the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is June 18 - 25, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...

Happy Friday! 

Happy 99th Birthday Reuben Klamer! You've certainly played with some of Reuben’s inventions like The Game of Life and 1-2-3 Roller Skates. Reuben and Bea Pardo, his Toylab's Executive Director, are dear friends of mine. 99 is a big number and it means Reuben has a longer perspective than most of us. Among the nuggets of great advice he has given me over the years includes that you should stop running sometimes and take a look around at what you have accomplished. Well, I hope you are doing that, Reuben, because your list of accomplishments is 99 miles long! Our Tribute to Reuben  will warm your heart. 

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TAGIE Award nominations are open! New categories! Don't wait…  NOMINATE!   Are You an Innovator in Toy & Game Product Development, Marketing, PR, Retail, Design or Supplier? NOMINATE a colleague or NOMINATE yourself!

POP Pub Night is July 1st, 5-7pmCT! Mark your calendars! All are welcome. Fun, Fun, Fun, and great connections to be made! Go to peopleofplay.com/pub - click on UNO room to join us!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

 

Mary

tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin: Dear Tim... The toy industry is nuts right now. Is this a good time to join? 

I live near a lake, and I love to watch how boats navigate its ever-changing waters. Placid mornings will be followed by windy afternoons, and the waves chop and churn in turn, causing harried boat captains to constantly shift their footing, trim their sales, or adjust their direction. (OK, calling these weekend water warriors ‘captains’ may be a stretch, but hey if you’ve got the hat, wear it.)

 

And so it was this morning that I was perusing LinkedIn while fielding updates from China on shipping delays, missives from Product Development on cost increases, and NPD reports on the rapidly changing retail sales outlook. Damned if it didn’t feel like I was trying to steer a boat in very choppy waters.

 

And it’s not an exaggeration to suggest this rough weather adds up to a once-in-a-generation storm. Coming on the heels of a global pandemic (which my global colleagues regularly remind me is anything but subsiding in other parts of the world), and followed by gobsmacking spikes in demand, severe shortages at every stage of the global supply chain, and a never-before-seen rush on industry talent, this is some storm. Our boat’s rockin’. Read More...

Happy 99th Birthday, Reuben Klamer! tBR Person of the Week

Happy Birthday Reuben! You are such a valued member of our Hasbro family and we are so proud and honored to be associated with the joy you’ve brought the world through the Game of Life. Your creativity and your life are an inspiration to this industry, and to children everywhere who have grown up with more fun and smiles in their lives because of your creations. We wish you and your family much happiness as you celebrate this very special birthday. -Jared Wade and the Hasbro Inventor Relations Team

 

Dear Reuben: It’s hard to conceive 99 years. I am only sorry that two of your original partners, Art Linkletter and Merrill Hassenfeld, are not here to be with you. I also must say that Milton Bradley is probably not happy he’s not here to enjoy the fruits of what you have created for your industry and the children around the world. Happy, Happy Birthday. Alan Hassenfeld

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY REUBEN! You are truly an inspiration and wonderful role model, as well as an incredible friend. Thank you for all that you have done for Hasbro, the toy industry, and me. John Frascotti

And many more birthday wishes from colleagues all over our industry! Click here for your feel good Friday! 

Shari Spiro: KROMA - Lightbulb Moments to Milestones! tBR Company of the Week

The Find - Sometimes it is a Journey

I’ve been working with the KROMA team for nearly 4 years from the day I first walked into the NYU Game Lab for their annual event and saw an irresistible and very colorful, triangular light up strategy game sitting on a table.  My daughter Jenni, who works as a project manager manufacturing games at Ad Magic, was attending with me. I grabbed her arm and literally pulled her over to the table.  “I have to sign this game.", I whispered in her ear.  “Let’s play it” I said. “I hope it plays as good as it looks!"

 

And that was how it started.  A multi year journey had begun. The first order of business was to fully establish the parameters of the publishing agreement with this amazing group of female designers.  Next I had my work cut out for me researching the relatively complex manufacturing for the unique electronics and lighting in the game. The pieces, a translucent plastic in several different angular shapes and colors, required tooling, so I consulted with an industrial designer who had conveniently moved within a block of our NJ headquarters.  The board is a triangle shape with a light up center surface that is etched with small triangles. The first prototype initially came with a power cable and a dimmer. When I presented this first version, a buyer at Walmart commented on the plug and suggested a USB port instead.  Read More...

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Hasbro has completed the sale of Entertainment One Music, the Peppa Pig studio’s legacy music business, as part of a $385 million deal. The division was sold to entities controlled by Blackstone, which also own SESAC, a leading music rights organization purchased for a reported $1 billion in 2017. As part of the transaction, Entertainment One Canada has sold off the local music division of eOne.

Sky-high shipping rates and container shortages now affecting India. According to the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), there has been a steep rise in rates in recent weeks. The story focuses on India, where forwarders are being quoted hugely inflated freight rates by carriers, while also apparently declining to honour existing contracts.

Amazon and Asmodee jointly filed a lawsuit against two defendants for counterfeiting the popular and award-winning card game sets, Dixit: Daydreams Expansion and Dixit: Revelations Expansion. Asmodee Group is a leading board game publisher and distributor. The defendants, based in Brooklyn, New York, attempted to offer the counterfeit products in Amazon’s store, which violates Amazon’s policies, infringes on Asmodee’s trademarks, and breaks the law.

(the above posted after Bloom Report was sent June 25th)

PlayMonster Acquires Ann Williams Group. PlayMonster LLC is solidifying its place as a leader in the arts and crafts category. The company has acquired Michigan-based Ann Williams Group, a manufacturer of craft and activity kits for kids of all ages with distribution across key mass retailers and independent channels. Ann Williams Group brands, including Craft-tastic, Loopdedoo, CraftCrush, Loopdeloom, Sticker & Chill...

Wicked Uncle accuses Amazon of 'unfairly' improving its organic search results  The online gift specialist says it will request that Amazon stops using 'Wicked Uncle Toys' to drive click-throughs to its site - and that it isn't the only retailer affected. Mike O’Shea, founder of Wicked Uncle, told Toy World: “We had a lot of hassle in May from Amazon bidding on ‘Wicked Uncle’ for PPC [Pay-Per-Clicks, an internet advertising...

Electronic Arts to Acquire Warner Bros. Games’ Playdemic for $1.4B. The game maker is known for 'Golf Clash.' “Playdemic is a premier mobile gaming company founded in 2010 and known for its popular, award-winning game Golf Clash,” EA said on Wednesday. “Golf Clash is one of the leading mobile games in the U.S. and U.K. and has more than 80 million downloads globally to date.”

UK retail supply chain needs more drivers and warehouses. ParcelHero warns that the shortage of drivers has become critical, while the online shopping boom has created an urgent need for extra warehouse space. ParcelHero says the UK has a shortfall of around 70,000 drivers that could lead to delays, empty shelves and higher prices – not just in food retail, but right across the board.

Amazon (UK) under renewed fire over destruction of unsold stock. The UK Government is calling for action following an ITV News investigation that showed the online retail giant is still destroying millions of items of unsold stock a year, most of it new. Undercover filming carried out at the retailer’s Dunfermline fulfilment centre, one of 24 that operate across the UK, showed smart TVs, laptops, drones, hairdryers,...

Germany's 468 SPAC to acquire Boxine, the company behind the Tonies brand. It is reported that the deal will see the children's digital media and entertainment business change hands for around €1b. 468 SPAC has signed a letter of intent that includes raising €100m through private investment in public equity (PIPE) for Boxine, the children’s digital media and entertainment business which produces Tonies, the...

U.S. labor market healing; businesses boost spending as profits rebound. Fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market steadily recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic amid a reopening economy, but a dearth of willing workers could hinder faster job growth in the near term. The economy appears to be at cruising speed more than half way through the second quarter...

Amazon Prime Day results may disappoint as growth slows. The timing of Amazon’s Prime Day may have been just a bit ahead of where consumers' mindset is this June. With the pandemic requirements lifting and shoppers ready to get out of the house and into the stores, Prime Day may disappoint as growth slows compared to previous years. Prime Day is projected to hit 19% year-over-year growth. 

Pokemon leakers told to pay $150,000 each in damages to The Pokemon Company. Two leakers have been told to pay The Pokemon Company a sizable $150,000 each in damages along with attorneys' fees after taking and uploading photographs of an unreleased Pokemon Sword and Shield strategy guide to the internet back in 2019.  

Habbo owner Azerion buys German social game company Whow Games. Gaming and entertainment platform Azerion has acquired German social game developer and publisher Whow Games for an undisclosed fee. Founded in 2015, Whow creates and publishes free-to-play online social games for web browsers and mobile app stores. The Hamburg-based company has previously worked with notable agencies...

Inflation fears grow as UK factory prices surge. Cost pressures on UK firms have gone up at a record level, suggesting that the current surge in consumer prices may be more than just a blip. A closely watched survey, produced by IHS Markit/CIPS, showed input costs rose at the fastest rate for 13 years. And inflation of prices charged by firms hit its highest since records began in 1999, as factories struggled to source raw...

Tencent grabs majority stake in The Cycle and Spec Ops developer Yager. Tencent has acquired a majority stake in Spec Ops: The Line and The Cycle developer Yager. The Chinese company, which owns or holds stakes in Riot Games, Supercell, Epic Games, and more, previously grabbed a minority stake in the Berlin-based studio in February. 

GameStop to invest in 'growth initiatives' after raising $1.12 billion through ATM Offering. GameStop has raised $1.12 billlon dollars after selling 5 million shares of common stock through an at-the-market equity offering program (ATM Offering).  The U.S. video game retailer announced the move in a short press release, but had already indicated it was considering the sale earlier in June.  

Thousands of Tonka trucks stuck in China as shipping crisis deepens. A toy shortage is threatening the US holiday sales season — and retailers can thank a stubborn lack of shipping containers needed to bring them home from China. Some 50,000 Tonka truck toys are stranded in Shenzhen, China, just north of Hong Kong, where they have been boxed up and ready to be delivered to US retailers for weeks. 

Waterstones boss indicates “UK retail boom” following sell-out success of puzzles during pandemicThe boss of the high street book, games, and puzzles retailer, Waterstones has described the UK as ‘going through a retail boom’ as customers choose to spend their money in shops and online, in the wake of foreign travel and with much of the hospitality sector at the mercy of Covid-19 restrictions. 

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Nerd is the word | The Insights Family explores the UK’s booming Kidult market

(the above posted after June 25th)

The Insights Family: “Kids are becoming leaders in sustainable consumption” . . . . . Toy companies are keeping an eye on China shipping delays as key holiday season nears . . . . . Retail workers are quitting at record rates for higher-paying work: ‘My life isn’t worth a dead-end job’ . . . . . The toy industry goes crypto . . . . . . US has spent $650m on mobile sports games in the past year . . . . . India's gaming market to grow 113% by 2025 - KPMG

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Studio Retail reports profit increase of 513% to £41.7m

(the above posted after June 25th)

shares of Spin Master are red hot, up 15% over this past week and 82% since its February lows . . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 28.4% Upside.

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) expected to announce earnings of $0.53 per share. Analysts predict that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will announce earnings per share (EPS) of $0.53 for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have made estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The lowest EPS estimate is $0.48 and the highest is $0.69. Hasbro posted earnings per share of $0.02 during the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 2,550%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on July 26th.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Just ignore the ****ers…it’s the Friday Blog! The past two weeks’ Blogs have been the most widely read of the year so far – who knew the subject of shipping and logistics could be quite so enthralling? However, there isn’t much new to report on the shipping front this week – on the plus side, Yantian Port is pretty much back to full operation now, although the backlog is likely to take weeks...

What The Hell Is Going On In The Collectible Comics Market? 2020 was a pretty good year for many investments, but one class of assets has seen nosebleed-level growth that has shocked even long-time market watchers: vintage comics and original comic book art. Though there is no market index to quantify growth in this area, the results of large public auctions provide some transparency into the value that buyers place....

All UK Disney Stores except flagship rumoured to be closing. Disney has begun a store closure programme in the US and several stores in the UK have also already closed this year. The group announced in March that it planned to close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America, about 20% of its worldwide total, as it revamped its digital shopping platforms to focus more on online sales.

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Toy Chest: LEGO Version of Jaws's Orca Could Become a Reality. The iconic boat from Jaws suffered a violent end—both in the 1975 film and in real life. If a new product idea proposed on LEGO.com comes to fruition, Jaws fans will get the chance to rebuild the ill-fated vessel at home. As Bloody Disgusting reports, a design featuring the Orca from Jaws is one of the most exciting LEGO Ideas...

Sustainability in the toy industry will not be achieved in one move, but through ‘consistent and incremental improvements’, as well as relentless innovation, is the message being promoted by the international toy maker, ZURU, ahead of the Sustainability in Licensing Conference this week.Speaking with ToyNews before the online conference kicks off on June 24th, Amelia Jory, global marketing manager for seasonal...

Prime minister Narendra Modi promotes Made-in-India Games and Toys. Speaking about the global toy market and video games, PM Narendra Modi recently asserted that India needs to contribute more by designing and producing in the country. “Majority of the online or digital games available in the market today are not Indian in concept,” tweeted PM Modi on his microblogging account earlier today.

The Secrets of LEGO House. This summer, Chronicle Books, in partnership with the LEGO Group, is releasing The Secrets of LEGO® House, an insider’s tour of the “Home of the Brick,” the once-in-a-lifetime destination located near the company’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark. Part playhouse, part museum, part hands-on-building paradise, LEGO House is a 40,000-square-foot architectural marvel with 25 million LEGO ...

Sonic the Hedgehog: 'I'd never seen anything like it in a video game'. It's been 30 years since one of gaming's most-loved characters, Sonic the Hedgehog, first raced across our TV screens. In the early 1990s it was Nintendo and its mustached mascot Mario who dominated gaming. However, Sega with their new Mega Drive console, were determined to take on the Japanese giant. They turned to Tom Kalinske,...

Brighton Toy and Model Museum – Brighton, England. Located an hour outside of London, UK, Brighton Toy and Model Museum highlights objects of play from European-based toymakers. Opened by Chris Littledale in 1991 to showcase his personal collection of model trains, Littledale and his team evolved the Museum to include over 10,000 objects of play in the 4,000-square-foot Museum. 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Top 10 Most Iconic Barbie Dolls of the 1960s. Barbie has had many iconic looks over the years, but to vintage Barbie lovers, the dolls from the 1960s are some of the most iconic. Here I’ve gathered a list of the most iconic dolls from Barbie’s first decade. 10. Swirl Ponytail Barbie. An updated version of the original ponytail doll, the Swirl Ponytail doll was released in 1964. Swirl ponytail dolls came in a variety of hair colors and are popular with collectors.

(the above posted after June 25th)

Movieland Drive-In Theater from Remco (1959)If you have fond childhood memories of enjoying drive-in movies in the back of the family station wagon, the Movieland Drive-In Theater playset will have great appeal for you. Released in 1959, it was one of the earliest toys to hit the market from New Jersey-based Remco Industries. Remco (an acronym drawn from the words Remote and Control) has remained a favourite collectible brand for its vast array of vehicles and licensed toys from the 1960s.

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Sesame Workshop named Sony Creative Products Inc. (SCP) as the licensing agent for the property in Japan. The show has reached over 150 countries, generating $1.4 billion in international retail sales of licensed products. Following its U.S. debut in 1969, Sesame Street first aired in Japan in 1971. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary since of its Japanese premiere.

Mattel, ViacomCBS Ink Licensing Deal for PAW Patrol: The Movie Mega Bloks, UNO Junior. Under the new agreement, Mattel Games will issue UNO Junior PAW Patrol — a simplified UNO Junior card game designed for younger players — while Mattel's Mega Bloks brand will unleash a collection of more than 10 new building sets, including the Adventure City Pups Assortment, Marshall’s City Fire Rescue set, and Rubble’s City...

Jakks Pacific, The Heart Supply Partner for Target Skateboard Launch. Jakks Pacific and Johnny Schillereff — founder of Element Skateboards — are teaming up to bring skateboarding to the masses while doing a lot of good along the way. Target is the exclusive destination for a groundbreaking collection of high-quality skateboards from The Heart Supply, Schillereff’s new company that was founded with giving in its DNA.

(the above posted after June 25th)

Hasbro and Reebok combine forces to launch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers footwear collectionThe global entertainment powerhouse, Hasbro has partnered with Reebok to introduce a new collection of trainers based on the original ’90s television series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The new family footwear collection pairs some of Reebok’s iconic silhouettes with five of the original Power Rangers. 

Rovio Entertainment has secured exclusive rights to the Moomin brand to develop and publish Moomin video and mobile games, the first of which is expected to reach soft launch later this year. Rovio has also invested five million euros (roughly U.S. $5.9 million) into Gutsy Animations, the studio behind the series Moominvalley. The partnership between Rovio and Moomin brings together some of Finland’s most...

Target now has its own version of a Monopoly game. Instead of being rewarded for bold spending, the player who saves the most wins. Instead of buying properties and hotels, you fill a shopping basket with groceries, clothes, housewares or other items found at a Target store, and compete to see who can save the most at checkout. Players are encouraged to use the game’s version of the RedCard (the Target rewards credit...

Curiosity Ink Media and Cepia partner on new Cats vs. Pickles series. The partnership will enrich the popular collectible toy property with an animated Cats vs. Pickles series and a robust publishing programme. The companies say the partnership marks their respective forays into the lucrative and profitable worlds of content distribution and publishing, offering new revenue streams for both and unlocking the potential...

Iscream Unlocks the Magic with Care Bears Licensed Products. In collaboration with Cloudco Entertainment, Iscream will launch a new line of Care Bears-licensed lifestyle products and accessories this fall. The full line of products will feature bright colors, prints, and the Care Bears characters. Products will include plush sleeping bags and blankets, onesies and other children’s apparel, backpacks, luggage, pillows...

JAKKS Pacific Announces Multi-Year Contract Extension With BLACK+DECKER™ in North America. Under this agreement, JAKKS will continue to design, manufacture, market, and sell BLACK+DECKER toy work benches, tool sets, tools, housewares, and kitchen products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. JAKKS’ current BLACK+DECKER branded toy product lines include best-sellers like the Tool Belt Set, Electric Power Drill...

Moose Toys delivers a triple threat with new 'Akedo' franchise combining action figures, battling and collectability. Moose Toys is poised to deliver a one-two-three knockout punch this summer with the launch of Akedo – Ultimate Arcade Warriors, the first brand to combine realistic battling action figures at a micro-collectible scale. Akedo marks the innovative toymaker's biggest boys' launch to date and will be backed...

The Tune Squad joins the Noble Collection’s BendyFigs lineup. The Tune Squad — Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Lola Bunny, and LeBron James — is getting bendy. Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The Noble Collection inked a deal for characters from Space Jam: A New Legacy to join the BendyFigs lineup of playable, collectible figures. BendyFigs are detailed figures created in a flexible form factor for poseability. 

The LEGO Group introduces 2-player interactive play with new Mario and Luigi sets.  For the first time, kids and fans alike will be able to experience the Lego Super Mario universe in two-player mode. Lego Mario and Lego Luigi figures can connect via Bluetooth and stay in sync while walking, flipping, jumping, working together to defeat enemies, defeating challenges, and, of course, catching coins. 

Jenga: Scooby Doo Edition from The OP GamesRuh-roh, Raggy! Jenga: Scooby-Doo Edition is inspired by the iconic Hanna-Barbera character and puts a delicious twist on the nerve-wracking party game. A common scene in Scooby-Doo episodes sees Shaggy and Scooby indulge in absurdly large sandwiches. Playing off this running joke, these JENGA blocks are colored to represent tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, and bread. 

LEGO Education and NASA launch STEAM learning series ahead of the Artemis I mission. LEGO Education has detailed a new collaboration with NASA to launch a free digital STEAM learning series this September, designed to spark curiosity and engagement in STEAM through the upcoming Artemis I mission. Called Build to Launch: A STEAM Exploration Series, the 10-week series includes interactive episodes and...

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People . . . 

LONNY WEINSTEIN JOINS DIVERSE MARKETING AS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT. Weinstein joins the company from Melissa & Doug where he served for nearly 20 years, most recently as vice president of omnichannel sales. During his time at Melissa & Doug, Weinstein was part of the team that grew the company from a small manufacturer catering primarily to independent toy stores and gift shops to...

WarnerMedia EMEA grows kids team. Reporting into Vanessa Brookman, Lars Wagner will lead CEE kids channels, while Monika Oomen will handle brand, communications and franchise management for EMEA. WarnerMedia EMEA has brought in a pair of Disney alums to strengthen the newly formed leadership team for its kids business in the region.

Lourdes Arocho, formerly VP of worldwide licensing at Paramount Pictures, is now the company’s SVP of Paramount Pictures Licensing, and global games and publishing for ViacomCBS Consumer Products. Based in LA and reporting to Pam Kaufman, president of ViacomCBS Consumer Products, Arocho will lead international business on games and publishing. Prior to joining Paramount in 2019, she held exec CP...

(the above was posted after June 25th)

Brian Robbins steps into expanded ViacomCBS role The president of kids and family entertainment for the company's domestic media networks is adding Paramount+ streaming responsibilities to his remit. In his newly expanded role, Robbins will also serve as chief content officer for kids and family programming at the burgeoning SVOD.

Halilit bolsters sales team with addition of Stephanie Malinowski. Stephanie's background in toys and gifts will prove a boon to the company as it seeks to increase its presence at retail in the north. Amy Wildman, Halilit sales manager, said: “Stephanie’s enthusiasm for our brands and the baby, toddler and pre-school markets that we reach is truly fantastic, and we’re excited to have her joining us at this time.

Kidicraft welcomes Katy Greenwood as company expands. Keeping it in the family, Katy will work alongside her father Roy Greenwood and the team, as Kidicraft moves to new premises. Katy’s appointment will serve to support the increased demand that the company is experiencing and ensure that it maintains its excellent levels of customer service.

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Patti and Jonathan Becker, the duo behind Anjar Co. and Becker Associates. Patti and Jonathan discuss their recent work building a new licensing program for Wham-O before sharing information on upcoming opportunities and an exclusive announcement.

Entertainment studio ZAG continues the expansion of its team in Latin America with the appointment of Melisa Fuhr as Licensing and Retail Director, South America. Fuhr will be responsible for licensing activities across South America. In Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia, she will oversee the efforts of ZAG’s licensing agency, IMC; while in Chile and Peru, Fuhr will work directly with licensees and retail....

Plum Play welcomes Lesley Whitehouse as product manager. With over 20 years' experience in the toy industry, Lesley will be responsible for facilitating the introduction of new items into the Plum Play portfolio. Lesley brings a wealth of experience to Plum Play, having spent over 16 years working for Toys R Us as lead buyer for Europe. Most recently, Lesley worked for Mothercare and the Entertainer as a senior buyer.

Xbox Game Studios Publishing has hired Portal lead designer Kim Swift. Xbox Games Studios Publishing (XGS Publishing) has named Portal lead designer Kim Swift as its new senior director of cloud gaming. Microsoft announced the news on the XGS Publishing Twitter account, and said Swift will help "accelerate our innovation and collaborate with independent studios to build games for the cloud." 

Andrew Welch joins Craft Buddy as head of marketing.  Andrew looked after the marketing for the Power Rangers and Ben 10 brands during his 5 years at Bandai as sr product manager, and spent 6 years with Creative Toys Company marketing the SoccerStarz brand and collectible mini figure range, Team Rudolph. With experience in R&D gained at Vivid, Flair and most recently at John Adams, his expertise in both developing...

A Colorado family was so into board games, they made their own. Canoosh is designed for ages 8+, and plays with probabilities and luck. The Goekes had a problem to solve. As a family of avid board game players in Lakewood, they wanted to create a game that was both accessible and fun for all ages. They found inspiration in dice probability chart. “It’s funny, you don’t even think about two dice, you just roll them,” 12-yr-old...

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Companies, Brands . . .

Step2’s Pretend Grills Are Sizzlin’, Smokin’, and Sweet Fun for Kids this Summer. July is National Grilling Month, and what better way to celebrate than by letting kids host their own BBQ bash? Families can roll out some role-play fun with Step2’s outdoor grill sets that mini Masterchefs-in-the-making can use to grill up the fun.

Little Tikes Introduces the Pelican Explore & Fit Cycle. MGA Entertainment‘s Little Tikes division is getting into the at-home fitness craze. Over the past 18 months, sales of cycles, bikes, and other home training equipment have been booming as parents looked for ways to get active and stay fit while gyms around the world were closed. Now kids can get in on the action with the Little Tikes Pelican Explore & Fit Cycle

The entertainment division of Hasbro is gearing up for a special delivery. eOne, alongside Creative Conspiracy and Frogbox, has been working on Ninja Express, a new animated series from creator Kim Claeys. The series about a special delivery service run by super-powered ninjas has been in development for nearly eight years, originally as 3 Little Ninjas Delivery Service.

Hasbro and Universal unveil Transformers X Jurassic Park collaboration. The first Transformers X Jurassic Park product line to be revealed from the new collaboration is Tyrannocon Rex and Autobot JP93.  The new Transformers X Jurassic Park figure and vehicle pack celebrates the groundbreaking, ultimate thrill ride, Jurassic Park, which brought audiences to an island theme park populated by dinosaurs...

England promised bespoke Uno packs if the team wins Euro 2020. Following England's defeat of Germany, the team has been offered an added incentive to progress to the final of the Euro 2020 tournament. The fast-paced card game has become a firm favourite among the England players, who have become addicted to the game as they while away the hours between preparation sessions for their tournamnet matches.

American Girl’s Virtual Funfest Brings Dance Parties and Doll Yoga Home. Each day will start out with a 35th birthday dance tutorial at 1 p.m. ET to get kids moving and grooving, followed by a doll-friendly yoga session. Kids will be able to chat with Connie Porter (author of the Addy series), along with Julia Lester, Marley Dias, Iris Zahn, and more in special panels throughout the event. Team USA athletes will also be...

Care Bears Premiere Care-A-Lot Club YouTube Series. Cloudco Entertainment, which owns the brand, premiered a new “Youtube-first” live-action mini series, Care-A-Lot Club, and will release new episodes every Tuesday at 9 a.m. EST. through July. Care-A-Lot Club‘s six episodes star the bears in original music videos and pop songs that complement another show from the property, the 2D animated TV series Care Bears...

Spin Master will release its Aerobie Sonic Fin on August 22, a new toy football that can travel up to 100 yards.  To help launch the new Sonic Fin Football, the company teamed up with NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, who stars in an ad for the product. In the video — set to air on television and YouTube — Wilson goes up against 13-year-old football star Maxwell ‘Bunchie’ Young, as the two take turns making throws...

Nickelodeon unveils its new family wearable device NickWatch at Mobile World Congress in BarcelonaViacomCBS and Nickelodeon have unveiled the firm’s first connected smart watch, a family-centric wearable device that promotes physical activity, helps kids explore the world around them, and features a cast of popular Nickelodeon characters. NickWatch features new technology developed with VCNI’s...

Character Options unveils new fashion doll line, Glo-Up Girls. The new Glo-Up Girls range will go on sale in August backed by a live action YouTube series and social media campaign. Kathryn Ludlum, brand manager at Character Options, said: “Glo-Up Girls is such an exciting expansion for the InstaGlam brand and the response from UK retailers has been incredible.”

Tomy launches Maché Magic as it expands arts & crafts range for 2021New fun and easy-to-use kit will be supported with a dedicated influencer programme and TV advertising later this summer. Mary Wood, general manager for UK & Ireland at Tomy, said: “There’s been a growing trend for homemade gifting and Maché Magic perfectly taps into this, allowing kids to explore their creativity and artistic flair. 

Disneyland & Disney California Adventure Reintroduce Single Rider Lines For Select Attractions. The reintroduction of single rider lines comes as health and safety protocols have eased at Disney’s Anaheim parks—particularly, following California’s June 15 reopening. The single rider option is said to be available for select attractions at Disneyland, including Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Millennium Falcon...

Squishmallows to benefit from animated YouTube seriesNew episodes featuring Squishmallows will be released every Saturday between now and the end of October.  “The launch of Squishville speaks volumes to the growth in popularity Squishmallows has had over the last year,” Jazwares president Laura Zebersky said in a statement. 

Crowdfunding Smash: Donut Media Launches Toy Performance Car Line Called Stocky. First up, the Acura Integra Type R, at $325K and climbing. Car-focused Donut Media is best known for their YouTube channel, but they're now venturing into toy design—and already have a smash hit on their hands. Like British industrial designer Julian Meagher, the folks over at Donut bet that car enthusiasts would happily pay for a miniature version of a recognizable and beloved automobile model, one that's been distorted into fun, cartoonish dimensions.

(the above posted after June 25th)

Litzky Public Relations Launches the LOVE, Litzky Grant to Support Small Businesses that Improve the Lives of Kids & Families. Inaugural Grant Recipient PunkinFutz Recognized for Inclusivity, Making Play Possible for Every Child. "Throughout 2020 we helped our clients pivot into important, relevant conversations, and asked ourselves where we as an agency could fit in as well," said Josslynne Welch, president, LPR. “As we thought about opportunities to ‘pay it forward’ in a meaningful way, we recognized the importance of inclusivity on many different levels...

Lily Collins to play Polly in live-action Polly Pocket Movie from Mattel Films, MGM. She may be small (micro-sized, to be exact), but Polly Pocket is heading to the big screen. Mattel Films‘ latest project is a Polly Pocket live-action movie, inspired by the micro-doll line of the same name. The company will work with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Lena Dunham’s production company Good Thing Going, and Lily Collins...

The Lego Group has shared a glimpse into the future of experiential retail as it opens its doors on a new store in NYC. The 7,175 sq ft, two story store on Fifth Avenue is the first Lego flagship store to feature an innovative new retail format, elements of which will be introduced to more than 100 stores worldwide in the coming year. The format is designed to create an immersive world of Lego bricks by blending unique 

Mattel is adding a brand new title to its lineup of classic games. Crossed Signals is a fast-paced active electronic game for up to four players ages 8 and up that Mattel says is “simple to learn but challenging to master.” The game features a pair of light sticks that players will follow via light and voice commands, moving them up, down, or shaking them around. Players will need to get on their feet as the speed...

Spin Master’s Gund brand is joining forces with Bluetooth tracking device Chipolo to help parents and children keep tabs on their plush toys. Now, for a limited time, when shoppers make a purchase of $50 or more from Gund.com, they will receive a free Chipolo Plus Bluetooth tracker to attach to their child’s favorite plush. If the toy goes missing, parents ring the tracker in the Chipolo app and listen for the tone to...

The LEGO Group Creates First LEGO Brick Prototype Made from Recycled Plastic. LEGO just took a big step in its efforts to make its products more sustainable. The company unveiled a new LEGO brick made entirely out of recycled plastic. This new prototype is the first brick made out of PET plastic from discarded bottles and the first to meet the company’s strict quality and safety standards.

Zuru Toys reveals plans to make all Five Surprise products from recycled plastics Zuru Toys has revealed plans to make its two largest global brands under the Five Surprise banner – Mini Brands and Mini Toys – 100 per cent virgin plastic free. Its latest stride in the company’s ongoing mission for better sustainability measures and a reduction of its own carbon footprint on the planet, the global...

WowWee Debuts Got2Glow Fairy Finder. Today, on International Fairy Day, WowWee launched its newest toy: the Got2Glow Fairy Finder. With the magical tech toy, kids can discover and collect more than 100 fairies. There are three different Got2Glow Fairy Finder jars to choose from — pink, blue, and an exclusive fuchsia glow-in-the-dark — and each comes with more than 30 fairies inside to discover.

Exploding Kittens Launches New Game, Exploding Minions. Marking the Company’s First Licensed Game, Illumination’s Global Phenomenon, Minions, Enter the Exploding Kittens Universe with New Illustrations by The Oatmeal. “We’re excited to combine one of the biggest card games with Illumination’s global pop-culture phenomenon, the Minions, to create a new family game night essential,” said Elan Lee, Co-Creator/CEO...

IMC Toys Combines Content & E-Commerce With New OTT Service. IMC Toys announced the upcoming launch of its Kitoons Over-The-Top (OTT) platform later this month, to combine content and e-commerce. While watching content from IMC Toys brands, viewers can see suggestions for related products and parents can place orders via purchase links.

Spin Master Prepares to Release More Than 30 New PAW Patrol: The Movie Toys. The PAW Patrol crew is heading to the big screen on Aug. 20 in Spin Master Entertainment’s PAW Patrol: The Movie, and Spin Master revealed there's even more puppy goodness coming fans' way with a new toy collection, available just in time to bring the canine stars right into viewers' homes.

Schleich’s Horse Club line has branched out into video games with the release of the new Horse Club Adventures game. Developed by Wild River Games and published by Merge in North America, the game brings players to the Lakeside Riding Stable from the Horse Club universe, where they interact with characters Hannah, Sarah, Lisa, Sofia, and their horses. The game offers over 40 quests, as well as side quests....

Character Options' Little Live Pets set for success this autumn/winter  As one of Character's leading brands, Little Live Pets will benefit from significant investment this year.   The range grew substantially last year, and is now firmly established as one of the leading Youth Electronics brands in the UK.

IETP's Sarah Ng on the most trusted responsible sourcing programme for toys. In this exclusive piece, Sarah Ng, the organisation’s communications manager, tells Toy World readers why the ICTI Ethical Toy Program remains as vital as it ever was. How effective and applicable is your responsible supply chain programme? Did you know that 75% of supply chain organisations say they have responsible or ethical...

L.O.L. Suprise! characters will hit the stage in a hologram concert tour coming to 44 U.S. cities this fall. L.O.L. Surprise! Live — Calling All B.B.’s, starring Lady Diva, Royal Bee, Neonlicious, and Swag, kicks off September 30 at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks, California. The tour will stop at venues in major cities across the country — including the Rosemont Theatre in Chicago...

Hot Wheels unleashed preview: nostalgia-fueled kart racing. When I was a kid, I didn’t just play on my Gameboy Color and PlayStation 2. I also played with Hot Wheels. I had a huge collection of the small plastic (and older metal) cars, and I loved racing them around in my childhood backyard. Hot Wheels Unleashed takes that childhood experience and cranks it up to 11, combining the old toy cars I know with high-speed ...

University Games readies for UK expansion with new offices in HertfordshireThis week will see University Games bid farewell to the building that has been the ‘home and heart’ of the Paul Lamond Games business for more than 25 years, as the firm opens the doors on a new chapter, and a new UK headquarters in Royston, Hertfordshire. The new, more modern, office will allow for further expansion as part...

dv Giochi announces 'Wonder Book'. dv Giochi announced Wonder Book, a new pop-up board game, for release in Q4.In Wonder Book, players are teleported to the fantasy realm of Oniria through a new board game formatted similar to a pop-up book. They assume the roles of one of four teenagers who explore the 3D environment. This game features beautiful 3D artwork, and comes with highly-detailed miniatures to use...

Feed a giant pop-up 'Pancake Monster'. Blue Orange Games will release Pancake Monster, a new family game, into retail stores this summer. In Pancake Monster, plaThe monster randomly pops up to two feet tall and tries to eat players who use too many toppings.yers must feed the giant Pancake Monster his favorite food. They deal out Pancake cards to each player, then they take turns placing the cards into the monster's mouth. 

Wizkids unveils a new 'Pathfinder Battles' miniatures set. WizKids revealed Pathfinder Battles: Return of the Runelords, a new miniatures set, for release in October. This set features the runelords of ancient Thassilon from the Pathfinder’s Lost Omens setting. Each runelord comes with their own magical runewell representing a deadly sin. This set includes a total of 14 all-new miniatures. 

Yoto launches two new albums from Monkey Music to encourage language and motor skills development. The children’s audio platform, Yoto has launched two albums from the award-winning Monkey Music classis, Sing and Learn and Copy Me, produced to encourage babies and toddlers to develop their language and motor skills through singing, clapping, and dancing. 

Round 2 refreshes AMT, MPC Star Wars model kit range with new ships, retro reissues. This August, Round 2 will begin to unleash a fleet of familiar starships from a galaxy far, far away. The owners of the AMT and MPC model kit brands are adding a collection of Star Wars model kits to the lineup, including retro reissues and an all-new kit inspired by the Disney+ hit, The Mandalorian. 

Take command of the railyard in 'Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher'. Days of Wonder will release Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher, a new Ticket to Ride solo adventure, this October. The early 1900s were the Age of the Locomotive and railways connected every major city in the country.  Trains were more popular than ever as people could travel greater distances in a matter of a few days.  

New 'Dune' boardgame from Gale Force Nine. Gale Force Nine has released details about its upcoming boardgame Dune:  A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy, which is being produced under license from Legendary Entertainment and set to launch in September. Dune:  A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy is based on the 1979 Avalon Hill classic, which Gale Force Nine updated in 2019.  

'Summer Time' proves who is the coolest in the crew. WizKids revealed Summer Time, a card game inspired by the song of the same name by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, for release this July. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince invite players to hang with them in the hottest spots in Philly.  Players will cruise, groove, and unwind across town to prove they are the coolest in the crew.  Players will have to make tricky decisions as they try to outwit one another by playing Action, Energy, and Boost cards to gain enough Energy to claim a Spot. 

Ludonaute's 'SOS Titanic' returns to print. TGG Games will release SOS Titanic, a deluxe reprint of Ludonaute's original board game, by the end of 2021. SOS Titanic is cooperative solitaire-style game that was nominated for a 2014 Origins Award. In the game, players need to arrange passenger cards on the decks and place them in lifeboats in a certain order. The goal is to save the remaining passengers before the boat sinks...

'Nebula Hero Pack' for 'Marvel Champions: The Card Game'. Fantasy Flight Games will release Marvel Champions: Nebula Hero Pack, a new character pack, later this year. The Nebula Hero Pack adds the sometimes-friend, sometimes-enemy of the Guardians of the Galaxy to the roster of playable characters in Marvel Champions: The Card Game.  Featuring 15 signature cards for Nebula, the pre-built Justice deck brings ...

Tamagotchi virtual pets returning with voice wake-up control. The Tamagotchi virtual pet is returning as a smartwatch with voice commands. Bandai Namco is reissuing Tamagotchi as the Tamagotchi Smart, a voice AI-enabled smartwatch, 25 years after their initial debut as the most high-tech toy around. Tamagotchi s were the hottest toy around when they came out in 1996. 

McFarlane Toys gives closer look at 1966 Batman and Robin figures. The dynamic duo is back as Adam West and Burt Ward dons their costumes once again from the adventures of Batman from 1966. A while back, McFarlane Toys reveals a quick glimpse at their upcoming wave of figures giving a retro take to their DC Multiverse line. Today we get a closer look at some of these figures with an official reveal of the wave ...

Bonkers Toys launches Ryan’s World Lost City line. New Ryan’s World Lost City Adventures toys from Bonkers Toys will hit shelves at Target and Target.com next week. The line-up consists of blind bags with new themed mystery figures; an Adventure Backpack containing an off-road vehicle, binoculars, water bottle, flashlight, mystery figures, and more adventure gear; and the Mega Adventure Chest offering unboxing play...

Playmobil has an epic Star Trek USS Enterprise playset coming soon: report. You're gonna need a bigger toy box to welcome this epic new Playmobil U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 playset that was just revealed in all its geeky glory this week. Playmobil is one of the oldest and most iconic toy brands in the world, and here they've pulled out all the stops to offer their first ever "Star Trek" model bound for our galaxy later this year. This bold $499 release of the iconic sci-fi starship is easily the biggest and most deluxe Playmobil playset produced in the history of the company.

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Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game now available. EGA of America and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the launch of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game worldwide on console and PC platforms. Featuring 18 arcade-style Olympic events, a robust Avatar Creator, 8-player online play, and rich customization including over 50 costumes, Olympic Games Tokyo...

Sonic Comes to Minecraft. As part of the ongoing celebration of “Sonic the Hedgehog’s” 30th anniversary, Sonic and his friends have been added as downloadable content (DLC). All of Sonic’s friends are included and players can visit locations tied to Sonic’s universe, including Green Hills Zone and Chemical Plant Zone. According to Polygon.com, players can nab a free Sonic the Hedgehog character creator item through the...

High-end mobile games surging worldwide - Report. Newzoo and semiconductor company Arm today released their "Next-Gen Mobile Games" report, examining the growing worldwide popularity of mobile titles that demand more from hardware and players. The companies used the term "high-fidelity" to describe titles that "feature advanced graphics and/or complex mechanics and gameplay," whether they be MMOs, MOBAs, ...

Rovio will revive some older Angry Birds titles after pulling them from saleRovio is working to revive a number of older Angry Birds titles after quietly pulling them from sale. Last year, the Finnish studio chose to take a number of aging titles including Angry Birds Classic, Angry Birds Space, and Angry Birds Seasons out of circulation, removing them from mobile storefronts without much fanfare.

Microsoft's special Cyberpunk 2077 refund policy ends July 6Microsoft has quietly announced that its special refund provisions for CD Projekt Red's infamous Cyberpunk 2077 are coming to a close due to improvements made to the game since its catastrophic December launch. The Xbox maker, along with PlayStation and CD Projekt itself, rolled out a special refund policy following Cyberpunk 2077's debut in late 2020 when...

Facebook's VR ads test loses first game after backlash. The first game developer signed up to test Facebook's plan to put adverts into Oculus VR games has reversed course after a backlash from players. It comes days after Facebook announced it would place adverts inside players' headsets, starting with shooter game Blaston. It was the only named title listed to take part.

Niantic adding 'exploration bonuses' to Pokemon Go to get players moving again. Niantic is trying to ease Pokemon Go players into post-pandemic life by adding exploration bonuses to the popular augmented reality title. Although many regions are still grappling with COVID-19 due to the emergence and spread of new variants, successful vaccination initiatives have allowed for the loosening of certain restrictions ...

Multiplayer adventure Phantom Abyss arrives on Steam Early Access. Devolver Digital and developer Team WIBY have announced the release of their asynchronous multiplayer adventure Phantom Abyss on Steam Early Access.   Procedurally-generated, trap laden temples filled with relentless guardians and relics await those brave enough to venture inside. 

Pucca fans love her new mobile game. Iconic Korean character Pucca is loved in 170 countries. She made her triumphant come back thanks to Planeta Junior and is now moving off traditional screens and onto mobile devices with the new game: Let’s Cook! Pucca: Food Truck World Tour. Let’s Cook! Pucca: Food Truck World Tour invites players to manage a global food truck business, win customers in different countries...

Battlefield 4 server capacity increased following surge in playersEA has increased the capacity of the Battlefield 4 servers following a rise in player numbers over the last week. The surge follows the reveal of upcoming title Battlefield 2042 -- which was unveiled earlier in the month. In a recent blog post, a community manager at EA said that the firm is "blown away" by the reactions to the reveal, and explained...

EA is letting FIFA Ultimate Team players preview loot boxes for a limited time. EA is testing a new type of loot box in FIFA Ultimate Team that allows players to see what's inside them before hitting purchase. The new 'Preview Packs' essentially take the risk out of loot boxes purchases in the lucrative game mode by laying out "all the specific items contained within them" so players can make more informed spending decisions. 

PS4 players told to expect issues as Cyberpunk 2077 returns to PlayStation Store. Cyberpunk 2077 has been relisted on the PlayStation Store, but both Sony and CD Projekt Red have warned PlayStation 4 players to expect some teething pains. The infamously buggy RPG was pulled from the digital marketplace in December last year after players -- particularly those running Cyberpunk on last-gen hardware -- encountered ...

'Godzilla Battle Line' mobile game out now. Toho Games has announced the release of three mobile Godzilla games worldwide: "Run Godzilla," "Godzilla Destruction" and "Godzilla Battle Line." The games are being released alongside the Hollywood movie "Godzilla vs. Kong" and the anime TV series "Godzilla Singular Point," which streams globally on Netflix on June 24. 

New Oculus Quest update adds multitasking and wireless streaming for original headset. Facebook is rolling out its v30 update to the Oculus Quest and Quest 2 VR headsets. As previewed earlier this week by Mark Zuckerberg, v30 includes a new multitasking interface for Infinite Office that lets you put multiple apps side by side, including the browser, Oculus TV, Oculus Move, the store, and so on.

Nintendo boss says expanding demographics key to post-pandemic Switch sales. It’s his job to say so, but Nintendo’s Doug Bowser is exceptionally bullish about Nintendo Switch sales in the near future as the world continues to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking to The Verge, Bowser discussed a number of key factors behind the Switch’s pandemic-era success (which saw huge shortages as countries began...

Twitch's 2.2bn hours watched in May another recordFor the fourth time this year, Twitch has set a new viewership record, according to StreamElements monthly data report, put together with its analytics partner Rainmaker.gg. In May, Twitch users watched a cumulative 2.2 billion hours on the service, up 37% year-over-year and just slightly above April's 2.2 billion total. 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

5 Toys You Might Want To Avoid Buying For Baby. With all of the baby toys on the market, it is no surprise that there are ones parents should steer clear of when buying toys for their babies. From flashy lights, loud music, bright colors, and more, there seem to be endless options for baby toys. While some are safe and promote the use of a baby's imagination, others pose safety risks and do nothing for a baby's development.

Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

Griddly Games finds seasonal positioning for its products. Now kids can Just Add the perfect ingredients for new and different summertime fun with Griddly Games line-up of Just Add science activity + art kits. The activities in the Just Add branded line of kits include some perfect summer themes like using the sun for a solar oven, making refreshing sugary treats, and even recycling a garden of fruits and vegetables. 

The above posted after June 25th)

TALK ABOUT PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE! WORST-CASE SCENARIO® CARD GAME DEBUTS AS ACTUAL PANDEMIC DISPERSES. All Things Equal Tabletop Game Inventor Brings Humor About Fear Factors To Family Game Night As Everyone Realizes It Could Always Be Worse!

Miami Beach, FL (June 16, 2021) – After more than a year of virtual learning, lockdowns and mask mandates, what could possibly be worse? How about having to tackle a champion sumo wrestle or being chased by a gorilla or oops, you super-glued your hands together? If you smiled at those crazy situations, you are ready to play The Worst-Case Scenario® Card Game ($19.99) available exclusively at Target and Target.com in July.

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

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

TAGIEs Opens Nominations with Two New Categories! People of Play (POP) is adding two new categories to the TAGIEs — which is returning for its 14th year — to showcase the Most Innovative Licensed Product and industry Game Changers. Now entering its fourteenth year, the TAGIE Awards, presented by People of Play (POP), will once again honor top innovators, designers, and marketers in the toy and game industry. Each year, the TAGIEs bring together professionals, aspirants, and fans from over 150 countries comprise the play industry.  POP is adding two categories to the awards this year — Most Innovative Licensed Product and Game Changers. The Game Changers award will recognize those who changed the game of play in 2020, a year that required the industry to adapt and shift.

New Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG: Florian Hess, Jens Pflüger and Christian Ulrich start on 1 July. All 3 Executive Board Members have gathered many years' experience at the company, having been involved in important decision-making processes along the way. Looking to the future, they intend to continue building and expanding the events organised by Spielwarenmesse eG – especially the world-leading...

The first edition of ToyCon Chile will be held on July 24 as the only day. The fair, which will be totally virtual, aims to be the largest toy event of 2021 in Chilean territory. Its purpose is to bring the various businesses in the sector closer to the final consumer who will be able to make their purchases through the live shopping platform, Kuick.  The event will be full of discounts and special offers from different specialized stores...

Kind + Jugend set to re-start the baby and toddler product industry with a 'Special Edition' featuring around 250 German and European exhibitors and enhanced by digital elements, will take place from 9th-11th September 2021.. Centred around a focused industry event, to be staged in a Covid-secure manner in Hall 10 of the Cologne fair grounds, the trade fair will platform the latest product and trend inspiration...

Asmodee research group Game in Lab launches virtual summit for board game development and inclusivity. Called GENeration Analog, the event will feature over 30 panelists and three keynotes discussing how the evolution of societal attitudes around tabletop RPGs can have broad impacts that last for generations. The free virtual conference will aim to bridge the theory and practice in the hobby games industry...

Funko announces fan convention FunKon 2021. The three day FunKon event in August promises exclusive product reveals, celebrity appearances, a Loungefly fashion show and more. Following the success of recent virtual events like Funko Fair, FunKon will take place in person at Funko’s 40,000-square foot Hollywood store, beginning on 4th August and spanning three days. 

7 licensing industry executives are joining the Licensing International Board of Directors for three-year-terms, effective July 1. The trade organization has elected Dean Allen, Veronica Hart, Steven Heller, Holly Rawlinson, Milin Shah, Malaika Underwood, and Maarten Weck to serve on its board. “I’m pleased to welcome the seven new members of our Board, whose invaluable and diverse experiences will help Licensing... 

Pamela Mastrota Named Toy Foundation Exec Director. The Toy Foundation Board of Trustees and The Toy Association announced that Pamela Mastrota has joined The Toy Foundation (TTF) as executive director, effective immediately. TTF is a 501(c)3 children’s charity that operates under the umbrella of the Toy Association, with the mission of providing philanthropic support and play to children and families under stress...

Hornby, LEGO, Playmobil and Zuru make Licensing International Excellence Awards short list. Hornby Hobbies, LEGO, Playmobil, and Zuru have joined a list of major global toy brands in the running for industry recognition at the 2021 Licensing International Excellence Awards taking place in August. Items such as Hornby’s The Beatles Eurostar Yellow submarine Model Train Set or LEGO’s Andy Warhol LEGO Art Edition...

Nearly a year after taking the reins as interim president, Sue Warfield has been named president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). The move comes ahead of ASTRA’s upcoming Marketplace & Academy, the specialty toy community’s much-anticipated return to live events. Warfield stepped into the interim role last September and helped guide ASTRA through the height of the pandemic.

First ever Lego Con hailed a success.  Lego fans all over the world experienced the first ever Lego Con digital event on Saturday, packed with exclusive news and unique action. Emma Perkins, senior director at The Lego Agency, said: “We established Lego Con as a unique way to bring fans of all ages and interests together for one incredible and inspiring day of Lego fun. 

(the above posted after June 25th)

Spielwarenmesse eG postpones Insights-X October stationery expo until 2022  Organiser Spielwarenmesse eG said it had been left with with no alternative due to recent Bavarian government guidelines for trade fairs. Spielwarenmesse eG is the fair organiser and marketing services provider for Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg (plus Spielwarenmesse Digital), Kids India in Mumbai and Insights-X in Nuremberg.

Wicked Vision, Learning Resources and Little Tikes among Outdoor Toy Awards 2021 winners  Wicked Vision, Learning Resources, Little Tikes, and ZURU have been named among the winners of this year’s Outdoor Toy Awards, an awards event hosted by Toyology that made its return this year to champion the best products for kids’ and families’ outdoor play activities. 

Kidscreen Summit 2022 heads back to Miami Kidscreen's annual event will take place in person from February 14-17, with an virtual companion event two weeks later. Getting the global kids entertainment industry back together again safely is the event’s top priority, and Kidscreen Summit 2022 will feature more outdoor meeting spaces, modified food & beverage services, and additional sanitizing and distancing protocols.

Play Creators Awards 2021 finalists. From innovative start-ups to big-brand household icons, the finalists for the Play Creators Awards 2021 will have to wait until 6th September to find out if they have won. Mojo Nation‘s Play Creators Awards celebrates figures in the toy and game design community that have excelled over the last 12 months, including in-house design teams as well as external invention studios and design partners.

Paizo selects exclusive retailer partner for Gen Con. Paizo has selected an exclusive retailer to represent its products on the exhibit floor at Gen Con, since it will not operate its usual mammoth booth at the front of the hall this year.  Online retailer Troll and Toad, which typically operates a large booth of its own at Gen Con, will represent the line, offering the full range of Paizo products with a free-with-purchase gift...

GAMA expands Origins Trade Days to two days. The Game Manufacturers Association is expanding the Trade Days traditionally held in conjunction with Origins Game Fair to two days this year from their usual one, the organization announced.  The move is being taken in the wake of the cancellation of GAMA Expo, the organization’s annual trade show, earlier this year due to the Covid pandemic.  

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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.

Andrew Hackard - Line Editor of the Munchkin game line for the past 12+ years, and freelance editor who edited several of Wil Wheaton’s books, among other projects, passed away on June 17 from brain cancer.  He was 50 years old.  Hackard also worked as a freelance editor, editing several of actor Wil Wheaton’s books, and had a previous four-year stint at Steve Jackson as an editor and Managing Editor. In his role as Munchkin line editor, Hackard developed many of the Munchkin line extensions, including licensed versions.  

Michael NunnMichael was the third generation of the family to run the well-known Redgates store in Sheffield and chairman of White Rose Toys buying group. Toy World is sad to report that Michael Nunn has passed away peacefully, aged 93 . Michael was the third generation of the family to run the well-known Redgates store in Sheffield. Edwin Redgate opened the first store in Fargate in 1857, selling furs and sewing machines. From 1890 onwards ,Redgates sold fur pram covers and around this time, the first wheeled toys were introduced. The reputation of Redgates grew rapidly in the 1960s, when it became known in the trade as one of the best toy shops outside of London, often referred to as “the Hamleys of the North.” Michael worked in the business from 1948 to 1986, and was a key figure in the store’s move to its most-remembered location at Furnival Gate in the mid-1970s. In 1975, Redgates reached a milestone £1m turnover, which was a significant achievement at the time.

Having celebrated the company’s 125th birthday in 1982, Michael sold the business several years later to Zodiac Toys, which continued to run it for two years before it finally closed.  During his career, Michael travelled frequently to Nuremberg, where he originally met doll manufacturer Hans Gotz and started the agency agreement which still lasts to this day. The business has been run for many years by Michael’s son Antony, who married Hans’ daughter Silke Gotz. Michael’s grandson Patrick also works in the toy business, carrying on the family tradition.

Michael was chairman of White Rose Toys, a buying group consisting of 19 retailers which eventually became one of the founding cornerstones of Toymaster. He was also an active member of the Fence Club.

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. PlayMonster Acquires Ann Williams Group

  2. IMC Toys Combines Content & Commerce with OTT Service

  3. Squishville Will Premiere Animated Series on YouTube

  4. LEGO Opens Doors to New Fifth Avenue Flagship Store

  5. WowWee Unveils Interactive Got2Glow Fairy Finder Toy

  6. Exploding Kittens Launches Exploding Minions Game

  7. Iscream Will Launch a Care Bears Accessory Line

  8. Monopoly: Target Edition Launches this August

  9. PAW Patrol: The Movie Toys Ready for August Launch

  10. Akedo Trailer Drops Ahead of Series & Toy Launch

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Just ignore the ****ers…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Amazon under renewed fire over destruction of unsold stock

  3. Wicked Uncle accuses Amazon of ‘unfairly’ improving its organic search results

  4. All UK Disney Stores except flagship rumoured to be closing

  5. New Lego NYC store unveils groundbreaking retail innovation

  6. Moose Toys kicks off campaign for new Akedo – Ultimate Arcade Warriors

  7. IMC launches OTT platform combining content with eCommerce

  8. L.O.L. Surprise! to celebrate July birthday with global party

  9. Mojo Nation unveils Play Creators Awards 2021 finalists

  10. PlayMonster expands creative portfolio with acquisition of Ann Williams Group

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

New 'Dune' Boardgame from Gale Force Nine
WizKids Reveals 'D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: The Wild Beyond the Witchlight' Products
Rolling for Initiative -- MAPP, Amazon Prime Day, and RIP Andrew Hackard
New 'Secret Lair Superdrop' Set Showcases Art Inspired by 'D&D' Cartoon Series
Wizards of the Coast Unveils Five 'Magic: The Gathering' Foil Event Promos
Games Workshop Unveils Warhammer+
Paizo Selects Exclusive Retailer Partner for Gen Con
Hasbro Retains Rights to 'The Game of Life'
Take Command of the Railyard in 'Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher'
Store 'Pokemon TCG' Decks in the 'Pikachu Deluxe Gaming Trove'

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

The Game Face to Face, 25 Words or Less - Pandasaurus has released a new competitive version of The Game, The Op has a new party game out, and Kingdomino Origins is announced.

Video of the Week! 

The Growth of Hobby Games and Fandom  CH

After debuting on our POP Week Event Platform to over 13,700 viewers,  we have moved our panel discussions to YouTube and ar sharing them almost every week here on the Bloom Report! 

The Growth of Hobby Games and Fandom

Moderator: Tony Serebriany (Director of Inventor Relations & International Sales The Op)

Panelists: Keisha Howard (Founder, SugarGames), Daryl Andrews (Co-Founder, Evergreen Board Game Studio), Elisa Teague (Senior Producer Advisor, Renegade Game Studios),

Pat Marino (Game Design Manager, The Op),

Deirdre Cross (Director, Product Development, Funko Games, Prospero Hall)

 

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

 

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

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher