the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Nov 20-27, 2020. Click Here for Last Week

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

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

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

Happy Friday!

For those of you who celebrate American Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoyed a lovely holiday with your loved ones whether in person or in cyberspace. I'm thankful for a day to focus on good things that happened this year, my family, colleagues and friends. I’m grateful that Phil Bloom founded the Bloom Report, and we’re keeping it going, for our readers and for the many people and companies that helped make POP Week such a success. The toy industry needed something special during this tough time, and we delivered. This Thanksgiving, we have many thanks to give!

And... for your feel good holiday weekend video, check out the reaction of one of our Young Inventor Challenge winners – it’s pure joy! 

With Appreciation, 

Mary

tBR Person of the Week - Sue Warfield: There is no Typical Work Day – Especially Now!

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

My passion for not just the toy industry, but for manufacturers that are new and or long term that work with the independent toys stores and sales reps and understand the value all segments bring to the importance of play in all our lives – all ages.

 

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

In the late 70’s (I am dating myself) I took it upon myself when working in a chain of independently owned retail stores, to add toys and games for all ages into the mix. This led me to Toy Fair and then joining ASTRA.

 

What are you working on now?

As interim president of ASTRA I am working on re-examining and re-inventing how we can better serve our members within a new physical and financial landscape. Read More....

tBR Person of the Week - Janine Halloran: Humans are Biologically Wired to Play

As a child and adolescent therapist, I get to play for a living. I love it when I meet new clients, and I get to hear what kind of things they enjoy, what games they like, how they spend their free time - in other words, how they play. And even though it may seem a little strange, I talk a lot about play with my teen clients too. I love getting to know their play styles because I know how essential it is throughout the lifespan and how beneficial it is for everyone, including adolescents.

 

Between schoolwork, college admissions pressure, worrying about what's going on social media, and conflicts with family or friends, it's no wonder teens overall are more stressed out and anxious these days. And it's hard to escape that stress and anxiety. If there's a huge fight happening with friends, just because they're not in the same space anymore doesn't mean they can block out the argument. The fight can follow them via social media or apps or on a group message. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . . 

32% of U.S. Consumers Bought Toys During Black Friday Weekend. The annual five-day Thursday-Monday shopping event has evolved this year. Despite the continued COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers still turned out at physical retailers, albeit in smaller numbers as a seismic shift to online shopping finally took place

Chinese toymaker Pop Mart, a Disney, Universal Studios partner, launches US$590 million IPO to fund expansion. Pop Mart International Group, one of China’s largest trendy toymakers, aims to raise HK$4.57 billion (US$590 million) via a Hong Kong stock market listing to fund its expansion. The Beijing-based company plans to sell 135.7 million new shares to global investors, of which 16.3 million shares will be offered...

32% of U.S. consumers bought toys during Black Friday weekend. According to data provided by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics as part of their annual Thanksgiving shopping survey, an estimated 186.4 million consumers shopped during the big holiday kick-off weekend. Among those surveyed, 32% said that they purchased toys.

Walmart ditches online shipping minimum for Walmart+ to better compete with Amazon Prime. Walmart said it will drop its online shipping minimum for customers who belong to its membership program, Walmart+. Starting Friday, Walmart+ members will get free next-day and two-day shipping — even if they have just one item from the company’s website in their basket. Walmart typically requires customers to...

Roblox cleared for launch in China. Roblox is officially heading to China, having gained two licenses from the nation's regulators. The hugely popular kids game is one of 42 approvals, alongside four Switch games.

Black Friday 2020 online shopping surges 22% to record $9 billion, Adobe says. Spending online on Black Friday this year surged nearly 22% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as the Covid pandemic pushed more people to shop from the sofa and avoid crowded stores and malls. Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year.

UK mobile game spending reaches new single-day record on Black Friday. The UK's single-day mobile gaming revenue hit a new all-time high on Black Friday, reaching a total of $6.5 million according to data shared by Sensor Tower. This number is up 16% year-over-year from last year's Black Friday, which saw $5.6 million in mobile player spending.

ByteDance gets another extension from US government for TikTok sale. The Trump administration has once again extended the deadline for ByteDance to sell video sharing platform TikTok’s business in the US, Reuters reported. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has given China-based ByteDance until December 4th to either sell or spin out its US business.

Black Friday physical game sales drop 20% over 2019 l UK Boxed Sales. Last week was one of the biggest retail sales periods of the year in the form of Black Friday, and more than 1 million boxed games were sold in the UK over the 7 days. It's a big number, but it's still 20% down on last year's 1.3 million sales.

Crown prince of Saudi Arabia's foundation to buy 51% stake in SNK. The Mohammad bin Salman Charity Foundation is set to take a controlling stake in Japanese games firm SNK. The not-for-profit organization has invested around 813 million riyals ($223 million) in SNK, which gives it a 33.3% stake in the company, valuing the company at $669 million.

Acquisition of Toys R Us Australia by Funtastic is completed. The Australian eCommerce retailers, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Hobby Warehouse and Mittoni, have been acquired by the Funtastic Group, including the acquisition of new shares in the company under the underwritten placement and conversion of existing debt to equity.

Shops to be allowed to open 24/7 in December and January  Communities secretary Robert Jenrick says he plans to remove the usual lengthy application process for extended hours in order to boost trade. Communities secretary Robert Jenrick will remove the bureaucracy surrounding extended-hour trading applications, he announced in the Daily Telegraph. Retailers usually have to submit themselves to a lengthy and time...

Spin Master Gets Partial New Trial in $9.5 Million Toy IP Fight  An Illinois federal district judge threw out part of Rehco LLC’s nearly $9.5 million win in a contract and patent infringement case against children’s toy maker Spin Master Ltd. U.S. District Judge John R. Blakey ordered a new trial on Rehco’s claim that Spin Master breached a license agreement by failing to pay royalties on the Havoc Heli, a toy helicopter.

12,000 jobs at risk as Debenhams stores set to close. Debenhams stores are now set to close as final efforts to rescue the department store chain fall through. Debenhams fell into administration for the second time back in April. Hopes had rested on a rescue bid from JD Sports, who then pulled out of the deal. With all 124 shops likely to close, all 12,000 employees are likely to lose their jobs.

Stories & Comments . . . 

The Black Panther reference you missed in Netflix's Jingle Jangle. As one in a long list of Christmas movies arriving on Netflix this season, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is vying to become a new classic. With a nearly all-Black cast, the film tells the magical tale of the genius toy inventor Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker), who loses hope when his work is stolen from him — only to have his cheery granddaughter Journey...

Holiday toy supplies at risk amid southern California port jamSome of the hottest toys this year — from LOL Surprise dolls to Tonka trucks — are languishing in shipping containers at big ports in Southern California, with delays loading them onto trucks spurring doubts that they’ll make it to retailers in time for Christmas.

Super Nintendo World opens on February 4th with AR Mario Kart rollercoaster. Universal Studios Japan has announced an opening date for its long-awaited Nintendo-themed area. The Super Nintendo Land zone will open at the Osaka theme park on February 4th, 2021. That’s actually a little earlier than expected.

JouéClub's 2020 Christmas catalogue calls on shoppers to 'Rebuild Beirut' The retailer's catalogue carries a strong message of hope and resilience following what has been a particularly challenging year for the people of Beirut. Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, has suffered a particularly challenging and traumatic year. Not only have its citizens battled the global Covid-19 pandemic, but on 4th August it was devastated...

ROLLING FOR INITIATIVE -- A CASE FOR THE POSSIBLE SALE OF WIZARDS OF THE COAST BEING ON THE HORIZONColumn by Scott Thorne

I received several emails regarding last week’s column, and a couple of them brought up yet another possibility (see "Rolling for Initiative -- Of Cauldrons and Lawsuits"). Hasbro might be cleaning up loose ends in preparation for selling off WotC. Consider the following points:

The Ten Best STEM Toys to Give as Gifts in 2020. Tested and reviewed by engineers, these top picks make coding, robotics and engineering more accessible than ever. Each year, Purdue University’s INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering turns into a toy testing laboratory as faculty and students run mounds of toys, books and games through their paces. The highest rated products earn a coveted spot...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Barbie Beauty Center from Mattel (1972). Released in 1972 by Mattel, the Barbie Beauty Center combined two childhood favourites: Barbie and dress-up play. Some assembly was required with this toy. The box contained Barbie’s head, a pink plastic tray, and a neck to which Barbie’s head needed to be manually affixed.

Where’s the Fun From? – Who Invented Silly Putty? In the latest installment of his YouTube series, Where’s the Fun From?, Tim Walsh tells the story of the moment when Silicone Oil and Boric Acid met in 1943, spawning a bouncing baby ball that became Silly Putty and changed the toy world forever.

Matchbox 1983… A New Beginning CatalogIn 1953, Lesney Products released a set of 1:64 scale die-cast cars that were an immediate sales success and became the company’s first 1-75 Matchbox series. Increased competition and a recession forced the company into bankruptcy in 1982, where Universal Toys purchased them.er.

newyork-toy-600px-x-400px.jpg

 

Program Highlights

  • A++ rated insurer, $20 Billion in assets

  • Exceeds Wal-Mart and other leading retailers insurance requirements

  • Variable rate based on sales projections

  • Foreign & Domestic Liability coverage

  • Blanket additional insured vendors

  • Employee benefits liability

  • All certificates and claims handled in house

  • Quick quotation turnaround

  • Product recall expense $250,000 limit

 

Additional Coverage

  • Umbrella up to $50,000,000

  • Ocean Cargo & Property

  • Commercial Auto

  • Lead coverage

  • Intellectual properties (copyrights, trademarks, & patents)

  • Credit Insurance

  • US Customs Bond Insurance

  • Health Insurance

Call us today at 800-392-6958 (ext. 318)

for a free consultation and quotation for your business needs.

185 Newman Springs Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

Contact: Jason Welch: tel: 732-842-2012 (ext. 318), fax 732-530-7080, jawelch@york-jersey.com or Bob Witkin bobwitkin@york-jersey.com

Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

The growth in co-viewing is here to stay . . . Home Help: How the pandemic has seen toy companies transition into support networks for families . . . Survey finds gaming by Americans over 45 has spiked in 2020 . . . Holiday trends to watch: Adult Play-Doh; stores that ship

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Why Is Hasbro (HAS) Up 8.2% Since Last Earnings Report? . . . Mattel (MAT) Up 16.4% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue? . . . The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Activision Blizzard, Glu Mobile, Mattel, JAKKS Pacific and . . . Roblox moves toward IPO, discloses revenue and net losses for last three years

Financial Reporting . . . 

Crowded field of racers drives Codemasters revenues up. F1 2020, Fast & Furious Crossroads, and Project Cars 3 more than double publisher's sales in final earnings report before expected Take-Two acquisition. For the six months ended September 30, Codemasters reported revenues up 102% to £80.5 million, with after-tax profits up 97% to £19.9 million.

The Witcher 3 is the bedrock of CD Projekt Red's financials one last timeThe Polish firm records a modest rise in revenue in the last full quarter before Cyberpunk 2077. In the three month period ending September 30, 2020, the Polish firm earned PLN 105 million ($28 million), up 13% over the same quarter last year.

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
PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_3_SEL

Worldwide Licensing News . . . 

Mattel Announces multi-year global licensing agreement with PGS Ent and Technicolor Animation for “Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight”. Mattel hast has entered into a multi-year global licensing agreement with PGS Entertainment, the award-winning kids entertainment distributor, for the upcoming animated preschool series, produced and owned by Technicolor Animation Productions, “Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight.”

Pop culture toy specialist Boss Fight Studio to launch Popeye the Sailor action figuresThe pop culture specialist and action figures aficionado, Boss Fight Studio has struck up a new partnership with King Features Syndicate to create and launch a range of action figures and collectables based on Popeye the Sailor comics and cartoons.

Mattel and Sanrio partnership to launch new toy and accessory line across Amazon and Smyths Toys in the UKMattel and the lifestyle brand Sanrio are kicking off their new partnership with the launch of a new toy and accessory collection featuring Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Badtz Maru across Amazon and Smyths Toys in the UK from January 2021.

Plug-in Media eyes toy partners as its pre-school hit Tee and Mo returns to CBeebiesPlug-in Media is eyeing potential toy partners for its popular pre-school property, Tee and Mo, an animated monkey duo that made its return to CBeebies last month with the premiere of Big Boots Birthday: A Tee and Mo Mini Musical.

General Mills debuts Sesame Street Cereal, Bringing ABCs and 123s to the breakfast bowl. Breakfast just got more fun, delicious, and educational with the launch of Sesame Street Cereal, made by General Mills. The new cereal, which will begin to appear on store shelves in January, supports growing bodies with many essential nutrients and engages curious young minds with activities and stories.

Apple greenlights ‘Tetris’ movie. Apple announced that “Tetris: The Movie” will join its growing lineup of films. The drama tells the story of the creation of Tetris born from the imagination of computer programmer Alexey Pajitnov, during the fall of the Iron curtain in the USSR.

Dynacraft, Warner Bros. team up for Harry Potter, Looney Tunes wheeled goods. Dynacraft inked a new deal with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create new rides inspired by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Looney Tunes. The partnership includes a Harry Potter bicycle that features the iconic Gryffindor House color scheme and stripes.

Neopets unveils merchandise program. JumpStart Games has announced a new official Neopets merchandise licensing program based on the brand and gaming franchise. Not only will the licensees be creating physical merchandise but fans will also receive codes with purchase of select merchandise which ties into their Neopets’ gaming experiences.

The Wand Company teams with Pokémon for replica Poké Balls. The Pokémon Company International and The Wand Company are collaborating on the first-ever die-cast Poke Ball replica series – featuring the Poke Ball, Great Ball, Ultra Ball and Premier Ball – for launch in 2021. The replica comes equipped with proximity-sensing technology.

Home Run Games and Ultra Pro license 'Frogger'. Home Run Games and Ultra PRO International has licensed the Frogger video game brand from Konami Cross Media NY, Inc. The Frogger license is headed to the hobby trade market. Home Run Games plans to produce a line of playing card decks.

Brand Central announces delicious partnerships for Kraft HeinzThe Kraft Heinz Company, together with its exclusive licensing agency Brand Central, continues to expand its iconic brands into new trend forward merchandise categories as it scales its consumer products program.

Wallace & Gromit maker Aardman partners with Bandai Namco on new game franchiseBritish animation studio Aardman has joined forces with Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe to develop a brand new game franchise. Aardman is best known for its use of stop-motion clay animation.

Flair Just Play signs licensing deal with pocket.watch for Love, Diana. Flair Just Play has announced a further licensing deal with pocket.watch, the studio behind the successful Ryan’s World franchise, among other popular properties. Launching for spring 2021 in the UK and Ireland, Flair Just Play will be introducing a roleplay collection inspired by the latest YouTube sensation, Kids Diana Show.

Spin Master and GUND to roll out board game and new plush lines for Silvergate’s HildaSilvergate Media has detailed a tranche of new partners for its popular animated series, Hilda, that includes not only a direct to retail partnership with the pop culture specialist, Forbidden Planet, but the series’ first board game courtesy of Spin Master and an extension of its successful plush line with GUND.

People . . . 

FROM UPWORDS TO RYAN’S WORLD: ELLIOT RUDELL TALKS TOY AND GAME DESIGN ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. Rudell Design has been in business since 1975 and has been responsible for the development and licensing of products that have generated millions for the toy industry.  The success of Rudell’s toys and games, including Splash Out, Upwards, Wet Head, GeoTrax, GlowDome, and Weebles led to his induction...

Nintendo hacker Ryan Hernandez sentenced to three years in prison following guilty plea. Ryan Hernandez, the hacker who pled guilty to stealing information about the Nintendo Switch prior to its release, has been sentenced to three years in prison. The sentencing follows a plea agreement originally proposed in January 2020. In addition to prison time, Hernandez will also be required to pay Nintendo $259,323 in....

540 x 250.gif.gif

Companies . . . 

Hasbro mixes My Little Pony with other iconic toy brands for retro figures. Hasbro has mixed this iconic toy horse brand with some of its other classic toys. The result? Some retro-style ponies that are must-haves for toy lovers. Hasbro Pulse has launched two new retro My Little Pony collectible figures, one inspired by Twister and the other inspired by Lite Brite.

Asmodee sees ‘huge increase in demand’ for In for a Penny board game as TV’s Ant and Dec play over Instagram. Asmodee UK is reporting a ‘huge increase in demand’ for its licensed family board game In for a Penny, after the title took centre stage in an Instagram video posted by TV presenters Ant and Dec showcased the gameplay to their some 4.2 million viewers earlier this week.

LEGO reignites Jeep partnership to unveil the LEGO Technic Jeep WranglerThe LEGO Group has reignited a licensing partnership with Jeep to launch the latest LEGO Technic model, the one-of-a-kind Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, designed to emulate the look, design and off-road capabilities of the real-life vehicle.

LEGO’s Collectible minifigure Series 21 arrives with an Aztec warrior, centaur, more. LEGO is taking the wraps off its latest roster of collectible minifigures with 12 new characters. As one of its most diverse selections yet, this time around, fans will be able to expand their collections with everything from a centaur archer to beekeeper, Aztec warrior, violinist, and more.

Mastermind Toys Play Preview Invites Toymakers, Inventors to Pitch New Products. With the annual Toy Fair season shifting out of winter due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, retailers and toymakers alike continue to evolve the manner in which new products are being brought to market, and that means getting creative. Canada's Mastermind Toys is throwing open the doors for all toymakers, inventors, and distributors...

The Entertainer re-introduces its Christmas Quiet Hours at stores across the UK In a move to make Christmas shopping accessible for everyone, The Entertainer has re-introduced its Christmas Quiet Hours, an initiative that will take place every day throughout December across its 171 UK stores. The campaign aims to create a calmer shopping environment for autistic people and for any shoppers who find the hustle...

Barbie celebrates Britain’s youngest Olympian, 12-year-old skateboarder and surfer Sky Brown. The 12 year old professional skateboarder and surfer, Sky Brown, has been unveiled as the latest Barbie Role Model as the iconic fashion doll brand revealed its new, one-of-a-kind doll created in her likeness. Toy maker Mattel chose to immortalize the young sportswoman to highlight the boundaries that she has already...

Logic games and puzzles are on the rise as Smart Toys & Games sees sales double over 2020. Robert Hutchins 2 hours ago HighlightMedia & PR 288 Views. The puzzle and logic game specialist, Smart Toys and Games is ushering in a new era for the gaming market, having seen sales double over the course of 2020 for its portfolio of cognitive-thinking games and puzzles. 

‘STEM toys will have an invaluable role to play in a post-pandemic world’, says Osmo CEO. With the likelihood that schools and universities will begin to ‘adopt a more hybrid model’ of offline and online learning in the coming months, experts in the educational toy sector have suggested that a post-pandemic world will see a greater value placed on STEM toys and STEM learning. 

Funko launches first original toy range The Snapsies line features heads and bodies that kids can mix and match, and comes after a difficult financial year for the toyco, which usually relies on licensing. Everything is clicking into place for Funko, which is launching its first original toys after experiencing massive success with kids of all ages through its POP! figure ranges.

Exclusive: Gary and Duncan Grant on The Entertainer’s partnership projects. Founder and executive chairman Gary Grant, and deputy chairman Duncan Grant, tell readers about the retailer's latest partnerships in this article, written before yesterday's Debenhams news. In October, The Entertainer announced that it was entering into an exclusive trial partnership with Asda to take over the running of the grocer’s...

Lego's super-expensive new set already sold out - despite having no Cyber Monday dealAt the same time as the official Lego Black Friday deals kicked off on November 27, the brand released its eye-wateringly-expensive new set, and despite the lack of any Black Friday or Cyber Monday Lego deal on it, the kit has sold out. This new set is the Lego Creator Colosseum, and that set will cost you a knee-shaking $549.99.

Hasbro teams up with World Taekwondo Federation for PJ Masks Campaign. Hasbro has announced a multi-territory partnership that will see PJ Masks join forces with the World Taekwondo Federation for a new partnership designed to engage children around the world in taekwondo via an engaging collaborative campaign.

Haba set for growth in UK marketThe German-based toy manufacturer plans to build on its presence in the UK toy market by officially appointing Amaroni as the British sales distributor for Haba toys and games from the end of 2020 onwards. Over the last year, Amaroni has been the UK sales agent for Haba and will now take the next steps towards further business growth.

Micro launches new ECO range of children’s scooters made from recycled fishing nets. The international toy company Micro Mobility and its Micro Kickboard business has sourced materials from the maritime industry for the launch of its latest range of children’s scooters constructed from recycled fishing nets. Headquartered in Switzerland, Micro Mobility has launched several pro-environmental projects since setting...

Lion Rampant Imports reveals 'The Ghosts of Castle Turnwall' for North American tradeLion Rampant Imports revealed that they will release The Ghosts of Castle TurnWall into North American retail in January 2021. The Ghosts of Castle TurnWall is a family board game by Zoch Verlag that won the 2019 innoSPIEL award for using magnets to create the illusion that ghosts in the game move through walls.

Modiphius Entertainment reveals two new 'Star Trek Adventures Klingon Empire' accessoriesModiphius Entertainment revealed Star Trek Adventures Klingon Empire Gamemaster Toolkit and Dice Set, for use with the Star Trek Adventures RPG, to release in February 2021. The Toolkit comes with all of reference tools a GM would need to run a game.

Force of Will, Inc. announces 'The Magic Stone War - Zero'Force of Will, Inc. announced The Magic Stone War - Zero, a new set for Force of Will Trading Card Game, for release into retail on February 26, 2021. This set will feature the six sages of the past series appearing as rulers as well as a reappearance of the Cthulhu.

Kids Table Board Games unveils 'Fossilis'. Kids Table Board Games unveiled Fossilis, a paleontology board game, for release in December. In Fossilis, players assume the roles of paleontologists trying to uncover fossils from a tile 3D dig site.

STEAM toy maker Twin Science and its mission to shape the way manufacturers and consumers view toys. The STEAM toy and construction kit specialist, Twin Science, has outlined its mission to shape the way both toy makers and consumers view toys by acting to ‘connect humanitarian values with 21st Century education.’ It’s part of the firm’s central message of making toys that empower children, regardless of...

“The empowerment movement and consumer expectation around it will only increase”, says Mattel. Mattel has underlined its commitment to being ‘a more purpose driven’ toy company and brand through the continued roll-out of toys and dolls that reinforce positive messages of empowerment among children. The global toy maker has solidified its position amid insight that indicates empowerment....

PLUS-PLUS BOKS ARE A NEW WAY FOR ADULTS TO PLAY. Over the past few years, a growing market for play experiences geared toward adults has emerged and the latest offering from Plus-Plus aims to build upon that. Boks (“box” in Danish) is a new construction set based around a wooden platform that both holds Plus-Plus’ unique, plus-shaped building pieces and serves as a building platform.

Pottick Law Ad new as of Nov 2020.jpg

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

JAKKS announces apex Legends Challenge for gamers. JAKKS Pacific, Inc.  and its media agency partner Blue Plate Media Services, teamed up with Playwire, the leading revenue amplification platform for publishers; and Overwolf to bring the 2020 “Legends Challenge” to Apex Legends gamers in the United States.

Zoom and Among Us dominate Apple’s most downloaded charts in 20202020 was a year when people around the world were forced to find new ways to connect, and that trend is clearly visible when you look at the most downloaded apps on Apple hardware. And two names in particular stand out: video chat tool Zoom and social game Among Us.

The Mandalorian is the perfect Fortnite character. Anyone who buys the battle pass for the new season of Fortnite gets a nice initial bonus: a playable version of none other than the Mandalorian himself. He unlocks right away, and in many ways, he’s in keeping with the game’s recent strategy of focusing on branded tie-ins.

Travis Scott's Fortnite show reportedly earned him $20 million. Travis Scott's virtual concert in Fortnite was big, in a variety of ways. Scott himself appeared as a towering behemoth during the event, which attracted a record concurrent player count for Fornite of 12.3 million.

Nintendo Switch update lets you share screenshots to your phone or PCNintendo has released a new firmware update for the Switch, and for once it actually adds some features to the console’s barebones OS. The biggest one is a new way to share screenshots and videos directly to your smartphone by scanning a QR code.

L.O.L. Surprise! Remix: We Rule The World Video Game Is Coming. L.O.L.Surprise! is here with the perfect holiday gift for your child. Just in time for the holiday season the makers of the hit L.O.L.Surprise! toys have created a new video game exclusively for the Nintendo Switch!

Fortnite's Season 4 finale attracted a record 15.3 million concurrent players. Fortnite's latest season ending event pulled in a record 15.3 million concurrent players, according to developer Epic. The company shared the milestone in a tweet, where it revealed that 3.4 million people also watched the event unfold on YouTube Gaming and Twitch.

VR spending to pass $1bn in 2020. A total of 6.4 million VR headsets will be sold in 2020, with the VR market reaching $1.1 billion in content spending this year. According to the latest research by market analyst firm Omdia, VR content revenue will reach $4 billion in 2025 -- 90% of which will be from games by then.

Countdown to Space Invaders Forever 11th DecTAITO and ININ Games are proud to announce the sensational Space Invaders Forever that will be released on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation4 both through the Nintendo eShop and PlayStation Store as well as boxed versions in retail on December 11th. Space Invaders Forever will be released in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Remote work is here to stay -- but it won't be cheap or easy. This week, Square Enix's Japanese operations announced that the remote working arrangements put into place to cope with COVID-19 are being made permanent. It's unlikely that this will be the last such announcement; many companies around the industry are grappling with the question of what to do regarding remote work.

Marvel's Avengers fails to meet Square Enix sales targetsSquare Enix has explained that sales of Marvel's Avengers were lower than expected, and that the advertising push for the title also proved costly. "Sales of [the game] were lower than we had expected and unable to completely offset the amortization of the game’s development costs," they commented.

Fall Guys developer Mediatonic opens new UK studio. Fall Guys developer Mediatonic is opening a new UK studio in Leamington Spa. The office will be led by company vice president of art, Phil Warner, and will be hiring staff across a "wide range of disciplines."

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

BTHA joins forces with OPSS for Christmas toy safety campaign. A Christmas online toy safety campaign has been launched by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), working in partnership with the British Toy & Hobby Association, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, and the Child Accident Prevention Trust.ions.

Peggy Brown Consulting Ad 540x250 pxl.jp

Press Releases . . . 

NEWEST (AND CUTEST) ADVENTERRA GAMES TEACH PRESCHOOLERS HOW TO RESPECT OUR PLANET. Three Enticing Ecological Puzzles and Memory Games Introduce Today’s Toddlers to How to Save Our Animals, Water, & Earth. Boston, MA (December 1, 2020) – Ever hear the expression, you’re never too young to make an impact? Adventerra Games, the STEM.org-certified boardgame maker, launches a captivating line of environmental games for today’s toddlers. Saving Water, Respect the Earth, and Animals at Risk! (each $14.99) require no reading, just curiosity through play. After an entertaining round with puzzle pieces or matching picture cards, tots will begin a lifelong love – hence protection...

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

ASTRA Marketplace & Academy 2021 Shifts to August. Originally scheduled for June 6-9, the annual event will now take place from August 5-8, 2021 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. According to ASTRA, the decision was made “after many conversations with stakeholders and ASTRA members” with a focus on “creating a safe and healthy environment for attendees.

Toy & Edu China reports first signs of a recovering Chinese toy market as sector spies growthToy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China are each reporting the first signs of recovery for a strong Chinese toy market that was hit at the start of the year, along with the rest of the world, by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

GAMA makes more changes to the Origins Awards for the 2020/2021 cycle. The Games Manufacturer's Association made major changes to the Origins Awards categories for the 2020/2021 cycle. GAMA received a total of 300 submissions for 2019/2020 cycle, up from 81 in 2018/2019, and has decided to split up the board game and roleplaying game categories to have multiple categories by genre.

OnBuy named eCommerce Company of the Year at 2020 UK Business Tech Awards. The online marketplace, OnBuy.com has been named eCommerce Company of the Year in the 2020 UK Business Tech Awards. The awards were created to celebrate the best tech businesses from around the UK, with awards being presented to the most innovative and exceptional.

Dad’s Choice Awards 2020 winners revealed. With more entries than ever before, the annual Dad’s Choice Awards testers have spent weeks putting top toys through their paces and have announced its Twelve Top Winners for 2020.

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, 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

eplay - November Issue

ToyWorld (UK) - December Issue

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Last call to take part in the bumper January Toy World magazine

  2. Spin Master becomes master toy partner for Wizarding World

  3. British Retail Consortium welcomes reopening of non-essential retail

  4. Non-essential retail to close in Northern Ireland as second lockdown approaches

  5. High street voucher scheme announced for Northern Ireland to stimulate business

  6. Amazon announces plans to delay Black Friday in France

  7. Catalogues make comeback in UK due to pandemic

  8. OnBuy launches major national TV ad campaign

  9. Disney joins Craft Buddy’s licensed portfolio for 2021

  10. Sutikki partners with Digital Dream Labs on new Cozmo animation

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

  1.  Gale Force Nine Sues Wizards of the Coast
  2.  Rolling for Initiative -- Of Cauldrons and Lawsuits
  3.  WizKids Reveals a Massive $349.99 Inn Miniatures Set for 'D&D Icons of the Realms'!
  4.  WizKids Unveils 'Quick-Pick' Units for Retailers
  5.  Fill the Inn with 'Friendly Faces' for 'D&D' Campaigns
  6.  Game Store in Mall Shooting - We Interview Gordon Lugauer
  7.  Wizards of the Coast Announces a 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secretversary' Superdrop
  8.  Heritage Auctions Sets a New Record Sale Price for a Sealed 'Pokemon 1st Edition' Booster Box
  9. Capstone Games' New Fair Trade Coffee-Themed Board Game Comes with Over 650 Components
10. The Spice Will Flow in a New 'Dune' RPG

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

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

  1. People of Play Announces Winners of Its Young Inventors Challenge 

  2. Review: Distroller's Aquameritos (Aquarela) 

  3. Super7 launches new action figures for "The Haunted Mansion" 

  4. Hasbro Pulse and Super7 launch special GI Joe figure 

  5. McFarlane Toys Announces New BAF Series for Its DC Multiverse Line 

  6. Spin Master signs a license agreement for the "Magic World" 

  7. "Lady's Gambit", the Netflix miniseries that raised the sales of chess boards 

Video of the Week! 

If you didn't watch at the top, or if you, did, this is worth a second watch! Experience the joy of pure joy of winning after putting forth a lot of effort! 

 

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

 

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

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

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

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher