May 26 - June 2, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin' Friday!
What’s Up Distoy? So very much! It’s been a great show - and we raised 560 pounds (just over $700US) for the Toy Trust! Read the Royal Corgi Report for details on our London POP party. Thank you to all our generous sponsors, partners, attendees and organizers who made the party super fun and a great networking event!
Our Barcelona networking event is Monday June 5th. Thank you Amy Holden and Lucie Lanham (World Alive) and Josep Pastor (SEEK4KEY) for discovering our gorgeous terrace venue!
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.
Industry Commentary - Rachele Harmuth on MESH
MESH PRODUCTS - BRINGING CHILDREN AND THEIR ADULTS TOGETHER: Post 6 of 6 in this important series
According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two most protective factors for teen health are school and family connectedness. The relationships that children and teens form with their teachers, coaches and adults at home can quite literally be the difference between life and death for them.
As children grow, a lot of their interactions with adults are instructive or corrective. Providing opportunities for fun and warmth protects and strengthens children. Even better for young people are chances to practice sharing time, communicating and problem-solving together.
Play is an early experience kids have with their adults that build their mental, emotional and social health. Offering experiences that continue those relationships through toys and games as they get older will help develop open, safe dialogue for a lifetime. Toys and games do this through:
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 - Santa Claus
Toymaker, Jolly Old Elf & Co-Creator of Santa’s Kindness Ornament
Thank you for taking time to chat with us, Santa! Do you have a mantra that you live by?
Well, thank you very much for having me! And yes, we do have a mantra up here at the North Pole: “Kindness and care are gifts we all share.”
What are you working on right now?
In addition to the toys my elves and I are busy making for children all over the world, I am working with a company called DEMDACO on a wonderful, new product known as Santa’s Kindness Ornament.
How does Santa’s Kindness Ornament work?
This ornament from DEMDACO and I is a child’s direct link to receive daily video messages from the me during the holidays. Starting on December 1st, you can scan the ornament’s QR code with a phone or tablet, a few times a day, and I appear on screen to ask children for help sharing acts of kindness, goodness and giving. You’ll even get to see some surprises from the North Pole! Read More!
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Thank you Bob Fuhrer for the cartoon... and you are right, it may not be toyish, but it is fun/funny!
Last week: Q - 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?
A - The structure is quite simple. The egg contains a small cylinder at an angle, that contains a viscous liquid. The cylinder also contains a small, heavy piston that takes about 70 seconds to slide from one side of the cylinder to the other. The piston is just heavy enough to throw the egg off balance except when it is in the middle of its transit. Then, for about 10 seconds, it will stand in equilibrium on its pointed end.
This week Q - (answer next week.) Can you lift a marble off a table using only a wine glass? (Hitting the marble in any way is not allowed, as this might break the glass.)
Quote of the Week... "A toy has no gender and no idea of whether a girl or boy is playing with it." - Andrea Barthello, co-founder of ThinkFun
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
LABOR ACTION SHUTS DOWN WEST COAST PORT TERMINALS. As Contract Negotiations Continue. Workers at West Coast ports staged an informal labor action, beginning on Friday, that caused shutdowns of terminals at major ports and slowdowns at others, as negotiations continue on a new contract between port operators and the International Longshoremen Warehouse Union.
GameStop kicked off its fiscal results by announced that it has fired president and CEO Matthew Furlong "without cause." In an SEC filing, the U.S. video game retailer said its board of directors terminated Furlong on June 5th. A successor hasn't been announced, but board chairman Ryan Cohen has been named executive chairman. That changing of the guard comes with net sales falling yr-on-yr to $1.24 billion from $1.37...
***The above posted after June 2nd***
Amazon agreed on Wednesday to pay a civil penalty of $25 million to settle federal charges that it kept sensitive information collected from children for years, including their precise locations and voice recordings, in violation of a children’s online privacy law. It was the latest legal action in an intensifying regulatory effort to require some of the world’s largest tech platforms to better safeguard their younger users.
Riot threatens to cancel entire Esports season if striking League of Legends players can't reach deal [update]. Earlier this week League of Legends players voted “overwhelmingly” to strike over plans to make rule changes that would cut the North American Challenger’s League—which only launched last year—from 16 teams to seven.
Nintendo eShop to effectively shut down in Russia. The Nintendo eShop is essentially being axed in Russia. Nintendo of Europe broke the news in an email sent to publishers, seen by Game Developer, and explained it will be halting eShop sales in Russia from May 31, 2023. Nintendo stopped product shipments to Russia in early 2022 and placed the Nintendo eShop under maintenance following the suspension...
South Korea gives full approval to Microsoft-Activision merger. The month of May is over, and Microsoft managed to get one last regulator to approve its merger with Activision Blizzard. Per Korea Xbox News, and later corroborated to GamesIndustry, South Korea recently gave its support to the $68.7 billion deal. Similar to Brazil and Saudi Arabia, the country's approval was granted without any condition...
Microsoft files appeal against CMA block on Activision Blizzard merger. Nearly a full month after the CMA blocked its merger with Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is attempting to hit back. Per Reuters, Microsoft filed an appeal to the country's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) on May 24 in an effort to get its $69 billion deal with the Call of Duty publisher to go through.
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Pokémon series has sold 480 million units, made 52.9 billion cards. The Pokémon franchise has hit some impressive benchmarks recently, with its games hitting 480 million units worldwide.
Steve Jackson Games sales up from last two years. Steve Jackson Games increased sales and expanded its direct-to-consumer and direct-to retailer sales initiatives, the company said in its report to stakeholders for 2022.
B&M reports drop in profits, although sales are up. B&M posted a -17% drop in pre-tax profits in the year to 25th March 2023, which it said were due to rising operational costs.
Revenue across all video game market segments fell in 2022. The new report also says that China and the US made up 49% of consumer spending
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after June 2nd***
MENA gaming market to reach $6 billion in four years. The Middle East’s gaming sector is driven the region’s tech-savvy population well-versed in digital technology, extensive digital connectivity, and significant government support.
Summer Hollywood news is trickling in, and it's time for a round-up! Massive Opening for 'Across The Spider-Verse'; Disney+ Pulls 30 Shows, Writes Down $1.5 Billion; Miles Morales Live Action Movie; 'Spider-Man 4' Paused; 'TMNT: Mutant Mayhem' Trailer; Live Action Films Based on Animation.
Stories, Comments, and Advice
'Barbie' movie reportedly causes international shortage of pink paint. The set, which was built on the Warner Bros. Studios lot outside London, includes all the iconic elements of Barbie's Dreamhouse, even the infamous waterslide. "Why walk down stairs when you can slide into your pool? Why trudge up stairs when you take an elevator that matches your dress?"
Hong Kong’s famous rubber duck returns — and now there are two. A decade since it famously appeared in Victoria Harbour, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s “Rubber Duck” sculpture has returned to Hong Kong. And this time it has a friend. Creative studio AllRightsReserved, which often orchestrates public art displays in the city, announced Thursday that a pair of Hofman’s inflatable ducks will float in Hong Kong’s...
Inside the Barbie Dreamhouse, a Fuchsia Fantasy Inspired by Palm Springs. Barbie’s Dreamhouse is no place for the bashful. “There are no walls and no doors,” says Greta Gerwig via email. “Dreamhouses assume that you never have anything you wish was private—there is no place to hide.” That layered domestic metaphor has proved rich fodder for the filmmaker, whose live-action homage to the iconic Mattel doll...
Fab Lab Students Create Cochlear Implants for Kids’ Toys. Island High School teacher Jeannie Llewellyn and her Fab Lab students have expanded their toy cochlear implant transmitter project to include more students from the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program. Their work culminated with a small event where students and families could pick up personalized teddy bears fitted with a toy CI transmitter and talk to the student...
Volkswagen brings VW bus back to North American market after 20 years. Volkswagen will start selling battery-powered versions of its VW bus in North America from 2024 onwards, the carmaker said on Friday, in what marks the reintroduction of the iconic model after a two-decade hiatus. The introduction of the fully electric ID. Buzz will also include an extra-long version that can seat up to seven passengers...
HOW MANY TOY TRADE SHOWS DO WE REALLY NEED? Like some of you reading this, I am just back from the Distoy trade show event in London. This show is focused on giving Toy distributors the opportunity to select products from other markets and gives those Toy companies who run their own product development programs the opportunity to show final production products after showing prototypes /work in...
The Impact Of AI On Strategy Games. In 2022, players of the popular strategy board game Diplomacy gathered in the metaverse for an online tournament of the game. They were spread out across the globe; none of the players could see each other, only interact within the gameplay. So they had no way of knowing that one of the players was a computer—a Meta-designed artificial intelligence (AI) program named Cicero.
When the Neighbors Don’t Share Your Vision (and That Vision Involves ‘Transformers’ Statues). A professor decorated a sidewalk in Georgetown with 10-foot sculptures of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. The well-heeled locals were not pleased. The thing about putting a pair of 10-foot statues of metal-hewn Transformers outside your townhouse in the most picturesque district of the nation’s capital is that the neighbors...
How Sony’s ‘Spider-Verse’ Franchise Struck Box Office Gold… Again. Spidey’s still got it. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” a sequel to Sony’s 2018 Oscar-winning “Into the Spider-Verse,” collected $120 million in its box office debut — a towering figure that’s more than triple the original’s opening weekend. The first film, one of the intial cinematic introductions to the multiverse, started with a softer $34.4 million but...
***The above posted after tBR started running June 2nd***
John Baulch, UK Toy World - Make up your own mind …it’s the Friday Blog! I’ve just returned from the Distoy show in London, so I wanted to share what I saw. I am very much aware of the pitfalls of writing an article immediately after a show; the adrenaline is still pumping, and you are on a high from all the positive meetings you’ve had and the new opportunities that lie ahead as a result of attending. But this isn’t my first rodeo...
Why The Little Mermaid’s BO is good news for the kids biz, Kidscreen speaks with industry experts about how the film’s sensational Memorial Weekend debut proves that a diverse approach will ring true with mass audiences. The debut of Disney’s highly anticipated The Little Mermaid, starring Black actor Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel, dominated the coveted Memorial Weekend box office in the US, ringing up an estimated...
How Sexist Is Hollywood? 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.
Board games like Monopoly, Clue and The Game of Life are iconic in many Americans' lives and in pop culture. Now some designers are exploring a wider range of topics, including how to use games to spark discussion about bigger issues. One of those games, Daybreak, is set to launch this spring after years of development to tackle one of the most complex topics of all, how to bring the world together to combat climate...
Media Mashup: ‘Barbie’ trailer ushers in a new era for the ‘toy industry cinematic universe’. Could Barbie: The Movie, M3GAN, Small Soldiers, Ted 2, and BIG all exist in the same “Toy Industry Cinematic Universe?” I’d like to think that they do. With the latest trailer for Warner Bros.’ Barbie: The Movie finally letting the cat out of the bag doll out of the box and revealing Will Ferrell (The LEGO Movie‘s “Lord Business”) stepping...
History and Nostalgia
KliKiT Build n’ Play Sets from Ideal (1969). In the 1960s, Ideal released KliKiT, a line of Build n’ Play sets designed to encourage creativity and help young builders develop construction skills through a unique interlocking system called “Press-Fit Assembly”. Each set consisted of a varying number of brightly colored panels in different shapes and sizes and connectors that securely held the panels together.
Race Around from Whitman (1975). Released in 1975 by Whitman, the Race Around board game pit two players against each other in a race to bump each other’s cars off the race track. The game board was illustrated with five red and five blue spaces on which players positioned their plastic cars at the start of the game. Players chose the scorecard whose colour matched their cars.
Remembering the Sunshine Family, the "most 1970s toys of the 1970s". As other adults, high on nostalgia, wait excitedly for the Barbie movie, I'm over here wishing they'd make a movie about the dolls *I* was raised on—the Sunshine Family. The dolls–created by Mattel in 1974–were, as MeTV asserts, the "most 1970s toys of the 1970s." They go on to state that the Sunshine Family "shunned the pink plastic materialism of Barbie."
Licensing and Entertainment
Experience the magical world of Unicorn Academy, a new fantasy-adventure series from Spin Master Entertainment with this first look. Unicorn Academy is the boarding school of every kid’s dreams. Located on Unicorn Island™, Sophia and the rest of the freshman class must bond with a unicorn to unlock their magical powers; only then can they learn to become revered protectors of the island and its magic...
Hasbro continues to evolve as one of the biggest brands in the world thanks to the guidance of Blueprint 2.0, a strategy designed to level up the business by bringing stories to life. License Global speaks to Kim Boyd, head, global brands and consumer innovation, and Casey Collins, president, licensed consumer products, Hasbro about how the brand’s intellectual property portfolio plays a major role in Hasbro’s...
Mattel’s Making New Memories. Legendary toy co. charts a course from nostalgia to new horizons. You may not remember Mattel’s first big toy (the Uke-a-Doodle), but you probably have fond memories of other Mattel products. The brand, founded in 1945, has a toy portfolio with top licensed properties like Barbie, Thomas & Friends, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels. The leading global toy co. ranked in the Top Ten Global...
Indian animation service studio 88 Pictures has opened a Toronto office, hiring three Canadian industry veterans to run it and spearhead an expansion into original content. Sabrina Riegel is the studio’s global head of look, overseeing film and TV animation, with Nol Meyer serving as global head of previsualization and layout, and Jean Claude Nouchy as digital FX supervisor.
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is looking to expand its partnerships across CEE, with coproductions of increasing interest to the US studio as it looks to expand its global activities. There is also increasing appetite to develop deeper relationships in regions such as CEE, according to Mark Young, EVP of distribution & networks in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
***The above posted after June 2nd***
Wildbrain Cplg, Sega enter licensing partnerships for ‘Sonic Prime’ worldwide. Sonic the Hedgehog is once again racing through the Shatterverse. With season two of Netflix’s Sonic Prime set to release on July 13, WildBrain CPLG and SEGA of America have entered into cross-category licensing partnerships in various markets around the world to offer fans new opportunities to engage with the brand and its iconic characters.
Licensees set to launch Bluey products in Germany, in addition to master toy partner Moose Toys, include Amscan (partyware and dress-up) Hasbro (co-branded classic games and Play-Doh) HTI Toys (large role-play, cases, bubbles and outdoor toys) OTL (headphones, walkie talkies, and microphones), Ravensburger (puzzles and proprietary formats), Stor (lunchboxes, bottles and tableware) and Tomy (Toomies bath toys).
Paramount has released a second Mutant Mayhem trailer featuring a more detailed look at the film’s plot and characters. The trailer also confirmed the release date for Mutant Mayhem, which is now 2nd August, a couple of days earlier than previously suggested. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Mutant Mayhem is directed by Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears and written by Seth Rogen.
JAKKS and Disguise are re-upping a licensing agreement with EA to continue making products based on the free, multiplayer video game, Apex Legends. Apex Legends’ global licensing agent, Retail Monster, brokered the deal. The game, designed by Respawn Entertainment, is a battle royale game where players must pick one of 24 legends with different abilities and play styles to become the last man standing.
McFarlane Toys and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products (WBDGCP)are continuing their licensing partnership for more collectibles for the next two years. McFarlane Toys’ latest Warner Bros. collectibles include the Movie Maniacs collection for Warner Bros. 100th anniversary, including Harry Potter, Ted Lasso, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman.
The Woobles announced today a new licensing agreement with LINE FRIENDS to create a BT21 MEETS The Woobles Collection. The limited-edition kits will bring the BT21 UNIVERSE to life for the first time in the craft category, and are slated for release summer 2023, exclusively on TheWoobles.com.
Bulldog Licensing has announced major wins in licensing, broadcasting and at retail for Moose Toys’ Magic Mixies. New product launches and continuing success for both product sales and the new-to-Netflix kids’ show are boosting an already phenomenally successful brand, which continues to grow within and beyond the toy category – with more licensing extensions signed or on the way.
Dan Dee and Mattel ink deal for Thomas & Friends. Plush toys will roll out throughout the year. Dan Dee International, a manufacturer of plush toys and seasonal gifts, has announced a new multiyear licensing agreement with Mattel’s Thomas & Friends. This collaboration will bring a new range of everyday plush and seasonal products to the U.S./Canada market.
Jada Toys rolls into FuelFest to unveil Truespec die-cast range and launch casted collaboration. Jada Toys is gearing up for a big launch and a new collaboration. This weekend, the maker of finely-crafted die-cast toys and collectibles will return to FuelFest, taking place June 3 at Irwindale Speedway outside of Los Angeles.
Fresh Del Monte is collaborating with worldwide hit brand Miraculous for a fun promotion that will reach millions of shoppers and fans across Europe with fresh and packaged products. The announcement was made by Hyde Schram, Vice President, Global Partnerships, ZAG, and Thierry Montange, Marketing Director, Fresh Del Monte Europe & Africa.
The global lollipop brand Chupa Chups announces a yummy new license agreement with the South Korea’s leading make-up brand Banila Co to launch ‘Banila Co x Chupa Chups Collaboration’. The new edition enhances the collection by adding the fun and playful personality of Chupa Chups to existing Banila Co products.
Lionheart Fitness Kids has worked with the children of celebrities like Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Dave Grohl, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Justin Timberlake, and Colin Farrell, just to name a few. Now, Lionheart Fitness Kids is disrupting the children’s fitness and sports education space by combining play and imagination with structured early childhood sports education and self-esteem...
In preparation for the theatrical release of Puffin Rock and The New Friends, Cartoon Saloon Brand Development recently inked several new deals with licensing partners to manufacture stationery products, plush, graphic novels, pin sets, and more inspired by its roster of kids’ entertainment.
Crunchyroll and Jazwares are teaming up to make tons of new anime toys and collectibles. The collaboration will feature 18 different anime series, including Attack on Titan, Chainsaw Man, Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia, and Spy X Family. “Anime is a dynamic storytelling medium, spanning many genres from action to comedy to horror,” says Anna Songco Adamian, VPof Global Consumer Products for Crunchyroll ...
Ahead of this year’s Licensing Expo, Thunderbird Entertainment has formalized its consumer products operations and is ready to introduce all new brands to attendees. Dubbed Thunderbird Brands, this new division will be led by Richard Goldsmith, the production, distribution, and rights company’s President of Global Distribution and Consumer Products.
People of Play
How Alan Dorfman Sold Millions Of Toys By Thinking Small - Very Small. In the toy industry, Alan Dorfman is master of the mini-verse. Dorfman, first as the founder of the Basic Fun toy company, and now as president of Super Impulse, became fascinated by miniature toys long before the current TikTok-influenced craze for tiny playthings and collectibles began. In the early 1990s, he convinced the company...
Three generations of LEGO designers came together for one set – and lucky they did, because the design process was far from simple. Brick Fanatics recently got the chance to catch up with LEGO Designer Niek van Slagmaat, where he walked us through some of the most iconic sets that he’s worked on. We started at the beginning, with the very first set that Niek worked on: LEGO BOOST 17101 Boost Creative Toolbox.
Mom Who Asked Fisher-Price For Toy That Looks Like Her Son Blown Away By Company’s Response. It’s rare that 5 yo Archer “Archie” Coffman sees people that look like him. Not a home, not at school, and not in toy stores. Archer, a vibrant Black boy with red hair, was adopted by Andrew and Niki Coffman shortly after he was born. “It's a complicated, huge responsibility when you’re a white parent adopting a child...
Q&A With Hot Wheels Designer And Hot Wheels Legends Tour Returns For 2023. Ever wanted to know how Hot Wheels car are designed? We interviewed Hot Wheels' head designer to find out... Ted Wu, Global Head of Vehicle Design at Mattel, Inc says, “The UK consistently delivers a group of incredible finalists, each worthy of becoming a Legend. That makes it one of the closest fought competitions in our growing Tour.
Despite producing about 200,000 stuffed animals per year, the Shelburne-based Vermont Teddy Bear Company has but one designer: Cassandra Clayton. Clayton has been the designer at Vermont Teddy Bear for over seven years. Her stuffed animals designs include mermaid bears, witch bears, Santa Claus bears, sharks, giraffes, and octopi. "Any magical creature, any animal in the animal kingdom, I feel like I've...
***The above posted after tBR started sending on June 2nd***
KAREN CATE, JENICA MYSZKOWSKI NAMED CO-CEOS OF CAMP AS RETAILER LOOKS TO FOCUS ON OPERATIONS. A new era of CAMP has begun as the company works to streamline its business. This week, CAMP Founder Ben Kaufman took to LinkedIn to announce that he has stepped down as CEO of the “mass specialty” experiential retailer as Karen Cate and Jenica Myszkowski take the reins as Co-CEOs.
Family lifestyle expert and toy industry insider, Elizabeth Werner, joins 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.
PlayMonster Group has named Bryan Margner its Chief Financial Officer. In his new role, Margner will be leading all efforts in accounting, internal controls, finance, forecasting, budgeting, strategic planning, deal analysis and negotiation, investor relationships, investor and creditor reporting, financing, and financial planning and analysis.
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Alan and Christine Blumberg from RGB Sales and Lea Culliton (ex-HABA, ABC Kids Expo) to the show to discuss the launch of The North East Toy Show (NETS). “The Northeast connection to specialty” opens its doors in February 2024 for its inaugural show, and in this episode, the organizers delve into,,,
Moose Toys’ strategic plan attracts top industry licensing talent; Hollie Holmes joins as vice president global licensing. Moose Toys, a leading innovator in the toy industry, today announced industry veteran Hollie Holmes joins the company as vice president global licensing. She will be based out of the company’s US operation in El Segundo, Calif. beginning June 5.
Orchard Toys appointment sees apple fall close to the tree. Josh Beevor, the grandson of Orchard Toys founder Keith Harvey join the company as director and key account manager. In his new role, Josh will be working with Orchard Toys sales director Simon Prest and reporting into managing director Simon Newbery.
Toikido appoints Johnny Taylor as new chief creative officer. With an extensive background in visual development for the toy and entertainment sector, Johnny Taylor joins Toikido from previous senior creative roles with Mind Candy, King and Meta. Johnny will now play a fundamental role in further developing Toikido’s portfolio of in-house IPs, with four new and exciting toy-focused games ...
Allan Rabie joins Diamant Toys/AMAV. Allan Rabie takes up the role of head consultant of International Sales at the company, which counts Glow Pad, Keypsees and Mermaid Treasures among its top brands. Diamant Toys/AMAV has announced that Allan Rabie will be joining the company as head consultant of International Sales, a strategic move intended to strengthen Diamant’s International team.
Generation Media bolsters team with appointment of Tim Kratochvil. Generation Media has accelerated further growth in the German market with the hire of Tim Kratochvil, who joins the team as account director GAS. The newly appointed Tim Kratochvil will head up the growing German agency, Generation Media GMBH, operating out of Hamburg.
Companies and Brands
Entertainment One (eOne), Hasbro’s global entertainment studio, has announced that Peppa, her family and friends will embark on an open seas adventure in a four part Peppa Pig Cruise Special, premiering on Nick Jr. on 5th June at 7pm EST/PST. The first trailer for the special debuted on the Hasbro official YouTube channel today. The combined 20-minute Peppa Pig Cruise Special sees Peppa, George, Granny...
Mattel is experimenting with generative-artificial-intelligence tools including ChatGPT to help its cybersecurity teams, but the company’s head of cybersecurity said the risk of inaccurate results from the new technology is too great to deploy it broadly. Generative AI tools could make cyber analysts’ jobs easier by helping with tedious tasks, like parsing large datasets, freeing employees to do more pressing...
‘Unicorn Academy’ Trailer Offers Colorful First Look at Magical and Music-Filled Spin Master Adaptation. Spin Master's president of Entertainment Jen Dodge talks taking Julie Sykes' popular series from book to screen and breaks down what viewers can expect from the upcoming series with co-viewing potential.
Twitch is reversing its newly announced rules concerning the way streamers could display ads on the platform after swift backlash from streamers and content creators. On Tuesday, Twitch released new rules concerning the way streamers could display ads on the platform. The rules prohibited “burned in” video, display, and audio ads — the first two of which were popular and common formats used throughout Twitch.
***The above was posted after June 2nd***
The wait is over: Mattel has finally dropped its Barbie: The Movie collection. The collection features dolls with tons of cute outfits directly from the screen, vehicles, collectibles, and more. There are four Barbies inspired by Margot Robbie’s Barbie in the collection. The Pink Gingham Dress Barbie ($25) features an A-line dress with a sparkly belt, a daisy necklace and bracelet, and pastel pink pumps.
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+...
Gel Blaster, known for its water ball blasters, is launching Gel Blaster Portal, a wireless smart target system that brings together physical activity and app-driven gameplay. The Gel Blaster Portal’s hit-sensing technology connects real-world blaster play with a suite of online games and challenges. Users can practice accuracy, play one of the many built-in games, choose single or multiplayer game modes, or...
Hess Corp. has unveiled the release of a special edition 25th Anniversary Mini Toy Truck Collection featuring three vehicles. First introduced in 1998, the annual release of the Hess Mini is a limited-production set of highly detailed, small-scale versions of classic holiday Hess Toy Trucks. This year, the special set pays tribute to three different Hess anniversary toys: the 2014 Hess Collector’s Edition Tanker celebrating...
WHSmith and Toys “R” Us ANZ Limited have teamed up to launch nine Toys “R” Us shop-in-shops across the UK this summer. At the stores, customers will be welcomed by a life-sized Geoffrey the Giraffe 3D sculpture before discovering dedicated sections by age, interest, and category, with interactive experiences, demonstration tables, and iconic visual elements throughout.
Hamleys will be the first UK retailer to welcome limited edition 30th Anniversary Ty Beanie Babies. The original Valentino, Bongo and Bones will be available exclusively at its Regent Street store from 31st May, 2023. Hamleys recommend Ty fans to visit as early as possible to be amongst the first to own one of these iconic, relaunched editions.
LEGO partners with women football stars on Play Unstoppable campaign. Play Unstoppable is a new campaign focused on celebrating the endless potential of girls when they are given opportunities to play without limits. To help champion what girls can achieve when they have the space and freedom to play openly and fiercely, some of the biggest change makers in Women’s Football have lent their support to...
Environmentally conscious, woman owned, and mother run toys and goods company eeBoo understands that back-to-school preparation can never happen too soon. For 2023, eeBoo has curated a host of helpful and educational products for different age groups to make this school year a happy and healthy one.
Zuru releasing new X-Shot Insanity Blasters in July. ZURU, well-known for its collectible Mini Brands as well as the X-Shot Blasters, is releasing a new series of blasters this July. The X-Shot Insanity range includes four blasters, all inspired by blaster modifications people seek online. The X-Shot Insanity Manic, X-Shot Insanity Bezerko, X-Shot Insanity Mad Mega Barrel, and X-Shot Insanity Motorized Rage Fire are...
Ticket To Ride meets the Wild West in new edition. Asmodee and Days of Wonder are back with a new edition of Ticket to Ride.Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West turns players into pioneers as they build railroads across America. The game-long campaign features 12 stages where players must complete tickets and build their fortune as they go from east to west.
Bandai Namco Toys kicks off new game dimensions line with Tekken. Bandai is launching a new action figure line dedicated to gaming, with Game Dimensions, and is starting off with some iconic Tekken characters! As we look ahead to Tekken 8 this year, it makes sense the fighting franchise is the one to kick off Bandai Namco Toys’ new line-up of gaming figures.
University Games to introduce Faeries and Magical Creatures to Kickstarter in June 2023. The fascination with faeries will be coming to the board game community as University Games (under its Forbidden Games brand) launches its new Faeries & Magical Creatures board game on Kickstarter starting June 13th. According to University Games, the fast-funding initiative will accelerate the production...
Warhammer 40,000 video game Space Marine is getting a board game. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is being adapted into a board game based on the video game based on the sci-fi miniatures game based on the fantasy wargame. Yes, you read that right: Space Marine: The Board Game will adapt the 2011 third-person shooter - aka ‘Gears of Warhammer’ ...'
Cancelled Metal Gear Solid board game revived for 2024 release. A previously canceled board game for the Metal Gear series is now back in production. Aptly titled Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game, the cooperative title is making is a return after it was previously canceled back in 2021. Game publisher IDW first announced a board game based on Konami and Hideo Kojima's video game series for a 2019 release.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
10 Best Celebrity Promotions For Video Games. Over the years, plenty of high-profile celebrities have starred in ad campaigns or commercials promoting various video games. While some showcase genuine celebrity gamers, others promote in-game brand deals and features. These ten commercials starring celebrities are the most memorable and by far the most effective in terms of promotion.
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 yr. 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...
Video Games Are Finally Waking Up to Climate Change. What will games have to give up to help create a sustainable future? With a secondhand solar panel, a battery and a Raspberry Pi minicomputer, game developer Kara Stone got the server powering her games running for just a few hundred dollars. When people point out that cloudy days could leave the server unpowered and her games inaccessible, Stone says...
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar reveals first real-time strategy game Realms of Ruin, headed to PS5, Xbox and PC. Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is getting its first real-time strategy video game, Realms of Ruin. Realms of Ruin is effectively to Age of Sigmar what classic RTS series Dawn of War is to Warhammer 40,000: a video game in which the player controls various Warhammer units from a top-down perspective...
Google removes 'Slavery Simulator' game amid outrage in Brazil. Google has removed a highly controversial game called Slavery Simulator from its app store, after it caused outrage in Brazil. The app, which allowed players to "buy and sell" black characters, was launched by Magnus Games on 20 April. The game was downloaded more than 1,000 times before it was removed on Wednesday, local media reported.
Highlighted Press Releases
Watchitude’s q3 catalog has the game-changing yet stylish watch for kids that fits an Apple air tag! Specialty Retailers Know Where They’re Going And Know What To Do When They Reach ASTRA Marketplace Booth 322 For The Newest At Watchitude. With a tip of the hat to Patti LaBelle’s iconic song, there’s a new attitude at ASTRA Marketplace as retailers are on the hunt for extraordinary products to stock their shelves in Q3 and Q4 2023. Watchitude®, the art-meets-toy maker, does not disappoint with four must-have products to please picky parents and thrill the kids at their ASTRA Booth 322. From the extraordinary Tag’d Trackable Watch to a pint sized Pickleball Set, Watchitude brings the wow to the Greater Columbus Convention Center June 11-14.
Singing Machine Co., the worldwide leader in karaoke products, announces a partnership between their new CARE-eoke by Singing Machine initiative and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, with a joint mission to bring joy through music to children’s hospitals nationwide. The Ryan Seacrest Foundation has built state-of-the-art broadcast media centers, named Seacrest Studios, in 12 children’s hospitals, with two more slated to open later this year, and now they will feature official Singing Machine CARE-eoke programming for patients and their families to enjoy, as well.
***The above posted after June 2nd***
WOW! THAT’S GRANDPA READING ALOUD ACROSS THE MILES WITH JUST A STORY STICKER TAP ON STORYPOD, Recordable Stickers For Traveling Parents Or Faraway Family Just Added To Storypod’s Brain-Building Audio Library That Reimagines Once-Upon-A-Time With Audio Adventures From Birth To School Age. Miami, FL (June 1, 2023) – Once upon a time, children’s books read aloud were relegated to in-person and bedside. With Storypod ($99.99 at storypod.com or Amazon), the award-winning audio system that engages kids with multi-sensory stories, music and skill-building, kids can hear age-appropriate audio from breakfast to bedtime! Just added to Storypod’s assortment of Crafties, Tokens, Activity Cards and Audiobooks are Recordable Story Stickers (3 for $11.99). Surprise tots with a narration from Grandpa or Auntie or traveling parent.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Hazardous effects of using recycled plastics in toys and tricycles. Plastic is one of the most widely used materials in the world, and it is estimated that over 359 million metric tons of plastic were produced globally in 2018 alone. Recent research has shown that the use of recycled plastics in consumer products, including toys and food packaging, can lead to exposure to hazardous chemicals such as PFAS, phthalates, and heavy metals. A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology in 2021 found that 90% of plastic …
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
The finalists for the Origins Awards were chosen in 14 different categories. The number of categories were expanded in 2022 (see "Categories for 2022") to reflect the new board structure and membership. The winners will be announced at Origins Game Fair that occurs between June 21-25, 2023, and list of finalists in each category is as follows...
BAFTA unveils 44 talented finalists, aged between 10 and 18, who have been selected as part of this year’s BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, which has been running since 2010. BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative of public events and workshops for 10-18 year-olds, culminating in the annual YGD ceremony to celebrate finalists and winners, which will be streamed digitally on BAFTA Kids & Teens YouTube.
Apple proudly unveiled the winners of its annual Apple Design Awards, celebrating 12 best-in-class apps and games. This year’s winners, spanning development teams around the world, delivered creative and innovative apps grounded in great design. Six different categories recognize one app and game each for inclusivity, delight and fun, interaction, social impact, visuals and graphics, and innovation.
***The above posted after June 2nd***
Nominations begin for The Toy Foundation’s 2023 Toy of the Year Awards. The Oscars of the toy industry are just four months away! Nominations are now being accepted for The Toy Foundation’s (TTF) 24th Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. This year’s TOTY Awards program will honor outstanding products, properties, individuals, and campaigns across 23 categories.
Evolution PR set out to walk more than 5,000,000 steps in just one month, as part of the Toy Trust’s latest industry Big Challenge: May Mayhem. With the full team coming together to clock up this huge step count, Evolution PR is proud to report that it has not only met but smashed its target.
When you think of “war toys,” you probably wouldn’t immediately think of art pairing social commentary with play, but that’s what War Toys, a nonprofit arts and media organization, is all about. Founded by photographer Brian McCarty, the organization is “devoted to gathering and disseminating children’s firsthand accounts of war through art-therapy-based collaborations in the field.”
Spielwarenmesse’s latest networking event is happening in Offenbach, Germany, later this month. On June 21 and 22, BRANDmate, a trade fair combined with a festival, is launching its second annual event. Last year, almost 200 businesses and 450 participants celebrated the first BRANDmate. The event also focuses on different areas outside of toys and entertainment, including gaming and esports, food and drink, home, travel, sports, and fashion.
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
Lynette Crown, (30/11/1934 – 26/5/2023) - Shared by John Redenbach
The ATA recently published the sad news of the passing of Lyn Crown on Friday the 26th May.
Lyn, the dearly loved wife of the late Gerald Crown was a wonderful support to him at Crown and Andrews Pty Ltd, as well as fulfilling the role of Finance Manager. In the early days of Crown and Andrews, Lyn also visited the stores like David Jones, Grace Bros, Myers etc doing their stock re-fill orders and then coming back to the warehouse to pack and invoice the orders.
Attending the Toy Fair and the 25 Year Club function was some of the highlights for Lyn as she enjoyed catching up with friends from the toy industry. Many people within the industry became lifelong friends to Lyn even after they decided to move on.
Lyn Crown’s family would like to advise that Lyn's funeral will be held on Friday the 9th June at 10.30 am at St. Kevin’s Catholic Church 36 Hillview Road, Eastwood NSW 2122.
Following the service refreshments will be served at Wallumatta Function Centre at Macquarie Park Cemetery.
If you are unable to be at Lyn’s service you can view the service on line here.
The ATA send our condolences to Lyn’s family and friends.
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.
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- Wizards Presents 'Phandelver', 'Planescape' Plans
- Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'D&D: The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons'
- WizKids Unveils 'Pathfinder Battles: Fearsome Forces'
- Wizards Deals 'The Deck of Many Things'
- Giants Headed for 'Icons of the Realms'
- 'Ticket to Ride' Becomes 'Legends of the West'
- Mike Rayhawk's 'BrikWars' Heads to Retail
- Games Workshop Unveils new 'Warhammer 40,000' Miniatures Blind Boxes
- ICv2 Exclusive: WizKids Announces 'HeroClix Starter Set' Retailer Preorder Program
- Rolling for Initiative: Giants and Dragons and Decks, Oh My!
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News Flash: Four Corners Released, Challengers 2 Announced
Calliope Games has released Four Corners, Z-Man Games has announced a sequel to Challengers!, and Days of Wonder has announced a Ticket to Ride legacy game.
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