the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is May 21 - 28, 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! 

This weekend as many Americans observe Memorial Day, please take a few moments to remember those that fought for the freedom of others. My father was a Major in WW!! liberating concentration camps. He never spoke of it and we knew it affected him deeply.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” -Maya Angelou

"Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future." -Elie Wiesel

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

 

Mary

Dear Tim, I want to get started in the toy industry. When? Where? How? 

tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments

Q: I want to get started in the toy industry. When? Where? How?

This question, worded more eloquently than my headline would suggest, comes from recent college graduate Jamie Cox. She has an opportunity to go on to pursue a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, supported by a research scholarship. Jamie wonders: is it better to stay in school, or go straight into the industry? What skills should she be picking up along the way? What’s the best way to get a foot in the door?

 

Whew. I may need some crowdsourcing help on this one, folks.

 

When: First of all, a background in Mechanical Engineering is a great thing to have for the toy industry. Seeing as how we still make things in, you know, three dimensions – and we’re pretty fond of cool bells and whistles – your training sets you up very nicely for the industry. As for more school vs. jumping in? People I know have taken both routes; it’s a personal call of course that will be impacted by other factors this column isn’t set up to address. But I will say that the early industry experience offers a lot in its favor: first, you will immediately get real-world, out-of-the-classroom experience that school simply can’t replicate. Designing a toy’s battery box and switch mechanism – reliably, on deadline, and preferably under cost – while also juggling product testing results, samples reviews, milestone meetings, all-hands events, product integrity crises – well, I haven’t met a professor yet who can simulate all that, especially when it all happens in one day. Second, you’re going to find out – fast – if this industry is right for you. Probably not a bad idea if you know that sooner than later.  Read More...

 

Shelby Bursley, The TOMY Momanger Behind Boon Brand - tBR Person of the Week

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How long has Boon been around?

Boon was founded in 2004 by a mother in college. She won a JPMA Student Design Competition and the idea for Boon was born.

 

What is your role at Boon?

Brand Director for Boon and JJ Cole.

 

What is your background?

I have a degree in Visual Communication, and started at Boon as a graphic design intern in 2010. Boon was acquired by TOMY, International in 2011. After the acquisition, I was offered an opportunity to switch fields and join the newly formed product marketing team. This will be my 11th year.

 

What keeps you at Boon?

Initially, I was drawn to the exciting start-up culture. I was exposed to so many aspects of the business and found what I enjoyed doing most. Having young children of my own, I love helping create products that are truly useful to parents.

 

Tell us about your family?

I have 2 boys-- a three year old and a one year old. And I am currently pregnant with a little girl due in August!

 

What are your mom challenges?

My second child was a micro-preemie, born at 26 weeks gestation and 1.5 lbs. There are a unique set of challenges that come with the development of a preemie. The four months my little guy spent in the NICU inspired many product ideas.  Read More...

AMIGO Games: 40 Years of Tradition Comes to the US - tBR Company of the Week

Sometimes, things look very different depending on where you’re standing. For this story, imagine that you’re standing in the huge convention center in Essen, Germany, for Spiel, one of the largest game conventions in the world (back when we could do this safely). And you’re standing in one of the largest booths there, the AMIGO Spiele booth, a 40-year-old powerhouse of a games publisher.

 

 

You see games that have been part of the German family culture for decades. Bohnanza, the card game about bean farming that has almost three dozen expansions and stand-alone versions in its 25-year history, is prominently displayed. Tables of players enjoying games like Saboteur and Take 5 (6 nimmt!), classics in their own right, surround you. It a booth full of people, and full of games that are beloved and exciting. Every year, fans flock to game conventions and retail stores for both the old and new in the AMIGO line.

 

In the US, the story has been successful, but different. AMIGO’s games have become best-sellers, but under other company’s names. An aggressive exporting program has meant that American players have enjoyed games that AMIGO has created, but players may have been unaware of the international history and success of some of their favorite games. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

WarnerMedia & Discovery lay out next steps for merger. Warner Bros. Discovery is planning to focus on "pure play" content, and HBO Max has rolled out its AVOD tier.  Assuming all goes well on the regulatory front, the new conglom will be known as Warner Bros. Discovery, which was chosen to “honor, celebrate and elevate” both companies’ brands, according to Discovery CEO David Zaslav. Warner Bros. 

Goliath acquires Ztringz and Magic Twisty makers Fun Promotion from Toi-Toys International  Goliath has acquired Fun Promotion, creator of Ztringz and Magic Twisty, from Toi-Toys International in its latest move to bolster its international brand portfolio. Fun Promotion has been creating innovative, novelty toys for kids of all ages since 1978 and is best known for the creation of Magic Twisty – a product that, to date,

Major Chinese port closes after Covid outbreak Yantian Port in Shenzen closed on Friday, adding to ongoing supply chain challenges in the Far East. Yantian is one of the busiest ports in the world, serving about 100 ships a week, while Shenzen is the heart of the toy manufacturing base in China.

(the above posted after May 27th)

Amazon to buy James Bond and Tomb Raider movie maker MGM for $8.45 billion. Retail behemoth, streaming giant, and budding game maker Amazon has agreed to acquire American media production company MGM for $8.45 billion.  MGM owns and co-owns the rights to notable franchises including James Bond and Tomb Raider, the latter of which is perhaps one of the most recognized game-to-movie franchises...

District of Columbia sues Amazon over third-party pricing. The District of Columbia filed suit against Amazon this week, alleging that its pricing policies for third-party sellers help the online giant "build and maintain monopoly power in violation of the District of Columbia’s Antitrust Act" according to an announcement from the Office of the Attorney General.  

Investor class action lawsuit against CD Projekt will be submitted in June. The small torrent of lawsuits filed against CD Projekt following the messy launch of Cyberpunk 2077 merged into one single lawsuit last week and, according to CD Projekt, will officially be submitted to the court in less than one month's time. CD Projekt CEO Piotr Nielubowicz noted as much, telling shareholders that many details of the case...

Early learning program Homer acquires kids’ coding app CodesparkBEGiN’s Homer is adding CodeSpark, a learn-to-code app, to its early learning program master plan. This acquisition allows Homer to expand its service-oriented age bracket, from kids ages 0-6 to kids ages 0-10. Homer’s platform encourages the development of literacy, math, social-emotional, and critical thinking skills, which CodeSpark also...

UK retailer GAME has sold Insomnia Gaming Festival organizer Player1 Events. UK video game retailer GAME has sold Insomnia Gaming Festival organizer Player1 Events to private equity firm Supernova Capital for an undisclosed fee.  All existing Player1 Events staff will be retained as a part of the deal, with Supernova keen to host an Insomnia event later this year. The company is also planning future events in the UK...

Italy introduces tax credit for game studios. The Italian government has announced the introduction of a tax credit for video games developers. Companies that are making games will get a 25% tax credit towards their development costs, up to €1 million. To be eligible, the company needs to have its headquarters in the European Economic Area and be subject to taxation in Italy. 

Miniclip acquires Supersonic Software. Miniclip has announced the acquisition of Supersonic Software and its publishing subsidiary, Appynation. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Supersonic will be Miniclip's fourth UK studio, based in Leamington Spa. Supersonic Software was founded in 1988 and worked on franchises such as Micro Machines. It has been focusing exclusively on mobile gamessince the 2010s and is known for titles such as One Clue Crossword and Picture Cross.

The Squizzas saga takes further twist, as company files for voluntary liquidationBut are the people behind the defunct online retailer trying to start up under a new name? Toy World was contacted by several toy companies with information that another company based at the same address as Squizzas had been in contact with them, with a view to opening an account.​

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Stories & Comments . . .

Exclusive: Letter from America - prepping for the holidays. This month, Rick Derr of Learning Express Toys, Lake Zurich, explains why early planning for the festive season is more important than ever this year. Planning for the holidays, particularly November and December, when over 40% of toy sales traditionally take place. Rick believes Christmas 2021 will be somewhat different to previous years, for a number of reasons. 

Real-World Education in an Unreal World. When advisor Peter Wachtel received a 2019 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence and a $50,0000 cash award for his school, he set to work overhauling Adolfo Camarillo (Calif.) High School’s career and technical education programs with new technology that would foster his students’ creativity. Little did he know that same technology would....

HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESHAPED BOARD GAME DEVELOPMENT. This became the reality of developing board games following the onset of the pandemic last spring. Board game creators — like nearly every other company in the toy industry and beyond — faced a host of new challenges and changes as a direct result of the global health crisis.  

(the above posted after Bloom sent on May 28th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK)  - Getting away with it …it’s the Friday Blog! As far as I am concerned, any retailer who point blank refuses to even discuss price rises is – as Orwell would say – “rejecting the evidence of your eyes and ears.” Facts are facts: this year has seen massive increases in freight costs and the price of raw materials – the retailer we were interviewing described them as “unprecedented” (yes, that word...

USING MATH TOYS AS TEACHING TOOLS DURING THE PANDEMIC. If there’s one thing that parents love in their kids’ toys, it’s educational value. Who wouldn’t want their kids to excel in school and learn key skills to succeed in life? While not all kids love school, all kids love toys, and with so many STEM options out there, it’s easy to learn key skills in sciencetechnology, engineering, and math through the power of play

HOW TOY COMPANIES ARE LEVERAGING CROWDSOURCING FOR FUNDING, CONTENT and FOSTERING COMMUNITY.  Imagine if LEGO produced a cheesy, ‘80s-inspired action series called LEGO Neon, which follows a character named Dan Clash who embodies all the action tropes of that era. Or perhaps picture a new line of building sets called LEGO Heroes of Olympus, featuring LEGO versions of the Greek gods...

Meet the Collierville 7-year-old whose big imagination is taking her big places. German toy manufacturer Schleich and American youth organization 4-H partnered for "Create Your Story," a contest for National Tell a Story Day on April 27. The partners created the beginning of a story that included Schleich's characters — Blair the Bull, ChaCha the Tiger, Larry the T-Rex and Lilly the Rainbow Unicorn — gathering on...

Sidekicks Save the Day in Disney’s New Board Game.  Sidekicks need more love, especially since they’re often the best movie characters. Disney’s new board game puts your favorite sidekicks—Timon and Pumba, Tinker Bell and Abu—front and center. Spin Master Games is launching Disney Sidekicks on Aug. 1. The premise? Villains have captured familiar heroes and locked them up in a castle. Sidekicks to the rescue!

Finding Neverland | How adult fans are driving toy sales across the UK There’s no shame in admitting it, toys, games, gaming, and play doesn’t have to have an age limit; something that a growing portion of the UK population can attest to. Last year, the UK’s kidult market hit new heights, fuelled by a pandemic that left grown ups and kids at heart with a lot more...

Opinion | Value Added Tact: The importance of meeting the sensibilities of ‘kids these days’ From Generation Z to Generation Alpha, audiences’ tastes and preferences are ever changing, from awareness of social responsibilities to greater demand for sustainability. Co-founder of Kids Industries, Gary Pope explores the importance of authenticity when meeting today’s youth and their new consumer values.

Campaign launched to support UK summer of play  Charities and businesses will support a summer of play to aid recovery from the mental and physical impact of the pandemic. Over 90% of children surveyed felt that the way they play had changed since the pandemic. They said they are playing outside less with their friends, playing alone more and are less active than they were before the pandemic.

How toy industry giants are going greenWhether by using plant-based plastics, recycled materials, or collecting old items from consumers, the toy industry is making efforts to go green. In recent years, major brands in the sector – such as Lego, Hasbro and Mattel – have launched various initiatives as part of a wider move towards environmental responsibility.

The gender biases that shape our brains. The toys we give to children and the traits they are assigned can have lasting impacts on their lives, writes Melissa Hogenboom. My daughter is obsessed with all things girly and pink. She gravitated to pink flowery dresses that are typically marketed for girls before she even turned two. When she was three and we saw a group of children playing football, I suggested she could...

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Matchbox Traffic Game from the Fred Bronner Corporation (1968). Lawfully racking up mileage is the goal of the Matchbox Traffic Game. Released in 1968 from the Fred Bronner Corporation, the game challenged 2 to 4 players, ages 8 to 14, to a series of driving missions with points scored for each mile travelled. The game board depicts a fictional town comprising various locations, such as an amusement park, gas station, and zoo, plus a series of intersecting streets. Players navigate their way around town using actual Matchbox cars as game tokens.

Everything old is collectible again. Five years ago, just as the streetwear market began to go mainstream, Detroit-based StockX launched as a resale platform to connect sneaker enthusiasts with sellers of hard-to-find kicks. The company quickly gained steam. “Brands are harkening back to early childhood memories and creating products that activate buyers’ sense of nostalgia,” says StockX Senior Economist Jesse Einhorn. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Ninja Life Hacks Selects Fun World to Create Costume Collections. Best-selling children’s book series Ninja Life Hacks is partnering with Fun World to create a line of gender-neutral costumes launching in May 2022, tied to National Mental Wellness Month. The costumes extend the tools for social/emotional learning beyond the Ninja Life Hacks book pages. The Ninja Life Hacks Costumes create fun role play while....

(the above posted after May 27th)

In a new partnership with The Licensing Shop, Moose Toys’ Heroes of Goo Jit Zu brand is expanding beyond the toy aisle and into apparel, publishing, confectionery, sleepwear, and accessories, among other consumer product categories. The Heroes of Goo Jit Zu figures are filled with a gooey compound that allows kids to squish, smash, and stretch them. Last year, the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Single Figure Assortment was recognized

Barbie signs Japanese licensing partner. ITOCHU will create new fashion-forward products and brand collaborations for the doll franchise in the region. Representing international fashion brands including FILA, Paul Smith and LeSportsac, ITOCHU will create new fashion-related products and set up brand collaborations.

Toikido teams up with Winning Moves for Among Us puzzles An initial range of four puzzles will feature the Among Us brand, which Winning Moves expects to be a top selling licence. Toikido, which holds global master toy rights across multiple categories for Among Us, has announced a partnership with leading games company Winning Moves and Top Trumps USA, to bring an Among Us collection to the franchise’s global fanbase.

Jazwares to Debut Pet Toy Line In Partnership with Wham-O. Jazwares is continuing to enter into new product categories, announcing a long term deal with Anjar & Becker Associates and Wham-O to produce a new line of pet toys. Scheduled to be online and at brick-and-mortar retailers in North America in fall 2022, the Wham-O products will join upcoming pet costumes in building out the company’s pet product offerings.

CMON announces 'Army of the Dead: A Zombicide Game'. CMON announced Army of the Dead: A Zombicide Game, a new board based on Netflix's hit movie.Army of the Dead: A Zombicide Game is a cooperative zombie-fighting game based on Zach Snyder's recent Netflix release about casino vault heist in zombie-infested Las Vegas. 

Macmillan Children’s Books to launch LEGO preschool books via Ameet publishing partnership. Macmillan Children’s Books has landed a new publishing partnership with AMEET Publishing and the global toy brand, LEGO, to launch a series of LEGO illustrated novelty board books for preschoolers.The global deal will span all languages and was completed by Nicole Pearson, publishing director, brand and media...

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People . . . 

Former eOne exec takes over preschool content at BBC. Kate Morton is leaving her post as content strategy director of eOne's family brands to join the Beeb this summer as head of commissioning and acquisitions for kids ages zero to six. Morton will report to BBC Children’s and Education director Patricia Hidalgo, who started in her role last year

Toy Influence – a consultancy with a European focusSenior toy industry figure Yann Fresnel will use his extensive experience to help companies develop their European business. Yann is a French national, is multilingual (English, German, Portuguese and Spanish) and has held senior positions at Smoby, Newell Brands, Berg Toys and Smartrike, where he has successfully driven sales and expanded distribution.

(the above posted after May 27th)

Exclusive Interview – LEGO Masters Season 2 Judge Amy Corbett. Amy  is a Senior Design Manager at The LEGO Company, where she drives the development of brand-new product lines, bringing new groups of people of all skill levels into the world of LEGO.  She is also one of the judges on the U.S. version of the popular FOX show, LEGO Masters, hosted and executive-produced by Will Arnett.

Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Richard Levy, a multi-hyphenate with more than 40 years of experience spanning the entertainment, toy, publishing, and licensing industries. On the show, Levy — who once worked in marketing for Paramount Pictures — shares stories of his early career in the toy industry, including the sale of the electronic Star Bird to Milton Bradley...

Henson ups Chris Lytton to president. Lisa Henson is handing day-to-day management over to Lytton so she can focus on her CEO role and oversee more studio production. Lytton will now lead day-to-day company operations, with global distribution, consumer products, content production, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and Henson Recording Studios all reporting into him. 

Genius Brands ups Jon Ollwerther. The new president of OTT Kartoon Channel! will also continue to serve as EVP of business development. He is the latest to join Genius Brands’ executive ranks. In April, Harold Chizick was named president of global content sales, marketing and consumer products. In 2020 Michael Jaffa was named COO for the company overseeing its business opps in production, consumer products, global...

How childhood bullying inspired this Lego VP to design an LGBTQ set.  According to Matthew Ashton, Lego’s VP of design, the company had wanted to create a product celebrating the LGBTQ community. Ashton himself faced challenges growing up as an LGBTQ kid. He experienced bullying from other children and adults trying to turn him into a person he was not. 

EA chairman Larry Probst stepping down. Long-standing chairman of Electronic Arts, Larry Probst, is due to retire from the role this year. In a recent filing spotted by Seeking Alpha, Probst stated that he's decided to not stand for re-election at the company's annual meeting. His decision to stand down was "not the result of any disagreement with management of the board".

Malcolm Cook to retire after over 40 years in toys. Popular toy stalwart Malcolm Cook will be stepping down from his role at Hauck, after representing the brand in the UK market for the past three decades. Malcolm Cook has decided that the time is right to retire – he told Toy World: “I turn 75 next month, so I think it’s time to move on.” Malcolm has spent well over four decades in the toy business, starting out at Tonka...

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Companies, Brands . . .

Sesame, Headspace partner on new podcastThe partnership includes 11 Goodnight, World! eps focused on mindfulness and meditation, as well as several new board books for preschoolers. Each episode includes a story narrated by a Muppet from Sesame Street, a meditation exercise led by a Headspace reader, and a soundscape of music and relaxing sounds inspired by locations like Big Bird’s nest and Abby Cadabby’s fairy...

TALKIN’ TOYS: FAT BRAIN TOYS ADDS DEPTH TO THE FIDGET CRAZE. From babies looking for something to fiddle with to teens hoping to go viral on social media, the popularity of fidget toys is at an all-time high. The Toy Book spoke with the company’s president and co-founder Mark Carson to discuss how Squigz and Dimpl go beyond any fleeting social media trend. Toy Book: Fidget toys and sensory toys are everywhere...

Polly Pockets Are Making a Comeback and They Are Just as Good as You RememberThink of them as the original tiny home. If you think back to your childhood and consider some of your favorite playthings, you may recall a distinctive toy crafted from smooth, pastel-colored plastic that opened up to unveil an entire world within, complete with swinging refrigerator doors, pull-out beds, lit-up pavilions, and moving ice...

Magnetic attraction | Magformers on reinvigorating a category and inspiring a generation through STEM.  Since bursting onto the scene in 2016, Magformers has built a strong business in the construction category and galvanised the magnetic toy sector with its award-winning products. ToyNews catches up with Magformers UK managing director, David Kelly, to see what’s in the pipeline for the growing company...

Konami – taking the King of Games crown. Dom Galizia and Enrico Tassinari of Konami Digital Entertainment speak to Rachael Simpson-Jones about the importance of the Yu-Gi Oh! community, marketing, events and its plans for the year ahead. The manga franchise Yu-Gi-Oh! continues to make waves across on-demand streaming services, mobile gaming and consumer products categories, including the licensed Yu-Gi-Oh! ...

LEGO is branching out into a new type of content with the launch of its three-part Ninja Vlogs, marking the first time the company has used motion capture and real-time rendering.  This collection of 3D-animated vlog-style videos sees characters from the LEGO Ninjago series fighting dangerous monsters and meeting new friends. Kids ages six to 12 watching live at home can interact with the videos and contribute...

(the above posted after May 28th)

Happy Funkoween! Funko Debuts Seasonal Toys and Collectibles. As the summer heat rolls in, Halloween may be the last thing on your mind right now. But get ready to channel all things creepy and spooky, because Funkoween is upon us! Some of the products will be available for preorder immediately, while others will be coming soon. Check out a special, Funkoween-themed episode of Funko Fun TV below to get a first...

Claws and Effect | The continued expansion of Exploding Kittens Exploding Kittens burst onto the scene in 2015 when it set records as the most backed game on Kickstarter to date. Six years later, the kittens’ explosion is still expanding with ten games to the portfolio and 45 countries on its roster. ToyNews talks to Exploding Kittens’ director of international sales, Joeri Hoste.

Disney plans to close 100 channels this year CEO Bob Chapek confirmed at a media conference that the conglom will hyper-focus on DTC, resulting in a "robust rate" of channel closures. He didn’t specify which nets would go dark, but said “we will continue [to close channels] at a robust rate, and then the great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+.” According to Chapek, Disney closed 30 channels in 2020.

TALKIN’ TOYS: BLUE MARBLE MOVES TOWARDS MORE SUSTAINABLE STEM TOYS. The Toy Book caught up with Blue Marble’s Director of Sales Aaron Thompson to discuss the company’s mission and how it sets itself apart in the STEM category. Toy Book: Blue Marble’s science kits stand out from others in the category because they come with everything kids need to conduct the experiments. 

Edx Education launches UK retail website  As Edx Education continues expansion in the UK market, the website will extend the company's reach for its ever-growing product range. Leading educational toy brand Edx Education has announced the launch of a UK retail website at www.shopedx.co.uk. Edx says the website will offer British parents and educators competitive prices, exclusive deals and discounts, and....

Netflix sails to Australia for new kids movie. The SVOD is co-producing True Spirit—a live-action movie based on Jessica Watson's record-setting global sailing adventure—with Resonate and Sunstar Entertainment. Based on Jessica Watson’s memoir of the same name, the movie will recount how the 16-year-old Australian became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world in 2010. 

Argos staff reported to be at centre of new 'fire and rehire' controversy  Some workers are alleged to have been told by the retail chain to sign a new contract or face losing their jobs. The Mirror has reported that a ‘fire and hire’ controversy over replacement contracts will leave some staff worse off by thousands of pounds a year, and affects mainly 700 office-based staff, including head office and distribution workers.

Mattel Will Pay to Recycle Your Old Matchbox Cars. These Are the Ones You Shouldn’t Throw Away. If they’re in perfect condition, some of your Matchbox editions could be worth hundreds (and maybe thousands) of dollars.  Several years ago, my son and I were playing with his toy cars and I thought it would be interesting to create slo-mo videos of the tiny vehicles doing loop-de-loops and flying toward my camera. 

Toyi wins iF Design Award 2021   First conceived by product designer Elif Atmaca as a solution to allow kids who live in disadvantaged areas to transform their surroundings through play, Toyi has been awarded with an iF Design Award 2021. Toyi kits consist of wheels, feet, eyes, joints, sticks, flexible connectors and junction parts, with which kids aged 6+ can use to transform any object around them into a toy of their own...

MATTEL UNVEILS LATEST HOT WHEELS LEGENDS TOUR STOP WINNER; COLLEGE CAMPUS ‘HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED’ TRACK.  The dust has settled following the second North American stop of the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour. Paul Kalenian of Santa Fe, New Mexico emerged victorious with his 2020 Lulu, a one-of-a-kind, streel-legal, race-inspired ride that he developed and built in just seven months.

The Op announces 'Monopoly: Dungeons & Dragons'. The Op announced Monopoly: Dungeons & Dragons, a new edition of Monopoly, which is on preorder for retail. Two Hasbro's strongest IPs, Monopoly and Dungeons & Dragons (see "WotC Segment 75% of Hasbro Profits in Q1"), have combined forces to make a single, highly-marketable game product. In this version of Monopoly, players move tokens sculpted as …

Backstory: Masters of the Universe — He-Man and Skeletor are back in action as the legendary Battle for Eternia reignites. Behind closed doors, Mattel detailed a multiyear plan to resurrect its legendary brand in a big way. This multipronged approach included multiple toy lines for all ages, a live-action feature film from Sony Pictures, a global licensing program, and an animated series for Netflix led by filmmaker Kevin Smith. 

Hasbro unveils new The Transformers: The Movie and Shattered Glass action figures. Hasbro has revealed four new additions to their line of Transformers figures which include Transformers: Shattered Glass Voyager Class Starscream and The Transformers: The Movie Studio Series figures for Dinobot Slug and Daniel Witwicky, Gnaw, and Wreck-Gar. Discover a universe that shatters everything you know...

LEGO is scratching the itch of armchair explorers with the LEGO Art World Map, it’s biggest to date. The LEGO Group has launched a new build designed to scratch the itch of the world’s wanderlusters keen for adventure this year, heralding the arrival of the LEGO Art World Map. The latest addition to the LEGO Art collection, the map contains the most pieces ever included in a set in the history of the company, totaling...

A new Barnes & Noble opens in Kirkland, showing how the bookstore chain is changing. The opening of a new bookstore is always an act of optimism: a determined belief that there continue to be many people who prefer to pick out books from an actual shelf or table, and buy them while exchanging pleasantries or book recommendations with an actual person. 

Panini America to launch Funko Pop! Trading Card collectionFunko and Panini America are witnessing their worlds collide, as the pair come together to launch a new Pop! product line, Funko Pop! Trading Card collection that will span multiple sports. Launching later this year, the initial series will feature six NBA players and six NFL players, hitting retailers across the US in time for the Christmas shopping season. 

Ultra Pro heads for Middle-EarthUltra PRO Entertainment has announced two games set in the iconic world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, entitled The Lord of the Rings:  The Battle for Middle-earth, releasing in July, and The Lord of the Rings:  Journey to Mordor. The Lord of the Rings:  The Battle for Middle-earth is a card gamein which players create “fellowships”. 

MV Sports joins Hey Duggee toy partner line up as HTI bolsters portfolio with role play items. MV Sports has become the latest name in toys to sign up with the popular BBC Studio preschool property, Hey Duggee in a new deal to produce a range of branded scooters, ride-ons, and bikes. The first wave of product will launch at retail this autumn, joining the existing toy partner portfolio comprising HTI, who...

Healthy Roots Dolls are all about curl power. As a young child, Healthy Roots Dolls Founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles broke down in tears when her parents gifted her a Black doll. Although the color of its skin matched her own, as a girl who never saw herself represented in toys, she felt it wasn’t the “pretty doll.” Several years later, while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, Jean-Charles was tasked with...

Toikido teams up with Winning Moves for Among Us puzzlesToikido, which holds global master toy rights across multiple categories for Among Us, has announced a partnership with leading games company Winning Moves and Top Trumps USA, to bring an Among Us collection to the franchise’s global fanbase. The games specialist will initially be launching four challenging and fun puzzle designs. 

'Pokemon Trivia Trainer' features 1000 questions. Ultra Pro Entertainment will release Pokemon Trivia Trainer, a new interactive quiz game, for release in August. In Pokemon Trivia Trainer, players are out to find out who is the best Pokemon trainer by answering questions fast. This talking quiz game features 1000 questions for players to buzz in on and answer before their opponents. 

SoapBox Labs unveils new voice tech to enhance child’s play and interaction with smart toys. A team behind the development of safe and secure voice technology for children, SoapBox Labs, has unveiled new features to its tech that give kids a ‘more natural and frictionless’ way to interact with their games, apps, and smart toys using their voices. 

Japanime Games will release 'Tokyo Ghoul: Bloody Masquerade' into U.S. retail. Japanime Games will release Tokyo Ghoul: Bloody Masquerade, a new board game, into U.S. retail in summer 2021. Tokyo Ghoul is a hot anime and manga property (see "April 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Author, Manga, Superhero Graphic Novels"), and now, it is a new bluff-and-deduction board game by Don't Panic Games. 

A Titan has broken through Wall Maria in 'Attack On Titan: The Last Stand'. Japanime Games will release Attack on Titan: The Last Stand, a board game by Don't Panic Games, into U.S. retail this summer. In Attack on Titan: The Last Stand, Wall Maria has broken down and a Titan is surging toward the supply post in Trost. Players can take on the roles of their favorite Titan slayers from the anime as they protect the castle...

Paizo will release two new 'Starfinder RPG' card setsPaizo will release two new sets of Starfinder RPG cards in the second half of 2021: 'Alien Archive 1 & 2 Battle Cards' and 'Starfinder Spell Cards'. Alien Archive 1 & 2 Battle Cards is a collection of over 200 reference cards for encounters. It features every extraterrestrial creature in the Starfinder Alien Archive and Archive 2. 

Games Workshop reveals two new 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Combat Patrol' sets. Games Workshop revealed two Combat Patrol: Space Marines and Combat Patrol: Necrons, miniature sets for Warhammer 40,000, which will release on May 29. The new Combat Patrol: Space Marines boxed set offers players a mixed army of the Angels of Death. It comes with enough units to get started or build up an existing force.

Osprey Games will release two 'Imperium' card games. Osprey Games will release Imperium: Classics and Imperium: Legends, two new deck-building card games, in June. Imperium: Classics is an expandable, asymmetrical deck-building game where players attempt to expand a chosen civilization. It features the Carthaginian, Celt, Greek, Macedonian, Persian, Roman, Scythian, and Viking civilizations. T

Catan Studio and Asmodee announce 'Catan 3d Edition'. Catan Studio and Asmodee announced Catan 3D Edition, a new premium version of Catan, for release in August.Catan is getting a high-end makeover, the likes of which hasn't seen since the release of the 10th Anniversary Settlers of Catan 3D Special Edition Treasure Chest Set. A new high-end edition release has been long overdue, as the fan base for Catan...

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

US grows to account for 28% of all 2020 mobile spending - Sensor Tower. Yesterday, Sensor Tower released its State of Mobile Gaming 2021 report which reveals that US consumer spending accounted for 28% of the global market in 2020. The US market share of mobile consumer spending has been increasing since 2017 and it outpaced Japan in 2019 as the world's leading region. Japan made up 22% of market ...

Nintendo is bringing Smash and Splatoon esports to high schools. Nintendo is expanding its esports efforts by moving into high schools. The company has announced a new partnership with PlayVS, which will see games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2 introduced into varsity athletics starting in the fall. “What’s magical about this opportunity is that it’s a way for kids to participate, to compete against...

Switch Pro will reportedly launch in September, replace standard model. Fresh reports of an upgraded Nintendo Switch have emerged, suggesting the new console model could not only launch in September but also take over from the original version. Bloomberg reports assembly of the new device will begin in July, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. 

Sonic the Hedgehog gets his own digital showcase on May 27. Sonic the Hedgehog celebrates his 30th birthday this year, and a new digital showcase coming Thursday, May 27, will reveal the future of Sega’s enduring mascot. Sonic Central, described as a virtual event focused on the famous hedgehog, will feature appearances from Sega’s Sonic Team and unannounced special guests. 

Valve eyes a return to 'console' hardware with leaked handheld SteamPal. Valve is reportedly looking to squeeze back into that space between PCs and consoles with its own line of video game hardware. This time around, however, Valve has portability in mind. That rumored device is the SteamPal, a Linux-powered handheld built to play Steam games on the go. 

Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. announces new initiatives to commemorate PAC-MAN’S 41st anniversary and get PAC-TIVE! In 2021, Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. celebrates PAC-MAN’s 41st anniversary with a myriad of activities and partnerships to help commemorate this milestone for one of the world’s most beloved and recognizable video game characters. 

Evidence is piling up that Netflix wants to be the Netflix of games. It could offer a games bundle as soon as 2022. Netflix has dipped a toe in gaming on occasion, with perhaps the hugely-successful “choose your own adventure”-style film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch as the most prominent example. But the streaming giant may be expanding further into gaming with a new bundle for Netflix subscribers,...

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Epic vs Apple

Epic vs Apple: all the headlines. From Fortnite's removal to closing statements, here's everything you need to know about the industry-shaping antitrust trial. The long-awaited antitrust trial between Epic and Apple has come to a close, and GamesIndustry.biz has chronicled the biggest developments and revelations throughout.You can find the biggest stories via our dedicated feed, or read through the comprehensive ...

Tim Cook's gut says the App Store is profitable, but Apple won't back it up with data. Apple CEO Tim Cook finally took the stand during today's block of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, fielding questions about App Store curation, profit, and policies as Epic Games attempts to prove to the court that iOS is anticompetitive to the point that the legal system needs to step in. 

Tim Cook: Third-party payments on the App Store would be a 'terrible' idea. Apple CEO Tim Cook claims allowing App Store developers link to their own third-party marketplaces and payment systems would be a "terrible" idea.  As reported by Bloomberg, Cook was called to the stand last week during the ongoing Epic Games v. Apple trial and was asked to outline why Apple is reluctant to give its developers and users ...

Apple software engineering head explains core differences between iPhone and Mac security. On Wednesday, Apple software engineering head Craig Federighi testified in court, and was tasked with explaining the key security differences between iPhone and Mac operating systems. Alongside the Apple App Store, macOS systems also allow for third party software downloads. 

Epic, Apple make their closing statements as three-week antitrust trial comes to an end. The Epic vs Apple antitrust trial is over -- for now.Having heard the final testimonies last Friday, including comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook, the court today wrapped up proceedings with some final back-and-forth regarding definitions of relevant markets and proposed remedies. 

Apple stayed on message while Epic filled out the record. In a trial that often asked how to define ‘game,’ the winning argument will hinge on market definition. Sure, “hot-tubbing” sounds fun, but in a court context, it’s just a judge encouraging lawyers to argue — which is how Epic v. Apple ended today. Not with a bang but with a quarrel. Throughout the trial, Epic’s general strategy appears to have been to stuff...

Epic v Apple: What have we learned? The much-hyped Epic v Apple trial is due to finish on Monday in California. Epic Games is suing Apple over the way it runs its App Store. It says the store is a monopoly and charges exorbitant fees on games like Epic's popular Fortnite. Apple makes Epic pay a 30% commission on in-app payments. The judge may take weeks, if not months, to make a ruling

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

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Press Releases . . . 

MasterPieces Adds Three New Licenses. New Products Feature Smokey Bear, U.S. Navy, and Mossy Oak.  Signing agreements with The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service for Smokey Bear property; outdoor lifestyle brand, Mossy Oak, and The U.S. Department of Defense for the U.S. Navy license, MasterPieces has several new puzzles set to arrive this summer. Annually recognized as a Global Licensee Leader, 

 

Spin Master Entertainment, In Association with Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures, Announces Adam Levine to Perform New Original Song for the Upcoming PAW Patrol: The Movie™.  Titled "Good Mood", the new original song was written by Shellback, Savan Kotecha, Oscar Görres and Adam Levine; produced by Shellback from MXM Productions and Oscar Görres for Wolf Cousins Productions; executive produced by Savan Kotecha and performed by Adam Levine. 

Winning Moves Games USA Looking To Expand Portfolio.  If you are a business owner with a great game, puzzle, toy (or line) and you are looking for the right partner to help take on the heavy lifting, reach out to us. Under a licensing deal, Winning Moves Games USA would take over production, inventory, forecasting, warehousing and sales. You could continue to develop new products or you could pass the entire process...

(the above posted after May 27th)

‘READ ME A STORY’ BECOMES A MAGICAL MOMENT TO TREASURE WITH MOONLITE STORYBOOK PROJECTORTransform A Library Of Illustrated Short Stories To A Vivid Show On The Bedroom Ceiling As Tots Are Lulled To Sleep. The loving ritual of tucking a child into bed with a story and a kiss hasn’t changed much… until now. Moonlite turns a mobile phone into an interactive bonding experience over the stories that parents once heard at that age. Imagine snuggling next to your child with the lights turned down low. You both look up to see Goldilocks or the Good Night Moon bunny on the ceiling. Mom or Dad reads aloud the story printed on the phone’s app as little ones gently nod off to sleep.

A Bears for Cares Book DON’T MONKEY AROUND WITH OUR WORLD! Newest Title in the Bears for Cares Series of Children’s Books Now Available for World Chimpanzee Day July 14, 2021 ‘Jenny the Chimpanzee’. “Today I have a story to tell. A story that I know so very well. The story of how we came to be. Told by no other than Jenny the Chimpanzee.” Thus, starts the delightful new “Jenny the Chimpanzee” book...

RIZE Helps Little You Play at a Whole New Level in the Personalized Toy Business  RIZE, Inc., a company dedicated to bringing industrial 3D printing to all users, has partnered with Little You so that kids can turn their wildest imaginings into functional 3D anime toys made using RIZE’s technology and materials.

Gray Matters Games, a Glen Ellyn, Il-based game publisher, announced the release of its new family party game, The Root Beer Float Challenge! The game has players competing in solo, cooperative and head-to-head challenges in a race to collect all the ingredients of a root beer float.  Uniquely packaged in a large tin root beer can, the game comes with 4 straws, 2 foam cherries, and a giant ping pong ball which are all used in the 120 physical challenges – one challenge has a player volleyball serving a cherry off the wall while their partner has to catch the...

Fair Game of Downers Grove, IL (near Chicago) will host Games for Brains on June 19th - an afternoon of fun and games to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer's Association’s Longest Day.   The event will include silent auction, prizes, special shopping offers and will have local game inventors and entertainers in attendance, including: Gray Matters Games challenging players to their new family party game...

FEELING BUBBLY THIS SUMMER STARTS WITH $14.95 POWER-PACKED WOWmazing® GIANT BUBBLES POWDER KIT. Planning A Staycation Or Road Trip? Remember To Add Some Clean (Dish Soap, Water & Powder) Fun For Day Transformed Into A WOWmazing® Adventure

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (May 25, 2021) – Nothing says clean, wholesome childhood pleasures than blowing bubbles. South Beach Bubbles cranks up the fun to a WOWmazing new level with their power-packed Powder Kit ($14.95) available at SouthBeachBubbles.com. Parents may have to get out the thesaurus to top ginormous, monster and just plain WOWmazing (!) to describe the TikTok-worthy bubbles to be made.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards & Festivals . . . 

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

The Creative Play Awards 2021 are open for entries  The Creative Play Awards promote the value of creative play in children’s development with products independently tested by parents, early years professionals and teachers. Testing will take place in early autumn, with products independently tested by parents, childcarers, home educators, early years, nursery and primary school settings.

The Lego Group to hold first ever Lego Con with free digital eventLego Con will let fans discover the latest Lego news, see master builders at work and connect with other fans globally during the livestream. The event, which will also showcase Lego’s new products, will be hosted and livestreamed directly from Lego House in Billund, Denmark on June 26th, 2021 at 5pm-7pm BST, 6pm-8pm CEST and 9am-11am PST.

Toy Association Promotes Kimberly Carcone to Senior Vice President of Global Market Events. Carcone is a seasoned professional with nearly 30 years of experience in non-profit and corporate event management, marketing, and publishing in both New York City and Washington, D.C. She joined The Toy Association in 2007 and served most recently as vice president of market events. Over the past 14 years, she received....

ASTRA: A SNEAK PEEK AT UPCOMING PROGRAMMING AND EVENTSAt the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), we have weathered the storm of the past year and are excited to turn our focus toward the programs and offerings that are the cornerstones of our organization. These events and activities are an important means of engagement and connection for ASTRA members.

Bidding farewell to Spielwarenmesse eG: Ernst Kick and Dr. Hans-Juergen Richter step down from the Executive Board at the end of June. Ernst Kick was appointed CEO in 2002. During his term in office, he has driven the cooperative forward whilst reinforcing the leading position of the Spielwarenmesse. His many achievements include the reorganisation of the trade fair's structure so that it would provide...

(the above posted after May 28th)

Spielwarenmesse unveils new Fit For Fair webinars for exhibitors  The webinar series supports exhibition planning, giving companies valuable advice on presenting products and innovations as well as on networking with retailers and buyers. Drawing on its experience in staging and marketing trade fairs, the Spielwarenmesse team is using this new service to support firms as early as possible during the planning phase.

BlizzCon 2021 has been canceledBlizzCon, Blizzard’s annual fan convention, has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like it was last year. However, the company plans to host a “global event” set for “the early part of next year,” the company announced on Wednesday. The global event for next year will comprise an online show like the BlizzConline that took place in February and “smaller in-person gatherings.” 

This year’s Pokémon Go Fest is also a music festival. Pokémon Go Fest is just a few weeks away, and this year, the annual event is also going to be a music festival, developer Niantic announced on Thursday. During the event, you’ll pick one of two Pikachu — Pikachu Rock Star or Pikachu Pop Star, which you can see in the image at the top of this post — and that choice will influence the music you’ll hear in-game throughout...

The League of Legends 2021 World Championship will be in Shenzhen, China. The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will be held in Shenzhen, China, Riot Games announced late Friday. The Worlds Final will be at the Universiade Sports Centre, a 60,000 capacity stadium that’s home to the Shenzhen FC football (soccer) club, on November 6th. The event usually rotates year-by-year among host countries in Asia,...

Inclusivity, mature subjects win at the YMAs Echo Media's About Sex, a Pride episode of It's My Party and CBC Kids News all took home trophies at last night's ceremony. CBC Kids News, which covered topics such as the pandemic and racism, took home the Best Gaming or Interactive Experience award for all age groups. The “Pride” episode of BGM’s It’s My Party won Best Program, Live Action Non-Scripted for kids...

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TOY FOUNDATION. We caught up with The Toy Foundation Executive Director Ellen Lambert and Senior Foundation Manager Elizabeth Max to take a look back at how the organization pivoted last year to assist families impacted by COVID-19, and learn about what’s in store for the months ahead.

BIG COMPANIES CONTINUE TO BAIL ON ATTENDING GEN CON INDY 2021  Asmodee USA, Asmodee NA Studios, and Ultra PRO Are All Out.   Asmodee, one of Gen Con's largest exhibitors, released the following statement today: Asmodee has decided to not physically participate in Gen Con 2021, but we will be focusing our support on Gen Con Online to bring you some exciting news and events. 

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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.

Eric Carle, author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, died on May 23rd aged 91. A statement issued by the family read: “In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter is now travelling across the night sky.” Carle’s most famous book published in 1969 tells the story of a caterpillar with a giant appetite and has sold more than 50 million copies around the world and translated in 62 languages. His family said Eric Carle had died in Northampton, Massachusetts, from kidney failure. 

Michael LovelandMichael spent his whole career in the toy business until his retirement a few years ago, notably with Bandai, where he played a pivotal role in the formation of the UK operation back in 1982. Tasked by the Japanese parent company to set up a UK subsidiary, Michael and his brother Nigel successfully established the operation with its first UK office in Guildford. Michael went on to become Bandai’s European marketing director, and was part of the team that first brought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the UK and European markets, having brokered a deal with Playmates Toys. Michael was also instrumental in Bandai becoming the original distributor of the Nintendo range of electronic and video games. Michael was also involved with both the British Toy and Hobby Association and the Toy industries of Europe throughout his career, serving as an active Board member in both organisations.

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Jazwares to Debut Pet Toy Line in Partnership with Wham-O

  2. Firefly Brand Management Adds Bob Ross License Deals

  3. Moose Toys Launches 'Goo Jit Zu' Licensing Program

  4. Stephanie Kupperman Launches Licensing 360

  5. Build-A-Bear Reports Results for 2021 First Quarter 

  6. Dr. Seuss Rolls Out 'Oh, the Places You'll Go!' Merch

  7. Zoonicorn Brand to Release CGI-Animated Series

  8. FanGirl Appointed to Rep Unity Unlimited & Opal Lee

  9. Disney Platforms to Broadcast Bluey Third Season

  10. Osmo Partners with Airport-Based Retailer InMotion

ToyWorld (UK)

1.     Getting away with it …it’s the Friday Blog!

2.     The June issue of Toy World is out now

3.     Has online retailer Squizzas ceased trading?

4.     The Squizzas saga takes further twist, as company files for voluntary liquidation 

5.     Malcolm Cook to retire after over 40 years in toys

6.     Obituary: Michael Loveland

7.     Toy industry urged to respond to government consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging

8.     Posh Paws raises over £10,000 for NHS Charities Together

9.     Gibsons donates £50,000 to charities

10.   MV Sports and HTI to expand Hey Duggee toy range

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

-  Big Companies Continue to Bail on Attending Gen Con Indy 2021
-  Add Eight Orc Minis to Encounters with Latest 'D&D Icons of the Realms' Set
-  Catan Studio and Asmodee Announce 'Catan 3D Edition'
-  Preview: 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Modern Horizons 2'
-  Rolling for Initiative -- Back to Normal? Not Quite
-  Preview: 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Summoned Creatures Set 1 & Set 2'
-  ICv2 Interview: Asmodee USA Head of Distribution Andre Kieren
-  CMON Announces 'Army of the Dead: A Zombicide Game'
-  Next Wave of 'D&D Icons of the Realms Premium Painted Figures' Incoming
-  'Pokemon Trivia Trainer' Features 1000 Questions

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

  • According to Downsey

  • Outright Games, Universal Games and Digital Platforms havw announced Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise of SH1FT3R 

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Crimes & Capers, Pandemic Hot Zone - Europe - Renegade Game Studios has announced a new series of mystery games, Z-Man Games will be releasing the next game in their Pandemic: Hot Zone line, and Gen Con 2021 registration news.

Video of the Week! 

Digital-Play in a Post Pandemic World CH

Digital Play in a Post Pandemic World

After debuting to more than 13,700 attendees from 95 countries on our POP Week virtual platform, we are re-releasing on YouTube for our readers. In this video panel, moderator Robin Raskin (Living in Digital Times) is with

panelists Brent Bushnell (President, Two-bit Circus), David Kleiman (SVP, Global Trends Dubit), Phil Sage (Senior Director: Product Development, Design & Inventor Relations, Hasbro), Joe Scott (Chief Business Officer @ Blok Party,

Ian Bernstein (Co-Founder, Misty Robotics)

 

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: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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