the Bloom Report

Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide

Below is July 17 - 24, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted each day with newest articles at top of each news section. 

The previous week drops off each Friday when we send you highlights via email. 

Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news!

I hope everyone is wearing their masks no matter what they look like! Thank you, Kaye White, for the cartoon! 

In case you missed the last issues...

After 22 years, the Bloom Report  has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy and continue this essential news source for the industry.  If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: philip.bloom100@verizon.net  We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome  advertisements so we can continue this service for free. Phil summarized this endeavor well when he said, "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!" 

Onward and Upward, 

 

Mary Couzin

tBR Company of Week: Camp Bonkers brought to you by WindSunSky Entertainment

Heading into 2020, WindSunSky Entertainment, the creative team behind smash hits like Angry Birds, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Ice Age, was working hard on content and technology to support a new entertainment platform for kids being developed for release in 2021. As part of this effort, the group had shot and edited a handful of videos under the banner “Camp Bonkers.” When COVID-19 hit and summer camps across the country began sending cancellation notices to families, the team knew that they had an obligation to rapidly pivot to bring Camp Bonkers to families in time for this summer.

 

Now, WindSunSky is expanding the reach of Camp Bonkers through a partnership with Fingerprint Digital. Fingerprint, a leading provider of digital content for kids and families, operates Kidomi™, the award-winning all-in-one subscription app for kids ages 3-12,  delivering highly engaging, family-friendly content with thousands of premium games, videos and books from top family brands. Kidomi™️ is available in 14 languages with an engagement rate of 12 hours and nearly 60 sessions per user every month on average.  (Read More...)

tBR Person of the Week: Person of the Week! Karen Klein, Kid Market MatchMaker

Define yourself, know what you can provide and especially what you can’t provide and always look for Integration!

 

Who am I? So much and so little…

  • Professional Agent and Consultant in the Toy market, providing sales, strategy, and distribution services to new, small & medium companies

  • Mom blogger writing about conscious parenting, skill building and the love of play

  • Mindful-Mom, biological and foster, each with a different experience and learning

  • World-lover: Born in France and lived there until age of 14, then moved to California, Czech Republic and Israel. Traveled to Cuba and Kenya in a special way (more can be read in my blog)

  • Active socially, especially about kids

When giving my elevator pitch, I find it quite tough, and coming from a marketing degree and career, knowing your elevator pitch is a must.

 

(Read More...)

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

US economy sees sharpest contraction in decades. The US economy shrank by a 32.9% annual rate in the April-to-June quarter as the country grappled with cutbacks in spending during the pandemic. It was the deepest decline since the government began keeping records in 1947 and three times more severe than the prior record of 10% set in 1958.

German economy sees deepest decline on record. The German economy shrank at its fastest rate on record amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new official figures. The total production of goods and services declined by 10.1% during the April-to-June period. It was the sharpest decline since Germany began producing quarterly growth figures in 1970.

UK retailer Game sells Belong esports network to U.S. startup Vindex. UK retailer Game has sold its Belong esports network to U.S. startup Vindex for a reported $50 million. That fee was reported by the Financial Times, although the deal itself has been confirmed by Vindex, which explained its plans to invest $300 million into the Belong brand over the next five years.

Moonbug Entertainment acquires Blippi, CoComelon Brands. Moonbug Entertainment Ltd. is making moves to which it says positions the company as “the world’s largest digital kids media company.” After raising $120 million in funding through a deal led by Goldman Sachs and Fertitta Capital with participation from existing investors Felix Capital and the Raine Group, Moonbug acquired Blippi and CoComelon.

Plantea Junior makes a ‘Miraculous’ investment in ZAG Entertainment. Following a lengthy partnership in promoting ZAG Entertainment properties throughout Europe, Planta Junior has taken an ownership stake in the studio behind Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. In February, Playmates Toys and ZAG’s new toy division, ZAG Lab, previewed a new line of Miraculous action figures, dolls, playsets, and...

The NPD Group Reports on First Half 2020 Global Toy Industry Sales. Toy industry sales increased by 9%* in the first half of 2020 (Jan. – June) across the 12 global markets (G12)** tracked by The NPD Group, a leading global information company. The United States experienced the highest percentage growth at 16%, followed by Canada (9%), Germany (9%), UK (8%), and Netherlands (6%).

Toys “R” Us, Target digital partnership comes to an end. Just nine months ago, Target Corp. and Tru Kids Brand revealed a partnership deal under which Target’s toy assortment, digital capabilities, and fulfillment services would support the relaunched Toys “R” Us shopping experiences in the U.S. both online and in-store. That relationship has come to an end.

Target joins Walmart in staying closed for Thanksgiving this year. Target said Monday it will close up for Turkey Day, following Walmart’s announcement of the same plans last week. Instead, Target is encouraging shoppers to start their holiday shopping even earlier, in October.

New Kickstarter project from Suikoden creators raises £1 million on its first day. The recently announced Kickstarter project for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a spiritual successor to the Suikoden series, has raised over £1 million in under 24 hours. This means the project is now fully-funded, with still a month left to raise additional funds.

OUT THERE FIRST ACQUIRES ALEX BRANDS, RELAUNCHES COMPANY AS ALEX GLOBAL PRODUCTSAlex Global Products is the new name of the company that will serve as the home of popular brands including Alex Toys, Backyard Safari, Ideal, Poof, Scientific Explorer, and ZOOB. The announcement follows the May 12 Alex Brands auction, out of which Slinky and Shrinky Dinks were acquired by Just Play

Walmart to close on Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving closure will be the first time Walmart has been shut for the holiday in 30 years... (for) a break to essential staff who have been working during the pandemic. “We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” stated John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart US.

HOBBY GAME SALES HIT $1.675 BILLION IN 2019 Collectible Games, Miniatures, RPGs Drive Growth. Hobby game sales in the U.S. and Canada totaled $1.675 billion in 2019, up 12% from $1.495 billion in 2018, according to an estimate compiled by ICv2.  The increase was powered by big jumps in sales of collectible games, miniatures, and roleplaying games, partially offset by declines in board games and card and dice games.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Here’s why the toy industry will shake off the global pandemic. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi discuss the outlook for Mattel, Hasbro and Funko in addition to the overall toy industry with James Zahn of Toy Insider. Zahn even unveils a new offering set to come out this year.

US Toy sales up 16% during first six months of 2020. NPD data shows soaring US toy sales during Q1 and 2, a result of the coronavirus lockdowns and good weather. The NPD Group has announced that US toy sales are up +16% for the first half of 2020, as lockdowns, home-schooling and hot weather fuelled demand for at-home entertainment and education.

“It was a breakthrough quarter for gaming” says Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s $1.3bn boost.  The figures are in for Microsoft’s pandemic Q4, ending June 30th, and gaming saw a huge boost as the lockdown continued to affect many major economies. Gaming revenue increased by 64 per cent year-on-year, a boost of $1.3bn. That growth came largely from Xbox content and services, thanks to what Microsoft described...

49% of games businesses report an increase in revenue during COVID-19 crisis. Ukie has today released their ‘Playing On’ report, which demonstrates the games industry’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, although it highlights some concerns about the mid to long term impacts of the crisis on the industry. One of the most encouraging findings of the report is that 45 per cent of games businesses have been...

Facebook’s top advertiser Disney cuts ad spending, WSJ says. Walt Disney Co., the No. 1 advertiser on Facebook Inc., has “dramatically slashed” spending on the platform, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. The move comes as a growing list of companies, including Coca-Cola Co. and Verizon Communications Inc., halted spending on the platform amid criticism of the social media...

Investors are bracing for the virus’s second wave. Here’s how we know. Over the past five trading days, the cruise stocks are down 14%, while Boeing has fallen more than 3%. What’s more, Walmart and Zoom Video Communications shares were up 1.4% and 3.5%, respectively, in Monday trading. That pair, two stocks that outperformed during the lockdowns earlier in the year, are up 2.7% and 5.4%, respectively over...

Video game sales surged 26% in June. Total spending on video games surged to $1.2 billion in the U.S. last month, a 26% surge when compared to last June. The increase across hardware, games, and accessories accounted for the biggest June month since 2019. Overall, the entire industry is up 19% year-to-date.

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

The toys market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 4% during the period 2019−2025 . . . Walmart is raising an army of retailers to beat Amazon.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Blankos Block Party is a party worth checking out . . . Over half of US kids are playing Roblox, and it’s about to host Fortnite-esque virtual parties too . . . Marketing to the generations – 90% of parents say their kids influence purchase decisions . . . British online shopping habits could be here to stay, says new survey . . . Walmart, Marks & Spencer brace for tumultuous 'back-to-school' season . . . Hollywood is in crisis. That spells trouble for movie-themed toys . . . Inflatable pools, water slides help fuel the fourth straight month of double-digit toy sales gains 

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Hasbro (HAS) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

(the above posted after July 24th)

Option Bulls Crowd Hasbro Stock Ahead of Earnings . . . Mattel stock jumps 5% as Barbie, game sales help Q2 sales . . . Mattel posts global second quarter sales decline but beats estimates . . . When Should You Buy Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS)? . . . Mattel, Inc., (NASDAQ: MAT) :: Is it Time for a Financial Check . . . MAT Makes Bullish Cross Above Critical Moving Average . . . Analysts Estimate Hasbro (HAS) to Report a Decline in Earnings: What to Look Out for

Financial Reporting . . . 

Amazon Q2 earnings blow past estimates as coronavirus buying boosts revenue, profit. Amazon posted second quarter earnings on Thursday that blew away Wall Street estimates, bolstered by consumer trends during the coronavirus pandemic that have catapulted the tech giant into one of the crisis’ biggest beneficiaries. The company’s results are even more impressive given that it acknowledged spending...

JAKKS PACIFIC MAKES PROGRESS DESPITE 17% SALES HIT IN Q2. The company reported a 17% decline in Q2 sales versus the same period last year thanks to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of retail partners around the world. In the U.S., net sales for toys and other consumer products were down just 2%, while sales in the company’s Disguise Costumes division — which had been a pre-pandemic strong...

Games Workshop celebrates ‘best financial year in the company’s history’. Games Workshop is celebrating what it has hailed ‘the best financial year in the company’s history,’ having reported a revenue of £269.7 million for the 12 months to May 31st 2020. That’s an increase of over £10 million on the £256.6 million it totalled for the same period in 2019.

Roblox developers expect to earn $250 Million in 2020. The Roblox developers are on pace to earn over $250 Million in 2020. This is according to an announcement made during RDC, Roblox’s sixth annual developer conference. It was also announced that Roblox now has over 150 million monthly active users.

Hasbro revenue falls 29% as store closures, product shortages hurt sales; shares drop. Despite strong demand for toys in the quarter, Hasbro’s revenue fell 29% on a pro forma basis. For the quarter ended June 28, Hasbro posted a net loss of $33.9 million, or 25 cents per share, compared with a profit of $13.4 million, or 11 cents per share, a year ago.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Mattel posts second-quarter sales declines in all toy categories, despite virus-fueled industry boost. Sales of Barbie rose 7% in the quarter, but the dolls category as a whole fell 5%. Other categories saw steeper, double-digit sales declines. Overall, the company’s sales were still better than feared. Shares of Mattel jumped more than 4% after the closing bell.

Nintendo has 3.8 million shares in Bandai Namco worth $186 million. Nintendo's latest 2020 annual report shows a number of substantial investments into partner companies, but it's biggest is Bandai Namco who has developed a number of Switch games. Nintendo currently owns over 3.8 million shares of Bandai Namco worth roughly $186 million.

Ubisoft results sees €75m pandemic boost, announces $60 next-gen games, and speaks on recent allegations. Ubisoft’s Q1 results saw it hit record net bookings of €410m, way in excess of the €335m that it was predicting. It’s clear that the lion’s share of this is the result of the pandemic lockdown, with the company noting record-high levels of engagement and number of players over a single quarter.

Warface creator My Games announces 46% per cent Q2 growth – Warface on Switch hits 2.5m users. My Games, best known for its Warface franchise, has announced impressive growth in revenue for Q2, up by 46 per cent year on year to $152m. The company stated that it reached 700m registered users globally in the 3 month period. 

Expect Nintendo’s IP push to continue (from annual report). Nintendo’s (somewhat dry) annual report is out and the key strategy seems to be more. That’s more Nintendo IP in more places than ever before. Having recently seen pictures of the upcoming Nintendo theme park, and the launch of a large Lego range, it’s intriguing to think what else Nintendo could be planning?

Idw Media Holdings sells division, retires debt.  IDW Media Holdings is selling one of its divisions and will retire debt in the process, the company announced.  The holding company has agreed to sell brochure distribution and marketing company CTM Media Group Inc. to IDW Chairman and largest shareholder Howard Jonas in exchange for $3.75 million of the $5.0 million IDW owes Jonas.

Future Financial Reporting... 

Earnings preview: what to expect from Amazon. Amazon is scheduled to report earnings after Thursday’s close. The stock hit a record high of $3,344.29/share in 2020 and is currently trading near $3,019/share. The stock is prone to big moves after reporting earnings …

(the above posted after July 24th)

Electronic Arts Q1 prediction estimates. Electronic arts (EA) is due to announce its 2020 Q1 results July 30. Here are the market estimates for what they might be.

Zynga to Discuss Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020 at approximately 1:05 p.m. PT   At this time, Zynga will post management’s Q2 2020 Quarterly Earnings Letter, which includes Zynga’s second quarter 2020 results and outlook for the future …

Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

Mattel, Inc. today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2020 financial results on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at approximately 4:05 p.m. Eastern time. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Hasbro, Inc. announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2020 earnings conference call on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. The webcast and the accompanying presentation slides will be available to investors and the media on Hasbro's Investor Relations home page at https://investor.hasbro.com

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

How to get a job in games during a pandemic. While the full global impact of coronavirus is yet to be revealed, the video game industry has shown great resilience in the face of the pandemic. That’s welcome news if you’ve had your sights set on getting a job in the games industry. Game sales have skyrocketed and consumer demand is high as social distancing has encouraged people to explore new ways...

Epic Games' Sweeney calls out Apple, Google for 'exploitative' platform fees. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney has branded Apple and Google "exploitative" for imposing a 30 percent store fee on their respective mobile platforms. It's hardly surprising to see Sweeney slam the once standard 30 percent store fee, given his own marketplace the Epic Games Store only takes a 12 percent cut from developers.

The First Etch A Sketch that lets you draw circles is the perfect fidget toy. Etch A Sketch Revolution. What is it? The first Etch A Sketch redesign that makes it easier to draw curves and circles. I was surprised to find that the new Etch A Sketch Revolution — arguably the first reimagining of the toy that now makes drawing smooth curves and circles a breeze — managed to hold my attention for a few hours...

Argos axes 'book of dreams' catalogue after 48 years. "The laminated book of dreams," was how comedian Bill Bailey jokingly described the plastic-coated Argos catalogue. But 48 years on from its launch, the catalogue is finally coming to an end. The encyclopedia-like catalogues, the basis of many a child's Christmas wishlist, will no longer be regularly printed by the end of the January 2021.

Two Buffalo men arrested for allegedly shipping cocaine and fentanyl in Nickelodeon slime box. The U.S. Attorney's Office says two Buffalo men have been arrested for allegedly shipping cocaine and fentanyl inside a box that contained toys, coloring books, paper plates, napkins, and a Nickelodeon slime box.

UK: McDonald's will offer children the choice between a book or toy as their Happy Meal gift. Mcdonald's is changing its Happy Meal gifts after almost 50 per cent of parents said lockdown has negatively impacted on their children's reading habits. To encourage a love of books, little ones will now be given a choice between a story and a toy along with their meal.

What jigsaw puzzles tell us about child development. They've been used as an educational toy for hundreds of years and are thought to develop skills such as hand-eye coordination and problem solving. But little has been known about how children learn to do jigsaw puzzles. Now, new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has put jigsaw puzzles to the test—and found that children only learn to do them...

Game development in a time of upheaval. As we strive to represent diverse peoples from diverse backgrounds, we must do so responsibly and carefully. This means adding concrete new steps to our creative processes. It means that we seek out new voices and ensure that these voices can be heard.

Pokémon Go players caught nearly a billion Pokémon at this year’s online-only fest. This year’s online-only Pokémon Go Fest took place over the weekend, and since it was the first one open to all players regardless of their physical location, it’s perhaps not surprising to hear that it was the biggest one yet. Niantic says “a record number of millions of trainers” took part from 124 countries and regions around the world...

“Anyone who says they know what this industry will be like in 2-3 years… listen, but don’t bet on it.” – James Brooksby, Absolutely Games. Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month we talk to James Brooksby, CEO of Absolutely Games.

Fantasy Flight Games announces Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn expansion. Fantasy Flight Games announced Terra Incognita, an expansion for Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn, as well as a new gamemat. Fantasy Flight Games released Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn back in 2017

Learning through play - is your child playing enough in preschool? Did you know that your preschool child needs at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for optimal health? Adequate play stimulates your childs physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. Distractions caused by TV and other gadgets at home can prevent children from getting the play they need.

The August 2020 issue of Toy World is available to read online now.  The 108-page August issue of Toy World is now out and available to read online. This issue features in-depth looks at the Plush, STEM and Wooden Toy categories, bringing readers the latest product and marketing information decision makers need to know. This issue also contains a special Show Off feature; with a number of key physical trade shows...

Action Figure Insider – 15 Years of Talking About Toys. Comic-Con@Home 2020. For 15 years Action Figure Insider has been putting together SDCC panels with leading toy industry talent and leaders to discuss the state of the industry, collecting, licensing and making physical products of pop culture. This year we not only look at the current state of the world, making toys in the time of COVID-19, but we also look...

The Board-Game Series for the Age of the Coronavirus. In a list of retail shortages from early March, plague historians will include toilet paper, baking yeast, and, at some stores, every kind of meat except shrimp and ribs. They should also mention a coöperative board game called Pandemic. In 2004, not long after the sars virus wound a deadly path through China, Singapore, and Canada, Matt Leacock, then a...

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany claims Paw Patrol has been CANCELED - but she fell for an online spoof and it was on Nickelodeon as she spoke. She added: 'Lego halted the sales of their Lego police station.' Lego had already fact checked a Trump aide telling then-campaign manager Brad Parscale it was not stopping sales of its Lego police station

Casual Game Revolution Headlines - The Op has released a new Harry Potter game, the Spiel des Jahres 2020 winners have been named, and WizKids has announced Meeple Towers.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Ends July 25th! Check out the Goldfarb documentary EDDY’S WORLD playing now at Indy Shorts Film Festival! Watch the new documentary on the legendary toy and game inventor Eddy Goldfarb now through July 25th. Inventor of the Yakity Yak Teeth, Battling Tops, Kerplunk, Stompers and 800 more! I’ve listed some links below. The short was directed and produced by Lyn Goldfarb, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker.

John Baulch: “How’s my diary looking? Hang on, let me see…” …it’s the Friday Blog! And so, we reach the end of another topsy turvy week, which has seen some encouraging signs of a return to normality, while several other notable developments have reminded us just how far we still have to go. On the positive side, we have seen several retailers announce that their buying teams will soon be returning to their head offices...

How toy Woolworths Daleks created a key Doctor Who sequence. Doctor Who is known for doing a lot with a little, with the smash-hit sci-fi series regularly offering world-beating special effects, prosthetics and set building despite working with a relatively small TV budget. Instead of full-size Daleks, they’d use small models – and instead of making the models themselves, they’d just buy toy Daleks already available in shops.

“It’s more important than ever for leaders to include more diverse employees at all levels” – Amiqus on making change where it matters. Building a culture of inclusion where everyone feels that their voice is heard and valued will make a difference to the future growth of a company and the retention of their talent. And when making decisions, it’s more important than ever for leaders to include more diverse...

2020 'SPIEL DES JAHRES' WINNERS ANNOUNCED! 'Game of the Year', 'Enthusiast Game of the Year', and 'Children's Game of the Year'. The coveted Spiel des Jahres or the Game of the Year went to Pictures published by PD-Verlag and Rio Grande Games, and designed by Daniela Stohr and Christian Stohr. The Kennerspiel des Jahres or Enthusiast Game of the Year went to the space-travelling game The Crew.  It was...

Amazon de-anonymizing third party sellers. The Wild West may get a little tamer. Amazon will begin displaying business name and address for all third part sellers in the U.S. on September 1, the company told its sellers earlier this month.  The change may help tame some of the more destructive elements of Amazon’s third part marketplace.

How can the industry stamp out abusive behavior within their businesses and communities? Like other industries where immense power and prestige accrues in the hands of relatively few individuals, the gaming industry has a problem with abuse in its ranks. Much of the video games industry is relationship and influence driven, and those in control can use their money, visibility, and influence to abuse.

New ‘Clone Wars’ toy could hint at a special cameo in the Obi-Wan Kenobi ‘Star Wars’ live-action series.  With the success of The Mandalorian and Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, television future path for Star Wars. This lead to the development of upcoming shows about Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Naturally many rumors came up about the Obi-Wan’s series. And a new toy release might hint...

Indie hobby stores celebrate ‘rare win’ in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 launch turnaround. Independent retailers and hobby stores are celebrating a ‘rare win’ over Games Workshop. The company spent an embattled week at the outrage of a community who believed themselves “to be overlooked” by the British miniatures brand and its latest big box Warhammer launch, in favor of the online discounters and...

Aurora World donates truckloads of plush to Kids Wish Network. Aurora World is continuing its support of Kids Wish Network. The maker of quality plush toys for kids and collectors is donating “truckloads of extraordinary plush toys” to Kids Wish programs that support kids with life-threatening conditions or those who are struggling with life-altering situations.

Microsoft removes 12 month Xbox Live subscriptions, may be preparing to drop the paywall entirely. Microsoft has removed the ability to purchase 12 month Xbox Live subscriptions, prompting speculation that it is preparing to drop the paywall for the service entirely.Both the single and three-month tiers remain, but the 12 month option has been removed from every territory in which the yearly subscription was available.

Amazon Prime Day in India starts on August 6. NEW DELHI:E-commerce giant Amazon on Tuesday announced that its annual shopping festival Prime Day will start in India on August 6 and will run for 48 hours, offering members two full days to make use of the exclusive deals.

Last year, the sales holiday was conducted in mid-July, but the pandemic this year has disrupted its schedule.

Secret Morse code tune sees game removed in China. A popular mobile game has been taken offline in mainland China for "rectification work". Netizens discovered its musical director had written a song containing Morse code with a hidden Hong Kong pro-democracy message. The piece, Telegraph 1344 7609 2575, was actually posted on his page in March, but after netizens discovered it contained in Morse code...

Despite gov't approval, Google rejects Attentat 1942 from Google Play Store in Germany. Attentat 1942 developer Charles Games says that Google has blocked the release of its historical game on the Google Play Store in Germany, Russia, Austria, and France over Attentat 1942's in-game use of Nazis.“How we're supposed to make an historically-accurate game about WW2 horrors without Nazis?”

Toy bomb injures 5 children in northwest Pakistan. A bomb resembling a toy injured at least five children on Tuesday in Pakistan's northwest tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said. The bomb exploded when the children were playing with it in South Waziristan district. 'Toy' bombs were airdropped in neighbouring Afghanistan by Soviet forces during the 1980s civil war in the country.

More Resignations, but No Sign Yet of a Change in Gaming Culture. Since dozens of women spoke up about harassment in gaming last month, prominent industry figures have resigned. But has anything really changed? The stream of reports of sexual harassment and assault in the gaming industry that began in June has continued unabated, as more women — and some men — have come forward with accusations...

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Rome fills museum with vintage toys in new exhibition. Rome displays an exhibition of vintage toys, including doll houses, cars, trains, spinning tops, magic lanterns, clowns and music boxes at the Museo di Roma Palazzo Braschi, in Piazza Navona, until 10 January 2021. Entitled Per Gioco. La collezione dei giocattoli antichi della Sovrintendenza Capitolina the exhibition focuses on the collection of vintage toys acquired by...

Ice Cube from Milton Bradley (1972). Designed by Marvin Glass and manufactured by Milton Bradley, the Ice Cube board game combines water, ice, and salt for messy trips around the board until the last pawn is left standing. The object of the game is to be the last player whose ice cube melts.

Viceroy Manufacturing Company. Rubber and vinyl dolls and toys were the name of the game for Viceroy Manufacturing Company of Toronto, Ontario. The company began producing moulded rubber toys in 1930, creating an array of balls, bath toys, sand and beach toys, and small cars and trucks.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Electric Puff Ball from Hasbro (1962). Released in 1962 by Hasbro, the Electric Puff Ball game blended marksmanship and air currents into a two-player game of skill. “A thrilling electrical game for the entire family.”

‘90s-toys-millennials-loved-to-play-with. 30 toys from the '90s that you or someone you know definitely had when you were a kid. This post will give you back the sweet and pure mems of playing with them.

1,700-year-old board game found in Norwegian burial mound. The grave turned out to be a cremation patch containing 3 ceramic pots, a bronze pin, burnt glass and 18 gaming pieces and an elongated dice. The dice is of a very rare type, exclusive for Roman Iron Age (AD 1 - 400).

Robert The Doll: the true story behind ‘Child’s Play’ and Chucky. The real events that helped inspire what would become the story for Child’s Play begin with the tale of Robert the Doll. While Chucky was just one of many mass-produced “Good Guy” dolls, Robert the Doll was a one-of-a-kind toy first owned and named by Florida painter Robert Eugene Otto in 1903.

1,200 year-old glass boardgame piece found on Lindisfarne[GT1] . A rare, glass gaming piece has been discovered during an archaeological dig on Lindisfarne. The tiny Northumbrian island’s wealthy early medieval monastery was infamously raided by Vikings in AD 793, heralding the start of the Viking Age in Britain.

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Braille Skateboarding debuts toy line. Braille Skateboarding has partnered with Bonker Toys for a new toy line. Braille Skateboarding founder and professional skateboarder Aaron Kyro is known for making skateboarding accessible to people of all ages - guiding them on how to master moves from this hobby-turned-official-Olympic-sport.

Private Division signs publishing deals with Ori dev Moon Studios and others. Take-Two Interactive's publishing label Private Division has signed three new publishing deals with developers Moon Studios, Roll7, and League of Geeks. The move is notable given the pedigree on display. Moon Studios has garnered acclaimed for its work on artistic platformers Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Roll7...

Peaky Blinders will be storming the tabletop gaming space this Q4 with two new titles. The Peaky Blinders are looking to storm the table top and travel gaming space in time for the Q4 shopping season this year, with the launch of not one, but two new games inspired by the hit TV series. The move arrives as part of a wider signing of six new licensing partners for the property.

A new series from Kevin Smith and WildBrain will reinvent The Green Hornet franchise for a new generation of kids. “We’re thrilled to embark on a new animated Green Hornet series with Kevin, who has set up an incredibly rich world with a cast of amazing characters – especially Kato, who is no longer just a sidekick, but is now a strong female partner to the Green Hornet,” says Stephanie Betts, EVP Content and...

Disney-Pixar Happy Meal toys arrive at McDonald’s. Calling all fast foodies and Disney fans. Your two loves have combined once again. Disney and McDonald’s have collaborated to bring Disney-Pixar toys to Happy Meals! We’ve shared Disney’s other recent collaborations with McDonald’s since last year. Back in April 2019, Disney and McDonald’s gave away prizes in honor of the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. 

McFarlane Toys acquires rights to Witcher action. McFarlane Toys - the merch manufacturer owned by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane - announced that it had secured the rights to produce a run of action figures based on popular fantasy RPG franchise The Witcher. While the company had nothing to reveal in terms of designs or prototypes, the first run of figures will be based specifically on characters...

New CBeebies series Monty & Co eyes toy, publishing, and arts and crafts deals. Monty & Co, the new pre-school series to have landed on CBeebies earlier this month and devised by the team behind the likes of the Muppet movies, Mopatop Shop, and Chucklevision, is eyeing an early move into the toy aisle through the appointment of its global licensing agency, Licensing Link Europe..

Panda Mony Toys taps FanGirl Consulting in plans ‘to shake up the toy industry. Panda Mony Toys’ plans to shake up the global toy industry with the introduction of its Alter Nation action figure toy line has taken another step towards reality, with the appointment of the pop culture brand and licensing specialist, FanGirl Consulting. Founded by the former Hasbro executive, Anita Castellar, FanGirl has...

Schleich USA has partnered with Viva Kids to create a feature-length film that brings the Bayala franchise to life. Animal figurine manufacturer Schleich is bringing its Bayala franchise to life onscreen.  Their animated feature-length movie, The Fairy Princess And The Unicorn: The Bayala Movie, will make its U.S. debut this August. Made possible through a partnership with Viva Kids, the film’s U.S. expansion...

WWE And Mattel Reveal Which Superstars Will Be Included In Their "Legends Series 8" Collection. WWE and Mattel teamed up for a virtual San Diego Comic-Con where several new WWE action figures were revealed. Mattel designer Steve Ozer talked about reviving the legends line and which legends will be a part of it. "We're celebrating our tenth anniversary partnership with WWE and...

(the above posted after July 24th) 

Trinity & Beyond premieres toy line from Bonkers ToysTrinity & Beyond has been on a rocket ship of growth reaching over 2.6 billion lifetime views on YouTube and continuing to accelerate. The channel is a huge hit with kids ages 3-8 and is family-friendly “reality TV” for little girls. The Trinity & Beyond toy line from Bonkers Toys in partnership with Semaphore Licensing will premiere at Target, Walmart, Amazon, and...

Insight Editions expands successful Wizarding World film tie-in publishing program for Harry Potter fans in fall 2220. Insight Editions in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is pleased to announce new additions to its catalog of Wizarding World film–inspired titles. These include new novelty and collectible formats …

The Hachette Children’s Group lands publishing rights for the hit pre-school series Tinpo. Point 1888 has partnered with one of the UK’s leading children’s publishers, the Hachette Children’s Group, to adapt the CGI animated television series Tinpo into a wide range of book and activity formats. The agreement will see the launch of a new range of picture books, annuals, story books, activity books, and novelty...

Barbie launches health and beauty partnership with GlamGlow. The health and beauty specialist, GlamGlow has teamed up with Mattel to unveil a new, limited edition with the fashion doll icon, Barbie, and the toy brand’s own GlamGlow beauty collection. The new collection has been developed to celebrate self-confidence through self-care skin health, and features Barbie themed spins on popular lines in the GlamGlow range.

Discovery dives into ‘Shark Week’ with 2020 licensing program airing Aug. 9 – Aug. 16 with a lineup of original shark-themed programming. The accompanying consumer products program for the event series includes new and returning partners across apparel and accessories, toys and publishing categories.

Boy's Toys: Why did watchmaker IWC release a Hot Wheels racing car setThe new IWC Racing-themed Hot Wheels set features a miniature replica of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. But how did this collaboration between the Swiss watchmaker and Mattel toy car brand come about? The set features an astonishing 1:64 scale replica of IWC’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL race car, driven by F1 legend David Coulthard. 

Dark Horse Comics teams with Studio71 Games to launch The Umbrella Academy card game. For everyone who enjoys a bit of pop culture nerdery, Dark Horse Comics is looking to provide your latest fix with the launch of a new battling card game based on the hit comic series-turned Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy. The news arrives as season two of The Umbrella Academy readies to land on Netflix this July 31.

Spacetoon to develop consumer product programme for YouTube’s The Moshaya Family across MENA. Spacetoon, one of the MENA region’s largest family content providers, has signed a new partnership with The Moshaya Family – the top rated family friendly content creator in the Arab world – to roll out a consumer products and digital media programme that will encompass a new animated series. Through the agreement, Spacetoon will work to transform the hit YouTube channel into a lifestyle franchise across a variety of consumer products including toys.

People . . . 

GoldieBlox names former New Form exec Melissa Schneider Chief Content Officer. Peter Pergola has joined GoldieBlox as an operating partner, assuming a seat on its board of directors. At the same time, digital video vet Melissa Schneider has been named GoldieBlox’s chief content officer. Other hires at GoldieBlox include: chief marketing officer Ferrell McDonald, who joins GoldieBlox from Tinder...

Fred Soulie named Senior Vice President, General Manager, Mattel Television. Nearly two years after joining Mattel to lead content distribution and business development, Fred Soulie has been promoted to senior vice president and general manager, Mattel Television. In his new role, Soulie will oversee the development, production, and distribution of Mattel’s full slate of TV and streaming content.

Humanoids brings in former Legendary exec to spearhead move into film and TV. Humanoids has appointed Matthieu Coppet as Group Chief Operating Officer. In that role, Coppet will work with Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger to scale the company’s operations, using a multimillion dollar development fund recently secured with a strategic partner to help expand Humanoids IP into film and TV content.

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Trina McFarland, owner and managing director of TinkerTini. McFarland has reviewed thousands of toy and game concepts during the course of her career. She previously served as senior manager, inventor relations at Mattel, prior to which she managed inventor relationships for Jakks Pacific...

Jud Meyers, whose promotion to Publisher at IDW Publishing was announced just last week (see "New President, Publisher, EVP at IDW Publishing"), has been placed on administrative leave.  The company made the announcement to employees at a company town hall last Friday.  In his role as Publisher, Meyers was in charge of editorial, sales, and creative services.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Tim Kilpin - I’m a very proud elf.  Every Christmas morning... Make magic for kids.  I’m a very proud elf.  Every Christmas morning that I’ve been in this business, after the presents have been opened, and too many cookies have been eaten, I sneak outside.  And I listen.  Kids all over the world will be playing with the toys we all created.  Magic is happening.  And time stands still.  

Naomi Brugnatelli - Don’t be Intimidated by Presenting to the “BIG GUYS”. I have the privilege of being the Sr. Inventor Relations brand representative for Mattel Games. I’m constantly on the hunt for new innovative game ideas. Some would say that I’m the gatekeeper between the inventor community and the Mattel Games team. I like to think that first and foremost, I am an inventor advocate.

Diana S. Ferguson Appointed to Mattel Board of Directors. Ferguson Will Serve on the Company’s Audit Committee and Assume the Role of Audit Committee Chair. Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced today that Diana S. Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer of Cleveland Avenue LLC, has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors effective July 21, 2020.

NEW PRESIDENT, PUBLISHER, EVP AT IDW PUBLISHING.  In the wake of the departure of IDW Publishing President, Publisher, and CCO Chris Ryall yesterday, IDW has promoted a number of executives to new positions.  Jerry Bennington is the company’s new President,  Jud Meyers is the company’s new Publisher, and Rebekah Cahalin is now General Manager and EVP of Operations for both IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment.

TOM HUDSON TALKS MARVIN’S MAGIC ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Tom Hudson, managing director of Marvin’s Magic. Launched in 1987 as a pioneer in the retail entertainment and product demonstration space. For more than three decades, Marvin’s Magic products have entertained budding magicians, pop stars...

Cloudco Entertainment welcomes Ian Lambur as EVP, Content Strategy & Co-Productions. Longtime industry veteran Ian Lambur has joined Cloudco Entertainment as Executive Vice-President of Content Strategy and Co-Productions.  Cloudco Entertainment is home of venerated brands such as The Care Bears™, Holly Hobbie™ and Madballs™.

Edx Education’s Heather Welch: “Educational toys are going to hit a stride like never before”.  ToyNews talks exclusively to Heather Welch, global brand lead for Edx Education, about the rising demand for educational toys the world over. Additionally, just how the company plans to respond to the call as we begin to emerge from the world’s lockdown measures.

Starling Games staffers form Quillsilver Studio. Two former Starling Games staffers and a third creative have formed Quillsilver Studio, a new development house offering publishing services for tabletop games.  The three founders are former Starlling Brand manager Brenna Noonan, former Starling Creative Director Dann May, and Greg May.

Collector Spotlight: Ben Meier. “I collect Transformers. I have about 4,800 sets – meaning gift sets and multi-packs that shipped in the same package – as well as individual figures, bringing the total to about 6,000 unique items. If it was released to the US retail market, I have it. My collection also includes exclusive Japanese and European releases and other types of transforming toy robots, such as Tonka GoBots . . .

David Snow - Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, Sugarpuffs, DJ Koco and More! I am the co owner of The Fantastic Factory with my partner Steve Evans, we design create and manufacture games and gifts. My role is co inventing, marketing, finance, sales, contract work, forward planning, tea making and firefighting. Steve does all the nice bits, but he does it very well.

Actor Keanu Reeves is turning his hand to comics with a new 12-issue series for BOOM! Studios: BRZRKR, which he will co-author with writer Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT, DeptH, Grass Kings).  The creative team will also include artist Alessandro Vitti, colorist Bill Crabtree, and letterer Clem Robins, and Rafael Grampá will draw the cover for the first issue.  Vitti and Mark Brooks will create variant covers.

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Companies . . . 

Mattel takes UNO Minimalista from concept to market in just 30 days. UNO Minimalista gives the game a sleek, minimalistic look featuring a streamlined logo against a dark background with simple symbols emblazoned on each colorful card. Originally a fan creation by Brazilian designer Warleson Oliveira, Mattel Games entered into a collaboration to bring the game to market in just 30 days.

Hasbro reveals Pac-Man Monopoly, releasing on August 1st. Hasbro has announced a Pac-Man themed version of the Monopoly board game for the arcade icon's 40th anniversary, and will be available starting on August 1st for an MSRP of $30. A miniature, playable, arcade cabinet will be included, featuring a simplified version of Pac-Man for you to play every time you pass GO.

Fantasy Flight Games unveils 'X-Men: Mutant Insurrection'. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled X-Men: Mutant Insurrection, a new board game, and its accompanying gamemat for release into retail in Q4. X-Men: Mutant Insurrection, designed by Richard Launius and Brandon Perdue, has players travelling the world to recruit new mutants, capture criminals, protect citizen, and battle X-Men villains.

Excelsior: Stan Lee wins statue by Iron Studios! The greatest legend of the Marvel universe, present in small, but striking appearances in almost all adaptations in theaters and diverse animations, much more than co-creator of several heroes and villains of “House of Ideas”, and writer of many of his most striking stories, Iron Studios proudly presents … Stan Lee!

Celebrate the end of winter with Holi: Festival Of Colors. Floodgate Games announced Holi: Festival of Colors, a new pattern building multi-tiered board game, coming soon to retail stores. In Holi: Festival of Colors, players celebrate the popular Hindu festival that marks the beginning of spring by making patterns of colored powders.

Riot quickly drops controversial LEC sponsor after outrage from devs, community. Riot Games announced it is junking its partnership with NEOM. “As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognize when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them. After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and...

RedwoodVentures, OLO Industries Introduce Smooshy Mushy Ultra Range. RedwoodVentures Ltd., in partnership with OLO Industries LLC, introduces Smooshy Mushy Ultra, a new line extension that features ultra-rare squishable, collectible toys. The new styles include metallic colors and graffiti-style details.

The Mean Greens: plastic warfare takes your army men online; enlist on August 5th. It’s been a while since we’ve seen an army men game, and The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare is the latest incarnation with a few new takes on the old formula. The game was announced on the PlayStation Blog today, and the Art Lead/Community Manager, Jamie Krautkremer, provided some details around the game and design.

Gamegenic reveals deets on new Catan accessory product line. Gamegenic, alongside CATAN Studio, revealed a product line of officially licensed accessories for CATAN board games set to release in September. The new CATAN accessories cover a gambit of storage, organization, and gameplay enhancements to CATAN board games.

Omnia doubles down on kids gaming content. Omnia Media, which runs a network of digital gaming channels, is pressing play on original productions with a new division that will make and distribute kids gaming content to meet a rising demand. The new Omnia Kids Gaming unit plans to produce Minecraft- and Roblox-themed content through its own channels …

Pressure Games launches Kickstarter for its retro-inspired active-tech toy hybrid Countdown. Pressure Games, a toy development unit that aims to combine active, social and imaginative play to today’s demand for tech toys, has launched its Kickstarter campaign for its already international award-winning concept, Countdown is a retro-inspired tech toy that comes with more than 12 reflex, logic, and movement...

WildBrain CPLG partners leading Italian design school to celebrate 65 years of Miffy. The entertainment, sport, and brand licensing agency, WildBrain CPLG has teamed with the Italian design school Istituto Europeo di Design for a new fashion project that celebrates the 65th anniversary of Mercis BV’s character brand Miffy.The project has seen students from award-winning design schools in the UK, Hong Kong...

Hasbro Games announces 'Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins'. Hasbro Games, along with Wizards of the Coast, announced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins, a cooperative fantasy board game, for release on October. This product  is a quick-entry cooperative family board game revolving around the basic premise of D&D.

Madballs are BACK! from MegalopolisToys. It’s Freaky Fun For Everyone! Madballs action figures are back, and they are more freaky and grotesque than ever before! Each Madballs action figure stands approximately 6 inches in height, features 25 points of articulation, interchangeable parts, and accessories designed by THE James Groman!

Mattel unveiled the Barbie 2020 Campaign Team, a doll set and a full marketing program that highlights the importance of using your voice to vote and shows girls how to run a campaign. The new career set includes four dolls with important roles that can make a winning campaign, including a candidate, a campaign manager, a fundraiser, and a voter. The set features dolls of different ethnicities, including...

BIG G CREATIVE INTRODUCES WHO’S THE G.O.A.T.? In the age of social media, the debate often rages as to who’s the greatest of all time — the G.O.A.T. Now, Big G Creative is bringing the challenge to the table in Who’s the G.O.A.T.?, a new party game from inventor Peggy Brown that offers players a chance to prove that they’re the greatest through prediction, competition, and fun. 

Wow! Stuff unveils print-your-own-mask kits. The company has pledged £10,000 of Your-Face Masks sale proceeds to NHS Charities Together. The in-house innovation team at Wow! Stuff, which was recently announced as the official master toy licensee for The Gruffalo, has created a patent applied-for home print-your-own-mask kits in two categories; Fashion and Arts & Crafts. The Your-Face Masks kits will...

Kids Insights now launches into Canada and Australia as its global expansion continues. By adding the regions to its roster, they become the 10th and 11th operational markets for the firm. This follows the company’s recent expansions into Brazil and Mexico, where it launched earlier this year. 

Henson to help adapt books about race & immigration. Exclusive: Rehab Entertainment and the Jim Henson Company have signed on for Lena!, a new animated preschool series from showrunner Sidney Clifton and Karen Katz.  Lena! is only loosely based on The Colors of Us (pictured below) and My America (set for a spring 2021 release), and tells the story of a culturally diverse neighborhood through the eyes...

WOTC plans 'Curse Of Strahd Revamped'. Wizards of the Coast will release Curse of Strahd Revamped, a boxed collector’s edition of the famed Dungeons & Dragons adventure, on October 20. This will be in the run-up to Halloween, the company announced.

(the above posted after July 24th)

Amazon Officially Pushes Back Prime Day For ‘Later This Year’. Amazon has confirmed that its annual Prime Day sales event will be postponed this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has placed additional strain on the retail giant and its partners. Amazon in a statement did not specify when Prime Day would occur but assured it would still be happening this year, adding “members all around the world will...

PLAYMONSTER’S MY SINGING MONSTERS HEAD TO HARDEE’S, CARL’S JR. Beginning July 22, characters from the mobile game enjoyed by more than 100 million players worldwide will be found in Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Star Pals Kids Meals. PlayMonster collaborated with CKE Restaurants on four exclusive My Singing Monsters toys, including Monster Dominoes, Stackers, a Monster Maze, and an Island Theater Set.

Lego Set To Release A Working Grand Piano Toy. The Lego Group is renowned for making a lot of creative toys, but this could be the best one yet. This is because the company is about to release a mini piano set that actually plays music! The new toy is Lego set number 21323 and it's called the Grand Piano. It will be released in North America on August 1st, 2020 and it will retail for $349.99 USD. It comes with 3662 pieces...

Nickelodeon builds new family center in China. Nickelodeon Playtime will feature play areas for SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Nick-branded retail and café areas. Other companies that have built immersive play destinations for the kids TV brands recently include: Mattel and Hasbro.

Little People MOTU, LOTR sets from Fisher-Price. Fisher-Price continues its foray into pop-culture collectibles with two new Little People sets: Masters of the Universe and The Lord of the Rings. The figures are styled to look like popular characters from each media franchise. All are made entirely of plastic and measure just under 3-inches tall.

Genius Brands International Provides Business Updates. Following a slate of recent Company news regarding the launch of the Kartoon Channel!, the creation of Stan Lee Universe – anchored by a global deal with Archie Comics – and the appointment of Michael Uslan as Head of Development for Stan Lee Universe, Genius Brands announces more important business updates.

Tactic Games to grow UK indies and garden center business with Inside Out Toys. Tactic Games UK has partnered with Inside Out Toys in a distribution deal to grow the Tactic brand here in the UK and strengthen relationships with independent toy, gift, and garden centers. Effective August 1st, Inside Out Toys will focus on promoting a selection of Tactic’s made-in-Finland card, trivia and party games, as well as some of its popular outdoor and travel games.

Hasbro My Little Pony X Dungeons & Dragons crossover figures available for pre-order! The highly anticipated My Little Pony X Dungeons & Dragons crossover collection set is now available for pre-order at multiple retailers! Cutie Marks & Dragons features five exclusive 4.5-inch Pony figures with soft outfit accessories, each inspired by an iconic D&D character class. 

Ubisoft’s toxic culture problems allegedly span more than a decade of abuse. Ubisoft is again under fire for allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, and endemic problems of sexism and racism across the company. In a report published today, Bloomberg extensively details inappropriate behavior by top executives and managers, particularly around chief creative officer Serge Hascoët.

Zimpli Kids adds to it bath time play range with new Baff Bombz launch. Zimpli Kids has devised yet another way of coaxing children towards bath time with the launch of its new Baff Bombz range of bath bombs arriving on the scene in the form of the Rainbow and Rocket lines.he Baff Bombz come debossed with the Zimpli Kids logo, taking on the shape of a whTite cloud and rocket shaped bath bombs that...

Small toys could be big business for Youku, china’s answer to YouTube. China's answer to YouTube has taken the country's collectible toy trend to the next level, launching a live-streamed variety show where celebrities hype and sell them. Alibaba-backed Youku debuted "The Luckiest Guy" on Tuesday, with the company boasting that it sold 10,000 collectible toys in just one minute, and made 400,000 yuan ($57,187) in ...

Ultra Pro unveils 'Teferi Bundle' for 'Magic: the Gathering'. Ultra PRO has unveiled the Teferi Bundle, a Planeswalker-themed accessory set for Magic: The Gathering, for release into retail in October.  It Includes Teferi-Themed Playmat, Deck Box, Life Pad, and More. Now, Magic players can express their affection for this popular Planeswalker with Ultra PRO's latest bundle. The Teferi Bundle comes with ...

Hasbro Ghostbusters “Tully’s Terrible Night” Plasma Series Action Figure Revealed! Hasbro is calling on the Ghostbusters with the reveal of an all-new product in their line of Plasma Series figures – the Tully’s Terrible Night two-pack, which comes with a frightened Louis Tully from the first Ghostbusters film, and a Terror Dog!  Tully’s Terrible Night will be available on HasbroPulse.com in September – stay tuned for more news ...

Mercenary company rides into 'a Song Of Ice & Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game'.  CMON will release Bloody Mummer Zorse Riders, a new miniature set for A Song of Ice & Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game, coming to retailers on July 24. The Bloody Mummers are flamboyantly dressed horsemen that intentionally wear bright clothing to bring attention to themselves on the battlefield.

Kid Trax revs up fall releases. The ride-on toys bring big fun with a little something for any kid. The Real Rigs Recycling Truck will retail for $199 at Target, Amazon, and kidtraxtoys.com and is made for kids who are 18-36 months old. The six-volt recycling truck features more than 100 voice lines, sound effects, songs, and expressions. Kids can learn about the value of recycling through its nine accessories that can be sorted and...

GoldieBlox prepares for rapid growth with new exec team and focus on consumer products. The toy firm turned media and entertainment powerhouse, GoldieBlox has made a suite of new appointments to its leadership team as the company prepares for rapid growth in the coming years, including further moves into the consumer products sector, led by its new EVP of operations and partnerships, Tim Erickson.

Spin Master ‘encouraged by the revival of brick and mortars’ as it details post-lockdown plans. The global toy company has struck a note of optimism for the course of the rest of the year, having outlined its plans to support its retail partners with stock, promotional plans and TV support for its most popular lines. The company has been ‘encouraged’ by the revival of the high street and the brick and mortar retailer...

Spin Master Games announces that it is releasing a board game based on The Titanic movie in which players must evacuate the sinking ship.  Although Titanic came out 23 years ago now, Spin Master Games seems to think it's still marketable, and it's probably right about that. Titanic: The Game promises to invoke those old memories of watching Titanic through fun and engaging gameplay that fans can experience together.

League of Legends esports is getting a big rebrand in an attempt to become more global. There are 12 different professional League of Legends leagues spread across the world, which can make it hard for even the most diehard fans to keep track of everything. Developer Riot Games is rolling out a partial solution today: a complete rebrand with the aim of tying together the action from all over the globe.

Hasbro reveals new Star Wars, Marvel Legends figures. Hasbro is starting the week strong with tons of new figure and figure set reveals across its Hasbro Pulse brands. In addition to the GI Joe Special Missions: Cobra Island collection that is heading to Target, the company debuted new figures for its Star Wars The Black Series, Star Wars: The Vintage Collection, and Marvel Legends lines.  

Experiential production outfit Gamepath launches to the UK with immersive Monopoly deal. Gamepath, a new company dedicated to developing and staging experiential and live gameplay productions in partnership with leading global entertainment brands has launched into the UK. The new outfit will make its UK debut with the launch of an immersive Monopoly experience in collaboration with Hasbro.

Character Options merges fashion dolls and cosmetics with Shimmer N Sparkle InstaGlam. Character Options is readying for one of its major launches of the season with the arrival of the InstaGlam girls, a range of stylish make-up compacts wrapped up in their own collectable doll. The range has been established under the Shimmer N Sparkle fashion brand and witnesses the meeting of the worlds of fashion doll play and cosmetics.

Pokémon debuts new board game with Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy. The Pokémon Company International has announced the Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy, the first-ever board game adaptation of the Pokémon TCG, one of the most beloved and best-selling trading card games in the world. Providing everything a “Trainer” needs to master the basics of the Pokémon TCG …

Wonder Woman – WW84 – Minico from @IronStudios. Ready to launch its mystical bond of truth, Iron Studios presents, in its Toy Art line from Mini Co, its stylized Wonder Woman version of WW84, inspired by its newest cinematic version. Themyscira Amazon demigod Princess Diana, known in the world9 of men as Wonder Woman, returns to theaters in 2020 once again played by Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot …

Wizkids expands 'Fantasy Realms'. The fantasy hand-building card game Fantasy Realms will get an expansion when WizKids releases The Cursed Hoard in January. Launched in 2017, Fantasy Realms challenges players to create the most powerful hand by drawing and discarding cards depicting fantasy elements.

LEGO opens its first Saudi Arabian store. The brickmaker is launching a retail location and e-commerce site in the Middle Eastern hub, and has a new program to teach kids about online safety. The new outlet, located in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall, is part of the Danish brick maker’s strategic plan to plug into the local culture. 

Thames and Kosmos takes Kennerspiel des Jahres Award win for The Crew – The Quest for Planet Nine. Thames and Kosmos’ popular science-fiction tabletop card game, The Crew – The Quest for Planet Nine has taken home the coveted Kennerspiel des Jahres Award 2020. Both The Crew and Kosmos’ My City were nominated for the award last month. The Crew garnered rave reviews since its debut at Essen 2019.

Zuru’s global marketing director Renee Lee: “We are investing more in the UK market and globally than ever before”. For the international toy maker, Zuru, sales pick up came in the form of an outdoor category that nearly doubled its numbers sold in a variety of different markets. For families compelled to bring the entertainment into their gardens, sales were led by its popular Bunch O Balloons...

HASBRO INTRODUCES THE G.I. JOE RETRO COLLECTION. The relaunch of Hasbro‘s iconic G.I. Joe franchise continues. On the latest edition of Hasbro Pulse’s Fan First Friday, the company revealed a new addition to its rapidly expanding G.I. Joe Classified Series of 6-inch scale action figures: Snake Supreme Cobra Commander. The new version of the Cobra leader is the third variant of the character in the...

Robot Interacts With Pediatric Patients At UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. Robin the robot is helping to ease the loneliness and anxiety of patients during the pandemic. 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . 

COVID-19: Kids industry closures & cancellations. As pandemic continues to evolve, we will be updating this guide with all the info on what's being paused and shut down across the industry.... we have put together a guide of every industry event that’s been affected, as well as other important information you might need to know to go about your day to day business. 

Hasbro is increasingly reliant on TV and movies, and that's a bad thing at the moment. Demand for toys and games helped prop Hasbro early on in the pandemic, but the company's luck wasn't as good in the second quarter of 2020. The culprit? It would seem the company is suffering collateral damage from the delay of movie releases, and some TV productions are getting delayed by the redundancy crisis that ...

How Mattel and Walmart drove toy sales by responding to COVID-altered shopping behaviors. Mattel knew there was high demand for its toys, as families looked for ways to keep children busy and entertained while staying home. But with stores closed and Amazon postponing shipments of non-essential items, Mattel’s biggest challenge became getting products in the hands of customers who wanted them.

Slip 'N Slide sales are booming due to COVID ... as pools, water parks close. The maker of the iconic Slip 'N Slide is making a huge splash in sales ... as the pandemic forces families to keep all water play in their backyards. Wham-O -- the company that first introduced the Slip 'N Slide back in 1961 -- has seen sales jump a whopping 180% since April ... a totally logical jump as coronavirus forces the closure of most public...

(the above posted after July 24th)

Hong Kong Virus Policy Threatens to Block Most U.S. Travelers. All passengers in the U.S. must prove they tested negative for Covid-19 within three days of their flight to Hong Kong, the city’s government announced Wednesday. However, in many parts of the U.S., getting results from a Covid-19 test within 72 hours is nearly impossible. 

Disney delays film releases due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. The new Avatar and Star Wars films have been delayed a year, and Disney has also removed Mulan from schedules completely. Walt Disney has postponed the release of three major upcoming titles, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the US. This news will come as a blow to cinema operators, who are already struggling due to the pandemic.

What will Halloween look like? “Everyone is speculating how Halloween will be celebrated this year in light of COVID, since Halloween is such a social holiday,” acknowledges  Disguise’sTara Hefter. With the holiday falling on a Saturday, there typically would be “a lift in sales especially with décor and adult costumes knowing that people are throwing parties on a weekend.” But that’s far from a given this year.

Mattel banks on keeping kids busy during the pandemic. Mattel pivoted during the pandemic, said Khaled Samirah, an analyst with Euromonitor, playing to the moment at hand with marketing that uses the phrase “play is never canceled.” The company filled its blog with do-it-yourself activities built around their brands that parents can use to educate their kids while they play.

49% of games businesses report an increase in revenue during COVID-19 crisis. 80 per cent of respondents said they have no plans to reduce head-counts in response to the crisis, and 63 per cent of businesses are reporting no risk of closure within the next 6 months. In fact, nearly a quarter of games businesses reported that they were continuing to recruit as the crisis unfolded.

Walmart will close stores on Thanksgiving to thank associates who 'stepped up' during coronavirus Walmart announced that it plans to keep all stores closed on Thanksgiving Day as a nod of appreciation for workers who "stepped up" during the coronavirus outbreak. The changes will affect Walmart and Sam's Club stores and mark a turn from the company's typical tradition of kickstarting Black Friday sales a day early.

GDC Summer State of the Industry: 33% of devs had a game delayed due to COVID-19. the Game Developers Conference released the results of a special State of the Industry: Work From Home Edition Survey examining how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted game developers worldwide. This special edition of the long-running survey compiles responses from over 2,500 game industry professionals, and the results...

Tonies donates its storytelling Tonieboxes to UK nurseries and preschools kept open during coronavirus lockdown. The children’s storytelling box, Tonies has gifted pre-schools and nurseries that were kept open during the UK’s lockdown a selection of Tonieboxes in a show of gratitude to the support they have offered to key worker parents over the past months. During the pandemic, Tonies donated 50 children’s...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

AMAZON DE-ANONYMIZING THIRD PARTY SELLERS The Wild West May Get a Little Tamer. Amazon will begin displaying business name and address for all third party sellers in the U.S. on September 1, the company told its sellers earlier this month.  The change may help tame some of the more destructive elements of Amazon’s third party marketplace. 

Manhattan Toy recalls ‘Manhattan Ball’ activity toys sold exclusively at Target.  The Manhattan Toy Company has recalled about 22,100 of its “Manhattan Ball” teething toys sold exclusively at Target due to a choking hazard. The toy’s plastic tubes can detach from the center ball and release the small silicone teethers threaded on the tubes, posing a threat.

Putty and slime with dangerous chemical recalled after being sold in Nuneaton shop. Parents are being urged to take dangerous slime and putty that was being sold in Nuneaton off their children. The products have been found to contain high levels of a dangerous chemical.

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service discovered high levels of Boron in two toy putty products on sale in the town.

The LEGO Group launches online safety and digital citizenship campaign. A new initiative from the LEGO Group will seek to help families have conversations about staying safe online and being a good ‘digital citizen’. Small Builds for Big Conversations is a new campaign from the LEGO Group that aims to help parents discuss the online world with their children …

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Press Releases . . .

Spotlight Licensing today announced a collaboration with Funko to create stylized Pop! Vinyl Figures as well as Pop! T-shirts, Keychains, Enamel Pins, and related accessories based on the popular Netflix Original television series The Last Kingdom, from Carnival Films. MSRP for The Last Kingdom Pop! Vinyl Figures will be $10-$14. “We know fans have been asking for The Last Kingdom collectible Pop! Figures and we are...

The Learning Journey International, LLC (TLJI) introduced its new 2020 lineup of educational toys earlier this year to great reviews, and now the industry itself has spoken! The new additions quickly became identified as not just quality learning toys, but award‐winning educational toys. TLJI is proud to add 13 new awards to many of the new 2020 products!  “What an honor to be recognized by our industry, as well as parents...

New from Big G Creative, Who’s the G.O.A.T.? is the hilarious party game that’s one part prediction, one part competition, and all parts fun. Who’s the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.)? You are! Everyone’s the greatest at something. Who’s the G.O.A.T.? allows friends and family to discover each other’s hidden talents and is fun for all ages. The game comes with six irresistible squishy goats. Players pick who they think will be the...

Barbie® Unveils 2020 Campaign Team Set to Encourage All Girls to Raise Their Voice. In Partnership with She Should Run, Brand Educates on Leadership Roles and Importance of Voting. The new career set includes four diverse dolls with roles that make a winning campaign, including candidate, campaign manager, fundraiser and voter, to show girls the importance of a political team working together to win.

(the above posted after July 24th)

OjO MAKES A SPLASH ON KICKSTARTER WITH NEXT-BIG-THING: UNDERWATER MISSIONS GAME. Starfish, Squids & Sharks? Oh My! From The Kitchen Table, Kids Take A Dive Under The Sea Where Friendly Creatures Lurk and Hidden Treasures Await! Eight-year-olds will soon become wise to all things in marine biology thanks to a new board game from OjO, makers of edutaining STREAM games. Pre-orders for the Underwater Missions Game (available at a 25% discount) are now being taken on their Kickstarter campaign page! This offer ends at 6am EST this Saturday (July 25th) – you don’t want to miss it!

YouTube Mega Stars Trinity and Beyond Debut Signature Toy Line via Major US Retailers. Trinity and Beyond, part of the Semaphore Licensing Solutions' portfolio of new media stars, will premiere their new toy line online and in-stores with leading retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals  . . .

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more) 

Winners of CHITAG’s Young Inventor Challenge: Spring Edition announced. The Chicago Toy & Game Group, alongside sponsors Mattel, Magformers, Scholastic and the American Specialty Retailer Association (ASTRA), has announced the winners of the CHITAG Young Inventor Challenge: Spring Edition. Launched in May in response to Covid-19, this special edition of CHITAG’s annual autumn Young Inventors Challenge...

SDCC: 9 MUST-WATCH TOY INDUSTRY PANELS FROM COMIC-CON@HOME. Now that the dust has settled from Comic-Con@Home, the world is left with days worth of content to enjoy and absorb. Unlike in-person editions of Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) in which most panels are not broadcast globally, this year’s lineup was presented entirely online. (Publisher note: I was excited to be one one of these panels!)

Licensing Leadership Summit goes virtual. The Licensing Leadership Summit, which was set to take place this November in New York City, will now go virtual as part of Festival of Licensing. The Summit is the only virtual conference to unite C-level executives from the world’s largest players across manufacturing, retail and brands to discuss, debate and collaborate on the future of brand licensing.

GDC Summer's Sponsor Showcase offers access to industry leaders like TencentThe industry leaders (like Microsoft, Google, Unity, and Tencent) who have signed on to help sponsor the show can be a great resource for you, and all are available for scheduling meetings in the GDC Summer Sponsor Showcase.

Enter the MCV/DEVELOP Women in Games Awards 2020 today! We’re incredibly excited to (finally) be launching the Women in Games Awards 2020. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we’re still determined to celebrate the huge contribution of women in the games industry (whether it be in the office or working from home!). Usually the event takes place in June, but this year we’ve had to move it back to the 25th of November.

One of tabletop gaming’s biggest awards celebrates Black creators. Diana Jones Award honors over two dozen people of color. Gen Con, the nation’s largest tabletop gaming convention, has moved online this year because of the global pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped the industry’s annual awards, like the Ennie awards, from being handed out. On Wednesday, the hobby games industry announced the winners of one ...

Two more major regional geek culture conventions have been cancelled for 2020, creating nearly a clean sweep (we’re looking at you, New York Comic Con) of cancellations for the year. Wizard Entertainment "postponed" its 2020 Chicago event to 2021, with dates earlier in the summer than usual for the show: June 24-27, 2021.  Wizard’s Chicago convention is its largest and longest-running show, with roots back...

CES 2021 to become all-digital event in January. CES, one of the world’s largest tech events, will be fully virtual next year following further concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The Consumer Technology Association announced the change this week, after previously saying CES 2021, due to take place in January, would continue to be an in-person event, with additional virtual and digital experiences.

How Comic-Con engaged kid audiences from afar. From a deep-dive into how adaptation works best, to an online cosplay competition, Comic-Con@Home offers a new blueprint for online events. For the first time in its 50-year history, fans didn’t flock to San Diego for the annual Comic-Con event. Instead, they were at home from July 22 to July 26, attending virtual panels and connecting with other attendees from a distance... 

(the above posted after July 24th)

THE TOY INSIDER’S SWEET SUITE @ HOME DRAWS HUNDREDS OF ATTENDEES. More than 600 members of the press and influencers logged into the daytime portion of the Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite @ Home virtual event, including The TODAY Show, The Ellen Show, NBC News, CBS News, ABC News Radio, BuzzFeed, Yahoo Finance, Associated Press, Blooomberg, Parents magazine, Good Housekeeping, and so many more. 

MadeForMums has launched its search for the top Christmas toys for 2020. The UK product review platform MadeForMums has opened entries for its search for the top Christmas toys for 2020. Winners of the awards be receive the MadeForMums Toy Xmas Toy 2020 accolade.

SDCC: Comic-Con@Home presents ‘Transforming Together Time: Family Gaming and the Future of Play’. Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) is going virtual with the debut of Comic-Con@Home. A full programming schedule is bringing the usual panel presentations to audiences around the world. The toy and game industries will be represented on 23rd July morning during a panel titled “Transforming Together Time: Family Gaming and the Future of Play.” (Note from Publisher: I'll be part of the State of the Industry panel, hope you tune in! -Mary)

Brand Licensing Europe transitions to all-virtual event. Running from 6th-29th October 2020, the Festival of Licensing will be the most inclusive global licensing event to date. After much deliberation and consultation with customers, attendees and industry partners, it has been announced that Brand Licensing Europe 2020 will transition to an all-virtual event. In place of the traditional trade show, 

Breaking news: Changes to the Toymaster board announced. Ciaran Fitzpatrick, who is stepping down as chairman, has announced his successor, alongside other changes to the Toymaster board. Chris Blatcher has been announced as Toymaster’s new chairman. Changes to the board of Toymaster, the independent buying group, have been announced this morning.

Fence Club cancels all remaining 2020 functions. The popular December Christmas Ball is among the Fence Club events cancelled, although it is hoped that the Toy Fair Party can go ahead. The Fence Club committee has continued to meet virtually through Zoom throughout the period of lockdown, culminating in an extraordinary committee meeting, which was held last week. 

Licensing International heralds its German event, Day of Licensing a virtual success. Licensing International has heralded its Day of Licensing – its premier German licensing event usually held in Cologne – as a virtual success, having transposed the conference to an online only event last week. Over 600 registered visitors attended the virtual show – a change of pace from its usual gathering in Cologne due to...

Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1st October. As part of his most recent update to the public on 17th July, the prime minister said the decision would ‘depend on data’ and that local authorities would have powers to close events if they considered there to be a high risk to the public. 

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

Toyworld (UK) 

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) 

  1.  WizKids Releases New 'D&D Icons of the Realms: The Tower' Deets

  2.  Wizards of the Coast Powers Down 'Transformers TCG'

  3.  2020 'Spiel Des Jahres' Winners Announced!

  4.  Flat River Group Adds Distribution Center, Senior Staff
  5.  WizKids Reveals Second Round of 'Warlock Tiles'
  6.  Renegade Game Studios Reveals New 'Vampire: The Masquerade' Card Game

  7.  Mantic Games Unveils Five New 'Terraincrates'
  8.  WizKids Expands 'Fantasy Realms'
  9.  Minority Game Makers Urge Changes at Big Box Retailers
10.  Z-Man Games Announces 'Pandemic Legacy: Season 0'

Spielwarenmesse Magazine-Monthly, not Weekly  (Germany) 

TOYS Magazine (Germany) 

Toy & Hobby (Australia) 

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

Tabletop Wire (US)

  • TBA

Video of the Week

0:36 / 3:11

Tim Walsh Shares Where Inspiration Comes From and Fun First

with Young Inventors! 

Spring Challenge has closed, now accepting entries for Young Inventor Fall Challenge. We Love Kid Inventors

 

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

 

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

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher