the Bloom Report
Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is June 12 - 19, 2020, Click Here for Last Week
Articles are posted as search engines list them, newest articles at the top of the listings
Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news.
Today as we celebrate Juneteenth Day, we encourage everyone to learn from history, listen to each other, and advocate for equality and justice. While there will be many struggles ahead of us, we must persist to build a better world for all.
After 22 years, the Bloom Report has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy and continue this essential news source for the industry. If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome advertisements so we can continue this service for free. Phil summarized this endeavor well when he said, "Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know...we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!"
Onward & Upward,
Company of the Week . . .
Creativity, Inc is one of the most prolific design and development studios working in the toys and entertainment industry today. Since 1998, we have helped produce an estimated 7,000 products, from interactive toys to mobile apps, games, smart home devices, and voice-first app experiences. That’s roughly 200-300 projects each year!
Creativity helps our partners engage and delight millions of children and families worldwide through our work. Many of these products have found phenomenal success in the toy industry, earning 130+ TOTY nominations, 37 TOTY category winners, and 5 best overall TOTY awards. Creativity has also helped our partners receive recognition outside the toy industry at venues like Best of CES and Best of SXSW Interactive, and our voice design work has earned us the status of Recommended Agency by Amazon and Google for their voice-first conversational AI platforms. . . . (Read more)
Advice from Tait and Lily, our Persons of the Week via Video...
Note from Publisher....
We could all use a smile on our face about now. This video will deliver that smile and make your Friday a bit better! Tait & Lily, past winners of CHITAG's Young Inventor Challenge, inventors of Betcha Can't, which debuted on Target shelves earlier this year tell their story and offer advice. We interviewed them earlier this year.
I particularly love when Lily says she is 13 years old, has been an inventor her whole life and started inventing in the toy industry when she was 11 years old. Priceless! For more information about The Young Inventor Challenge, go HERE.
Financial & Legal News . . .
Indigo loses $171 million in Q4 after taking large impairment, tax charges. Indigo Books & Music is reporting a surge in losses caused by non-cash charges in the quarter to fiscal year March 28. The Toronto-based book, gift and specialty toy retailer lost $171 million. Indigo attributed the higher loss to impairment and deferred tax charges along with the decision to pay staff wages until the end of March even though...
Kohl’s says tie-up with Amazon ‘underscores’ importance of stores. Kohl’s says its Amazon partnership is teaching the retailer a lot about its own stores, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It has opened our eyes ... that there are other roles a Kohl’s store can play to the American consumer,” Kohl’s chief technology officer Paul Gaffney said.
Amazon’s next big vove? It should buy Macy’s. Reports of Amazon’s potential interest in a struggling retailer refuse to go away. The speculation is spurred by Amazon’s cash hoard—the e-commerce giant had roughly $27.2 billion of cash on hand as of March 31—and the fact that it bought Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion in 2017. Most recently, Amazon was linked to J.C. Penney...
Genius Brands International to retire all senior secured convertible debt. Genius Brands, a global brand management company that creates, licenses, and broadcasts, multimedia entertainment content for children, becomes debt free and has $55 million in cash on the balance sheet.
Retail sales fall back in early June. Redbook Johnson reports chain store sales are down 1.4% M/M in June so far and decreased 6.1% Y/Y for the week ending June 20. Month-to-date sales are down 8.0% Y/Y through June 20. Looking ahead, retail sales are expected to improve incrementally on a monthly basis, but trail last year's levels.
Russia Investigates Toy Protests Against Vote on Putin’s Term Limits. Criminal investigators in St. Petersburg have attempted to question an activist who used children's toys to protest against a vote on constitutional amendments that would allow Putin to extend his rule into 2036. Sonya Ulyasheva, a spokeswoman for the Vesna democratic movement, had posted photographs of the toy protests as on offshoot...
Lone Echo developer Ready at Dawn acquired by Facebook. The Order: 1886 and Lone Echo developer Ready at Dawn has been acquired by Facebook for an undisclosed sum, and now joins the company’s Oculus Studios brand. Acquisitions have played a growing part in Facebook’s recent VR plans, with the company noting in that Oculus blog post that it is “exploring many ways to accelerate VR, and...
Target announced that it’s raising wages for its workers. Its peers will likely have to follow suit, argues Credit Suisse. On Wednesday, Target (ticker: TGT) said that it would permanently boost its starting wage for U.S. workers to $15, while also giving one-time bonuses to some hourly workers for their efforts during the pandemic. This will coincide with other benefits, including free virtual doctor visits...
Kowloon Nights launches $2 million game investment fund for Black creators. Global video game investment fund Kowloon Nights has launched a new $2 million fund dedicated to Black creators and studios working on PC and console projects. Any development studio that's majority-owned by black creators can apply to the initiative, which intends to deploy the $2 million without any limitations.
Epic Games and Match Group join Spotify in protesting Apple’s App Store fees. More companies are vocalizing their support for an antitrust case against Apple filed in the EU yesterday. Both Match Group, the owner of dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, as well as Epic Games, which created Fortnite, issued statements last night in support.
Kolkata, India: city importers holding back orders to China after Galwan clash. Following the death of Indian Army personnel in a fierce clash with the People's Liberation Army in Galwan valley of eastern Ladakh, Kolkata importers of a range of consumer products including toys from China are holding back on placing orders.
It’s Alibaba, not Walmart, that Amazon should really be worried about. The reality is that Walmart is so far behind Amazon in online sales, despite its recent gains during the pandemic, that it will never come close to catching up. But Alibaba is now focusing more and more of its attention on the American market
Walmart surpasses eBay in U.S. e-commerce for the first time, Amazon still tops. Walmart Inc. has surpassed eBay Inc. in share of U.S. e-commerce sales for the first time, according to May 2020 data provided by eMarketer, though Amazon.com Inc. remains number one by a large margin.
Has Prime Day been moved again? Toy World has learned that Amazon’s major two day shopping event has been pushed back yet again. The move will have major implications for the toy industry, and suppliers are now having to redress their marketing plans to reflect the timing of the event – and its proximity to Christmas. An anonymous source told Toy World that, while the October date may well prove fruitful for...
The Indian government may put curbs on imports of toys. New Delhi, India. The Ministry of Commerce has identified toys among several categories of non-essential imports, where restrictions could be considered. In recent months, the commerce department has...
US retail sales in record rebound. American shoppers returned in force in May, fuelling a record 17.7% monthly gain in retail spending after lockdowns triggered devastating declines in the previous months. The rebound only partially made up for the losses, leaving spending down about 6% year-on-year.
Apple faces two EU anti-competition probes. Apple faces two European Commission probes into whether it has broken competition rules. One investigation centres on iPad and iPhones being limited to installing apps from Apple's own App Store, among other restrictions imposed on third-party developers. The other involves Apple Pay, with one issue being that other services cannot use the iPhone's tap-and-go facility.
Apple claims 'half a trillion dollars' App Store economy. Apple has said that its App Store ecosystem "facilitated half a trillion dollars" of trade in 2019. The firm said more than 85% of that figure occurred via transactions from which it did not take a commission. The announcement comes at a time Apple and other US tech giants are facing increased anti-competition scrutiny.
The great decoupling? What’s next in US-China rift. Bilateral trade sank by 15% in 2019 after US President Donald Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports and China responded in kind. It had surged by an annual average 11% from 2001 to 2018, a stretch that included China’s admission to the WTO and transformation into a global manufacturing powerhouse shipping cheap electronics, toys ...
B.C. pot shop loses trademark battle with Toys ‘R’ Us. A Vancouver cannabis dispensary is going to need a new name and logo after losing a legal battle with retailer Toys "R" Us (Canada) Ltd. Toys “R” Us argued that Herbs “R” Us’s green logo with a cannabis leaf in the middle of the ‘r’ uses a similar font and arrangement of letters as the toy store.
U.K. economy shrinks 20% in a month to fall back to 2002 level. The British economy has seen nearly two decades worth of growth wiped out as a result of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic. The economy shrank by a colossal 20.4 per cent in April following a 5.8 per cent decline in March, meaning the U.K. economy is around 25 per cent smaller than it was in February.
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
(the above posted after June 19th)
Outdoor and sports toys sales surge as families take refuge in backyards . . . Bike market skyrockets with sales up 75% in April . . . Spielwarenmesse eG surveyed trade professionals and visitors of the Spielwarenmesse®. 1024 answers received . . . Spielwarenmesse eG surveyed Spielwarenmesse® exhibitors on the current situation. 548 responses received . . . 24% of consumers said their shopping habits will have changed permanently in some way due to COVID-19 . . . Park and ride – a look at wheeled and outdoor toys (UK)
Company Financial & Brokerage News . . .
Here's Why You Should Hold on to Mattel (MAT) Stock for Now . . . Buy Alert: Hasbro Stock Could Be Headed Higher . . . Spotify stock soars on DC Comics, Kardashian podcast deals ... Jakks share price skyrockets after deal with EA announced . . . WHY MOMENTUM INVESTORS SHOULD WATCH HASBRO, INC. (HAS) . . . Walmart upgraded on revenue growth from new shoppers gained during coronavirus. . . . Is Spin Master a buy? . . . Hasbro – Consensus Indicates Potential 28.8% Upside . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 5.0% Upside
(the above posted after June 19th)
AT&T Puts Warner Gaming Division on Block for $4 Billion . . . Nintendo Hits 12-Yr High on Pokemon, Concerns of ‘Second Wave’ . . . Millennials: Spin Master A High-Upside Stock That Could Double . . . What’s Next For Hasbro? . . . What Is Going On With Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT)? . . . Hasbro (HAS) Management Displays Confidence in a 2H Recovery - Jefferies ...Hasbro – Consensus Indicates Potential 28.8% Upside . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 6.8% Upside . . . Target Bumps Up Dividend, Extending Its Run of Raising Payouts to 49 Years . . . Walmart (WMT) Down 5.1% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?
Financial Reporting . . .
IDW Publishing grew sales by $1 million in its fiscal Q2 ended April 30, but still generated a $600,000 operating loss in the period, the company announced in its Q2 earnings release Monday. The sales increase came despite the Diamond Comic Distributors shutdown in April; IDW said it pivoted to focus on backlist, digital sales, direct-to-consumer sales, foreign sales, and book channel.
Five Below Still Sees Room to Almost Triple Its Store Base in the U.S. Investors suspected that Five Below (NASDAQ:FIVE) was going to report some brutal sales numbers in its fiscal first-quarter announcement. The period runs through early May and includes the widespread COVID-19 store closures that started on March 20. That's why it was no surprise when the youth-focused retailer revealed that revenue collapsed...
Future Financial Reporting . . .
Hasbro to Present at Upcoming Investor Conferences. Brian Goldner, chairman and chief executive officer, and Deborah Thomas, chief financial officer, will participate in the 42nd Nasdaq Investor Conference at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 15, 2020 and at the Jefferies Virtual Consumer Conference at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 23, 2020.
Stories & Comments . . .
LEGO partners with National Geographic for new ocean exploration kits, more. Today LEGO is expanding its lineup City kits in thanks to a partnership with National Geographic. Soon builders will be able to assemble a fleet of ships and other vehicles to surveil undersea life with a series of ocean exploration-themed creations. LEGO is also carrying the collaboration over to its Friend theme for a series of jungle rescue kits.
Insomniac has shared a statement in reply to a round of accusations made against multiple former and current members of the studio, saying in a tweet that it was aware of the complaints and took action based on that information. “We were aware of the allegations made in a former...
Twitch addresses sexual abuse allegations with permanent ban pledge. Twitch will permanently ban streamers who are found to have sexually abused or harassed people. In an update posted on the Twitch blog, the company said it's investigating a number of allegations involving Twitch streamers, and that it will "begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with out findings immediately."
Hasbro revs up new Transformers collectibles. Hasbro has blessed us with high-end figures in the Star Wars Black Series and now it’s time for a new franchise to get a colorful collection. The Transformers R.E.D. Series — Robot Enhanced Design — is starting with Optimus Prime and Megatron and will be available for preorder on June 26 from Walmart.
Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition from USAopoly. Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition combines two pop culture juggernauts into one nerve-wracking crossover game. Produced by USAopoly, the game box includes 54 hardwood Jenga blocks, an approach track, dice, a cardboard cutout of Godzilla himself, and rules.
Big G Creative Invites Families to Say ‘Bye, Felicia!’ It doesn’t have to be Friday to utter the iconic “get lost” phrase from the ’90s.
Bye, Felicia! is a new party game from Big G Creative that incorporates the famous pop culture phrase into a fast-paced game of wild word associations for 3-8 players ages 12 and up. Designed by Peggy Brown,
McFarlane Toys Unveils DC Multiverse Batman Figures McFarlane Toys has unveiled four of different versions of the Caped Crusader based on two of its comic book series, Dark Nights: Metal and The Batman Who Laughs.
Dozens of women accuse video gaming titans of sexual misconduct. Four women leveled accusations of sexual misconduct against Chris Avellone, a critically acclaimed video game writer, leading one developer to end its cooperation with him and prompting him to part ways with another game in the works. A different woman accused Omeed Dariani, the CEO of Online Performers Group, a talent agency that ...
8 terrific sensory toys for kids with special needs. As the mom of a son with autism, ADHD, and epilepsy, I can’t even tell you how much money I wasted buying toys that my son had absolutely no interest in playing with. It wasn’t until I realized that my idea of play and his idea of play were drastically different, that I was able to start buying toys that truly made him happy.
My Little Pony fans are ready to admit they have a Nazi problem. Even a niche subculture built around magical cartoon horses is reckoning with racism. That sounds just as strange no matter how many times you say it. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cartoon television show about friendship, compassion, and a group of magical horses with names such as Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy who live...
Toy billionaire deletes post slamming Black Lives Matter group. Isaac Larian, the billionaire head of the company behind LOL Surprise! dolls, has deleted his Twitter account and a post on LinkedIn after calling a freelance artist a “disgrace to Black people” and saying the Black Lives Matter organization is discriminatory toward Jewish people.
AAP offers guidance to combat digital advertising to children. It has never been more evident how dependent children and families are on technology than during COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures. Through digital media platforms and apps, children learn and socially connect, parents work and seek support, and everyone receives news and information …
GigaPets Are Back & They’re Better Than Ever. In the 90s virtual pets were all the rage. We could never imagine how these types of toys would foreshadow our future in the digital age. Now GigaPets is making a comeback in a big way. This summer, GigaPets is proud to announce three new releases: GigaPetsAR, GigaPets Trolls and GigaPets Pixie. These new styles include all the features from their 90’s predecessors with...
TOYS AREN’T JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE: ADULTS ARE REDISCOVERING THE JOY OF PLAY. The stereotype of 40-year-old men collecting toys — a phenomenon captured to perfection in a 2015 Saturday Night Live sketch in which collectors hoarded Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys with no intention of opening their packages to play with them — is slowly starting to fade. Instead, that image is being replaced...
STEAM toys can prepare kids for future careers. STEAM learning continues to be an important educational category for kids. Teaching them the skills they’ll need for success in 21st-century careers has been the mantra (and the packaging label) for several years. Many of the jobs for which we are now preparing Generation Z won’t exist by the time they enter the job market …
The June Issue of the Toy Book Is Here! We are excited to share our June issue with you, including: The hottest new products, roundtable discussion about the evolving specialty toy industry, how the toy industry as a whole is adapting to the new landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic, how specialty retailers are finding new ways to connect to consumers when they can’t meet in-store, also...
(the above was posted after June 19th)
THESE DESIGN PRINCIPLES MADE JACKBOX A PARTY GAME PHENOMENON. The Jackbox Party Pack series has been enjoying a steady six-year run. But in the wake of pandemic lockdown — and the resulting uptick of social gaming — its popularity has reached new heights. Traffic to the games’ servers is surging. Celebrities are streaming themselves playing. The mass-market accessibility of Jackbox is there by design.
Game of Thrones board game adaption now set for release on PC later this year. Prepare to stake your claim on the Iron Throne later this year when the new Game of Thrones board game releases on PC. Publisher Asmodee Digital is adapting the official Game of Thrones board game into a new digital edition set for release in 2020.
Kids Can Build & Play with their Own 3D Creations Thanks to 3Doodler. The 3D Build & Play by 3Doodler introduces 3D printing concepts to children in a fun way. As kids play, they also work on hands-on learning, 3D thinking, fine motor skills, and cognitive development.
Kids can curl and style with Zoe, the first Healthy Roots doll. Earlier this month, a viral tweet from Healthy Roots Dolls Founder and CEO Yelitsa Jean-Charles introduced Zoe, the first doll from “a toy company that creates dolls and storybooks that empower young girls and represent the beauty of our diversity.”
Best backyard water toys and games. Summertime is here, which means kids (and parents) are spending even more time outdoors soaking up the sun. Temperatures will be scorching on some days, even pushing triple-digits -- which means you're probably looking for water toys to keep kids cool and entertained.
Amazon Alexa is the only way to play Zynga’s latest take on Words with Friends. Game developer Zynga is launching a revised version of its once-popular Scrabble-like web game Words with Friends exclusively for Amazon Alexa today. The new game, called Word Pop, is a voice-based version of the word game …
Get mischief managed with Avengers Endgame Loki by Hot Toys. While heavy-hitters like Thanos and Erik Killmonger most recently dominated all discussions of Marvel movie villains, let nobody forget the original champ. There was a time when Loki was indisputably and forever everyone’s favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe bad guy.
FDA approves Akili video game to treat kids with ADHD. EndeavorRx uses a technology designed to target and activate specific neural systems in the brain, giving kids sensory stimuli and motor challenges to improve cognitive functioning. Delivered through a video game, EndeavorRx is meant to improve attention function in kids with ADHD.
Toy Stories: Portraits of Children and their Toys Around the World. Gabriele Galimberti spent more than two years traveling the world, visiting over fifty countries to photograph young children with their toys. The Italian photographer shares in a statement on Toy Stories, “I recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns...
What We Learned from ViacomCBS’ Keynote Panel at Licensing Week Virtual. Tuesday’s Licensing Week Virtual keynote – hosted by Pam Kaufman, president, ViacomCBS Consumer Products – brought together a panel of experts from Penguin Random House, Just Play, Family Dollar and Kellogg’s to discuss innovation and leadership in today’s consumer products space.
Seattle ranks as the best city for gamers. Here's why. Despite major events like Emerald City Comic Con and PAX West being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle's geek culture still has something to cheer about: a new study by Wallethub ranked Seattle as the most gamer friendly city in the U.S. Seattle has become a thriving tech hub, and companies like Big Fish Games, Nintendo, Amazon Studios, Pokemon...
Mattel’s Statement on Commitment to the Black Community. As a company, we are deeply committed to addressing the racism, injustice and violence against Black Americans. Today, we are introducing a corporate program called Play Fair, which articulates the actions we will take both at the corporate-level and through our brands, including:
Durham board game developer helps raise more than $80,000 for Black Lives Matter, NAACP with sales from 'Rap Godz' game. "So this past week was crazy," said Omari Akil, who created Rap Godz with his brother. The purpose of the game is to live the life and career of a hip-hop artist, ultimately trying to get the most record sales. It's a premise that's attracted non-traditional board-game players.
Hasbro and GameStop have been bringing collectors some fantastic Star Wars The Black Series exclusive figures. This series is called the Gaming Greats, and we have already seen Jedi Knight Revan from Knights of the Old Republic and the Heavy Battle Droid from Battlefront II. The newest releases, however, have been quite the rage with Star Wars fans as the Stormtrooper Commander and the Shadow Trooper from ...
Hello Kitty Founder Shintaro Tsuji, 92, Hands Over Reins Of Sanrio To Grandson. Tomokuni Tsuji, 31, who is currently a senior managing director at Sanrio, will become the new CEO of the company taking over from his Grandfather Shintaro Tsuji aged 92. He coincidentally shares a birthday with Hello Kitty on 1 November, and he is 14 years younger than the character itself.
The Revival of Board Games in Lockdown (India) “Whichever team wins gets to do no housework all day.” NEW DELHI: Govind, a 70 year old businessman in New Delhi, has had his life changed by the lockdown in more ways than one. “I have never spent this much time with my family. Every day I play cards and Ludo with my grandchildren,” he said.
Remembering the toy industry's past . . .
Backstory: Pac-Man — 40 Years of Chasing Ghosts and Gobbling Quarters. On May 22, 1980, engineers from Namco plugged in and powered up an arcade game with a mysterious yellow creature with an insatiable appetite for power pellets, fruit, and ghosts. Created by Toru Iwatani, Puck-Man was well-received by test audiences in Tokyo, and by mid-summer, the coin-op game was being played throughout Japan.
Slapsie from Wham-O (1978). Wham-O’s Slapsie was a plastic toy that combined elements of a slinky and castanets, emitting a series of clickety sounds as it moved. The toy consisted of 36 multi-coloured paddles that could be pulled apart and put back together to “make different fun things.” Slapsie was invented by Stanford professor, Alan Adler, the mastermind behind the Aerobie flying ring and the AeroPress coffee brewer.
The Dollhouse Museum – Warsaw, Poland. Located within the Palace of Culture and Science in central Warsaw, The Dollhouse Museum is a private collection of dollhouses gathered from around the world. Some of the items in the museum date back to the 19th century and include familiar structures such as churches, hospitals, schools, and homes.
How the Cozy Coupe became the best-selling car of all-time. If you were a kid in the last 40 years, you probably have a Cozy Coupe memory. Growing up It seemed like they were everywhere. That's because they were. So how did this unassuming, foot-pedal-powered toy become one of the most popular toys of all time?
(the above was posted after June 19th)
Tiny Tim pocket toy radio from Remco (1958) In the late 1950s, Remco released a hand-held toy radio that needed no batteries. The Tiny Tim Pocket Toy Radio was a kid-friendly version of a crystal set equipped with a 35-inch antenna to pick-up AM radio signals emitted from nearby stations in the early days of radio broadcasting.
Ideal Toys’ Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle Rides Again Thanks to California Creations. Originally released in 1973, the toy featured the legendary stuntman in his signature red, white, and blue jumpsuit riding atop a chrome-accented motorcycle. Returning to Toy Fair New York this past February, California Creations officially re-launched the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle under a new licensing agreement with Kelly Knievel, Evel’s oldest son.
Look, up in the thigh: Underoos are available in adult sizes. In the late 1970s, marketing expert Larry Weiss created Underoos, a popular line of briefs and undershirts that featured the costume designs of characters like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and others. Now, for adults who want a dose of nostalgia, Underoos are available in adult sizes.
The Tamagotchi is back and millennials can feel the '90s nostalgia. An electronic pet that was part of countless millennial childhoods is returning to North America this summer repackaged as a new product -- Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden. Unlike the original virtual pet...
Sneak-peek at Tutankhamun’s childhood toys. This collection of toys will be highlighted in the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum at the end of 2020. CAIRO
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
UK’s LittleConcepts names exclusive distributor for Candylab Toys range of toy cars. The UK distributor littleConcepts has detailed an ongoing and exclusive partnership with the Brooklyn-based toy company Candylab Toys to bring the firm’s range of around 60 stylised wooden toy cars to the UK and Ireland. The first stock is due to arrive in August this year …
Cloudco Ent. partners with J&M Brands to manage Care Bears in Benelux region. Cloudco Entertainment signed an agency deal with J&M Brands to expand the Care Bears brand across Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, which are referred to together as Benelux.
ViacomCBS Brings The Smurfs to Nickelodeon. LAFIG Belgium and IMPS, global licensors for The Smurfs, are partnering with Nickelodeon for an update of the property aimed at a new generation of kids and families around the world. Under the new deal, Nickelodeon licensed global rights to the franchise …
JAKKS Pacific, announced a multi-year, global toy licensing deal with Electronic Arts Inc. to create an exclusive toy line based on the popular, free-to-play battle royale game, Apex Legends™. JAKKS has secured the worldwide rights to manufacture, market, and distribute action figures and accessories, plush, role-play, toy weapons and blasters, with a first wave of collectibles launching at retail this October.
Aardman announces Chicken Run sequel will be coming to Netflix. The sequel to Chicken Run is expected to go into full production in 2021 and will be released globally by Netflix (excluding China). Chicken Run, which followed the antics of a group of chickens destined to become pie filling before being led to freedom by cockerel Rocky, remains the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time.
(the above posted after June 19th)
Nickelodeon is set to add The Smurfs to its impressive portfolio of brands, following a deal between the property’s licensors, LAFIG Belgium and IMPS, and ViacomCBS. The deal grants Viacom the rights to develop a new animated series, as well as manage consumer products licensing for the property across the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Singapore and Malaysia. Reports indicate the company intends ...
WildBrain CPLG scores new deals for emoji® in EMEA. WildBrain CPLG, one of the world’s leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agencies, has signed a wave of new deals for emoji® – The Iconic Brand in EMEA. Brokered on behalf of the emoji company, the licensee agreements in Europe include: Nestlé España S.A in Spain for a 50cl sports-cap water bottle with six different label designs...
Aurora World inks a deal for Molang plush. Millimages tapped Aurora World to serve as the new master plush licensee for the Molang character in North America. Aurora World will create a full range of every day, seasonal, and feature plush products using its eco-friendly materials and sustainable manufacturing processes.
Think outside the cube with new Rubik’s collectibles. Bandai America launched Charaction Cubes, a line of collectible figures that combine fandom with puzzling. While these toys have been available in Japan for a while, it is the first time they are being sold in the U.S. — part of the Rubik’s 40th anniversary celebration.
Morning Star Games is releasing a new adaptation of award-winning You’re Pulling My Leg! game from creator Allen Wolf on June 30. “I created a new version of this game because our world has changed dramatically, and people need a way to connect and build relationships whether they’re able to get together in person or online,” Wolf said.
People, Companies, Organizations . . .
These 13-Year-Old Board Game Creators Can Teach All Entrepreneurs a Thing or Two. Lily Brown and Tait Hansen got an early crash course in how the business world works, and have some insights to share. (Comment from tBR Publisher: They are on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine this week! Am I biased? You Betcha! -Mary)
Humble's 'Fight for Racial Justice' bundle has raised over $4.3M for charity. The 'Fight for Racial Justice' charity bundle launched by Humble earlier this month has ended with over $4,370,000 raised. The cash will be donated to organizations working towards racial equality, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Race Forward, and The Bail Project.
Ravensburger launches ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Jungle Cruise’ game. Ravensburger has released two new licensed titles with “Back to the Future: Dice Through Time,” and “Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game. The new “Back to the Future” title is inspired by the classic movie series and includes film moments in a new game format. “Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game,” is based on Disney’s river boat attraction.
Kids2, Mary Meyer Stuffed Toys creates new Baby Einstein line. Kids2 and Mary Meyer Stuffed Toys have teamed to create a new line called Baby Einstein First Discoveries. New toys are inspired by four of Baby Einstein’s characters: Cal the Caterpillar, Neptune the Sea Turtle, Tinker the Tiger and Zen the Zebra.
Wizkids unveils D&D Icons of the Realms, Icewind Dale, Rime of the Frostmaiden miniatures. WizKids unveiled a wave of D&D Icons of the Realms: Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden miniatures for release in September.D&D fans can collect 45 Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden figures in this upcoming set. The figures come blind-packed with randomly sorted monsters and characters.
Tonic Games Group is the new parent company of UK dev Mediatonic. Tonic Games Group has been announced as the new parent company of developers Mediatonic and Fortitude, and publishing label The Irregular Corporation. As it stands, Tonic Games Group consists of 300 people based in five studios and two publishing offices around the world. It's also partnered with third-party studios in 13 locations acros...
The Mad Titan invades Marvel: Crisis Protocol. Atomic Mass Games announced Thanos Character Pack, a new miniature set for Marvel: Crisis Protocol, for release in July. The Mad Titan is heading to Marvel: Crisis Protocol in search of the Infinity Gems. This character pack sets players up with all the materials necessary to battle against Thanos, the Mad Titan in their games of Marvel: Crisis Protocol.
Mattel Taps Ex-Campbell Soup Executive as New Finance Chief. Anthony DiSilvestro is slated to join the company next week as an adviser and assume the CFO role next month. Mattel, maker of Barbie and other toy brands, named a new finance chief after restating past earnings last year because of an accounting error.
Download the Summer 2020 Issue of Casual Game Insider. As a friend of ours, you can download a PDF of this issue for FREE for 2 weeks using this promotion link. Highlights: Silver Coin by Bezier Games offers new gameplay twists as the newest stand-alone game in the Silver series, save the world from a raging virus in 5 great titles from the Pandemic series, the "rock stars" of game design who forever changed the world...
Publisher Services Inc. has reduced the roster of hobby game distributors to which it sells products from its client publishers. The new roster of distributors is ACD Distribution, Alliance Game Distributors, and Peachstate Hobby Distribution. Absent from the list are former PSI customers GTS Distribution and Southern Hobby Supply. PSI did not respond to our request for information...
Cards Against Humanity statement. Starting on June 6, several of our former employees posted reports on social media about a toxic work environment in our Chicago office. Many of them centered on one of our eight co-founders, Max Temkin, who led that office. We immediately began an internal investigation …
The Entertainer appoints Pablo Badia to lead European growth. Teal Group, the group behind UK toy retailer The Entertainer, has appointed Pablo Badia as country manager for Poly. Pablo has broad and extensive experience in leading senior teams at global brands such as Massimo Dutti, Camper, Carolina Herrera and Karen Millen as well as Children Worldwide Fashion (CWF), where ...
Crayola highlights inclusion and diversity with new collection Colors of the World crayons represent skin tones worldwide. Victor Casale collaborates with Crayola to create Colors of the World, a 24-count box of specially formulated crayons representing skin tones worldwide ...
Hasbro StarWars Fan first Monday product reveals Members of the Hasbro Star Wars brand and design team exclusively revealed several new Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 offerings, with the lineup including a third wave of Star Wars: The Black Series 40th Anniversary figures featuring characters such as Chewbacca, Boba Fett, and more, as well as a Star Wars: The Vintage Collection Carbon-Freezing Chamber Playset.
Ultra Pro to release new version of Cosmic Cows. Ultra PRO will release a new version Cosmic Cows, a bovine alien abduction game by Playroom Games, into retail in August. Cosmic Cows is a classic Playroom game (see "Playroom Makes Over Bestselling Game") where players take on the role of aliens that are trying to use their tractor beam to extract cows from Earth to win the Annual Extraterrestrial Cow-Pulling...
HASBRO KICKS THE G.I. JOE RELAUNCH INTO HIGH GEAR. For more than a year and a half, Hasbro has been hard at work on a plan to relaunch the iconic G.I. Joe brand. Now, ahead of next week’s official launch of the new G.I. Joe: Classified Series action figure line, Hasbro kicked off its first-ever YO JOE! June campaign by opening a brand-new official website, and, for the first time, official social channels for the brand.
CHATTING WITH THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2020 The Toy Book spoke with specialty retailers and manufacturers about the latest trends, industry
happenings, and how business strategies are evolving in the specialty toy market. Click below to read their perspectives on trends, the evolving industry, and new products for 2020.
Facebook prepares to wage war over release of Gaming app on iOS There's a battle brewing between Apple and Facebook over on the iOS store. According to The New York Times, Apple has rejected Facebook's Facebook Gaming app for a fifth time since the social media network announced its existence in March.
ViacomCBS names Yolanda Cochran of live-action for kids. The former Disney production VP Yolanda Cochran will oversee all aspects of production on Nickelodeon's films and series. Based in LA, Cochran reports to Megan Ring, ViacomCBS’s EVP of production. In the role she manages budgeting, scheduling, location scouting and staffing. She began at ViacomCBS in May.
Nintendo is reportedly cooling its commitment to mobile games. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa is said to have told Japanese media last month that the company was “not necessarily looking to continue releasing many new applications for the mobile market.” According to Bloomberg, Nintendo is disappointed by the revenues it’s achieved so far from titles such as Mario Kart Tour and Fire Emblem Heroes.
Tim Kilpin Named President of PlayMonster. When Tim Kilpin left Activision Blizzard last year, it was said that he planned on heading home to Wisconsin to “retire.” Well, retirement was short-lived as Kilpin is back in the game as president of Beloit-based PlayMonster LLC. Reporting to Chief PlayMonster Bob Wann, Kilpin will focus on expanding and accelerating PlayMonster’s business with an emphasis...
Hannah Mungo, the UK and Ireland director of consumer products at NBCUniversal is moving to a new post at Sutikki. The post says: “One chapter ends and another begins! After nearly 4 years setting up the NBCUniversal Brand Development UK business, building the team and working on some amazing power brands it’s time for the next step in my career.
(the above posted after June 19th)
Spin Master is expanding into digital businesses, including games. Fredrik Loving recently joined as executive vice president of digital studios. A game development veteran who worked on franchises like Battlefield, Loving is running the company’s digital studio in Los Angeles. He reports to co-CEO Ronnen Harary, who cofounded the company in 1994.
Ares Games teams up with Escape Studios to distribute English edition Tales of Evil. Ares Games has teamed up with Escape Studios to release an English edition Tales of Evil board game into the U.S. and non-European countries in September. Tales of Evil was created by Antonio Ferrara, and was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2018 for $102,980 with 1359 backers.
Wizkids launches new wave of 'Pathfinder Battles: Premium Painted Figures'. WizKids revealed new Pathfinder Battles Premium Painted Figures miniature packs that will hit retail stores in September. The Pathfinder Battles Premium Painted Figures packs come with a figure that is pre-painted to the highlight the unique qualities of the miniature.
Sesame Workshop appoints new Head of Creative. Sesame Workshop has tapped Kay Wilson Stallings as the new head of creative. Wilson Stallings has been promoted to serve as the executive vice president of creative and production for the nonprofit, replacing Brown Johnson, who retired in May after working in the role for five years.
Humble's huge 'Fight for Racial Justice' charity bundle has already raised over $1.3M. Humble has launched a 'Fight for Racial Justice' charity bundle to help support organizations fighting for racial equality. The special one-week bundle features over $1200 worth of video games, books, and comics, all of which can be nabbed for a $30 donation.
Microsoft could launch xCloud streaming service as part of Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft intends to launch its xCloud game streaming service later this year as part of its Xbox Game Pass subscription package. Unnamed sources suggest that Microsoft is toying with the idea of installing dedicated PC server blades to enable the streaming of PC titles over xCloud.
Hulu is ending Hulu VR support for most (but not all) virtual reality headsets. Hulu has (quietly) announced that it’s ending Hulu VR support for a number of platforms on June 17, a discontinuation that ultimately leaves only the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR with access to the Hulu VR app.
Zynga launches $25 million charity fund to foster inclusion and diversity. Words with Friends developer-publisher Zynga has established a $25 million fund to help charities focused on fostering diversity and inclusion within the games industry. In a later to staff, company CEO Frank Gibeau explained the $25 million will be dished out to a number of charities over the next five years, and that Zynga employees...
Outright Games Partners with CanspanBMG. Canspan BMG Inc., an industry-leading full-service marketing agency, announces a new partnership with Outright Games, the leading global publisher of kids interactive entertainment, with a focus on delivering engaging video games based on the biggest family entertainment licenses in the world.
Megalopolis Toys introduces Madballs & Barnyard Commandos Retro Action Figure Line. Megalopolis Toys and Cloudco Entertainment, owner of both Madballs™ and Barnyard Commandos™, have partnered to launch a new line of classic/retro action figures for each of these two iconic brands. Launched in 1985 as one of the original ‘gross out’ toy brands of the decade …
Pokémon Snap is coming to the Nintendo Switch. Pokémon Snap is making a comeback. The classic N64 game where players simply capture photos of pocket monsters is on its way to the Nintendo Switch, and being developed by Bandai Namco.
Shopify and Walmart team up to take on shared competitor: Amazon.com. By the end of the year, Shopify expects 1,200 of its merchants to be selling products through Walmart's marketplace.
Hasbro announces expansion of Toy Recycling programme to UK. Hasbro, Inc. has expanded its industry-leading toy and games recycling programme to the UK, having partnered with TerraCycle, the leaders in recycling hard-to-recycle waste, to offer a free, nationwide recycling programme for all Hasbro toys and games.
Last of Us Part 2: Creators say diversity in games ‘essential’. Brought to life by actress Ashley Johnson, Ellie is one of the most famous characters in gaming's recent history. "I love Ellie and think it's very important for people to see characters like her in video games.To have a young female lead that is gay makes it feel real."
Kazushi Kobayashi's MechatroWeGo Toys get manga. Kodansha announced on Monday that it is developing Kazushi Kobayashi's MechatroWeGo robot toy line with a new manga, a smartphone app, and an educational robot toy. Kodansha will announce more details on the overall project this coming fall.
MIKE BOWLING TALKS POUND PUPPIES ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Mike Bowling, creator of the Pound Puppies and Splashlings. On the show, Bowling shares the incredible origin story of Pound Puppies and what he learned along the way. He tells the stories of his serendipitous meetings and rejections...
Baby and infant pre-school brand, Fisher Price, is celebrating its 90 year anniversary. Fisher-Price has been a staple in millions of childhoods and has a rich history of innovation, being the first brand to use and term the phrase ‘pre-school toys’ in 1934 and one of the first companies to make coding available to pre-school kids with the introduction of Code-A-Pillar in 2016.
Hasbro reveals animatronic Deadpool’s head. Deadpool’s Head is described as a “premium interactive head” that includes more than 600 lines of dialogue and expressive movement. It is enhanced with an app for iOS and Android, and reacts to light, sound, and motion. It can even sense certain “scenarios,” such as being placed in a cold refrigerator.
The Pokémon Co. Reveals New Games, In-Game Events. President and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara provided updates and news for a variety of Pokémon titles including a free new app designed to help kids with brushing their teeth. The mobile app uses augmented reality and the front-facing camera to incorporate Pokémon into the teeth-brushing experience.
Sesame Workshop has promoted SVP of creative development Kay Wilson Stallings to EVP of creative and production, with the task of overseeing the company’s slate and growing the company’s global presence. Officially starting in the new position June 16, Wilson Stallings replaces Brown Johnson, who retired from the company last month.
Toysmith inks distribution deal with Anne McGilvray & Co. Following the news that Toysmith parted ways with some of its long-time sales reps early this spring, the company inked a deal with Anne McGilvray & Co. (AMCI) to sell its entire portfolio of products in the U.S. Under the new pact, AMCI will begin selling the Toysmith line July 1.
Mattel gets greener with new hire. Pamela Gill-Alabaster will lead the toymaker's eco-focused efforts as its head of sustainability.
Gill-Alabaster specializes in minimizing corporate environmental impact, developing sustainability metrics and creating long-term brand purpose strategies. She started in the role this week and reports to Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson.
LONNIE JOHNSON, PROLIFIC ENGINEER AND HERO TO MILLIONS OF KIDS (EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW IT). THE INVENTOR OF THE COOLEST TOY ON EARTH ALSO WORKED ON SOME OF THE COOLEST “TOYS” IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. In the case of the Super Soaker, that somebody was not an anonymous team at a toy company but one man, a former US Air Force and NASA engineer named Dr. Lonnie Johnson.
LEGO and Nintendo reveal full product range for new LEGO SuperMario play experience. The LEGO Group today revealed the full product portfolio for its LEGO® Super Mario™ experience. Fans can expand on the LEGO Super Mario range announced in April with a whole new range of Expansion Sets, collectible Character Packs and Power-Up Packs.
MEGALOPOLIS TOYS GOES RETRO WITH MADBALLS AND BARNYARD COMMANDOS ACTION FIGURES. Megalopolis Toys is diving into the ’80s and ’90s for a new line of 6-inch action figures inspired by retro toy properties. First up? Madballs and Barnyard Commandos. Launched in 1985, Madballs was one of the popular gross-out toys of the decade. It sold millions of toys and inspired animated specials, comic books, video...
When it comes to diversity, it’s ‘time for some bravery’. While representation in the kids industry has grown, "with a starting position of nil, we've hardly made progress at all," writes Safi Idea's Wa'qaar Mirza. While many would argue that there is now more diversity in the industry than ever before—whether that is through the representation of women, people of color, other gender or sexual identities, or religious beliefs...
The Lego Group unveils new build-able Disney characters. The new Disney Mickey and Minnie Mouse Lego characters will be available from 1st July. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have been brought to life in build-able Lego brick form. With this new construction set, fans can immerse themselves in the magical world of Lego Disney.
Ninety and still into toys: how Fisher-Price pulled a town out of depression. Legendary US brand behind childhood classics weathers controversy and Covid-19 to celebrate milestone 90th anniversary. In the coming days. With it comes a rare opportunity for uncomplicated nostalgia for a company that over the decades has produced around 5,000 types of toys under the logo: “Our Work is Child’s Play”.
Mattel’s Barbie To ‘Increase Black Representation’ And ‘Spotlight More Black Role Models. In a statement the company writes, “Research shows, starting at the age of five, girls stop believing that their gender can be anything. This issue is called the ‘Dream Gap.’ Early indicators suggest that for Black girls, the impact is even larger and this self-perception at a young age can be detrimental. We are committed . . .
Mike Selinker - Coming clean in my complicity. In the 24 hours before I did the most idiotic and hurtful thing I’ve ever done on the internet, three public entities I’m associated with all got called out for highly problematic actions. I need to talk about them, and me. There is a statement from my company over here, but this is just me. It isn’t a “statement,” just my thoughts . . .
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . .
Lingering COVID-19 pandemic now causes Nintendo Switch Lite to sell out. First, the coronavirus pandemic caused Nintendo's popular Switch mobile game console to sell out at retailers everywhere. Now, the lingering impact of stay-at-home orders is resulting in the cheaper version of the console being out of stock as well.
Toycos reinvent to cope with COVID-19. IP owners and toymakers like Exploding Kittens, Kellytoy and Zuru are pivoting their manufacturing and shipping processes to overcome delays caused by the pandemic. In February, after hearing rumblings of problems in China, California game maker Exploding Kittens took a closer look at its manufacturing efforts.
Toy Trends During Coronavirus Quarantine: Hot Toys, Games & Puzzles Parents Are Turning to During the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to a new report, there's been a shift when it comes to playtime because of the pandemic to toys like Hotwheels, LEGOs, puzzles and '80s classics like Cabbage Patch dolls, Care Bears and the Rubik's Cube.
How COVID-19 is changing family dynamics. The terrible human toll of COVID-19 notwithstanding, quarantine has been a very good thing for the kids’ media industry. Ratings are up, viewership is spiking, and co-viewing has never been stronger. Of course, this good news is offset by a decline in advertising revenues.
Interview: Joel Silverman talks the success of ToyAid and the industry-wide fight against COVID-19. “When the world went into lockdown,” Joel Silverman, CEO of KidsKnowBest and co-founder of the successful ToyAid campaign, begins, “I started to worry about the industry we are in. I thought, what can we do to make a difference? Is there a way to shine a light on this great industry?”
Amazon launches accelerator programme to provide UK small businesses and startups with digital tools to recover lost income during the coronavirus crisis. Launched in partnership with small business support network Enterprise Nation, the Amazon Small Business Accelerator will operate a free online training programme for 200,000 businesses.
Mixed reaction from retail bodies to relaxation of two metre distancing rule. BRC welcomes the move, while Usdaw opposes the revised ‘one metre plus’ rule. Announcing the move in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that that the two metre rule “effectively makes life impossible for large parts of the economy. Where it is possible to keep two metres apart people should – but...
Families playing the waiting game amid summer toy shortage Factors related to the coronavirus pandemic are causing shortages of pools, swing sets, bikes and other recreational equipment. Some families are opting to stay at home more due to the virus and canceling summer vacations. That means there's a big demand for pools, accessories and sandboxes for the backyard.
COVID-19: the battle persists. The toy industry continues to adapt in survival mode as the coronavirus challenges the retail landscape. Six months ago, the idea that a pandemic could happen on U.S. soil was something that few, if any, were considering. The “coronavirus” was tossed around as a problem that would stay overseas. Toy fair season kicked off in Hong Kong amid fears of disruption thanks to regional protests, but...
Minion toys from 'Despicable Me' ensure social distancing between movie fans in France. French movie fans ventured back into cinemas on Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown, helped by a new safety feature: Minions placed at intervals in the seats to ensure social distancing is observed.
(the above posted after June 19th)
Wizards of the Coast announces more Magic: the Gathering shipping delays. Wizards of the Coast announced more Magic: The Gathering shipping delays in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these delays will impact North American retailers, and the new timelines WotC offered are only estimated.
Sesame Workshop, LEGO partner for ‘Elmo’s World News’ COVID-19 Special. Elmo’s World News finds the iconic red Sesame Street Muppet hosting a pretend news program from his bedroom, calling on Muppet correspondents and kids around the world to share news on how they’re playing and learning while staying safe in an unusual world.
Guidance for retailers on safely reopening stores. Operation Open Doors - Path to Reopen Retail, led by NRF and Seyfarth LLP, is providing guidance and tools that NRF members can use as they navigate opening stores after this international health crisis. Areas for guidance on gradual reopenings include logistics, social distancing and safety issues, and how to bring employees back to the workforce.
What Licensees Want in a Post-COVID World. Noah Gelbart, chief revenue officer, CAA-GBG moderated a panel with art, design and emerging categories experts to learn what licensees want in a post-COVID world. At day 3 of the first-ever Licensing Week Virtual, experts from all over the licensing industry came together to share strategies, insights, experiences and more.
Crayola, SchoolMaskPack team for masks. A five-day face mask system has been introduced by Crayola and SchoolMaskPack. SchoolMaskPack has introduced a Monday-through-Friday reusable face mask system as reopening efforts progress during the summer and the upcoming school year.
Little Tikes’ Camp Play@Home is open for business. Little Tikes Camp Play@Home is a new collection of fun, affordable, easy-to-do projects and activities that Little Tikes is sharing across its website and social channels every Monday through Friday for seven weeks. With many families staying home together this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
American Girl is thanking front-line heroes with a new initiative, and the dolls have received some new outfits in the process. The new look is part of the Mattel brand’s #ThankYouHeroes initiative, which other products including Barbie and Fisher-Price have also been involved in. Every outfit sold will lead American Girl to donate a doll craft activity book to First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Toys'R'Us Singapore reopening in Phase 2, promises regular cleaning & sanitizing. Good news for kids—and perhaps parents—Toys"R"Us Singapore will be among the numerous retail stores reopening in Phase 2, which will start on June 19. Everyone should wear masks and maintain safe distancing while in the store. Those entering Toys"R"Us will also be required to check in and check out using SafeEntry.
U.K. stores hope to lure back COVID-weary shoppers. Non-essential" retailers — those selling fashion, toys and books, among other items — are reopening Monday across England for the first time since the country went into lockdown in late March to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
Bossing It: “My work to tackle unsafe toys is the most rewarding” – BTHA’s Natasha Crookes. For the industry more generally, I worry about the unsafe toys we are finding on online platforms, how the reputable companies can compete with companies not making the right investment concerns me. It sounds a bit doom and gloom but my job is to monitor the issues for the industry.
AAP offers guidance to combat digital advertising to children. Marketing to youths no longer is confined to TV commercials and product placement in movies. Young minds now have to decode and resist marketing messages from favorite social media influencers, design “nudges” that encourage purchases and sharing of personal information, and invisible data collection …
TIE pushes for new laws for online marketplaces: toy safety concerns across EU. A new report by Toy Industries of Europe has made the striking discovery that 97 per cent of almost 200 toys bought from third-party sellers on four online marketplaces in Europe did not comply with the strict EU toy safety regulations. The report also found that 76 per cent of those tested had defects that made them dangerous for children.
(the above posted after June 19th)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) updates safety standards of projectile and aquatic toys. The ACCC has issued updates to the safety standards of projectile toys and aquatic toys. The standards are in place to continue protect children from serious injury, hazards, and in some extreme cases, death.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes more counterfeit Pokemon figures, 2nd time in month. Just one month after seizing more than 86,000 counterfeit Pokemon action figures, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Harrisburg seized more than 120,000 more counterfeit Pokemon action figures. If authentic, this latest seizure would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $840,000.
More than 70 per cent of children’s swimming supplies in Hong Kong fail to meet European safety standards: consumer watchdog. The Consumer Council found that all 22 products tested contained naphthalene – classified as a possible carcinogenic substance – with concentrations ranging between 0.2 and 4.3mg/kg. 6 products in the study were in excess of the 2mg/kg limits of naphthalene recommended...
Press Releases . . .
HAVE YOU SPOTTED THEM? EIGHT FUNGISAURS IDENTIFIED BY CLEVER KIDS AROUND THE WORLD. HAVE YOU SPOTTED THEM? EIGHT FUNGISAURS IDENTIFIED BY CLEVER KIDS AROUND THE WORLD. Genetically Engineered Dinosaur-Mushroom Hybrids Are The Cutest Collectibles Including C-Rex… A T-Rex Mash Up With A Woolly Chanterelle. Los Angeles, CA. What do you get when you genetically cross a Velociraptor dinosaur with a Chicken of the Woods mushroom? Why even ask? Because kids everywhere have discovered Fungisaurs ($10). These imaginative collectible toys expect to be the next-big-thing with kids ages 4 and up. The whole family will dive into the topics of nature, science and biodiversity once they interact with Fungisaurs.
SUMMERTIME AND THE LEARNING IS EASY WITH FIVE EDUTAINING ‘STEAM’ GAMES FROM OjO. Movie Director Math Or Which Way? Coding Games Boost Kids’ Comprehension While Combating The Dreaded Summer Brain Drain New York, New York (June 22, 2020) – What did you do this summer? That’s the question most kids will hear when they return to classes in the fall. Imagine a teacher’s surprise when Junior proclaims, “I built my spatial awareness, imagination and collaboration skills thanks to OjO!” The suggestion is not that far-fetched as global toymaker OjO rolls out five inviting games that really do boost, in a fun way, STEAM skills for children ages 4 and up! OjO’s motto is simple – create smart games for future innovators.
Phone Pics Play Feature Role in Endless Games’ New Camera Roll Game. The new product is a traditional game that embraces technology use and the top trending VSCO girl demographic. For its new Camera Roll Game (MSRP $19.99 for 3 or more players ages 12+), Endless Games “app”-lies tween and teen screen time vanity into an interactive activity. Camera Roll is the game that has players engaged in quirky category challenges to quickly match a photo from their phone that best suits the title.
Saying goodbye has never been so fun! A new party game from Big G Creative, Bye, Felicia! incorporates the pop culture phrase in a fun and fast-paced game of wild word associations. For ages 12 and up and available now at Target, the game requires players to mind meld with friends and family to guess what others are thinking. Bye, Felicia! challenges great minds to think alike or at least guess how they think! Players have 30 seconds to list as many answers as they can before time runs out. The topics are random and range from...
Jazwares launches collectibles inspired by K-Pop superstars BLACKPINK. K-Pop sensation BLACKPINK is about to take center stage with an exciting new launch. In partnership with toy company Jazwares, the K-Pop superstars are launching their first-ever collectible toy line. Available at Target and Amazon, the BLACKPINK collection features three debut products.
Exploding Kittens Launches First Word-Guessing Game - Poetry for Neanderthals. Exploding Kittens, the hit tabletop game creator, today announced the release of its latest card game, Poetry for Neanderthals, a word-guessing party game, where teams earn points by correctly figuring out words and phrases. The catch is that the "Neanderthal Poets" must only use single syllable words to describe the complex terms, or they get bopped with a 2-foot inflatable club. Simply put: you must speak good or get hit with stick.
Spielwarenmesse eG asks trade and industry about the crisis. The Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg attracts around 65,000 buyers and retailers and 2,800 manufacturers every year. To gauge how they are dealing with the global Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, Spielwarenmesse eG, who organises the leading industry event, has conducted a representative survey among both visitors and exhibitors. 1,810 trade visitors from 42 countries and 548 companies from 48 countries took part in the survey which was carried out in spring.
(the above posted after June 19th)
MoFU Launches an Exciting Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Award-winning Toys to the USA. Yoshiaki Ito, creator of MōFU, or Mighty Omega Folding Universe, a geometric puzzle toy, is preparing to bring his toys to the States after a successful Kickstarter campaign. MōFU are toys inspired by both small Brooklyn apartments, traditional Japanese toys, and origami. The toys can be unfolded, positioned, and played with, before being returned back into their cube shape and nestled into their resting boxes.
Roylco in Anderson is the latest Upstate company to keep employees working by making personal protective equipment for the health care industry. The company is making face shields and foam pieces that add a measure of comfort to the health care workers who wear them for long shifts, according to a news release. Roylco made the pivot when both of its enterprises faced a downturn because of closed schools and factories. Roylco’s education division develops and manufactures early learning products for the classroom and home.
Licensing Works! ® has been appointed the U.S. licensing agent for PIRATA & CAPITANO ™ , the new animated adventure series from Paris-based animation production and distribution studio Millimages. Licensing Works! will debut PIRATA & CAPITANO this week during Licensing Week Virtual. Licensing and promotional partners are sought in all key categories including toys, collectibles, plush, costumes, games, puzzles, publishing, apparel and accessories, party goods, consumables, home and room décor, as well as QSR promotions and . . .
Aurora World Inc. Tapped as Master Plush Licensee for Millimages’ Popular Molang ™ Character in North America. Aurora World Inc. has been appointed the master plush licensee for North America by Paris-based animation production and distribution studio Millimages, brokered through Licensing Works! ® , for the popular Molang character. Aurora is set to introduce the new line in early 2021. The product launch will include plush in a wide range of product translations in varying price points and sizes from $10 retail and . . .
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals . . .
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more)
Minecraft, King's Quest, Plus join World Video Game Hall of Fame. Four games have been selected to join the likes of Microsoft Solitaire and Halo in the Strong Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame, marking the honorary video game exhibit’s fifth set of inductees.
The 5 biggest announcements from the EA Play Live 2020 This year, Electronic Arts, like many of the giant video game publishers, switched from what would normally have been a massive E3 press conference in Los Angeles to a virtual-only event called EA Play Live.
China moves vast trade fair online, but few buyers follow. The twice-a-year fair usually draws more than 180,000 foreign buyers and 25,000 Chinese vendors to the southern city of Guangzhou. With most foreign visitors barred from China, the event has transformed itself into an e-commerce platform with mini-shopping channels.
Tough times, tough people: ASTRA members take on COVID-19. Weathering the rough times is nothing new for the retailers, manufacturers, and sales representatives who are members of ASTRA. Nimbleness is part of the ASTRA entrepreneurial DNA. Without lumbering, corporate hierarchies and with an ear to the ground in our local communities, we have always prided ourselves on our ability to make quick changes...
(the above posted after June 19th)
ASTRA announces its 2020 Best Toys for Kids award winners. The list includes fourteen winning toys in fourteen categories. “ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award program is different from other top toy lists because it reflects the collective expertise of hundreds of toy retailers who know toys inside out,” said Kimberly Mosley, president of ASTRA. “The list of winners is a well-balanced representation of the fun, top-quality...
Comic-Con International: San Diego is online this year due to the pandemic. This means no lines, no waiting for tickets, and you now have to fight way more people to get your hands on SDCC exclusives. Entertainment Earth is among the exhibitors making its collectibles public for everyone. Entertainment Earth’s collectibles include those from Mattel, Funko, Bandai, FiGPiN, Loungefly.
Warner Bros and DC partner on DC Fandome event. Fans can virtually attend the largest gathering of talent, announcements and content reveals in the history of DC. On Saturday 22nd August, starting at 10am PDT, Warner Bros. will welcome fans into the DC FanDome – a free virtual fan experience where no badge is required. Accessible for 24 hours at DCFanDome.com...
Cartoon Forum goes forward with live event. The annual European animation pitch fest will move forward with safety measures in place, but Ottawa International Animation Festival has opted to go virtual. Running from September 14 to 17, online registrations are open today for Cartoon Forum “in real life.” Currently, the French government is allowing events with less than 5,000 participants to...
GAMA BOARD, OFFICER ELECTION RESULTS Organization Reported a Loss in 2019. The Game Manufacturers Association held its annual membership meeting on Tuesday, which included elections for two officer posts and two at-large directors. We reported the initial roster of candidates earlier today (see "List of Candidates for GAMA Board, Officers"); two additional candidates for Director-at-Large...
ASTRA CAMP - S-MORE THAN A TRADE SHOW. Save the dates - August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 for a two-week summer event. Get ready for product discovery, camper social events (including the can't-miss Lip Sync Battle) and education sessions. All events will be hosted virtually and you'll come away with the tools and support you need to navigate the wilderness of Q4 ahead!
Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide
aNb Media's (US) Top Ten Stories of the Week . . .
Toyworld (UK) Most Read Stories of the Week
ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) Top Ten Stories of the Week
1. Galactus Returns to Devour 'Marvel HeroClix'!
2. Games Workshop Unveils New 'Warhammer 40,000' Box Set
3. GAMA Cancels Origins Game Fair 2020
4. Wizards of the Coast Removes Racist 'Magic: The Gathering' Cards
5. Rolling For Initiative -- Another Week of Turmoil to Discuss
6. Wizards of the Coast Announces More 'Magic: The Gathering' Shipping Delays
7. Konami Reveals New Premium Gold Rare Set for 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG'
8. Roll Jumbo Critical Hits With 'Dungeons & Dragons: Plush d20 Dice'
9. Brotherwise Launches 'Overlord'
10. Transdimensional Zerkalo Bloc Invades 'Monsterpocalypse'
Spielwarenmesse Magazine's (Germany) Top Five Articles
Toy & Hobby (Australia) Top Articles for the Past Two Weeks (catching up)
See the top stories for this week ending 19 June:
The top stories for week ending 12 June: