the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Nov. 13 - 20, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted each day with newest articles 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! 

TONIGHT!!! Move over Oscars, Emmys and CMA! The Toy & Game International Excellence Awards are taking the VIRTUAL center stage! This is a must attend event to celebrate your fellow toy industry colleagues at the 13th annual TAGIE Awards and after-party, POP's Got Talent! 

Over the course of 90 minutes, Karri Bean (Disney) will guide us through some “high-flying” acts and never-before-seen stunts… all in the name of FUN! Plus, we’ll see which of your industry colleagues will take home a coveted TAGIE Award! 

 

Jesse Falcon (Marvel) will introduce Keynote JoAnn McLaughlin (Disney).  We’ll be honoring Erno Rubik, the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Inventors Norman and Arlene Fabricant will be honored for Celebration of Life and Lifetime Achievement. The Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award will remember Alan Roach. 

 

Immediately following the show, stay tuned for the after party, POP’s Got Talent, hosted by the Fuhrer Brothers! You'll witness your industry peers share their extraordinary hidden talents. 

 

And, for even more fun, join us in our networking rooms where you can watch the TAGIEs with friends and colleagues. We’ve named them for some of your favorite toys like the Hatchimals, Jenga, Magic Tooth Fairy, Uno, Ex Libris, Exploding Kittens, Smart Ass, and Wagon Room. Mingle with your friends and colleagues by visiting each room/table with just one click! 

See You Tonight! 

Mary

Toy Industry Legends: The Fabricants: A Force in the Toy Industry and Beyond by Robert Schwartzman

I recently told Norman Fabricant that he and his wife, Arlene were a “Force” in the toy industry and in the lives of many of us lucky enough to know them. In his characteristic humility, he felt that word was hyperbole. How could two people, each of them 5’3” tall on a good day, and lacking the flashiness of say, a Jedi Master, be called a force? It’s a reasonable question.

 

Here’s the answer: They are a team of giants.

 

Let’s start with the word “team”. Of course, Arlene and Norman possess individual traits and talents all their own, but to know them was to know them as a team. Not since calling my parents from college have I experienced speaking to any couple simultaneously on two different land-line extensions. Whoever answered the phone immediately called out to the other, and before you knew it, you had two of the most loving, caring, interesting people to speak to, learn from, and share with. They quickly became my toy industry “aunt and uncle”. And then more. Quick to celebrate a success, lament a setback, and selflessly offer advice…much of which continues to resonate.

 

Being with them in person was even more exciting. First of all, the smiles that you could “hear” through the phone now beamed right in front of you. They were tireless in their energy to go anywhere, regardless of what time of night or how far a drive. They knew all the cool places in New York City, and the three of us would waltz into one hot spot after another. And then the conversations would begin. Their tireless energy was matched only by their tireless curiosity. They were eager to explore any topic, share opinions, ask insightful questions, and then connect to stories in their own life.  Read More...

One Registration Gives You: Int'l Innovation Summit, TAGIEs, POP's Got Talent, 1 yr POPPro Membership.

All Events Package Gives You:

  • All panels are recorded - watch on demand! International Innovations Summit with more than 35 panels and more Presidents than the US has had since 1776! Almost 200 speakers from over 20 countries and opportunities to network virtually.

  • Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIEs) have stunts, animations, heartwarming segments - sold gold entertainment. 

  • POP's Got Talent - You'll witness your colleagues doing death defying stunts! 

  • One year membership to POPPro platform. The network where you can find people, products and companies and they can find you. Think IMDb+Linkedin+Match.com

  • $350/single ticket, $1000/everyone at your company

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Rise in shoppers planning to stay local this year, as “support for indies has never been so important” With the Prime Minister’s confirmation that all non-essential shops will be able to reopen across England when the nation-wide lockdown lifts on December 2nd playing like music to many a retailer’s ears amid the essential Christmas shopping period, independent toy shops are rallying the message that...

Amazon announces plans to delay Black Friday in France It is hoped that the move will give local shopkeepers in France who currently remain in a national lockdown a sales boost ahead of Christmas. The online retail giant, alongside other leading French retailers like Carrefour, will now not launch any Black Friday sales until 4th December, when stores impacted by the national lockdown will be open again.

(the above posted after November 20th)

Small US toy stores concerned for their future  Offering a US perspective on the effects of the pandemic, a report from CNN Business highlights the plight of independent toy retailers across America. Nearly half of 1,800 independent toy store and gift boutique owners surveyed between September 19th and October 27th say they are worried that takings this holiday season will not be enough to enable them to stay in...

BTHA and TRA write Boris Johnson open letter calling for toy retailers to be deemed essential With England well into its second week of lockdown, anger continues to grow among specialist independent toy retailers forced to shutter during peak season. As it stands, lockdown guidelines will keep these stores closed until 2nd December, leading to fears of a rush on shops and untenable demands on couriers and...

Andy Heyward, Harold Chizick Talk Genius Brands' Acquisition of ChizComm Ltd, ChizComm Beacon Media

In a deal that culminated this past weekend following seven weeks of negotiations and planning, Genius Brands — the global brand management and multimedia licensing powerhouse behind the recently launched Kartoon Channel!, Rainbow Rangers, and Llama Llama — acquired North...

Capcom hack: Up to 350,000 people's information stolen. Video-game-maker Capcom has warned a ransomware attack might have compromised gamers' personal information. Up to 350,000 people could be affected, it said, and some of its own financial information had been stolen.

Epic Games files against Apple Australia. Epic Games has upped the ante in its ongoing fight with Apple by filing specifically against its Australian arm. As with the lawsuit already filed in California, Epic is arguing Apple's prevention of alternative payment systems that do not include the 30% commission it takes on all transactions through the App Store is anti-competitive.

Embracer Group acquires 13 studios. Having already made an impressive number of acquisitions over the last few years, this morning Embracer Group announced it has purchased 13 more studios. The company, which owns publishers THQ Nordic and Koch Media, revealed the new acquisitions alongside its financial results for the first half of the fiscal year.

Thunderful acquires long-time LittleBigPlanet collaborator Station Interactive. Thunderful has fully acquired Swedish developer Station Interactive (a.k.a. 'The Station') for an undisclosed fee. The deal will see all 35 Station employees, along with the studio's intellectual property rights, be incorporated into Thunderful's development subsidiary.

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Activision Blizzard, Glu Mobile, Mattel, JAKKS Pacific and ...

(the above posted after November 20th)

Video game sales breaking records . . . ICv2 White Paper - State of the Hobby Games Market

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Mattel (MAT) Up 16.4% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

(the above posted after November 20th)

Rubik's Cube And Spin Master: A $50 Million Deal With Endless Possibilities . . . Introducing Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), A Stock That Climbed 17% In The Last Five Years . . . Funko CEO on COVID-19 impact to the toy industry . . . Spin Master Corp (SNMSF) CEO Ronnen Harary on Q3 2020 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Financial Reporting . . .  

Disney has released its full-year and Q4 2020 results, reporting total revenue decreases of 6% and 23%, respectively. The company attributes the drop almost entirely to the pandemic and its effect on all lines of business. The parks, experiences and products segment alone suffered a US$6.9-billion loss this year because of COVID-19. Overall, Disney is reporting that it lost US$7.4 billion this year because of the... 

Unity shares first earnings following IPO with $201 million in Q3 revenueUnity has just reported its financials for Q3, in its first public financials reporting following a successful IPO that saw it valued at $13.7 billion. The company posted revenue of $201 million for the quarter, up 53% year-over-year, and a loss from operations of $141 million, or 71% of total revenue.

Target Corporation reports third quarter earnings. Target Corporation today announced its third quarter 2020 financial results, which reflected continued, robust growth in both sales and profitability. The Company reported third quarter GAAP earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations of $2.01, up 46.3 percent from $1.37 in 2019.

Wizard revenues decline 79%Wizard Brands reported a 79% decline in revenues in Q3, from $2.83 million in Q3 2019 to $601,042 in Q3 2020, as its convention revenue dropped to zero with no live events produced in the period.  What revenues were generated in the period were from virtual events and e-commerce.

Embracer Group H1 sales up 132% to $524.2m. Embracer Group has released its latest financial results, showing growth across the board. For the first half of the financial year, Embracer reported net sales of SEK 4.5 billion ($524.2 million), up 85% over the previous year. Of this, games represented SEK 3.1 billion ($361 million).

Paradox reports record quarterly revenues as Crusader Kings III sales top 1 million. Swedish publisher Paradox has reported record quarterly revenues thanks, in part, to the successful launch of Crusader Kings III, which amassed over 1 million sales in one month.

According to the company's interim report for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, revenues increased by 75 percent year-on-year to SEK....

As lockdowns lift, Tencent gaming revenues continue to rise. Tencent's online games portfolio continued to grow the company's revenue in Q3 of 2020, without major fall-off from lifted lockdowns worldwide following pandemic-related gaming surges. Company-wide, revenue reached RMB 125 billion ($18.4 billion) for the quarter, up 29% year-over-year.

Lockdown surge sees first half profits soar at B&MDiscount retailer B&M Home Stores has seen its pre-tax profits nearly double in the six months to 26th September, as they soared 95% to £296m. UK revenues are up +30%. Classed as an essential retailer, B&M was allowed to remain open throughout the first national lockdown.

Future Financial Reporting... 

Amazon and Apple eye historic $100 billion in holiday quarter. The holiday season could be historic for two of the stock market’s biggest names, with sales that are expected to surpass a milestone that has rarely been reached in Wall Street history. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. are each expected to report revenue above $100 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 …

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

Catalogues make comeback in UK due to pandemic Catalogues are making a comeback as retailers recognise the benefit of directly showcasing offering to consumers at home. There has been an increase in catalogues being delivered to homes this year as brands go beyond digital ads and emails to offer attractive photography and detailed descriptions of products to potential shoppers, all grouped under...

Can't Find A Chess Set? You Can Thank 'The Queen's Gambit' For That Who could've predicted chess sets might become as difficult to find as toilet paper during the early weeks of the pandemic? Not Gerrick Johnson. The toy analyst with BMO Capital Markets found himself stymied while searching for a particular Cardinal chess set a few weeks ago. "It was sold out everywhere I went," he says. Sales of chess sets have skyrocketed, says Mary Higbe, director of marketing at Goliath Games. 

(the above posted after November 20th)

John Baulch ToyWorld (UK) - It’s not fair …it’s the Friday Blog!  Lockdown 1 was largely characterized by a coming together of the UK community in the face of adversity, a collective camaraderie aimed at defeating an unknown enemy. Many people talked about ‘Blitz Spirit’, even though they weren’t even born then. Lockdown 2 definitely feels different: people are quite understandably starting to feel a little tetchy, and... 

Jenga finally ascends into toy hall of fame.  It is not easy to get into the US National Toy Hall of Fame. The first time Leslie Scott heard rumours her invention had been nominated she knew her chances were slim. That time, she believes, she was up against the undisputed king of imaginative childhood play: the cardboard box. Leslie Scott invented the game when she was 18

TIME Magazine - The best toys of 2020 perfectly encapsulate this year’s events—from Monopoly House Divided, a state-of-the-nation take on the classic board game, to Playmobil’s Large Hospital play set, which introduces kids to what goes on inside a hospital. Other top toys serve as an escape from the chaos of 2020—think drawing with chocolate, creating illuminated woodland creatures and training a quirky robotic balloon...

Christmas toys might be rationed in the UKExperts have warned that a combination of an increase in online ordering, Covid lockdown and staff shortages could mean there will be a shortage of supplies and delay in deliveries in the run-up to Christmas 2020. It comes as Lego have revealed they have to ration supplies as stock in shops is running low.

Swarovski-covered American Girl dolls are up for auction. Mattel and American Girl are teaming up with Swarovski to auction off one-of-a-kind collector dolls covered in thousands of Swarovski crystals this holiday season. The bidding for each American Girl Collector doll starts at $5,000, with 100% of net proceeds going to the First Responders Children’s Foundation.

1970 Pontiac Trans Am becomes the 2020 Hot Wheels Legends Tour winner. Mattel recently announced the 2020 winner of the third annual Hot Wheels Legends Tour– a 1970 Pontiac Trans Am custom car, built by Riley Stair of Sacramento. It will be inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends and will join the Hot Wheels collection as a 1:64 scale die-cast toy.

‘Insatiable demand’: Canadian toy retailers brace for busy holiday season amid coronavirus. Since lockdowns last spring, parents have scooped up “boredom busters” like puzzles, Lego, arts and crafts supplies, board games and outdoor activities. Now retailers are expecting that trend to hold up during the biggest gift giving season of the year.

Lockdown 2 – what’s next? Retailers warn of supply chain problemsRetail chief executives and the BRC have joined forces to warn the government of long-lasting damage to high street retail if the government decides not to end the second lockdown on December 2nd. The Entertainer’s Gary Grant has also told the media that there “is not enough delivery capacity”  should the current four-week lockdown in England...

Desperate Glasgow shoppers queue up to buy toys for Christmas ahead of Tier 4 lockdown. Desperate shoppers are queueing up to buy Christmas toys in Glasgow as the city prepares to go into Tier Four lockdown this week. Nicola Sturgeon announced eleven local authorities will move into near-lockdown on Friday at 6pm for three weeks.

Amazon opens 'made in India' toy store amid Centre's self-reliance mission. In line with government's "Atmanirbhar Bharat" vision, Amazon India on Wednesday launched a toy store where sellers from 15 Indian states will showcase thousands of unique toys across categories like traditional, handmade and educational. The launch of the "made in India" toy store could help local manufacturers to take on the deluge of...

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Numbers Up from Milton Bradley (1978). “Today is Thursday, the day Johnny’s mother works late.”

Bowl-A-Tron 300 Automatic Bowling Game from Hasbro (1962)The Bowl-A-Tron 300 Automatic Bowling Game from Hasbro brought the fun of bowling into homes. Released in 1962, the sizeable tabletop game was touted for its “in-home bowling realism.”

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Melissa & Doug lands ‘largest licensing deal ever’ for PAW Patrol and Blue’s Clues & You toy rangesMelissa and Doug, has signed an exclusive licensing partnership with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to develop and launch a range of PAW Patrol and Blue’s Clues & You co-branded toys for autumn next year. The toys will be designed to educate and empower pre-schoolers through active engagement, with a focus...

Bulldog Adds ‘Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese’ to Roster. Bulldog Licensing will be creating a licensing program for the show Cloudo Entertainment series “Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese” on CBBC. Bulldog and Cloudco are discussing the property with potential partners across children’s apparel, accessories, publishing, puzzles and games …

Jakks Pacific teams up with Blue Plate Media Services. Jakks Pacific is consolidating its global media planning and buying business across North America and EMEA under a new pact with Blue Plate Media Services (BPMS). The Santa Monica, California-based toymaker will utilize BPMS’ services to market its full portfolio of toys, including those based on Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. and SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

CMON adds two Warner Bros. animation licenses. CMON will release new games based on Warner Bros. animation properties Looney Tunes and Teen Titans GO!.  The company announced a new game based on Warner Bros.' Scooby-Doo property in May.

E-Blox taps Universal Branding and Media to build licensing program. Illinois-based E-Blox inked a deal with Universal Branding and Media (UBM) in an effort to extend its growing line of STEM-authenticated toys through licensing. Launched in 2016 by Art Seymour and his sons, James and Joe, E-Blox produces a wide array of building sets comprised of plug-together bricks and modules that kids can use to create functional...

Surge Licensing to develop consumer products program based on Diane Alber Kids’ books. Independent author and illustrator Diane Alber appointed Surge Licensing to develop a full consumer products program inspired by her Amazon chart-topping kids’ books. Under the new deal, Surge will look to license Alber’s popular characters, including Scribble, Little Spot, and Unicorn.

Jazwares to produce ‘Do, Re & Mi’ toy line. Jazwares will create a toy line inspired by Amazon Studios and Gaumont’s “Do, Re & Mi,” an upcoming animated series for preschoolers that follows the musical adventures of three best birdie buddies.

YWOW Games continues mission to ‘revolutionise the puzzles market’ with new Mentos license. YWOW Games, an up and coming games and puzzles company on a mission to ‘revolutionise the market’ by combining global household brands with collectable jigsaw puzzles, has expanded its best-selling range through a new partnership with the confectionery brand, Perfetti Van Melle.

PUMA and L.O.L. Surprise! unveil new sneaker lineL.O.L. Surprise! fans will walk with a little more pep in their step this holiday season as MGA Entertainment, and global sports company PUMA announced today a new sneaker and apparel collection that will be available at Kids Foot Locker and PUMA stores nationwide beginning Nov. 20.

Redwoodventures inks global licensing deal with Moonlite WorldThe popular line of Moonlite story projectors has a new home. RedwoodVentures, the maker of toy lines such as Smoothy Mushy, Lil’ Fishys, and GoGoGochas, inked a global licensing deal with Moonlite World Inc. to take the reins on production and distribution of the Moonlite brand and its mobile phone storytime projectors.

 

People . . . 

Warner Bros. promotes two kids and family execs Amy Friedman takes charge of kids and family strategy, with Sundance Feniger leading digital enterprise efforts.

(the above posted after November 20th)

Catherine Frymark joins Mattel as executive vice president, corporate communications. Next month, Catherine Frymark will step into the role of executive vice president, corporate communications, for which she will oversee internal and external communications on a global level. Additionally, she will oversee Mattel’s philanthropic efforts, including the Mattel Children’s Foundation.

Mattel welcomes new head of global CP Former Peanuts Worldwide EVP Rosalind Nowicki has been appointed head of global consumer products and franchise marketing for the toymaker. Nowicki now reports to president and COO Richard Dickson. She joined the Mattel team from Peanuts Worldwide, where she served as an EVP with responsibility for licensing, promotions, partnerships, location-based entertainment...

Companies . . . 

Hasbro makes some noise with Peppa PigHasbro is launching a series of Peppa Pig audio stories on digital streaming platforms including Amazon Prime, Apple Music and Spotify. The 10 stories are inspired by some of the show’s most popular episodes, with titles including “Whistling,” “Nursery Rhymes” and “Pirate Treasure.” Beginning today, two English-language episodes will bow every two weeks, and they’ll be available globally.

Hasbro Unveils New GI JOE: CLASSIFIED Action Figures for Flint and Lady Jaye  Hasbro has revealed two new G.I. Joe: Classified action figures, and they include Flint and Lady Jaye. This G.I. Joe Classified Series 6-Inch Lady Jaye Action Figure comes ready for action, with multiple points of articulation for high poseability and character-inspired accessories.

Mattel's Hot Wheels Open World Has Launched On Roblox Now you can race with some of your favorite cars in Roblox, courtesy of Mattel. "We're incredibly excited to bring Hot Wheels to life for millions of fans around the world on Roblox. The Roblox platform unlocks digital experimentation and play, which are core to the Hot Wheels brand," said Andrew Chan, Head of Digital Gaming at Mattel.

(the above posted after November 20th)

Zuru’s Dino-themed toys stampede into retail for the holidays. ZURU unleashed three lines of dinosaur-themed toys that offer unique ways for kids to explore their creativity with unboxing, surprises, robo-technology, and more. According to ZURU, sales for the entire Smashers line are up 98% this holiday season, so consumers should act fast to catch these ferocious toys that are perfect for any dino-lover.

Barbie toy sales surge as new content is released on Netflix, the NPD Group says. The second-season Netflix release of "Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures" in March 2020, and the movie, "Barbie Princess Adventure," in September 2020, have lifted the number of hours watched of all Barbie releases on Netflix through September. Toy sales have followed suit.

Playmonster and Quinn & Sherry launch ‘Things’ app for Thanksgiving. Playmonster and Quinn & Sherry — creators of the party game Things — are making social distancing easier this Thanksgiving with the launch of the Things mobile app. The app features a Thanksgiving edition with an autumn backdrop, silly avatars, and 24 Thanksgiving-themed topics.

LEGO unveils its new “extreme to the core” LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR. The LEGO Group has revealed its new LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR, an 830-piece model of the real-life sportscar and the first McLaren supercar to be recreated in LEGO Technic form. Designed to ‘provide the ultimate building thrill for those aged ten and upwards,’ the LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR comes with authentic features.

Panini to launch Kid-E-Cats stickers and trading cards across the UK and EuropeThe popular pre-school animated series, Kid-E-Cats is making its way to the collectables space thanks to a new pan-European partnership between the brand’s owner CTC Media and the stickers and trading cards specialist, Panini.

Feed Baby Yoda's insatiable appetite with new 'Pop! Deluxe Star Wars' figure set. Funko, Inc. has announced The Child with Egg Canister, a Pop! Deluxe Star Wars figure set, for release in February 2021. The Child is constantly hungry, and the endless hunt for amphibian-like species continues on every planet he stops on.

Wizkids announced 'D&D Icons Of The Realms Miniatures: Boneyard'. WizKids announced D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Boneyard, a new set of pre-painted miniatures, for release in March 2021. The Boneyard will be the eighteenth set release for the D&D Icons of the Realms miniatures line.

‘John Deere Kids’ brings farm toys to YouTube. Farming play is back in a big way, and John Deere is aiming to connect with the next generation of agriculture enthusiasts by rolling out some down-home content where the kids of today are most likely to connect with it: YouTube. Featuring toys from TOMY, longtime makers of Ertl and John Deere Kids toys …

Mattel to launch Barbie Extra next month. Mattel is set to launch a brand-new line for the iconic Barbie brand in December. Barbie Extra lets girls dial up their self-expression through fashion, by showing them anyone can be a trendsetter. Suitable for ages 3 years and above, the new dolls are posable, with 11 points of articulation and come with 15 premium accessory pieces. Every doll in the new range includes ‘extra’ pets...

‘Uno Game Show’ In Works From Mattel, Propagate & ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ Showrunner John Quinn. Card game Uno is set to be adapted as a television game show after toy company Mattel teamed with Propagate Content and Let’s Make a Deal showrunner John QuinnThe Uno Game Show is part of a new slate of unscripted shows being developed by Mattel Television, the production arm of the toy manufacturer. 

HASBRO TRIPLE-THREAT FAN FIRST FRIDAY BRINGS TRANSFORMERS, STAR WARS ... It will be a Target exclusive and will be available to preorder later today. Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky, but that certainly isn’t the case today — at least not for collectors! Hasbro Pulse hosted a Fan First Friday of epic proportions, with three half-hour livestreams that featured product reveals from TransformersStar Wars...

Hasbro’s NERF strikes social media campaign with Premier League’s Arsenal and ChelseaHasbro has secured a ‘media first’ collaboration between NERF and the Premier League football clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea in a new campaign to support the launch of its NERF Ultra One Blaster.

Asmodee and Catan Studios celebrate 25 years of tabletop title that ‘gave way to modern games renaissance’. Asmodee and Catan Studios have marked a quarter of a century of the tabletop title Catan with the launch of a special, 25th Anniversary Edition, a roll-out that includes a five to six player extension, custom dice, iridescent player pieces and more.

Fifi the Flossing Sloth and Frankie the Funky Flamingo Join ZURU Pets Alive Brand. Get ready to floss like a boss with Fifi the Flossing Sloth, one of several new additions to ZURU’s best-selling Pets Alive brand. Following the massive excitement and reception of last year’s award-winning Boppi The Booty Shakin’ Llama, three distinctly unique dancing animals are strutting to retail shelves in time for the holiday shopping season.

Lego to launch largest ever brick set to date on Black FridayThis Black Friday, Lego fans can re-create Rome’s most iconic landmark, with the new Lego Colosseum set. Made up of 9,036 pieces, this is not only the largest Lego brick set launched to date (taking the title from the Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon)

Wow! Stuff sees sell-out success of Wow! Pods before its first TV ad spot lands. Wow! Stuff’s character brand collectable range, Wow! Pods has struck sell-out success in less than four weeks since its UK launch across Amazon and other retailers, making it the company’s ‘fastest-selling toy range to date.’

Zombies, Werewolves, and Wraiths hit the 'Blood Bowl' gridironGames Workshop announced the Necromantic Horror Team: The Wolfenburg Crypt-Stealers, for Blood Bowl Second Season Edition, which will release on November 27. The Necromancers of Sylvania have made dark pacts with Ghouls, Wraiths, and Werewolves, and entered into Blood Bowl as coaches.

Asmodee Canada gets exclusive on Repos. Asmodee Canada will become the exclusive distributor of games from Repos Production, including 7 Wonders, Time’s Up!, and Just One, on January 2, 2021, the company announced.  This expands the global relationship between the Asmodee Group and Repos Production.

Race worms to the edge in 'Labyrinth: Ready, Steady, Worm!' River Horse announced Labyrinth: Ready, Steady, Worm!, a fantasy racing game, for release in 2021. This new fantasy racing game, which is part of River Horse's Jim Henson's Labyrinth brand line of game, explores one of the grand pastimes of the Labyrinth, worm racing.

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

Activision Blizzard laying off staff at Asia-Pacific offices. Activision Blizzard is preparing to lay off another 100 employees following the closure of its Versailles office in October. As reported by MCV,  one source familiar with the matter said the Call of Duty publisher will close more offices in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service launches on iOS as a web app. Nvidia is joining its fellow cloud gaming providers in choosing to bypass Apple’s App Store and launching a mobile web app version of its GeForce Now service. Nvidia’s version is available today in beta form, meaning any of the service’s more than 5 million registered users can fire up GeForce Now in mobile Safari on an iPhone or iPad.

Nintendo issues new Animal Crossing guidelines to keep politics out of the gameNintendo wants Animal Crossing: New Horizons users to keep politics out of the cushy capitalism simulator, and has released a new set of guidelines to help businesses and organizations play within the rules.

The Last of Us Part II and Hades lead The Game Awards 2020 nominations. Nearly 100 games have been nominated for honors in this year's The Game Awards showcase, an all-digital awards show scheduled to take place on December 10, 2020. As with past years, The Game Awards sets out to highlight stand out games released over the last year.

Iron Galaxy Studios names new co-CEO, communications headChicago-based Iron Galaxy Studios has lightly reshuffled its leadership team, and added a new name to that roster in doing so. The studio announced today that COO Chelsea Blasko has been tapped to step into the co-CEO role alongside existing CEO Adam Boyes.

Survey finds growing harassment among US gamers. Harassment is a growing problem for gamers, according to a recent report published by the Anti-Defamation League in collaboration with market research firm Newzoo. In July, Newzoo polled a nationally representative group of more than 1,000 US gamers between the ages of 18 and 45 …

COVID-19 expected to boost investment in esportsThe third annual esports survey from law firm Foley & Lardner and The Esports Observer highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic represented an opportunity for esports. The survey gathered answers come from 255 esports executives between September and October 2020.

Nintendo suing yet another Switch hack resellerNintendo has taken legal action against another reseller of products that enable Switch owners to play pirated games. Its target this time is Amazon seller Le Hoang Minh, which it reports has been selling a circumvention device known as the RCM Loader that enables people to "jailbreak" the Switch.

Hitman developers are working on a James Bond game. IO Interactive, the developer behind the Hitman series, is working on a James Bond video game, it announced today. The news came with a short teaser today for “Project 007,” a new game coming to “a console and computer screen near you.”

Fortnite is getting in-game video chat. Soon, you’ll be able to see your friends while you play Fortnite together online. Epic is adding a new video chat feature to the battle royale game, where players can see livefeeds of their friends inside the game. Initially, the feature will only be available on PC, PS4, and PS5.

Razer’s Wolverine V2 is like a lower-cost Xbox Elite controller. Razer has announced a new version of its Wolverine wired controller that’s made specifically for the Xbox Series X / S, with support for Xbox One and PC. It’s called the Wolverine V2.

Apple will halve App Store platform fees for smaller developers in 2021. Apple is halving its iOS platform fees to 15 percent from 30 percent for smaller developers through a new initiative called the App Store Small Business Program. As of January 1, 2021, developers who earned under $1 million in revenue during the last fiscal year will qualify for the reduced rates.

VR dev Resolution Games kicks off push into publishing with Odd Raven deal. Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs dev Resolution Games is moving into the game publishing business, and has signed a deal with fellow VR developer Odd Raven Studios to get that ball rolling. Resolution Games has signed on to publish Odd Raven's first title Carly and the Reaperman for the Oculus Quest.

Fall Guys has sold over 10 million copies on Steam. Fall Guys sold over 10 million copies on Steam alone within two months of launch. Unity quietly broke the news in its fiscal report for the quarter ended September 30.

Microsoft says Xbox Series X might be in short supply until April or beyondThe Xbox Series X and S launched last week, but if you weren’t lucky enough to have a pre-order or snag one of the few launch-day units, you might be waiting until next year — that’s when there might be enough Xbox supply to easily pick up a new console off the shelf, according to a top Xbox exec.

Epic Games acquires real-time animation firm Hyprsense. Real-time animation company Hyprsense announced it's been acquired by Epic Games. Hyprsense will collaborate with Epic's development teams, as well as 3Lateral and Cubic Motion, to build "new and better tools and systems for developers and players alike," the announcement said.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla debuts with record launch week sales for the franchiseAssassin's Creed Valhalla's launch has made the biggest splash sales-wise of any Assassin's Creed game in the series' 13-year history. Ubisoft confirmed today that the latest game, which launched on November 10, has sold through more copies in its first seven days than any previous Assassin's Creed title at launch.

Genshin Impact was the top-grossing mobile game worldwide in OctoberGenshin Impact was the highest-grossing mobile game across the App Store and Google Play for the month of October, according to Sensor Tower. According to the analytics group, Genshin Impact brought in nearly $239 million in player spending for the month

Nintendo’s new Game & Watch handheld proves the company goes its own way. The new Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is an exceptionally cute piece of hardware. It’s modeled after the classic Game & Watch handheld — the precursor to the Game Boy — with a color scheme inspired by the original Japanese Famicom console. In terms of functionality, the device is incredibly straightforward.

Video games 'good for well-being', says University of Oxford study. People who play video games for long periods of time tend to report feeling happier than those who do not, a study has indicated. The Oxford Internet Institute research focused on two games: Nintendo's Animal Crossing and EA's Plants vs Zombies.

Microsoft to begin testing Project xCloud in new regions including Australia and Japan. Microsoft will begin testing xCloud game streaming in major new territories including Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico later this month. As detailed on the Xbox blog, the company will launch the Project xCloud Preview program in all four regions on November 18.

FIFA 21 debuts at No.1 in the US for October in a first for the franchiseIn the month before the new console generation, games hardware and accessories spending nonetheless saw new records set in the US. Total games spending for October reached $3.8 billion, up 14% year-over-year, according to The NPD Group.

Switch sets new October sales record in the U.S. as next-gen arrives. As Sony and Microsoft debut their next-gen consoles, the Nintendo Switch just posted its best October sales to date in the United States. According to NPD numbers reported by Nintendo, the Switch and Switch Lite sold a combined 735,926 units in the U.S. during October, which represents year-on-year sales growth of 136 percent.

Ghost of Tsushima has topped 5 million sales in under four months. Ghost of Tsushima has sold over 5 million copies in under four months, according to PlayStation Worldwide Studios boss Hermen Hulst. It's a milestone that means Sucker Punch's samurai adventure is the fastest-selling first party original PS4 game in history.

Zynga opens Austin studio to work on upcoming Star Wars project. Zynga has opened new development studio in Austin, Texas, to work on an upcoming mobile game set in the Star Wars universe.  The fledgling outfit will be led by industry veterans Jeff Hickman and Matthew Hemby.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Dangerous toys: 12 tips to make sure children's Christmas gifts are safe. Over the past year, tests by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) have found 86 per cent of the toys bought from online marketplaces were illegal to sell in the UK as they failed to comply with UK toy safety requirements, and 60 per cent were unsafe for children to play with.

Hazardous children's toys that you should look out forToys are one of the most popular gifts this holiday season, and most children around the world are hoping to make it to the nice list this year to receive a present. However, there are children's toys that did not make it to the nice list this year according to the 35th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report of the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

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Press Releases . . .

TEEN INVENTOR PUTS HIS FINGER ON THE SEASON’S HOTTEST TOY AND IT’S UNDER $10! Everyone Is Talking About The Pocket-Sized Yo Ring That Sails Through The Air And, Eventually, Lands On Your Finger. Kaysville, Utah (November 17, 2020) — Move over boomerang, yo-yo and frisbee– there’s a new areo-dynamic toy that kids can’t resist flinging and catching. Yo Ring, priced at just $7.25, is a palm-sized silicone disc that resembles a donut. This interactive toy gets kids off the couch and moving while defying gravity.

BriteBrush™ is the Perfect Stocking Stuffer To Guarantee Bright Smiles this Holiday Season. BriteBrush™, winner of three top parenting awards, is making smiles merry and bright this holiday. Perfectly stocking-sized and priced under $20, BriteBrush™ gives kids a fun way to brush their teeth right out of the box, with no apps required, by using songs, games and live coaching to encourage proper brushing techniques and...

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

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

2020 Toy & Game International Innovation Summit: Day Three Recap. Day three of the annual weeklong Toy & Game International Innovation Summit focused on entertainment tie-ins within the toy, game, and play industries.

2020 Toy & Game International Innovation Summit: Day Two Recap. Day two of the annual weeklong Toy & Game International Innovation Summit organized by People of Play (formerly Chicago Toy & Game Group) focused on the retail side of the toy, game, and play industries.

Mums Choice Awards results announced. UKMums.TV has announced the winners of the Mums Choice Awards 2020. Now in its sixth year, the Mums Choice Awards programme is designed to give mums a clear insight into what products in the market are favoured by their peers.

2020 Toy & Game International Innovation Summit: Day One Recap. A powerhouse roster of keynote speakers and industry panelists kicked off the annual Toy & Game International Innovation Summit on Monday, November 16. View the full Summit agenda.

Obituaries - Remembering Those that have Passed....

Jimmy Hunter, the founder of Hunter Toys, passed away on November 14th, 2020. Jimmy took on the role of BTHA Chairman from 2000-2002 and was heavily involved for many years with both Toy Fair and the BTHA’s ‘Value of Play’ initiatives. He was the champion for Total Fun, the consumer event held in the early 2000s, while he was also the brainchild behind the longstanding Golden Teddy awards. His daughter Sally Hunter, who has followed in Jimmy’s footsteps by building a long and successful career the toy trade, told Toy World: “The fact that the Golden Teddy awards are still being presented so many years later gives me goosebumps.

Simon Holdsworth, Managing Director at Thos Holdsworth & Sons Ltd, passed away on November 14th, 2020. "Many of our staff have worked alongside Simon for more than 20 years.  Words like mentor, great boss, good friend, awesome storyteller, gregarious, quick witted, dynamic, proud, demanding, knowledgeable and tireless are just some of their comments.  He is, and always will be our champion!  Our legacy for Simon is to keep the company running smoothly and exemplify the excellence that he demanded from us each and every day.  There will be many memories, and no doubt a number of stories from your time spent with Simon, perhaps encouraged by his favourite tipple of a G&T or a wee glass of Grand Marnier!  In the coming weeks, I hope that we get the chance to remember the good times and raise a glass in his honour." - Fleur Tisdale, 

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

  1. Smashers Dino Ice Age Surprise Joins More Dino Toys from ZURU at Retail

  2. Jazwares to Produce Toy Line for Do, Re & Mi Animated Series

  3. JAKKS Pacific Inc. Announces Blue Plate Media as Global Media Agency Partner

  4. Kess Introduces De.Bored Puzzles

  5. Genius Brands International Acquires Canada’s ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media

  6. Endless Games Builds on its Puzzle Line

  7. Universal Branding & Media and E-Blox Build Licensing Partnership

  8. Sutikki Announces Partnerships with Kids Industries, The Point.1888, and Rock Hill Media 

  9. Chuggington Series Heads to Europe

  10. Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Irregular Choice Collaborate on Footwear Line

ToyWorld (UK)         

  1. It’s not fair …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Lockdown 2 – what’s next? Retailers warn of supply chain problems

  3. BTHA and TRA write Boris Johnson open letter calling for toy retailers to be deemed essential

  4. Will Black Friday 2020 live up to expectations?

  5. Midco owner video highlighting indies’ frustration at lockdown inconsistencies goes viral

  6. Obituary: Jimmy Hunter

  7. Mattel to launch Barbie Extra next month

  8. Wow! Pods a sell-out success in the UK following launch

  9. The Range reveals plans to launch online marketplace

  10. WarnerMedia EMEA announces UK & Ireland leadership team

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US)

  1. 'Star Wars' Miniatures Games Development Moves from Fantasy Flight Games to Atomic Mass Games!
  2. Games Workshop Teases 'Warhammer 40,000 Battleforce' Boxes
  3. Rolling for Initiative -- Asmodee's MAP Holiday
  4. Cryptozoic Entertainment Releases New Info About 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Board Game'
  5. WizKids Announced 'D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Boneyard'
  6. Atomic Mass Games Open to Making Changes to the 'Star Wars' Miniatures Lines
  7. Retailer Strategies for Building Community During COVID
  8. WizKids Announces Two New '4D Settings War Machines' Sets
  9. Wizards of the Coast Unveils the 2020 'Magic: The Gathering' Holiday Promo Card
10. ICv2 White Paper - State of the Hobby Games Market

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month 

1. Iconic: MinaLima, the graphic design duo of the Harry Potter movies, opens up about the look and feel of the franchise

2. Kids Design Award Germany: Discover the clever winning product of a young female designer that helps kids keep order and have fun

3. Joys of fatherhood: Find out from a young German entrepreneur what it means to be a modern dad

4. ASS Altenburger: Read how the traditional German card and board games manufacturer makes a profit during lockdown

5. Scandi collaboration: Explore „Bygglek", the fun storage solution for every home made by Lego and Ikea

Toy & Hobby (Australia) ​​

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

  1. Interview: Scott Pease and Jeff Swenty, creators of Snap Ships 

  2. 85% of parents in Latin America still don't know what gifts they will buy for Christmas 

  3. Transformers Collaborative teams up with the X-Men to launch a new Blackbird 

  4. The Op Games launches a chess based on the Marvel Universe 

  5. The LEGO Group announces new sets and characters for LEGO Super Mario 

  6. Melissa & Doug acquires PAW Patrol and Blue's Clues & You licenses 

  7. Hot Wheels Launches 1984 Wonder Woman Inspired Collection 

Video of the Week

Happy 75th Birthday Mattel!!! 

 

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.

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher