the Bloom Report

Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide

Below is July 24 - 31, 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!

Happy Friday and Happiest of Birthdays to Phil Bloom!!!

As you know, we are honored to carry on Phi's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch and I've loved working with him. Today is his 80th birthday. I know many of you know Phil. If you don't, here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil. You can leave a comment there or send him a birthday greeting to: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

 

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 the Week: The Creative Fold

With contractor and freelancer employment on the rise, the 2020 workforce continues to evolve toward a more dominant gig economy. The Creative Fold, launched in 2018 by a group of seasoned toy industry professionals including Jodi Meusel and Katie LaSeur, started at just the right time.

 

With their efficient gig-style service offering, this team of experts specializing in graphic design, product development, industrial design, and manufacturing are creative problem solvers at their core. Their remote team scattered across the U.S. takes on both short-term and long-term projects and seamlessly integrates with their partners to maximize creative capacity and increase output.

 

While reflecting on that experience, they decided to start a women-owned business to bring creative problem solving to the market. Not only will their team provide strategic direction, but they’ll execute and deliver. They love getting things done and meeting deadlines. They turn ideas into tangible action items.

 

With projects ranging in scope from branding to web designproduction to game testing, copywriting to packaging design, The Creative Fold brings a diverse offering to an evolving business climate.  (Read More...)

Brady Peterson: From Licensor to Setting Up Shop(ify) - tBR Person of the Week

My inventor life began around 10 years ago when I began tinkering away on a magnetic toy that was to become my first pitch, to Mindware at CHITAG in 2014.  I was very fortunate and licensed the toy soon after the meeting, which went on to become MagnaMix, and even more fortunate that it remains on store shelves to this day.   

 

So, let me dwell a little bit on CHITAG. I’m sure most of you have heard of it and many have attended, but it was CHITAG that single handedly set me off on my inventing journey.  Since that first conference, where I attended as a new inventor, I’ve gone on to license around a dozen toys and games to the likes of Mindware, Marbles (now owned by Spin Master), and Fat Brain Toys. I can’t thank Mary Couzin enough for all she has done for not only me but for the entire inventor community (not to mention in bringing the toy and game companies noticeably closer).  If you are a new, seasoned or just a wannabe inventor you simply cannot go wrong in attending ChiTag in November, whether it be in person or of the virtual variety.

 

Ok, so on to the topic at hand – how I went from an inventor licensing my ideas to becoming a publisher / online retailer.  Even before the current situation created an increased opportunity for stay at home activities, I had dreamt of bringing a product to life, cutting out the middle man and selling directly to the end consumer (hello Warby Parker!).  This somewhat meandering article is about that year-long journey and will touch on the following topics in what it took to bring both the Otrio Inventor’s Edition and Otrio.com to life:  (Read More...)  

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

The Nintendo Switch has crossed 60 million lifetime sales.The Nintendo Switch has sold over 60 million units worldwide, according to the latest figures from Nintendo. More specifically, the hybrid console has sold 61.44 million units to date. That figure includes sales of the handheld-only Switch Lite and the original console.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies in under five months, according to the latest numbers from Nintendo. The twee lifestyle simulator has sold 22.4 million units, to be exact, and becomes just the second Switch title to surpass 20 million sales.

Zynga enters into agreement to acquire Istanbul-based Rollic, one of the fastest growing hyper-casual mobile game companies. Zynga Inc., a global leader in interactive entertainment, today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Istanbul-based Rollic, a mobile games developer and publisher with an exciting portfolio of popular hyper-casual games that have been downloaded more than 250 million...

Retail edges toward pre-lockdown levels in the U.K. The U.K.'s retail sector has seen many changes since the beginning of COVID-19, but it is beginning to recover in some areas already. Even with the boom in online shopping, shoppers have struggled to help retail sales reach pre-lockdown levels since February. Now, after months in lockdown and economic uncertainty dominating the media, total retail sales saw a 13.9...

Fortnite developer Epic Games secures $1.78 billion in funding. Epic Games has secured $1.78 billion in fresh funding that takes the company's post-money equity valuation to $17.3 billion. The Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer explained the cash injection consists of primary capital and secondary purchases from employee equity holders.

The Peterkin Group of companies was acquired by Toy Brokers Holdings Limited, the parent company of John Adams. Peterkin is well known for its range of dolls and kites, trading under the brands of Dollsworld and Brookite, which are distributed in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Peterkin UK, based in Leicester is in the process of being fully integrated into the Toy Brokers Holdings ‘Hercules House’...

U.S. hiring slowed dramatically in July as coronavirus cases surged, ADP report says. U.S. businesses appeared to slow their hiring dramatically in July, adding only 167,000 workers to their private payrolls — a steep drop from analysts’ expectations. The numbers reported Wednesday by ADP mark a significant departure from the more than 1 million jobs that some economists had predicted and a sharp falloff...

Kids business draws real investment. A recent flurry of activity in children’s entertainment is being driven by a combination of streaming platforms’ voracious appetites for kids’ content and the availability of cheap capital to fund acquisitions. In part, deals also are being driven by the licensing and merchandise that can go along with them.

NBCUniversal Focuses on Layoffs and Streamlining as NBC’s Paul Telegdy Faces Probe. Netflix's Bela Bajaria turned down overture for top programming post. NBCUniversal is stepping up efforts to reorganize its top leadership structure with the goal of streamlining content and programming operations as it prepares for significant layoffs across the company. At the same time, NBCU is poised to launch an investigation...

India to impose import restrictions to counter China routing. New Delhi is considering measures to prevent trade partners mainly in Southeast Asia from re-routing Chinese goods to India with little added value, two government sources said, amid strained ties with Beijing and a push for self-reliance. The moves will mainly target imports of...toys...ard and dice games.

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

How offering private servers for ARK: Survival Evolved Mobile created a triple win situation . . . Games and puzzles specifically performed the strongest, experiencing a 37% increase in sales in the 12 markets . . . Charting the rise of hyper casual gaming . . . Near-Term Prospects Look Bright for Toys & Games Industry . . . 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.

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Hasbro Is Preparing for a Strong Finish to 2020 . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 13.4% Upside . . . Hasbro (HAS) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

Financial Reporting . . . 

Spin Master Reports Q2 2020 Financial Results.  Q2 2020 Financial Highlights as compared to the same period in 2019. Total Revenue of US$281.1 million decreased by 12.4% from US$321.0 million. Gross Product Sales decreased by 10.9% to US$282.2 million from US$316.8 million. Gross Product Sales decreased by 12.0%. Gross Product Sales increased slightly in North America and declined by 21.6% in Europe and...

Call of Duty franchise helps Activision Blizzard to record Q2 results. Activision Blizzard has announced record second quarter financial results thanks to bumper engagement figures led by the Call of Duty franchise. For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, the publisher reported GAAP net revenues of $1.93 billion, which is a notable increase on the $1.40 billion amassed during the second quarter of 2019.

Disney doubles down on streaming as earnings suffer. While the media giant's revenue was down 42% in Q3, thanks to continued fallout from COVID-19, Disney+ has reached 60.5 million paid subs four years ahead of schedule. Disney is turning its attention to streaming after further fallout from the pandemic has adversely affected its Parks, Experiences and Products segment in Q3. Overall, Disney’s third fiscal quarter...

PlayStation recently released its fiscal results for the first Quarter of 2020; between April and June. Despite the PlayStation 5 being on the horizon, Q1 2020 served as the best Quarter ever for the console manufacturer, with PlayStation bringing in over $5.6 Billion in revenue and $1.15 Billion in profit. What’s perhaps even more notable however is the fact that almost three quarters of all software sales were digital.

The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima driving software sales at Sony. Sony experienced a strong quarter thanks in part to the performance of titles like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima. As noted in the company's fiscal report for the 3 months ended June 30, 2020, consolidated sales rose by 2% to 1.96 trillion yen ($18.5 billion), while profits increased by 53% to 186.94 billion yen ($1.76 billion).

Engagement hits unexpected highs at EA as Q1 live services revenue crosses $1.1bn. EA, like many other major game companies, is reporting better than forecasted player engagement for its most recent quarter due in no small part to the current global pandemic and its own ‘Stay Home, Play Together’ initiatives. For the quarter ending June 30, Electronic Arts reported net revenue of $1.46 billion, most of...

Monster Hunter and Resident Evil driving growth at Capcom. New releases and digital sales are driving growth at Capcom, which just published its financials for the first quarter ended June 30, 2020. According to the fiscal report, consolidated net sales rose by 32.2 percent year-on-year to 23.7 billion yen ($222.8 million), while profits increased by 44.2 percent to 7.8 billion yen ($73.3 million) over the same period.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) today reported strong results for its fiscal first quarter 2021 ended June 30, 2020. In addition, the Company provided its initial outlook for its fiscal second quarter ending September 30, 2020 and increased its outlook for the fiscal year 2021, ending March 31, 2021. For additional information, please see the fiscal first quarter 2021 results slide deck posted to the...

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 …

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.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

Forest 5th grader wins national Young Inventor Contest to create original game idea. A young boy in our area just won an opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to have his original board game idea sold in stores nationwide. Andrew Hebdon is a rising fifth grader at Forest Middle and winner of the Young Inventor Challenge. In the national contest, kids have the opportunity to develop their own original toy and game ideas...

Design Edge: Video Killed the Sell Sheet Star. When I (Matt Nuccio) entered the toy business many moons ago, the majority of inventors sold their concepts by garnering interest via the almighty sell sheet. Great sell sheets would be adorned with bullet points, call outs, insets, and of course, a great money shot of the product in action. While pitching a new concept with a prototype was always far better than with a sell sheet...

The August 2020 Issue of Toys and Family Entertainment Magazine is Here! Read about the games and puzzles that exploded with popularity during the pandemic, plus insights from the NFL Players Association, ASTRA, Design Edge, The Toy Association Women In Toys, Licensing and Entertainment, and more!

Indoor climbing frame start-up Sawdust and Rainbows climbs ladder to European success. An indoor wooden climbing frames start-up, Sawdust and Rainbows is climbing its way out of lockdown with international sales ‘going through the roof’ at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and parents and families in need of indoor entertainment and activity.

Zimpli Kids to donate 100 per cent of Rainbow Baff Bombz profits to the NHS. Zimpli Kids is donating 100 per cent of the net profits from its Rainbow Baff Bombz to NHS Charities Together, in a show of solidarity and appreciation of the effort of the NHS throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Rainbows have become a symbol of support for the NHS over the past few months and a means of passing on a message...

Riot Games addresses industry burnout and crunch by giving employees a week off. Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends and Valorant, will be giving employees the week of August 10th off to “disconnect, recharge, and reboot,” the studio announced. In an industry known for overwork and enforced overtime, referred to as “crunch,” to ship and maintain games, Riot is giving employees a break to help with...

Celebrating tech's unsung women pioneers, Brenda Romero calls for game dev gender parity. Game industry veteran and Romero Games cofounder Brenda Romero appeared at GDC Summer to deliver a talk about some of the hidden histories of women in computing, and how their work has influenced the way we make games today. Romero's core argument was that just a handful of notable women throughout history...

Latvian-made wooden toys in high demand abroad. Wooden toys produced in Kurzeme, Latvia, are gaining popularity abroad, especially the Asian market, Latvian Radio said. Latvian Investment and Development Agency business incubator head in Kuldīga, Līga Raituma, said that export rates have been not only over several years, but also during this period of crisis.

Cancelled Lego Osprey sold out within an hourThe Lego Technic Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is rapidly becoming one of the most famous Lego sets of all time. Since the set was suddenly pulled due to anti-war campaigners pointing out that it broke Lego's own rules, it's inevitably become a collector's item, selling for £1,000 or more on eBay.

The 15 Most Expensive Happy Meal Toys from McDonald’s. There’s no doubt that McDonald’s knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to include toys inside their Happy Meals. Spring forward a few decades, and some of those toys are worth a fortune! So, after reading through our list, you might want to dig around your attic, as you could be sitting on several hundred dollars worth of Happy Meal toys.

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

This is the world’s most valuable Hot Wheels collection, worth $2m. In total, 59 year-old Bruce Pascal has 7,000 cars in his possession and they are insured for the cool sum of $1.5 million USD (approx. $2 million AUD). If news of the staggering collection has you running to find your own cars stashed away somewhere, keep in mind that Pascal has been collecting Hot Wheels since the age of seven.

What’s It Worth? on A&EThe value of a collectible, such as a vintage toy, involves two distinct and often opposing factors: what someone is willing to pay to acquire it, and what it’s worth to the person who owns it. What’s it Worth?, a new series from A&E, attempts to bridge these forces. Hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, the show “scours the country in search of hidden treasures held by everyday people who are...

Show ‘N Tell from G.E. (1964). In 1964, General Electric (G.E.) released a phonographic/filmstrip viewer aimed at the growing children’s education and entertainment markets. Advertised as a home entertainment center, the Show ‘N Tell was built to resemble a small television set and deftly combined a four-speed phonograph with an 11-inch monitor for slide film viewing.

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Super Impulse, Topps collaborate on Wacky Packages Minis.The makers of World’s Smallest are bringing a classic trading card and sticker brand into the physical realm. Wacky Packages Minis is a new line of miniature parody products created by Super Impulse under license from The Topps Co. The new collection includes 66 collectible toys that are based on the parody stickers that Topps originally launched back in 1967.

Moonbug Appoints MGA Entertainment as Worldwide licensing agent for Little Baby BumFollowing the success of its Little Tikes toy line based on Moonbug‘s Little Baby Bum YouTube channel, MGA Entertainment (MGAE) is taking the reins as the worldwide licensing agent for the property. Moonbug appointed the company behind L.O.L. Surprise! and the iconic Cozy Coupe to develop a global consumer products...

Warner Bros. Consumer Products unleashes Wonder Woman 1984 collection. Warner Bros. Consumer Products has launched a new collection of lifestyle products and experiences inspired by “Wonder Woman 1984,” the follow up to 2017’s “Wonder Woman.” Swarovski, Mattel and Reebok among multiple companies that have signed on to make “Wonder Woman 1984” products.

Jam City partners with Care Bears to launch ‘Unity Bear’ exclusively for Panda Pop Game. Jam City, the LA based mobile entertainment co. announced it has partnered with Care Bears, Cloudco Entertainment’s iconic brand of huggable bears from Care-A-Lot, to debut Unity Bear, a brand-new bear that will make its first-ever appearance in Panda Pop, Jam City’s award-winning mobile game that has more than 140 million...

Intellivision lines up Mattel, USAopoly, and Sesame Workshop partnerships for its gaming system reboot Amico. Intellivision Entertainment, the video game industry pioneer and team behind the upcoming Intellivision Amico launch, has detailed significant additions to its game portfolio, as well as new licensing partnerships with the likes of Mattel and Sesame Workshop. Tommy Tallarico, CEO of Intellivision...

PAW Patrol goes prehistoric as Spin Master introduces new Dino Rescue sets. PAW Patrol is ready to jump into Jurassic action and RYDER and Pups have their paws full when a secret Dino World yelps for help! With dinos roaming wild, there’s bound to be T-Rex sized trouble. Saving the day is even more adventurous with the coolest new rugged uniforms, vehicles and all new dinosaurs introduced.

Design-led pre-school brand Lemon Ribbon eyes master toy partner in franchise-building plans. The brand extension, collaboration and licensing agency, Glue Creative Thinking is embarking on a mission to bring the children’s lifestyle brand and online platform, Lemon Ribbon, into the pre-school toy space by ‘tapping a gap in the market for a design-led pre-school property.’ Lemon Ribbon is an online activity hub...

Official launch of AEW’s Unrivaled Action Figures first wave. The first wave of AEW’s Unrivaled action figures, which is created and brought to us by Jazwares and Cool Wicked Toys, will be in stores in summer of 2020. The first wave includes top stars such as AEW TNT Champion Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes, AEW World Tag Team Champion Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and The Young Bucks.

Panini and Epic Games launch new Fortnite Trading Cards collection. The collectable stickers and trading card specialist, Panini, has detailed the launch of its new line of official Fortnite trading cards, scheduled to land at retail this week. The new range has been developed in partnership with Epic Games, owners of the Fortnite franchise. The video game drops players on an island full of battles, missions, and experiences in...

Angry Birds to fly high with IMG. IMG today announced it has been appointed by Rovio Entertainment Corp., the global games-first entertainment company, as the exclusive worldwide consumer products licensing agent for the iconic Angry Birds franchise. The first Angry Birds game launched on mobile devices in 2009, rocketing to viral status and spawning a brand that continues to draw tens of millions of...

LEGO celebrates Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’s 40th anniversary with new Bespin Duel set. Promotional images have been revealed for the new LEGO Star Wars Bespin Duel set which is inspired by the iconic Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader duel in Cloud City scene from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. A Toys R Us Canada exclusive, there’s speculation that the set will also make its way to LEGO...

Cra-Z-Art, Nickelodeon expand deal for Slime, modeling compounds. Cra-Z-Art and Nickelodeon are bringing Nick’s iconic green goo to kids around the world. In a strategic expansion of the companies’ current licensing deal, Cra-Z-Art will distribute Nickelodeon pre-made Slime, DIY Slime Kits, and modeling compounds globally. For the past three years, Cra-Z-Art has marketed Nickelodeon products exclusively in the U.S...

Spin Master and Feld Entertainment Inc. expand partnership with new five-year licensing agreement for Supercross. Spin Master Corp., a leading global children's entertainment company, announced today a licensing partnership with Feld Entertainment Inc. as the new global master toy partner for Supercross, the premier off-road motorcycle racing series, attracting top professional riders from around the world, chasing...

Square Enix’s Avengers game is getting a PlayStation-exclusive Spider-Man character. Square Enix’s Avengers game will arrive this fall, and it’ll bring back console-exclusive content in a big way: the company announced that PlayStation players will get exclusive access to a playable Spider-Man character sometime in 2021.

Funko, Spotlight Licensing tease The Last Kingdom Pop! figures. Spotlight Licensing has 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.

The Op launches ‘Friday the 13th’ licensed board game. The Op has released a game inspired by slasher flick Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake is the film’s first-ever licensed board game. The game allows players to interact as camp counselors, using survival tools to try and escape Jason’s wrath.

MGA Entertainment, Nighthawk Interactive bring L.O.L. Surprise! to Nintendo Switch. The colorful squad of L.O.L. Surprise! characters are about to conquer a whole new realm: video games.MGA Entertainment Inc. (MGAE) partnered with Nighthawk Interactive to debut the L.O.L. Surprise! game, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch this fall. The game will arrive just as MGAE’s latest collection of L.O.L. Surprise! toys hits stores.

Spin Master powers up DC Batman range with super hero marketing. Leading UK toy company, Spin Master, continues its partnership with Warner Bros. to bring Batman’s adventures to life with innovative toys. As one of the newest toy licensees for the iconic Batman franchise, Spin Master is bringing its unique twist to innovative product including action figures, remote control vehicles, water toys, games and puzzles.

Harry Potter collectibles range launches to celebrate the wizards 40th birthday. Celebrate Harry Potter’s 40th birthday today by checking out the brand-new Harry Potter collectibles range on award winning pop culture website Fanattik (www.fanattik.co.uk). From a limited-edition silver-plated Hogwarts train ticket to a fine art set containing some of the most famous locations from this amazing film franchise, all these officially licensed pieces are now available to view on the Fanattik website.

Bill Nye and Abacus Brands Introduce First Branded VR Science Kit In Time for the Holidays. Bill Nye, the famous American educator who has made science entertaining and accessible to millions of Americans through his Emmy winning TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” has joined forces with Abacus Brands to create an all-new Virtual Reality Science Kit for kids, being launched this Fall. “Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit” – the first...

People . . . 

TOY INDUSTRY VET GENE MURTHA APPEARS ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. Host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with toy industry veteran Gene Murtha of the Score Association. Murtha’s lengthy career has included executive roles at Fisher-Price, Tyco, Mattel, Main Street Toys, Coleco, General Mills, and GUND. He now serves as vice president and director at the Score Association, working on a mission to...

Q&A with toy inventor Eddy Goldfarb. Eddy invented more than 800 toys and holds almost 300 patents. Some of his well-known hits include Yakity Yak Teeth, Battling Tops, Hydro Strike, Shark Attack, Vac-u-form, KerPlunk and Stompers. He started in the business with Marvin Glass and moved to California …

Pandasaurus Games hires Danni Loe. Pandasaurus Games announced that Danni Loe has been hired as their new Marketing Manager. Loe has held similar positions in the games industry at Iello USA, Renegade Game Studios, and most recently, at the Games Manufacturers Association.

Funko’s Andrew Perlmutter joins Igloo board of directors. Funko President Andrew Perlmutter joined the board of directors at Igloo Products Corp. The move comes as Igloo moves further into the licensed space with partnerships for coolers based on properties including Star Wars, Scooby-Doo, and MTV.

Alex Morgan is now A Barbie Girl. Alex Morgan has done it all. She’s won two Women’s World Cups, one Olympic gold medal, one NWSL championship and one Champions League trophy. Now she’s being immortalized with the Alex Morgan Barbie doll.

Toynamics welcomes Emma Finch to national account manager role for Skip Hop and Hape brands. Toynamics UK and Ireland has appointed Emma Finch to the role of national account manager. Finch previously worked at Skip Hop UK and brings with her a great experience of the nursery industry. In her new role, Finch will be active in integrating the Skip Hop and Hape ranges with her customers for Toynamics...

Sega Group president and chief publishing officer Kenji Matsubara has resigned. Sega Group Corporation president and chief publishing officer Kenji Matsubara has stepped down due to "personal reasons." The company broke the news in a short press release, where it explained that Matsubara's request for resignation has been received and accepted with immediate effect.

Ubisoft exec Tommy Francois departs after misconduct allegations. Ubisoft editorial vice president Tommy Francois has left the company after being accused of workplace misconduct. A company spokesperson confirmed the news to Gamasutra, but declined to comment further when asked if Francois had resigned or been dismissed as a result of an investigation.

Hopster CEO to step down. After eight years, founder Nick Walters will exit the preschool streamer in September. Miki Chojnacka and Tyrell Ellis will take charge as co-CEOs. Chojnacka has served as chief creative content officer since 2015. In her new role, she will continue to oversee Hopster’s brand, content and creative strategy, and will also look to grow its original content, partnerships and global awareness.

Alderac Entertainment Group CEO John Zinser is currently hospitalized after brain surgery, the company announced in a post on its website.  The ordeal began on Thursday, July 30, when Zinser was taken to the hospital and a CT scan revealed a mass in his brain.  The mass was removed in a surgery on Saturday; while the pathology report is not yet available, "there are some encouraging signs that the mass was...

Mattel Mourns the Passing of Former Chairman and CEO Bryan G. Stockton. Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO of Mattel said, “We are saddened by the news of Bryan’s sudden passing. The entire Mattel community joins me in sending our deepest condolences to his family. Bryan was a beloved leader at Mattel whose many contributions to the toy industry will live on for years to come.” Stockton spent 15 years at Mattel...

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Companies . . . 

Beyblade Content, toys to arrive ahead of 20th anniversary specialThe first generation of Beyblade content is now available on the brand’s YouTube channel, marking the beginning of many celebrations from APK Emotions NY ahead of the cartoon’s 20th anniversary.

Content will be dropped weekly, featuring classic episodes in English and Spanish.

Fisher-Price launches Rainbow Rangers toys at Amazon, Walmart. Mattel has launched the first Fisher-Price toy line for the colorful preschool series Rainbow Rangers, available now at Walmart and Amazon. Rainbow Rangers is a rescue-based series that follows the adventures of seven girls who are Earth’s first responders, protecting people, animals, resources, and the natural beauty of the planet.

Ubisoft wades deeper into the world of game streaming with new Parsec partnership. Ubisoft is no stranger to cloud-based game streaming given its past with Google Stadia, but it looks like the company is exploring other facets of the technology through a partnership with streaming tech company Parsec. The two companies have come together on a strategic deal that will see Ubisoft using Parsec’s...

Schleich’s 85th anniversary celebrations to kick off this month... and unveiled a Limited Edition Golden Lion figure. Created in 1935 and named after founder Friedrich Schleich, Schleich was originally based in Stuttgart where the company initially made and sold velvet-covered dolls made of wire and wood. The first bendable figures came in 1957, before the world-famous blue Smurfs 1965. 

Fall Guys attracts 1.5 million players within 24 hours of launch. Fall Guys has attracted over 1.5 million new players within 24 hours of launch, according to developer Mediatonic. The game launched on PS4 and Steam on August 4, but was made available to PlayStation Plus subscribers free of change.

Epic brings new cars to Fortnite as part of today’s Joy Ride update. As part of the new 13.40 update known as Joy Ride, Epic Games is introducing a new series of new cars for Fortnite. While they aren’t the first vehicles to drop onto a Fortnite map near you — we previously saw golf carts, shopping carts, planes, bikes, and even massive robots — the more typical four-wheeled cars will likely add a new wrinkle to...

Boss Fight Studio announces The Umbrella Academy action figure line. Boss Fight Studio, creator of fan-favorite, highly articulated figures announces their latest action figure line, The Umbrella Academy from television studio Universal Content Productions and brokered by UCP’s licensing agency, Striker Entertainment! With characters based on the wildly popular Netflix show, the action figures will feature Boss Fight’s signature multiple articulation points allowing for creative and imaginative poses.

The Machine Empire threatens the Power Rangers. Renegade Game Studios has announced Power Rangers: Villain Pack #2 - The Machine Empire, a new expansion for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, for release on September 30. The Royal House of Gadgetry have set their sights on the planet Earth and only the Power Rangers can stop them.

Microsoft to launch xCloud on GamePass on September 15th, available on android devices. Microsoft has announced that it is bringing its cloud-streaming service xCloud to Xbox Game Pass on September 15th of this year, in supported countries. The service will have over 100 games from Game pass available, which will be playable on Android devices via an app. Achievements, game saves, progression and all other...

CMON reveals that 'Massive Darkness 2: Hellscape' will launch soon. CMON Limited revealed that Massive Darkness 2, the sequel to the Massive Darkness dungeon crawl board game (see "Review: 'Massive Darkness' (Board Game)"), will be coming to Kickstarter on August 4 at 3 PM EST. In Masssive Darkness 2, ten years have past since the Lightbringers defeated the Darkness and saved the land. The Darkness has now returned …

Good Smile Company’s newest figure, POP UP PARADE Ruby Rose is now available for pre-order! TOKYO, JAPAN, August 4th, 2020- Good Smile Company, Inc., a premier Japanese collectible figure maker, announced on August 3rd, 2020 (PT) that POP UP PARADE Ruby Rose is now available worldwide. 

Fantasy Flight Games unveils two new expansion packs for Star Wars: Legion. Gen Con Online News. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled two new Expansion Packs for Star Wars: Legion, Anakin Skywalker Commander Expansion and Darth Maul and Sith Probe Droids Operative Expansion, for release in November.

Funrise Toys launches BFF Bright Fairy Friends. Funrise Toys has launched a collectible doll line called BFF Bright Fairy Friends. There are 12 dolls in the collection, each with rainbow, light-up wings; a motion-activated, twinkling fairy jar; and four fairy surprises for kids to unbox.

Families can get to know the fantastical fairy characters before taking them home with Funrise’s new animation series on YouTube.

Rubik’s solves Rubik’s Cube App. Rubik’s has produced the world’s first Rubik’s Cube official app. The app uses phone cameras and artificial intelligence processing to track a real 3D Rubik’s Cube and enhance the on-screen video in real-time, with arrows ‘painted’ on the Cube’s tiles to help teach how to solve it. 

Halo Infinite's multiplayer is a free-to-play mode. Microsoft and 343 Industries look to be taking a page from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s standalone and free-to-play Warzone mode for their upcoming launch of Halo Infinite. While previous Halo games have locked access to multiplayer behind a full game purchase, the Halo team announced via tweet that Halo Infinite's multiplayer mode will be free-to-play.

Subway Surfers’ Subsurf Toys slide into Walmart. SYBO Games’ Subway Surfers have made their way to Walmart. The first collection of Subsurf lifestyle toys from Alpha Group USA arrives at Walmart alongside an update to the popular mobile game that finds the Subway Surfers characters running through Little Rock, Arkansas, and a digital version of a Walmart store.

Fantasy Flight Games unveils massive Twilight Imperium expansion. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled Twilight Imperium: Prophecy of Kings, an expansion for Twilight Imperium core game, for release in Q4. Prophecy of Kings is a huge expansion that is packed to the brim with new content for Twilight Imperium. It features forty new system and hyperlane tiles, and adds new planets and obstacles to the map.

Flip-A-Mallows Named 2020 Plush Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine. Kellytoy, a subsidiary of Jazwares, LLC, announced today that Creative Child Magazine has named its all-new line of Flip-A-Mallows™ — the “reversible” addition to the Squishmallows® family — a 2020 Plush Toy of the Year. Before this national publication announces winners of its highly-respected award, every new plush product...

Tomy is launching an extensive marketing campaign centred on its newest line, Ricky Zoom – the first ever all-bike show for pre-schoolers. The company says the large-scale campaign has been devised to promote and celebrate the growth of Tomy’s licensed toy product offering and support its retailers. Partnering with property owner Hasbro as master toy licensee, Tomy has created an innovative and engaging Ricky...

Jazwares and Hasbro are teaming up for a retro revival that will delight all fans of the ’80s and ’90s collectables hit, Micro Machines, with the relaunch of the entire line, including new play-sets and Micro Machine vehicles. The new retro-launch has landed at Target and Walmart stores across the US this week. Returning for the first time in over 10 years, the classic toy automobile collection enjoyed a popularity for...

Universal and AMC announce theatrical window agreement. The agreement follows a turbulent relationship between Universal and AMC Theatres, triggered by issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Universal and AMC Theatres cinema chain have announced a multi-year agreement in which films released under the Universal Pictures and Focus Features banners will be shown in AMC Theatres...

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

How Pokemon Go evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 has created existential and logistical problems for game developers of all stripes. When the pandemic began, Niantic didn't just need to send its employees home for safety, it needed to make sure its massively popular game didn't drive players out into the world to catch or spread the very infectious disease.

From impulse purchase to scented stress relief: How Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is surviving the pandemic. With retail stores shuttered, play dates canceled and schools moving into homes, Crazy Aaron’s product sat on shelves, no word of mouth or last-second purchases to lift sales. Within the first week of shutdown, Crazy Aaron’s was able to pivot to hand sanitizer production. In recent months, putty sales ...

Konami builds on Yu-Gi-Oh! Remote Duel. Konami is building on its Remote Duel program, which allows Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Tournament Stores to organize online duels, with remote invitationals.  Konami Vice President Card Business Yumi Hoashi explained the program.  "Because currently under the social distancing guidelines, it's impossible to be able to set up a duel with two opponents face to face and...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Shanghai Police Announce Arrests in Hasbro Transformers Criminal Copyright Case. Shanghai may be becoming the venue of choice for criminal prosecution of intellectual property infringement.  The Shanghai Public Security Bureau announced the arrest of several...

Hasbro pulls Trolls doll after complaints it grooms children for abuse. hese petitioners aren’t playing around. A doll based on the movie “Trolls” is being pulled from shelves after online watchdogs slammed the toy for allegedly promoting pedophilia. 

Millions of children in India suffer from lead poisoning. A UNICEF report reveal that around 275 million Indian kids suffer from lead poisoning. Soil, water, air and surfaces can be the potential sources of lead alongside utensils, toys …

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Press Releases . . .

Fun, Balancing Act for Players of Endless Games' New Dropsy Card Game. A card game where all you have to do is get three of the same color. Sounds simple right? It was, until Endless Games turned it into Dropsy, the game where players can't discard and they have to hold their cards in some unusual ways while trying to get the three-of-a-kind.

Cra-Z-Art Announces Expanded Nickelodeon Licensing Deal. Cra-Z-Art, a prime manufacturer and leader in trendy toy, art, and school supply products, announced today a strategic expansion of their current licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to market and distribute pre-made Slime, DIY Slime kits and modeling compounds globally. Previously, the company only sold those items in the U.S. 

Spin Master and Feld Entertainment Inc. Expand Relationship With New Five-Year Licensing Agreement for Supercross™. Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY) (www.spinmaster.com), a leading global children's entertainment company, announced today a licensing agreement with Feld Entertainment Inc. (www.feldentertainment.com) as the new global master toy licensee for Supercross™, the premier off-road motorcycle...

Funrise Toys Announces Launch and Availability for NEW BFF Bright Fairy Friends Flying Onto Retail Shelves. Funrise, Inc., an industry leader and global innovator in the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of children's toys worldwide, announced today the launch of its NEW BFF Bright Fairy Friends small doll line, now available for purchase.

PlayMonster CEO Bob Wann Announced as a Nominee for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Announced today by the Toy Industry Association, PlayMonster CEO and Chief PlayMonster Bob Wann has been named a nominee for induction into the prestigious Toy Industry Hall of Fame as part of its 2021 awards program.

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

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

Spielwarenmesse details Covid-19 safety measures for 2021 Nuremberg toy fair. Spielwarenmesse’s Nuremberg toy fair will be going ahead next year, with numerous health and safety features implemented to make the annual international gathering Covid-19 safe, the show’s organizers have confirmed. Among the numerous measures that will be taken and put in place at the international toy trade show...

Develop:Brighton to be replaced by a digital event. Tandem Events has announced Develop:Brighton Digital, an online-only event to replace this year’s Develop:Brighton, which was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online event will take place from 2-4 November 2020, and this year’s Develop:Star Awards will be also be held digitally, and will take place on Wednesday 4 November.

Voting opens for 2021 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees. The Toy Association is making plans to honor the next round of inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. This year’s nomination process differs in that members are invited to cast their votes for 1 of the 4 living nominees through Aug. 31. The nominees are: Philip Bloom, founder and former publisher, The Bloom Report; William C. Killgallon: chairman of the board...

ASTRA is excited to announce the ASTRA Camp™ experience, a creative reimagining of the virtual trade show and conference. This two-week virtual event on August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 invites the specialty toy industry to take part in an adventure packed with opportunities to discover new products and manufacturers, connect with fellow campers, and gain new business insights into navigating the Q4 wilderness ahead.

Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China prep for opening. More than 1,300 exhibitors are on deck to test the waters at the first major in-person toy and licensing trade show to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After being postponed twice, Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China will open their doors from August 6-8 at the new Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center.

“It feels as though the games industry is moving into a new phase” – Women in Games Awards sponsor Creative Assembly on the growing diversity in our industry. With the Women in Games Awards 2020 returning on November 25th, we’re taking the opportunity to not only look ahead to the awards, but to look back on the year as a whole. It has obviously been a difficult year – one that has introduced new and unexpected challenges, while reminding us that there’s still much to be done to remedy long-standing problems in the industry.

plaY-room buying event cancelled. The plaY-room buying event was scheduled to take place Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th September, but the pausing of lockdown easing means this is no longer possible. In an official statement, the group said: “AIS (plaY-room) was very optimistic that mindsets were shifting in their favour when Public Health England stated that it could ‘invite customers into the workplace for...

Enjoy live GDC podcasts hosted by Gamasutra throughout GDC Summer! GDC organizers confirm that the hosts of the GDC podcast will be producing a daily, hour-long show of game industry news, discussion and interviews during GDC Summer!Broadcasting live to GDC Summer attendees for an hour every afternoon next Tuesday-Thursday, the GDC Podcast Live! hosted by Gamasutra will give you an opportunity to...

LEGO and the National Trust launch Young Explorers competition for ‘stay-cationing’ families this summer. The LEGO Group UK and Ireland has teamed up with the National Trust to launch the first Young Explorer competition, in which the pair will encourage kids across the UK to get creative in the outdoors this summer. To coincide with National Play Day on August 5th, and National Trust’s Play Week, running...

League of Legends world championship will be held in Shanghai starting in September. Even though many esports tournaments this year have been postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Riot Games announced that it will hold the League of Legends World Championship 2020 in Shanghai from September 25th to October 31st. The company says by hosting the event at one site rather than...

Gayming Magazine launches LGBTQ-focused games awards. Gayming Magazine, the online video game outlet, is launching “the world’s first award ceremony celebrating all that is great about LGBTQ video gaming.” The awards, which will celebrate games that represent and champion the LGBTQ community, will take place next year.“The Gayming Awards will be the world’s first award ceremony celebrating all that is great about LGBTQ video gaming.”

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. The executive conference will take place Oct. 28-29. e... 

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

  1. Moonbug Entertainment Acquires Popular YouTube Kids’ Programs Blippi and CoComelon

  2. MGA Entertainment Showcases Newest Fall Products Slated to Hit Shelves Early Auguste

  3. Schleich Partners with Viva Kids for U.S. Movie Release

  4. iRobot Launches New Coding Robot

  5. Pocket.watch premieres “Smiles and Smarts” Enrichment Content Package on Hulu with 100 episodes of Learning-Themed Kids Entertainment

  6. JAKKS Pacific Reports Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results

  7. Bill Nye and Abacus Brands Introduce First Branded VR Science Kit In Time for the Holidays

  8. One Animation’s Latest Season of Oddbods Goes Global

  9. Basic Fun! and Pound Puppies Join Adopt-a-Pet.com and the Baha Men to Celebrate Pet Adoption on National Mutt Day

  10. Barbie Unveils 2020 Campaign Team Set to Encourage All Girls to Raise Their Voice

Toyworld (UK) 

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

1.  WizKids Will Release Two 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Curse of Strahd ' Premium Box Sets
  2.  Rolling for Initiative -- Well, Unfortunately, I Called It, and Yet Another Pack Format from WotC
  3.  'Magic: The Gathering' 'Zendikar Rising' Product Line Revealed!
  4.  Hobby Game Sales Hit $1.675 Billion in 2019
  5.  Gamegenic Offers 'Marvel Champions Art Sleeves'
  6.  WotC Plans 'Curse of Strahd Revamped'

  7.  Gamegenic Reveals Deets on New 'CATAN' Accessory Product Line
  8.  Hasbro Games Announces 'Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins'
  9.  Hasbro's Total Gaming Sales Down 19% in Q2

10.  Pegasus Spiele Unveils 'Talisman Adventure Fantasy Roleplaying Game' for U.S. Retail

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

Tim Walsh: Who Invented the Ant Farm? | WTFF?

 

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