do You Meme?’s Iconic Floats line of inflatables. “SpongeBob...

UK licensing agency Brand-Ward eyes toys, games and more for pre-school series Pikwik Pack. The UK-based licensing agency, Brand-Ward, has been tapped to represent Guru Studio’s latest pre-school series, Pikwik Pack across the UK and Ireland, with a focus on consumer products including toys and games. The licensing firm already represents Guru Studio’s True and the Rainbow Kingdom and will now add Pikwik Pack...

Chefclub Kids bites into toys and play-sets market through Upyaa! partnership. The France-based digital culinary brand, Chefclub has partnered with Upyaa! to launch a new range of toys and games throughout Europe, enabling kids to engage with a collection of creative play-sets and undertake their own journey to becoming little chefs. The new sets will encourage kids to create their own ice cream, popsicles, and ...

Catering to the Community. The sudden rise of “Among Us” is only the most recent example of the speed at which the licensing community needs to react to a sudden pop culture phenomenon. The mobile game’s surge last summer – 42 million downloads between Aug. 1 and Sept. 14, accounting for 70% of its total since it launched in 2018 — was largely fueled by social media. .

(the above posted after January 15th)

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...

Automotive brand Peugeot eyes brand extension into toys, lifestyle, sports, and more The global automotive brand, Peugeot, has outlined its ambitious intentions to launch into the toy sector, having appointed Licensing Matters Global to roll-out a brand extension programme through licensing partnerships.

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 Figure. Renegade 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 of Power Kid Design welcomes University Games founder Bob Moog to the show for a discussion on the state of the games industry. Since its founding in 1985, University Games has been a staple game company with hits like Murder Mystery Party and 20 Questions. Additionally, Moog leverages popular licenses like Dogman, Pete and Cat, and The World Eric Carle to create great...

Inventor Adam Borton seeks students for Toy and Game School  Award-winning toy and game designer and inventor Adam Borton's Toy and Game School launches today and readers can access the online expertise at a special discounted rate. The online Toy and Game School will teach students about the toy and game industry and how to create a brand new, never-before-seen toyetic game.

Inventor Doug Reuter said the idea for "Sequence" came to him during a dream in the 1970s. He forced himself to get out of bed and write it down before he forgot. "Sequence" was released to the world in the early '80s before Reuter's other job as a lawmaker in St. Paul from 1997 to 2000. Goliath Games, which owns the rights to "Sequence," said it sold 1 million of the games worldwide in 2020, a 60% increase in sales...

(the above posted after January 15th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Tale as old as time…it’s the Friday Blog!  Shall we start this week with some good news? The UK toy market was 5% up in 2020. As they say on twitter: “That’s it. That’s the tweet.” A simple sentence, behind which lies 12 months’ worth of of twists, turns, sleepless nights, headaches, heartaches, elation and joy. Take yourself back to last March – could you ever have imagined you would be reading

“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 . . .

Nearly three years after its acquisition of Interplay UK Ltd, Wisconsin-based PlayMonster is rebranding its UK outpost as PlayMonster.

No change to staffing or responsibilities will take place and UK Managing Director Adrian Whyles will continue reporting to PlayMonster CEO Bob Wann at the company’s Beloit, Wisconsin headquarters.

Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru heads to Six Flags Over Georgia. The Hot Wheels Monster Trucks fleet along with iconic rides from the Garage of Legends, giant robots, and some additional big surprises will make their east coast debut at Six Flags Over Georgia on Jan. 28. Created by Raycom-Legacy Content Co. in partnership with Mattel Inc., the special socially-distanced event allows families to experience a special...

Capstone Games will release two board game titles in April. Capstone Games will release a new edition of Glass Road and Juicy Fruits into U.S. trade in April. Uwe Rosenberg's classic resource management game Glass Road is headed back to retail courtesy of Captsone Games and Feverland. Previously, this game was launched in the U.S. by Z-Man Games. Juicy Fruits is a brand-new game tile placement game by...

Plan B Games unveils 'Equinox'. Plan B Games unveiled Equinox, a new board game by Reiner Knizia, for release into retail in June. This game is a re-themed version of Knizia's Colossal Arena with two new creatures, revised gameplay, and new art. In Equinox, forest creatures gather to write themselves into the legendary storybook, but there is only room for four stories to be added. .

Crawl through dungeons to become the new 'Keepers of the Questar'. Upper Deck announced Keepers of the Questar, a new dungeon-crawling board game, for release in Q1. In Keepers of the Questar, parties of adventurers compete to complete the Quest Masters' quests and become the new Keepers of the Questar. It is a one-on-one dungeon crawling game where both players assume the roles of both the party...

Playmates takes us back with retro TMNT 6-pack exclusivesPlaymates Toys is releasing two tubular six-pack box sets featuring your favorite heroes in a half-shell. The Previews-Exclusive Retro Rotocast Sewer Lair and Mutant Module are jam-packed with all your ninja favorites. Prepare to go back to 1988 because each action figure in the six-piece sets was recreated with its original body, and oversized Roto head, along with...

Waterline Toys introduces Skimbe four season disc toysAs winter sets in and warmer weather looms, Waterline Toys is introducing a new toy that can be used outdoors in all four seasons. SkimBe is a patented polyurethane disc that skims, skips, slides, and jumps across water, snow, ice, and other slick surfaces when thrown in a cross-body motion or with a flick of the wrist. SkimBe features a rocker bottom and comes in three...

VTech to launch green ELPs as part of ongoing sustainability commitment  VTech's ongoing efforts to develop eco-friendly products and packaging, plus recycling programmes demonstrate the company’s commitment to the 5-year Sustainability Plan unveiled in June 2020. VTech branded eco-friendly products include four new vehicles in the popular Go! Go! Smart Wheels series, all made from plant-based plastic, and...

LEGO Ideas hits the history books with the launch of the Medieval Blacksmith’s set. LEGO Ideas has been hitting the history books for the launch of its latest set, a Medieval Blacksmith’s house based on an original design by LEGO superfan, Clemens Fiedler. The design has been given the green light to enter production after it achieved over 10,000 votes on the LEGO set creation platform.

Bandai UK releases the Timber Tots Song amid ‘heavy investment plans’ for the retro ’70s toy line. Following the successful revival of the hit ’70s toy line, Timber Tots, Bandai UK has detailed plans for a round of heavy investment into the retro children’s brand, kicking things off with the release of the Timber Tots Nursery Rhyme. The new song has been created to inspire a new generation of young fans to create stories...

Wow! Stuff flashes to the beat with new Chibies. Chibies characters flash to the beat of any tune a child plays across any genre; K-pop, rock, pop, hip-hop, even classical. High-tech sound sensors embedded into the character listen to the music and react in real time, even synchronising with every other Chibie in the room. To activate the sound sensor, children simply ‘Nudge their Nose’. They can then play any music and...

Asmodee earmarks ‘massive year for Pokémon Trading Card Game’ as it readies 25th anniversary Shining Fates expansion. Asmodee UK has cited 2021 to be a ‘massive year for the Pokémon Trading Card Game’ which is gearing up top release the Shining Fates expansion, its first major product release in the year as the brand celebrates its milestone 25th anniversary this year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic,...

Para Bellum announces four 'Conquest: First Blood' Faction Taster sets. Para Bellum Wargames announced four Conquest: First Blood Faction Taster Sets, miniatures skirmish battle starter sets, for release on January 25. Conquest: First Blood is the skirmish battles version of the Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings mass combat, epic battle system (see "Para Bellum Draws 'First Blood' for 'Conquest'"). .

Madballs vs. Garbage Pail Kids face off in brand collab. Cloudco Entertainment, owner of the venerable-but-irreverent Madballs brand, and The Topps Company, owner of the renowned-yet-subversive Garbage Pail Kids brand (“GPK”), have teamed up for a collaboration that playfully pits classic 1980s icons and “co-heavyweights of gross” against one another. The collaboration will feature all-new 1980s inspired artwork...

PlayMonster builds on Snap Ships line with new sets. The epic and award-winning new construction line Snap Ships is enhancing its Build to Battle play with six new drone sets. Collect and combine the three Forge and the three Komplex sets to create the two unstoppable Fusion Builds! At its core, Snap Ships is a collectible, versatile, modular building system that allows kids to build multiple crafts. .

Asmodee USA will release 'Pakal' for U.S. trade. Asmodee USA will release Pakal, a real-time sliding-puzzle game by Cranio Creations, into U.S. trade on February 12.In Pakal, players are trying to forge a path through the jungle to claim the treasure at the end. Each player has a four-by-four grid with 15 mixed solid and clear blocks. At the beginning of each round of play, they reveal an objective cards and slide their blocks...

Luma gets Sit Down! Luma Imports has acquired exclusive English-language distribution rights to games for Belgian board game publisher Sit Down! for the U.S., the company announced.  Sit Down!’s key backlist title is Magic Maze, which was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres and has previously been distributed in the U.S. by Dude Games. Luma will handle new printings of Magic Maze and Magic Maze Kids, and support ...

KATY PERRY HEADLINES 'POKEMON' 25TH ANNIVERSARY  The Pokemon Company is launching a major celebration of the brand’s 25th

anniversary, including multiple music partnerships headlined by Katy Perry, video games, mobile apps, animation, merchandise, and more. The music collaborations come via an overall deal with Universal Music Group, and will include additional artists in addition to Perry, who touted...

The Lego Group launches Lego Bygge Hygge The Lego Bygge Hygge initiative has been designed to create not only an occasion, but an atmosphere, that can become part of a cosy, or "Hygge" family routine. Lego Bygge Hygge is all about the art of cosy building, inspired by the Danish ‘Hygge’ which acknowledges a feeling or moment as cosy or special, alongside the Danish word ‘Bygge’ which means building or...

(the above posted after January 15th)

Mattel Just Unveiled a Barbie Doll Honoring Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou is the latest addition to Barbie's Inspiring Women Series. Over the last few decades, Barbie has traded her signature bright, bubblegum pink looks for space suits, athletic gear, and even makeovers from Beyoncé's makeup artist. With time, the classic figure has evolved to reflect real, successful women. In fact, Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series specifically...

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 2021. Wizards 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...

Zapf details roll-out of plastic free packaging The team behind Nurturing doll brands, Baby Annabell and Baby born, pledges its commitment to the future of the planet. Waving goodbye to traditional transparent window boxes, Zapf Creation will instead usher in eye-catching closed box designs that clearly show the dolls, improving visibility of products and increasing the brand presence on shelves. Within the boxes, cable ties...

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. channel. Hasbro  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 WILD. The 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 . . .

Opera opens new video game division and confirms YoYo Games purchase. Opera has confirmed the purchase of GameMaker Studio creator YoYo Games, and explained the deal will form the basis for a new video game division called Opera Gaming. YoYo Games' previous owner Playtech revealed it had sold the company for $10 million earlier this week, but neglected to name the buyer. 

Thq Nordic, Feld Entertainment prep ‘Monster Jam Steel Titans 2’. The sequel to the popular video game, Monster Jam Steel Titans has been unveiled. THQ Nordic and Feld Entertainment released a video teaser for Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 as well as while confirming a March 2 release date for the high-octane title. Expanding on the first game, Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 will feature new fan-favorite trucks,...

FIFA 21 was Europe's best-selling boxed game in 2020. FIFA 21 was the best-selling physical game across the vast majority of Europe, according to a new report from GfK Entertainment. The evaluation is based on physical games sales across Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland...

Epic pledges $20 million for Fortnite esports in 2021. Fortnite developer Epic says that, for 2021, the game’s competitive scene will have a prize pool of $20 million. That’s a step up from last year’s total of $17 million — though it’s not as massive as the 2019 World Cup, where $30 million was on the line. The news comes as Epic provided details on the latest season of the Fortnite Champion Series, the game’s highest...

Nintendo Switch accounted for 87% of consoles sold in Japan last year | Japan Annual Report. Nearly 6 million Nintendo Switch consoles were sold in Japan last year, a rise of 30% over 2019. Nintendo dominated the market, with Switch devices accounting for 87% of all consoles sold last year (6.85 million machines were sold overall). The normal Switch version sold 3.9 million units, while the Switch Lite sold just over...

(the above posted after January 15th)

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 keyboard. Most 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.

Press Releases . . .

POLAR ADVENTURE & HUNGRY BINS JOIN GAME FOCUS ON PRESCHOOL-LEVEL INTROS TO A GREEN LIFE. Youngest Eco-Citizens Discover Recycling and Disappearing Glacier Ice Through 15-Minute Rounds Of Memory And 3-D Roll & Move Challenges. Family game night has many benefits from strengthening relationships to being patient for your turn. Add to that list becoming a better eco-citizen with the launch of two new titles from Adventerra Games, the STEM.org-certified boardgame maker. Playing a round of Polar Adventure: Disappearing Ice ($24.99) and Hungry Bins: Learn to Recycle ($19.99) gets three- and four-year-olds to intuitively learn new behaviors that reduce their ecological footprints...

SPRING CLEANING WITH A TWIST: YOUNG BUG HUNTERS VACUUM, OBSERVE & RELEASE CRAWLY THINGS. Best Seller Bug Vacuum & Critter Barn Set Lets Kids Catch Little Creatures, See Nature Up Close Then Release Them, Away From House & Mom!  Ever notice how kids are the first to find an insect, sometimes indoors, thankfully mostly outdoors? In this season of spring cleaning, parents will be delighted to know there is a bug vacuum, part of the award-winning set from the Nature Bound™ line called Bug Hunter Set ($34.95). Kids can put on their khaki shorts and safari hat in search of nature’s smallest crawly creatures. Once gently scooped up, the bug rests in the set’s Critter Barn for tots to observe...

(the above posted after January 15th)

Hidden benefits of Endless Games’ board games & card games have been exposed by special educators & parents of special needs children. Recently, Endless Games’ The Korner’d Challenge, Dropsy Card Game and Mexican Train were announced as top toys for 2020 and featured in the Autism Live Holiday Guide. In 2019 the guide honorees included Traffic Cop Game and The Floor Is Lava.

MasterPieces, Inc. today announced a new license deal with Sesame Workshop for a line of products featuring the beloved Sesame Street brand and characters. MasterPieces, now in its 25th successful year of providing the world with high quality puzzles, toys, games, and crafts, adds one of the most internationally recognized brands to its list of licensed properties. David Rolls, President of MasterPieces, said, "We are thrilled...

S10-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.

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) . . .

Toy Association Releases “STEAM Toy Assessment Framework”  Help Companies Create Toys that Support STEAM Learning.  A new “STEAM Toy Assessment Framework,” provides a definitive answer with a three-step model and clearly defined rating criteria with learning goals for five distinct age groups. The report was created in collaboration with Dr. Amanda Gummer, CEO & founder of the Good Play Guide.

UK Toy Fair website provides info for would-be visitors of the show Visitors to the Toy Fair website can view a snapshot of product info from companies who were scheduled to exhibit this year. Although there is no physical show at Olympia this year, the organiser has instead provided an extended exhibitor listing on the Toy Fair website, for would be visitors of the show to look at companies that would have exhibited, in a...

VTech Named Official Toy Bank Sponsor for 2021.  VTech, a world leader in electronic learning products for children, has been named the official “Adopt-the-Pig” sponsor of The Toy Foundation’s Toy Bank for 2021. A longtime supporter of The Toy Foundation (TTF), VTech’s sponsorship includes a $10,000 donation to The Toy Bank, which delivers joy and comfort, through play, to vulnerable children and families.

Orchard Toys kicks off its Virtual Toy Fair with exclusive Toy Fair TV-style video. Orchard Toys has kicked off its Virtual Toy Fair in good humour with the launch of a video-skit starring the firm’s own sales director, Simon Prest, and Toy Fair TV presenter, Gavin Inskip. Produced to capture the levity of the London trade show in a year that sees the doors of the Olympia shuttered in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic...

Toy & Edu China and Licensing China will host digital-physical hybrid fairs this year. Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China will be offering a physical-digital hybrid fair experience this March with an online platform to support toy, baby product, and licensing companies exploring business opportunities in the region. The virtual marketplace will go hand in hand with the physical fairs that will be held...TRA’s Toy of the Year Awards winners announced This year's somewhat different awards reflect the unique and challenging trading conditions seen in 2020, and honour those companies that have kept UK families happy and entertained during the pandemic. Four outstanding categories played a big part in delivering this growth, all of which have outperformed the overall market. As such, the Toy Retailer’s Association selection...

(the above posted after January 15th)

Booking now open for the Gibsons Virtual Trade Showcase Due to the cancellation of many trade shows this year, the Gibsons team will be hosting a Virtual Trade Showcase event next month. The virtual show will take the form of an online conference and will give buyers and retailers the opportunity to partake in a private showcase of Gibsons’ newest product releases, have one-to-one meetings with the Gibsons team and...

BTHA celebrates 2020 toy trade Superhero Awards  Adding a twist to the Retailer of the Year Awards, this year’s Superhero Awards celebrate those who have gone the extra mile during this challenging year. Phil Ratcliffe, president of the BTHA and chair of the Retailer of the Year judging panel, paid tribute to the winners and the toy industry overall. “This is a change from our usual awards.

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.

Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Laura Zebersky Named President of Jazwares

  2. Skoog Teams Up with Sesame Workshop

  3. Belliveau Appointed Hasbro Chief Purpose Officer

  4. Superhero La Borinqueña Flies Into Licensing

  5. PlayMonster Builds on Snap Ships Line with New Sets

  6. Boat Rocker Names Licensing Director for the Americas

  7. Cyber Group USA Bolsters Leadership Team

  8. Tapatio Partners for Hot New Merchandise

  9. Madballs vs. Garbage Pail Kids Face Off in Brand Collab

  10. Bluey: The Album Available to Stream January 22

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Tale as old as time…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. UK toy market increases 5% in value during 2020

  3. Gulf Greetings General Trading, owner of The Toy Store, closes operations

  4. Toikido lands master toy deal for smash-hit game AmongUs

  5. Exclusive – Toys“R”Us Asia: leaning into 2021 with hope

  6. John Lewis halts click & collect to encourage shoppers to stay home

  7. Zapf details roll-out of plastic free packaging

  8. Toy community grapples with new challenges involved in shipping to Ireland

  9. Vivid Goliath brings home winning games for A/W 21

  10. Tomy Toomies unveils new Jurassic World pre-school line

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

 1.  Wizards of the Coast Releases New Information on 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Kaldheim' Packs
  2.  The Pokemon International Company Unveils 25th Anniversary Special 'First Partner Collector's Binder' and 'First Partner Packs'
  3.  The Last U.S. Video Store Chain Is Closing
  4.  Rolling for Initiative -- Three Predictions for 2021
  5.  Daiyu Details English Release of New TCG 'Gate Ruler'
  6.  Toy Association Cancels Toy Fair 2021
  7.  Games Workshop Previews the First Wave of 'Warhammer 40,000' Releases for 2021
  8.  Steve Jackson Games Unveils New Skull-Themed Gaming Accessories
  9.  GAMA Pushes Origins Game Fair Back Till Fall
10.  Renegade Game Studios Reveals Three 'Power Rangers' Expansions and a Pre-Painted Megazord Figure

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Umbra Via Pre-Order, Bluffaneer Released, Pandasaurus Games has a new game available for pre-order, Big G Creative has released a new dice bluffing game, and new game company Unexpected Games has announced The Initiative

Video of the Week! 

Pitch like a Pro to Manufacturers and Re

The POP Week panels were aired on two separate platforms, there are slight changes to the version first aired on our website with over 13,700 viewers and on this

separate YouTube version we just uploaded

 Pitch like a Pro to Manufacturers and Retailers with moderator Tim Walsh (Co-Founder, Roo Games; Founder, The Playmakers) Panelists: Tanya Thompson (Director Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations for Gaming, Hasbro), Adam Hockerman (Vice President of New Business, PlayMonster), Leila Nosrati (Principal, Master Toy Advisors), David Winter (Head of New Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations, Jazwares), Gillian Ruan (Enterprise Innovation and Inventor Relations Manager, Mattel)

 

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