May 19 - 26, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin' Friday!
Have you purchased your raffle ticket(s) for a very worthy children's cause via the Toy Trust and The Michael Kohner Corporation Corgi Giveaway? Tickets are only 5 pounds, and 8 plush corgis will be raffled. You can donate whether you attend or not, but you must be present to win a cute and cuddly corgi.
The Corgi Giveaway is part of our What’s Up DISTOY London Pub event on the 31st. Our uber-creative co-hosts Lizzy Moody (7Towns), Eleanor Black and Hannah Palfrey (FUSE) created a cool coronation theme, complete with crowns and a feast courtesy of our wonderful and generous sponsors below!
Our Barcelona networking event is the following week. Thank you Amy Holden and Lucie Lanham (World Alive) and Josep Pastor (SEEK4KEY) for discovering our gorgeous terrace venue! Hope to see many of you at one or both events!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!
“I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation
"TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY
"I am a long-time reader and champion of tBR. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry is unmatched and I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool." - Jim Engle, President & Founder, Little Kids Inc.
"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.
Person of the Week - Jane Bredemus
Looking for the Kind Gentlemen who Introduced me to my First Licensor, Crazy Aarons!
Hi Jane! Nice to connect again and thank you for taking time to answer a few questions. Do you have a mantra that you live by?
Lead, follow or get out of the way. It is important to be able to do all 3, to learn how to read a situation and react accordingly. Sometimes you’re the leader and you really need to step up. Following can be hard, or feel great because it is easy. And knowing when to get out of the way is a key life skill.
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
I spent most of my career in the marketing world, developing ideas for creative marketing campaigns. But deep down I always dreamed of owning a toy store, and after having kids I realized I had a ton of kid-focused product ideas.
I attended CHITAG/POP Inventor Pitch and Conference in 2019 and had a new inventor booth with a few ideas on display. A kind gentleman stopped at my booth and really liked my slime ideas. He told Aaron Muderick of Crazy Aaron’s to go check out my booth. I’m so grateful to this man because I’ve been lucky enough to work with Aaron and Kevin at Crazy Aaron’s on a few items! My first item with Crazy Aaron’s was Prediction Putty, a putty that answers questions (this was one of the concepts I shared at 2019 CHITAG/POP). I wish I knew who that gentleman was! If it was you, please reach out as I’d love to connect! READ MORE...
Industry Opportunity - Summer Young Inventor Camps
Registration for People of Play's inaugural Young Inventors Challenge: Summer Camp Edition has only been live for two weeks and already we have over 5,500 kids and counting worldwide!
This summer camp edition, partnering with ASTRA and Happy Camper Live, is expanding the impact of this amazing toy industry initiative that fosters innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship in kids ages 6-18.
Host retailers and camps will all receive a "prototype pack" containing donations from supporting sponsors like Goliath Games, Starlux Games, Grand Prix International, Inc. (GPI), Kent Displays, Inc. | Makers of Boogie Board, Revenew Sales LLC, Design Edge Inc., Lulu Press, Inc. and more! The pieces contained in these packs will be used to ignite creativity, inspire design elements and teach various brainstorming and play testing methods to help kids on their inventing journey.
Toy industry gurus will volunteer their time to mentor and supply feedback on the concepts, designs, and marketing plans, providing these children with an experience of a lifetime! I love what our industry can accomplish when we all work together on legacy programming like #younginventorschallenge
To find out how you or your organization can be involved in our August programming, contact Jenna Stirling, Executive Director.
Person of the Week - Sunny Su
POP's New Chief Digital Officer, Leveraging Digital Technologies and Platforms to Enhance the Overall Toy Experience
Jenna Stirling, Executive Director of POP!: Hello, toy professionals, inventors, and global brand enthusiasts! Welcome to another exciting edition of the Bloom Report, your go-to source for all things toy industry. Today, we have a very special guest with us, Sunny Su, the new incoming Chief Digital Officer of the Chicago Toy & Game Group, dba POP!. Sunny, it's a pleasure to have you here. Welcome!
Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here and share my excitement about the toy industry and my role in shaping its digital future.
Fantastic, Sunny! Let's dive right into it. As the new Chief Digital Officer, what attracted you to the Chicago Toy and Game Group, and what goals do you have in mind for the organization?
Well, I've always been passionate about the power of play and the positive impact it can have on people's lives, especially children. When I learned about the Chicago Toy and Game Group and their commitment to fostering creativity, innovation, and connection through play, I knew it was a perfect fit. My goal is to leverage digital technologies and platforms to enhance the overall toy experience, making it more immersive, interactive, and inclusive for children and families worldwide.
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Thank you to the tater lover who wishes to remain anonymous for this week's cartoon!
Last week: Q - Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
A - The egg. Trick question? Not really. The type of egg was not specified. And certainly there were eggs (dinosaur eggs, for example) before there were chickens.
This week: Q - (answer next week.) Egg of Columbus - Several years ago Ivan saw an ingenious toy in the shape of an egg, inspired by the story that Christopher Columbus balanced an egg on its pointed end. Ivan was unable to get the egg toy to stand on its end. Shaking the egg revealed no moving parts. The only way to balance the egg on its pointed end was to follow the instructions on the box: 1. Hold the egg with the pointed end up for at least 30 seconds. 2. Turn the egg over, wait for ten seconds, then place it on the pointed end. The egg would then balance perfectly, and stay stable for about 15 seconds, after which it would topple and anyone trying to balance it again would fail unless the instructions were repeated. Can you guess the inner structure of the egg?
Quote of the Week... "Games are the most elevated form of investigation. Every move, every decision, is a leap into a universe of possibilities." - Eric Lang, Game Designer
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
Toyland secures £400k loan. Independent toy shop chain (10 stores) Toyland was established in 2014 by husband and wife team Gordon and Amanda Walker. As reported by The Business Desk, the Toyland chain has secured a £400,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance. The company says the funding will boost its purchasing power and enable it to expand stock levels, after undertaking a lease on a new warehouse in Bradford.
Germany falls into recession as inflation hits economy. Persistent inflation has helped push Germany into recession in the first three months of the year, an upgrade to growth data shows. Europe's largest economy was also badly affected when Russian gas supplies dried up after the invasion of Ukraine, analysts said. The economy contracted by 0.3% between January and March, the statistics office said.
Marvel Contest of Champions dev Kabam lays off 12 percent of workforce. Kabam has laid off 12% of its workforce in pursuit of "greater financial flexibility." The Disney Mirrorverse and Marvel Contest of Champions developer confirmed the news: "In light of current economics and the industry's market realities, after reviewing our strategic priorities, Kabam has made the difficult decision to reduce its workforce...
Relic Entertainment lays off 121 staff amid refocus on "core franchises". Relic Entertainment announced it and parent company Sega have laid off 121 employees at the Vancouver developer. On Twitter, the pair released a statement on the "difficult decision" brought on by a larger restructuring effort at the studio. The layoffs come three full months after Company of Heroes 3's release this past February on PC.
Microsoft confirms its Activision Blizzard merger has been approved in China. Regulators in China have approved Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The news was reported by SeekingAlpha and confirmed by Microsoft in a statement handed to IGN. The Xbox maker said that China's State Administration has granted the deal "unconditional clearance," meaning it has now been...
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Embracer cuts forecast after collapse of "groundbreaking" $2 billion partnership deal. Embracer Group boss Lars Wingefors says the company has endured a "challenging" year due to game delays, weak consumer demand, and lackluster reception for notable releases.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
Brandtrends Group releases latest trends reports. BrandTrends Group, a market research agency specializing in kids’ and families markets, released its latest series of reports on entertainment brands worldwide.
Amazon’s U.S. Small Business Empowerment Report shows continued sales growth for independent sellers. Amazon released its annual U.S. Small Business Empowerment Report, detailing how the company’s investments, innovations, and initiatives on behalf of independent sellers...
The great retail reset. As we approach the official halfway point of the year, one point that most folks can agree on is that it’s been unusually quiet in the toy industry. While that means we’ve finally closed the doors on some looming issues from the past few years...
Stories, Comments, and Advice
How Sexist Is Hollywood? Check Out Geena Davis’s Spreadsheet. When it comes to quantifying bias in popular entertainment, the Academy Award winner’s in a league of her own. Next year will mark 2 decades since the creation of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. When her daughter was a toddler, Ms. Davis couldn’t help noticing that male characters vastly outnumbered female characters in children’s TV and movies.
***The above was posted after May 28th***
John Baulch, Toy World (UK) - Show and tell …it’s the Friday Blog! Let’s be honest, the week back in the office after a trade show is always a bit of a comedown. The buzz of meeting up with a constant stream of friends and colleagues from the industry, seeing hundreds of new products and immersing yourself in the toy community from breakfast to the wee small hours is always enormous fun.
The Most Popular Happy Meal Toy The Year You Were Born. Happy Meal toys have been the source of fast food-based nostalgia and joy since their introduction in 1979. Initially conceived as a means to make the fast food experience more appealing to children, these toys quickly became an iconic part of popular culture. From the launch of the first-ever Happy Meal in the late 70s, the toys have continued to stay current with the...
‘Deep Breaths’ - A look inside an elementary school using mindfulness to help children understand their emotions. Mindfulness changed Mason Rollins’ life. When he was a first grader at Rivermont Elementary School, Mason was overwhelmed by his emotions. His principal, Jill Evans, often had to take him outside until his meltdowns subsided.
Where have all the Disney villains gone? The live-action Little Mermaid is a reminder of what movies like Encanto and Frozen II don’t have: a bad guy. When Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is released on May 26, audiences will finally get to see Melissa McCarthy’s take on one of the most iconic villains of all time: Ursula.
Elizabeth Hargrave, designer of the Wingspan board game, shares statistics on the gender diversity of the Spiel des Jahres tabletop gaming award. No women have been nominated for a SdJ award this year. And, according to data from Elizabeth Hargrave, they make up a fractional number of nominees overall. Her graphs show only 5 women have been nominated since 1999. This is in contrast to the 103 male...
Margot Robbie gave Ryan Gosling a ‘Barbie’ gift every day of filming. Robbie stars as the popular Mattel toy, along with Ryan Gosling as Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken. He told Vogue his co-star found a sweet way to help him get into character. “She left a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming. They were all beach-related.” Gosling said. “Like puka shells, or a sign that says ‘Pray for surf.’
The tabletop gaming renaissance and three game designers to watch. There is little doubt that tabletop games — both board and card games — are enjoying a renaissance. The increasing popularity of traditional analogue games began long before the COVID-19 pandemic fueled at-home activities. Now, thousands of new games hit the market each year, supported by crowdfunding efforts such as Kickstarter.
Decarbonising play: how to green the billion-dollar global toy industry. Toys are awash in fossil plastics but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here is how we could decarbonise play. Like most of the consumer landscape, the $90.7 billion children’s toy industry is embedded in the fossil economy. As elsewhere, the main hurdle to decarbonising it is plastic.
A third of Monopoly players in the UK have argued over the board game classic, survey finds. Around a third of UK adults have bickered over a Monopoly board - with millennials apparently being the most argumentative players - according to a recent survey. The poll of more than 2,100 Monopoly players by YouGov and Monopoly Go developer Scopely found that 30% had squabbled with family or friends...
History and Nostalgia
The Etch A Sketch Animator from Ohio Art (1986). In the 1980s, Ohio Art released an electronic version of its classic toy. The Etch A Sketch Animator allowed kids to create electronic flip-board-style cartoons. The toy included a low-resolution 30 x 40-pixel dot-matrix screen, a speaker, and several kilobytes of memory. Commercials from the period told children that the toy would “bring drawings to life and...
1000 Hours of Fun with Famous Parker Games Catalogue (1952). By 1952, Parker Brothers had established itself as a leading manufacturer of board games in the United States. The Salem, Massachusetts-based company was synonymous with high-quality products, attention to detail, and a catalogue of family-friendly games that were both fun and challenging. .
Vintage 'Star Wars' toy collection auctions for almost $400,000 USD. A collection of vintage Star Wars toys has sold for nearly $400,000 USD. The lot was auctioned via Vectis Auctions for a total of £322,000 GBP (approximately $399,880 USD) — over 10 times its estimated price — and featured items from the original trilogy’s release between 1977 and 1983. .
20th Century Fox executive talks Star Wars toys and products back in 1977. While it’s impossible to know the future, no one could have ever guessed the monster success of 1977’s Star Wars. Not only did it smash box office records, but it also changed the world of merchandising as the toys and products released off the back of the film flew off the shelves and began an awakening of merch that continues to this day. .
Licensing and Entertainment
Fans have gone wild for the new Barbie movie trailer, which has already racked up nearly 7m views since landing yesterday. Warner Bros. has released its highly anticipated full trailer for the upcoming Barbie movie, which arrives in cinemas 21st July. The new 2.48 trailer – which follows the release of the first teaser trailer back in December and the second in April this year – sheds more light on the plot of the film...
New My Little Pony Netflix content to be supported by toy range. Entertainment One (eOne), Hasbro’s global entertainment studio, has announced a brand-new special, My Little Pony: Bridlewoodstock, premiering on Netflix on June 6th. The 44-minute Bridlewoodstock special stars actress, singer, and dancer, Sofia Wylie, who will voice a new musically talented pony character, Ruby Jubilee.
Tonies has announced a new partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products to provide a series of superheroes from the DC Universe for its award-winning Toniebox. Tonies is the innovative and award-winning audio system for children aged three and up. Consisting of the Toniebox and the matching Tonies audio figurines, the system makes audio content touchable and enables a completely new...
Pudgy Penguins soars to No. 1 on Amazon. P.M.I. Kids World’s licensed Pudgy Penguins toy range shot to the No. 1 spot on Amazon just 24 hours after it launched. The NFT (Non-Fungible Token) based collectibles IP Pudgy Penguins is celebrating a stellar start for its licensed toy range from master toy partner P.M.I. Kids World after it dominated the charts on Amazon just hours after launch.
Disney’s cost-cutting measures are hitting its streaming content hard this week, with Kidscreen confirming that Disney+ and Hulu will remove dozens of series, movies and specials (including many originals) from their lineups on May 26. Some shows, such as Willow, were previously announced as cancelled or not moving forward with additional seasons. But their official exit from Disney’s offering this week...
Max floats an exclusive deal for Atomic's Mermicorno: Starfall. WBD's super-streamer will launch the animated series based on tokidoki's aquatic plush toys in the US in 2025. Inspired by LA-based retailer tokidoki’s half fish/half unicorn toys, the 26 x 22-minute adventure-comedy for five- to nine-year-olds centers around a team of aquatic creatures working together to defend the ocean from an evil threat.
UK producer/distributor CAKE has partnered with Reel FX Animation in Texas to develop, produce and distribute a new CG series called Lulu and The Help You Crew that comes from a pair of creators with strong comedy pedigrees. Targeting kids ages three to five, the 52 x 11-minute series is about an eight-year-old girl who lives with her Argentinian grandmother and a whole bunch of rescued pets.
DeAgostini brings to life the house from the classic children’s books and comics by Tove and Lars Jansson, with the US launch of the Moominhouse modelling subscription. Collectors are invited to celebrate the adventures of Moomintroll and his family and construct their signature Moominhouse and collect figurines of Moomintroll, Moominpappa and Moominmamma, Snufkin, Little My and many more.
France’s Bayard Animation has promoted Alexandre Hénin to managing director of its studio, marking a swing back to TV content for this experienced kids media executive. Although Hénin has been with the company since 2021, he previously worked in business development, focusing on the BD Kids label of the Bayard Éditions Jeunesse publishing division.
BBC Studios Kids & Family’s coming-of-age drama Phoenix Rise is heading down under. Toronto-based Sinking Ship Entertainment announced today that it has sold the live-action series to Australian broadcaster ABC in a deal that was finalized following the show’s debut on BBC iPlayer in March. BBC Children’s & Education commissioned Phoenix Rise last year. It follows six teens who form an unlikely friend group...
Canada’s Mercury Filmworks has secured a French co-production partner for its animated preschool series, Octicorn & Friends. Stim Studio will join the Mercury team working on the 52 x 11-minute series, which is based on a book called Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Justin Lowe and Kevin Diller that Amazon first published in 2016. It stars Octi, a half-octopus/half-unicorn, who is struggling to fit in and goes on a journey...
Dan Dee International inked a multiyear licensing deal with Mattel for Thomas & Friends under which it will create a full range of everyday and seasonal plush for the U.S. and Canada. The first Dan Dee Thomas & Friends plush has already arrived at Barnes & Noble stores. The company says that shipments are on the way to Walmart and will hit shelves in the toy and seasonal departments later this year.
The Nacelle Co. has named Canadian animation company Cartoon Conrad as the lead studio for its upcoming animated series, Robo Force. Robo Force is a reimagining of the Ideal Toys brand that was released in the ‘80s and failed when it was released at the same time as Hasbro’s Transformers. The brand assets were acquired by The Nacelle Co. in 2021 and a new line of toys began hitting specialty retailers...
Hot Wheels: product to entertainment, entertainment to product. In March, NBC announced plans to broadcast a 10-episode series called “Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge” that tasked contestants with turning a nostalgic car from their past into a life-size Hot Wheels. Each episode invites 2 Hot Wheels lovers to face off in creating a Hot Wheels showstopper that is inspired by pop culture touchstones and their personal stories.
Disguise, Universal extend licensing pact for costumes in the U.S., Latin America. More familiar characters are joining the Disguise portfolio. Disguise, the costumes and seasonal division of JAKKS Pacific, inked a partnership extension with Universal Products & Experiences (UP&E) to create an expanded range of costumes, accessories, inflatables, adaptive costumes, and trunk-or-treat kits for Universal franchises...
LEGO Mars Rover set gives builders an out of this world experience. The LEGO Group has unveiled the new LEGO Technic NASA Mars Rover Perseverance model, a STEM and space themed product that aims to encourage kids to learn more about engineering. Based on the actual Perseverance rover that landed on Mars two years ago, the new LEGO Technic model gives builders ages 10 and up a glimpse...
Genius Brands inks licensing deals for ‘Bee And Puppycat’. Genius Brands International is building a global consumer products program for Bee and PuppyCat, the Netflix animated series produced by its Frederator Networks. Ahead of next month’s Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, Genius Brands finalized deals with several partners, including Trends International (posters, stickers for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico)...
Monster Jam introduces Marvel Superhero Monster trucks. A quartet of Avengers is getting a high-octane upgrade as it rolls into the arena for “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” Feld Motor Sports and Marvel have teamed up to bring fans four new Marvel Monster Jam trucks. The trucks will face off against familiar favorites this summer starting in London, with additional trucks debuting later this year across the international route..
LEGO Icons PAC-MAN Arcade set launched. The LEGO Group and Bandai Namco are celebrating the 43rd anniversary of PAC-MAN with the reveal of the new vintage LEGO Icons PAC-MAN Arcade set. Originally released on May 22, 1980, by Bandai Namco Entertainment (previously Namco) in Japan, the PAC-MAN video game became a cultural icon.
‘Shaq’s Garage’ cartoon series is slam-dunking its way to new licensing deals. Former pro basketball star Shaquille O’Neal has only expanded his personal branding following his retirement from the sport. Kartoon Channel’s animated series Shaq’s Garage, inspired by Shaq’s personal passion for cars, is set to premiere on Pluto TV June 5. With it comes a number of licensing deals and further opportunities.
The Care Bears announce new animated TV content & licensees for the UK. Cloudco Entertainment, owner of the Care Bears franchise, is proud to announce six all-new animated Care Bears: Unlock the Magic specials set to air on Narrative Entertainment’s commercial children’s channel, Tiny Pop, as well as four new UK-based consumer product licensees.
JAKKS Pacific & Disguise ink worldwide deal with Rooster Teeth for Bendy. JAKKS Pacific and its Disguise costume division signed a multi-year partnership with Rooster Teeth and Joey Drew Studios to bring Bendy® to the world. JAKKS and Disguise will design, develop and manufacture action figures, plush, playsets, costumes and costume accessories commencing in fall 2023.
JAKKS Pacific reveals line of ‘Sonic Prime’ items. JAKKS Pacific has revealed its first line of toys for “Sonic Prime.” The new series on Netflix, co-produced by WildBrain and SEGA, has announced a new season to air July 13, with the officially licensed “Sonic Prime” line also hitting shelves in July. Toys and plush items include articulated figures and the 2.5” figures multipack, Sonic Prime Angel’s Voyage Ship Playset and...
The Noble Collection expands product offerings with Warner Bros. The Noble Collection, a leading manufacturer, distributor and retailer of premium collectibles and Toyllectibles, and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products have announced the expansion of their high-quality collectibles assortment based on Warner Bros. Discovery’s library, including Wizarding World, DC, The Lord of the Rings and...
People of Play
Family lifestyle expert and toy industry insider, Elizabeth Werner, joins content and commerce co., Knocking, a co. that produces e-commerce for ALL media to create real-time consumer interactions for brand partners. Werner is best known for her regular appearances on top-rated shows like, "The View" and QVC, where she showcases the latest product trends in everything from household gadgets to the hottest new toys in the industry.
Donal Carlston receives no less than a dozen letters each year begging him to update his 1987 board game. Now, complete with a $25,000 bankroll, a passionate base of volunteer strategists as well as help from the inventor himself, Personal Preference is receiving a 2023 reboot.
Carlston, now a retired professor at Purdue University in Indiana, created the board game as a faculty member at the University of Iowa.
***The above posted after May 28th***
Julian Moon, head of Consumer Products EMEA & Asia Pacific, Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products, received the very first 100 years of Warner Bros. commemorative coin during anniversary concert in Amsterdam. Created by Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment and Fever, the leading entertainment discovery platform, Candlelight: 100 Years of Warner Bros is an international concert series...
David Martin joins Curious Universe. Curious Universe has appointed David Martin as head of Business Development for its growing Toy Division. An industry specialist with a stellar track record in the toy sector, David will head up the development of the Curious Universe toy division (established in 2021) within the multi award winning Bath based Arts & Crafts, Stationery and Publishing company.
MGA appoints Lauren Wade as head of Field Sales. Lauren Wade will oversee the field sales team as well as managing some key and distributor accounts, with a remit of broadening MGA UK’s distribution. MGA Entertainment and Zapf Creation have announced the appointment of Lauren Wade as head of Field Sales. With over ten years’ sales experience, working with globally recognised brands, Lauren joins the team...
Companies and Brands
LEGO Faces Boycott Calls Over 'Transgender Building Sets'. Last year, the LEGO Group announced the launch of its campaign as part of Pride Month to raise awareness of the identities and stories of those in the community. The debate surrounding the LGBTQ+ community has become increasingly politicized in recent yrs. Some conservatives have taken issue with cos. that show support for or associate themselves with LGBTQ+...
***The above posted after May 28th***
Barbie Dreamhouse gets renovated. Barbie’s Dreamhouse is getting a makeover. The 60-year-old Barbie Dreamhouse returns to retailers with another refresh to reflect the latest interior design and architectural trends.This latest rendition of the Barbie Dreamhouse since 2021 comes with features, including the tallest slide in the Barbie Dreamhouse series to date, with a three-story spiral design.
Golden Bear‘s award-winning interactive plush range, Curlimals, will be a big focus at this year’s Distoy. A huge hit with UK retailers since launching in July 2022, the Curlimals range comprises cute woodland creatures that respond to touch with over 45 sounds and reactions. Each has its own unique phrases to reflect their individual personalities, while all characters in the range uncurl to play and curl back into a ball to sleep.
Hasbro unveils Twister Air. Players match colorful spots and move to the music in Hasbro’s new app-enabled game Twister Air, which will be available at retail from August. Hasbro has unveiled a brand-new version of Twister, Twister Air. The new app-enabled game takes the classic Twister gameplay fans know and love from the mat to the screen, using augmented reality.
Kroeger, a leading wholesale distributor, is excited to announce an exclusive distribution partnership with PlayMonster, a leading int'l toy and game co, to provide sales and domestic inventory support within Canada for the PlayMonster catalogue. “We are excited to expand our sales and distribution business in Canada with the innovative line of PlayMonster products” said Grant Chapman, president of Kroeger.
Vivid Goliath raises over £3,000 for the Toy Trust. Vivid Goliath’s ‘Brilliant Bikers’ – Rory Edwards and Richard Sutcliff – embarked on a gruelling ride to raise funds as part of The Toy Trust’s May Mayhem campaign. Supporting the Toy Trust’s May Mayhem, Vivid Goliath’s bikers Rory Edwards and Richard Sutcliff took on and achieved their goal of riding 160km on Sunday 22nd May, cycling seven hours and 20 minutes to raise...
Build-A-Bear Workshop and Kalahari Resorts & Conventions are partnering up to bring Build-A-Bear Workshops to all four Kalahari Resort locations: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Sandusky, Ohio; Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania; and Round Rock, Texas. This new partnership represents the continued effort from the Build-A-Bear brand to move beyond the traditional mall location and expand to other areas such as...
The Pokémon Co. unveiled the next expansion in its Pokémon trading card game Scarlet & Violet — Obsidian Flames, which will launch this summer. The expansion introduces type-shifted Tera Pokémon ex cards featuring different Energy types. For example, trainers will find Charizard ex as a Darkness type versus its usual Fire type and Tyranitar ex as a Lightning type versus its usual Fighting type or Darkness type.
P.M.I. Kids World’s licensed Pudgy Penguins toy range shot to the No. 1 spot on Amazon just 24 hours after it launched. The NFT (Non-Fungible Token) based collectibles IP Pudgy Penguins is celebrating a stellar start for its licensed toy range from master toy partner P.M.I. Kids World after it dominated the charts on Amazon just hours after launch.
Nickelodeon is aiming to give kids more agency and inspire them to become changemakers in their communities with its new Our World initiative. In partnership with five nonprofit orgs (4-H, Ashoka, Association of Children’s Museums, ChangeX and the Aspen Institute), the program launches in the US this week with digital resources, TV interstitials and social videos all designed to encourage and guide kids on how to get...
The Singing Machine Company announced the Company’s new CARE-eokeTM by Singing Machine initiative, and a strategic focus on social impact for children and adults of all ages who would benefit from singing. Singing Machine intends to form a series of collaborative partnerships, to help amplify the diverse emotional and physical health and wellness benefits of karaoke, beginning with formalizing its...
Toys R Us UK enlists Icecat to enhance online offering. Toys R Us UK has used the services of Icecat to improve its product pages with Enhanced Product Stories and videos. Global toy retailer Toys R Us made its return to the UK in October 2022. The launch included a brand-new website offering a wide selection of toys, electronics, and games for children of all ages.
Breyer is a co. well-known for its detailed horse models. Now, the company has released a new site, the Adventures of Paddock Pals, centered around its affordable Paddock Pals horse and unicorn figures. The Paddock Pals site includes a number of interactive elements and activities for kids that enjoy the toys. There are four portals in total, each taking kids to a different area of the site with information and activities.
Miniland is launching its 3rd iteration of a campaign aimed at helping youth find acceptance and inclusion during stressful times. The “You Belong with Miniland” campaign will be in full swing from Aug-Sept, with a number of planned collaborations, giveaways and other events. “Social Emotional Learning was at the heart of our brainstorming sessions when we created our ‘You Belong’ campaign in 2021,” says...
Schleich Announces Summer PLAYcation Promotion. This summer, the brand is asking children around the world to help their summer fun soar to new heights by including their schleich dinosaurs, llamacorns, horses, ice monsters and more in the ultimate summer PLAYcation! Whether you are flying to the moon, turning the backyard into a magical fortress or becoming a mermaid in the sea, let your favorite schleich...
Neopets Celebrates Pride with New Merch, Proceeds Going to LGBTQ+ Charity. Neopets, the online virtual pet community, is taking a dip in the Rainbow Pool to celebrate Pride with a collection of apparel that lets fans show off their true colors! The collection, available year-round, donates 10% of total proceeds to It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit organization that uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQIA+ youth...
Two years after it was cancelled, Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game is back with a new publisher and 2024 release date. Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game is happening. Again. For real this time. Two years after Emerson Matsuuchi’s much-anticipated adaptation of the PlayStation stealth-action video game was abruptly cancelled, Zombicide publisher CMON has revealed its plans for a release next year.
SmartGames unveils new puzzle game Cats & Boxes. Smartgames has released Cats & Boxes in which five cats need help finding their favourite hiding spot. The new game is made up of 60 brand new challenges to keep young or old minds active and entertained for hours. Designed for seven years and over, and especially ideal for cat lovers, Cats & Boxes is an entertaining new compact brainteaser puzzle game.
Dux Somnium and Golden Goose team up. Dux Somnium and Golden Goose teamed up to bring Botany, a new Victorian Era flower hunting board game, to retail. In this game, players take on the role of the Queen's plant hunting specialists who are traveling the world in search of exotic flowers. Players accumulate points by finding specimens and safely transporting them back to their estates in England for study.
Battletech, Shadowrun maker spins up a dedicated board game division for future projects. Catalyst Game Labs, the publisher behind the Battletech miniature skirmisher and Shadowrun tabletop RPG, has announced the creation of a dedicated board game division. This new wing of the company will oversee current licences and future projects, including a board game designed by one veteran employee’s son.
Good Omens’ official board game summarizes past battles’ between Heaven and Hell ahead of second season. An official Good Omens board game plans to hit retail shelves and online shops on June 5th, just ahead of the fantasy book-turned-television adaptation’s second season. Good Omens: An Ineffable Game serves as both a collection of quick minigames and a neat summary of last season’s climactic standoff...
Sylvanian Families launches Baby Mermaid Castle. In time for the autumn/winter season, the beautiful, pastel coloured castle is packed with 12 ocean themed attractions. From a marine merry-go-round and jellyfish swings, to a submarine and secret cave with treasure chest, Epoch says there’s ‘an ocean of fun to be had’.
'Catan Starfarers: New Encounters' incoming. CATAN Studio announced CATAN Starfarers: New Encounters, an expansion, which is now up for preorder. CATAN Starfarers: New Encounters offers up three new scenarios with unique rules for CATAN Starfarers. Players will explore the amoebas, defeat the pirate Hog Kahm, and find the long-lost people.
Play Visions named Ogosport Active’s exclusive U.S. distributor. OgoSport, known for its innovative outdoor play products including the OgoDisk, has named Play Visions, a wholesale distributor that has provided specialty retailers with unique toys and gifts for more than 30 years, as its exclusive distributor in the U.S. for the company’s Active product line.
'Magic: The Gathering' continues to surge; a different brand of TCG Magic makes its debut. Magic: The Gathering once again dominated the April 2023 TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed Products chart, which ranks the most active products on the platform by dollar volume and shows the beginning and ending prices of each product. Magic:
Catalyst launches board game division. Catalyst Game Labs has announced the formation of a dedicated board game division to oversee the development of new tabletop games. The first game to be produced under the new Catalyst Board Game imprint will be Overlords: In Training. The Catalyst Board Game division will oversee future development of games under Catalyst Board Game Creative Director Mike Richie...
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is nearing other best-selling games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Mario Kart 8 + Deluxe—both of which had sold more than 50 million units as of last year. The game is still well behind Tetris, which is the best-selling video game of all time, with more than 520 million copies sold since launch, a figure followed by Minecraft’s more than 238 million copies sold and Grand Theft Auto V, which has sold more than 170 million copies.
***The above posted after May 28th***
Everything at Sony's big hour-long PlayStation Showcase. May 24, Sony held its first large-scale PlayStation Showcase since all the way back in September 2021. These events have tended to be bigger than Sony’s smaller-scale State of Play streams and this one was no exception, bringing a load of new trailers and reveals, including our first look at Alan Wake 2 gameplay, Spider-Man 2's Venom suit in action...
The PlayStation VR2 outsold the original PlayStation VR during its first six weeks. The PlayStation VR2 outperformed the original PlayStation VR during its first six weeks on shelves. A slide from Sony's recent business segment presentation shows the PlayStation VR2 consistently sold-through more units than its predecessor during their respective six-week launch windows.
Sony reveals PlayStation Earbuds and new handheld device, Project Q. During today's Playstation Showcase, SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan unveiled Sony's latest handheld device, codenamed "Project Q." This is the first we've officially seen of the new device in action, though rumors have been swirling for months. "At PlayStation, innovation is our passion.
Microsoft ended 2022 by deleting 7.51M "inauthentic" Xbox accounts. During the second half of 2022, Microsoft's proactive enforcements for the Xbox ecosystem shot up substantially. In the developer's newest transparency report, the Xbox maker revealed it took preemptive action against 7.51 million "inauthentic accounts" out of 8.08 million overall between July and December 2022.
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered has sold 1.5 million PC copies. Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is doing quite well on PC, as it's sold over 1.5 million copies since its August 2022 release. In Sony's newest business presentation, a slide focused on PlayStation's PC games output features the hit superhero game.
Dead Island 2 exceeds internal expectations after topping 2 million sales. Dead Island 2 has sold over 2 million copies worldwide since launching on April 21, 2023. The long-gestating sequel had already topped 1 million sales in three days, but has now sold more than double that total. Embracer Group, the parent company of publisher Deep Silver, announced the milestone in its latest fiscal report...
Highlighted Press Releases
Safety and Counterfeiting
“Lato-Lato Toys are dangerous to children’s safety,” says BAN Toxics. “Lato-Lato,” a toy that has been available both in local markets and online, is currently popular with children. The viral toy comes in different attractive colors, is made of two rounded plastic balls with a string attached, and is played by moving the plastic balls in opposite directions, colliding the balls to produce clacking sounds – “clack, clack, clack.”
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
The nominees for the most prestigious annual award for board games, the Spiel des Jahres, were announced alongside nominations for the Kennerspiel des Jahres and Kinderspiel des Jahres. The nominations for Spiel des Jahres are: Dorfromantik – Das Brettspiel by Michael Palm and Lukas Zach; published by Pegasus Spiele, Fun Facts by Kaspar Lapp; published by Repos Productions, Next Station...
30 toys top Toy Association’s ‘Summer Learning STEAM Toy List’. The Toy Association has unveiled its “Summer Learning STEAM Toy List,” which includes 30 officially accredited STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) toys that will support learning and keep young minds sharp over the summer.
Announcing the winners of the 2023 Cardboard Edison Award! The Cardboard Edison Award recognizes great unpublished board games. Winner: Diatoms. Designer: Sabrina Culyba. In Diatoms, you vie with your fellow players to collect and place diatom tiles to create mosaics. Take turns placing tiles representing algae colonies, earning diatoms of different colors and shapes.
The Toy Insider’s legendary Sweet Suite event returns! The toy industry’s sweetest night of play is back for more! The Toy Insider’s 14th annual Sweet Suite event is set to take place Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at Pier Sixty in New York City. This year’s event is packed with more toys, photo-ops, and hands-on fun than ever before.
Yu-Gi-Oh! UK National Championships coming to Birmingham this week. With the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2023 just months away, thousands of Duelists across Europe are showcasing their Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG skills in the Yu-Gi-Oh! National Championships. Across May and June, Yu-Gi-Oh! National Championships will be held in 21 different European countries, featuring the very best Duelists from across the continent.
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
Harry Bradley - Hot Wheels Designer dead at 84. When Mattel was developing their new 1/64th scale die cast toy cars in the 60's, they sought a professional car designer from Detroit to help them. They wanted their cars to look fast and cool as they zipped around plastic tracks and loops.
Mattel hired GM designer Harry Bentley Bradley, who created the original "Sweet Sixteen" Hot Wheels cars, including his Dodge Deora showcar, and later, an Oscar Meyer Weinermobile loosely based on his 1995 version (recently renamed "The Frankmobile"—yuk!). So, both Hot Wheels and Hot Dog cars.
Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories
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Adventure Media & Events (US)
aNb Media (US)
Neopets Celebrates Pride with New Merch, Proceeds Going to LGBTQ+ Charity
Licensing.biz Powered by Toyworld
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- Wizards of the Coast Abruptly Ends 'Magic: The Gathering' 'From Cute to Brute' Sale
- 'Magic: The Gathering' Continues to Surge; A Different Brand of TCG Magic Makes its Debut
- ICv2 Exclusive: WizKids Updates Deets on Two New HeroClix Starter Sets
- Exclusive: Massive Announces New Imprints, Flagship Line Launch Title
- Steamforged, Kickstarter Announce Partnership
- Bad News in Embracer Earnings
- Spiel des Jahres 2023 Nominees Announced
- 'Warhammer: The Old World' Factions Revealed
- Rolling for Initiative -- 'Disney Lorcana' Looming on the Horizon
- Catalyst Launches Board Game Division
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