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June 24 - July 1, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

Show a colleague how extraordinary you think their work is and nominate them for a Toy & Game International Excellence Award! Nominations are now open until August 15th! Simple and FREE!

NOMINATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS IN THESE CATEGORIES:

  • Toy Innovator of the Year

  • Game Innovator of the Year

  • Rising Star Innovator of the Year

  • Young Innovator of the Year (under age 18)

  • Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year

  • Innovative Art and Design Visuals of the Year 

  • Innovative Retailer of the Year

  • Innovative Supplier of the Year

  • Innovative License of the Year 

  • Game Changer of the Year 

  • Lifetime Achievement

NOMINATE SOMEONE - CLICK HERE! 

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues! 

Mary

"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies

 

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Industry Commentary - Genna Rosenberg

Which Toy Awards will be Your Solid Gold?

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Your teams have worked hard for probably a year or two on your top new toy introductions, and they’re finally at retail or ready to ship - Congratulations!  Now wouldn’t it be amazing for your top drivers to earn some well-deserved gold metals, shiny seals and industry-wide recognitions? But there are so many different Toy Awards that companies can submit their treasured new introductions to, as well as costs and criteria nuances that come along with them… How should sharp marketers with finite budgets decide which ones they should go for? I have to say, my perspective and rationale has evolved over the years. 

 

I was recently inspired by a smart question posed by a seasoned GennComm client,

 

“Which Toy Awards are best for us, and with the new timing for the Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) and Nominations due July 8th, should we submit completely new Fall items that haven’t been on-shelf yet, or should we wait until they’re more established? Our Marketing won’t start until September; two of the products have limited distribution and the third will also just be starting. Is this the year to submit these? 

 

My team and I have been submitting Toy Awards for companies we’ve worked for and represented for the past 25 years, and I’ve served on the TOTY Committee for about 10 years. Here are our insights for TOTY and other Awards. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of Toy Awards (you’re welcome to connect and GennComm can help guide you with specificity), but rather some topline insights and thought-starters for your consideration as you create your own cost benefit analysis and decide when it’s time to Go For Gold!

READ MORE...

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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers 

I Cannot Remain Silent: My Abortion Story

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Note: I originally published this article on LinkedIn in December 2021, when it became clear that abortion rights were under threat from a 6-3 activist Supreme Court.  I'm heartbroken and angry over the Supreme Court’s forced-birth ruling, I am publishing my story again to give it a wider audience in my beloved industry.

I am a passionate supporter of women in the workplace and this ruling is devastating for women’s equality.  I will not remain silent. 

 

I have been a life-long supporter of abortion rights for many moral and intellectual reasons.  In addition, I have a personal reason--one that only my closest friends and family members have known…until now.

 

It is estimated that 35% of women of reproductive age today will have an abortion by age 45 years.*  With abortion rights under attack by many states and Roe v. Wade now threatened by the current 6-3 Supreme Court, now is the time for me to go public with my story, in the hopes of encouraging more women to come forward with their stories (if they are called to do so) in a collective effort to reduce the stigma of abortion.

 

I imagine many of us wonder, as I do, what our lives would have been like if abortion weren’t legal in our reproductive years.  In telling my story, I want to try and help protect our daughters, granddaughters, and all women of reproductive age from the dangers, hardships, and thwarted dreams in a world where abortion is not legal. 

READ MORE...

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Book Reviewer Julia DeKorte

About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game

that Became a Household Name

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About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name, written by its creator, Leslie Scott, takes readers along for the journey of how Jenga, which began as a game played by Scott and her siblings, turned into a household staple found in nearly every home. Scott gives in depth details of what it took to make Jenga the success that it is today – the celebrated triumphs, the obstacles overcome, the side projects that never took off – and investigates the why, exploring the scientific, cultural, linguistic, and psychological reasons that Jenga, a game seemingly so simple, took the world by storm.

Scott tells the story of Jenga in the form of a narrative, with interwoven metaphors to give deeper insight into how and why Jenga became so popular. To learn about Jenga, readers first get to learn about Scott: her family history, her character, her interests, the jobs she held previously, the kind of person it takes to be a professional game designer. In this way, Scott becomes a character readers root for; in the early days we’re hoping for her success with Jenga just as much as she was. About Jenga also includes pictures of Scott’s early life, landscapes of her childhood home in Africa, newspaper clippings, and other mementos that help tell the story. Scott offers advice she’s learned along the way, be it business advice, financial advice, life advice, even advice about going into business with friends. By the end of the book, I felt as if I knew Scott myself, as if she had told me Jenga’s story over a cup of tea.   READ MORE...

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3 Truths and a Lie of the Week - Joe Baron

To be part of the game, all you need is a POP Profile with your Fun Facts completed and let us know! We'll do the rest! 

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Financial and Legal

Amazon is under investigation in the UK over concerns that the company is giving an unfair advantage to certain sellers on its marketplace. The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which follows a similar probe launched by the European Commission in May, will centre on how Amazon decides which products are given preferential listing spots.

 

As many in the U.S. settled in for the long holiday weekend, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and more than 150 local, state, and national trade associations — including The Toy Association — co-signed a letter delivered to the White House. In the letter dated July 1, 2022, the coalition of trade associations urged President Biden and his administration — incl. Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Dept of Transportation...

Smyths has fought off fierce competition to take over PicWic Toys’ French operation, creating the largest toy retailer in Europe in the process. The PicWic brand was initially created in 1977 by Stéphane Mulliez, first cousin of Gérard Mulliez, the founder of Auchan. The chain took over the running of the French Toys R Us stores in 2019. The group, which was owned by Romain Mulliez and the American fund Cyrus Partners...

 

***The above posted after July 1st***

 

FOUR YEARS AFTER CLOSING, FORMER TOYS ‘R’ US EXECS STILL FACE TRIAL BY JURY REGARDING FRAUD CLAIMSIt was four years ago today — June 29, 2018 — that the final store from the original version of Toys “R” Us closed its doors for the last time. While the company continues to exist in various forms around the world, including more than 900 stores and e-commerce sites, Toys “R” Us is in the midst of a comeback bid in...

Toys R Us bankruptcy lawsuit could shake private equity. Toys R Us is long gone, but its former private equity owners still can't shake it. Driving the news: A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has ruled that a creditor lawsuit can proceed against a group of the bankrupt retailer's former top executives and directors, including partners of Bain Capital and KKR. Creditors allege that the company spent around $600 million on goods...

 

Starfleet Innotech announced today it has entered into an agreement with N.A. based toy manufacturing and licensing powerhouse PPM Toys to jointly explore an acquisition towards accelerating both companies’ global growth efforts. Through this partnership, formalized with a signed Letter of Intent, SFIO will be pursuing a majority ownership interest in PPM Toys, supporting the company’s continued growth into int'l... 

 

Ghost Galaxy, Inc., a new company owned by Fantasy Flight Games Founder Christian Petersen’s venture vehicle Strange Stars LLC, has acquired the intellectual property and card game rights to KeyForge from Fantasy Flight, the companies announced. Keyforge, introduced in 2018 and designed by Richard Garfield, was a card game sold in a format in which each deck was unique.  Production problems prevented...

 

Niantic, the augmented-reality games company behind “Pokémon Go,” is letting go about 8% of its workforce and has scrapped several game titles it had in development, including “Transformers: Heavy Metal.” The company is laying off 85-90 employees, Niantic CEO John Hanke said in a memo to staff Wednesday, which was first reported by Bloomberg. Niantic needs to “further streamline our operations in order...

 

Blizzard to acquire Spellbreak developer Proletariat. Blizzard Entertainment intends to purchase Spellbreak developer Proletariat to help support World of Warcraft. As reported by GamesBeat, the deal will see Proletariat become part of Blizzard, which intends to put the studio's 100-strong dev team to work on World of Warcraft. 

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Financial Reporting

 

Mattel announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2022 financial results on Thursday, July 21, 2022

 

Toy exports in India surge 61% in 3 years, imports drop by 70%
 

TOP 50 COMICS - JUNE 2022

 

Golden Bear has announced that sales of its new interactive plush range, Curlimals, “have exceeded wildest expectations”.

 

Box Office Dispatch: How Real Is the Boom and Will It Last?

 

Arizona Poised to Compete for Filming With New $125 Million Tax Credit

 

Sainsbury’s said that sales fell 4.5%, excluding fuel, in the quarter to June 25th, with general merchandise sales plunging 11.2%. The company said trading was in line with expectations and its underlying pre-tax profit guidance remained unchanged at between £630m and £690m.

‘Minions’ Tops Box Office as Families Shake Off Covid Fears. Animated movie exceeds estimates with $108.5 million weekend

 

COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVEL SALES GREW OVER 60% IN 2021

 

***The above was posted after tBR started running***

 

B&M sees group revenue drop 2.2% in first quarter

 

Strong Hobbycraft profits lead to three new stores

Top Gun: Maverick breaks $1b barrier at box office

 

Around 4% of Unity's workforce laid off

 

 

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

Disney’s $56.2B in Retail Sales Leads Global Brand Licensing Race

 

License Global Releases ‘Top Global Licensors Report 2022,’ Indicating Signs of Industry-Wide Recovery. Total revenue for licensed consumer products at retail reported by the 88 licensors featured accounts for $260.8 billion, with 40 of those brand licensors bringing in at least $1 billion individually.

 

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to a selection of leaders within the Dress-Up and Role-Play categories to find out more.

 

Though the cost of living is escalating, the appetite for tech toys and gadgets remains just as high, as Sam Giltrow discovers.

 

Toy World's Talking Shop brings you new premises, new developments and one indie’s first store.

 

Report: Subtitles, Captions Enrich Kids Content Experience

***The above was posted after tBR started running***

Rising cost of living sees retail footfall slump

 

Primary-age children’s screen time went up by 83 minutes a day during pandemic – study

 

Retailers warn that online sales tax will damage small businesses

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

The science behind Thor's hammer. According to comic book legend, the hammer of Thor, Mjölnir, can only be lifted by those who are deemed worthy enough to wield it. Now, with Thor: Love And Thunder due for release, this has inevitably led to questions. What makes someone ‘worthy’? How does the hammer stop the likes of the Hulk from lifting it? And if even the Hulk cannot lift it, how much must it weigh?

 

Retro-futurism for X11, a toy store by TOMO Design. For some time now we have been seeing beautiful Chinese stores whose interior design is inspired by retro-futurism. The new X11 Toy Collection Store, a well-known toy brand, located in Xi'an in central China and designed by the TOMO Design studio, has been conceived as an airship, carrying young customers to another dimension.

 

Hollywood Compassion Coalition (HCC) is thrilled to announce the launch of its Research Corner, a dedicated compilation of global studies that breaks down the effects media and entertainment have on society. HCC is a nonprofit organization and entertainment industry movement that inspires positive social change founded in compassion. The Research Corner is a collection of summaries that highlight ...

 

Steve Reece's Toy Industry Journal - I recently ran a poll on LinkedIn. The question wording was as follows: “Has high inflation reduced consumer demand for toys & games in 2022 so far”?  The results of the survey are now in, & I can reveal that 47% of respondents answered ‘Yes definitely’, and 32% answered ‘Yes, a little’. So in total 79% of respondents agreed that inflation was having at least somewhat of an impact on...

A TikTok trend that has stylish, banana-toting teens showing up in droves to see Minions: The Rise of Gru has become something of a double-edged sword for the movie theatre business. Some theatres have embraced the phenomenon as good, innocent fun that helped the children's animated movie break U.S. box office records with its massive July Fourth opening weekend

 

Kinder launches toys designed by Israeli art students. Two designs by Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design students Omar Yitzhakov and May Myerson, a dragon and a sloth, have already been manufactured and marketed worldwide. What began as a routine practice in one of Bezalel's industrial design courses quickly turned into cooperation with the international company, with the toys to be distributed in products worldwide.

 

Consumers urged to ‘shop small’ for Independents’ Day Weekend. Just prior to Independents’ Day, research suggests amount of indies on British high streets has grown for first time in five years. In partnership with Local Rewards, the organiser of Independents’ Day UK – a campaign that encourages shoppers to use the goods and services of independent businesses – is encouraging consumers to make an extra effort to ‘shop small’ this weekend from 2nd-3rd July.

 

John Baulch, Toy World UK - On a positive note…it’s the Friday Blog! Well, it finally caught me – I landed back home on Monday after a lovely and long overdue holiday only to test positive for Covid. Sadly, my delusions of super-immunity have been shattered – it seems my body will no longer be required for medical science experiments. More importantly, it meant that I wasn’t able to attend this week’s BTHA Industry Day...

***The above posted after tBR started running on July 1st***

POP QUIZ WITH WENDY SMOLEN: JUNE 2022. Every toy is special, but where and how it’s sold can be of equal importance. In recognition of ASTRA and specialty retailers’ “special” place in our products’ success, this month’s Pop Quiz focuses on the not-so-FAQs about favorite specialty brands.

 

Confessions of a Comic Book Guy by Steve Bennett digs into Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’ #1, an upcoming Harley Quinn: The Animated Series one shot, and the Lightyear movie. Back on June 8, I wrote that I was looking forward to reading Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’ #1 because it featured the story “Carnival Love!"  by Tee Franklin and Dan Parent which introduced Riverdale’s new resident, Franklin’s...

 

Louis Vuitton inserts yellow racetrack into Louvre courtyard for Spring Summer 2023 show. LA-based studio PlayLab Inc has created a magnified playground with a winding, yellow toy racetrack at the Musée de Louvre for Louis Vuitton's Spring Summer 2023 menswear show during Paris Fashion Week. Set in the Carré du Louvre, one of the main courtyards at the former Parisian palace, the show took place on 23 June...

 

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday, most major Hollywood companies are informing employees they will cover travel costs for those journeying out of state for abortions. The decision, which is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half of U.S. states, has sparked companies including Disney, Netflix, Comcast, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony, WME...

 

Trinity Catholic College biology students design toys for zoo animals. Year 11 biology students from Trinity Catholic College were recently set a challenge to entertain a very specific audience. Meerkats, cheetahs and otters were presented with a variety of toys designed by the students. Biology teacher Belinda McLean said students were required to complete a depth study each year.

 

Fisher-Price Plastic Food Giving Kids Unrealistic Expectation That There Will Be Enough Food. In a severe backlash from parents on social media, toy manufacturer Fisher-Price was hit with criticism Monday over their plastic food reportedly giving kids unrealistic expectations that there will be enough food. (story from the Onion)

Can video games teach people to be more empathetic? Maybe. Designers and scholars say there are many complex challenges and limits in achieving such a goal. In the video game “Path Out,” the main character, Abdullah, is a 17-year-old Muslim youth lost in the forests of northern Syria during his country’s civil war. The game player must help him flee, dodging land mines and gunfire and passing through...

 

Video game industry on the end of Roe: I’m ‘not proud to be an American’. Streamers, game developers and brands that reach millions of young people expressed frustration and disappointment over the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling. Two thirds of Americans play video games, and the average age of someone who plays is 33 yrs old, according to a recent report published by the Entertainment Software Association...

 

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History and Nostalgia

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of Playing Cards? The origin of playing cards is highly debated: some scholars think they were developed in China in the 9th century, while others believe they were developed alongside tile games like dominos or mahjong. Still others think that playing cards originated as “play money” for early gambling games. However, the earliest confirmed record of playing cards appears in a ...

 

***The above was posted after July 1st***

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of Elmer’s Glue? Elmer’s glue was first introduced by the Borden Company in 1947. It was created by a team of chemists headed by Ashton Stull, the VP of the company’s chemical division from 1938 – 1968. The Borden Company was originally a dairy business, which is fitting because one of the prime ingredients in this early form of glue was casein, the protein in dairy milk. 

Bargain Hunter from Milton Bradley. Released in 1981, the Bargain Hunter board game from Milton Bradley offered players as young as 9 the chance to recreate the experience of furnishing a home, hunting for deal, using credit cards, and managing debt. The object of the game was to furnish an apartment in the most budget-friendly manner. This was accomplished by moving along the game board...

Super Jocks from Schaper (1976). In the mid-1970s, Schaper released a series of sports action games called Super Jocks. Standing approximately 12-inches tall, each Super Jock figure was made of heavy-duty plastic engineered to withstand the rigors of repetitive play. They wore brightly coloured uniforms designed to resemble those typically worn by sports professionals. A series of decorative stickers completed each look.

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Licensing 

 

Brazilian cartoonist Mauricio de Sousa is bringing his characters back to TV in a new live-action series for HBO Max called Franklin and Milena in Search of Science. Cartoon Network is co-producing the show with Brazil-based prodcos Biônica Filmes and Mauricio de Sousa Produções, and it’s inspired by two science-loving characters from De Sousa’s long-running comic book series Monica’s Gang...

 

Chick-Fil-A is partnering with Diane Alber to include five bestselling titles from her Scribble book series for the 2022 Kids meal book promotion. Alber is a prolific picture book author and illustrator whose titles regularly top Amazon’s best-selling lists. Her slate of over 50 children’s books address social-emotional learning topics and are on track to sell three million units in 2022.

 

The LEGO Group has announced the latest addition to the LEGO Super Mario Adult product line: the biggest LEGO Bowser to date, built from an incredible 2,807 pieces. LEGO Super Mario The Mighty Bowser building kit is a highly detailed recreation of the King of the Koopas, complete with controllable movements and the ability to launch a fireball, reflective of Bowser’s huge and powerful features.

 

SDCC: ALL ELITE WRESTLING TAPS IN DIAMOND SELECT TOYS FOR NEW COLLECTIBLES. Despite offering collectibles for a wide variety of fandoms — from Marvel and Star Wars to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Green Hornet — Diamond Select Toys (DST) is still entering new territories. This time, the merch maker is jumping into the ring, partnering with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) for a new selection of collectibles...

 

Italian entertainment and licensing powerhouse, Rainbow, has signed a master toy licensing deal, in the UK and Eire, with Flair GP for Iginio Straffi’s reimagined animated TV series of the children’s classic, Pinocchio and Friends. The series, which launched on CBeebies at the end of May, has got off to a fantastic start and early indications show that its audience is growing week on week, with a growing fan base...

 

UK broadcaster Channel 5 is adding some new flavors to its Milkshake! preschool block, mixing new commissions and acquisitions in with a handful of series renewals. The first greenlight is for stop-motion animated comedy Tweedy & Fluff (40 x five minutes), whose yarn-made main characters met on the workshop floor of a tweed mill.

BBC Children’s has revealed that it has a new slate of programming in development for CBeebies, CBBC and BBC iPlayer. These greenlights follow the British pubcaster’s recent announcement of plans to shut down CBBC and other linear channels at some point over the next few yrs, intending to reach more viewers through the iPlayer service. So Awkward: Kids Camp from Channel X North is an 80-minute spinoff...

 

Bonkers Toys is delivering new influencer-based collectibles. The toy co. is teaming up with LankyBox, the most viewed YouTube gaming duo in the world, to launch the pair’s first retail toy line. The channel stars Justin Kroma and Adam McArthur, along with a cast of animated characters, including Boxy, Rocky, and Foxy. It receives more than 1.5 billion video views per month, along with a total of 25 billion lifetime views.

 

Sakar International and Mojang Studios inked a deal to bring Minecraft into the wheeled goods category this fall. The new collection includes scooters and skateboards inspired by the wildly popular video game. The full range draws from the familiar green and neutral hues that players know from the game while incorporating game lingo, scenery, and characters into the designs.

 

Global kids and family entertainment major Toonz Media Group is partnering with Leadbelly Productions to co-produce a brand-new animation property titled Creepy Candy. Developed by multi-award-winning creator and founding president of Leadbelly Productions, Alan Jude Summa, Creepy Candy is targeted at children ages 4-11. Season one of the 2D animation show will include 26 episodes of 3 minutes and...

 

Peppa Pig is back for another turn on the Toniebox with the launch of a George Tonie featuring 10 stories from the hit TV show. “Peppa Pig is a global phenomenon and has played such an integral role in children’s lives for the best part of 20 years so it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to host such iconic content on the Toniebox,” commented Pinky Laing, partnership and PR manager at Tonies.

J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot and UK studio NoneMore Productions are joining forces to produce a new animated short called The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse for the BBC. This adaptation of artist and writer Charlie Mackesy’s book of the same name will debut on BBC One and iPlayer in time for Christmas. The hand-drawn animated film, which targets families but isn’t holiday-themed...

 

Bluey to launch second series on CBeebies and BBC iPlayerPopular pre-school animation Bluey is set to receive its UK free-to-air premiere on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer next month. After its first series proved a hit with UK fans, popular global animation Bluey is to release its second series on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer on 1st August. The first series has been streamed more than 97m times on BBC iPlayer since its launch on iPlayer...

 

Casdon and Joseph Joseph cook up success together. Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Phil Cassidy, MD at Casdon, as well as the Joseph brothers themselves – Antony and Richard – to find out more. At the start of 2022, role-play specialist Casdon announced a new licensing deal with the aspirational homewares brand Joseph Joseph. The new partnership has seen Casdon develop a range of beautiful new toys featuring...

 

***The above posted after July 1st***

 

David Bowie Barbie doll dressed in iconic blue suit is released by Mattel. The toy brand – owned by Mattel – has released a second David Bowie doll in its Signature Collection. In its announcement provided to Fox News Digital, Mattel said the doll’s release is meant to honor the 50th anniversary of the release of Bowie’s album "Hunky Dory," which was originally released on Dec. 17, 1971. The new David Bowie Barbie wears...

The Copyrights Group and McDonald’s have announced the launch of the first ever Paddington Happy Meal – with themed packaging, a diverse range of ten toys featuring the loveable bear in new and exciting outfits and a choice of two books from HarperCollins’ Children’s books based on The Adventures of Paddington TV series, The Magic Trick and The Monster Hunt.

 

Hasbro announced a partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) for the highly anticipated re-launch of Starting Lineup, an iconic sports collectibles brand. The Starting Lineup collectible will also include an exclusive, officially licensed Panini NBA trading card. Launching this fall in partnership with Fanatics, a global digital sports platform, the...

 

World of Women (WoW), an NFT collective that focuses on women’s representation has partnered with Hasbro and WS Game Co. to create a never before seen Monopoly game.  The new game is called World of Women Galaxy Monopoly game and will be available exclusively to World of Women and World of Women Galaxy holders. The collection will be first distributed as an NFT and then it will be redeemable for a...

 

China's Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group’s SVOD Youku has acquired the rights to broadcast 3D animated preschool series Hushabye Lullabye from distributor Beyond Rights. Produced by MaraKids, Hushabye Lullabye is a Scottish collaboration created in 2020 by Glasgow-based Sacha Kyle, an award-winning television and theatre director along with animation studios Once Were Farmers and Maramedia.

 

DeAPlaneta And GO-N Team Up For Monster Shaker. The companies are mixing up big plans for the book-to-TV adaptation, which sees a kid and his sister deal with the comedic consequences of unleashing crazy monsters into everyday life. It turns out cocktail shakers are not just a handy tool to mix drinks—they can also unleash monsters into the world.

 

Taboo And Gaumont Develop Indigenous-Inspired Kids Series. The Black Eyed Peas member, who is of Hopi/Shoshone and Mexican descent, is bringing First Nations philosophies into the kids TV space. Black Eyed Peas member Taboo and French prodco Gaumont “gotta feeling” their upcoming Indigenous-inspired kids series will have a positive effect on young audiences around the world.

King Features Syndicate, along with its local agent in Spain, Caravanserai, has announced that gaming phenomenon Cuphead is building on its successful international presence with a new clothing collection at ZARA, the Inditex Group’s popular apparel retailer. Cuphead, Mugman and other fan favourite characters are jumping off the screen and onto the runway with new apparel for adults and kids. 

 

Comic publisher Scout Comics & Entertainment and game publisher The Op have entered a “first look” agreement that will cover all Scout Comics properties. Under the agreement between the two companies, The Op will have the first opportunity to produce and develop board games based on all Scout Comics titles, such as Stabbity Bunny, White Ash, Eternus, and Unikorn.

In the newest Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase, Nintendo featured a broad variety of games from its diverse development and publishing partners coming to the system this year and into 2023. This includes the Nintendo Switch versions of three beloved Persona games, more details about the upcoming Mario + Rabbids sequel, 10 fan-favorite Mega Man games revived for the Nintendo...

 

WildBrain And Peacock Team Up For New Caillou Series. The long-running franchise about a curious four-year-old will reboot onto the US streamer alongside five previously-announced specials. With specials already in the works, WildBrain is expanding the Caillou universe even further with a new CG-animated series (52 x 11 minutes). The Toronto-based media company is teaming up with NBCUniversal’s streaming...

Teletubbies celebrate Pride with ellesse and GoGuy fashion collab.  WildBrain has teamed up with Italian sports and lifestyle brand ellesse and festival and streetwear clothing brand GoGuy for a limited-edition Teletubbies adult fashion collection to celebrate Pride 2022. The gender-fluid collection launched on Friday, 24 June and encompasses five colourful trend stories, reflective of each Teletubby character, ...

 

Genius Brands Int'l is gearing up to get into the kitchen with food personality Wolfgang Puck to produce a new animated series called Wolfgang Puck’s Secret Chef Academy.  The 52 x 11-min. show features five young students of Puck’s “secret” culinary school who scour the globe for new recipes and ingredients, all while working to outwit a villain who wants to out-chef Puck. Described as “James Bond meets Julia...

MGA Entertainment and Yodo1 announce long-term licensing agreement. Yodo1 secures agreement with MGA Entertainment for brand integration of licenses including Bratz, L.O.L. Surprise!, Little Tikes and Rainbow High. The two companies will work together to source suitable games for IP integration of MGA brands, launching limited-time events or stand-alone games that engage current players and unlock...

 

Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America launches Gundam Infinity figures. Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America has announced the launch of a second wave of customizable  Gundam Infinity figures. GundamBandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America's Gundam Infinity collection launched last year offering fans collectible 4.5-inch figures that come with interchangeable body parts to mix and match...

 

Superclub joins forces with Bundesliga to launch new board game. Superclub, a football manager board game, has announced it has partnered with Bundesliga to launch a new official licensed expansion pack, in a deal facilitated by IMG on behalf of Bundesliga International, subsidiary of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga. Launching in October, the Bundesliga-branded expansion pack will include licensed player cards...

 

San Francisco’s Connecting Brand, BuzzingBOTS, Buzzes Into Asia, Appoints ZenWorks Regional Master Licensing Agent. San Francisco-based BuzzingBOTS, LLC and Tokyo-based licensing agency and consultancy, ZenWorks Co., Ltd., jointly announce ZenWorks has been appointed as the sole master licensing agent in East Asian territories for BuzzingBOTS, the award-winning character concept.

The Nacelle Co.‘s toy division is growing — literally. The media company behind The Toys That Made Us and A Toy Store Near You, which recently revived the Robo Force and Sectaurs toy lines, will introduce the Garden Surprise collectible figure set to its expanding toy division. Nacelle has licensed the brand from Westminster Toys for worldwide manufacturing and distribution rights.

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People of Play

Wattpad Webtoon Studios has appointed veteran network executive David Madden as head of global entertainment. Reporting to president Aron Levitz and based in LA, Madden will oversee development, production and sales for the studio’s content slate, which includes TV, features and animation. Wattpad Webtoon has been making a name for itself in the YA space lately with Netflix adapting one of the stories...

 

Kristen Finney has been named  EVP of content curation at ​​Disney’s International Content and Operations group, a new division that was established earlier this year to oversee the expansion of Disney+ and ensure its content meets local requirements and audience demands.

Finney will head up content strategy across EMEA, LatAm, APAC and India, with a focus on building out local programming and hiring a team...

 

WildBrain CPLG Adds Consumer Products Agency Rights for Peanuts Gang Across Asia Pacific...  as part of a series of key hires to continue building leadership and expertise among the local teams, WildBrain CPLG has appointed industry veteran Ben Peace as VP, APAC, to spearhead strategy and growth in the region (excluding Greater China). Peace will be based out of WildBrain’s Singapore offices.

 

Yeti Farm Creative  has restructured its management team, with partner Jay Surridge as Chief Creative Officer, responsible for shepherding in a new production and development slate, and tapping Stephanie Marcott (formerly of Method Studios, Framestore, DNEG) as international recruiter to manage talent acquisition. Known for its proprietary 2D Sweet Tweets series along with its production of 2D animation...

(PlayMonster) The Wisconsin-based toy and game maker behind Yeti in My Spaghetti, 5 Second Rule, Snap Ships, and Koosh appointed Amy Graczyk to the new role of chief people officer. In her new role, Graczyk, who joins the company from Vericity Inc., will oversee setting and implementing strategic HR direction in people, culture, organizational structure, diversity, and inclusion across PlayMonster’s global teams.

 

Nickelodeon Animation Names New VP Of Development. Nathan Schram has been promoted from director to VP at the studio, while Shannon Friedrichs-Higdon moves up to SVP of content and brand strategy for kids and family at parentco Paramount Global. On the content side of the media company’s business, Nathan Schram has been elevated from director to VP of development at Nickelodeon Animation...

LEARNING EXPRESS TOYS & GIFTS NAMES LAUREN DERSE CEO. Learning Express Toys & Gifts is in the midst of a leadership transition, but it’s keeping the business in the family. Learning Express founder Sharon DiMinico marked the 35th anniversary of the company — the leading franchisor of specialty toy stores in the U.S. — by passing the torch to her daughter, Lauren Derse, who takes on the role of CEO.

 

Nick Young has joined London’s Bright Little Labs as COO, exiting his role as head of IP and partnerships at WildBrain Spark to make the move. Bright Little Labs is an edutainment-focused company that creates books, animated projects, apps and games for kids ages three to 11, promoting STEM and lessons about the digital world. Warner Bros. Discovery is among its investors.

 

Walter Wick. Meet the photographer behind the 'I Spy' books that captured millions of readers' imaginationsSince 1992, the "I Spy" riddle-book series has captured the imagination of millions of readers. Part of what made these books so magical is that all of the images were created with real objects.

 

***The above was posted after July 1st***

 

Spin Master appoints Marc De Vellis as SVP of digital operations and strategy in the Digital Games creative center. The newly created role will work to expand Spin Master’s Digital Games ecosystem. Anchored by Toca Boca and Sago Mini Brands, Spin Master Digital Games develops and distributes digitally based creative and educational play.

The Toy Association  has announced that Kimberly Carcone has been promoted to EVP of global market events. Carcone is a seasoned professional with 30 years of experience in non-profit and corporate event management, marketing, and publishing in both New York City and Washington, D.C. She joined The Toy Association in 2007, serving most recently as senior vice president of global market events.

Rightsline, the industry’s leading IP commerce management platform, has announced the appointment of Melanie Nelson as Chief Marketing Officer and Jason Cheverton as Chief Strategy Officer to its senior leadership team. Ms. Nelson, a former VP at Samsung Electronics and Sony Corporation, will lead the company’s global marketing strategy and communication programs. 

 

Gabe Hicks appointed senior game designer at Steamforged Games. Gabe will be working on developing new systems and products in the Steamforged’s range of own IP and roster of video game licensed games. Gabe comes to SFG as an innovative designer and respected personality in the tabletop games industry. His work includes the best-selling Class Modifier Module, the Essence system design for Renegade Games...

 

Following his 10-yr long career helming Indian prodco Cosmos-Maya, Anish Mehta is exiting his role as the company’s CEO to pursue a new venture later this year. Mehta started at Cosmos-Maya in 2010 as COO before becoming a minority shareholder and taking over as CEO in 2012. That same year, he led the studio’s entry into producing original Indian animated IPs creating the CG-animated comedy series Moto Patlu...

 

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Nick Christensen of Threepipe Reply to the show. Christensen is a managing partner and head of Amazon at the company, helping clients like TOMY, VTech, and Mookie Toys maximize their Amazon selling strategy. On the show, Albritton and Christensen discuss the effect of Amazon on the traditional “try me” motivator for toy sales and delve...

 

Rainbow Loom has announced the appointment of Ryan Rzeznik as VP of Sales.  This addition, along with the recent appt of Chris Tidwell as CEO, will continue the rejuvenation of the Rainbow Loom brand that took the industry by storm in 2014.  Rzeznik will focus on Rainbow Loom brand and assortment expansion across N.A. and the globe. Prior to joining Choon’s Design, Rzeznik was with American Plastic Toys for 13.5 yrs, 

 

MGA Entertainment (MGA) announced it has named Mehran Ravanpay Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain. In this role, he will lead the company in implementing continuous improvements and efficiencies, prepare the company for future diversification of manufacturing and vendor relations, and help drive further progress toward the company’s sustainability goals.

 

Laura Cress, known as "Cressup" on Youtube and Twitch, chats to the legendary developer that is Noah Falstein - about the 30th anniversary of the classic point-and-click adventure game he made, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, as well as his experience of playtesting Return To Monkey Island, being Google's Chief Game Designer, his thoughts on the metaverse, and much more!

 

BBC Studios’ Kids Head Helen Bullough To Depart. Bullough is the second kids exec to leave the pubcaster in as many weeks. Meanwhile BBC has picked up an Aussie series to launch on iPlayer. Helen Bullough, head of kids and family productions at BBC Studios, is leaving the company after more than 11 years at the pubcaster, Kidscreen has confirmed. She will continue in the role until later this year.

IGDA Foundation appoints Alyssa Walles as new executive director. Game industry veteran Alyssa Walles is now executive director of the International Game Developers Association Foundation. The organization announced her appointment earlier this morning, making her the official replacement for interim executive director Sarah Spiers. 

 

Emma Prendaglia joins Wow! Stuff as SNAM. Wow! Stuff has announced the appointment of Emma Prendaglia to the role of senior national accounts manager, making her responsible for some of the company’s leading UK retail customer accounts. Emma commented: “I’ve recently said goodbye to the team at Jakks after an amazing four years of learning all about the toy industry,

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Companies and Brands

 

Marvel Developing ‘Wonder Man’ Series With Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew GuestShang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton has teamed up with Andrew Guest, a writer-producer on comedies such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Community, to tackle a live-action series featuring the longtime Marvel character. Guest will serve as head writer of the series, while Cretton will exec ...

 

Holman... is celebrating the success of a recent project that it worked on in partnership with world-renowned entertainment brand Hasbro. The company has created a unique Nerf experience in a Toys R Us location in London, Ontario, Canada. Hasbro wanted to create an exclusive in-store experience that would drive traffic and increase customer engagement with Nerf products at a flagship Toys R Us location...

 

What do a failed experiment and chalk have in common? They both helped to create TWEE, an artisanal chalk company based in Philadelphia. When her kids were younger, Owner and CEO Margaux DelCollo started TWEE — British slang for “too cute” — as a classroom project gone wrong. The failed experiment caused DelCollo to realize that artisanal chalk was like nothing she’d ever seen on the market before. 

 

Now that the Fourth of July is over, spooky season in officially back in session. Halloween is right around the corner (okay, so it’s three months away, but close enough), and Squishable is rolling out some creepy-cute plush friends as part of the happy, strange world of the Mysterious Doctor Plague.  Bow down to the grumpy and majestic King Raven, ruler of the dark skies. 

 

With its global brand refresh and ad campaign now underway, Schleich USA has partnered with iconic toy store FAO Schwarz to launch the Share Your Stories photo contest. What do polar bears dream of? Do giraffes grow in the rain? These are just some of the big questions that Schleich inspires as kids experience the limitless joy of storytelling through everyday play with its uniquely authentic characters and sets.

 

This summer, the sports and entertainment trading card company (recently acquired by Fanatics Collectibles) will hit the road on its second annual, cross-country pop-up truck tour. The Topps truck will cover more than 8,000 miles as it makes its way across the country wrapped in more than 11,000 baseball cards ahead of Topps’ International Trading Card Day (formerly known as Baseball Card Day) on Aug. 6.

 

GigaPets and Top Secret Toys Celebrates 25 Years of Play with Relaunch. GigaPets, the take-it-anywhere interactive pets that need your love and attention to raise them into a healthy, happy virtual pet, celebrates 25 years since they emerged as the number one simulated toy pet brand in the U.S. in the 90’s! To commemorate the momentous occasion, the inventors of GigaPets, Top Secret Toys, is relaunching the original...

 

The Monster High franchise is making a big leap from the toy department to the world of live-action entertainment, just in time for Halloween. Today, Mattel TelevisionNickelodeon, and Paramount have unleashed the first full trailer for Monster High: The Movie. The much-anticipated musical is inspired by the Monster High doll brand that originally hit retail in 2010 and comes as part of a full-scale relaunch for the brand.

Barbiecore Is Everywhere This Summer. Ever since the first film stills of a bubbly Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie were unveiled – she plays the titular role in the film, hitting cinemas next summer – there’s been a sickeningly-sweet style shift. Enter: #Barbiecore. Barbie is the unlikely muse of 2022. The antithesis of goth girl summer’s emo attitude, Barbie style is all about looking pretty in pink.

 

Exploding Kittens has been presented with the People’s Choice Award for Best Variant at UK Games Expo 2022, following the launch of its newest standalone expansion to the original Exploding Kittens game, Zombie Kittens.  The popular game from Exploding Kittens is to feature as a mobile game and TV series following a deal with Netflix.

Mighty Jaxx has announced details of an exhibition at the Silverstone racecourse, featuring  its 2021 and 2022 F1 drivers collectible series. Fresh off its expansion into Europe in early 2022, this exhibit at the iconic Silverstone race track will also mark Mighty Jaxx’s first direct-to-consumer (D2C) touchpoint.

 

MGA Entertainment has announced that it will be expanding its best-selling Rainbow High range from today (1st July), with the addition of six new dolls. Now in its fourth series, the new Rainbow High collection will increase the brand’s focus on diversity, as two of the characters – Delilah Fields and Jewel Richie – become the first two dolls from the MGA Entertainment portfolio to launch with visible differences. 

***The above posted after tBR started running on July 1st***

 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the late singer's 1971 album "Hunky Dory," Mattel has released a limited edition David Bowie Doll.

This marks the second Bowie doll in the Barbie Signature Collection following the release of the Ziggy Stardust model three years ago.

The newest doll features it dressed in a powder-blue suit, which Bowie wore in his music video for “Life on Mars?”

 

The direct-to-consumer business is booming at Hasbro. The company’s latest HasLab crowdfunding project launched yesterday via Hasbro Pulse where the min. order quantity of 8,000 pieces was met in under 8 hrs. Timed with the 40th anniversary of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero brand, the G.I. Joe Classified Series Cobra H.I.S.S. is the second G.I. Joe HasLab project and the first for the 6-inch scale...

 

Having begun its story in 1938, Beano has become one of the most recognisable British brands of all time. In 2023, it celebrates a momentous 85 yrs since the comic first hit news stands. Now the world’s longest-running weekly comic, Beano has recently reported its 5th year of consecutive sales growth. With more than 28m Brits having read the comic as kids, ithe brand is now loved by all generations, with 84% brand...

Smart Toys and Games, a worldwide leader in multi-level logic games, has announced the launch of Jump In Limited Edition. With an additional 40 challenges to complete and a new rabbit in the woods, this best-selling game is expected to fly off the shelves of UK retailers. The aim of the game is to bounce the bunnies and slide the foxes around the board until all four bunnies are safe in their burrows. 

 

By now, you’ve probably seen the ’80s-inspired neon roller-skating outfits Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling sported on the live-action “Barbie” movie set. The movie’s viral ensembles are the vision of Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran, Variety confirmed Tuesday. The wardrobe specialist has won two Academy Awards and also worked with “Barbie” co-writer and director, Greta Gerwig, on “Little Women.”

 

ADK Emotions’ Beyblade Burst is bursting onto the scene at Anime Expo this year, the world’s largest anime and manga convention in N.A. The event celebrates a variety of Japanese pop culture and takes place in Los Angeles, California from July 1-4. At the convention, fans can visit the Beyblade Burst panel, which will feature screens displaying the latest animation and a quiz where participants can win prizes. 

 

Fresh off an appearance meeting with retailers at this month’s ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Long Beach, California, Story Time Chess is going global. The award-winning game is branching out beyond the U.S. and Canada and is now available to families in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, and the UK.

 

The Paw Patrol pups visited Bamburgh Castle at the weekend to celebrate the launch of the new medieval-inspired range, Paw Patrol Rescue Knights. This weekend, the Paw Patrol pups made their way to the Northumberland coast for two days of historic fun at the famous Bamburgh Castle to celebrate the launch of Paw Patrol’s latest theme, Rescue Knights.

 

Now, fans of Hot Wheels Unleashed can claim ownership of their cars in both Web3 and real life, thanks to a new partnership between Mattel and blockchain company Wax which has seen the creation of an all-new Hot Wheels NFT Garage Series 3. Using Wax’s vIRL (virtual in real life) technology  — a type of NFT created by Wax in 2018 to represent both physical goods and services in the real world...

Specialist toys and games PR agency Playtime PR has undergone a restructure after an eighth year of continued growth.  Following the permanent appointment last year of Ceriann Smith as director of Strategy & Creative to work alongside founder Lesley Singleton, the agency has appointed Mary Bobroff, Louise Hathaway and Chrissie Williams as joint heads of consumer campaigns.

 

Surge Licensing has signed an agreement with live-tour company Cut & Mustard to bring YouTube sensation Spy Ninjas to over 30 cities across the U.S.  The announcement was made today by Elan Freedman, EVP Surge Licensing, Spy Ninja’s global licensing agent. Featuring Chad Wild Clay and Vy Qwaint, Spy Ninjas are a team of YouTubers on a mission to save the internet from Project Zorgo, an evil organization of hackers. 

 

Things are about to get “wild” on the hit animated PBS KIDS’ series, Molly of Denali, when everyone’s favorite creature adventurers, Chris and Martin Kratt (their animated selves) – visit Alaska in a very special and brand-new crossover episode premiering Monday, July 18. When Molly and her dad head out on a hike, they run into the Kratt Brothers, who just happen to be on the “creature trail” looking for a lost pack of wolves. 

 

Just in time for the 4th of July, Crazy Aaron’s, the creator of the award-winning, U.S.-manufactured Thinking Putty, celebrates a major milestone with 100 U.S. jobs created. Under the direction of founder and executive chairman Aaron Muderick, the company remains committed to its Norristown, PA based manufacturing facility, and has even developed unique production methods to employ individuals with special needs.

Chefclub, the “eatertainment” brand, has announced three new publishing deals that will inspire chefs across Europe in 2022: in France, Chefclub launched its brand new Super Veggies illustrated kids cookbook; in Germany, Panini Verlags GmbH is launching a one-off, standalone Chefclub Kids magazine; and in Italy, Vallardi Editore is publishing a family cookbook.

 

WowWee has announced major expansions to its hit Got2Glow Fairies brand. To celebrate International Fairy Day, WowWee has launched the Got2Glow Baby Fairy Finder, two Got2Glow Fairy Pet Finders, and a Find the Glowing Fairies Roblox game. Building off last year’s success of the Got2Glow Fairy Finders, the hit tech toy that put fairies at kids’ fingertips and topped countless hot toy lists en route to becoming...

 

Jay Foreman, the CEO of Basic Fun!, has issued the following statement: “Basic Fun! is committed to supporting choice and access to reproductive rights for our employees and their families, as well as always provide an office environment free from guns. Being based in a great state like Florida is a wonderful thing for our business and our employees who work here; however, there is a dark and growing cloud overhead blocking the sunlight that...

 

Spin Master debuts new toy designed by Toronto students. Having an imaginary toy come to life is every kid’s dream, but students at Toronto’s 6ix Academy are living it! Student designer Simon Cameron and Spin Master’s Jennifer Skewes join Liem Vu for a demo of the new toy, which offers a design that centres inclusiveness and a fresh take on a classic idea.

 

Lil Critter Workshop To Launch UK Animation Studio.  The prodco behind Hogie the Globehopper and Buck & Buddy are immersing themselves in the UK talent pool by opening up a new Bristol-based office. Malaysian prodco Lil Critter Workshop (LCW) is expanding to the UK by opening a new Bristol-based animation studio.  According to a release, The studio will focus on developing original IPs and cultivating...

 

Hey Duggee, The Squirrels and some of their friends will come together for Hey Duggee The Live Theatre Show in a new play packed with fun, laughs, singing and dancing.  The smash hit series is being brought to life through innovative puppetry and storytelling in this new live show which will tour across the UK from December through to summer 2023. 

 

Eolo Toys is launching its most ambitious brand to date for the second half of 2022: the Supermasked Stretch Tech Figures. A combination of stretchy figures with sounds and sensors characterised by a series of villains and superheroes, the collectibles are targeted at boys and girls aged five years and up. 

Dire Wolf Digital announces 'Clank! Catacombs'. Dire Wolf Digital announced CLANK! Catacombs, a new modular standalone deck-building adventure game, for release into retail in fall 2022. CLANK! returns and with a new standalone offering that features a twist to gameplay. Catacombs offers players a chance to plunder a dungeon with a modular tile board that can change as players explore. 

 

Flat River Group announces a trio of new board games. 'Nicodemus,' 'Encyclopedia,' and 'Rallyman: Dirt'. Flat River Group announced three new games that will release into retail in 2022. Nicodemus returns to the original world of the Imaginarium, where players repair Bric-a-Brac machines to score points. 

 

Wizards of the Coast pushes back 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Warhammer 40,000' set. Wizards of the Coast pushed back the release date of their highly anticipated Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks for Magic: The Gathering. The release of this IP crossover set was originally scheduled for August 12, 2022, but now the new release date will be October 7, 2022. 

 

The 'Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield - Astral Radiance' expansion packs a stellar punch and is available now! Start a new journey with everything the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance expansion has to offer! Leverage the incredible power of Pokémon VSTAR and overwhelm opponents with the debut of Radiant Pokémon. 

 

Capstone Games announces Capstone+. Capstone Games announced Capstone+, a new subscription service that offers direct-to-consumer discounts. Capstone Games' new subscription service runs $20 per year for a membership. It offers consumers 20% off everything on their website, which includes items that are already discounted. 

Sylvanian Families launches Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon. Sylvanian Families has launched the new Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon: the centre of its new ‘Style & Play’ theme. The highly detailed two-storey salon features a shampoo station with shower head on the side of the sink, a hair and make-up station, and a reception desk. 

 

AEG and Flatout Games will bring 'Verdant' to retail. Alderac Entertainment Group and Flatout Games will bring Verdant, a houseplant collection board game, to retail soon. In Verdant, players take on the role of houseplant enthusiasts trying to make their interior space more cozy. In order to accomplish this, they will be collecting and arranging houseplants as well as other objects in their home space.

 

Rose Gauntlet Entertainment will release 'Keystone: North America'. Rose Gauntlet Entertainment will release Keystone: North America, a new ecology board game, into retail. In this game, players assume the roles of biologists trying to interconnect an ecosystem. This is accomplished through the strategic placement of cards that add keystone wildlife to the board. 

PBS KIDS Unveils New Logo, Branding for New Generation of Kids and Families. PBS KIDS  has announced a comprehensive update to its logo for the first time in two decades. The new logo, set to debut on July 19, builds on an expanded graphics package that began rolling out last year, which features a bright updated color palette and an array of people and environments. 

Highlights’ summer lineup of products allows kids to journey far beyond their destination, with captivating stories and expressive gear that transform them into little explorers. From glow-in-the-dark graphic tees and backpacks to on-the-go activity books filled with age-appropriate fun that parents can feel good about, Highlights has you covered.

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Meet the hacker colorizing the Game Boy games you forgot about. Grayscale aesthetics were a necessity on the original Game Boy, but hackers like Ivan "toruzz" Delgado are bringing a splash of color to retro games. There's no denying that the original Game Boy was a technological marvel in its day, but if you've ever actually held one in your hand, you know we've come a long way since 1989.

 

***The above posted after July 1st***

 

Atari is getting a massive historical game collection for its 50th anniversary. Atari is 50 years old, and to celebrate, the company has partnered with the retro game experts at Digital Eclipse on a new anniversary collection that covers five decades of gaming history. It has the somewhat unwieldy title Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, but it also sounds much more involved than a typical classic game bundle.

Quebec devs fear new language law will hurt local games industry. Changes to Quebec's language laws that were adopted last month have game developers in the province worried about the impact on the local scene, according to a CBC report. The legislation, Bill 96, will make French the province's sole official language, instituting a number of changes that could make the province a less desirable destination...

 

Miniclip acquires ‘Subway Surfers’ developer Sybo Games. After 10 years of success, SYBO surfed its way into an acquisition deal. The company behind Subway Surfers was acquired by Miniclip, an early leader in browser-based games that has since evolved to focus exclusively on mobile gaming. The SYBO deal follows the recent Miniclip acquisitions of Supersonic Software (One Clue Crossword, Picture Cross) and...

 

TikTok owner ByteDance shuts down Shanghai game studio 101. TikTok owner ByteDance's video game plans have suffered a setback after the company shuttered a development studio it purchased just three years ago. As reported by Bloomberg, the closure of the company's Shanghai-based development studio, 101 Studio, resulted in the loss of over 100 jobs.

PlayStation, Microsoft, Epic, Unity and more form Metaverse Standards Forum. Other tech giants on board include Meta, Nvidia, although Apple, Roblox and Niantic absent. Several major games and technology firms have come together to form the Metaverse Standards Forum, a new group dedicated to setting standards for this growing space. 

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Highlighted Press Releases 

TOY JUDGES APPLAUD MOONLITE FOR TRANSFORMING READ ME A STORY INTO BRINGING THE STORY TO LIFE. Spring Brings High Honors From The National Parenting Center & Mom’s Choice Awards To Moonlite’s Magical Library of Disney & Pixar Giftpacks. St. Louis, MO (July 5, 2022) – “If you are in the market for something new to introduce to your child’s bedtime routine,” reveals the rosy review by toy industry leader The National Parenting Center, “then be sure to grab a Moonlite Gift Pack or two!” Their Spring 2022 Seal of Approval was one of two toy industry honors for Moonlite ($45 Gift Packs at mymoonlite.com) this month.

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Toys and games make up 50% of all counterfeit goods seized by Belgian Customs. Following a soar during the pandemic, the sale and purchase of counterfeit goods continue to increase. Last year, more than 830,000 counterfeit goods were seized by Belgian Customs, including some very unexpected products. In 2021, the Belgian Customs and Excise Administration intercepted 838,934 counterfeit goods, according to the FPS Finance’s annual report 2021. Toys and games made up the largest share of goods that were seized.

 

Japan: Retailers told to only market tiny toy magnets for ages 14 and up. The central government is asking retailers that sell sets of small toy magnets to label them as only recommended for ages 14 and up to prevent them from falling into the hands of young children. It comes after years of reports of children suffering serious internal injuries after they swallowed the tiny toys, which were so magnetically strong that they linked up inside their bodies. The toys, commonly called magnetic balls or cubes, typically measure around 3 to 5 millimeters each.

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Licensing International has announced that two executives, Carla Silva and Rebecca Tatlock, joined its Foundation Board, effective July 1st, 2022.  “We are so happy to welcome Carla and Rebecca to our Foundation Board. Their diverse experiences and invaluable knowledge will support the Licensing Intl Foundation’s charitable initiatives and the brand licensing community at large,” said Maura Regan, president of...

 

Learning Express Toys Appoints New CEO at Annual Convention Commemorating 35 Yrs of Play. The Learning Express Toys & Gifts Franchise hosted its annual Convention and Vendor Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, FL earlier this week, giving store owners a first look at upcoming products from nationwide vendors.  This Convention marked the 35th anniversary of the franchise and founder Sharon DiMinico’s transition from CEO...

 

This year, the Toy Association named “Toys for Social & Environmental Good” as a top trend, encompassing products that teach kids how to build a happier and healthier tomorrow through play. These items include hands-on toys and games that explore recycling, renewable energy sources, pollution, endangered species, and more.

 

The Children’s Media Conference, now in its 19th year, will see its creative keynote delivered by award-winning performance poet, playwright and children’s author Joseph Coelho, who has been crowned the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2022 – 2024. CMC runs in-person and online this week from 5-7 July and is themed ‘What Next 2.2’. Held on Wednesday 6 July at 6.30pm in the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield....

 

Mike Derse is director of Business Development at Learning Express Toys and reports on his recent visit to the Toymaster May Show in Harrogate.  Based in Massachusetts, Mike co-founded the Learning Express group, where he heads up franchise and new business development, strategic planning, financial reporting, real estate and franchise compliance. Mike knew he was among like minded people one evening at...

 

***The above was posted after July 1st***

 

The British Toy & Hobby Association is delighted to have presented a Golden Teddy Award to Tim Hall. Tim has served in the toy industry for more than 35 years, with his most recent role as managing director of Ravensburger – a position he has held since 2020. He recently announced that he was stepping down as MD, saying: “I have been very fortunate to have worked alongside such a talented and hard-working ...

 

The Toy Insider will welcome the toy industry back to Pier Sixty in NYC for its annual Sweet Suite event, and this year a new partnership will amplify the power of play to kids in need. The Toy Foundation (TTF) is joining the epic toy party as the official nonprofit partner of Sweet Suite. The more than 60 participating exhibitors at Sweet Suite are invited to donate their toys, games, and products from the event to TTF’s The Toy Bank to deliver to deserving kids in the local area.

 

The annual European licensing and brand extension event announced that its keynote presentation will focus on the life, cultural impact, and future of Barbie. Delivered by Mattel president and chief operating officer Richard Dickson. “Barbie is one of the world’s greatest fashion and licensing icons, collaborating with everyone from Balmain, Karl Lagerfield, Moschino, and Diane von Furstenberg, to M.A.C. ...

 

B&LIS North America trails the successful European launch held last year and is confirmed to make its debut on November 8-9 at Convene in NYC. The in-person conference is designed to connect senior-level brand licensing leaders and decision-makers for a two-day conference focusing on the future of consumer products, the changing retail landscape, and the importance of transformation.

 

The Baby Independent Innovation Awards, an independent recognition platform highlighting the most innovative companies, services, and products in the highly competitive baby care industry, has announced the winners of their 2022 Awards Program. These outstanding innovators and leaders within the global baby care market drive innovation and exemplify the best in the baby care industry around the world.

Cardboard Edison announces that Capetalism and Roux Mates are the winners of this year’s Cardboard Edison Award for unpublished board game designs. Capetalism, designed by Christopher Chan, took the top honors in the “online” track. In this game, players are garden investors growing the value of the flowers in their secret “stalk portfolio.” Using a Go-like gardening mechanic, players plant and surround ...

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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.

Takahashi Kazuki, a Japanese manga artist credited with creating the “Yu-Gi-Oh” comic book series, was found dead on Wednesday. He was 60.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that Takahashi’s body was found in the sea, about 300 meters off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Province. It reported that he was wearing snorkeling equipment at the time. The body was identified as Takahashi’s on Thursday after the Japan Coast Guard connected it to a white rental car that had been abandoned some 12 kilometers away. The Coast Guard said that Takahashi had traveled to Okinawa alone. His body bore no noticeable sign of injury and an investigation into the cause of his death has now begun. Takahashi’s agency Studio Dice turned the artist’s web page black. READ MORE...

 

Bob Simpson - Bob was chief executive of Palitoy from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s and was credited with bringing top brands Action Man, Tiny Tears and Star Wars to the company.

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Bob Simpson, who was the chief executive at Palitoy during a golden era for the company. Although he was very much a ‘behind the scenes’ director, leaving Harry Trowell and his sales team take a lot of the limelight, he did a great job working with the American owners and helped to bring numerous top brands to the company, including Action Man, Tiny Tears and Star Wars.

The funeral service will be held at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Kirby Muxloe, just outside Leicester on Monday 11th July at 12.30pm. Any former colleagues wishing to attend the service and the wake at the Royal Oak should contact Bobwhitworth@btopenworld.com.

We are grateful to former Palitoy chief designer Bob Brechin for providing the following obituary: READ MORE...

 

Alison Quill. The founder and managing director of the specialist educational toy retailer Brightminds, Alison Quill, passed away in April. 

Toy World is sad to report the passing of Alison Quill, the founder and managing director of Brightminds, on 1st April after a long illness.

Brightminds told Toy World that only the day before her passing, Alison had contributed with her usual vigour and good humour at a board meeting, and that her drive, enthusiasm and knowledge shone through to the very end.

The specialist retailer’s official statement read: “Her colleagues will miss those attributes terribly but, above all, they – like us – will miss Alison the person. She was a regular fixture at various toy fairs at home and abroad, well known and respected throughout the industry. This world of ours now has one less genuinely good person.”

Alison was a science teacher who left the profession to form Brightminds in 1998. In her own words: “The National Curriculum became like teaching by recipe and I want to set off that spark in childrens’ minds.”

Alison was clear from the outset that the key was sourcing educational toys that inspire children to be curious about the world around them. Consequently, every product in the Brightminds range was tested and hand-picked to these guidelines.

Alison had been ill for some time and when news of her prognosis became apparent, she embarked upon a handover process as best she could, though her involvement in the day to day business had to be reduced. Her wish, according to her friends and colleagues, was that the company she had given so much to create and build continued to prosper and realise the aspirations of all of its employees, shareholders and loyal customers and suppliers.

The running of Brightminds is now being assumed by the remaining directors, led by David Crellin as interim CEO.

David says: “We have no greater desire than to carry on fulfilling Alison’s wishes in bringing a little joy and inspiration to the young people of this world. Whilst Alison can never be replaced, we do have the privilege of being given the opportunity to carry on her ethos and legacy. It is a mantle we intend to pursue to the best of our abilities”.

Toy World would like to join Alison’s friends and colleagues at Brightminds in sending condolences to her husband, John, and wider family

Bernie Stolar. Former Sega of America president and Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president Bernie Stolar has passed away. 

The news was shared by GamesBeat, which said that Stolar's funeral service took place in Los Angeles over the weekend.

Stolar was a prominent figure in the games industry for decades and worked on the original PlayStation while at Sony, helping to launch the popular system while also signing key franchises including Crash Bandicoot, Ridge Racer, and Spyro the Dragon.

During his time at Sega, Stolar led development on the Dreamcast and acquired Visual Concepts, which was eventually sold to Take-Two Interactive and used by the publisher to create its 2K label.

Later on, Stolar became an advisor and director at in-game advertising company Adscape Media, which would later be purchased by Google.

Google then brought Stolar on board as its own games evangelist, helping the influential figure add to his already extensive résumé.

Those who knew Stolar have been paying tribute on social media after hearing news of his passing.

 

Mike Sellers. Veteran game designer, engineer, and university professor Mike Sellers has passed away. News of his passing was shared on social media by friends and peers, who described Sellers as someone with a great capacity for kindness and generosity.

Sellers began his career as a software engineer, working at companies including Tektronix and Mentor Graphics during the '80s. He eventually began applying his talents to games at New World Designers, where he worked as a lead UI and UX designer on a variety of products including children's games.

After that, he went on to establish Archetype Interactive and create massively multiplayer title, Meridian 59. After Archetype was acquired by 3DO, Sellers was snapped up by the studio to continue leading production on Meridian 59 and other game projects.

Eventually, Sellers would join Electronic Arts and work on titles such as SimCity Online, The Sims 2, and Ultima Online in his role as a senior game designer.

After departing EA in 2002, Sellers became a consultant before having stints at Online Alchemy, Kabam, and Rumble -- accepting leadership roles at all three companies.

In his later years, Sellers ventured into the world of academia and most recently served as the director and professor of practice on Indiana University's game design degree program.

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  1. Former US Toys ‘R’ Us executives set to face trial over 2017 bankruptcy proceedings

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  4. Richard Dickson to deliver BLE opening keynote on Barbie

  5. Top Gun: Maverick breaks $1b barrier at box office

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