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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday! 

It’s International Women’s Day. Take a moment to consider all the wonderful women that make our lives, our businesses, and our industry better, and always remember who make the overwhelming majority of decisions to buy games and toys... Women!


Mark your calendars! On April 8th, we are hosting a Chicagoland POP Pub Get-Together! All are welcome - Details here. We'll be in San Diego hosting another POP Pub event on March 26th or 27th… Details TBA! We are also working on an upcoming event in Vancouver. Check out our pub events around the world - Click here!

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News FeedPlease support our work by advertising and/or setting up a POP profile.


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The Toy Association's Andy Keimach

What I’m Hearing! – Advocacy Matters

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We recently conducted our annual survey of Toy Association members to learn about the issues that matter to their businesses. In gathering this feedback from small, medium, and large companies, our goal is to more effectively serve and protect our membership and the broader toy community. 

One of the top areas of importance cited by members across all company sizes was “regulatory and advocacy” – examples of pertinent issues in the survey included: IP/counterfeits, global standards alignment, chemical regulations, children’s online privacy laws, and sustainability. 

Our Global Government & Regulatory Affairs team continues to advocate on these and other emerging issues to ensure that businesses are protected, and that children’s toys remain safe. I thought I would share a roundup of a few of the issues the team is tackling – keep in mind, the areas of focus shift from week to week and month to month, depending on what is happening at various levels of government and how we need to prioritize our efforts. Our staff has a finger on the pulse of what’s coming down the pipeline and can quickly switch gears to address what is most pressing.   READ MORE...

Related article: The Toy Association announced the 2024 board of directors and new executive committee during the annual general meeting. 

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Person of the Week - Tempest Workshop's Chris Rowlands

The Debut of an Invention Studio with a Pedigree

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Hi, Chris! Tell us a little about Tempest Workshop and your role there.

I am the Studio Director for Tempest Workshop, a new board game design and development studio startup that I co-founded along with some of my the folks I worked with while at Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Prospero Hall, and Funko Games. My co-founders are Korby Sears and Isaias Vallejo, and we’re also collaborating on some projects with our former colleagues Tyler Hill, David Iezzi, Josh Manderville, Thomas Ramey, Estefania Rodriguez, Daniel Stoltlenberg, Stephanie Straw, and Ernest Ziegenfelder. We have experience working together to bring over 250 titles to market — including some of the most critically-acclaimed licensed signature games of all time. We started Tempest Workshop because we believe in the power to positively change lives through human connection and play.

What advice do you have for people starting in the industry?

I adopted a saying while I was with Forrest-Pruzan that was my take on the phrase “fake it till you make it.” Except mine is “make it till you make it.” You just have to start somewhere, with something. Keep making things. Make things to figure out what your good ideas are and perhaps more importantly what your bad ideas are. Never stop making things and everything else comes from that.


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Person of the Week - Barry McLaughlin of Barry and Jason Entertainment and Games

Do you want to make a game and get it on store shelves?

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I’m asked this all the time, and figured I might as well make a cheat sheet for the two main paths you can take, and what may come up in either direction. Let’s dive in!

You’ve got two options: Self Publish....or License your idea

Option 1: Self-Publish
This is how you own the most of your creation, as well as the full Creative Direction.

Some things you'll have to do:
•Create prototypes
•Work with a factory
•Put up the money for production
•Get insurance
•Do safety testing
•Quality control with the factory (we've run into issues here multiple times)
•Create an LLC or S-Corp
•Pay for shipping containers to transport your goods, and then pay for a place to store your goods
•Once you’ve got the goods you’ll then need to pay for shipping them other places
•Figure out distribution. If you're looking to do anything other than Amazon, you'll need to go to trade shows so that buyers can see your goods....then you gotta pitch your game(s) over and over. Trade shows are the best way to meet people, learn new things, and "be in the mix!" (NY Toy Fair, ASTRA, Las Vegas Market, Toyfest West, Chicago Toy & Game Fair, etc.)
•If you want wider distribution, you'll need to hook up with sales reps (That's how we got into Barnes, Urban Outfitters, Target, and more)
•Marketing! (You must make video content, most likely spend on some ads, create live events, etc)

There are more things involved, but this is more than enough for now. It's yours and you make all the decisions. But you have to do everything and it can get expensive and time-consuming. We spent 5 years doing Option 1, then switched to Option 2 and have not looked back!  Read More...

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 


Cartoons of the Week: Thank you Robert Fuher for this week's colorful cartoon. 

Lexophile Lovers:  "Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest." Thank you, Michael Kohner, for sharing with our readers! 

Memorable Quotes:

"In the world of games, the most important rule is this: There are no rules. Let your creativity guide you." - Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft

Toy Industry Word of Day: MIB submitted by Rana Schenke. If you can think of a toy/game industry word not in our POPDictionary, add it and we will connect it to you POP profile, feature it here in an upcoming week and on POP's homepage! 

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

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Financial and Legal

Scholastic is poised to make a major strategic investment in 9 Story Media Group with its agreement to buy the Canadian co. for US$186 million. It’s a move that will open up more opportunities for Scholastic to turn its book-based IPs into broad-reaching franchises, supported by 9 Story’s experience and capabilities in animation production (Brown Bag Films), sales (9 Story Distribution Int'l) and licensing (9 Story Brands).


HABA FAMILYGROUP (in Germany) has emerged from its insolvency proceeding after a restructuring that included a workforce reduction of over 600 employees, the company announced.  The German company, parent of U.S. game and toy division Haba U.S.A., exited the insolvency proceedings under self-administration on February 29, 2024.

The European Union made history Wednesday, passing the world’s first comprehensive law regulating artificial intelligence. The AI Act is expected to officially become law by May or June, pending formal approval from EU member countries, with provisions starting to take effect six months after the rules enter the lawbooks. Rules for general-purpose AI systems like ChatGPT will start applying a year after the law takes effect. 

*** The above posted after March 8th ***


Just Play has announced the acquisition of Tara Toy, the #1 manufacturer of licensed arts and crafts products sold at major retailers in the US. Tara Toy has grown their business over the past fifty years with a robust portfolio of licensed arts and crafts, activities, toys, and more. They hold top tier licenses including Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Nickelodeon, LOL, Barbie, and Hot Wheels. With this acquisition, Just Play will...

Apple has been fined nearly $2 billion by the European Commission for allegedly abusing its “dominant position” in the overseas music-streaming app market. The judgment against the American tech giant is the result of an antitrust case filed by its Swedish audio-streaming competitor Spotify. Apple’s platforms restrict competitors’ ability to “inform users of Apple devices about alternative, cheaper options to...

BBC Studios ramps up to invest in kids TV with a higher debt facility. Looking to develop more content across the board, the Beeb's commercial arm has increased its limit by US$318 million, with a pre-approved option to leverage more. BBC Studios is notably home to a top-dog franchise in the global kids media landscape. Bluey generated nearly 44 billion minutes of watch time last year and was the most-streamed ...

Switch emulator Yuzu reaches $2.4 million settlement with Nintendo. Ahead of the judge's settlement approval, Yuzu confirmed its impending shut down. It and its support of Citra (a Nintendo 3DS emulator from the same creators) are being discontinued, "effective immediately." Further, its Discord and Patreon are being shut down alongside its code repositories, and its websites will later follow. 

National People's Congress: China sets ambitious 2024 economic target. China has set an ambitious growth target of around 5% for this year, as it outlined a series of measures aimed at boosting its flagging economy. Premier Li Qiang made the announcement at the opening of the annual National People's Congress (NPC) on Tuesday. 


Toys For Bob splitting from Activision Blizzard. Skylanders and Crash Bandicoot 4 studio being spun out, currently in talks on a partnership with Microsoft. Toys For Bob today announced that it will be returning to its roots as an independent studio, spinning off from Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. "We believe that now is the time to take the studio and our future games to the next level," said studio heads...


Northville Plastics acquires American Plastic Toys. Northville Plastics has acquired American Plastic Toys, a toy manufacturer that has been around for more than 60 years. This acquisition marks the fifth plastic company Northville has partnered with since entering the plastics space. The President of American Plastic Toys, John Gessert, will remain in his position. 



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Financial Reporting

LEGO, one of the few privately held toy companies to report earnings, says that revenue rose 2% in fiscal year 2023 amid a 4% spike in consumer products sales. The company’s DKK 65.9 billion (approximately $9.65 billion in U.S. dollars) in revenue outpaced the industry thanks to a portfolio stacked with nearly 50% new products — its biggest offering ever.


Box Office: ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ Lands Victorious $58.3M U.S. Opening; ‘Dune 2’ Nears $370M Worldwide


*** The above posted after tBR circulation March 8th ***


JAKKS Q4 2023. Net sales were $127.4 million, a year-over-year decrease of 3%. Gross margin of 26.5%, up 480 basis points vs. Q4 2022, led by improved landed product cost and reduced inventory obsolescence expense. Gross profit of $33.7 million, up 18% compared to Q4 2022


Target Corporation reports Fourth Quarter and full-year 2023 earnings, both of which benefited from an additional week of sales as compared to 2022.  The Company reported fourth-quarter GAAP and Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.98, compared with $1.89 in 2022. 


Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

Toy Talk by The Toy Man Rick Derr from Toyfest 2024. Trends and Data now and in 5 years - the future of independent toy stores and the why’s and how’s behind the vision.


FEBRUARY 2024 CIRCANA BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT AND KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS Anime Drives Adult Sales; 'Amulet' Final Volume Tops Kids Chart


*** The above posted after tBR circulation March 8th ***


Steve Totzke, President & COO at Mattel discusses plans for 2024 and the yrs ahead will be monumental as we continue working towards capturing the full value of our IP through not just toys, but also content, experiences, and associated consumer products programs.

Circana’s UK March insights. Rory Partis, director UK Toys & EuroToys, Circana, looks at how even though 2023 proved challenging for the UK toy market, innovation and unexpected best sellers means there is still much to applaud.

TikTok Is Aging More Than You Think. According to Pew’s survey, which was conducted in September of last year, there was a 14% increase in users aged 18-30 on TikTok since 2021.

Marianna Casal explored what’s new in the Action Vehicles category and what toy companies are doing to race to the top.

Spotlight on Outdoor Toys. Toy World takes a look at what is coming to Outdoor Toys in 2024, as well as how suppliers are approaching the summer season after a challenging 2023.

Spotlight on Science and Nature. According to global research company Technavio, the STEM toys market is predicted to grow by $8.09b from 2023 to 2028, with the demand for toys that support STEM learning increasing as adults acknowledge the importance of this area in preparing children for future careers.

In this month’s Talking Shop, Toy World finds out what has caught the eye of retailers during this year’s London Toy Fair, and what their goals are for 2024.



TCGPlayer Top 25 Sealed Products (with price shifts) – February 2024.

21 new construction toys & building sets for 2024: These are the new toys you’ll want to have on hand for little builders this year. 


21 New Infant & Toddler Toys for 2024: This showcase features everything from plush to playsets. 

22 new Outdoor & Active Toys for 2024: From water blasters and sand boxes to ride-ons and bug catchers, these outdoor and active toys are bound to delight customers this year! 

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Stories, Comments, and Advice

The 8 people who made 'Dungeons & Dragons' cool just launched their answer to the game.  Last year, people packed into a sold-out Wembley Arena to watch the eight-person cast of Critical Role play "Dungeons & Dragons." The team effectively brought the game out of nerd-dom and into the mainstream. But on Tues night, they took a break from the game that made them famous and launched "Daggerheart,"...


Google CEO Sundar Pichai Forgot the Most Important Rule of Leadership. It Could Cost Him His Job.  The contrast between Google's successes and its failures to launch largely comes down to the leadership of Pichai. I say that in part because it always comes down to the leader, but also because it seems clear that, in this case, Pichai has lost sight of the most important principle of leadership: He has lost the culture. 


*** The above posted after tBR circulated on March 8th ***


John Baulch, Toy World - Turning the clock back … it’s the Friday Blog! Anyone hoping for fireworks in this week’s budget statement is likely to be feeling pretty disappointed right now: not so much a rocket, more like a Catherine Wheel that you lit which never started spinning and just fizzled out. I am not sure if the Chancellor will get the chance to have another go at lighting a fire under the economy before the election...


The Disruption Report: Here Comes the Sun. A report this week in the New York Times details how China has become a leader in solar energy. As the reporting says, this growing “dominance” may offset some other challenges the Chinese economy is facing. The goal is also to make China less dependent on energy from other countries—and perhaps help with climate change. (We’ll see on that score.)


Jay Foreman on China and the Upcoming Election. This week I had a couple of big wake-up calls about our industry’s relationship with China. I’m going to get a bit personal here so if you don’t want to read about reality and politics skip this blog this time, please. So this week, I saw two media reports, which inspired me to write about what affects our industry as much or more than any other issue we deal with—US and...

Reshaping Learning: The Pandemic’s Impact on Educational Board Games and Toys in India (Part 2/3). Tejasvi Bongirwar Musale is the CEO at Luma World, an award winning educational games startup based out of India that makes products for families around the world. After over 10 years of success leading teams and as top level management in telecom and healthcare, she felt the urge to follow her passion...

What’s New in the World of Video Games? Sometimes we have some readers that are mainly interested in specific areas of the Toy Industry (for example, board games) so we have decided to curate a select few articles in various categories that you may be interested in. You have may seen these “News” sections in our email newsletter and now you can see them on our website as well. 

Happy 65th, Barbie. Let’s go party with Chicago’s (and the country's) oldest Barbie club. When you are among the women — and a handful of gents — of Windy City Collectors, one of the oldest, most durable Barbie-centric groups in the nation, you just think pink. You think only Barbie, always Barbie. “Our one fundamental rule,” said Kelli Simmons, “is don’t talk politics; just talk Barbie.”


ToyWorld Exclusive: Rick Derr – Letter from America. This month, toy store owner Rick Derr reflects on the importance of trying out new technology to avoid falling behind, and whether AI can be of use to retailers. “As an AI novice, I was reminded of 2008 when I first struggled to create our Learning Express Toys Facebook business page,” writes Rick. “What will it mean? How will it work? Do people respond and what...


John Baulch, ToyWorld - Have we (finally) found a Brexit benefit … it’s the Friday Blog! I’ve just returned back from a few days’ mini-break in Spain – I left Malaga yesterday basking in glorious 20-degree sunshine and arrived back a few hours later to a cold and very damp UK, where spring has certainly not yet sprung. You have no idea how close I came to imitating that famous meme of Grandpa Simpson walking into a...

At least four members of staff at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have been suspended for “incidents” that occurred during an exhibition that involved Van Gogh inspired Pokémon cards, the Parool reported on Wednesday. The exhibition, which linked Van Gogh to the Japanese cartoon phenomenon and featured a rare Pikachu card that fans could add to their collection, sparked a mad hunt for the cards by...

Finding a unicorn in Providence is like, well, finding a unicorn. Locals have spotted the mythic beasts perched in window sills, sitting on steps and laying in plain sight on streets. They elicit amusement from their claimants, who stash them away and carry them home. One took hers to drinks at a local bar. People are sharing their whimsical finds to a local Facebook page, but the person responsible for placing the unicorns...

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History and Nostalgia


Mad Marbles from Lakeside (1970). The uniquely shaped, red-orange, molded plastic game board features a translucent rotating launcher at its center and four goals guarded by translucent plastic gates. Eight marbles (seven white, one red) are loaded into the launcher and each player selects a goal. Once the launcher is given a spin a flurry of marbles released onto the playing surface. 


Pan Am Dual Control Jet Cockpit from Remco (1969). Budding pilots earned their toy wings with the Pan Am Dual Control Jet Cockpit. Released in 1969 from New Jersey-based Remco, the 11-inch tall x 20-inch wide x 9.5-inch deep dashboard accommodated pilot and co-pilot. The flight team communicated with each other through dual intercom headphones that plugged into the base. 


Hide your wallet from this incredible auction of vintage Lord of the Rings toys. If you have a cave full of gold and an achingly lonely toy shelf, Hake’s Auctions has a stash of well-preserved vintage collectibles ready to serve your needs. While we probably won’t be bidding on any of the lots—including decades-old releases from Star Wars, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Batman, Ghostbusters, and Ralph Bakshi’s animated...

31 toys from your youth that no child should have ever been allowed to play with. You’re welcome, Gen Alpha. You may never fully appreciate it, but you’re not being hunted down and slaughtered by toys today because of our sacrifice. No, we’re not talking about the plot of Small Soldiers. Remember that the next time you pick up your round, baby rattle version of a “lawn dart.”


Freaky childhood toys we could have sworn were haunted. From the real Annabelle to hair-eating Cabbage Patch Kids, here are toys that gave us the creeps for good reason. In Blumhouse’s Imaginary, coming out this week, a tattered old teddy bear hiding a spooky secret befriends a little girl. Things soon escalate from innocent to terrifying because let’s be real: a possessed toy is a scary as hell concept. 


The 12 best Happy Meal Toys over the years. As a kid, there's nothing quite like unlocking the golden arch handles of your red box Happy Meal and yanking out the toy inside to see what you scored. That anticipation and excitement were certainly more exhilarating than the buzzkill of Mom saying, "Put that down until you finish your food." Happy Meal toys first came about in 1979, and since then they've evolved quite a bit. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

BBC Studios has partnered with London-based meal kit company Gousto to launch a new range of family dinner recipes based on its flagship preschool franchise Bluey. Gousto will roll out these branded recipe kits next week, and they include easy-to-make meals inspired by the Heeler family’s favorite foods, such as Bingo’s BBQ chicken burger, Bluey’s fish goujons (pictured) and Bandit’s pork springroll wraps. 

Hamburg-based OneGate Media has acquired global rights to distribute a pair of live-action German movies for tweens and families. First up is Max and the Senior Squad (pictured above), which is produced by Frankfurt’s Neopol Film and slated for a domestic theatrical release in May 2024. OneGate has picked up worldwide rights, excluding German-speaking territories.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s games division is getting ready to publish its new licensed fighter game MultiVersus on May 28 as part of a strategic shift to pad its portfolio with more live-service titles (which are regularly refreshed with new content, characters, settings, etc.). Developed by LA’s Player First Games, this free-to-play concept for tweens teleports characters from iconic WBD franchises into themed game...

London-based distributor CAKE has picked up international rights outside the UK to a new CBBC series called Cooking Buddies. Putting a star-powered spin on the culinary content genre with headlining presenter Buddy Oliver—the 13-year-old son of English restaurateur and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver—this tween-skewing show will debut in the UK later this year. 


Taiwanese anime distributor Muse Communication has picked up Asian market rights to Science Saru’s upcoming series Dan Da Dan, which has already been acquired by global streamers Netflix and Crunchyroll. This spooky series centers around high-schoolers Momo and Okarun, who discover hidden powers and start to fall in love with each other while investigating the existence of aliens and ghosts

Mattel has teamed up with bridal industry giant Azazie to create a one-of-a-kind collection of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and flower girl looks inspired by the iconic toy brand. "The bold, powerful and playful collection takes direct inspiration from Barbie’s timeless fashion history," Azazie said in a release. "Azazie and Barbie inspire customers to see the limitless potential in themselves and their style."

CoComelon and Blippi owner Moonbug Entertainment has partnered with NY-based studio VaynerWatt to develop a new 2D-animated short series for YouTube called VeeFriends. Breaking Moonbug’s well-established preschool pattern, this concept targets six- to 11-year-olds and is based on a same-name IP (pictured) that was created in 2021 by tech entrepreneur and VaynerWatt co-founder Gary Vaynerchuk...

Paris-based animation studio HARI has lined up a raft of new deals to drive a consumer products and experiential push for its CG-animated slapstick comedy series Grizzy & the Lemmings. French book publisher Hachette Jeunesse will kick things off this spring with a range of Grizzy story and chapter books, followed by a line of collectible medals by Société Française des Monnaies. 


Nintendo and Illumination are developing a Super Mario Bros. sequel. Mario and Luigi will return to the global box office in April 2026, with Universal Pictures handling worldwide distribution and co-financing the as-yet-untitled film. Details about Mario’s return to the Mushroom Kingdom are scarce at the moment, but the new movie is slated to bow in US theaters on April 3, 2026, with Universal Pictures distributing...


*** The above posted after March 8th when tBR circulated ***


Icons join forces as Bazooka Bubble Gum and DC team up for a series of eight original digital comics that usher in a new era for Bazooka Joe and His Gang. The Toy Book and The Pop Insider are serving up a first look at The Bazookaverse as the first comic debuts on International Women’s Day featuring Wonder Woman and Jane. The collaboration continues in the coming months with Batman, Superman, Aquaman...


Mattel, Inc has revealed a celebratory partnership with Atlantis Paradise Island to develop Barbie Bahamas Beach Vacation: Where Atlantis Dreams Come True, an immersive, Barbie-themed experience for all guests to enjoy in honor of Barbie’s 65th anniversary on March 9. Debuting Memorial Day weekend and lasting through the summer, Barbie Bahamas Beach Vacation: Where Atlantis Dreams Come True will...

As part of the company’s Squishmallows Day celebrations, Jazwares teamed up with Netflix for a Squishmallows x Stranger Things collaboration, set to begin roll out globally this summer. The Squishmallows x Stranger Things squad will build on both brand’s pop-culture appeal for a squishy, sci-fi collaboration. Fan-favorite characters from the show will soon be available as ultra-soft Squishmallows ranging from...


Universal Orlando is teasing the attractions that will comprise DreamWorks Land being inspired by the animated films Shrek, Trolls and Kung Fu Panda. The expansive area, which is set to open this summer, will include Shrek’s Swamp Meet where guests will be able to interact with characters like Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey. Poppy, Viva, Tiny Diamond, Satin and Chenille will be featured in the Trolls Trollercoast...


Netflix has renewed its live-action retake of Avatar: The Last Airbender for two more seasons, and the third will close out the action-adventure series. Based on Nickelodeon’s same-name 2D-animated toon (2005 to 2008), which also wrapped up after three seasons (61 x 22 minutes), Avatar follows the adventures of a 12-year-old boy who wakes up after being frozen in ice for more than a century. 

LA-based toyco KessCo has inked a new deal with Toei Animation to produce active outdoor toys and tabletop games based on the prolific anime studio’s One Piece and Digimon franchises. An initial drop of products will roll out in North America through Target and Amazon later this year and throughout 2025. 

Iplayco has announced a partnership with Rovio Entertainment for a new line of Angry Birds-themed attractions in a deal facilitated by Angry Birds’ global licensing agency IMG. The new attractions include the Attack on Pig City Ballistic Adventure, the Protect Bird Village a Tag Active Experience and the interactive multi-event Angry Birds Inflatable Bounce Park.

TMNT: The Last Ronin II #1 sells out, second printing announced. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin was the top-selling western graphic novel of 2023, and now, IDW Publishing is incredibly proud to announce the eagerly anticipated sequel, TMNT: The Last Ronin II – Re-Evolution, has made a triumphant debut out of the sewers and into comic shops.


Dino-mite: Mattel, Universal renew licensing pact for Jurassic World toys. The toys will include action figures, playsets, and more. Mattel and Universal Products & Experiences have renewed their licensing agreement to continue production of toys inspired by Jurassic World. The renewal will allow Mattel to continue as Universal Products & Experiences’ global toy licensee, producing action figures, playsets, plush, and games...


Renegade plans 'Transformers,' 'G.I. Joe' Beginner Boxes. Renegade Game Studios will release beginner boxes for two of its Hasbro-licensed roleplaying games, Transformers and G.I. Joe, in May, the company announced.  Each is for players 14 and up. In Transformers Roleplaying Game Beginner Box: Roll Out, players use cooperative storytelling and dice to become heroic Autobots and stop the Decepticons.


CandyRific, Universal go bananas with Minion Candy Novelties. Retailers looking to sweeten up their toy-adjacent impulse sales listen up! CandyRific is launching three new Minion character candy novelties in partnership with Universal Products & Experiences. The products include Character Fans, Fanimation Fans, and Mini Backpacks, and will be available on May 1. T


Brio partners with TfL on London Underground train set. Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with popular toy brand Brio to launch a London Underground-inspired toy train in a deal facilitated by TfL’s global licensing agency, IMG. A part of Brio’s Trains of the World series, the toys replicate the London Underground’s iconic red, white and blue design bringing the authentic British experience to children’s playrooms. 

Ms. Rachel will debut children’s books including ‘Ms. Rachel and the Special Surprise!’ If your kid loves watching Ms. Rachel on YouTube — and if you love using her channel as a trusty learning resource — you’ll enjoy a new way to interact with her lessons! Rachel Accurso, known as Ms. Rachel, will release various children’s books this year through Penguin Random House. 


Modiphius gets tabletop license for 'Terry Pratchett's Discworld': Looks to publish new TTRPG and board games. Modiphius Entertainment announced that they have acquired the tabletop license to Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Modiphius has a few different plans for this new license. First and foremost, they intend to produce a new TTRPG that revolves around the city of Ankh-Morpork and the wilder Disc. 

'Dune' opens big; More 'Superman' casting; Bendis signs first-look deal; 'The Fable' gets a date; 'Ghostbusters' final trailer; 'El Gato Negro' casting; 'Neuromancer' to be adapted. Showbiz Round-up. Spring has sprung a bit early, and Hollywood news is popping up all over. It's time for a round-up! With great reviews and the cast and director on a massive press tour, Dune: Part Two opened with a blockbuster-level weekend...

Masters of the Universe joins forces with Stumble Guys. Masters of the Universe has joined forced with Stumble Guys, marking Mattel’s third franchise integrated into the game after previous collaborations with Hot Wheels and Barbie. He-Man, Skeletor, the Sorceress, Evil-Lyn and other favourite characters from the Masters of the Universe have joined the Stumble Guys franchise with a new racing map.

Sunlight Entertainment and expand Ryan’s World brand., a kids and family creator content and IP company, and Sunlight Entertainment, a production studio, further expand the Ryan’s World universe with “Ryan’s World Rescue Squad” through new live-action and animated content, Target-exclusive toys, apparel and “TAG with Ryan” gaming integrations.

KessCo inks licensing partnership with Toei Animation. KessCo, a third-generation toy and game company, has announced a licensing partnership with anime studio, Toei Animation, for fan-favorite franchises, One Piece and Digimon, which are both celebrating their global 25th anniversaries this year. As part of this collaboration, initial plans for licensed products include two upcoming tabletop titles as well...


Tonies launches Blippi figure. The Blippi figure features more than an hour of storytelling. Tonies is teaming up with Moonbug Entertainment to launch a Blippi figure. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Tonies are figures of kids’ favorite characters, including Blippi from the preschool series of the same name. When kids put Tonies on a Toniebox, they can listen to screen-free stories that include engaging songs and...

Funko and Dunkin’ team for Super Bowl-inspired collab. Dunkin’ has announced that DunKings fans can now preorder the limited-edition Pop! Yourself Funko Pops decked out in The DunKings’ orange and pink tracksuit worn by Ben Affleck, Tom Brady and Matt Damon. The partnership between Funko and Dunkin’ marks the first dedicated Pop! Yourself collaboration. Dunkin’ devotees can customize...


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People of Play


Meet Wolf, winner of our 2023 Fall Young Inventor Challenge ‘Most Authentic’ category. Wolf’s invention is called ‘Blanket Kingdom Game’. He is 13 yrs old, lives in Superior, CO and traveled to the Young Inventor Challenge (part of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair) last November to compete. We have a virtual option for kids not able to travel. Interested in getting involved in the YIC? Just let me know! These kids will fuel your passion for our industry to even greater heights!


Exclusive Interview with Disney Lorcana Trading Card Game Designer. To celebrate Disney Lorcana TCG: Into the Inklands launching today, I chatted with Ryan Miller, Brand Manager at Ravensburger and co-designer of Disney Lorcana TCG. Disney Parks Blog: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us for the Disney Parks Blog! Let’s start off with a brief history of you, your career, and how you ended up in this role today?

What does a head of inventor relations really do? TMS’s Andrew Hajithemistou explains. Andrew Hajithemistou is head of inventor relations at TMS, the agency behind McDonald’s Happy Meal campaigns. Here, he explains what his role actually amounts to and how it keeps one of the most popular commercial promotions in the industry fresh.

Cyber Group Studios, the prodco behind Gigantosaurus and 50/50 Heroes, has promoted Pierre Belaisch from SVP of creative development to CCO. Belaisch will now oversee the creative vision and strategy of the company’s development slate. He’ll also manage content from development through production, working closely with COO Raphaelle Mathieu (who is in charge of financing). 

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on March 8th ***


(GamesBeat) How Hasbro’s Chris Cocks is steering the toy company into digital tech and games. I think of Chris Cocks as the gamer who took over a big toy company. He was named the CEO of Hasbro in February 2022, even though he wasn’t a Hasbro lifer. Cocks started at the company in 2016 as president of the Wizards of the Coast division, which publishes Magic: The Gathering (which saw 10% revenue growth in 2023).

PlayMonster hires a former Hasbro Brands president as its new CEO. PlayMonster has brought in former Hasbro Brands president Jonathan Berkowitz as its new CEO. He replaces Steve Adolph, who recently departed the Wisconsin-based company. Berkowitz started in his new role earlier this month and will oversee growth strategy and product development, with an initial focus on expanding PlayMonster’s...

King Features Syndicate has promoted Carla Silva to SVP, general manager and head of global licensing. Carla, a seasoned veteran in the consumer products licensing industry and an expert in brand development, brings over two decades of experience and expertise into her expanded role. Throughout her career, Carla has secured opportunities with entertainment giants such as United Media...

Destiny and Halo composer is running for Congress. Marty O’Donnell looks to pivot out of games as he announces he’s running for a house seat as a Republican. Video games and Washington politics are converging in a way you might not have had on your 2024 bingo card. Martin “Marty” O’Donnell, the composer behind Bungie’s Destiny and Halo games, has announced his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives...


Tactic Games welcomes Thomas Randrup as country manager. Tactic Games has announced the appointment of Thomas Randrup as country manager UK and Ireland, effective from 1st March. Thomas joins the Tactic UK team to spearhead the Sales and Marketing operation and oversee the strategy for growth in the UK market for its catalogue of Finnish made board games, puzzles, outdoor games and toys...


Simon Tomlinson named as upcoming MD of Learning Resources. Learning Resources has today announced a leadership succession plan that will enable the company to continue its mission of creating the highest quality hands-on educational toys and learning aids. Simon Tomlinson, currently chief operating officer, will succeed Dennis Blackmore as managing director.


Titan Entertainment Group announces appointment. Titan Entertainment GroupTitan Entertainment (TEG) has recruited Anthony Garnon to lead its Titan Merchandise team and Forbidden Planet direct-to-retail (DTR) team. Anthony returned to Titan and Forbidden Planet on Monday 4th March, from his current role within the licensing department at Aardman. 


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Remembers How an Old Toy Influenced a Unique Paint Job. Dale Jr. Was Inspired by a Matchbox Car. During his years in the public eye, Earnhardt Jr. has shared plenty of behind-the-scenes stories. Do you remember your favorite childhood toy car? Dale Earnhardt Jr. certainly didn't forget the color scheme of his.

Will Shortz, the longtime crossword puzzle editor of the NY Times and NPR’s “puzzlemaster” for more than three decades, suffered a stroke last month and has spent the last several weeks rehabilitating. Shortz revealed the injury in a recorded message aired on on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” on March 3. He has been absent from the show in recent weeks, and at the end today’s puzzle segment, “Weekend...

If you visit Amsterdam, you are likely to encounter the work of the artist Frank de Ruwe, known as Frankey. He turns unassuming spots in the city into something more playful — a dragon affixed to a steam pipe, a surfer riding a curved awning. "I just want to make people smile with my work, that’s the greater good. A 6-yr-old and a 90-yr-old can smile at the same thing; it’s amazing that you brighten someone’s day with just one object."

Student Creates the World’s Fastest Toy Car. A German engineering student spent 10 mos. modifying a toy car and turning it into an extremely fast vehicle capable of reaching speeds of up to 92.24 mph (148 km/h). 31-year-old Marcel Paul has always been fascinated by Bobby Cars, a type of toy car that was invented to help children learn to walk but that gained a cult following among downhill racing competitors during the 1990s.

7-year-old wizard Dana Fischer is a competitive Magic: The Gathering player at the pro level, who takes on adult players at the world’s largest competitions, with five Grand Prix tournaments under her belt. This elementary-aged planeswalker is always prepared to cast spells and go into battle. With the support of her older sister and her dad, who’s also an avid player and her coach, Fischer’s been playing since...


Roblox is beefing up its brand partnerships team with 3 new hires, including former Disney interactive experiences VP John Love. In his new role as VP of business development, Love is responsible for overseeing the global gaming platform’s brand partnerships, creating new revenue opportunities for Roblox creators, and expanding a daily active user base that’s currently sitting at 71.5 million. 


Aardman Animations has recruited BBC Studios’ current commercial director of global entertainment Emma Hardie to join its team next month as executive commercial and brand director. Stepping into this newly created role on April 15, Hardie will manage financing, distribution, licensing and marketing strategies in order to drive the commercial expansion of Aardman’s brands. 


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Companies and Brands

Here are the women chosen for Barbie's newest role model dolls. It's Women's History Month, and to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8 and Barbie's 65th birthday on March 9, the doll brand has announced it is adding new dolls to its Role Models collection, based on real-life singers and actresses from around the world. They're not for sale – a one-of-a-kind doll was made for each of the honored women.


Super Impulse, a company that specializes in novelty items, has launched a revamped Stink Blasters line. The collectible line includes several 2.5-inch characters that emit an odor when squeezed. Characters include Silent Gasser, Tony Anchovy, Burpin Buddy, Pig Boy, Sweat Sox Sammy, Monster Mounth, and Barfin’ Ben.

Hasbro Drops Pep-tacular ‘Peppa Pig Wedding Special’ Trailer. Guest starring Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry, the 3-part special, in celebration of Peppa Pig’s 20th anniversary, debuts March 25 on Nickelodeon. Perry voices guest character, dressmaker Ms. Leopard, and Bloom the jeweler, Mr. Raccoon, who assist with preparations for the first-ever wedding scene when Mr. Bull and Mrs. Cow surprise everyone with their wedding...

Target officially launched Gigglescape, a new private label toy brand. The current assortment is $20 and under, with most plush toys priced at $10 or less and books at $5, the retailer said in an announcement.  The assortment currently includes a unicorn with a rainbow mane and tail, a giraffe, a smiling shark and traditional teddy bears. In the coming weeks, Target plans to begin offering additional toys, games and puzzles.

With the Oscar-nominated ‘Barbie,’ Mattel has arrived in Hollywood. What’s next for the toy company? Barbie has had quite the year. As she celebrates her 65th birthday this week, the newly minted movie star has inspired a worldwide cultural movement and will make her grand debut at the Academy Awards this upcoming weekend with eight nominations. Mattel has 13 series on television and across streaming and is...

GennComm ImaGENNation announced the USPTO has issued a patent on their fiber-in-slime furry compound innovation, which makes slime products furry, hairy, or ultra stretchy. This is the 5th issued US Patent for tactile and sensory products in GennComm’s IP portfolio, which includes 4 relating to squishy memory foam used in plush toys. GennComm’s patented tech were all invented in-house by Jeremy Brian Medwed...


Windows of Wonder: FAO Schwarz Showcases Colorful Debut of Decora Girlz. Decora Girlz has officially taken over New York City’s most famous toy store with a jaw-dropping Decora Girlz window display for all of Rockefeller Center to enjoy, giving spectators a sneak peek of what’s inside. The immersive shopping experience begins with a dedicated Decora Girlz feature shop, displaying the complete collection of five-inch...

Cepia’s Decora Girlz collection is hitting shelves after first being revealed at Toy Fair in New York last year. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the Decora Girlz line features diverse styles, vibrant outfits, and customizable accessories inspired by the Japanese Decora Kei aesthetic. There are three products in the collection: the Decora Girlz 5-inch Collectible Mystery Dolls, which include eight surprises in each unboxing...

9 Story Media Group is implementing a modest layoff of staff across the company in response to current market conditions. These reductions are affecting its teams in Toronto, NY and Dublin. “Given the current industry slowdown that is affecting everyone, 9 Story has made a few organizational changes to better reflect the needs of the business moving forward,” according to a statement from a 9 Story spokesperson. 

As Playmobil prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Toy World caught up with head of Marketing Jamie Dickinson to hear what the future holds for the company. There are several toy companies and brands celebrating anniversaries this year, but at 50, Playmobil definitely has something to shout about. 

LEGO increases environmental sustainability initiatives. In an effort to make its products more sustainable, The LEGO Group is increasing spending on sustainable efforts and continuing to search for green, alternative materials. The LEGO Group strives to make products from renewable and recycled materials by 2032, and to do so, last year the company increased spending on environmental initiatives by 60%...

Funko announces new collectible line: Project Fred. Funko, a pop-culture lifestyle brand, has announced the launch of its new collectible line, Project Fred. The new collection stands as Funko’s first concentrated foray into the world of premium collectibles. Based on the food mascot, Project Fred 01 – Bob’s Big Boy is a nod to Funko’s first product, the Bob’s Big Boy Wacky Wobbler. 

Sphero’s programmable robots offer STEM education for kids. Sphero has three robots ready to teach kids about coding. With robots appearing in schools worldwide, Sphero is offering STEM experiences to kids across various age groups. The Sphero Indi is made for young learners, and introduces STEAM concepts early. 


Preview: 'Wyrmspan' unboxed. New board game by Stonemaier Games. Description: In this game, players take on the roles of amateur dracologists in a world where dragons traverse the skies.  They will need to excavate a hidden labyrinth on their land, and coax some of these creatures to roost there.

Afro Unicorn launches series, ‘Roblox’ experience. The series will debut in June. Afro Unicorn, the brand behind the Black unicorn that was designed to uplift and impact women and children of color, is launching a live-action series and Roblox experience this spring. The series, created for kids ages 5 and up, features Afro Unicorn’s Founder and CEO April Showers as Ms. April along with kid ambassadors...

Old World Christmas is Thinking Beyond the Tree, Expanding into 5 Key Product Categories. For its 45th anniversary, the company is introducing new product categories, like candles and snow globes, and hosting an ornament design contest. Founded in 1979, Old World Christmas, wholesaler of Christmas ornaments, is celebrating its 45th year as a provider of handcrafted glass ornaments.


Jeff Koons, Clever Noodle to release educational card game. The educational game will feature Koons’ iconic Balloon Dog imagery. Startup game company Clever Noodle and world-renowned artist Jeff Koons have shared a sneak peek of their upcoming card game collaboration, Popped! Clever Noodle has one title under its belt so far, Kangaroo Cravings. 


Multiplayer 'Shadowverse: Evolve' heads to retail. Bushiroad will release Gloryfinder Bundle #1 Guide to Glory, a new Shadowverse: Evolve multiplayer bundle, into retail on July 19, 2024. This new bundle comes with four pre-constructed decks that are geared toward Shadowverse: Evolve multiplayer games.  


Stone Blade Entertainment announces 'Ascension Legends'. Stone Blade Entertainment announced Ascension Legends, a new standalone deckbuilding game, which will be available for preorder on Gamefound. In this game, playes take on the roles of one of the legendary warriors of Vigil.  Their job is to protet the realm from the monsters of Deoful.  


Dragori Games steps into ‘Arena: The Contest’. Dragori Games is producing Arena: The Contest, a tactical miniatures game designed for both player-versus-player and cooperative play, set to release in June. Set in a fantasy world where warfare has been replaced by combat between champions, Arena: The Contest pits Heroes in face-to-face battle.  


'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' delves into 'The Infinite Forbidden'. Konami Digital Entertainment announced The Infinite Forbidden, a new booster set for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, which will hit retail on July 19, 2024. This booster set features the return of the unstoppable force of Exodia. Players can summon a new Exodia Fusion Monster by revealing five pieces of Exodia from their hand, deck, or having them in play. 


Spring is in the air with Jellycat’s Easter Collection. Jellycat, the beloved plush maker for kids and adults alike, is launching an Easter collection that is packed with so much springtime goodness that you can almost smell the flowers that are to come. The highlight of this collection is the lineup of hard-boiled egg plush, which includes a smiling egg, a geeky egg with glasses, an egg with sunglasses, and a “deviled” egg...


Bezier Games offering 'Seers Catalog': Card game by Taylor Reiner. Bezier Games has announced Seers Catalog, a card game designed by YouTube channel Taylor’s Trick Taking Table host Taylor Reiner.  Seers Catalog will premier at this year’s Gen Con on August 1. Seers Catalog is a card shedding, ladder climbing style card game.  Players start with a hand of cards that they hope to get rid.


Hachette to publish Marc Andre's 'Middle Ages'. Designer Marc Andre (Splendor) is teaming up with Hachette Boardgames USA to create Middle Ages, a tile-laying game about building medieval fiefdoms.  The game will release on June 5. In Middle Ages, the players are the rulers of small fiefdoms that they must attempt to grow and improve over the course of the game.  


LEGO launches More Than Perfect Campaign. As a result of a global study concerning societal impacts on young girls’ creativity, The LEGO Group has launched a campaign that strives to encourage creative expression in girls and change the language that adults use when speaking to kids. The More Than Perfect/The Language of Play program aims to challenge societal norms by highlighting the role and power of play...


Canal Toys unveils Airbrush Plush Bucket Neon: Creative Kids' new favorite. Canal Toys has expanded its popular Airbrush Plush range with a vibrant new addition, the Airbrush Plush Bucket Neon, sparking creativity among children. This innovative offering includes neon markers and stencils, allowing kids to personalize their own Unicorn, Koala, or Narwhal plush toy. 

American Girl: Making Memories. Since the mid-’80s, American Girl has been pushing the boundaries of imagination with its high-quality dolls and accessories that are more than just toys – they are true collector’s items. Launched in 1986 by founder, Pleasant T. Rowland, American Girl began as a range of dolls inspired by American history. 

The first-ever School Bus joins Hess Truck lineup. The plush school bus is the first installment of Hess’ 60th anniversary collection. Hess is adding the iconic yellow school bus to its lineup of plush trucks. This is the first time that Hess has launched a school bus vehicle. Designed for kids ages 0 and up, the My Plush Hess Truck 2024 School Bus features a vehicle full of personality, including bright eyes and a smile on its face.


Hasbro’s Life in Reterra board game takes players to a new world. Hasbro’s latest board game, Life in Reterra, is a community-building game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which players have to build a new way of life. Designed for kids ages 10 and up, Life in Reterra starts when players choose one of three ready-to-play, themed building sets...

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development


Remote studio Eggnut revealed it will be shutting down, effective today. The developer behind the Tails Noir series is ceasing operations amid "persisting complications in funding." "This shit sucks," Eggnut bluntly stated. "We are unable to continue development of our new game that we've been working on for the past 2 yrs. It was great to have you by our side. The world is on fire. The game industry is fucked. Call your mom."


Mattel, most known for product lines like Hot Wheels, Thomas the Tank Engine, and of course Barbie, is entering the game publishing business. After spending the last few years teeing up licensing partnerships in games like Forza Horizon 5, Roblox, and World of Tanks, the company has announced it will begin self-publishing mobile games as part of an expansion of its "global network of development partners."

EA Sports announces over 10,000 athletes have accepted NIL deal for its college football video game. EA Sports said players who opt in to the game will receive a minimum of $600 and a copy of EA Sports College Football 25. There will also be opportunities for them to earn money by promoting the game.

Super Mario superfans can look forward to new fun this MAR10 Day. Wahoo! New Mario content is on the way for this year’s MAR10 Day! Beloved by little gamers and nostalgic adults alike, Nintendo is readying to celebrate the iconic Italian plumber and hero of the Mushroom Kingdom. With a day fully dedicated to all things Mario, this March 10 will be one to remember! Mario has a long history. 

Balatro sales grow to 500,000 copies sold in 10 days. Nearly two weeks after its release, Balatro has now sold over 500,000 copies across all systems. The roguelike deckbuilder hit half that amount within a few days of release, and it has been helped by plenty of positive buzz. Hours after it came out, it had already made $1 million in revenue. 

Electronic Arts offers players 2024 cars in ‘F1 23’: Players who preorder ‘F1 24’ will get the chance to test drive the new cars. Electronic Arts (EA) is preparing for the release of the next game in its racing video game series: F1 24. EA has the official license for the FIA Formula One World Championship, with the F1 game series aiming to provide a realistic car racing experience to players. 


Escape the Playtime Co. Store in the new ‘Poppy Playtime Forever’ ‘Roblox’ experience. Kids can enter Playtime Co. Store again — this time on Roblox! A new Roblox experience based on the Poppy Playtime video game is joining the gaming platform. In Poppy Playtime Forever, up to 10 Roblox users can unite as they search the abandoned toy factory, unlock new environments, and overcome challenges. 


Wildlife Studios is laying off 21 percent of its workforce. This is the third round of layoffs at the studio in three years. "Today, Wildlife Studios made the difficult decision of parting ways with 21 percent (133 people) of our employees amidst an organization-wide restructure," reads the statement. "We thank those leaving for their contributions and we will be providing them assistance during this period of change.

UK indie Radical Forge laying off 'handful' of workers. UK indie studio Radical Forge is laying off a "handful" of workers. The Southfield developer confirmed the news in a statement handed to and said it was pushing ahead with some "minor restructuring." "This will mean that there will be a handful of people whose roles or skill sets are no longer needed on current or upcoming projects...

Spearhead Games is laying off the majority of its dev team. Canadian indie studio Spearhead Games is laying off the majority of its development team after struggling to secure funding. The company is also "indefinitely" halting development on Unforetold: Witchstone on March 8, 2024. That means Hotfix #7 will likely be the last update for the title. Spearhead was founded in 2012 by Malik Boukhira and Atul Mehra.


Indie dev Keoken Interactive conducts staff layoffs. A small number of layoffs took place at Keoken Interactive in February. According to CEO Koen Deetman, four of its 19 core staff members were let go. Deetman said the reductions came after he and managing director Paul Deetman had taken "significant" pay cuts. These cuts were such that the duo effectively spent months without salary pay. 


Highlighted Press Releases

HOW WILL YOU MOOSH-MOOSH FOR MARCH MADNESS? Kids Of All Ages (That’s You Kidults) Craving Warmth, Comfort And A Bit Of Whimsy Can Choose Team Hoodies Or Team Starlight Buddies. Westlake Village, CA (March 13, 2024) – When you create the world’s softest plush buddies to cuddle with, what would be the next snuggly step? Moosh-Moosh debuts TWO Spring 2024 Collections with Hooded Blankets ($39.99 at and Starlight Buddies ($19.99 at A total of twelve new characters from Drac The Dragon Starlight Buddy to Caticorn Hooded Blanket are in stock and ready to join you on the couch, at bedtime or tucked inside an overnight bag for an oh-so-comfy adventure.


*** The above posted after March 8th ***


HOLD YOUR HORSES! BENE BUDDIES™ WELCOMES HAYLO INTO ITS CORRAL OF WORLD’S 1ST TOKEN REWARD SYSTEM IN PLUSH Haylo Joins Bene, Sparkle & Seawhee, The Toys With A Purpose™, Promoting Positive Character Traits From Kindness To Patience Via Book, Token Rewards & Plush Boxed Set. Knoxville, TN (February 28, 2024) – Parents, teachers, and childhood therapists in need have a friend indeed with Bene Buddies™. This unique teaching toy set features a large plush, a storybook lesson and reward tokens to be inserted into a plush bear, dog, turtle and soon, a horse. It’s the first of its kind in the toy industry!

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

The 2024 Oscars were the most watched in four years. The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted telecast on ABC averaged 19.5 million viewers, according to time zone-adjusted fast national ratings from Nielsen. That’s a 4 percent increase from a year ago. The 96th Academy Awards scored the biggest audience for any awards show since 2020, when that year’s Oscars — held a month before the U.S. went into lockdown in the early days of the...


Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron walked away from last night’s 96th Academy Awards with the Best Animated Feature trophy—subverting many industry predictions that Sony’s superhero sequel Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse would win. Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Heron is the first movie with a PG-13 rating to come out on top in this Oscar category, which has favored younger-skewing...

GAMA Expo wrapped up its first Louisville, Kentucky show with record numbers, organizers announced at a public board meeting late Wednesday.  According to those preliminary numbers total attendees were at 2736, up 34% from the previous year.  890 retailers attended, up from 562 in 2023, representing 436 stores, up from 373 in the previous year.  Exhibit booths were up by about the same ratio, to 300 from 192...


The Bologna Licensing Awards 2024 has announced its shortlist, and Pokémon leads the field with four nominations. Now in its seventh year, this annual awards program celebrates international licensors/agencies, licensees and retailers. A total of 182 submissions were received from around the world, and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place on the first day of the 61st-annual...


*** The above posted after March 8th ***


The Toy Foundation™, the philanthropic arm of The Toy Association™, is proud to announce $380,000 has been awarded to 20 children's hospitals and health systems that serve under-resourced communities, as part of its 2024 Childrens Hospital Play Grants program. More than 240,000 children in need will benefit from this initiative, which funds innovative play therapy projects proven to significantly improve care...


ToyFest Names 2024 Best of ToyFest Winners. There are nine winners in categories including Arts & Crafts, Building & Construction, and more. ToyFest 2024 concluded earlier this week at The Expo at World Market Center in Las Vegas. The trade show, originally known for its West Coast presence, expanded into the larger national market just last year and hasn’t slowed down since.

The Toy AssociationTM today announced the election of seven new members and two term renewals to its Board of Directors, including the election of Sharon Price John, president & CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, as chairperson. The announcement was made during The Toy Association’s Annual General Meeting, which was open to all toy industry stakeholders.

Mattel to host virtual event: Mattel Creations Revealed. The event will take place from March 21-22. Mattel Creations is bringing fans a two-day virtual experience this spring called Mattel Creations Revealed. The event will include live streams with toy designers, digital tours of employees’ cubes decked out with brand-new and archival products, and a closer look into niche Mattel jobs.

The Toy Association launches ‘Let’s Play — A Playbook for All Abilities’. The Genius of Play, a national movement spearheaded by The Toy Association to highlight the importance of play in child development, launched a free guide today, March 1, the first day of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. 

Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2024 to be held in USA. The world’s best duelists will converge in Seattle on 7th-8th September for the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship, while the World Championship Qualifier dates have also been confirmed. Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. (Konami) has announced that the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship is coming to the USA for the first time since 2016. 


Registration opens for INDX Toy & Gift. INDX Toy & Gift is back, returning to Cranmore Park with a two day show from Tuesday 3rd September to Wednesday 4th September 2024. Welcoming all retailers, this is a fantastic opportunity to network with the industry in a friendly, buyer and business focused setting, whilst exploring an exciting edit of top brands. 

Starlight Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to delivering happiness to hospitalized kids, has launched its Power of Play campaign. The month-long campaign starts today and aims to raise $225,000 for its programs through different activations, including its annual Stream for Starlight Spring Steam event, and bring awareness to the healing power of play for kids in hospitals.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced this year’s Canadian Screen Awards nominees in 156 TV, film and digital media categories. Leading the kids field with eight nods, Pinecone & Pony made the cut in six categories, including Best Animated Program and Best Writing – Animation, where three separate episodes were shortlisted. Spin Master’s PAW Patrol franchise was also nominated in multiple...


Safety and Counterfeiting


Test shows toxic chemicals in food containers, toys made of recycled plasticTest shows toxic chemicals in food containers, toys made of recycled plastic. The laboratory analysis of the recycled plastic samples showed that 10 of the 15 samples had presence of one or more chemicals, including BPA, CPs (SCCPs), heavy metals (As, Cd and Cr), phthalates (DEHP and DINP) and Nonylphenol, a chemical declared...

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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 readers. Archives can be found HERE

Akira Toriyama, creator of the Dragon Ball, Sand Land, and Dr. Slump manga and the character designer for Dragon Quest and other video games, died on March 1 at the age of 69. The news was announced in a letter from his design and production studio, Bird Studio. The cause of death was given as “acute subdural hematoma,” and his family held a private funeral and requested that no gifts or flowers be sent.
“It’s our deep regret that he still had several works in the middle of creation with great enthusiasm,” the letter said. “Also, he would have many more things to achieve.”

As the creator of two best-selling series, Toriyama was hugely influential in Japan, and many manga-ka cite him as a significant influence on their work. In North America, Dragon Ball was an early hit and helped expand the audience for manga and anime to include teens.

Toriyama was born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1955 and studied graphic design in high school, eschewing college for a job with a local ad agency. His first published manga was Wonder Island, which appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1978, and over the next two years several more of his stories appeared in the magazine (these were later collected and published in English by VIZ Media under the title Akira Toriyama’s Manga Theater).
In 1980, Toriyama came up with a goofy comedy manga about an inventor who creates a super-strong robot girl. The series ran for five years in Weekly Shonen Jump, and both the manga and the anime adaptation were massive hits. In Manga! Manga!, scholar Frederick Schodt writes that Toriyama’s income in 1981, when he was 27, was over $2.4 million, and in 1982, the series won the Shogakukan Manga Award.
Dr Slump made Toriyama a star, but Dragon Ball made him a superstar. As his editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, told the story in a 2016 interview with Forbes, Toriyama decided he wanted to move on from Dr Slumpabout six months after it launched, but it was the most popular manga in Shonen Jump and his editors didn’t want him to quit unless he came up with something even better. Torishima suggested a kung fu series, since Toriyama liked to watch kung fu movies while he worked, and this eventually evolved into Dragon Ball, which Torishima described as a “road movie” based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West. The series ran in Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1995 and was collected into 42 volumes. It is one of the top selling manga of all time, with over 260 million volumes sold throughout the world. It was also adapted into two very successful anime series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. The different titles reflect a change in tone, as the manga started out with a lot of gags and slapstick humor but eventually evolved into a more action-focused story....

Janice Burgess, a longtime Nickelodeon television executive who sought to promote children’s curiosity and sense of play for decades, overseeing popular shows like “Blue’s Clues” and “Little Bill” and creating her own musical children’s show, “The Backyardigans,” died on Saturday in hospice care in Manhattan. She was 72.

Her death was confirmed by Brown Johnson, a longtime friend and the creator of Nick Jr., who said the cause was breast cancer.

In “The Backyardigans,” five cartoon animals — Tyrone, Tasha, Pablo, Austin and Uniqua — imagine their backyard as a place of adventure, traversing deserts, oceans, jungles, rivers and outer space while dancing and singing to music.

With the series, Ms. Burgess hoped to help children use their imaginations to have fun. In 2004, Ms. Burgess said in an interview with The New York Times that the idea for the show stemmed from memories of playing in her own childhood backyard in Pittsburgh.

“I really remember it as a wonderful, happy, safe place,” she said. “You could have these great adventures just romping around. From there, you could go anywhere or do anything.”

The series became a favorite of American preschoolers after it premiered on Nickelodeon in 2004. It was adapted into a live show, “The Backyardigans Live! Tale of the Mighty Knights,” in 2008.

In 2021, several “Backyardigans” songs, including “Into the Thick of It!” and “Castaways,” found a large and nostalgic audience on TikTok, years after their original release in 2005.

“Janice really taught me about representation in kids’ media and how important it was for kids to not only see themselves, but hear themselves,” Ms. Johnson said.

Ms. Burgess made sure to cast children of color, and the roles were recast every few years as their voices changed, Ms. Johnson said. Ms. Burgess wanted their voices to sound natural and “not Broadway,” she said. Ms. Burgess, a music lover, included 80 distinct musical genres in “The Backyardigans,” Ms. Johnson added.

“It was like writing a musical every week,” she said.

The music was composed by Evan Lurie, who said in an interview that Ms. Burgess’s “ability to cut to the meat of what needed to be done was just astonishing.”

Janice Burgess was born on March 1, 1952, to John Wesley Burgess and Alma Naomi (Thomas) Burgess. She grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and attended the Ellis School, a girls’ college preparatory school. She graduated from Brandeis University in 1974, according to the university’s website.

She worked at WQED, the public television station in Pittsburgh, and Sesame Workshop before joining Nick Jr. in 1995. Working at Nick Jr. taught her everything she needed to know about creating a television show for young children, she said at a National Press Club luncheon in 2006.

At Nick Jr., she oversaw the production of “Blue’s Clues” and “Little Bill,” which went on to win Peabody and Emmy Awards. She won a 2008 Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding special class animated program for her work on “The Backyardigans.” In a statement, Nickelodeon called Ms. Burgess “one of the great architects of Nick Jr.”...

John Birchwood.  Toy World is sad to report that popular toy trade stalwart John Birchwood passed away on 21st February.

John was born in Nelson, Lancashire in 1940 and educated at Manchester Grammar School. He started working in a retail store for Woolworths, before joining his father, Eric Birchwood, working for Mobo Toys. After that he moved to Chad Valley and subsequently joined Berwick Toys as sales director, eventually becoming managing director.

After the collapse of Berwick Toys and the Berwick Timpo Group in the early 1980s, some of its assets were bought from the administrators by A.B.Gee, where John worked for a short period before setting up on his own as a sales agent (Birchwood Agencies) with the help of his father, Eric. Amongst the companies John represented was Morris Vulcan (MV Toys) and after a number of years, John went to work for MV before establishing his own company, World Sports Int. UK in partnership with a Taiwanese manufacturer, which dealt predominantly in roller skates and in-line skates. In the early years of World Sports Int. (WSI), the company was the main supplier of in-line skates to mail order giants Littlewoods and GUS.

In 1994, John’s son Richard joined the business but unfortunately it was forced to close a few years later due to a series of production issues with the Taiwanese manufacturer. Richard takes up the story and explains what happened next: “In August 1998, with not a penny between us and the financial help of some of Dad’s friends from the toy industry (you know who you are and we are eternally grateful) and a friend of mine, we started J & R Sports, originally operating out of a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Aintree. In April 1999 my sister Lindsay also joined us. After a difficult first couple of years when the in-line skate business was slow, we introduced our JD Bug Scooter range in 2000 and from there the business went from strength to strength. In 2007 we relocated to a bigger warehouse in Huyton that we still run today. In 2011 we became the distribution partner for Madd Gear the UK & Ireland: this was the start of the pro scooter market and Madd Gear was a leading player. In 2012 we relocated again to our current location in Aintree.”

John continued to work until his 80th birthday, when he announced his retirement, just before the first Covid lock down. Although Richard admitted: “He continued to come into work over the next three years, never being able to stay too far away. He wanted to know how we were doing, what was happening in the trade and would avidly read Toy World to stay in touch with what was going on.”

As well as being a proud grandfather, John was also an avid Manchester United fan. However during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, John decided to join his son Richard watching Liverpool, taking him to his first European Cup final in Paris in 1981, with fellow toy doyen Ronnie Yaffe. Also a member of the local Mini Motoring Club, John would often take Mini trips around the UK and Scotland.

In memory of John, Richard and the family have started a tribute page that contains details of his funeral and also for his friends from the toy trade to share their memories of him with his family.

Our sincerest condolences to John’s children – Richard, Lindsay and Rachel – and his six grandchildren Emma, Olivia, Lily, Amelia, Zac and Ace, and all of John’s former friends and colleagues from the toy community.

Mark Dodson, a voice actor across video games, TV, and film, died from a heart attack over the weekend. He was 64.

Per TMZ, Dodson was attending Horror Con in Indiana on Saturday, where he's said to have had a heart attack while sleeping.

"Mark truly loved his fans and enjoyed meeting them at conventions around the world," wrote his talent agent Stellar Appearances. "[He]...added his unique voice and sound to each character and script he touched."

Dodson's voice acting career in games includes the Ghostrunner series as Adam Hamada and Barnabas in the Grim Dawn series. He also provided voices for Anamoly 2, various Nancy Drew titles, and Painkiller: Hell & Damnation.

Paul Crawford, creator of the Bendy games, gave his own condolences. Dodson previously voiced Nathan Arch in 2022's Bendy & the Dark Revival.

"Mr. Dodson had an amazing career, and I am honored he took part in our game," wrote Crawford. "Thank you, Mark."

Outside of games, Dodson is best known as the voice of Mogwai in Gremlins and Star Wars' Salacious B. Crumb. He returned to voice several Gremlins in that film's sequel, and reprised Crumb for 2022's Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

Dodson is survived by his daughter Ciara and his grandchildren. Ciara, speaking to TMZ, said he "never ceased making me proud."

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

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Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 


Toyworld (UK)

  1. Have we (finally) found a Brexit benefit … it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Simon Tomlinson named as upcoming MD of Learning Resources

  3. Exclusive: Playmobil celebrates 50th anniversary

  4. Tactic Games welcomes Thomas Randrup as country manager

  5. Irish Toymaster members give the gift of joy with Shoebox Appeal

  6. Hunter Price and Boofle collaborate on new lines across categories

  7. Obituary: John Birchwood

  8. Registration opens for INDX Toy & Gift

  9. Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2024 to be held in USA

  10. Brio partners with TfL on London Underground train set Powered by Toyworld

  1. Masters of the Universe joins forces with Stumble Guys

  2. New Dora CG-animated series set to launch internationally

  3. Iplayco and Angry Birds team up for interactive and gamified attractions

  4. Mattel and StoryToys to release Thomas & Friends app

  5. Hunter Price and Boofle collaborate on new lines across categories

  6. Hybrid Meta set to introduce deal with Warner Bros

  7. Mattel and Universal renew Jurassic World licensing partnership

  8. Brio partners with TfL on London Underground train set

  9. BrandTrends and Markettcom present inaugural Licensing Horizons Awards

  10. FanRoll partners with Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons and Dragons line

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

WizKids Unleashes New $399.99 'D&D Icons of the Realms' Dragon Boxed Miniature
Bandai Unveils 'Sand Land Tactical Card Battle' by 'Magic: The Gathering' Creator Richard Garfield
PSA Owners Acquire SGC
Rolling for Initiative -- 'Star Wars Unlimited' and the Return of 'Magi-Nation Duel'
FanRoll Licenses 'Dungeons & Dragons' from Hasbro for Dice Products
'Altered TCG' Kickstarter Ends at Over $6.7 Million
'Magic: The Gathering - Bloomburrow' Product Line Deets Revealed
Kess Licenses 'One Piece' and 'Digimon' from Toei Animation
Renegade Plans 'Transformers,' 'G.I. Joe' Beginner Boxes
Modiphius Gets Tabletop License for 'Terry Pratchett's Discworld'

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

Global Toy News


The Bugg Report (Australia)

The Toy Universe (Australia)


Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Seers Catalog The Card Game, Harmonies Announced
Bezier Games has a new card game in the works featuring an unusual theme, Libellud has announced a game set for release this April, and a documentary about board gamers is premiering this week.

Video of the Week 

Toy Hub Trivia: Peggy Brown



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