June 10-17, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
ASTRA was fantastic! It was great to see friends again, see innovative products, and meet new people joining our industry! Our Irish Pub night was super well-attended and a lot of fun - I'll share photos next week!
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Person of the Week - Steve Rad
Steve Rad, Abacus: We Can Create Anything We Want!
Hi Steve! Thank you for taking time for our inteview despite your crazy travel schedule now. Please share with our readers your roles and responsibilities in our industry?
I believe I have a responsibility to value play, and honor learning in the process. I believe that lives can be transformed, and personalities can be sculpted through experience. My role in this industry is to contribute meaningful content, and to advocate and champion for children, and their unique perspectives and approach to learning.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The ability to be able to create anything we want. The office collaboration, the osmosis and idea exchange - being able to stand up and yell “OMG What if you waive your hand and the dinosaur starts chasing you!” and watching a team of developers and creative minds bring it to life is a fantasy.
Do you have a mantra that you live by?
Don’t just play and learn, feel and experience.
What was your favorite project to date?
Our VR Atlas was by far the biggest undertaking of my professional career. When the words “we should do an Atlas” came out of my mouth, I wasn’t expecting it to be 3 years and 400 thousand dollars later, but we did something that’s never been done before, by taking on not just countries and continents, but cultural nuances, currency and cuisine, layered with projects and activities like learning how to make a pizza with a chef in Italy in VR, or discovering Japanese origami. It’s truly a remarkable item and I’m proud to have been a part of the ride. READ MORE...
Financial and Legal
China’s Covid-19 outbreak is shifting to its south coast, with a flareup in technology hub Shenzhen triggering mass testing and a lockdown of some neighborhoods, while gambling enclave Macau -- an hour’s drive away -- is racing to stop its first outbreak in eight months. The new cases come as China’s two most important cities, Beijing and Shanghai, look to be subduing the virus after months of strict...
Kids2, a global company that designs holistic solutions to help early-stage parents and families, has announced the acquisition of Summer Infant, a leader in premium infant and juvenile products. Summer Infant, which includes SwaddleMe, joins the Kids2 Group umbrella of entities, including renowned brands Baby Einstein, Ingenuity, and Bright Starts.
A long-running EU engagement with TikTok — initiated following a series of complaints over child safety and consumer protection complaints filed back in Feb. 2021 — has ended, for now, with the video sharing platform offering a series of commitments to improve user reporting and disclosure requirements around ads/sponsored content; and also to boost transparency around its digital coins and virtual gifts.
Leaders from some of the UK’s biggest retailers, including Amazon and Asda, are to hold talks with a Treasury minister Lucy Frazer today (Wednesday) as fears grow that the government will halt any plans to bring in an online sales tax. Retail executives will meet with Ms Frazer, financial secretary to the Treasury, to make their case for reform of the business rates system and the introduction of an online sales tax...
Streaming service Kidoodle.TV has received an equity investment from Canada’s TriWest Capital Partners, bringing the total value of its fundraising efforts to US$62 million. The deal values the company, owned by Canada’s A Parent Media Co. (APMC), at US$465 million and brings TriWest managing director Jon Spencer onto its board of directors. Available in more than 160 global markets...
***The above posted after June 17th***
Summer Infant, Inc, doing business as SUMR Brands, has announced that its stockholders have voted at a special meeting to adopt the previously announced definitive merger agreement pursuant to which the co. will be acquired by Kids2. The final voting results for each proposal voted on at the special meeting will be set forth in a Form 8-K filed by the Company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mighty Jaxx, an award-winning integrated future culture platform that designs and produces digital and phygital collectibles, has announced the multi-million-dollar acquisitions of local companies Kinetiquettes, a high-end statue collectible company, and PLAYe, a specialized DTC platform of consoles, video games, collectibles, and action figures.
Hasbro Board of Directors Issues Letter to Shareholders. Dear Fellow Shareholder: Following our 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, on behalf of the entire Board and management team, we want to thank you for your investment, continued support, extensive engagement and constructive feedback. We have heard your perspectives, including around...
Funko has bought renowned collectibles company Mondo from movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The sale was announced in a joint press statement issued by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Mondo. "Alamo is seizing opportunities to grow our cinema footprint... As the company resources are focused on this growth, we realized that perhaps a bold and exciting new chapter is about to begin for Mondo," ...
President Biden is expected to sign into law soon major legislation overhauling ocean shipping and U.S. port regulations. The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed by a vote of 369-42 the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022, the Senate version of a reform bill passed by the House in December 2021. The legislation broadens the Federal Maritime Commission’s authority in regulating unfair business...
UK regulator CMA proposes investigation into Apple and Google over mobile dominance. UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on the launch of a market investigation into Apple and Google over cloud gaming restrictions and app store payment practices. The CMA would investigate Apple to learn more about how it limits cloud gaming through its App Store policies, and will also...
Most factories in Shanghai resume work as Covid controls ease, ministry says. Factories in two of China’s Covid-hit economic hubs have mostly resumed work as the impact of the virus subsides, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. In Shanghai, the city with the largest gross domestic product in China, 96.3% of industrial businesses tracked by the government have resumed work...
‘The rip-off is over’: Biden urges shipping reform during Port of Los Angeles visit. Los Angeles — President Joe Biden leveled a warning on Friday at the nine top ocean carriers as he urged for swift passage of legislation to crack down on skyrocketing shipping costs. “The rip-off is over,” Biden said during a speech at the Port of Los Angeles. The president is pushing lawmakers to approve the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022...
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Universal’s blockbuster movie Jurassic World Dominion held top spot at the UK-Ireland box office this weekend, as Lightyear opened in third place.
Netflix Has a Message for Hollywood: We’re Still Spending Money
Netflix is bracing for its next round of layoffs as the streaming giant looks to cut costs in the wake of its stock troubles.
***The above posted after June 17th***
Five Below Sales Spike 7% in Q1 as Guidance Shifts
After a profitable Q1, IDW Publishing swung to a loss in its fiscal Q2 ended April 30, albeit a smaller one than in the same quarter a year ago. IDW Publishing revenues grew incrementally, to $6.1 million from $6.0 million in the year ago quarter.
Playful Studios, the maker of Words With Friends and Lucky’s Tale, unveiled a Web3 game and raised $46 million for its The Wildcard Alliance division.
Pokémon software has shipped over 440 million units to date. Since its 1996 launch, the trading card game series has had over 43 billion cards produced.
Devolver stock price plummets after lowering sales expectations. Shares down 47% after publisher warns investors that the first five months of the year haven't gone as expected.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
A survey of over 2,000 Brits showed that free delivery was the top reason 7 in 10 would choose to buy from a retailer online, followed by a simple and easy returns process (40%) and being able to access exclusive deals online that weren’t available in-store (35%).
NPD Group reveals rise in US toy dollar sales.
“Kidults” are buying scooters, dolls, skateboards, and tabletop games for themselves—and have helped sales surge 37% in two years.
***The above posted after tBR started sending on the 17th***
NEW DATA SUGGESTS INFLATION IS FINALLY SLOWING U.S. RETAIL SALES
Licensed toys account for 30% of UK sales
U.S. Toy Industry Sales Grew 1% in the First 4 Months of 2022, NPD Says.
NPD says 2022 is the year of the movie licensed toy.
Game sales tumble 19% in May | US monthly charts. Elden Ring retakes top spot in sales chart as consumer spending hits lowest level since the start of the pandemic.
Cephalofair Games switches to Backerkit Crowdfunding platform with new project.
MAY 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, SUPERHERO AND MANGA GRAPHIC NOVELS
Stories, Comments, and Advice
CONFESSIONS OF A COMIC BOOK GUY -- SENATORS ATTACK NETFLIX, NEW ‘ASTRO BOY,’ AND ‘POPEYE’ NEWS It’s still Pride Month and there’s still a lot to write about, like, the recent premiere of Netflix's Dead End: Paranormal Park, features Barney, the first trans lead character in an animated series who is voiced by a transgender actor, singer, and comedian Zach Barack. Based on Hamish Steele's DeadEndia graphic novel ...
A Star Wars X-Wing Fighter model used in George Lucas’ 1977 sci-fi epic fetched an astonishing $2.3 million at auction Tuesday night, according to Prop Store Auction. The screen-matched Red Leader X-Wing miniature model created by Industrial Light & Magic was estimated to go for $500,000 to $1 million. The final price was $2,375,000, according to the auction house.
Inviting kids to participate in building products and content isn’t just fun for them, it’s also great for business, says a wide-ranging new report from a coalition of kid-focused stakeholders. Sesame Workshop and The LEGO Group, along with SuperAwesome and KidsKnowBest, have published “Kids included: Enabling meaningful child participation within companies in a digital era.” In its 58 pages, the report outlines best...
THE INSIGHTS FAMILY I Why embracing multiple touchpoints is key for kids’ IPs. A global leader in kids, parents, and family market intelligence, The Insights Family surveys more than half a million kids and parents every year, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviours and consumption patterns.
Shopping in stores is back and thriving. Here's why. The Covid-19 pandemic was expected to turn us all into permanent online shoppers, never to set foot in physical stores again. Instead, consumers have apparently gotten tired of ordering everything while sitting on the couch and have returned to shopping the old-fashioned way.
Hong Kong’s Floating Restaurant Sinks at Sea, Laden With Memories. Jumbo Floating Restaurant, which closed in 2020, capsized in the South China Sea after being towed from the city. The sinking triggered nostalgia for a happier period of Hong Kong history. When tugboats towed Jumbo Floating Restaurant away from Hong Kong last week, the giant vessel’s owner sent the public its “best wishes for a brighter future.”
Bringing Roblox’s Toyetic Nature To Life. In part two of our Roblox miniseries, Kidscreen looks at how toycos are mining the platform for toyetic IPs and game mechanics that can translate into kid-focused consumer products. Roblox has been around since 2006, but major brands like Nike and the NFL are really only now starting to explore the platform in search of ways they can incorporate the game into their existing marketing...
Hong Kong’s refusal to ease Covid rules dismays business chambers. International business leaders and consulates have urged the outgoing Carrie Lam to ease the region’s restrictions, to no avail. Hong Kong’s outgoing chief executive, Carrie Lam, has explicitly stated that she won’t ‘give in a single inch’ to calls from business groups to relax the regions strict Covid-19 quarantine and testing measures.
FIRST WONDER WOMAN APPEARANCE BRINGS SEVEN FIGURES. The hammer dropped on Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction last weekend, and the first appearance of Wonder Woman brought seven figures. All Star Comics #8 in CGC NM 9.4 Off-white to white pages finished at $1.62 million, reflecting its rare status in that condition.
Bad news for crypto miners is good news for gamers. While GPU prices have steadily fallen over the past few months, the ongoing cryptocurrency crash appears to be expediting the return to MSRP. As Tom’s Hardware reports, GPU prices decreased by around 15% in May following drops of 10% to 15% in the months prior. In some cases, prices are dropping below recommended pricing.
Kidcos are stepping up to entertain Ukrainian kids displaced from their homes. Mattel, Nickelodeon, Sky and BBC are among several cos. providing content for free to YouTube channel Sunflower TV, which is launching July 11 to offer full-length Ukrainian-language children’s programming. The channel has amassed roughly 200 hours of content so far, targeting preschoolers and six to 11s. Close to 50 dubbed...
***The above posted after tBR started sending on June 17th***
John Baulch, Toy World: JB Says Relax…it’s the Friday Blog! I am not sure if this is all the fault of Stranger Things (I hear YuMe/KAP Toys’ capsules are flying at retail by the way), but it’s all been feeling a bit mid-1980s around here recently. Kate Bush back at the top of the charts, Top Gun the number one movie…at this rate, maybe it’s worth putting a few quid on Transformers to win Toy of the Year, as it did in 1985 & ‘86.
AMAZON PRIME DAY, TARGET DEAL DAYS LEAD THE CHARGE FOR SUMMER INVENTORY BLOWOUTS, AND YES — TOYS ARE INCLUDED. From inventory shortages to backlogs of over-ordered goods, the supply chain challenges of the past year have moved the needle from one side to another as retailers struggle to balance the line between too little and too much.
CONNECTING TOY STORES WORLDWIDE. Last year, while paying a visit to Sequoia National Park, Brian Volk-Weiss found inspiration when he was in a crowd among rugged canyons and some of the world’s largest trees. The setting sparked an idea to support independent toy stores worldwide. In addition to producing Emmy and Grammy Award-winning series and comedy albums, Volk-Weiss, founder and CEO of ...
NEXT-GEN TOY STORES: A NEW ERA OF SPECIALTY RETAILERS LEAD PLAY INTO THE FUTURE. In a world dominated by mass retail, the buy-it-now mentality, and same-day delivery, the shopping experience can feel pretty industrial — especially as these blind purchases are fulfilled by a faceless workforce. The in-person discovery and impulse buys that consumers can only experience in a hands-on environment get...
Mother of deaf daughter purchases $4,000 worth of Mattel dolls with cochlear implants for children with similar issues. NEW YORK -- A mom in Westchester County is going the extra mile for her daughter, who was born with severe hearing loss. CBS2's Astrid Martinez shows us how a special gift allowed her daughter to feel seen and celebrate her uniqueness. Many parents revel in the moment when their child talks...
Pushing Buttons: Why every big game looks the same. From identikit space pirates to a Call of Duty remake, news from the three big gaming expos reveals that nostalgia trumps new ideas in game design. The absence of the E3 expo in Los Angeles for the past two years has left a gigantic vacuum in the video game calendar. Last week, the industry did its best to fill that gaping content maw with three online events...
The Best Two-Player Board Games. Many of the most popular tabletop board games are designed for big groups—that’s what game nights are about, after all. But coordinating the schedules of a bunch of adults can be a puzzle more intimidating than the Saturday New York Times Crossword, so it’s nice to have options for a quiet night in with your partner, roommate, or friend.
HOW TOY LIBRARIES ARE FINDING SHELF SPACE IN THE INDUSTRY. Toy libraries are, for the most part, exactly what they sound like. Instead of books, their shelves are stacked with toys that patrons can borrow and play with, then bring back. But, the concept isn’t entirely new. The USA Toy Library Association (USATLA) was founded back in 1984 when 15 toy library locations came together to share ideas.
Mechanical Turk: An elaborate 18th-century hoax that played chess like an AI robot. An elaborate device called the Mechanical Turk defeated Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte at chess. Edgar Allan Poe revealed the hoax. A year before the invention of the Turk, a magician arrived in the court of the empress and performed an illusionary act that mesmerized everyone, including Kempelen.
HOW THE TOY INDUSTRY IS NAVIGATING THE METAVERSE AND WEB3. Let’s face it: kids are obsessed with their devices and they use them often. Even parents who are trying to limit screen time need to realize that their kids are living in a digital age more advanced than the dial-up internet sessions with which older generations grew up. Generation Alpha socializes and plays in a network of virtual worlds called the...
Figure Out What’s Required To Survive the Cut. Target is the latest major retailer to send shock waves through the market by announcing it would begin a massive surplus inventory cleanup through deep discounting, canceled orders and a sharper focus on high-turn items heading into a back half facing tempered sales expectations. Stress about clogged supply chains seemingly overnight has turned into frayed nerves...
Steve Reece's Toy Industry Journal - #7 IS THE GLOBAL TOY INDUSTRY STARTING TO FEEL THE PINCH AS HIGH INFLATION BITES? High inflation has been well reported in Western markets – reported rates for the USA & UK for instance are c. 8% currently, although real inflation is observably higher than this. Governments have some incentives to under report inflation, and anyone who has looked at petrol prices at filling stations knows that 8% is an almost ridiculous under-statement.
Heritage Auctions draws $840,000 for rare Pokemon 'Pikachu' Illustrator card. An extraordinarily rare Pokémon card soared to $840,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Trading Card Games Signature Auction June 11-12. That’s the highest price ever paid for a Pokémon card at public auction. The record-setting card led the 491-lot event to a total of $2,887,177 in total sales.
Investing in the next generation of toy industry creators. There’s no business like the toy business, but the power of play has to be fueled by creativity. With that in mind, TOMY International and TinkerTini are embracing and inspiring the next generation of toy and game inventors that will carry the industry into the future.
How toy industry leaders can thrive in the supply chain’s new normal. Over the past two years, supply chain disruptions have affected every business in some way or another. The benefits of strong leadership in supply chain sustainability can help companies thrive, even during challenging times.
SuperAwesome: engaging the modern girl. Marketers can benefit from today’s digital media landscape by leveraging existing behavioral patterns at scale. Brands can find success by creating safe, online spaces for girls to experience and share what they love with others in a branded or brand-sponsored environment. Last issue, we spoke about inclusivity and diversity.
History and Nostalgia
Do you ever wonder who first thought of Jelly Beans? Jelly beans got their start in America in the early 19th century; the first known mention of them occurred in a Boston newspaper in 1861, when candy maker William Schrafft ran an advertisement that urged citizens to buy jelly beans to send to Union soldiers. While they didn’t really appear in the news again, jelly beans became a mainstay at penny candy stores.
***The above posted after June 17th***
Do you ever wonder who first thought of Dice? Truly balanced dice didn’t exist until the Renaissance period, but dice themselves have existed for far longer than that. For example, Romans in the fort of Richborough in the UK played games of chance with dice. In the Americas, Native peoples often constructed two-sided dice that were curved on one side and flatter on the other using materials like fruit pits, shells, teeth, or...
Mickey Mouse Game from Parker Brothers (1976). “Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me…” The Mickey Mouse Club theme song sets the tone for the Mickey Mouse Game from Parker Brothers. Released in 1976, the board game prompted players to sing out the letters on a card to the tune of the cheery Mickey Mouse Club anthem: M-I-C, K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E!
Cotton Magic Paint Set from Lakeside (1967). In 1967, Lakeside Toys released a children’s painting set that used cotton to “magically” create a mess-free coloring activity. The science behind the magic lay in cotton’s ability to absorb and retain paint colors after it dries. To begin a session of painting, children rolled a half-inch piece of soft, fluffy, colored fiber onto a pointy pencil-shaped wooden stick and dipped it into a plastic water well that was built into the packaging. Rehydrating the dried cotton in this way resulted in a simple paint brush …
Spin Master Entertainment, creators of the hit preschool series PAW Patrol, will launch its 13th series next fall, titled Vida the Vet. The series follows 10-year-old Vida, a vet who cares for the injured woodland animals she finds outside her home. With the help of some friends, Vida will teach kids the importance of taking care of one another and helping those in need.
It’s been 40 years since the gentle E.T. the Extra Terrestrial first became stranded on Earth, and to celebrate, Funko Games is bringing this classic tale to the tabletop just in time for summer and is available now. In E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Light Years from Home Game, players step into the shoes of Elliot, Gertie, Michael, and Greg and dodge federal agents to send E.T. home!
Arcade1Up, the leader in at-home retro gaming entertainment, has announced a partnership with The Op (Usaopoly), a leading publisher of best-selling board games and puzzles, to bring some of their most popular games to Arcade1Up’s Infinity Game Table, the leading hybrid tabletop gaming device. The partnership marks the first time The Op’s iconic games will be available in a digital format and will expand the Infinity Game Table’s fast-growing library of 78 games and activities. Games from The Op are expected to be available later this year.
Award-winning global toymaker ZURU is serving up an all-new Foodie line as the latest installment of its massively successful 5 Surprise Mini Brands range. The new release features the first-ever collection with more than 50 miniature versions of fast-food favorites. Fans of Carl’s Jr., Subway, Sonic, TGI Fridays, White Castle and more will soon get to unwrap, peel and reveal perfectly petite versions of the foods they love.
Multi-award-winning independent animation studio Aardman has announced a second publishing deal with Macmillan Children’s Books, naming the company the global master publishing partner for Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget. The new feature length film, directed by Sam Fell and featuring the voices of Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Jane Horrocks, Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays and more, is currently in...
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been a hot topic in the toy space over the past few years. Now, one of the most recognizable players in NFTs has partnered with family board game maker Imagination Gaming to bring the crypto experience to game night. In collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Imagination Gaming is launching a board game called Ape-Opoly, in which players can experience the highs and lows of...
In collaboration with Hasbro, Jada Toys has launched the interactive Transformers Converting Optimus Prime RC. With the push of one button, kids and collectors will transform the robot to vehicle mode and back. The R/C vehicle also moves forward and backward and spins in both vehicle and robot mode. Additional details include fully functioning lights and sounds, detailed motors, and iconic sounds and phrases.
On the heels of Annecy last week, France TV Distribution has announced new international sales for several kids shows in its portfolio.
Ana Pumpkin, a preschool series about a five-year-old girl and her dog who travel the world, will soon head to RTP (Portugal), Gloobinho/Giga Gloob (Brazil), Ludikids (French-speaking Africa) and e-junior (UAE). The 2D-animated co-pro (52 x five minutes) from France’s Folimage and...
ZAG is looking to push into the film market with a slate of 10 movies lined up as co-pros with LA-based Cross Creek Pictures. The two studios have already teamed up to produce an upcoming animated feature film called Miraculous Ladybug and Cat Noir: The Movie. They’re now expanding on this partnership with a slate of 10 movie projects spanning animation, live action and mixed media.
IDW Publishing's newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles miniseries features new stories with a 1980s feel. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Saturday Morning Adventures is a four-issue miniseries by writer Erik Burnham and artist Tim Lattie that hews to the aesthetic of the animated series that launched in 1987. Each of the four monthly issues will feature a standalone story; plots include the Turtles getting trapped in a virtual...
Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! has launched The Smack-Dab in the Middle of the Day Show, a new kids talk show from NY based Stinger Pictures. The series (six x 14 minutes) premiered on June 17, and Kartoon has exclusive broadcast rights for 6 mos. Targeting kids ages 4-8, the live-actioner features everything from wacky puppets and original musical numbers, to a superhero with the power to manage anxiety.
It’s Game On For Total Drama As BBC Co-Commissions New Seasons. The Beeb has spoken! The British pubcaster joins Warner Bros. Discovery in greenlighting two new seasons of the tween franchise and ordering almost 200 episodes of library content. The BBC has inked a deal with London-based distributor CAKE for six seasons of the Total Drama franchise from Canadian prodco Fresh TV, and more to come.
Licensing agencies are scouring Roblox’s huge library of independently created games, characters and accessories as the next frontier for consumer products and media adaptations. For LA-based Striker Entertainment, Roblox is an attractive place to focus its attentions for two reasons: One, its free-to-play structure makes it widely accessible to younger audiences; and two, its robust cadre of independent game...
Bad Kitty, a bestselling book series written and illustrated by Nick Bruel, has been optioned by Toronto-based Boat Rocker Media for TV development. The books star a housecat named Kitty, who is delightfully destructive by nature and often finds herself embroiled in shenanigans with other characters, including her canine playmate Puppy and pet sitter Uncle Murray. There are 30 titles in the kidlit range, which...
The new Alfred Hitchock’s Rear Window Game from Funko Games encourages players to embrace their inner gumshoe or master manipulator and ponder: was that blood you saw or simply strawberry jam? Do you have what it takes to discern the mundane from the menacing? Now available in stores, Funko Games’ newest strategy game invites you and your friends to take on the role of the...
Relive the iconic moments of Allison, Klaus, and No. 5 with the Umbrella Academy x YARMS Studio Collection from Mighty Jaxx. This limited-edition collection featuring siblings from this super dysfunctional family will be available for pre-sale beginning July 2 at 9 am ET, on MightyJaxx.com. The Umbrella Academy Collection by YARMS will include: The charismatic cult leader of the Hargreeves family, Klaus.
After winning the 2022 SXSW PITCH competition in Austin this spring, Action Face, the technological leader of 3D printed action figures, has just signed a deal with the NBALAB to bring together 3D scanning and printing with all 30 NBA teams. Action Face is a tech startup out of San Francisco that has developed technology to 3D scan and digitize individuals from the iPhone and iPads.
Hasbro has partnered with Funko for a new My Little Pony non-fungible token (NFT) collection. The series of animated, digital trading cards will include Pop!-style versions of fan-favorite characters from the toy brand, such as Pinkie Pie, Princess Luna, Rainbow Dash, and more. The My Little Pony x Funko Digital Pop! series will be limited to 18,000 copies each for a total of 360,000 NFTs.
The gaming world is eagerly anticipating an upcoming crossover between two of the space’s biggest properties, Among Us and Fortnite. Fortnite, an action building game in which players team up with others to build massive forts and battle against hordes of monsters, all while crafting and looting in giant worlds where no two games are ever the same, has been lauded since its 2017 launch for giving fans the ability to...
***The above posted after june 17th***
Animation studio ZAG signed TCC Global as its exclusive loyalty partner in the EMEA region for Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. TCC Global will create a loyalty program that includes instant rewards, redemption rewards, games, spend-and-get offers, and sponsor programs for Miraculous fans.
The Noble Collection and Microsoft are teaming up for a new range of collectibles. First teased back in February, The Noble Collection inked a licensing deal for a new line of products inspired by the hit video game Minecraft. Under the new deal, The Noble Collection will create a Minecraft Signature Edition Chess Set and an assortment of real-world prop replicas geared toward fans and collectors.
Maurizio Distefano, the Italian licensing agent for BBC Studios’ animated show Bluey and Giochi Preziosi, Italian distributor of Moose Toys, just launched a new collection of Bluey toys in Italy. Inspired by the colorful world of Bluey, the collection includes plush toys of Bluey and sister Bingo and six sets of action figures based on the show. Additionally, there will be two mini playsets and a Heeler 4WD family vehicle.
Pocahontas has traveled “Just Around the Riverbend” to join the Tonies family as the newest Tonies character figure full of iconic songs from Disney’s Pocahontas and an audio story. Families can place the Tonies figure on top of the Toniebox, a soft, 5-by-5-inch speaker cube, to activate the songs and stories attached to that figure. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Toniebox is made of durable fabric without screens...
Speed and vocabulary skills come into play in Pik Qwik, the new lightning-fast word game from TCG Toys, the toy and game company behind the popular strategy game Trominii and Rummoli, as well as the manufacturer of classics like Mexican Train Dominos, Chinese Checkers and Cats Pajamas. A whirlwind word game set against the buzzer, Pik Qwik tests vocabulary skills like never before! Two to four players can get.
Cyber Group Studios, a leading producer and distributor of animated programs for kids and families, has teamed up with Nippon Animation to produce a feature-length animated fantasy adventure film called Nanami and the Quest for Atlantis, based on the Japanese classic TV series, Tico and Friends. The new feature-length film marks the beginning of what is expected to be a long-term collaboration between...
The Sims FreePlay has teamed up with LEGO DOTS for a virtual partnership that will allow players to bring LEGO DOTS products to life within the game. The Sims FreePlay is a mobile experience that allows Sims creators – known as Simmers – to create an entire town inspired by their own style and personality. Opening a new world of DOTS-inspired fun and in-game products, the collaboration – engineered by Electronic ...
Burger King has partnered with Mattel on new, limited-edition Barbie and Hot Wheels toys. At participating int'l restaurants and in the U.S., King Jr. Meals feature a new collection of diverse Barbie premium dolls and classic Hot Wheels vehicles, while supplies last. Barbie is one of the most diverse doll lines on the market, offering fans a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair textures, body types and fashions to choose from.
Cyber Groups Studios and Nippon Animation partner to release an animated film. Cyber Groups Studios — a multi-national producer and distributor of animated programs such as Gigantosaurus, Zorro the Chronicles, and Droners — and Nippon Animation — a Tokyo animation studio known for producing anime series adapted from Western literature — have partnered to co-produce a feature-length film. The film is based on the 1994 Japanese series Tico and Friends and will be titled Nanami and the Quest for Atlantis.
Sony’s Gran Turismo film hits theaters in August 2023. Sony’s upcoming Gran Turismo film is apparently hitting theaters sooner than we might have expected — its scheduled for release on August 11th, 2023, according to a new report from Deadline. Neill Blomkamp is set to direct the movie, which is supposed to be based on a true story. Here’s the official logline (aka short summary) of the movie, per Deadline...
‘The Magic Roundabout’ set for reboot from Mediawan’s Method Animation. Mediawan Kids and Family’s Method Animation, the prestige animation label behind “The Little Prince,” is set to reboot “Le Manège Enchanté” (“The Magic Roundabout”), the iconic 1960’s French stop-motion animation series. Created by Serge Danot in the 1960’s, “Le Manège Enchanté” was a global hit adapted in 30 languages and more than 60...
Mattel, Nickelodeon to launch new NFT projects, explore future of toys. Toy brand Mattel recently announced a partnership with non-fungible token (NFT) platform Cryptoys to turn its iconic intellectual property, which includes Barbie and Hot Wheels, into avatar-like digital collectibles for use in games. This week, the children’s channel Nickelodeon began promoting its first NFT experience, which is expected to ...
HTI adds Bluey to licensed toy portfolio. Pre-school favourite Bluey is joining HTI Toys‘ licensed toy portfolio after the company signed a new three-year deal with BBC Studios for UK and European territories. The animated Emmy Award winning show was crowned the number one pre-school toy property in 2021 and the new licence follows the success of HTI’s Hey Duggee range of toys, also based on a BBC Studios...
Netflix enters the ‘Dragon Age’ with animated adaptation of video game franchise. Netflix has teamed up with video game studio Bioware for Dragon Age: Absolution, a new animated series based upon the popular gaming franchise. Produced by South Korean animation studio Red Dog Culture House, the series will debut on Netflix in December, and was announced as part of the streamers’ Geeked Week...
Disney Greenlights Three Spooky New Series. Today at Annecy, the House of Mouse revealed what's next for its global platforms, with magic-infused baseball, small-town monsters and reanimated zombies in starring roles. First up is Dragon Striker, an action-adventure sports series co-produced by France’s Cyber Group Studios and La Chouette Compagnie for Disney EMEA.
CAKE is teaming up with Slovenian studio Invida to produce a new CG-animated concept called The Lost Bots that made its market debut at Annecy this week. The 78 x seven-minute non-dialogue series is about alien robots who crash-land on Earth and must try to survive on an uncharted tropical island with no technology.
Superhero Bunny League has already helped scores of kid comic book lovers learn how to read. And the crime-fighting rabbits will soon hit small screens worldwide in a new Nickelodeon series. Nick has greenlit a 2D-animated concept based on the zany characters to be produced by Nickelodeon Animation under the working title Super Duper Bunny League. The 26-episode series is slated for a 2024 premiere in the US...
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit media and educational organization, and HiHo Kids announced a collaboration on two new episodes of a fan-favorite HiHo series, Kids Meet. The series empowers kids to lead one-on-one interviews with change-makers, highlighting an appreciation for all aspects of human diversity.
A new round of Nickelodeon’s Intergalactic Shorts Program has just launched, and the kidcaster is looking for animated short series concepts from international artists, writers and directors. This time around, Nick is putting a focus on representation and character-driven comedies for preschoolers, six to 11s and families.
People of Play
Dubit, the creator of metaverse experiences, games, and events for brands, has announced the appointment of Jon Vlassopulos – former Roblox VP, Global Head of Music – to its advisory board. Vlassopulos joins following almost three years leading music initiatives at Roblox, which reaches over 200 million users a month with games and experiences, and where he remains an advisor.
BBC Kids exec Michael Towner is departing the public broadccaster after more than 30 yrs. Towner announced his departure on LinkedIn: “Sad to be leaving after 10 years as Indie Exec/Commissioning Editor and 34 yrs overall, but the time is right.” BBC has confirmed to Kidscreen that Towner’s exit is a “voluntary redundancy” linked to his specific role being eliminated, but noted that an animation commissioner for preschool...
Mighty Jaxx: How this 32-year-old unboxed his love for toys into a multimillion-dollar business. Jackson Aw is the founder of Mighty Jaxx, a designer toy company that has partnered with some of the biggest visual artists and global brands worldwide, producing collectibles that reflect pop culture and trendy designs.
Licensing International has announced that UK managing director Graham Saltmarsh will be leaving the organisation with LI’s current head of global marketing, Steve Manners, adding the role to his remit. Maura Regan, president of Licensing International, said: “We are incredibly grateful to outgoing UK MD Graham Saltmarsh for bringing back LEC live and in person, launching the retail program, and for all ...
Michael Carrington, a seasoned kids media exec who has spent the last six years at Aussie pubcaster ABC, is exiting the corporation to return to the world of production. Carrington has moved up steadily during his time at the public broadcaster, initially coming in as head of kids content in 2016, then switching to content director in 2019, and ending his run as director of entertainment and the specialist division.
Toys R Us Asia has taken to LinkedIn to announce that the company’s chief commercial officer, Jo Hall, has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by WHP Global, the parent company of Toys R Us. In a post, the toy retailer said the award was given to recognise Jo’s ‘positive contribution to the lives of children and their families through her decades of work in the toy and baby industries.’
PSi Hires Jon Theys; Dan Rowen Becomes VP of Imagination Games. Dan Rowen has joined Imagination Games as their new VP. Rowen had previously held leadership positions as a Senior Director at Ultra PRO as well as the founder and President of Playroom Ent., which was acquired by Ultra PRO in 2016. PSI announced Jon Theys as their new Director of Business Dev.. Theys has been leading BGG.CONs for the past 15 years...
Larry Laque, Kristin Brown, Jessica Driscoll and Doug Seybert are exiting their roles at Warner Bros. Discovery. They join Corie Henson and Todd Weiser, who were also learned to be leaving the company on Thursday. These firings are the latest additions to a long list since the company’s merger was made official on April 8, before which execs committed to cutting $3 billion in costs over the next three years.
Update from Eddy's World Documentary! (Eddy Goldfarb) Eddy’s World was just nominated for an Emmy Award. It's for the Los Angeles area.
***The above posted after the Bloom Report started sending***
Mattel appointed Josh Silverman to serve as global head of consumer products and chief franchise officer, effective Sept. 1st. Silverman joins Mattel from The Walt Disney Co. where he spent more than a decade in its consumer products div.. In his new role, Silverman will oversee global consumer products licensing, franchise management, retail development, as well as publishing, live experiences, and location-based ent.
Asmodee USA Distribution announced that Andre Kieren has stepped down as their U.S. Head of Distribution, and that Steve Buckmaster has been tapped to fill the role in the interim. Kieren had been in the role of U.S. Head of Distribution for 5 yrs, during which Asmodee USA saw continuous growth. Buckmaster, who is currently the Global Head of Distribution and the former GM of Asmodee UK...
Jenny Klein has signed an overall deal for television content with independent studio Entertainment One. Under the two-year pact, Klein will develop genre and drama-based television content and will serve as showrunner on eOne’s Power Rangers series that is currently in development at Netflix. She’ll collaborate on the series with Jonathan Entwistle who is overseeing the Power Rangers universe under a deal ...
Roz Nowicki, head of global consumer products and franchise marketing, Mattel, will exit her post as of June 30. During her time with the leading toy co., Nowicki oversaw the growth of Mattel’s location-based entertainment and direct-to-retail initiatives on a global scale, as well as spearheaded and built a newly reorganized and high performing team. "It has been an honor to lead the consumer products and... Nike, Zara...
Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Dexter’s Laboratory and writer/director of the first three Hotel Transylvania movies, has signed an exclusive multi-year overall deal with Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros. Animation to create new content. Tartakovsky will develop and produce original animated programming at both studios for TV and streaming platforms. This means he has the flexibility to ...
Andy Pence joins Crayola ss VP, experience and location-based entertainment. Crayola is facilitating further growth and embracing the experiential licensing trend with a new hire. The children’s creativity brand has appointed Andy Pence as vice president of Crayola Experience and location-based entertainment. In his new role, Pence will oversee the operations of existing Crayola Experience family entertainment centers…
Graham Gardiner promoted to commercial director at Rubies. Graham Gardiner will oversee new business, sales strategy and product life cycle, areas he’s already invested in due to his current role as general manager EMEA. As part of its renewed strategy and continued business reinvigoration, Rubies is proud to announce that Graham Gardiner, a long-term and well-respected employee...
Companies and Brands
BargainMax.co.uk, a specialist online toy retailer known for its attractive prices, has announced that it has secured 90,500 sq feet of warehouse facilities at PLP Ellesmere Port, between J7 & J8 of the M53 at Pioneer Point Business Park. With sustainability an increasingly important part of company’s ESG commitments, the facility, which was finished last year, has been constructed to BREEAM Excellent standard.
Zuru Launches All-New X-Shot Blaster Skins with Immense Detail. X-Shot has developed a new suite of X-Shot blaster skins so that kids and kids-at-heart can have more customized fun when dueling or making an attempt to set an air-blasting record. Created with Piezo electronic printing, a technology ZURU has been developing for over 3 yrs, each X-Shot Skins blaster holds a unique design that brings incredible detail...
The Pokémon Company International has announced the latest expansion for the best-selling Pokémon Trading Card Game, Sword & Shield – Lost Origin, available starting Sept. 9, 2022, at participating retailers around the world. In Sword & Shield—Lost Origin, the Lost Zone gameplay mechanic will make its Sword & Shield Series debut and is expected to shake up the TCG metagame.
Exploding Kittens is launching a new expansion to its popular, eponymous card game, Exploding Kittens. In the new version, called Zombie Kittensplayers explode and then come back to life … and then maybe explode again. This newest iteration is the 7th installment in the Exploding Kittens universe and follows the launch of a Netflix-exclusive mobile game. For the first time in any version, players who explode...
This summer, Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America will launch Vital Hero, gamified, wearable bands with digital monsters in them. The first wave of bands have one unique digital monster per band, with an extensive roster of monsters that kids can collect to extend play. The bands feature a full-color, LED display screen and built-in vital activity monitors that prompt kids to complete daily activities through...
Sometimes it’s a challenge to get kids outside of the house during the summer, but PlayMonster has the perfect solution to get them excited about outdoor exploration. The toy company’s new Craft-tastic Nature activity kits give kids and their families the opportunity to immerse themselves in craft experiences using simple prompts and supplied materials.
Mattel paid it forward by playing it forward. The entertainment and toy manufacturing company held its annual Play it Forward Global Volunteer Week. This series of events provided Mattel employees with various opportunities to support their communities through beautification projects, toy donations, home constructions, and more. During the volunteer week, Mattel employees across the globe partnered with...
Zauberberg, published as Magic Mountain in the U.S., by AMIGO won the 2022 Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children's Game of the Year). Zauberberg/Magic Mountain, designed by Bernhard Weber and Jens-Peter Schliemann, beat out two games by Wolfgang Warsch and Schmidt Spiele, Also Clever and With Quacks & Co. to Quedlinburg. In this cooperative game, players race sorcerers down the mountain in an...
Paramount+, the global streaming service from Paramount, is now available to audiences in the UK & Ireland with more than 8,000 hrs of entertainment for the whole family. The streaming service brings together exclusive originals, blockbuster films and iconic series across every genre from Paramount’s world-renowned brands and production studios, including Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and ...
One of the hottest brands around a few years ago when the putty craze first hit the UK mkt, Crazy Aaron’s is back for 2022 under the DKB banner with the co.excited about bringing such an in-demand property back into UK stores. “The brand was on fire a few yrs ago but as there was such huge demand from consumers, the mkt was quickly flooded with copies and inferior quality products,” said said Chris Lohmeyer...
Hot Wheels UK Legends Tour searches for cars to become die-cast models. Enthusiasts can submit videos of their beloved motors to the Hot Wheels UK Legends Tour for the chance to have them reproduced in scale. Last year’s winning car, the 1969 Volvo P1800 Gasser. Hot Wheels is on the look out for the next classic, modified or race car to transform into a scaled reproduction die-cast toy, with two being chosen for...
The newest Dragons at Douglas Company are sure to inspire the imagination and warm the hearts of all soon-to-be Dragon trainers. Douglas’ mystical dragons are what legends are made of. The New Hampshire-based plush toy maker and lifestyle gift creator brings new dragons into the fold. Enchantment and regality are the words that come to mind upon viewing Ronin the Dragon, who is a full 27” uncurled.
Each year, at the conclusion of the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation selects its Regional and National Campaigns & Coordinators of the Year. The winners are selected based on several specific criteria. Most importantly, executing a local campaign that epitomizes the highest honor and traditions of the U.S. Marine Corps that assists as many children-in-need...
Razor, the foremost trailblazer and innovator in the scooter industry, has launched their first ever brand campaign: Razor…Ride with Us. The new branding, which was architected in partnership with brand agency space.camp, will be seen for the first time by fans through a multifaceted campaign featuring a brand anthem spot, social and in-person activations, a new logo, and various promotions.
WowWee has entered the fashion doll category with its ground-breaking new toy line: My Avastars. Inspired by kids’ use of avatars to explore, create and express themselves in the metaverse, WowWee partnered with Gamefam, a top publisher on Roblox, in the creation of My Avastars for a doll that enables seamless interactive play in the physical and digital worlds.
L.O.L. Surprise! dolls from MGA Entertainment have inspired consumers for the last six years to express themselves and be confident while doing so. To celebrate six years of empowerment, MGA is launching a “fierce” collection of some classic L.O.L. Surprise! dolls full of new, bold looks, plus three pop-up events across the U.S. to further push their initiative and inspire fans to “find their fierce.”
Amazon is grinding through its potential workforce too fast, according to an internal company research memo leaked to and first reported on by Vox. “If we continue business as usual, Amazon will deplete the available labor supply in the US network by 2024,” said the document, according to Vox. The memo indicated that things were looking particularly grim for Amazon’s labor pool in a few specific locations. h also identified Memphis, Tennessee, and Wilmington, Delaware as other places where workforce resources were especially thin.
First WowWee dabbled in Roblox with several activations in the Twilight Daycare game. Now, the toy manufacturer is diving deeper into the metaverse with a new toy line and a Roblox game called My Avastars, inspired by kids’ use of avatars to explore, create, and express themselves online. WowWee is partnering with Gamefam to create the My Avastars: RP roleplaying game, launching in July.
Nerf Introduces Murph, the Brand's First Mascot. Since debuting in 1969, Nerf has never had a mascot. Today, the toy brand unveiled Murph, an anthropomorphic character made entirely out of Nerf darts. “We wanted to introduce a mascot that represents this ageless, unbridled fun that lives in all of us and creates a physical embodiment of that feeling you get when you play with Nerf,” said Adam Kleinman, SVP and GM of Nerf...
The animated universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender is expanding with three films in development from Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation. The pics are the first projects to come out of Avatar Studios, a dedicated content division set up in 2021 to grow the brand beyond its two 2D-animated TV series.
Amazon Studios is looking to create franchises with its animation content and said that while it can be flexible on rights, it would “prefer” exclusivity. Speaking at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, Melissa Wolfe, head of animation and family programming at Amazon’s Prime Video service, revealed that: “We’re looking for everything under the sun and moon that is appealing probably...
***The above posted after tBR started sending on the 17th***
Sambro is ramping up its sustainability drive using 100% recycled post-consumer plastic in all its plush including the latest Disney range. Sambro International has made the switch to recycled filling across its entire plush range, which will help reduce each toy’s carbon footprint by reducing the need for virgin polyester production and diverting single use plastic from landfills.
Smart Toys and Games has again received recognition for its magnetising construction set with three award for its latest SmartMax, Roboflex.The SmartMax magnetising construction set from Smart Toys and Games has picked up more honours at the Loved by Parents Awards, scooping three trophies including a Platinum award for the latest set, Roboflex.
VTech is complementing its global sustainability strategy with UK specific action such as volunteering in the community. As it looks to improve the lives of people and protect the planet for future generations, VTech has published its ninth Annual Sustainability Report. The report, which communicates sustainability strategies, outlines a transition towards clean energy, more solar panels and solar lamps installed in...
After two years away from both Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) and New York Comic Con, Funko is coming back in a big way for next month’s SDCC. Today, the ever-growing pop culture merch maker revealed plans for “Funkoville,” a massive and immersive booth experience on the showfloor.
Pluto TV launched Transformers TV, the first dedicated Transformers streaming channel. The free service contains more than 200 hrs of content, including fan favorites Transformers: Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures, Transformers: Prime, and Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
“We could not be more excited to work with Pluto TV to bring this dedicated Transformers channel to life,” says Jenny Whitlock, SVP ...
Trefl, a jigsaw puzzle company based out of Europe, is ready to make its U.S. debut. The company plans to launch a collection of the company’s top European best-sellers, including the Trefl Wood Craft Origin line, the Trefl Prime Puzzle, and its original licensed and core puzzles. “As the puzzle category continues to grow, and more families and friends begin to gather in person, we have identified the perfect ...
Mattel inked a multi-year global partnership deal with OnChain Studios to feature its brands on the Cryptoys NFT platform. Under the new deal, OnChain Studios will bring Mattel brands into a collectible, interactive world of animated, playable digital toys that live on the Flow blockchain. “As owners of one of the largest portfolios of children and family entertainment franchises in the world, and as the first toy company...
Far Out Toys‘ Glo-Up Girls Season 2 will debut exclusively at Walmart stores in the U.S. this August. The wave of six dolls will come in all-new packaging and feature glammed-up looks with new styles, new hair, and new ways to transform — all ready to rock, right out of the box. When Glo-Up Girls launched last year, the Season 1 dolls followed the TikTok glow-up trend and came with spa masks and pajamas.
Readyland LLC is introducing their proprietary Readyland Books, the first printed books that work with Alexa to create an immersive reading experience that makes reading even more magical. Get ready for the ultimate screen-free summer boredom buster – books you can talk to! For the first time ever, with Readyland books, kids can actually talk with the characters, respond to questions, play games, choose songs...
Xilam Animation, an independent producer and distributor of animated content, has announced the signing of deals with Disney to produce two new animated series for its Disney+ platform, The Doomies and a second season of Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life. At Annecy Intl Animated Film Festival, Disney announced the production of the upcoming series, The Doomies, an original creation by Xilam Animation...
Netflix has confirmed it will expand its video game catalog to almost 50 titles by the end of 2022 with the addition of new projects from notable studios and developers. Further outlining its plans for Netflix Games during its 'Geeked Week' event, the streaming company announced a deluge of new and upcoming releases, including some based on popular Netflix projects such as La Casa de Papel and The Queen's Gambit.
The LEGO Group is continuing to streamline its supply chain by investing more than $1 billion to build a new factory in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Ground-breaking on the 1.7 million square foot carbon-neutral facility will take place this fall with full production expected to begin in 2025. More than 1,760 American jobs are expected to be created at the facility within the next 10 years.
World’s best ads ever #61: Mattel Barbie spot thaws Disney’s ice-cold grip on Christmas. The ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ campaign was a risky one for Barbie-owner Mattel. 2015 – the year the ad was released – was peak Frozen. Disney’s movie had hit screens just a year before and quickly became the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Toys and other merchandise relating to the blockbuster lined store shelves...
MATTEL IS RERELEASING ITS FIRST BLACK FASHION DOLL AS A BARBIE SIGNATURE COLLECTIBLE. In case you didn’t know, Mattel once offered a doll line called “Francie,” marketed as “Barbie’s MODern Cousin.” It was within this line that Mattel launched its first Black fashion doll in 1967. Now, 55 years later, the company is adding a reproduction of the doll to its Barbie Signature Collection.
Squid Game: The Challenge, a new 10-episode Netflix series, has been unveiled. The show, based on the company’s most popular series of all time, Squid Game, would have the “biggest cast and lump cash reward in reality TV history.” It was dubbed the “largest reality competition ever” by Netflix. Unlike the Korean dystopian drama, the new reality show will not be a matter of life and death. 456 recruits from around the world...
Spin Master, a leading global children’s entertainment company, has cooked up something sweet with Buddy Valastro for its Kinetic Sand brand. Dubbed a Kinetic Creator, Buddy traded in his batter and fondant for Kinetic Sand, revealing a 2 ½ minute video (also shared on his instagram) where he creates his iconic 6-layer rainbow cake entirely out of Kinetic Sand.
Hit by war, Ukraine toy maker UGears back in business. Sweet-smelling wood chips cover the factory floor again at the toy manufacturer where Robert Milayev works now that production has restarted after the withdrawal of Russian troops. Thanks to donations, the factory outside Kyiv is back making wooden toys following a three-month hiatus that started when fighting with Moscow's army left the factory damaged.
Mattel adds a reproduction of its first Black doll to the Barbie Signature Collection. It has been 55 years since Mattel released its first-ever Black doll. She was a part of the Francie brand, a line of dolls marketed as “Barbie’s MODern Cousin.” Now, Mattel is reproducing the 1967 doll as a part of the Barbie Signature Collection, which features collector-grade Barbie dolls inspired by iconic and empowering women...
Wizkids reveals 'D&D Icons Of The Realms: Spelljammer Adventures In Space - Collector's Edition'. WizKids revealed D&D Icons of the Realms: Spelljammer Adventures in Space - Collector's Edition, a new miniatures premium set, for release into retail in October 2022. This Collector's Box contains everything for the D&D Icons of the Realms: Spelljammer Adventures in Space pre-painted miniatures booster set It comes...
Rocketship Entertainment launches Kickstarter for The 'Brothers Bond' tabletop game. Rocketship Entertainment, the industry leader in publishing hit webcomics and 2021 Ringo Award winner for Favorite Publisher, launched the Kickstarter campaign for the tabletop game based off Ryan Benjamin’s Brothers Bond. Brothers Bond was the first Webtoon series nominated for the Eisner Award, and now, it will...
Games Workshop reveals three 'Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Vanguard' boxed sets. Games Workshop revealed three Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Vanguard boxed sets. The Vanguard: Daughters of Khaine set showcases the forces of the living goddess with their sharp sacrificial knives and all. Vanguard: Skaven comes with several verminous minions and a leader.
CrowD Games unveils 'City of the Great Machine'. CrowD Games unveiled City of the Great Machine, a Victorian steampunk cooperative board game, for release into retail on January 10, 2023. City of the Great Machine is a one versus many team-based game where players are trying to take down a steampunk AI machine before it completes its "enhancement" of humanity.
The LEGO Group launches biggest ever global brand campaign to mark 90 years. The LEGO Group has launched its biggest ever global brand campaign celebrating the power of play and the creativity of its fans in the lead up to its 90th anniversary on 10 August, 2022. Four years after the launch of its successful ‘Rebuild the World’ brand platform, the company’s latest effort will showcase ‘playful inspiration, activities and...
Mantic creates board games division. Mantic Games, the makers of Kings of War and Deadzone miniatures games, announced that it has created a new board game division, which will be based in their Nottingham office.Their new board game division will make accessible family-friendly board games as well as roleplaying experiences. Mantic had previously published board games and RPGs, notably the...
Bratz unveils new Pride Collection. MGA Entertainment has announced the all-new Pride Collection, inspired by the popular Bratz characters. The trailblazing collection, including an exclusive, collectible Bratz two-pack of the first ever fashion doll same-sex couple and an explosive, ready-to-wear fashion capsule collection, was created in collaboration with Jimmy Paul, the world-renowned LGBTQ designer behind the popular ...
Character Options launches Character Kidz TV. Character Options has launched a new YouTube channel, Character Kidz TV, which is packed with entertaining video content for today’s digital kids. Mark Hunt, marketing director at Character Options, said: “Our decision to create this entertainment space for children has come as a result of the multiple changes to YouTube’s digital space for kids.
Big Potato announces three new games for 2022. Big Potato Games announced three games for release in Q4 2022, and two more games are coming in 2023. Muffin Time, Linkee, and Colour Brain are three games coming in Q4 2022. Muffin Time is a card game by ASDF, whose cartoons series has over 900 million views on YouTube.
Walt Disney Company's Florida Campus Move Delayed to 2026. The timing would coincide with Ron DeSantis' exit as Florida governor. For nearly a year, the Walt Disney Company’s Parks, Experiences, and Products Division has been planning to move a large portion of its employees to Florida by 2023. That has relocation date has now been pushed three years. The timing is... interesting.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Xbox CFO expects supply chain issues to continue through 2022. Tim Stuart said that things "could remain rocky," including during the holiday season. Xbox CFO Tim Stuart reportedly said supply chain issues that have been affecting the games market will likely continue throughout the year.
Mobile game spending predicted to hit $117bn by 2026. Report also says that non-game revenue will continue to outpace consumer game spending on the App Store. Today Sensor Tower released a new report that expects that by 2026, consumer spending for mobile games will reach $117 billion.
Embracer CEO says decision to accept $1 billion from Saudi state "not taken lightly". Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors has shared a lengthy statement to explain why the company recently accepted a $1 billion investment from Savvy Gaming Group (SSG). The cash injection raised eyebrows due to the fact SSG is owned by Saudi Arabia's state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF).
CEO says Embracer "will not change in any way" after Saudi Arabia $1bn investment. Lars Wingefors explains the rationale for accepting investment from Savvy Gaming Group. Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors has addressed the controversy around the sale of an 8% stake in his company for $1 billion to Savvy Gaming Group.
Wargaming opens offices in Poland and Serbia after leaving Russia and Belarus. World of Tanks developer Wargaming will open new studios in Serbia and Poland to reinforce its global operations.The decision comes after Wargaming chose to withdraw its businesses in Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine, which was led by Russia with assistance from Belarus.
Hightlighted Press Releases
BIG THINGS COME IN MINI SIZES: JUNE 10th! This Summer’s Limited-Production 4-in-one Hess Mini Collection Toy Trucks Pays Tribute To 1989 Fire Truck, 2008 Truck Front Loader Plus 2012 Helicopter. New York, NY (June 10, 2022) – Hess Corporation announced its annual summer kick-off today with the release of its remarkably detailed small-scale vintage toy truck set. The 2022 Hess Mini Collection, with four toys included, is on sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com for $31.99 with free standard shipping* and Energizer® batteries included.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Jungle Jumparoo Recalls Children’s Toys Due to Violation of the Federal Lead Content Ban (Recall Alert). The toys’ yellow poles contain levels of lead that exceed the federal lead content ban. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues. This recall involves Jungle Jumparoo children’s toys.
The Manhattan Toy Company Recalls Activity Loops Toys for Infants Due to Choking Hazard. This recall involves the Manhattan Toy Company’s Activity Loops with model number 215210 and lot codes EAN or FCN. The recall applies to these two lot codes only. The model number and lot code can be found printed on the bottom of the dome shaped base.
Saudi authorities seize rainbow-themed toys for 'promoting homosexuality'. Saudi officials have seized rainbow-coloured toys and clothing from shops in the capital as part of a crackdown on homosexuality, state media reported. A report by the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel showed commerce ministry officials removing a range of items from shops in the capital Riyadh. "
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Event organiser Spielwarenmesse eG has issued an update on preparations for Licensing-X Germany, planned in close cooperation with Licensing International and set to take place from 5 to 7 October at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre alongside the stationery expo Insights-X. The event aims to offer new programming and networking opportunities for the entire licensing industry, which continues to grow rapidly.
Register for virtual Asian Licensing Conference. The three-day Asian Licensing Conference, organised by HKTDC, aims to help participants identify licensing opportunities in Asia. NFTs and Sustainability in Licensing are some of the key topics to be discussed at the Asian Licensing Conference (ALC), to be held virtually from 27th-29th July, 2022. Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) ...
Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) has announced that registration is open for its annual WiT Empowerment Day event, to be held on Monday, September 19, 2022 at Dallas Market Center, in partnership with The Toy Association’s Preview & Holiday Market. Now in its 9th year, WiT Empowerment Day is held in collaboration with Walmart, giving women inventors, creators and entrepreneurs...
Lego Con forms part of the Lego Group’s 90th anniversary summer celebrations, with fans able to enjoy product and brand reveals. Lego fans from around the world took part in the free-to-attend virtual Lego Con on Saturday, a two-hour live show which gave a sneak peek into the latest Lego news and products whilst connecting them with other Lego enthusiasts from around the world.
Toy Trust Big Challenge raises much-need funds for Starlight and Spread a Smile. Saturday’s Big Challenge event saw 200 industry professionals walk, run, cycle and compete in a team Dragon Boat Tournament for the Toy Trust. Run in support of the Toy Trust‘s 2022 main charity partners, Starlight and Spread a Smile, the 2022 Big Challenge event – the first to take place since 2019 – has been hailed a big success...
***The above posted after June 17th***
ASTRA has unveiled its 2022 Best Toys for Kids winners. ASTRA’s 2022 Marketplace & Academy opened in Long Beach, CA, and with it came the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s picks for best kids’ toys. The group picked 12 winning toys in 12 categories. “ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award program reflects the collective expertise of hundreds of toy retailers who know toys inside out,” says Sue Warfield, president of ASTRA.
Play Creators Awards 2022 finalists revealed. The Play Creators Awards 2022 winners will be announced at the live Play Creators Awards on Tuesday September 6th at London’s Twickenham Stadium. Mojo Nation has unveiled the finalists for this year’s Play Creators Awards.
Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) – has announced a packed schedule of networking, educational and experiential events for its 22nd show, which takes place from 20-22 September 2022 at ExCeL London. Welcoming thousands of European retailers, manufacturers and brand owners, BLE 22 will present the latest brand collaborations, inspire future product ranges...
Finalists announced for the annual BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition. BAFTA has announced the 54 talented finalists, from across the UK, for the 12th nationwide BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition. BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative of public events, workshops and a competition for 10-18 year-olds, culminating in the annual YGD award ceremony to celebrate finalists and winners.
Arts and crafts brand Crayola will be encouraging kids to get creative as a sponsor of the family friendly Gloworm Festival. Families at this year’s Gloworm Festival in Nottinghamshire will be able to get creative in the Crayola creativity tent, as the arts and crafts brand is a main sponsor for this summer’s event.
The Toy Association supports toy community efforts to go green. This year, the Toy Association named “Toys for Social & Environmental Good” as a top trend, encompassing products that teach kids how to build a happier and healthier tomorrow through play. These items include hands-on toys and games that explore recycling, renewable energy sources, pollution, endangered species, and more.
Hello Kitty battle tops: Tokyo toy expo goes gender neutral. When Japan's largest toy expo convenes for the first time in three years on Thursday, the event will showcase playthings that make no distinction between boys and girls. The International Tokyo Toy Show was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Hasbro wins five Influencer Marketing Awards. Among the awards presented to Hasbro, campaigns for Nerf and Play Doh were recognised with Gold and Silver awards. Hasbro picked up a grand total of five awards at the annual Influencer Marketing Awards, now in its 4th year. The company took home the Gold Award for both the Best Multi-Channel Campaign category and the Best Family and Parenting Campaign...
Pokémon TCG Illustration Contest 2022 winners announced. The Pokémon Company International and Creatures Incorporated have announced the winners of the Pokémon Trading Card Game Illustration Contest 2022, a fan art contest that invited Trainers from the U.S. and Japan to illustrate upcoming Pokémon TCG cards.
It’s showtime on the sea: ASTRA sets sail with the Toy Boat. As this issue goes to press, ASTRA is moving full speed ahead for our Marketplace & Academy in Long Beach, California. We have a jam-packed schedule including our Kit and Game Session, educational breakout sessions, an opening party, two and a half days of show floor time, and general networking and social time as well.
Grammy organizers to introduce video game music category in 2023. The Recording Academy is changing up The Grammys with the addition of five new award categories including Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games. The new categories will be incorporated into the 2023 Grammys, officially known as the 65th Grammy Awards, meaning those who work in the field of game music will have a chance to claim one of...
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed
If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.
Maureen Hiron (1942–June, 2022) In Maureen's own words from an interview we did with her...
I’m Maureen Hiron and I’m thrilled to be inducted into the Games Hall of Fame.
I used to be the head of the Physical Education department of an Inner London comprehensive school. Then part of that school fell on my head, and at 32 I was pensioned off from teaching.
The future looked bleak. But I did have one ace up my sleeve. I was already an expert bridge player, having represented England and Britain at bridge. So I devoted my mental energies to the game. And the thought processes involved penetrated the cloud that enshrouded my brain.
Then a medical phenomenon occurred. It appeared that the former dormant areas of my brain had taken over the role of the damaged parts. The result was that I was able to reason with the intuitive mind of a child, yet still retain my acquired knowledge and 156 IQ level.
The first manifestation of this came on April Fools Day 1982. I was listening to music by my favourite composer, Bach – when in a lightbulb moment I invented the first of my games.
This was Continuo. A game that is a nice blend of skill and luck. That a 5-year-old can play on equal terms with all other ages. That many can play together, yet is also pleasing as a solo patience game. That is understood in seconds and transcends all language barriers. Yes – that’s a lot of claims for one small game, yet it all proved to be true, judging by the millions sold.
But Continuo was no One Game wonder for me. I’ve now had over 70 games published, which are sold in over 50 countries.
I’ve been asked, “What makes a game successful?” If I had the answer to that, I’d never invent a bummer!
But for me, it seems that the quicker I invent a game, the more successful it becomes. Especially if the rules are minimal.
Take 7Ate9 (Unter Spannung in Germany and various other names in other countries.) I was helping Irish Bridge International Desmond Deery putting new cards into the bridge duplicate boards, when I had another of those flashes of inspiration.
Me and my company HIRON GAMES LTD came to the attention of City of London financiers – maybe because of my high-profiling with the media – I had even been the subject of a BBC TV documentary A WILL TO WIN. In the time-honoured phrase, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. The idea was that my company would make a reverse take-over of a major UK games company, which had a stock-market listing.
My life – written off by my previous employers, had taken a considerable upturn.
But tragedy struck again. I was diagnosed with cancer, so my business ambitions (I had reached the semi-finals of the Businesswoman of the Year competition) couldn’t be brought to fruition – I needed to address the problem of kicking this cancer into touch.
But even whilst an in-patient at the Royal Marsden Hospital – the world’s first specialist cancer hospital – I continued to invent games, using my fellow patients as play-testers. Including CHIP IN, which my company produced to spearhead the Marsden’s £25 million appeal – under the then presidency of Princess Diana.
And I persuaded Brian Hitchen CBE, then editor of the Daily Star, to back the appeal. This he did, in a big way for two months, and often from the front page of the Daily Star. Sadly, Brian and his wife were killed in a car accident in Alicante, Spain.
I also involved the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – happily playing CHIP IN with her in her study, whilst members of the Cabinet waited patiently downstairs.
I’ve not restricted myself to inventing games. With my late husband Alan we wrote several best-selling books, including The Ultimate Trivia Quiz Game Book, which reached No.2 in the British Bestsellers list.
I also worked on a number of TV shows, including Krypton Factor and Fifteen to One.
And in 1990 I was voted ‘Londoner of the Year’ in London Electricity’s ‘Brightening Up London’ awards.
Sadly, Alan died in 1999, and my idyllic world came crashing down. Alan Hiron was a bridge world champion and was bridge correspondent to The Independent. We were considered to be the perfect partnership – as opposites – for I was as hyper