November 24 - December 2, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Festive Friday!
The photo to the right shows the pure joy and happiness kids have at our Chicago Toy & Game Fair !t is Just a week from now! Exhibit, attend, meet your consumers (biggest focus group in the wild), learn and have fun! It's not too late either - join us!
Part of our Fair is our Play in Education (PIE) Conference where Rachele Harmuth, Head of ThinkFun, will be banging the drums for MESH. If you haven't heard the drums yet, you need to tune in! If you don't know what MESH is, you REALLY need to tune in!
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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers
Out of Breakdowns Come Breakthroughs
I learned this phrase during my entrepreneurial training and have found it a source of strength and optimism ever since. Every situation that I labelled “bad” ended up ushering in my greater good.
This column shares a few personal examples of how some of my breakthroughs came from setbacks, but more importantly, it is designed to help you access the origins of your own breakthroughs born out of setbacks in a way that empowers you to ride out the bad times with hope for something better.
A Breakdown in Health
My brush with mortality in 2011, in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis, was terrible in so many ways. It laid me low and even resulted in mental health issues, which I self-diagnosed as PTSD. And yet, as I reflect back on that time, I see very clearly that I grew in invaluable new ways. I finally gave up trying to be perfect; I no longer wanted to feel like superwoman. Through the pain and fear, I was finally able to let go, embrace my human foibles/flaws, and finally fully love myself—just the way I was and was not. Not only did this allow me to access greater peace of mind and well-being, just as importantly, I became able to accept and love others more fully—just the way they were. What a gift!
Industry Commentary - Rachele Harmuth, Thinkfun
The Head of ThinkFun, Dives Into Parents and Educators Top Concern
Kids are struggling with their mental health and parents are worried. This is the consensus of conversations that have been happening around the country between multitudes of retailers and parents. Rachele Harmuth, the new Head of ThinkFun, heard this consistently as she and her team were researching what were the primary needs of the current marketplace. “Clearly there is a major unmet need around kid’s mental health that is consuming parents and educators. They were turning to toy retailers for help, but beyond toys that provide comfort like stuffed animals and fidgets retailers weren’t sure what to suggest. It isn’t currently clear what products would build mental health skills for the future. We knew we needed to really dig in and understand the situation.” Rachele Harmuth
The statistics are truly concerning. For example, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of children had “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” in 2022. Further, 71% of parents believe that the pandemic has taken a toll on their child’s mental health. Parents are spending increasing time and resources trying to figure out if their kids are ok, and working to protect them. And, according to a report from the National Association of Mental Illness, 89% of parents are more concerned about their child’s mental health than their academic achievement.
Brand of the Week - Spaghetteez!
CLICS Toys is Serving Spaghetteez!
Imagine naming toys for over three decades, hundreds of styles, multiple brands and the words just roll off your tongue. Then one day, your new creation sits there, and the words don’t come. Finally, your team decides upon a dinner together. Italian cuisine it is. What to order? Just the right dish to support the perfect word for a product line many deem, “nothing like it in the market,” Spaghetteez was served!
Taurus Blooms LLC President, Jean Butler, recently launched the brand on QVC. “This product, when people get it in their hands, provides key elements of meaningful play.” The 3D design creations are limitless with the soft building sticks. There are seven different lengths, a variety of primary colors, and accessory pieces. Spaghetteez allow you to twist them into many configurations. “What can be created is based on your imagination. You want a yellow giraffe or a green, blue and red giraffe, you can make it. A duck with giant eagles wings, a car, boat, dinosaur, house,” added Butler. “It is therapeutic, people don’t want to put the building sticks down. They are smooth to the touch, and you can really shape them in any way you think of. It is truly an enjoyable play experience for the whole family!”
The Spaghetteez line currently consists of six sets, ranging from 35 to 160 pieces. Sets include accessory pieces which allow for connection and extension. Several of the sets have wheels which provide movement of creations. In addition, Spaghetteez has received STEM.org accreditation after meeting all of the requisite standards. READ MORE...
People of the Week - Dan Klitsner and Alicia Alexander
Encouraging All to Bop It For Good
For Bop It! Inventor Dan Klitsner and his wife Alicia this Thanksgiving holds special meaning. Not only are they celebrating the 25th anniversary of Bop It!, they are also celebrating the launch of Bop It For Good, a new initiative to give back.
“25 years later, I’m still in a bit of shock about how Bop It! and subsequent sequels continue to be so popular,” says Dan. “Giving back has always been important to us, but we wanted to do it in a more meaningful way in gratitude for all of the success, and that’s why we created Bop It For Good.”
At the center of Bop It For Good is Dan’s latest invention, the Bop It Button, which he developed independently over the last year with Super Impulse and Longshore. He calls this game the most challenging, most addictive and most devious Bop It he’s ever created. The Bop It Button is just one button, and like all Bop Its, you just do what it says. Easy, right? Well, don’t be fooled. The Bop It Button includes a variety of intentionally confusing options such as “Bop It,” “Don’t Bop It,” “Do Bop It” and “Do Not Bop It” spoken lightning fast and in multiple voices that are a confluence of Bop It voices from the past. Focus long enough, you just might make it through all 25 levels and unlock all of the hidden audio clips, and get a personal message from the inventor himself. But, upholding true Bop It tradition, if you mess up, be ready for a little sarcastic name-calling. Read More...
Financial and Legal
More than half of Nickelodeon Studios’ production workers have voted in favor of unionizing with entertainment industry union The Animation Guild, or TAG (IATSE 839). The 177 staffers include production managers, production coordinators, post-production assistants, art production coordinators and asset coordinators. It’s the largest group of production workers ever to organize with TAG, which represents more...
Pitfalls lie ahead as China charts exit from zero-Covid. After unprecedented mass protests against zero-Covid, Chinese authorities have made their most decisive move yet to exit the punishing policy. On Wednesday, officials announced the end of forced centralized quarantine, allowing people with mild Covid to isolate at home, as well as limits to lockdowns, fewer checks of Covid test results, and freer travel around the country.
Walmart CEO: Inflation on toys, clothing and sports equipment is easing. Finally, shoppers are getting some good news about prices: Inflation is falling on discretionary merchandise just in time for the holidays, Walmart chief Doug McMillon said Tuesday. “In toys, sporting goods, apparel, categories like that, prices have come down more aggressively,” McMillon said in an interview on CNBC.
TikTok sued by Indiana over security and safety concerns. The popular social media app TikTok has been sued by the US state of Indiana. Its attorney general Todd Rokita has accused TikTok's parent company ByteDance of violating the state's consumer protections laws. The state alleges that the app fails to safeguard young people and privacy.
FTC rift could help Microsoft seal Activision Blizzard deal. The Federal Trade Commission is now reportedly split on whether or not to approve Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to The New York Post, a rift has formed within the U.S. regulator that could pave the way for the seismic $68.7 billion deal to gain approval.
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Sales in GameStop’s collectibles category, which includes tabletop games, were $207.3 million, up 8% over $192.2 million in the year ago period, a slower growth rate than the blistering 26% growth rate last quarter. Collectible sales are up 20% for the first three quarters. Overall sales were down 9% in the quarter to $1.19 billion from $1.30 billion in the same quarter a year ago, dragged down by declining sales in game software, hardware, and accessories.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
Stories, Comments, and Advice
These Kids Are Raking In Millions From YouTube. They're Not Even 10. - WSJ - They're expanding into everything from streaming shows to branded toys to ... Toy makers often pay young YouTube celebrities to play with their ...
Generation Media’s Jonathan Chambers suggests how marketers can predict when Christmas spirit will kick in for consumers. Deciding the timing of H2 marketing has always been a tricky business – let alone in 2022 when the cost-of-living crisis and Qatar World Cup have undoubtedly impacted and altered consumers’ media and retail behaviours.
Oxford Word of the Year 2022 - Golblin Mode. The public has spoken! After opening the choice of Word of the Year up to English speakers for the first time in its history, over the last two weeks more than 300,000 people cast their vote. The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression reflecting the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past twelve months, one that has potential as a term of lasting cultural significance.
History and Nostalgia
Who first thought of Matchbox Cars? In 1947, English die casters Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith founded Lesney Products and along with partner Jack Odell, began to make small toys to fill the demand during wartime. In 1952, Odell created the Matchbox car after being inspired by a rule at his daughter’s school that stated students could only bring toys that fit inside a matchbox. So, Odell scaled down Lesney’s road roller...
Hawaiian Eye from Lowell Toy Mfg.. Released in 1963 from Lowell Toy Mfg., the Hawaiian Eye board game was based on the TV series of the same name that ran on ABC from 1959-1963. With box art featuring three of the show’s stars — Robert Conrad, Anthony Eisley, and Troy Donahue — the strategy game drew inspiration from Clue.
Irwin Toy 2002: It’s all new. 2002 marked the beginning of a new era for Irwin Toy of Toronto, Canada. The struggling toy company had been sold to a private investment group the previous year, which injected new capital. Unfortunately, the new owners couldn’t right the ship. They declared bankruptcy and liquidated the company after 75+ years of operations and less than 18 months after it was sold.
Beat the Clock from Lowell Toy Mfg. Released in 1954 by Lowell Toy Mfg., Beat the Clock board game was based on the TV series of the same name that ran on CBS from 1950-58. With box art that featured the show’s stars, Host Bud Collyer and Hostess Roxanne, the group party game challenged players to complete stunts before time ran out.
Here's what 10 popular toys looked like when they were released compared to what they look like now. Some toys are so popular that they stand the test of time. Iconic playthings like Barbies, Hot Wheels, and Transformers have transformed over decades. See how some of the most beloved toys have changed since they were released. The Barbie brand included one doll when Mattel launched the iconic toy in 1959.
Popular toy of prehistoric children revealed by new research. Over the past century, thousands of pieces of slate engraved with images of owls have been unearthed from tombs and pits across the Iberian Peninsula, in what's now Portugal and Spain. The artifacts date from around 5,000 years ago, and for more than a century their function has flummoxed archaeologists.
Licensing and Entertainment
King Features Syndicate has announced Rebel Girls, the award-winning global girl empowerment brand, is joining its roster of licensing properties. Under the agreement, King Features will represent Rebel Girls worldwide for promotions, collaborations, and merchandise across all categories, including apparel, accessories, collectibles and more.
Luxury stroller wagon brand WonderFold announced the release of their new Animalini 2.0 Parent Console in collaboration with Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand, tokidoki. Designed with hook and loop fasteners to attach easily to any WonderFold stroller wagon, WonderFold’s versatile consoles are equipped to carry personal belongings and everyday essentials to save parents from juggling armfuls while...
ASPIRE, the dedicated Corporate & Lifestyle division of world-leading licensing agency WildBrain CPLG, has secured a deal with Asia Kingston for a range of e-mobility products for the internationally renowned Swiss motorsport brand, Sauber Motorsport, which owns and operates Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN. Under the partnership, Asia Kingston has developed Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN-branded e-bikes and ...
Ahlan Simsim, the early childhood development initiative launched in 2018 through a partnership between Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee, has now reached one million children with direct services across Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. That achievement complements the 23 million children reached across the Middle East and North Africa region by Ahlan Simsim’s...
Sloomoo Institute – an experiential destination that taps into the joy of multi-sensory play through hand-crafted, artisanal slime and #satisfying experiences – is excited to announce it is teaming up with leading global children’s entertainment company Spin Master, makers of Kinetic Sand. This collaboration seeks to enhance Sloomoo Institute’s tactile installations with the addition of the mesmerizing,...
Dorel Juvenile, a segment of Dorel Industries and the world’s largest juvenile products manufacturer, has announced the launch of an exclusive Maxi-Cosi Home Collection fashion line in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids. The coordinating collection of essential baby gear for the home is designed with Pottery Barn Kids’ signature Wheaton Stripe fabrication, a best-selling textile design featuring...
MGA has collaborated with Hersheys, Pez, Chupa Chups and more to create a collectible range of L.O.L. Surprise! Loves Mini Sweets. The new, collectible, first of its kind line-up of L.O.L. Surprise! Loves Mini Sweets, produced in collaboration with internationally known confectionary partners, launches exclusively at Smyths Toys in December and at wider retailers in January.
The Piñata Smashlings ‘Piñataverse’ will span animated content, gaming, toys including plush, collectibles and play sets, trading cards, books and much more, all arriving from summer 2023. Pinata SmashlingsThe innovative and fast-growing entertainment company Toikido has partnered with P.M.I and Character Options to deliver Piñata Smashlings, an immersive and captivating IP it says is set to become...
Just Play will take on a global master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for the Easy-Bake brand, with products to launch from 2024. Leading global toy company Just Play has announced a worldwide master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for its iconic Easy-Bake brand. Just Play’s product line of Easy-Bake ovens, baking sets and accessories is expected to launch at retail in select markets from 2024.
Going back to the princess well that has traditionally been a breeding ground for its blockbuster hits, Disney has commissioned a new musical feature film from director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) that will center around an Indian princess protagonist based on a real-life historical figure. The British filmmaker will direct the pic and share a producer credit with Lindy Goldstein (The Nutcracker and ...
Film fans have reacted with glee and excitement to a triple drop of blockbuster trailers that landed last week. Slated to arrive in cinemas in June 2023, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the seventh movie in the Transformers franchise. Set in 1994, the film introduces a new breed of robots, Maximals, who favour animal shapes as their alternative form. Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman), Airazor, Cheetor and Rhinox unite ....
Craft Buddy welcomes Paddington Bear. Paddington Bear is the latest addition to Craft Buddy’s prolific licensed ranges, following the company’s success with Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Peter Rabbit and The Smurfs. To continue its success with the launch of Crystal Art Buddies, Craft Buddy is also expanding the L.O.L Surprise! collection to add even more sparkles to the glittery dolls.
Just Play mixes it up with Hasbro’s Easy-Bake brand. Leading global toy company Just Play has announced a worldwide master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for its iconic Easy-Bake brand. Just Play’s product line of Easy-Bake ovens, baking sets and accessories is expected to launch at retail in select markets from 2024.
Jabuka Games appoints Nutt Heads as exclusive distribution partner. Jabuka is extending its reach in the game aisle across North America. The Canadian company has named Nutt Heads Brands as its exclusive distribution partner. The Jabuka word game, originally created in 2019 by Martin Russocki, features interchangeable letters so players can challenge their opponents by forming different words.
Toys ‘R’ Us jumps into the metaverse with Anybodies deal. The digital space is still the wild west, but Toys “R” Us has a roadmap for its upcoming journey into the metaverse. WHP Global, the parent company of Toys “R” Us, formally announced a partnership with Anybodies, a Web3 technology agency.
Monopoly goes big in Saudi Arabia. London-based production company The Path Entertainment Group has announced a partnership with the Al Hokair Group, as part of its existing licensing agreement with Hasbro, to bring "Monopoly Lifesized" to millions of people in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Rainbow High’s Paris Hilton fashion doll taps further into kidult market. Rainbow High is a brand of fashion dolls known for bright colors and high quality appreciated by kid and adult collectors alike. The line has an associated animated series on Netflix, also called Rainbow High, that recently had a celebrity cameo from Paris Hilton.
MrBeast unveils NERF Blaster. Official partnership between digital collector and Hasbro now available. Following NERF’s partnership announcement with digital creator, MrBeast (AKA Jimmy Donaldson), comes the reveal of the NERF Pro Gelfire X MrBeast Full Auto Blaster. The new blaster was officially revealed by the creator himself in his latest giveaway challenge video and is now available for pre-order...
Trailers released for new Transformers, Guardians of the Galaxy and India Jones movies. Film fans have reacted with glee and excitement to a triple drop of blockbuster trailers that landed last week. Slated to arrive in cinemas in June 2023, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the seventh movie in the Transformers franchise.
Op Games and Hasbro launch Monopoly: Britney Spears. Usaopoly, the board game and puzzle publisher behind licensed games Telestrations, Blank Slate, and Hues and Cues, and Hasbro, have announced the launch of Monopoly: Britney Spears, the ultimate collection of her greatest hits.
Bratz and trailblazing fashion brand Mowalola collab on new premium, limited-edition dolls. MGA Entertainment (MGA) announced today a collaboration between its popular fashion doll brand, Bratz® and the London-based, new-gen fashion brand, MOWALOLA, on a haute fashion doll collection.
People of Play
Gibsons is delighted to welcome Matt Smith as the company’s new Operations director, alongside five other new appointments. Matt commences his role in the new year, joining Gibsons from Mattel where he was responsible for overseeing inbound and outbound freight for the EMEA region. He brings extensive supply chain experience from his time at Mattel and previously United Biscuits, as well as from the SME sector.
Funko reveals leadership shuffle to strengthen operations. Following a tumultuous third quarter that presented record sales mirrored by weak earnings and a reduced outlook, the company says that it hopes to “strengthen its operations, drive enhanced returns for stockholders, and best position Funko to capture the significant opportunities ahead.” Brian Mariotti, chief creative officer, and former CEO of Funko...
ZAG appoints James Nunziati as head of global sales. ZAG has appointed former Zuru executive James Nunziati to the post of head of global sales, ZAG Play Toy Division, reporting to the division’s senior vice president, Helena Perheentupa. The news follows the independent animation studio announcing that it had launched a new global toy division, in August. Based in Los Angeles, Nunziati will build, drive and lead,...
SYBO names Philip Hickey as chief marketing officer. There’s a changing of the guard at SYBO as the company has appointed Philip Hickey as its new chief marketing officer. Hickey will join the team in Copenhagen. With the company’s hit mobile game, Subway Surfers, continuing to top the charts for its 11th consecutive year, Hickey will present innovative marketing opportunities for the company to expand its games...
Companies and Brands
Radio Flyer, GPI, Toy’n Around named ‘Best In Business’. The annual Inc. Best in Business list is out, and this year’s field includes a handful of familiar players that are being recognized for going above and beyond in putting purpose before profit. Radio Flyer, GPI, Toy’n Around, and Just Funky secured positions in a field of 240 companies being honored in the class of 2022.
Usaopoly along with Hasbro, take players and fans of the Princess of Pop on a musical journey with Monopoly: Britney Spears, the ultimate collection of her greatest hits, which is available now from The Op Games! The music. The moves. Her stage productions and videos. Only a few examples of what makes Britney Spears an icon.
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, Hasbro and Marine Toys for Tots have teamed up to deliver toys and games to families and children impacted by the environmental and economic impacts in San Juan, Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Fiona. Hasbro’s donated toys and games will be delivered by Fat Albert, the all-Marine KC-130 crew of...
Artica, an eCommerce technology company, has announced their major investment in SlumberPod, the first-ever portable, privacy blackout sleep pod for babies and toddlers seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. Leveraging its proprietary technology platform, Artica is bringing together world-class technology experts with seasoned brand builders to build the next phase of eCommerce.
The Insights Family – the global leader in kids, teens, parents, and family market intelligence – has announced the next exciting phase of its future growth strategy, with a significant refresh of how the company does research, data & insights, as well as the appointment of five senior industry executives to join the companies Industry Knowledge Advisory Board.
Flair’s Messi Training System campaign achieves its goal. The Messi Training System marketing campaign has reached more then 2.2m people and culminated in a meet-and-greet for one young football fan. As Argentina move into the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup, Flair GP is celebrating a successful year for the Messi Training System range which culminated in a meet-and-greet for one lucky fan.
Amazon is inching closer to launching Prime Gaming, its subscription service that offers free access to a number of titles and which ships bundled with Amazon Prime and Video plans, to its members in India, according to the company’s website. “With Prime Gaming (included with your Prime membership) unlock instant access to tons of exclusive content for your favorite games and a rotating collection...
Creative Kids Group has broadened the scope of its partnership with MGA Entertainment’s Little Tikes brand to bring their line of wooden toys to the UK and Ireland. The two companies teamed up earlier this year to produce and launch a range of wooden kitchens, vehicles, puzzles and early-learning games for kids up to age six in the US and Canada.
With the festive season underway, Zapf Creation, home of leading doll brands Baby Annabell and Baby born is getting into the Christmas spirit with the return of its 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Twelve of Baby Annabell and twelve of Baby born’s biggest influencer fans are helping to spread the Christmas cheer through a consecutive run of festive content to showcase some of the brands much-loved dolls, playsets and accessories.
The Nacelle Co. unleashes the first commercial for rebooted Robo Force brand. If you’re gonna bring back a classic toy brand, why not do it with some style? The Nacelle Co. is doing just that as it celebrates the pending release of the first products from its Very Important Toy line: Robo Force. Last year, the diversified media company behind The Toys That Made Us (Netflix), A Toy Store Near You (Amazon Prime Video)...
Hasbro and New York Times Games launch Wordle: The Party Game. Hasbro and New York Times Games have launched Wordle: The Party Game. Inspired by Wordle, the popular digital puzzle game from New York Times Games, Wordle: The Party Game, available in the UK, delivers classic Wordle gameplay, but now in a way that is perfect for game night with friends and family.
Ares Games will release 'Fighters of the Pacific' into U.S. retail. Ares Games will release Fighters of the Pacific, a naval air battle game, into U.S. retail in February 2023. Fighters of the Pacific features simulated air battles with plane tiles and modular hex-based boards without utilizing dice or rulers.
'Dog Park' is on preorder for retail. Birdwood Games will release Dog Park, a dog-walking card game, into retail on December 31, 2022. In Dog Park, players take on the roles of dog walkers looking to earn themselves the reputation of being the best in the neighborhood. The game takes place over the course of four rounds that consist of four phases each.
Bushiroad will bring 'Shadowverse: Evolve English Edition' to U.S. retail. Bushiroad will bring Shadowverse: Evolve English Edition, a trading card game, into U.S. retail stores in 2023. This TCG is based on the popular Japanese digital CCG Shadowverse, and it was first released on April 28, 2022 into Japanese marke. In Shadowverse: Evolve, players battle as one of six different classes of characters.
Complete hilarious challenges in 'Batsu! The Punishment Card Game'. Giant Fox Studios will release Batsu! The Punishment Card Game, a new party game, into retail on December 31, 2022. This card game is based on Japanese batsu-style game show in New York and Chicago where contestants are punished for bad or incorrect answers.
Creative Kids, Little Tikes expand wooden toy line to UK. After launching in North America this fall, Creative Kids and MGA Entertainment’s Little Tikes wooden toy line is expanding to the UK and Ireland. “Our team has been anxiously awaiting this partnership expansion,” says Creative Lids’ UK Managing Director Grant Gie. “We’re ready and raring to go with this unique take on classic wooden toys with such an iconic brand.”
IMC announces new Cry Babies Magic Tears audio content and Kitoons expansion. Kids can soon enjoy a whole new way to engage with material from IMC Toys’ entertainment property, Kitoons, as the brand expands into audio content. The move means fans are now able to join the popular Cry Babies Magic Tears characters on their adventures through a series of songs and audiobooks.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Microsoft pledges to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms for the next decade. Microsoft has committed to bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms for the next decade if its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved. box boss Phil Spencer broke the news on social media, and said the company is "committed to helping bring more games to more people—however they choose to play."
Dwarf Fortress hits 2-month sales target in 24 hours. Bay 12 Games' Dwarf Fortress released its 1.0 version yesterday, and has already sold 160,000 copies on Steam. Tanya Short of publisher Kitfox Games broke the news on Twitter, saying that she initially expected the game to hit that milestone within two months of release.
The 9 most busted games of 2022. 2022 was a huge bummer of a year for a lot of reasons, and buggy video games only exacerbated that feeling. It really does suck to shell out $60 or, as is quickly becoming the norm, $70 on something that is fundamentally broken at launch, especially if that something was created under exploitative working conditions.
2022 was the year big video games stopped coming out. In some ways it feels like more video games are coming out than ever before. Yet in another way, one that so many of the loudest and most expensive sides of the video game industry are built around, 2022 was a drought like no other. If you want to talk about lil’ platformers on the Switch, or city-builders on Steam, or weird horror adventures on itch.io, ...
Nintendo lands Call of Duty in 10-year Microsoft deal. Microsoft has entered into a 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles, following its plan to acquire the game's publisher. Microsoft wants to buy Activision Blizzard, which also makes Overwatch and Warcraft, for $68.7bn (£56.5bn). The deal would enable Microsoft to stop Call of Duty from appearing on rival consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 5.
Highlighted Press Releases
OCEAN FRIENDS OCTOPUS, WHALE & DOLPHIN LOOK TO PRESCHOOLERS TO FIGHT PLASTIC POLLUTION. ‘Mission Ocean’ Launches December 1st From Adventerra Games Educational Eco Line Of Board Games That Kids Play, Learn Then Prep To Save The Planet. Boston, MA (December 1, 2022) – We’ve all heard of air and noise pollution. But if our ocean friends could talk, they would sound the alarm for plastic pollution! A new board game, Mission Ocean ($29.99 at https://www.adventerragamesusa.com/), alerts youngsters to the everyday dangers of floating plastic in our waters. The empowering nature of the fun-to-play board game has been endorsed by the global nonprofit, The Ocean Cleanup. With a roll of the wooden dice — made from FSC-certified wood — kids can imagine collecting plastic waste floating in the waves and scooping it up onto their ship.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Rossen Reports: These fake toys are flooding the market. Counterfeit toys are back and even harder to spot this year. In fact, counterfeits are hitting online shopping sites in record numbers. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 284 shipments of counterfeit toys worth $25 million just last year alone.
Recalled toys being sold online this holiday season, parents warned. A consumer group has a warning for parents when buying toys for kids this holiday season: watch out for recalled toys being listed for sale. Retailers are supposed to pull toys off their shelves and websites when they're recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and they usually do.
Target recalls Cloud Island 4-Piece Plush Toy Sets due to choking hazard. This recall involves Cloud Island 4-Piece Plush Toy Sets. The vehicles are a soft, knitted construction and include a blue car, a yellow bus, a red tractor, and a green truck each with a rattle inside. The vehicles measure approximately 3 inches (H) x 3.5 inches (W) x 6 inches (D). Item number 030-02-1042.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Licensing International and the Licensing International Foundation, which supports the education of future licensing leaders, today celebrated the induction of Kathy Ireland and Salvatore LaRocca to the Licensing International Hall of Fame. Held at Gotham Hall in New York City, the 2022 Hall of Fame and Rising Star Awards event also honored the future of brand licensing, recognizing Rising Stars...
Each year, the international TrendCommittee for the Spielwarenmesse identifies three ToyTrends that offer guidance to retailers in their range selection. How they scout out these trends is explained in the latest edition of the Spielwarenmesse Podcast. The guests taking part in this latest episode of the podcast are three members of the TrendCommittee: John Baulch, publisher of Toy World Magazine, and two market...
Summer Game Fest 2023 will premiere days before E3's return. Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest will return on June 8, 2023. That alone would be noteworthy, but the now annual showcase of upcoming video games will premiere ahead of E3's return running from June 13-June 16, 2023. When E3 was canceled in 2020 and opted to go virtual in 2021 due to the pandemic, Keighley formed Summer Game Fest to pick up the slack.
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed
If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.
Kevin Conroy, the voice actor best known for portraying DC Comics' Batman, passed away from cancer at the age of 66. The news was initially reported via Diane Pershing (the voice actor for Poison Ivy on Batman: The Animated Series), and later corroborated by Warner Bros. Animation.
"Our beloved voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, died yesterday," reads Pershing's post. "He's been ill for a while but he really put in a lot of time at the cons, to the joy of all of his fans. He will be sorely missed not just by the cast of the series but by his legion of fans all over the world."
Initially an actor for stage and television, Conroy rose to voice acting prominence with 1992's Batman: The Animated Series. That series ran four seasons, but he continued to voice the comic book character throughout its many spinoffs such as Batman Beyond and Justice League.
He would go on to voice Batman in nearly every animated DC project that featured the hero, and even got to play him in live action during the CW's adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths in 2019.
Outside of animation, Conroy went on to voice Batman in multiple video games, including Rocksteady's Batman Arkham and Netherrealm's Injustice franchises. His final role as Batman is in Player First Games' MultiVersus. And beyond Batman, his voice acting career included Lords of EverQuest, Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and Max Payne 2.
In a statement from WB provided to press, Batman voice director Andrea Romano wrote: "Kevin was far more than an actor whom I had the pleasure of casting and directing – he was a dear friend for 30+ years whose kindness and generous spirit knew no boundaries. Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”
“Kevin was perfection,” continued longtime Joker voice actor Mark Hamill. "I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”
Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams and siblings Trisha and Tom Conroy.
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