the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is June 4 - 11, 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...
Congratulations to our very own Harrison Brooks for winning the Roachy Fund Scholarship, a
fund established in memory of Alan Roach.
Some weeks back we mentioned the game 2 Truths and a Lie in conjunction with Catherine McMillen Gill's Fun Facts in her POP profile. So many enjoyed reading her Fun Facts and others, that we knew we had a game here... the 3 Truths and a Lie game and you will love playing!
There are some interesting posts in our Classified Ad page: IPs for sale, someone looking for a production company and open positions.
Hard to believe we have been publishing the Bloom Report for a whole year already! Shout out to Phil Bloom for his vision and dedication.
Dear Tim... Q: Are we done reorganizing? tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments
Q: Are we done reorganizing?
A: We’re never done reorganizing.
You know the word. And you dread it like a soldier hearing ‘Incoming!’
How many hours in your career have you fretted over the approaching reorg storm – wondering if your job would change, if you’d have a new boss, if you were suddenly going to be part of a new division…in a new business unit…in a new country? And through all that, how often did you just wish they’d make up their minds already, make the changes, and let us get back to work?
I’ve been part of dozens of corporate reorganizations, and have facilitated a few myself – and they are singularly the most demanding and stressful processes any organization will go through. Because it’s about so much more than identifying a better, more effective way to get the work done. People’s careers hang in the balance. Before I finally gave up counting, I had tallied 30 bosses in 30 years. (I still have the list, and it’s an…interesting read.) Read More...
Hayley Anderson Shares Tips on Incorporating Inclusion, Diversity, and Accessibility in Toy Design - tBR Person of the Week
I am a play advocate, toy enthusiast, and kid at heart. I currently work for Creative Fold, a design agency specializing in creating and developing toys and games. But my journey in the toy industry began long before joining the Creative Fold.
I’ve been playing since I was a kid, so I’m pretty much a play expert! In all seriousness, I’ve spent many years working in Chicago as a play therapist for kids with special needs facilitating therapeutic play sessions and evaluating toys and games for various toy companies. This experience really shaped my interactions with the world and my continued passion for PLAY.
I like to focus on fail-free play, the process of removing and breaking down any potential barriers so a child can fully access a toy or game. By creating fail-free play experiences for families, kids feel welcome, included, and most importantly, valued.
As a play therapist, I had to adapt off-the-shelf toys to meet the needs of the child, but wouldn’t it be nice if there were already products out there that were universally designed for children of all abilities?
As a toy designer, you can help with this. You can promote inclusion and make the FUN & JOY of toys, games, and all things play accessible!
When you’re starting to develop a new product, ask yourself these 7 questions. Read More...
Arnold Maggi: The Destination Store: How to Succeed as a Retailer- tBR Person of the Week
From just one phone conversation, I instantly understood why Arnold Maggi proclaims himself as a Toys R Us kid who never grew up.
Arnold entered the Toy & Game Industry around 50 years ago at the 5th Avenue F.A.O. Schwarz as the Store Manager. He vividly recounts his interactions with celebrities looking to buy toys for their kids or even themselves.
Arnold recounted his frequent interactions with big name celebrities. For example, one time Michael Jackson arranged for a Pajama Party with his friends to take place overnight in the store. He also tells the story of when rats infiltrated the 15 foot long Easter Window Display, and passerbyers would remark at how impressive it was that they had battery operated rats driving around.
The reason why I wanted to interview Arnold was that he was eager to share his knowledge and advice. From his work at FAO Schwarz, running the Play World and Noodle Kidoodle chains, being VP for ToysRUs.com, and consulting for companies like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Arnold has a wide range of experience and a lot of advice to give.
THE DESTINATION STORE
Arnold is frequently asked: How can I compete with the big guys? He responds with: DON’T
There’s no way for anyone to compete with those big chains, so the only way to survive is to take a different path: Become a Destination Store. Read More...
Financial & Legal News . . .
Hasbro successfully warded off the efforts of successors to the designer of “The Game of Life” to take control of the board game’s copyright, with a ruling by the First Circuit. Bill Markham designed the game’s prototype in 1959 as a work for hire under the 1909 Copyright Act, and his successors in interest therefore don’t have the termination rights needed to reassert control over the copyright, the opinion by Judge Kermit V. Lipez said. The successors said that Markham was an author of the game under the 1976 Copyright Act, but the court refused to apply that act retroactively. Instead, it applied the instance and expense test under the 1909 Act. Reuben Klamer, whose business partner was Art Linkletter, came up with the concept for the game after talking to the Milton Bradley Co. about an idea to celebrate the company’s centennial, the court said. Klamer then approached Markham for help creating the actual components, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said.
Asia-Europe spot rates head for $20k as new China Covid problem unfolds. The new problem has prompted suggestions that the current shipping delays could persist for up to another 12 months. This would represent an astonishing 1,000% increase on the spot rate for the trade a year ago. In addition, transpacific routes will also be affected, with some Asia to US carriers now asking $17,000 per 40ft for US east coast ports.
(the above posted after June 11th)
Tablez set to rebrand Toys R Us stores in India. The news from Tablez comes a day after Flipkart announced plans to sell Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands online in India after acquiring licensing rights. Tablez is said to be in the process of rebranding existing stores, while converting them into a new kids and baby retail format and launching its own proprietary retail brand by the end of this year.
Indian Toys R Us rights secured by Flipkart and Ace Turtle The deal means consumers in the region will now be able to buy both brands online, pitting Flipkart Group against Reliance Brands, the Indian owner of Hamleys. The Reliance Brands subsidiary operates a chain of 88 Hamleys franchise stores.
Target and Walmart online sales events to start 24 hours before Prime Day The US retail giants have both announced digital sales events geared to give Amazon's Prime Day a run for its money. Both start on 20th June, the day before Amazon’s highly anticipated Prime Day, which this year starts earlier than ever before on 21st June and will last for 48 hours.
China's Guangdong region sees factories cut power usage as hot weather strains grid The move represents yet another challenge to toy production, as many toy factories are located in the province. Several cities in China’s southern province Guangdong have apparently asked factories to curb power usage by suspending operations for hours or even days, as a combination of high factory and hot weather have...
EA hacked and source code stolen. Hackers have stolen valuable information from major game publisher Electronic Arts (EA), the company said. The attackers claimed to have downloaded source code for games such as FIFA 21 and for the proprietary Frostbite game engine used as the The firm is one of the largest games companies in the world.
Best Buy joins Walmart and Target in closing stores on Thanksgiving, a blow to Black Friday. Best Buy is closed for Thanksgiving. The electronics retailer confirmed to Insider Wednesday that all of its stores will be closed for the US national holiday for the second year running. Walmart and Target also announced this year that their stores would close for the holiday.
Roblox hit with $200 million lawsuit for allegedly using music without permission. The National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) is suing Roblox for allegedly using songs from a number of artists without permission. As reported by Variety, the NMPA is seeking a minimum of $200 million in damages, and claims that artists including Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, and the Rolling Stones have had...
Developers have earned $230 billion through the App Store to date. Apple's big WWDC event today detailed coming changes to the tech company's various platforms including updates like iOS 15, new iPadOS features, and a small handful of dev-friendly tools and updates. One particularly timely piece of information shared during the broadcast this afternoon concerns the App Store or, specifically, how much...
60 per cent of British suppliers hit by shipping delays this summer, says KlearNow. Around 60 per cent of British suppliers, including those of garden toys, games, and other outdoor equipment, have experienced import delays in the past month, according to the customs clearance platform, KlearNow that could eat into demand over the coming summer months.
Phoenix Games acquires stake in UK developer Midoki. Mobile games giant Phoenix Games has acquired a minority stake in Leamington Spa-based mobile developer Midoki. Phoenix Games has acquired the rights to Midoki's mobile action RPG Knighthood. Knighthood was published by King in 2020 and has been downloaded five million times.
Capcom facing $12m lawsuit over alleged stolen art. A lawsuit filed in a Connecticut court last week alleges that Capcom used unlicensed, copyrighted images in several of its games. The complaint -- originally spotted by Polygon -- was filed by artist and designer Judy A. Juracek, who claims that the developer used photographs from her book, Surfaces, to design environments and assets inside Resident Evil 4 and Devil ...
Sina and Weibo reportedly in talks to buy stake in Yoozoo Games. Sina Corp is looking to expand its presence in gaming, as Reuters is reporting that a consortium led by the Chinese online giant is in talks to purchase a stake in Yoozoo Games. According to the report, Sina Corp, its spun out social network Weibo Corp, and a Shanghai statement investment firm are in discussions to acquire at least 18% of the Game ...
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
(the above posted after the Bloom Report sent on June 11th)
UK sees “strongest sales growth of the pandemic” as May retail increases 10 per cent . . . . . Finnish games industry generated over $2.9bn in 2020 . . . . . U.S. retail sales to now exceed $4.44 trillion in 2021, as NRF revises annual forecast . . . . . Baby boom - the UK infant toy market . . . . . . Toy Industry E-Commerce Sales Spike 16% in China . . . . . . U.S. Toy Industry Sales Spike 27% in the First 4 Months of 2021 . . . . . . Spokes People | How has the children’s bikes market evolved in recent years? . . . . . May retail sales increase the strongest since pandemic . . . . . The NPD Group Reports on First Quarter 2021 Toy Industry e-commerce Sales in China . . . . . Free wheelin' - a look at wheeled toys . . . . . . Talking Shop UK – just popping to the toyshop
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
(the above posted after the Bloom Report sent on June 11th)
Hornby reveals full year results . . . . . Activision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI) dips more than broader markets: what you should know . . . . . . Did Playmates Toys Limited (HKG:869) insiders buy up more shares? . . . . . . Gamestop crushes Q1 earnings estimates.
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.
Stories & Comments . . .
New research from Nickelodeon and OK Play shows that kids often default to racial stereotypes when it comes to who should play lead roles, and producers can help change this. Media content has the power to shape children’s perceptions of themselves and others. But if it acts as both a mirror and a window, then what exactly are kids seeing reflected in the shows they watch?
The metaverse is taking over kids entertainment—here's what it is, and why you should care When you think about it, Wonderland may have been the original ‘metaverse’. If that’s not a term you know, you’ll hear it a lot soon. The metaverse is a massive, immersive, global, always-on digital space where it’s possible to engage in all sorts of play, entertainment, communication, socializing, creative and commercial activities. There can be familiar and lifelike experiences and others that are entirely whimsical or even bizarre.
Why the toy boom has been good for Monopoly maker Hasbro. In turbulent times, parents turn to toys to keep their kids happy. That has helped propel sales at some of the biggest toymakers in the U.S., including Hasbro, the largest producer of board games. Hasbro has more than 1,500 brands, including Monopoly, Play-Doh, Jenga and Transformers and designs and distributes toys for some of the biggest names in the...
How YouTube Unboxing Videos Helped Kids Take Over the Toy Industry. It’s “created a revolution, not an evolution,” says one media executive. While the videos might have seemed dull to adults, they hit on a core play pattern of discovery, according to Nancy Zwiers, the former chief marketing officer for toymaker Spin Master. “It just seemed kind of bizarre,” Zwiers said in the episode. “But then when I started thinking...
(the above posted after the Bloom Report sent on June 11th)
John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) China crisis…it’s the Friday Blog! For anyone who has been asleep (or on furlough) since the turn of the year, a very rough summary goes thus: major fuel and raw material price increases, along with increased lead times exacerbated by severe container shortages and rising shipping costs, have put huge pressure on suppliers to increase prices to mitigate their spiralling costs.
An Amazon hybrid model - the best of both worlds? Asha Bhalsod of Etopia Consultancy responds to a column from our (ToyWorld UK) March issue on whether it is better to be an Amazon Vendor or Seller. “The hybrid model is a concept that has been around for many years but has become a more favourable way of working with Amazon recently,” she explains. “Amazon has notoriously been treated as a second-tier...
Zoom meetings aren’t fun any more and workers have had enough — here’s what some companies are doing to help. Multiple studies suggest the “Zoom fatigue” legions of office workers are feeling is real. Legal and accounting firms, consultancies, banks and other companies whose employees dispersed from downtown towers to apartments and basement offices, are now implementing measures to fight that fatigue.
Behind the scenes with India’s boardgame creators. In 2018, Phalgun Polepalli and Shwetha Badarinath could not find a single person to make dice, much to their dismay. “Dice were practically invented in India; but all major boardgame manufacturing these days is in China. It took us a long time to find a woodworker who could make what we needed,” recalls Phalgun over a phone call from Bengaluru.
National Yo-Yo Day: Some Fun Facts About The Toy. Every year on June 6, we celebrate National Yo-Yo Day. It coincides with the birthday of Chicago businessman Donald F. Duncan Sr, who in the 1930s, got into the yo-yo business. Yo-Yo was first sold in the US by Pedro Flores, a Philippine immigrant. In the 1920s, Flores began making the toy in America and was fascinated by how people here took to the toy.
Original manuscript for classic 'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' sourcebook ends up on eBay. The original manuscript for Deities & Demigods, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook, has bid up over $12,000 on eBay. Deities & Demigods is one of the most storied AD&D books ever produced, and now some lucky bidder may end up with the hand-typed manuscript that started it all.
The world’s only Harry Potter flagship store in New York opens its doors to the public. The doors to the new flagship Harry Potter store in New York have finally been opened to the public, greeting fans with a 220-pound model of Fawkes the Phoenix, and a host of magical creatures and hand-made props.
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
The Busy Bee Game from Marx (1952). Released in the early 1950s by Marx, The Busy Bee Game draws inspiration from the now iconic Game of Cootie, which was produced by Schaper. Instead of building a “Cootie,” Busy Bee players must assemble a three-dimensional bee from a variety of plastic body parts. The Busy Bee Game package is divided into six sections. Numbered from one to six, each section corresponds to a specific busy bee body part. The part numbers also correspond to numbers on the single die used to play the game.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Wham-O Licenses Retro Toys to Winning Moves Games. “Winning Moves Games USA is proud to announce it has signed a licensing agreement with Anjar and Wham-O to bring back the classic versions of Frisbee, Super Ball, Hacky Sack, Trac Ball and many other classic Wham-O toys,” said Philip Orbanes Jr., President of Winning Moves Games USA. “For more than 25 years Winning Moves Games USA has built a positive reputation...
Gaming phenomenon Fall Guys joins Wow! Pods lineup Fall Guys’ beans are set to become main characters of the new Wow! Pods range featuring the unique Swipe to Light function. The breakout gaming hit of 2020, Fall Guys quickly established itself as one of the most enjoyed multiplayer games available.
(the above posted after June 11th)
Hasbro launches new ‘Ghostbusters’ gear to market. Following the Sony TwitterSpace panel with “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” cast and filmmakers, Hasbro has announced two new products – the Plasma Series Mini-Pufts 3-Pack, and the Plasma Series Glow in the Dark Figures. The “Ghostbusters” Plasma Series Mini-Pufts 3-Pack stand at 3.5 inches tall, the same size as the paranormal Mini-Pufts featured in “Ghostbusters...
Wow! Stuff and HoloToyz join ‘hand-picked line up’ of licensing partners for Sonic the Hedgehog. Both Wow! Stuff and HoloToyz have become the latest toy partners to join a ‘hand-picked line up of industry leading’ licensing partners for SEGA Europe as the studio continues to celebrate the landmark 30th anniversary of its flagship character, Sonic the Hedgehog.
Hasbro, Romero Britto launch official Monopoly art collaboration. Romero Britto, artist and founder of the Happy Art Movement has teamed up with Hasbro for the release of four new Monopoly limited-edition artworks on canvas. The series highlights Mr. Monopoly in Britto’s patterns and colors, creating a journey through art for fans.Britto is the only authorized artist to create fine art for the Monopoly brand in addition to...
Moose Toys sets up for a slam dunk. The combination of LeBron James and Looney Tunes is a slam dunk, as far as Moose Toys is concerned. The Australian toymaker is launching a consumer products program inspired by the feature film Space Jam: A New Legacy globally this month, after its first SKUs hit shelves in the US in April. The range includes action figures, playsets, plush and collectibles.
LEGO to launch new comic book series with AMEET and Skybound Entertainment. The children’s book publisher AMEET has detailed a new partnership with the multi-platform content company, Skybound Entertainment to launch a new series of LEGO comic books. The first in the series is slated to debut in 2022 and will be published by Image Comics and Skybound.
Save the City in Super-style with DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power for Nintendo Switch. The DC Super Hero Girls are flying into the Nintendo Switch in their new video game: DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power. Based on the Cartoon Network animated series DC Super Hero Girls, this game follows famous DC heroines and supervillains on exciting crime-fighting and high school adventures in Metropolis.
HEADSTART BRINGS RYAN’S WORLD INTO THE BLASTER AISLE WITH RYAN’S DART TAG RANGE. Headstart Toys teamed up with pocket.watch — the company behind digital-first brands, including Love, Diana — to bring the popular YouTuber into the foam blaster aisle. Ryan’s Dart Tag is a new range of blasters for kids ages 8 and up launched earlier this month at Big W in Australia. The line debuts in the U.S....
People . . .
Catherine Winder, CEO and exec producer of WSS, is leading a team of creatives launching the next gen of creator-driven multi-platform entertainment franchises. WSS brings IPs to life through leveraging new technologies in combination with the company’s world-building expertise. Its creative team was behind the hit Invincible along with Camp Bonkers and My Singing Monsters Fandemonium. “We produce in...
Innovate Like A Boss with Perry The Inventor. Too many inventors fall in love with the idea. Pro inventors fall in love with the idea that others fall in love with. My guest today is Perry the Inventor, Perry Kaye, who has invented everything from the ShapeSHARK, a colored marker that allows children to cut paper into shapes simply by drawing them, to 3-D CAD software. He’s been awarded over 50 US and Foreign Patents, won...
Homeschool Together Podcast. Episode 105: Designing Games with Kim Vandenbroucke. Kim covered a wide range of current topics in the table top games industry such as differences between publishes here and abroad, how the industry is changing, inventor's names on boxes, trends, themes, mechanics, rules, goals, playtesting, unicorns and much more.
WildBrain CPLG Names Jasen Wright VP, North America. Based in New York, Wright is reporting to WildBrain CPLG EVP and Managing Director, Maarten Weck. While focusing on WildBrain’s proprietary brands — including Strawberry Shortcake, Caillou, Teletubbies, and Chip & Potato — Wright will also lead local growth of a wider portfolio of WildBrain CPLG brands and grow relationships with existing partners like Square Enix ...
KidsKnowBest, the creative agency with a focus on youth, is continuing its expansion with two new senior hires: Thomas Fink, who joins as data and AI consultant; and Helen Lockett, who takes up the role of associate research director. It has also appointed Ed Hallinan Rhodes – a content marketer with 10-plus years’ industry experience – as strategy director.
Jo Carter from Two Owls Design on her career as toy designer. WHEN most kids want a new soft toy, they have to beg their parents to take them somewhere like Build-A-Bear Workshop. But Jo Carter’s boys simply have to persuade their mum to go to her studio at the bottom of the garden. The former Penketh High student has what some youngsters might call a dream job as a soft toy designer. With more than 20 years of...
(the above posted after the Bloom Report sent on June 11th)
The Roachy Fund is pleased to announce Harrison Brooks has been awarded the 2021 Roachy Fund Scholarship. The Fund reviewed numerous applications from many very talented young people and felt Harrison embodied the spirit and energy of the fund’s namesake, Alan Roach. Harrison continued to endear himself to The Roachy Fund, when he claimed “after reading your email, I screamed Yahtzee! I am honored that you chose me as this year’s recipient for the Roachy Fund Scholarship. I aspire to continue spreading Alan’s philosophy of Making Art & Playing Games as I enter college and the world beyond.” (Note from Mary, "As Harrison is an integral part of our CHITAG/POP team, we are especially excited for his receiving this prestigious and meaningful award!"
WarnerMedia has brought in Melissa Lim as head of content acquisitions and co-productions for its kids networks in Asia Pacific. Her purview will cover POGO, Cartoon Network and Boomerang across the region. Lim takes over for Hoyoung Jung, who left in April to join Netflix as manager of original animation for kids and family, based in Tokyo. She will also help cultivate HBO GO in Southeast Asia, giving input on...
Jimmy Fallon is turning his bestselling children’s books into an animated series with DreamWorks Animation. The “Tonight Show” host will executive produce the preschool series based on his two books “Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada” and “Everything is Mama.” The show will be set in an imaginative world of animals that celebrates all the special things that make a family unique.
Eddie Gamarra has been brought in as VP of literary affairs for Nickelodeon and Awesomeness. In this newly created role, he’s responsible for sourcing and assessing books at every publishing stage in order to decide what to option and develop. Based in LA, Gamarra will be looking for literary works that can be turned into both live-action and animated TV shows and movies. He reports to Shauna Phelan and Zack Olin, who...
Matt Forbeck: The new Marvel RPG. On Friday, Marvel announced its plans to publish a new tabletop roleplaying game called the Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game. Normally, I’d be pretty excited about this because I’m a lifelong Marvel fan and roleplaying gamer. I learned how to read with Spidey comics, and I played the classic Marvel Super Heroes RPG from TSR till my boxed set fell apart. But instead I’m...
Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Adam Borton, founder of Creating Unique Toys and newly launched Toy &Game School — a digital education platform is designed to teach students the fundamentals of the toy and game industry. On the show, Albritton and Borton discuss the choice to explore the toy industry in their college studies and the curriculum...
The Entertainer’s Gary Grant | “A family business is a different kind of business” With a universe of toys at his disposal, and the entirety of the children’s entertainment market at his fingertips; you’d assume grandfatherhood was just another day at the office for Gary Grant, founder of the UK toy shop The Entertainer. As any doting grandparent would attest, the role comes with some pretty basic blueprints; say yes to...
GameStop lines up Amazon veterans for CEO and CFO roles. U.S. game retailer GameStop has named Amazon veterans Matt Furlong and Mike Recupero as its new CEO and CFO, respectively. Furlong will replace outgoing CEO George Sherman, who took on the role in April 2019 before announcing his departure earlier this year. The inbound chief exec worked at Amazon for close to nine years, most recently serving...
Companies, Brands . . .
Nickelodeon launches TMNT design competition ViacomCBS Consumer Products has partnered with PROSPECT 100 to roll out new Ninja Turtles merch featuring artwork from a young creator. The contest is open to creators ages 16 to 25, and in addition to a US$7,000 cash prize, the winner’s original artwork will be featured on an official range of TMNT merchandise that’s set to launch globally on Amazon in August.
Mattel drives into NFTs with Hot Wheels Consumers can bid on three exclusive digital versions of Hot Wheels vehicles using cryptocurrency starting on June 22. They’ll take the form of three exclusive digital Hot Wheels cars that will be offered up at auction on the Mattel Creations e-commerce platform from June 22 to 29.
Smart Games unveils XXL versions of its best-selling brain busters. Jump In, Squirrels Go Nuts and IQ Puzzler Pro are now available with larger boards and pieces, plus extra challenges to complete. Commenting on the launch of the new XXL games, Karen Clarke, UK brand director of Smart Toys and Games, said: “We are delighted to unveil our new XXL games – the chunky pieces are super fun and ideal to play both indoors...
Jazwares subsidiary Kellytoy unveiled a new line-up of Squishmallows launching for Halloween. The squad features jack-o-lanterns, mummies, vampires, bats, ghosts, witches, and other creatures, available as five-inch, eight-inch, 12-inch, 16-inch, 20-inch, and 24-inch versions.
New this year are Detra the red octopus witch and Zelina the Day of the Dead-themed black cat. Other classic characters will be available...
IMC Toys signs second Nickelodeon partnership deal for Cry Babies Magic Tears A UK TV and social media campaign will support the autumn/winter product launches for the popular doll range from IMC Toys. Designed to reinforce brand awareness and engagement, the Cry Babies Magic Tears content will continue to stream simultaneously across the Nickelodeon network in commercial airtime, and IMC Toys’ ...
THE FIRST-EVER MATTEL ADVENTURE PARK IS SET TO OPEN IN ARIZONA NEXT YEAR. A host of branded Family Entertainment Centers and other location-based entertainment experiences were in the works before the world was derailed. Now, following the plans for Mission Play! by Mattel — the first Mattel FEC in Europe — families in N.A. will soon have a destination where they can interact with their favorite toy brands...
(the above posted after the Bloom Report sent on June 11th)
Hasbro kicks off second ‘Yo Joe! June’ with G.I. Joe Classified Series, Jada Toys reveals. Hasbro kicked off its second annual Yo Joe! June campaign with a Fan First Friday live stream that went heavy on the G.I. Joe Classified Series reveals alongside a couple of surprises via the team at Jada Toys. The 6-inch scale G.I. Joe Classified Series continues to do big business across major retailers, fan channel retailers, and hobby and...
Spin Master Introduces The Future of Play Scholarship. Spin Master has announced a new initiative to support the education and career advancement of individuals from underrepresented communities in the fields of toys, entertainment, and digital games. The company has committed investing up to $100,000 annually in financial aid, as well as mentorship and on-the-job experience. Spin Master will grant eight...
PlayShifu Launches Virtual Board Game Platform Tacto. PlayShifu has launched the first-ever “phygital” board game platform, Tacto, based on innovative technology and augmented reality (AI) that turns screen time into family time. Using iPads, kids can utilize real figurines to access the virtual gameplay on Tacto’s platform.
Playmonster launches UK summer campaign for My Fairy Garden Over 20,000 activity packs and wild flower seeds have been given to primary schools to encourage children to look after wildlife as part of #Fairiesfornature. The brand has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years as parents turn to wholesome and inspiring toys and #Fairiesfornature will encourage kids to be part of a team of mini...
LEGO goes vintage with its latest LEGO Ideas launch, the LEGO Ideas Typewriter LEGO has unveiled the latest building set to launch via its LEGO Ideas platform, a classic Typewriter building set that will transport LEGO fans to a bygone era as they reconstruct the vintage styled ornament. The LEGO Ideas Typewriter was designed by the UK LEGO fan, Steve Guinness from Chester, who saw the project advance …
Mattel launches sustainable new Barbie Loves the Ocean range The new Barbie Loves the Ocean range is the brand's first fashion doll collection to be made from recycled ocean-bound plastic. “This Barbie launch is another addition to Mattel’s growing portfolio of purpose-driven brands, which inspire environmental consciousness with our consumer as a key focus,” said Richard Dickson, president and COO, Mattel.
Moose Toys unveils 'biggest boys brand to date' with new Akedo franchise. The new Akedo franchise combines action figures, battling and collectability with cutting edge content and licensing. Akedo marks Moose’s biggest boys’ launch to date and will be backed by a full-scale marketing campaign that will include an animated series to mark Moose’s largest investment in content.
Hasbro announces new Mobius toy from Loki. Hasbro has now revealed a new toy based on a character that appears in the upcoming Loki TV series on Disney+. The character getting released is Mobius. Mobius is a character in Loki played by comedy legend Owen Wilson. While Loki is available now at toy stores, you will have to wait for the Mobius toy because it's being released in Fall 2021.
Cartoon Network orders its first African superhero series Ridwan Moshood's prize-winning short Garbage Boy and Trash Can is being produced as a full series in collaboration with Baboon and the African Animation Network. Created by Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood, the 10 x 2.5-minute comedy-driven toon is about a boy with imaginary superpowers who fights for justice with his trusty sidekick.
WeCool Toys, the company behind the Compound Kings and Activity Kings brands, has entered into a licensing deal with Mattel to develop a new line of Barbie and Hot Wheels branded compounds and activities. WeCool Toys will feature the brands in a variety of new dough sets and activity sets that will launch under the Compound Kings and Activity Kings lines this fall. Compound Kings and Activity Kings are sold...
The how behind the Wow! at Wow! Stuff Rachael Simpson- Jones spoke to Wow! Stuff CEO Richard North about the company’s plans for the second half of 2021, and his often unorthodox approach to business. Wow! Stuff has enjoyed a strong first half of the year, with a raft of new appointments under its belt, multiple new licences signed, and all-encompassing marketing plans that will see more consumers than ever...
IP Push Helps Drive Mattel’s Transformation. “There’s no question that the new Mattel is very different from what the company was just a few short years ago,” Kreiz said during a June 2 webcast. “The biggest change is that we transitioned from being a toy manufacturing company into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.” Kreiz also cited Mattel’s latest financial metrics, including substantial growth in EBITDA and gross...
Casdon Toys celebrates its 75th anniversary With role-play at the heart of Casdon, the company is launching a ‘Helping out in the Home Corner’ initiative this month to coincide with its anniversary. Casdon Toys celebrate its 75th anniversary this month. Launched on 8th June 1946 by Thomas Cassidy, the family of toymakers continues to inspire imaginative and creative play for children via its range of well-known....
Kidz Bop & LEGO VIDIYO Premiere Music Video Collaboration. Kidz Bop’s 20th anniversary celebrations this year continue with a joint Kidz Bop and LEGO VIDIYO video series and fan sweepstakes. Two new videos launch from the collaboration this month. In the first, called “Behind the Scenes with LEGO VIDIYO,” Kidz Bop Kids Alana and Ayden show how they direct their own music video by scanning in their Bandmates...
My Garden Baby to ‘cultivate appreciation of nature’ in children as Mattel unveils new nurturing doll line. Mattel is taking new steps into the nurturing doll category with the launch of My Garden Baby, a classic baby doll with the mission of encouraging kids to cultivate an appreciation for nature and the world around them. My Garden Baby is a diverse collection of dolls featuring new colourways and butterfly ...
Find the clues before the suspect flees in 'Turbo Sleuth'. WizKids revealed Turbo Sleuth, a puzzle-solving game, for release into retail in August. In Turbo Sleuth, players take on one of five cases as fast as they can. The cases have many different solutions, and depend on which cards are drawn. Players need to solve the case quickly to lock in the most points, but a wrong answer costs them.
Asmodee USA brings 'Meadow' to U.S. retail. Asmodee USA will release Meadow, a set collection game by Rebel Studio, into U.S. retail on July 23. In Meadow, players take the role of wanderers watching nature as the roam around looking for breathtaking scenery. On their journey, they collect ground cards (animal life habitats), observation cards (specific species observed during the journey), landscape, and discovery cards ...
Super7 relaunches ’80s Silverhawks franchise. Following the successful relaunches of ’80s action brands, including G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, ThunderCats, and Voltron, the SilverHawks are reporting for duty. Super7 is relaunching the SilverHawks brand and its “partly metal, partly real” heroes as a new line of toys and collectibles. SilverHawks launched as an animated series from Rankin/Bass productions in 1986 ...
Asmodee USA will release 'so Clover!' into U.S. retail. Asmodee USA will release So Clover!, a new word-association game by Repos Productions, which hit retail in Q3. So Clover! is a cooperative word-association game where players team up and try to get the high score. Teams receive Keywords and secretly write the words' common features on the Clover board as Clues.
Richard Garfield invites players to unleash 'The Hunger'. Renegade Game Studios will release The Hunger, a new vampire themed deck building game from Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, later this year. The Hunger puts players in the role of vampires awakening from their sleep as eternal roses begin to bloom in a hidden labyrinth.
Asmodee USA will release 'Project L' in U.S. retail. Asmodee USA will release Project L, a tile-matching puzzle game by Boardcubator, on July 30. Project L is a tile-matching game featuring triple-layered 3D puzzles. Players use acrylic pieces to complete puzzle blocks in outlined spaces, similar to a miniature version of Tetris. They start with just two basic pieces, and can use up to three actions every turn to solve puzzles ...
Zimpli Kids’ Gelli Baff and Slime Baff are first toys to receive British Skin Foundation seal of approval. Zimpli Kids’ Gelli Baff and Slime Baff are the first toys to receive accreditation from the UK’s leading and most respected skin disease charities, the British Skin Foundation. Following an in-depth review, BSF approved; Gelli Baff, Slime Baff, Gelli Play and Slime Play as skin safe.
Thames & Kosmos bolsters FEAK XL STEM range as ‘kids interest in space exploration rockets’. Children’s interest in space exploration has rocketed over the past six years, according to the team at Thames & Kosmos UK, who has witnessed ‘steady interest in its astronomy-focused FEAK range of STEM kits’ since new additions were welcomed to the line up earlier this year.
Soviet super-soldier 'Omega Red' heads to 'Marvel Crisis Protocol'! Atomic Mass Games will release a Marvel Crisis Protocol: Omega Red character pack, which will hit stores in Q3. Omega Red is a the result of Soviet-era super-soldier experiments that turned Russian criminal Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich into a living weapon. His model features Omega Red's signature implanted carbonadium tendrils as his primary...
Pegasus Spiele reveals new 'Undo' game. Pegasus Spiele revealed Long Live the King, a mystery scenario game, for release into retail on July 23. In this latest installment, players time-jump to medieval Europe. Their goal, this time around, is to try and reverse the poisoning of a monarch. They must figure out how the chalice he drank from ended up with the poison, and thereby change the events that led to his untimely death.
Fantasy Flight Games Announces Two 'Edge Of The Earth' expansions for 'Arkham Horror: The Card Game'. Fantasy Flight Games announced Edge of the Earth Campaign Expansion and Investigator Expansion, for Arkham Horror: The Card Game, which will release later in 2021. The Edge of the Earth Campaign Expansion sends players to Antarctica to explore the horrors that await in the ice sheets.
The Op unveils two new versions of classic games. The Op (USAopoly) unveiled Clue: Nightmare Before Christmas and Monopoly: The Sopranos, which will hit retail in July. Clue: Nightmare Before Christmas re-imagines the original mystery game with Jack Skellington twist. This time, Sandy Claws has been kidnapped and the players must figure out who took him in time to save Christmas.
Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .
Future Today, Tankee partner on original series EXCLUSIVE: The new Minecraft and Roblox gaming-led shows should help Future Today's OTT platform HappyKids stand out from the competition, says David Di Lorenzo. Both 13-episode comedies will launch exclusively on Future Today’s HappyKids OTT platform in July or August. Minecraft Boss Battles and Roblox Recess Extreme are geared to kids ages six to 12 and...
Xbox wants to release a game every three months. Xbox says it will continue to invest in and acquire new studios as it aims to release a new first-party game every three months. During a special E3 pre-brief featuring the Xbox and Microsoft executive team, the company laid out its vision for the future of the video games industry and for Xbox.
62 percent of UK adults played online games during the pandemic, says UK regulator. The number of people playing online games in the UK rose during the pandemic, according to a new report from UK communications regulator Ofcom. The organization said that online gaming saw a big increase in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 62 percent of all adults and 92 percent of those aged between 16 and 24 ...
Cinemark expands gaming offering, innovating entertainment experience with in-theatre games and online esports leagues. Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (CNK), one of the world’s largest and most influential movie theatre companies, today announced it is further innovating its entertainment experience by expanding its in-theatre and online esports offering.
75% of mobile gaming pandemic boost will persist - Report. A new report from market intelligence firm IDC and advertising platform LoopMe says the pair expect that 75% of the consumer playtime spike experienced by mobile games during the pandemic will remain after COVID-19 subsides. The report was based on a survey of over 3,800 consumers in the US, the UK, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Singapore wh ...
Facebook acquires Unit 2 Games. Facebook today announced that it has acquired Unit 2 Games, the developer behind free-to-play game creation and sharing tool Crayta. The social network said that the addition will help expand its categories of gaming content creators. This will help include people who develop, publish, share games, and experiences on the Facebook Gaming platform.
Taito announces mini arcade cabinet with rotating screen and trackball controller. Taito is the latest Japanese video game publisher to resurrect old hardware in mini form. The company behind Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, and many more arcade classics has just announced the Egret II Mini, which like Sega’s excellent Astro City Mini is a shrunken-down version of a popular arcade cabinet.
Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
How to clean LEGO bricks, according to LEGO. LEGO bricks are perfectly designed to construct anything builders can imagine. But those interlocking nooks and crannies that make them great building blocks are also breeding grounds for bacteria. And if the pieces are handled every day, they can get filthy fast. To make LEGO play sessions more sanitary for you and your kids, here's what you need to do.
Parent watchdog group warning about Roblox. Parent watchdog group ParentsTogether today called on Roblox to "stop baiting children into outrageous spending." It warns that children are susceptible to spending large sums of money for in-app purchases on the gaming platform. "Roblox is a gaming platform that is made to specifically appeal to children -- it simply shouldn't be possible for a player to spend thousands...
Press Releases . . .
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.
(the above posted after June 11th)
THIS SUMMER’S MINI COLLECTION FEATURES MINI VERSIONS OF VINTAGE HESS TOY TRUCKS. 2021 Mini Collection Includes An Amazing 5-In-One Toy Set Complete with Mini Racers At Just $29.99. Hess Toy Truck’s limited-edition Mini Collection ($29.99) tradition has launched, featuring highly detailed, small scale versions of classic holiday Hess Toy Trucks from the past. The 2021 little legends are on sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com. This year, Hess reaches way back to the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s to their storied history of Christmas morning magic as kids unwrapped the must-have toy trucks. The 2021 Mini Collection features the 1968 Tanker Truck, the 1980 Training Van, and the 3-in-one 1997 Hess Toy Truck and Racers — for a combined total of five toys! The set boasts pre-installed batteries, chrome accents, articulated cabs, free-rolling wheels and three detachable display bases with name plates.
HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT HOSTING GAME NIGHT? SCORE A WIN WITH THIS HIGHSPEED PARTY GAME. Sold Exclusively At Target, Each Round Of Second Thoughts™ Presses Players To Be Witty And Wise But Not Take Too Long. (As Time Is Not On Their Side)! – When it’s your night to host Game Night, the pressure is on to find something fun, fast paced and memorable. Shoppers browsing the toy aisle at Target have the perfect recommendation – with “no second thoughts after buying this game” as one happy consumer reviewed on Target.com. Second Thoughts™ ($17.99) from The Good Game Company asks players to be quick thinkers or fast talkers when it’s their team’s turn. Whichever side you take, the laughs are guaranteed.
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards & Festivals . . .
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More)
Best of E3 2021: CNET's favorite games from the show. Zelda and Elden Ring are just the beginning. The all-virtual E3 has wrapped, and there were plenty of big reveals and announcements. The major festivities started Thursday with Summer Game Fest, where Elden Ring was shown off, and finished Tuesday with Nintendo Direct, during which we got more than a glimpse of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.
Dragomino named winner of coveted Kinderspiel des Jahres 2021 The spin-off title of the popular Kingdomino tabletop gaming title, Dragomino, has been awarded the coveted Kinderspiel des Jahres 2021, part of the globally revered Spiel des Jahres or Game of the Year awards held in Germany. Developed by Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort, and Wilfried Fort, Dragomino is published by Pegasus Spiele and Blue Orange...
Spielwarenmesse's ToyAcademy to share toy expertise throughout the year Launching on 17th June, the ToyAcademy will kick off with a presentation entitled 'Evolving retailing landscape – Challenges for traditional toy stores with the rise of e-commerce'.International experts will be invited to use this platform to give valuable insights into topics such as the retail trade, markets, digitalisation and sustainability.
UK Toy industry covers more than 26,000km for the Toy Trust’s Around the World in 80 Hours event ...in excess of £20,000 has been raised... (by) Participants from across the industry representing everything from manufacturers to retailers and licensors came together with one aim – to cover the globe in distance covered through any activity that was non-motorised. Individuals ran, walked, swam, cycled, walked whilst hula hooping, paddle-boarded or kayaked, and some completed their stint on horseback.
Zapf, MGA, Sawdust and Rainbows, Mookie and many more celebrate Loved by Parents wins. The annual awards recognise best-in-class toys and games across categories ranging from wooden and outdoor toys to ride-ons. Widely considered a leading accolade by those who receive them, the awards are decided by parent testers who put all products through their paces before deciding on the winners.
The MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021 are now open for entry MadeForMums, the UK’s No.1 site for toy reviews, has opened entries to the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021. This year, there will be awards in over 35 categories, including Best Science/STEM Toy, Best First Bike, Best Board Game, Best Baby Sensory Toy, Best Wooden Toy and Best Stocking Filler.
(the above posted after June 11th)
And they're off! Toy Trust Around the World in 80 Hours fundraising event starts today. The event starts today, and Toy World would like to wish good luck to all the companies and brave souls participating. The toy industry has taken up the challenge to collectively circumnavigate the globe in 80 hours by any non-motorised means, with the event kicking off at 9am today. You can read more about the event here.
The Global Licensing Group has announced its first round of exhibiting companies confirmed for Licensing Expo Virtual taking place August 24-26, in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International. The more than 100 exhibitors will include Endemol Shine Group, IMG Worldwide, Crayola, Jazwares, Joester Loria Group, JPatton, Spin Master, MGM Studios, Pokémon Company International...
The Toy Association celebrates 105th anniversary this week. The North American toy industry organization, the Toy Association is celebrating its 105th anniversary today, June 9th, 2021, marking over a century of working with government, consumers, and its members to raise awareness of the importance of toys and play.
Hades wins the Nebula Award for Best Game Writing. The title was written by Supergiant creative director Greg Kasavin and was nominated for the award alongside Spiritfarer, Kentucky Route Zero, Blaseball, The Luminous Underground, and Scents & Semiosis. The Nebula Awards are presided over by full members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
GAMA board proposes restructuring governance. The board of directors of the Game Manufacturers Association has proposed new bylaws for the organization, which provide for greater representation for non-publishers on the organization’s board of directors. Currently, publisher members elect most of the board and all four officers, with the retail and wholesale divisions each electing one board member.
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.
M. RICHARD ROBINSON, JR. Scholastic Corporation Chairman and CEO, who had a profound influence on geek culture, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend, the company announced. He was 84, but had been in excellent health and active in running the company, as he had for nearly 50 years, the company said. In his roles as President since 1974, CEO since 1975, and Chairman since 1982, Robinson built Scholastic into the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, with $1.6 billion in annual sales. Robinson made a momentous decision in 2004, when Scholastic entered the kids graphic novel business with its new Graphix imprint (see "Scholastic to Launch Graphic Novel Line"). With Scholastic leading the way, kids graphic novels became the largest part of the graphic novel business, bigger than manga, superheroes, or creator-owned graphic novels. Big hits have included the Amulet and Bone series, adaptations of Babysitters Club, the work of Raina Telgemeier, and Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man.
Ditomassi spent more than 40 years at Milton Bradley — both before and after it was acquired by Hasbro, Inc. in 1984 — where he worked to bring worldwide recognition to game brands including Candy Land, Life, and Chutes and Ladders. According to his obituary, Ditomassi’s career at Milton Bradley began when he joined the company as a production trainee in 1960. In 1970, he became Vice President of Milton Bradley and General Manager of the Whiting Division. In 1982, Ditomassi was elected to Milton Bradley’s Board of Directors, and in 1985 was promoted to President of Milton Bradley. In 1990, he was named Chairman of Milton Bradley and Chief Operating Officer, Games and International, at Hasbro, Inc. Between 1996 and 1997 he served as President of Hasbro International.
John Wilson. John Wilson, the founder of renowned text adventure game publisher Zenobi Software, has passed away. A family member shared the news on social media, prompting an outpouring of tributes from those who knew Wilson. Also known as the 'Rochdale Balrog' because of his ties to the Greater Manchester town, Wilson turned Zenobi into a full-time venture in 1986to help produce and publish adventure games for a range of systems including the ZX Spectrum and the Atari ST.
Ebbe Altberg, - the CEO of Second Life creator and developer Linden Lab, has passed away. The Linden Lab team shared the news on the Second Life community forum, and praised Altberg for ushering in a culture of "profound openness and transparency" during his tenure. Altberg was appointed CEO of Linden Lab in February 2014, and prior to that worked at a range of high-profile technology companies including BranchOut, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.
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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . .
Toy Trade Monthly Issues
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- WizKids Unveils a New 'Pathfinder Battles' Miniatures Set
- TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed TCG Products (With Price Shifts) - May 2021
- Wizards Rethinks Their Approach to 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Universes Beyond' Releases
- Marvel Takes to the Table-Top with 'Marvel Multiverse' RPG
- Rolling for Initiative -- Wizards of the Coast In-Store Play Changes
- Wizards of the Coast Unveils New 'Dungeon's Master's Screen: Dungeon Kit'
- Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Secret Lair: Stranger Things' for 'Magic: The Gathering'
- A Brand-New Faerie Adventure is Coming to 'Dungeons & Dragons'
- GameStop Closes Stores, Increases Sales, Cuts Loss
- Konami Reveals All-Foil 'Battles of Legends 2021' Set for 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' TCG
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