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the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is March 19 - 26, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

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

Happy Friday! 

Leading Innovation at Specialty Retail Panel from our POP Week! 
Moderator: Willie Wilkov (CEO, North America at HABA Family of Companies)

Panelists: Richard Derr (President, Learning Express Lake Zurich), Betty Skoke Burns (Owner, Angelina's Toy Boutique), Amy Saldanha (Owner, Kiddywampus), Sarah Jordan (CEO, Mastermind )

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!


Freeman PR, blending influencer marketing + media to tell your story: tBR Company of the Week

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Your product is ready to be launched, your sales team is finalizing placement and distribution centers are prepared for inventory. Now what? Time to spread the word to generate consumer awareness and sales. How do I make that happen? The days of putting 90% of your marketing budget onto Saturday morning TV and waiting on the sales reports are long gone. It’s all about influencer marketing, paid opportunities, digital campaigns and great press coverage. How do I choose between these options, especially when I don’t have big budgets?


The answer, according to Freeman Public Relations, a boutique New Jersey agency, is to start “blending.” Quickly. Success depends on the right blend of influencer marketing and traditional media (yes, it’s still very much a thing), sprinkled with some paid opportunities, budget permitting. Options may include paid influencer content, expert media tours, media showcases, digital campaigns and more.


“There is simply not a one-size-fits-all answer,” says Amy Friedland, Executive Vice President of Freeman PR. On one hand, the agency has clients with tight budgets that rely almost exclusively on earned influencer marketing and a robust publicity campaign. Other clients have budgets that allow for a combination of tactics. The bottom line is both can generate awareness for the brand and help deliver sales. Read More...

The Alan Roach Roachy Fund Scholarship Update and 2021 Applications Due Now!

Alan Roach on deck of his favorite resta

Most of you saw the TAGIE Awards last November and remember the Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award honoring The Roachy Fund, established in memory of Alan Roach, a colleagued loved by many. These colleagues established the Roachy Fund Scholarship and gave a touching tribute to Alan at the TAGIE Awards.


Watch the TAGIE Awards HERE!

Read more about Alan Roach HERE!

Read Joe Bradford's Tribute HERE!


We've heard back from last year's Roachy Fund scholarship recipients. Below are the updates they've sent us on their past year.

Nick: Thanks to the Roachy Fund, I’ve been able to begin my studies as a Computer Science and Interactive Media double major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Closing in on the end of my freshman year, I have had the privilege to pursue my passion in game development with classes taught by professors and former game developers well-acquainted with the industry! I have also been lucky enough to collaborate with other students on a few 48-hour game jams, where we develop a game from scratch in that time period. (Included here is a screenshot from our most recent project, a multiplayer arcade game where players compete to collect cash as bounty hunters.) My experiences from this year have been invaluable, and I am very appreciative to the Roachy Fund for making them possible!


Bringing the ‘A’ Game: AdvancedTek Teams Up with the Young Inventor Challenge to Help Bring a Young Innovator’s Board Game to Life

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Antonio Bañuelas is a 13-year old avid and decorated chess player from Frisco, Texas. Having learned to play at the early age of five, Antonio has been enamored with the game ever since and will play whenever he has the chance. The one thing he doesn’t like about the game, however, is that none of his friends ever want to play it.

At age eleven, Antonio decided that he was going to invent his own board game, one that required the same skill set as chess but was less intimidating and more fun so that it appealed to a broader audience. With help from his dad, Antonio spent several months designing his game. They tested a variety of game objectives and rules using game boards and pawns created from paper and had friends and family play to provide feedback. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

French police on trail of international gang of Lego looters. Three suspects reportedly said they were part of team specialising in stealing collectible sets. French police say they are building a case against an international gang of toy thieves specialising in stealing Lego – and they have warned specialist shops and even parents to be aware of a global trade in the bricks.

(the above posted after March 26th)

Industry caught in Suez Canal block; KAP Toys calls on ‘Leviosa spell’ to lift Harry Potter Sorting Hats. The toy industry is among the hundreds of global businesses to be caught up in the Suez Canal as the beaching of the container ship Ever Given runs into its fourth day, with suggestions that a solution could be weeks in the taking. 

Toys "R" Us is coming back: what investors should know. Children of the 1980s and 1990s have fond memories of walking the aisles of Toys "R" Us, basking in the glory of the chain's wide selection of games, dolls, and activities. But in the years leading up to its 2017 bankruptcy, things started going downhill. Tales of half-empty stores, poor selection, and a glaring lack of customer service are only some of the reasons why...

Walmart Expands Marketplace, Challenging Amazon. Walmart’s U.S. ecommerce sales in the last quarter of 2020 increased by 69 percent year-over-year while its total sales grew only 7.3 percent. The message is clear: future growth will depend on ecommerce. Emboldened by a pandemic-driven increase in digital sales, Walmart has decided to challenge Amazon’s dominance in the ecommerce arena. 

Toys in Easter baskets? U.S. Easter spending headed for record high. According to the latest data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 79% of U.S. families will celebrate Easter and spend a collective $21.6 billion on related products. The average spend comes out to an average of $179.90 per basket. With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan...

LEGO wins design patent case against German company at EU court. A European court has ruled in favor of the Danish toy giant, finding that its building block design is protected. Critics say the firm is using its heft to crush competition. The General Court of the European Union (EuG), the bloc's second-highest court, struck down a 2019 decision by the European Union Intellectual Property Office on Tuesday, ruling...

Microsoft in talks to acquire Discord for over $10 billion. Microsoft is interested in acquiring Discord in a deal that could be worth more than $10 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg. People "familiar with the matter" claim the Xbox maker is in talks to purchase the community chat platform, but indicated that a deal was still some way off. 

UK inflation rate slows as price of clothes and toys fallsUK inflation slowed to 0.4 per cent in February from 0.7 per cent in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was due to lower prices for clothes, second-hand cars, and games, toys and hobbies, which was partly offset by higher transport costs and petrol prices. Between January and February petrol prices rose by 3.6 pence per liter...

February retail sales numbers deliver mixed signals for economic recovery, growth. Depending on the headlines and the data source, U.S. retail sales for February have been presented as both a fine example of year-over-year growth and one of the biggest month-over-month declines in recent history. In reality, February results are both and will probably mean little in the long haul to the overall economic recovery...

German games market reaches record high of €8.5bnThe German games market grew 32% in 2020, generating a record high of €8.5 billion in revenue. That's according to the latest report from German games industry trade body Game, based on market data from GfK and App Annie. Hardware generated €3.2 billion in revenue -- a 26% rise year-on-year that includes sales for consoles, gaming PCs and peripherals. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment acquires eSports brand Evo. Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS, a new venture from Endeavor's esports business, announced that they had acquired the assets and properties of the fighting game event Evolution Championship Series from Triple Perfect through a joint venture esports partnership. 

Pandemic drives UK games market to record £7bn year. The UK video games market generated a record £7 billion last year. Spending on video games products and culture rose 30%, topping 2018 record by more than £1 billion. That's according to the latest annual market valuation compiled by trade body UKIE, released today to mark the start of the London Games Festival. The research shows that spending on video games software, hardware and other related products grew by 29.9% over the past year.

IronSource going public at $11.1 billion valuation. IronSource has announced it's going public via special purpose acquisition company Thoma Bravo Advantage. The two entities will merge to "bring to the public markets a highly-profitable and scalable business that provides a comprehensive business platform for app developers," IronSource said. The transaction valued the mobile marketing company at $11.1 bill...

ByteDance acquires Moonton Technology. Nuverse, which is part of ByteDance's gaming companies roster, has acquired Shanghai-based developer and publisher Moonton Technology. According to Reuters, the acquisition valued Moonton at $4 billion. In internal communications, CEO Yuan Jing clarified the studio would continue to operate independently. 

Beware scammers targeting the toy market. Toy World has been advised that the latest attempts to defraud companies involve email hacking. A fresh attempt to defraud toy companies has been brought to Toy World’s attention by Brainstorm Toys. Nick Saunders contacted us to detail the new approach that scammers are taking, so that other toy companies can be vigilant against similar attempts.

John Lewis confirms next stores to close. John Lewis has named the next eight stores to close, which will see 1465 staff affected and the store estate reduced to 34 branches. “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years,” said John Lewis Partnership chair Sharon White.

Record number of containers fall into the sea. At least 2,980 containers have fallen off cargo ships in the Pacific since November, in at least six separate incidents. Hasbro’s US operation is one of the companies which has been named as having been affected. A variety of factors have been cited, including the weather, a surge in US imports tied to the pandemic, and a shipping phenomenon known as parametric rolling...​



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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Mattel’s Christopher Keenan Talks Preschool Trends

(the above posted after March 26th)

Cloud gaming expected to hit $1.4 billion in revenue this year . . . . . Can the puzzle and game boom keep up?  . . . . . Gartner: Top trends in retail for 2021 . . . Preference for local shopping (UK) set to continue

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Here’s Why Mattel (MAT) Became a Strong Performer in Longleaf’s Q4 2020 Portfolio

(the above posted after March 26th)

China's Tencent revenues surge thanks to gaming boom . . . . . Mattel stock doesn't toy around with its composite rating . . . . . GameStop Ends Fiscal Year with $215 Million Loss

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Nintendo reportedly expecting another record year for software, with a series of major games. Nintendo is reportedly expecting to ship 250 million units of software in its next fiscal year – comfortably beating its existing all-time records – thanks to a line-up of (mostly unconfirmed) blockbuster games. Per anonymous sources of Bloomberg, Nintendo has briefed some partners and suppliers on its expectations for April 2021 to March 2022, and set expectations of shipping 250 million games.

$676.64 million in sales expected for Mattel, Inc.this quarter. Equities research analysts forecast that Mattel, Inc. will report sales of $676.64 million for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $718.10 million and the lowest estimate coming in at $640.00 million. Mattel reported sales of $594.10 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 13.9%.

$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.

Hasbro, Inc. forecasted to post FY2024 earnings of $6.58 per shareHasbro, Inc. - Jefferies Financial Group issued their FY2024 earnings estimates for shares of Hasbro in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, March 9th. Jefferies Financial Group analyst S. Wissink forecasts that the company will post earnings per share of $6.58 for the year. 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Facebook’s Instagram for Kids Will Be Money. Its potential Instagram-like app for children could pay off handsomely. Investors should know better by now than to accept a big move by a social-media company as solely altruistic. Facebook has confirmed it is exploring the development of an Instagram-like app for children under 13 to enable them to keep up with family and friends in a safe and ad-free environment.

Opinion | Foundation of success: What can retailers learn from the LEGO approach? As global pandemics go, the onset of Coronavirus, while forcing many to navigate a treacherously rocky road to begin with, hasn’t fared too badly for the toy industry; a global business that has provided support and entertainment to families and children worldwide. Among some of the last year’s biggest successes was LEGO, who ...

(the above posted after March 26th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Yeah right, pull the other one…it’s the Friday Blog! Salespeople can be extremely creative when they need to be – for instance, when they need to explain to a retailer why their order hasn’t been delivered. When my wife was a buyer, her favourite ‘excuse’ was that a ship had inadvertently sailed the wrong way round the world, resulting in a later arrival for the products than had been promised.

Grogu never stops eating, and now there’s a toy to match his appetite. Keep it away from the fridge. This is actually the second animatronic Grogu, following one last year that could coo and fall asleep. Hasbro’s senior design director Vickie Stratford says that when it came to creating a follow-up, “the concept of snacking opened up many fun ideas for our design and development team to create an all-new interactive experience.”

11 Secrets of LEGO Designers. Many kids (and adult fans) fantasize about getting to play with LEGO bricks all day. For the professional designers who work for the toy company, that’s their life. “It’s unfair how cool this job is,” LEGO designer Mike Psiaki confirms to Mental Floss.

Though it’s a dream job for many, designing sets for The LEGO Group has a less-glamorous side as well. 

10 ways office work will never be the same. From where we work to how our work is measured, office work will be permanently different after the pandemic. These changes represent a chance to remake work as we know it and to learn from the mistakes of our working past — if we’re thoughtful about how we enact them.

When Redditors decided to meme stock GameStop, they were irrational heroes. When moms decided to meme stock Beanie Babies, they were irrational idiots. My Mother Risked It All on the Beanie Baby Boom...  She was a Mormon homemaker who just wanted to take part in the market economy. Then it all came crashing down. (Thanks, Bob Fuhrer for sending.)

Father of girl, six, with Down's syndrome says she's 'thrilled' after she inspired toy company to make .Lottie Dolls has released a doll, called Rosie Boo, designed to resemble six-year-old Rosie Barnett, from Wiltshire, who has Down's syndrome.The new doll's release came ahead of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) on March 21, which was picked to show the unique nature of the triplication of the 21st chromosome...

What is Roblox? Everything you need to know about the latest craze. Released in 2006, Roblox grew from obscurity into a gaming juggernaut, culminating in a multi-billion-dollar public stock offering. Here's what you need to know about the game. Roblox is a video game and creation platform available on most mobile devices, consoles, and PCs. Players choose from experiences built by developers and can use...

Imported toy collectors are snapping up Japanese brand. Collecting imported toys, a hobby popular among some Chinese youngsters, has recently witnessed a new trend: snapping up Bearbrick, the Japanese cartoon-like toy bears, with prices jumping from a few thousand yuan per unit to as much as hundreds of thousands, which is partially driven by the logistic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

UK girl, 10, persuades Waitrose to stop stocking comics with plastic toys. WAITROSE will become the first retailer to ban children's magazines containing plastic toys following the campaigning of a 10-year-old girl from Wales. Skye Neville, from Fairbourne, inspired the supermarket chain to make the change after launching a petition amid concerns about the impact on the planet. 

Game studios speak out against escalating violence toward Asian communities. Several major figures in the game industry have posted statements in support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities following fatal shootings this week that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. 

Wooden toys for children: what advantages do they offer? If we go back a little to our childhood or to that of our parents and grandparents, we will realize that there have been toys made of wood or natural materials throughout our lives. What’s more, then, wooden toys were the protagonists of any home: a spinning top, a yo-yo, wooden cars, seesaws, jump ropes… Why leave behind those good childhood memories? 

The evolution of tech in toys: From play to playful learning. India has one of the largest young populations in the world. Indian toy industry is still at the budding stage with a vast consumer base of a 500-million strong young population. According to IMARC, a research platform, it is estimated that the Indian toy industry is worth over ₹10,000 crore. 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

List of Vintage Toy Makers & Manufacturers. This list of vintage toy manufacturers starts in the mid 1800s and continues into present day. This list included Marx, Schoenhut, Hasbro and 105 more. Hopefully this list comes in handy when you’re out and about at the antique mall. If there are some major toy manufactures that are not listed here, please leave the info in the comments section below so I can add it to the list.

Toy stories: 100 years of American toy adverts – in pictures.  A detail from an advert for toy cars made by the Hubley Manufacturing Company, 1936. Photograph: The Jim Heimann Collection / Taschen publishers​​.  From electric train sets to Arnold Schwarzenegger action heroes, a new book from Taschen brings together American toy adverts of the 20th century. “Whenever you ask someone, ‘What was your favourite ...

(the above posted after March 26th)

Watch The Strong's virtual event about Shindana Toys—the Black-owned company behind the groundbreaking Baby Nancy doll. Hosted by The Strong’s Christopher Bensch, the discussion touched on Shindana Toys’ creation and evolution, their role in the community, their products, and examples of Black entrepreneurship. Speakers included Marva Smith Maxey, David Crittendon, Yolanda Hester, and Rob Goldberg.

Coney Island Penny Machine from Remco (1959). Released in 1959 by Remco, the Coney Island Penny Machine was a desktop version of the claw machines routinely found in arcades, traveling carnivals, and state fairs. Remco’s more portable version was made of high-impact plastic and measured 16-inches long x 11-inches wide x 13-inches high. Players payed a penny to try their luck.

Ancient Roman dice tower used in the playing of dice games. A dice tower was discovered near the modern villages of Vettweiss and Froitzheim. During the Roman era this location was in the province of Germania Inferior on the Imperial frontier with Germania. The major military centre of Cologne was located nearby. The Vettweiss-Froitzheim Dice Tower was intended to produce a trustworthy throw of...

Video Game History HourThe Video Game History Hour podcast highlights the people who have made significant contributions to the gaming industry and shares stories seldom told outside of that world. Launched in November 2020, Video Game History Hour is the official podcast of the Video Game History Foundation. Hosted by video game historians Frank Cifaldi and Kelsey Lewin, the weekly podcast features...


Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Jazwares, Hasbro Hit the Gas with Micro Machines General Motors Vehicles. Jazwares and Hasbro are introducing licensed vehicles into the Micro Machines collection in the modern era for the first time. Officially licensed rides were a staple of the original Galoob Micro Machines of the ’80s and ’90s, and this time around it’s General Motors (GM) providing the iconic cars that are being zapped with the shrink ray. 

(the above posted after September 26th)

Mattel Television and Mission Control Media developing Barbie Fashion Battle, a micro-fashion reality competition show. Mattel, Inc. and Mission Control Media, the production company behind “Hollywood Game Night,” “Face Off” and “The Soup,” today announced they are developing “Barbie Fashion Battle,” a fashion design reality competition show centered around designing for global style icon, Barbie®. 

Breyer gallops into toy deal for Epic Story Media’s ‘Piper’s Pony Tales’Breyer — a division of Reeves International Inc. — has been named master toy partner for Piper’s Pony Tales, a new short-form series from Epic Story Media Inc and Milkcow Media. The preschool series from Milkcow Media’s Alexander Bar (Ricky Zoom, Mike the Knight) tells the story of Piper, a young girl who dreams of having a pony of her own...

Mattel taps Audi, Porsche, Land Rover, and Mercedes for Matchbox toy cars relaunch. Mattel is launching an all-new range of Matchbox vehicles that will pay homage to the most iconic car manufacturers in Europe including Land Rover, Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche. The new range from Matchbox will celebrate names from across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia, featuring 100 per cent licensed vehicles...

Willy’s Wonderland’ gets into licensing with eyes toward toys, costumes, more. Since its day and date theatrical and digital debut last month, Willy’s Wonderland has quickly gained a cult following, and now Landmark Studio Group — a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc. company — is building out a full licensing program to support it. 

The Winter Soldier gets the Hot Toys treatment. Hot Toys has now revealed a new figure based on a character from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The new figure in question is none other than The Winter Soldier himself. Bucky Barnes is 1/2 of the main leads in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier which is currently the most popular Disney+ show right now. 

Moose Toys unveils Space Jam: A New Legacy toysMoose Toys, a leading innovator in the toy industry, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products will have fans cheering with the introduction of an all-star line-up of products to celebrate the summer theatrical release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ Space Jam: A New Legacy. Full of fan favorites, Space Jam: A New Legacy features basketball star LeBron James alongside....

Wham-O taps Anjar Co. and Becker Associates as global licensing agency. Wham-O is looking to build a global licensing program for its iconic toy brands. The company behind Frisbee, Slip ’N Slide, Hula Hoop, Hacky Sack, Super Ball, Trac-Ball, and Boogie Board appointed Anjar Co. and Becker Associates as its exclusive global licensing agency. Anjar and Becker Associates will develop, license, and commercialize Wham-O....

Jasco Games teams with Asmodee USA for the worldwide release of the My Hero Academia Collectible Card Game. Tabletop publisher, Jasco Games has detailed the worldwide release of a new card game based on the popular anime franchise, My Hero Academia. Developed and launched in partnership with Asmodee USA, the My Hero Academia Collectible Card Game will land at retail this summer. .

Aurora World named master toy partner for Aardman’s festive musical Robin Robin. Aurora World has been tapped as the master toy partner for Aardman’s new animated musical special, Robin Robin in a deal that will see the company develop the plush version of the titular character. The new plush Robin Robin will be launched alongside the publishing and film premiere of the special as it arrives in the UK this...

YuMe Toys reveals 'Harry Potter' Magical Capsule Series 2. YuMe has announced the second series of the fan-favorite collectible for Wizarding World fans, YuMe "Harry Potter" Magical Capsules. "Harry Potter" fans can unbox seven surprises within each Hogwarts crest-shaped Magical Capsule. Players follow the hidden clues, including a glow-in-the-dark Hogwarts House card and water reveal spell book. .

Batman and Joker come to life just in time for the Snyder Cut from SpinMasterThe highly anticipated Zack Snyder cut of Justice League is here! While excitement is in the air leading up to the March 18th release (with some getting a leaked sneak peek the other day), fans of the D.C. universe will want to check out an awesome new line of action figures from Spin Master and D.C., featuring Batman and Joker, who appear....

Little House on the Prairie licensees look forward to celebrating the past in 2021. With most families spending more time at home this past year, Little House on the Prairie licensees Cūbles and The Queen’s Treasures have been helping parents engage children with toys that provide solid, interactive, year-round play value and a connection to stories about family togetherness, homeschooling, gardening, baking and the joys...

Smash hit kids’ series Bluey to land on CBeebies next month with UK toy ranges to follow. The Australian smash hit kids’ series, Bluey is landing on CBeebies next month. The channel will be the first free-to-air platform in the UK to broadcast the series which is backed by BBC Studios. Under the new deal, series one of the hit animated series will air on the channel every day. .

Funko announces new classic Star Trek PopsThe folks at Funko are “boldly going” once again. The toy company has announced its first set of Pop! vinyl figures based on classic Star Trek characters in over five years. The announcement came via Star Trek’s official site. No doubt this is a way of celebrating the franchise’s 55th anniversary in 2021. ..

Sonic The Hedgehog's getting its own physical card gameJust in case Sonic's games, movies, merch, and official blue curry weren't quite enough for you, it's now been revealed that he's getting a card game, too. Currently in the works at Steamforged Games, a UK company that creates and sells a variety of card and board games based on popular video game franchises, the new Sonic card game is called... 

Character Options signed as master toy partner for Morphle for EMEA and Australia. Moonbug Entertainment is an entertainment company providing educational programming for children. Its popular kids’ line-up includes CoComelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum and My Magic Pet Morphle. The signing of Character Options as master toy partner will see the company produce Morphle branded playsets, plush....

Mattel rings in Pokemon's 25th with new Mega Construx. Mattel has announced a new line of Pokemon figures. The toys are being made in honor of the Pokemon franchise's 25th anniversary and will be part of Mattel's current Mega Construx brand. The different sets consists of Charizard for $19.99, a Mega Construx Pokemon Character Assortment Set consisting of three separate Pokemon as a bundle for $19.99...

Burberry designs skins for Honor of Kings characters. Luxury fashion brand Burberry has designed outfits for one of China’s biggest video games. Players can buy the clothes - known as skins – to adorn in-game characters. Tencent-owned developer TiMi Studios collaborated with the designer for its multiplayer online battle game Honor of Kings. The new skins will be available in mainland China only. 

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People . . . 

Doug Schwalbe hangs his own shingle  The Co-Production Company is already at work on shows with YouNeek and Superprod, but the former DreamWorks exec is looking to make more scripted live-action shows for kids. When he left DreamWorks in October, someone offered Doug Schwalbe (pictured) a small piece of advice: “Don’t try to be clever. Name your company something straightforward.” 

Brian Simpson to move on from Toytown Toytown's head of buying for just under a decade, Brian has decided the time is right to take on a new challenge outside the toy industry. Speaking openly with Toy World last night, Alan Simpson, Toytown’s managing director and Brian’s father, said that while the news was something of a surprise to him, Brian goes with his total blessing and best wishes for the future.

Meet "Mr. Hot Wheels," the Legend Behind Every Car-Loving Kid's Favorite Toy. Our kids club, R&T Crew, got an inside look at Larry Wood's most beloved designs. "Mr. Hot Wheels" Larry Wood has been a part of the Hot Wheels team for over 51 years. He has loved cars since he was a kid and says he gets his design inspiration from a range of different places, including blockbuster movies, cultural icons, fantasies, and even...

Pandemic’s creator is making a board game about climate change. Matt Leacock’s next board challenges you to stave off climate chaos by cutting emissions and increasing resilience. But can the climate crisis be turned into a compelling game? Leacock is now designing a detailed cooperative board game called Climate Crisis, along with Matteo Menapace, a cooperative game creator based in the UK.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Chris and Jennifer Armstrong of Solid Roots. The family-focused company produces games, including Mind the Gap, Hipsterology, and Trapped, alongside the Hangup + Hangout Device Detox Box. On the show, the Armstrongs explain how they turned the classic white elephant gift game into a marketable product, and how Jennifer’s live event...

Kim Culmone, SVP and global head of design Barbie and fashion dolls at Mattel Is Revolutionizing The Way Barbie Empowers Children Through Doll Play, Neuroscience.  Ninety-eight percent of girls feel immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way, and 74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone. Barbie, a flagship brand of Mattel, Inc., has committed to providing girls the resources needed...

Kickstarter vice president and head of community Luke Crane is departing the company after launching, and quickly canceling, a controversial game project on the crowdfunding platform in February. Kickstarter confirmed Crane’s departure, which it described as a “mutual decision,” in a statement to Polygon. The project in question was a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) collection titled The Perfect RPG

Roominate Sales Tripled After the STEM Toy Company Appeared on 'Shark Tank'. Avid Shark Tank viewers might remember Roominate, the STEM-friendly toy line that entrepreneurs Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen pitched to the “sharks” back in a 2014 episode, during the ABC series’ sixth season. Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner took the bait and offered the duo $500,000 in exchange for a 5-percent equity stake in the company...

(the above posted after March 27th)

She started posting videos of domino art at age 10. At 1 billion views, she is the ‘queen’ of dominoes. “For some reason, I love watching them fall,” said Hevesh. “It’s just really satisfying to hear the click-click and see it topple.” Hevesh has also become a business: Last year, she announced a deal with toymaker Spin Master to sell H5 Domino Creations at major retailers.

The LEGO Foundation names new CEO. Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen will take over from John Goodwin, overseeing research activities and strategic partnerships that impact the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation has named Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen as its new CEO, taking over the role on September 1. Albrectsen will succeed current CEO John Goodwin, who has headed up the organization since 2017 and will continue ...

WILL NIEBLING AWARDED RICK LOOMIS SERVICE AWARD. For Contributions to the Games Industry. Will Niebling has been awarded the Rick Loomis Service Award for contributions to the games industry, the Game Manufacturers Association announced.  The award was created to honor the legacy of the late GAMA co-founder and longtime owner of Flying Buffalo Games, who passed away in 2019.

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Warren Schorr, VP of business development and global licensing for Crayola. Prior to joining Crayola in 2010, Schorr held executive roles at Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and MGM. Now he works to grow and extend a brand that has become a true “household name,” with brand recognition in 99% of U.S. homes.

Cocktails with the Creators  – The most recent talk was with Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductee Tom Kalinske, where he shares stories of his leadership roles at Sega of America, Inc., Mattel, Leapfrog, and beyond using the original toys and games from the collections of The Strong National Museum of Play.

The Preteen’s Guide to Getting Rich Off YouTube. Ryan Kaji’s video empire makes most of its revenue from merchandise, not ads. Ryan Kaji is one of the most popular YouTube creators in the world, with a main channel that’s drawn 29 million subscribers interested in watching the 9-year-old open new toys, exercise, or do crafting projects. For Ryan and his family, that audience has translated into millions of dollars in ...

ZAG builds LatAm licensing team Former Viacom exec Angela Cortez will head up CP business in the region, while Eva Rodriguez takes on a new global licensing role. Cortez will lead new business development efforts across the Latin American region, and will also manage a team of local licensing agents representing the company’s brands there, including Gloob, Tycoon and IMC. 

Cineflix Rights taps Tim Mutimer as CEO The former Banijay Rights exec will manage distribution of Cineflix's catalogue of proprietary and third-party content, including kids titles Pet School and Whizz Kids. Based in London, Mutimer will step into the role this summer after current CEO Chris Bonney retires, according to a Cineflix Rights spokesperson.

Richard Hollis joins HTI as licensing manager The appointment of Richard Hollis to oversee HTI's portfolio of licensed properties follows the news that Michelle Dalziel will be leaving the company. HTI Toys has announced that Michelle Dalziel, senior licensing and marketing manager, will be leaving the company this spring to pursue a career in her family business. Richard brings with him a wealth of experience gained from....

Tiger Head Toys welcomes Fernando Del Rio as global sales director. Fernando Del Rio will oversee Tiger Head's extensive portfolio of properties which includes Super Cute Little Babies, Baby Gemmy and Hamstars. Fernando brings with him wide ranging experience in the entertainment and toy industries, following a successful career which has included working at Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Famosa...

Reggie Fils-Aime departing GameStop board of directors after one year. Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime is stepping down from GameStop's board of directors after little over a year. As spotted by Nintendo Wire, the news was buried in a SEC filing that detailed a list of board departures including Fils-Aime that could prove disruptive.

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Companies . . .

AURORA WORLD CELEBRATES ECO NATION SUCCESS WITH MID-YEAR PLUSH ADDITIONSEco Nation toys are super-soft plush crafted from fabric and fiber fills made from 100% recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or plastic bottles. Each one features embroidered eyes in lieu of plastic, and they come with labels, hang tags, packaging and displays that are also made from 100% recycled materials.

Moose Toys’ ScrunchMiez Takes Hair Wear to the Next Level. Moose Toys is expanding its wearable product line with ScrunchMiez, dynamic hair accessories that are styleable, collectible, and playable, all in one. Each scrunchie can transform from a hair tie to a small, cuddly animal plush. A matching colored clip helps tighten-up braids and ponytails, but can also attach to the back of the plush for wearability.

Wow! Stuff signs global rights for Love, Diana Continuing its top tier pre-school licence acquisitions, Wow! Stuff has acquired the global rights for the Love, Diana brand. With over 4.4b monthly views on YouTube and over 180m active subscribers, Love, Diana licensed merchandise is already selling fast at retail.

TALKIN’ TOYS: YWOW BRANDS CEO DISCUSSES NOVELTY PUZZLES AND PACKAGING INNOVATIONS. YWOW Brands makes novelty puzzles that stand out thanks to the company’s attention to detail, such as eco-friendly packaging with DIY elements that kids can repurpose and puzzles that come in funky shapes rather than a typical square or rectangle. The Toy Book spoke with the company’s CEO Michele Rudelli to discuss ...

Sandbox launches a children's division EXCLUSIVE: Hopster, Fingerprint, Curious World and Kidomi will all fall under the new business unit led by Fingerprint CEO Nancy MacIntyre. UK-based edutainment company Sandbox & Co has acquired digital content provider Fingerprint as part of a strategic move to start delivering on-demand digital subscription services to children and families around the world through its brand-new...

University Games unveils first ever all female Subbuteo  The Lionesses make history as the first ever all female Subbuteo Main Game will be launched to the UK market this May. 2021 will see a UK-first ... The fully licensed Official England Lionesses Subbuteo Main Game will contain the 11-player Lionesses Team and an 11-player Red and White Team, along with the Subbuteo pitch, ball and goal sets.

VTech partners with Save the Children VTech has collaborated with Save the Children to organise events across multiple countries to support vulnerable children in need globally. VTech has pledged to donate US$1 to Save the Children for every baby monitor and toy sold through its online shops in Canada and Hong Kong and every baby monitor sold through its online shop in the US.

Asmodee launches Love Your Game Store UK campaign  The nationwide Love Your Game Store campaign will encourage consumers back into games retailers from April 12th with prize incentives. From 12th April to 31st May, anyone who makes an in-person purchase in a participating independent retailer can enter themselves into a random draw, from which one lucky winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize.

TTPM Announces the Launch of TheToyAuthority on TikTok. Dedicated to featuring on-trend, fun, and buzzworthy products, TheToyAuthority is the new premier destination for toy launches, in a format never seen before. TTPM, the leading video product reviewer for toys, baby gear, and pet gear, is expanding their digital toy expertise to a new platform: TikTok! 

ZAG INKS ‘MIRACULOUS’ NEW CONSUMER PRODUCTS DEALS WITH CRAYOLA, KID DESIGNS, MORE. Business is booming for ZAG’s Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir in the U.S. Following the news that Disney Channel picked up seasons four and five of the hit animated series, ZAG Executive Vice President, Global Operations Julian Zag revealed that the company has inked new licensing deals to extend the brand...

PlayMonster LLC and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) inked a partnership deal for Snap Ships that will bring the intergalactic building fun to the Cub Scouts. A Cub Scouts Modular Design & Build Preview Adventure will launch this year in which kids will learn modular design with and without instructions using Snap Ships. Additionally, PlayMonster will provide 10,000 Snap Ships samples to kids attending BSA day camps...

HwaHwa Studio expands Meoshi World globally With popularity on the rise for K-pop and Korean culture in general, the timing seems right to bring the book-based IP to international audiences, says Lima Kim. HwaHwa inked its first international publishing deal this week, giving LA’s Jokar Productions the license to publish and distribute its range of Korean supernatural creature encyclopedias in the US and LatAm, and to...

OnBuy appoints chief commercial officer as company expands. OnBuy has announced the appointment of Mark Lister as chief commercial officer as part of a series of C-suite hires to oversee the growing company. OnBuy announced its best year so far in 2020, which saw it achieve 605% year to date growth. The marketplace continues to grow and achieved 830% year on year growth in February this year.

Kidicraft unveils new Plush and 3D Puzzle collectionA new addition to Kidicraft's portfolio, the Plush and 3D Puzzle range includes four plush characters that each accompany a 300-piece Prime 3D puzzle. The Plush and 3D Puzzle range includes four characters that are sure to be popular: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Batman and Superman. Each Plush & Puzzle SKU has an appealing plush character which stands...

(the above posted after March 26th)

Cartamundi deals indies a winning hand. To support independent toy and hobby stores that have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cartamundi is offering indie retailers 20% off their first order back, a deal which is valid for six weeks. The offer applies to Cartamundi’s entire portfolio, from the bestselling Royal Flush playing cards through to the company’s wide range of card games and its new jigsaw puzzle collection. 

TALKIN’ TOYS: SCHLEICH USA CONTINUES MOMENTUM INTO 2021. The Toy Book caught up with Schleich USA’s Managing Director Annie Laurie Zomermaand about how the company’s plans were shifted upside-down during a challenging time, its direct-to-consumer strategy, and what the company has in store for 2021. 

Barbie hits the runway with new reality show Mattel Television is partnering with Mission Control Media to develop design competition series Barbie Fashion Battle. Barbie Fashion Battle‘s 12 adult contestants will be divided into two teams—each headed by a celebrity fashion icon—to compete for a cash prize and an opportunity to design a line of Barbie doll fashions for the Mattel Creations e-commerce and content platform.

Looney Labs announces a limited run of 'Wonderland Fluxx'. Looney Labs announced that they will be printing a limited run of Wonderland Fluxx, an Alice in Wonderland themed version of the classic game, for release into stores in either September or October. This version of Fluxx heads down the rabbit hole and off to a tea party with Alice and her wacky friends. 

Asmodee USA reveals 'Square Meal' for U.S. retailAsmodee USA revealed Square Meal, a puzzle-solving game by Phantasio Games, for release into U.S. retail on April 2. In Square Meal, players flip, rotate, and overlap ingredient cards to solve puzzle challenges. They need to complete challenge cards quickly score points and race to move onto the next puzzle. 

Smyths Toys partners with Mattel for Barbie You Can Be Anything virtual experience. Smyths Toys is partnering with Mattel to host an exclusive Barbie You Can Be Anything Experience on its YouTube channel, a popular channel among kids and families with over one million subscribers. The Barbie You Can Be Anything Experience aims to present an inspirational digital series for parents and children to enjoy...

Sesame launches new racial justice resources Launching amidst a rise in violent attacks against Asian Americans, the "ABCs of Racial Literacy" content package aims to dismantle racism, says Kay Wilson Stallings. “ABCs of Racial Literacy” focuses on helping families celebrate their own unique identities, and provides kids with age-appropriate strategies to address questions around race and racism. 

From Almost Bankrupt to Most Profitable Toy Company; Lessons From LEGO. Reflecting on popular toy brands throughout the years, none stand out quite like LEGO. Today, LEGO is one of the largest, most profitable toy companies in the world. With so much success, it's easy to forget the company at one point was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 2003, LEGO was $800 million in debt. How did this household brand ever bounce...

Mattel, Twitter And Adobe Sign Equal Pay Pledge. California women lose a combined total of $78.6 billion each year because of the gender pay gap, and California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) are committed to reducing that figure.  Today, Equal Pay Day, they made some significant progress announcing that eight new companies...

LEGO debuts 2,300-piece NASA Space Shuttle Discovery with Hubble telescope payload. The LEGO Group is expanding its collection of out-of-this-world creations with a new NASA-inspired model. Bringing the iconic Space Shuttle Discovery into brick-built form for only the second time, this massive 2,354-piece model is the largest recreation to date measuring over 21 inches long. Complete with plenty of authentic details...

Wyrd announces new 'Malifaux 3E' miniatures sets coming in June. Wyrd Miniatures announced new Malifaux 3E miniatures sets coming in June. As Malifaux 3E releases roll along, Wyrd will release a new Outcast Starter Box and several miniatures sets. Miniatures for these sets will come unpainted. The following sets will be headed to stores in June. 

Making sound waves | “Tonies has got to the heart of what a generation of parents has been looking for”. For a company with high expectations, Tonies continues to surprise itself. The German-born audio toy platform has never been quiet about its plans for the UK and international market, not since its emergence on the scene only a few years ago. But it never expected success on the scale it has seen... 

Mastermind Toys, Canada's authority on play, unveils its first ever Spring Play Guide. Mastermind Toys, Canada's largest specialty toy and children's book retailer is excited to announce their biggest lineup of spring must-have products in its 37 year history. The 2021 Spring Play Guide titled "A Fresh Start," is Mastermind Toys' first curated collection of this size outside of their highly coveted annual Holiday Gift Guide ...

'Starblood Stalkers' infiltrate 'Direchasm'. Games Workshop has announced The Starblood Stalkers expansion for Warhammer Underworlds:  Direchasm, set to release on March 27. Led by the Skink Priest Kixi-Taka, this party of six hunters has been sent to the living mountain with a special artifact that has the power to force the mountain to consume itself and free Ghur from the corrupting influence of Chaos.

Moonpig details ‘ambitious plans for kids’ toys’ as it welcomes LEGO to the gifting portfolio. The online gifting specialist, Moonpig has detailed its huge ambitions’ for its giftable kids range, growing its portfolio of toy partners and most recently welcoming LEGO into the fold. The firm’s partnership with the LEGO Group marks a significant step forward for the company as well as ‘its biggest brand launch on its site to date.’ 

Zacian V and Zamazenta V get the gold card treatment in 'Pokemon TCG'. The Pokemon Company International revealed Sword & Shield Elite Trainer Box Plus—Zacian or Zamazenta currently on preorder at major game distributors. In these new Elite Trainer boxes, Zacian V and Zamazenta V are featured in a golden card form with black and gold accessories to match.  

Alderac Entertainment Group reveals 'TEN'. Alderac Entertainment Group revealed TEN, a new push-your-luck card sequencing game, for release on August 20. In TEN, players pick up cards one-at-a-time in an attempt to add as many as they can to their hand without busting by exceeding the value of 10 on the cards. The can continue to press their draw and add additional cards with currency tokens.

Playmobil launches special edition Volkswagen sets. Playmobil has announced two special edition Volkswagen additions to its range for 2021. The limited edition 70826 Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus and 70827 Volkswagen Beetle will come with a fresh new look and extra features. The new lines will be available in July, and both iconic vehicles will feature chrome effect detailing, giving a premium look and finish. 

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

Amazon sets up new game development studio in Montreal. Amazon Games has opened up its fourth game development studio, this time expanding beyond the United States to set up shop in Montreal. The new offshoot keeps Amazon's ongoing focus on breaking into the triple-A game space, something it has tried to do with little success for the better part of a decade now.

Pikmin is the next AR game from the makers of Pokémon Go. Niantic, developer of the smash hit Pokémon Go, has announced a new partnership with Nintendo. The first new game from the collaboration will be a mobile augmented reality game based on Nintendo’s popular Pikmin franchise, and it will launch later this year. 

Xbox is dropping the Xbox Live services branding in favor of the 'Xbox network'. Xbox is abandoning the Xbox Live moniker its online services have used for ages, and will instead refer to those spaces as the Xbox network moving forward. However, Xbox Live as a phrase won't completely leave our vocabularies anytime soon as it is still the name of choice for Xbox's paid online membership Xbox Live Gold. 

Terraria surpasses 35 million lifetime sales ahead of 10th anniversary. Terraria has sold over 35 million copies since launching almost a decade ago, according to developer Re-Logic. The game was launched on Windows PC on May 16, 2011, and has since been ported to a swathe of platforms including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. 

Warner Bros. delays Gotham Knights until 2022. Warner Bros. Games Montreal has confirmed that Gotham Knights won’t arrive as originally scheduled this year. No specific reason was given for the delay although if we had to guess, it’s probably related to the pandemic. If that’s indeed the case, it certainly wouldn’t be the first game to get pushed back due to slowdowns from employees struggling to work remotely ...

'Doctor Who' Lands on Funko Pop! Blitz mobile game. The Thirteenth Doctor, Twelfth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor, Tenth Doctor and Ninth Doctor are landing in the mobile game "Funko Pop! Blitz." In the game, The TARDIS is scattered across "Funko Pop! Blitz's" game boards, and the Doctors need your help to collect it so they can get back to exploring the universe. Players can log on now and play. 

Sony unveils next-generation VR controller for PlayStation 5. Sony has revealed the new controller that will come with its recently teased 'next-generation VR system' for the PlayStation 5. As previously indicated, the unnamed controller pulls over a number of features from the PlayStation 5's DualSense gamepad, including adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. 

With friendly rivalries, eSports gain traction in corporate worldSan Francisco: Microsoft software engineer Daniel Jost has found a way to take on his peers at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google in a friendly fashion – through video game competition. His team is the one to beat when it comes to using jet-powered cars to score points by knocking giant balls, football-style, into nets on virtual fields in Rocket League...

Dead Cells sold 1 million copes in China 'within a few days' of launch. Dead Cells has sold 1 million copies in China to surpass 5 million lifetime sales worldwide. Motion Twin's celebrated action platformer launched in August 2018 for a number of PC and console platforms, before eventually heading to iOS and Android in August 2019 and June 2020 respectively. 

Gotham Knights delayed to 2022. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has pushed another major release out of 2021, as the official Twitter account for Gotham Knights today announced a delay to the Batman spin-off game. Gotham Knights was first announced in August as a solo or two-player co-op title featuring supporting characters from the Batman franchise, including Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. 

Activision Blizzard preps for layoffs at European offices. Activision Blizzard is making preparations for its fourth round of layoffs in the last half year. The company has entered a consultation period in preparation for layoffs at Activision Blizzard offices in Germany, France, Spain, the UK, and two offices in the Netherlands. The idea is to consolidate Activision Blizzard's European publishing functions to a hub in the UK. 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Human penises are shrinking because of pollution, warns scientistDr Shanna Swan has found that chemicals called phthalates are causing human babies to be born with malformed genitals. Dr Shanna Swan writes that humanity is facing an "existential crisis" in fertility rates as a result of phthalates, a chemical used when manufacturing plastics that impacts the hormone-producing endocrine system. 

New Zealand: Firms fined $87k for toys that could choke children. Two businesses have been fined a total of $87,600 and another has been warned for supplying unsafe toys. The toys, including a train and various toys animals, had small parts that could be a choking hazard for small children. The Commerce Commission took action against the businesses after inspectors made unannounced visits to several stores.

Glock pistol disguised as toy Nerf gun seized in North Carolina drug raid. A drug raid in North Carolina turned up narcotics, cash and plenty of guns – including a semiautomatic pistol well-disguised as a toy Nerf gun. The Glock model 19 pistol with a 50-round drum magazine was painted blue and orange and had a Nerf logo similar to the toys made by Hasbro that fire foam darts, discs or balls. 

UAE: 3-year-old boy in hospital after swallowing magnet balls. Incidents of kids swallowing magnet balls have skyrocketed in the last few years in the UAE, doctors have said, with several hospitals recording a number of cases. At a hospital in Ajman, the latest victim is a three-year-old boy who is now in intensive care. “The toddler came with pain in his tummy and had been experiencing bouts of vomiting for 3 or 4 days.

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Press Releases . . . 

EEBOO’s SUSTAINABLE PUZZLES & GAMES GIVE A NOD TO MOTHER NATURE EVERYDAY BUT ESPECIALLY ON EARTH DAY. eeBoo and eeBoo Piece & Love 2021 Spring Collection Proves Environmental Literacy Can Be Screen-Free, Sustainable, Beautiful and Fun! Sustainable practices have always been at the heart of the eeBoo and Piece & Love brand, making it easy for parents and puzzlers to make the eco-conscious choice. Reduce, reuse, recycle has been the axiom of this lifestyle brand from its first days. Focused on responsible sourcing and manufacturing, eeBoo uses 90% recycled board, vegetable inks, and avoids plastic.

MOTHER MAY I? ADVENTERRA PUZZLES & GAMES TEACH LITTLE ONES HOW TO BE KIND TO MOTHER EARTH. Earth Day Is The Perfect Time To Teach Young Citizens To Be Eco-Friendly Via Edutaining Games Using Logic, Teamwork, And Visual Memory.  Ever hear of sugar cane shrink wrap? It’s one of the many steps Adventerra Games uses to lead by example as a global eco-friendly company. With Earth Day 2021 arriving on the April calendar, now is a perfect time to show children as young as toddlers how they can make a positive impact on behalf of the planet. Serious environmental topics like composting, recycling, climate change, endangered animals, and water conservation are introduced in a fun and memorable way.

(the above posted after March 26th)

TWEEN INVENTOR’S DEBUT BOARD GAME ENJOYING SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS WITH TOP TOY HONORS. Candy Collections! 11-Year-Old Creator Wins Tillywig, Hot Diggity Awards And A Spotlight As Bloom Report’s Person Of The Week. Fairfax Station, VA (March 25, 2021) – Chess, Scrabble, Monopoly? Browse any child’s toy shelf and there’s bound to be several classic board games. The best games can be based on strategy, chance or a combination of the two. Candy Collections! ($24.99) “has all the makings of an instant classic!” proclaimed Tillywig Awards this week, who made its 11-year-old inventor a Tillywig Spring 2021 Best Family Fun Award Winner. 

STRETCHEEZ™ SERVES UP A HANDS-ON CULINARY ADVENTURE WITH APPETIZING PLAY FOOD SETS. Open-Ended Play Has Never Looked More Delicious: Thin Air Brands Introduces Stretchy and Squishy Pizza, Burger, Burrito & Snacks Play Food. Letting kids experiment with food choices is the delicious idea behind the launch of Stretcheez™ play food sets. Kids add toppings to pizza or build a burrito with yummy components. There’s no mess and no waste because it’s all make-pretend! Stretcheez secret sauce, so to speak, is the tactile compound of a stretchable, squishable base that feels like dough and moves like slime. Youngsters are encouraged to handle but never taste the many...

LOST FOR WORDS? JAMBO BOOK CLUB OFFERS A LIBRARY OF BIPOC STORYBOOKS TO TEACH CHILDREN EMPATHY The Right Bedtime Story With A Kiss Goodnight Can Make Kids Better Equipped With Values Of Respect, Justice, Tolerance, Love For An Equitable Tomorrow.  Take a look at your child’s bookshelf. Count how many stories feature a child of color. How many feature a character of Asian heritage? On the Autism spectrum? If the answer is none or only a few, consider a subscription to Jambo Books ($34.99/month) at to improve your family’s window of the world.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

Toy Industries of Europe opens call for Play for Change Awards 2021 with Covid-19 Special Commendation addition A Covid-19 Special Commendation category has been added to the roster of this year’s Toy Industries of Europe Play for Change Awards, as the awards programme designed to celebrate company practices and the empowerment of children makes its return for a second year. 

Booking for Toy Fair 2022 is now open Toy Fair 2022 will take place from the 25th-27th January at Olympia, London, using the Grand and National Halls. In a statement, the BTHA added: “The safety of all participants is extremely important to us, so we will be following government guidance to ensure we conform with all regulations and safety measures.

Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition cancelledSpielwarenmesse was to be moved to summer for the first time this year, but the organisers have now taken the decison to cancel the event. In an email to exhibitors, the team at Spielwarenmesse expressed its disappointment at having to take the difficult decision, writing: “Today we regret to inform you that Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition has been cancelled.

San Diego Comic-Con has announced the name and dates for the November convention it’s holding as a partial replacement for its canceled summer show . The event will be called Comic-Con Special Edition, and will be a three-day show on Thanksgiving weekend, Friday-Sunday, November 26-28. While much about the event, including space accommodations, travel restrictions, capacity restrictions, and safety...

(the above posted after March 26th)

Toy & Edu China Fair to Kick Off March 30. Next week’s Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China and Licensing China will welcome over 1,400 exhibitors. The events from March 30 to April 1 will host exhibitors from 13 countries and regions, with many looking to take advantage of the regional market’s opportunities across a 130,000 square meter gross exhibition space at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center.

2021 Gaming Awards winners announced. Announcing the winners for the eighth annual SXSW Gaming Awards, recognizing the most creative and influential titles, teams, and individuals in the industry across 12 different categories.The winners were announced during the virtual SXSW Gaming Awards show produced in partnership with IGN and presented by Discord. 

The year(s) without the cons: the COVID-19 era continues to disrupt fan events. As the reality set in last summer that for the first time since its inception in 1970, the fandom community would not be gathering in southern California for Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), the world felt battered and beaten. 

UKMums.TV opens entries for Baby & Pre-School Awards. UKMums.TV, the online parental publication and the body behind the Mums Choice Awards, has opened entries for its Baby & Pre-School Awards. This awards program will recognize excellence in the early years category and launches ahead of the company’s Mums Choice Awards, which will run for the seventh consecutive year this autumn. 

Gamescom plans ‘hybrid’ event for summer, focusing on superfans (but ignoring superspreaders). Video game fair Gamescom is planning to hold a “hybrid event” combining in-person and digital activities later this summer, despite uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic and the risk the trade show could turn into a “superspreader” event.  

New date confirmed for The Fence Club Charity Golf Day The event will take place on Wednesday 23rd June in Harrogate, with the Fence Club hoping it will be the first social event for 17 months. An open invitation has been extended to all toy industry golfers to attend the event, with organiser Simon Anslow confirming: “You do not need to be invited by a member of the Fence Club. Bookings can be from single players...

Sito Sanchez re-elected. The Wholesale Division of the Game Manufacturers Association re-elected Sito Sanchez, President of Peachstate Hobby Distribution, as their GAMA Wholesale Division Chair at virtual GAMA Expo 2021. The association announced his re-election at the conclusion of the show. 

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

RYU ASADAOne of the most prolific Hot Wheels designers of the past 20 years has taken his final lap.

Ryu Asada joined Mattel in 2004 as a designer on the Matchbox brand before making his way to the Hot Wheels Team. Over the course of his 17-year career, Asada designed dozens of 1:64-scale die-cast vehicles for the $1 Hot Wheels mainline assortment, most recently serving as designer project lead. “Ryu courageously battled Stage IV colorectal cancer for four and a half years. Even throughout extensive surgeries and chemotherapies, he stayed positive and continued doing what he loved to do — designing Hot Wheels and sharing his passion for cars with the world. He had a strong will and fought until the end. He took his final lap at the hospital on March 23rd from complications of the cancer. His co-driver in life, Hazel Diaz Asada, whom he met at a drawing class at the University of Oregon 21 years ago, was, like always, by his side.

Gerry Crown - Founder of Crown & Andrews (Australia), an Entrepreneur, Bon Vivant, Champion Rally Driver, Serious Golfer, Loving Husband and Father and a real English Gentleman passed away March 12th, 2021 peacefully in his sleep. A beloved member of our toy & game industry family, we are very happy to have captured him in a video conversation with Adi Golad last fall. Many of his friends came together virtually from around the world to pay tribute: Gerry Crown... the Kingdom of the Heart. 

Peter A. Flihan, Jr., Peter started as a buyer at B.Altman & Co, Buyer for Child World, Commonwealth Toy and then seeing a niche in that market, he and Linda Hejduk started their own stuffed toy manufacturer, Westcliff Limited. His son Peter joined them soon after, where they enjoyed more than a dozen years in business, travelling extensively to South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China.

Brian Dalrymple  a game retailer since the 1980s, at Dragon’s Lair and later at The Adventure Game Store in Davie, Florida. He was involved with GAMA for at least 20 years, and was elected Secretary and Board Member in 2003, a role he held until 2019.  His even keel, competence, and generally pleasant demeanor kept him on the board through numerous regime changes.  Dalrymple was also a game publisher, most recently as co-founder of Alligator Alley Entertainment, which published the Esper Genesis Heroic Sci-Fi Roleplaying Game.

Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape passed away at the age of 94. Ottens was an engineer at Philips, which reports that more than 100 billion cassette tapes have been sold worldwide.

Frank Thorne - He was 90 at the time of his death on March 7. Thorne started working in comics in 1948(!), but was best known for his work on Red Sonja, a character he started drawing in 1976, at a time when the character was being developed in the Robert E. Howard Conan universe by Barry Windsor-Smith and writer Roy Thomas.  Thorne provided most of the art for the Red Sonja solo series, which ran from 1977-1979. Thorne also created some of his own characters, including Ghita of Alizarr in an original graphic novel, Lann in Heavy Metal, Danger Rangerette in National Lampoon, and others. Thorne worked for Standard Comics and DC in addition to Marvel; did newspaper strips, including Perry Mason; wrote a number of books for Fantagraphics; and did magazine illustration work for Playboy, Hustler, High Times, and Vanity Fair.



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Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Moose Toys Unveils Space Jam: A New Legacy Toys

  2. Socially Twisted, New Party Game for Adults, Launches

  3. Epic Story Media Launches Piper's Pony Tales 

  4. ZAG Expands in Latin America, Appoints Angela Cortez

  5. Little House on the Prairie Licensees Expand Offerings 

  6. Hasbro Unveils New 'Baby Yoda' Grogu Animatronic

  7. Brand Central Insights Announces New Client Roster 

  8. Wham-O Appoints Anjar Co. & Becker Associates for Licensing

  9. Oddbods & Instectibles Score New Broadcast Deals

  10. Willy's Wonderland Licensing Program Announced

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Yeah right, pull the other one…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Record number of containers fall into the sea

  3. Beware scammers targeting the toy market

  4. Richard Hollis joins HTI as licensing manager

  5. John Lewis confirms next stores to close

  6. B&M plans move into online

  7. Smyths to host Barbie ‘You Can Be Anything Experience’

  8. Waitrose introduces ban on plastic toy giveaways with children’s magazines

  9. Panini launches UEFA Euro 2020 Tournament Edition official sticker collection

  10. SES Creative offsets CO₂ footprint with purchase of European forests

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

  1.  Wizards of the Coast Updates 'Magic: The Gathering' Set Names for Q3 and Q4 Releases
  2.  Rolling for Initiative -- Farewell, Brian Dalrymple
  3.  Top 5 Roleplaying Games--Fall 2020
  4.  Free RPG Day Set for Fall
  5.  GameStop Ends Fiscal Year with $215 Million Loss
  6.  Despite It All, Hobby Games Channel Grew in 2020
  7.  Top 10 Hobby Channel Board Games--Fall 2020
  8.  Top Collectible Games--Fall 2020
  9.  Atomic Mass Games Adds Two New 'Marvel Crisis Protocol' Sets
10.  Satisfying Fall, Holiday Season for Game Stores in 2020

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

Total Licensing

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Little Factory Announced, Talisman: Star Wars Released
IELLO has announced a new game, The Op has released their newest specially licensed edition of Talisman, and AEG has a new push-your-luck card game coming soon.


Video of the Week! 

Leading Innovation at Specialty Retail Panel from our POP Week! 
Moderator: Willie Wilkov (CEO, North America at HABA Family of Companies)

Panelists: Richard Derr (President, Learning Express Lake Zurich), Betty Skoke Burns (Owner, Angelina's Toy Boutique), Amy Saldanha (Owner, Kiddywampus), Sarah Jordan (CEO, Mastermind)


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


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

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

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

If you would like to reach Phil:   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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