the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Nov. 6 - 13, 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! 

Only Two Days until POP Week Kicks Off!  Conferences - TAGIEs - POP's Got Talent - Young Inventor Challenge - Toy & Game Fair

We have many extraordinary panels! With a nod to our int'l media partners here on the Bloom Report, I'll share their panel with you. 

Reyne Rice, Global Trend Hunter/ CEO/ Founder ToyTrends; and Co-President, ITMA, International Toy Trade Magazine Association, and Member Trend Committee, Spielwarenmesse moderates with panelists: 

  • AUSTRALIA: Imogen Bailey, Editor: Toy and Hobby Retailer, and Podcast Moderator and Editor: Toy and Hobby Retailer: The Podcast,

  • GERMANY: Astrid Specht, Editor: TOYS magazine and First Steps baby and toddler magazine,

  • KOREA: Sujin Lee, CEO/ Ggemtoys, Korean market Trend Research Reporter, and Member Trend Committee, Spielwarenmesse

  • PERU and LATIN AMERICA: Armando Carreteros, Editor and Publisher, Nación Juguetes Latin America and Spain,

  • UNITED KINGDOM: John Baulch, Publisher, Toy World Magazine, UK and the Friday Blog, and Member Trend Committee, Spielwarenmesse

Between this panel and the other 34, it is an abundance of information to digest, so the recorded sessions will be available to watch at your leisure as will the TAGIEs, POP's Got Talent, Young Inventor Challenge and Fair! You can enjoy them over and over and over...  but first you need to: REGISTER NOW!  Every person in your company can enjoy all this content and entertainment for $1,000 or If it is just you, then $350. We've worked hard to make this the best deal in the industry and to bring us all together - just wait until you experience our fun one click themed zoom rooms!  See you Monday! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

Reyne Rice: WHAT’S WORKING NOW! State of the Industry International Panel - Strategies and Solutions

We gathered over 115 years of experience, with a group of six esteemed international trend experts, editors and publishers to discuss WHAT’S WORKING NOW, during the pandemic.

Together, our regional and global insights reflect real and current solutions for building and communicating with the toy industry partners: consumers, educators, entertainment studios, licensing partners, manufacturers, and retailers!

 

The goal was to share WHAT’S WORKING NOW!

  • What tactics and techniques are being innovated to tackle the pandemic,

       TO BOTH SURVIVE the pandemic shutdowns,

       AND to help manufacturers, retailers and alliance partners to THRIVE.

  • How can we continue to build trust and loyalty with consumers, families and educators, as we endure these shutdowns, together

  • Keeping our sanity within families and within our global toy communities:

       Promoting Learn-at-Home solutions, for parents forced to become educators-at-home

       Socializing within frazzled families cooped up inside and staying-at-home. What categories of goods thrived,         and saved the day.

      Unique Zoom experiences that broke through Zoom fatigue

       Events and Alliances with Entertainment Studios and Partners to infuse excitement

  • These solutions across regions offer innovative experiences that can be replicated in other regions.

Our LIVE simultaneously-recorded ZOOM international members session included: Read More..

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

All Events Package Gives You:

  • 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 . . . 

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.

(the above posted after November 13th)

Shop Local for Neighborhood Toy Store Day This Saturday!  Ready for a little holiday cheer? This Saturday, independent toy stores across the country will officially kick off the holiday shopping season during the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) Neighborhood Toy Store Day. It’s no secret that this year is a little bit different, but thousands of independent retailers are ready to celebrate and serve their... 
WHSmith to close 25 stores as high-street sales slump
The retailer posts a pretax loss of £226m after its travel and high street stores are heavily impacted by coronavirus restrictions. 

Toy and game distributor Flat River Group has acquired Optimum Fulfillment, a wholesale distributor, like Flat River, specializing in ecomm customers, the company announced.  Based in Peru, Illinois, Optimum Fulfillment sells toys, games, and other consumer products to online retailers including Amazon, Kohls.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, and others.  The acquisition will give Flat River "enhanced combined 

EU regulators slap Amazon with anti-trust charges A two year investigation has found that Amazon used data to gain an edge over merchants using its platform, just weeks before the retailer's Black Friday event. The allegations against Amazon include that it ‘systematically’ collects data from independent companies and vendors, and uses the data to gain an edge over them.

TikTok lives to see another day in USThe US Commerce Department has halted a ban on TikTok that was due to come into effect on Thursday night. The order would have prevented the app from being downloaded in the US. The Commerce Department delayed the ban "pending further legal developments," citing a Philadelphia court ruling from September.

Chronicle Books acquires Wild + Wolf’s Ridley’s Games, Petit Collage, and Games Room brands. Chronicle Books has detailed the acquisition of Wild + Wolf’s three signature games and toy brand: Petit Collage, Ridley’s Games, and Games Room in a deal that spans around 350 active skus and more than 10,000 retail partners across 60 countries. New products will continue to be produced under the Petit Collage, Ridley...

U.S. retail imports hit new peak season record heading into the holidays. Retailers across the U.S. have replenished their inventories and are well stocked for the holiday season. According to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, the U.S. may have set new records for the “peak season” of retail shipping.

Microsoft holding acquisition talks with a number of Japanese developers. Microsoft is courting a number of Japanese game studios with a view to expanding its first-party offering, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The company is apparently looking to expand its footprint in Japan by acquiring local studios, and has been holding private talks with a number of big and small developers.

Sega Sammy calls for 650 staff to voluntarily retire. Sega Sammy has issued a call for hundreds of employees to take voluntary retirement as it attempts to weather the impact of the ongoing pandemic on its business.

Judge dismisses Apple's claim of theft in Epic caseThe judge overseeing the dispute between Apple and Epic has dismissed the former's claim of theft. Apple filed a countersuit back in September following Epic's antitrust lawsuit the month before.

Enthusiast Gaming plans to list on NASDAQGames media and esports firm Enthusiast Game is preparing to list its common shares on the NASDAQ Capital Market. The company has filed the registration form and statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

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

(the above posted after November 13th)

Half of US and UK players want more diverse characters in games . . . What Comes Next? Predictions for the Future of the Toy Industry . . . Third quarter 2020 U.S. consumer spend on video game products shattered previous record highs . . . The NPD Group's global Q4 update . . . Canadian Toy Industry Grew 12% During First Three Quarters of 2020

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

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

(the above posted after November 13th)

Mattel CEO: Barbie, Hot Wheels, 'are resonating' with consumers during pandemic . . . Yahoo Finance Presents: Ynon Kreiz

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.

(the above (posted after November 13th)

Spin Master releases Q3 financial results Gross product sales and revenue are up, driven by categories including Action & Construction, Games & Puzzles, and Outdoor. Strong performances in Boys Action & Construction, Activities, Games & Puzzles and Plush saw the company increase its gross product sales +0.7% for the quarter to $587.4m. In Activities, Games & Puzzles and Plush, sales increased by $20.1m or 13.2% to $172.5m...

VTech Announces 2020/2021 Interim Results. Higher profit on stable revenue and improved gross margin. Group revenue for the six months ended 30 September 2020 was US$1,123.6 million, compared to US$1,124.1 million in the same period last year. Higher sales in Europe were offset by lower sales in North America, Asia Pacific and Other Regions.

Nexon posts its best Q3 ever thanks to mobile revenue surge. MapleStory publisher Nexon just posted its best Q3 ever, with revenue up 52% year-over-year to ¥79.4 billion ($754 million). Mobile game revenue accounted for 42% of the total, up 140% year-over-year thanks to three titles exceeding the company's expectations for the quarter …

PGC Digital: Mattel and NetEase joint venture Mattel163 achieves 600% revenue growth in two years. Mattel and NetEase's joint venture Mattel163 has grown its revenue by 600 per cent over the last two years. Founded in 2018, Mattel163 was created by the US toymaker and Chinese developer to utilise popular IP for mobile experiences. The studio has developed two games in two years: both new iterations of the...

Australia: Toys a "standout" for Big W F21 first quarter sales. Woolworths Group has released its first quarter F21 results, reporting that toys were key sales boosters at Woolworths and Big W. The retail giant reported that Woolworths Supermarkets sales in the quarter jumped 13.4% to $11.6 billion, while Big W saw sales increase 20.4% to $1,115 million.

Covid-19: Nintendo profits triple as games boom continues. Japanese gaming giant Nintendo's profits are soaring as a coronavirus boom in video games continues. The industry has been enjoying runaway sales during the pandemic as lockdowns and restrictions on movement have left many looking for entertainment. Sales of Nintendo's Switch console helped profits to more than triple in the half year to end of September.

Live games continue to lead at Take-Two as recurrent consumer spend jumps 56%. GAAP net revenue came in at $841.1 million for the quarter, down from $857.8 million during the same period last year though recurrent consumer spending (virtual currency, ad-ons, and in-game purchases) actually rose 56 percent year-over-year and made up the bulk (59 percent) of that earlier net revenue figure.

Mobile games set new quarterly revenue record at Konami. According to the Japanese company's fiscal report for the six months ended September 2020, revenues in the segment rose by 31.8 percent year-on-year to 88.3 billion yen ($854.2 million), while operating profit increased by 65.2 percent to 30.9 billion yen ($298.9 million).

Sega Sammy struggling to weather the pandemic despite strong game salesAccording to the company's fiscal report for the six months ended September 30, 2020, consolidated net sales fell by 33.4 percent year-on-year to 110.2 billion yen ($1.06 billion). Profits also evaporated, with Sega instead reporting a loss of 21.7 billion yen ($209.4 million).

EA Play crosses 6.5 million paying subscribersElectronic Arts’s freshly rebranded subscription game library EA Play has officially crossed 6.5 million paying subscribers since EA introduced the program as EA Access six years back. That 6.5 million represents a major push from EA to give its digital services suite a fresh coat of paint and make the EA Play subscription in particular enticing.

Future Financial Reporting... 

Brokerages anticipate Hasbro, Inc. will announce quarterly sales of $1.69 billionAnalysts expect Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) to announce $1.69 billion in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Five analysts have issued estimates for Hasbro's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $1.71 billion and the lowest estimate coming in at $1.67 billion.

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 . . . 

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...

(the above posted after November 13th)

John Baulch (ToyWorld UK) - Essentially…. it’s the Friday Blog! - So, how was everyone’s first week back in lockdown? Somehow, it feels different this time round, and not just because schools and universities are still open, making it all feel a bit half-hearted. Meanwhile, as the government is busy playing ‘My Little Crony’ (seriously, Hasbro should sue…), retail businesses are left to squabble over the sheer inconsistency...

Are big retailers exploiting lockdown loopholes? Retailers and supermarkets have been accused of taking advantage of lockdown loopholes for Christmas trading while other stores remain closed. Homeware chain The Range has been encouraging consumers in England to "Shop Christmas in-store and online".

OPINION – Hurrah for the madding crowd: How crowdfunding is fueling the flames of fandom It’s like the old Funko strapline says: Everybody’s a fan of something. It’s no secret that adult fandom has become an increasingly important market to the toy industry and pop culture scene in general, but – with limited shelf space among retailers – just how can brands and manufacturers cater to it all? 

Movies based on toys that never happenedMovies based on toys aren't as common a subgenre as movies based on books, comics, or TV shows, but that doesn't mean they can't drum up big business. The live-action Transformers movies, for example, have grossed $4.8 billion worldwide, while the LEGO movies have grossed $1.09 billion worldwide. For every hit movie based on a toy, however, there is a legendary box... 

Video games emerging as valuable youth marketing tool: Enthusiast CEO. If advertisers want to meaningfully engage with young people, video games could prove to be key, according to the head of a Canadian gaming company. "One of the hardest things to do as an advertiser is to find Gen-Z's and millennials,” Adrian Montgomery, chief executive officer of digital media company Enthusiast Gaming Inc., said in an interview...

The Toy Insider shares top tips for holiday toy shopping during the pandemic. Consumer shopping habits have changed dramatically this year thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including a surge in online shopping and month-long Black Friday sales at major retailers. The experts at the Toy Insider share their top tips on shopping for toys amid the pandemic and preparing for the next few months indoors.

Product of the pandemic: How has Covid-19 influenced change over the pre-school sector? There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the dynamic of toy selling this year. With families up and down the country now locked in for lockdown a second time around, and in that all-important run-up to Christmas, the consumer’s taste in toys has certainly become a product of circumstance.

The Hot Wheels Legends Tour goes live from Jay Leno’s garage. It’s been a year of evolution, and the third annual Hot Wheels Legends Tour was quick to treat COVID-19 as a minor speed bump on the road to finding the next real-life ride to immortalize as a 1:64-scale die-cast vehicle. The pandemic-fueled stay-at-home orders arrived just following the Tour’s first stop in Miami …

Heritage Auctions puts another 'Pokemon 1st Edition' sealed Booster Box on the block. The Pokemon TCG collector insanity rages on as another Pokemon 1st Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box has hit the auction block and is already at $260,000 as of the publication of this article ($312,000 with the buyer's premium).  That represents roughly at 30% mark up from the box purchased by Logan Paul for $198,000 back in... 

Brands, Place, Space: Lockdown learnings from Generation Media. Just under eight months ago we entered an extraordinary, unknown world, in which the simple act of a handshake became antisocial and toilet roll became a scarcity overnight. ‘The new normal’ has become a cliché since the spring, but as we enter the second lockdown period it’s worth looking back at what the advertising industry has learned, and how toy brands...

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.”

(the above posted after November 13th) 

15 weirdest ever Batman movie tie-in toys. The Dark Knight has inspired some baffling toys over the course of his movie career. Since 1939, he has consistently been one of the most popular characters in comics, being considered one of the Big Three of DC (along with Superman and Wonder Woman,) crossing and blurring lines between comics, animation, books, movies, and merchandise.

Wooly Willy Magnetic Toy from Smethport Specialty Co. (1955). The Wooly Willy Magnetic Drawing set proves the wisdom of the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The toy was initially brought to market in 1955 and remains virtually unchanged today, with more than 75 million copies sold along the way.

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_2_SEL

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.

(the above posted after November 13th)

Mattel and Sanrio announce Barbie x Hello Kitty collaboration A new consumer products line is set to roll out across EMEA from early next year. The collaboration will include the creation of a colourful, contemporary product line aimed at both children and adults, tapping into the playful and fun nature of both brands. The full range will include accessories, apparel, health and beauty and footwear, with a softlines focus...

ACCO Brands accelerates strategic shift toward consumer products; announces agreement to acquire licensed videogames accessories supplier PowerA. ACCO Brands signed an agreement to acquire licensed videgames accessories supplier PowerA. PowerA has has accessories licenses for Minecraft, Pokemon, Overwatch and others.

Build-A-Bear Workshop inks slate of new deals. Build-A-Bear Workshop has added four new deals to its licensing program with new partnerships from Wheels with Dynacraft, Magna-Tiles magnetic building sets from CreateOn, 5 Surprise Toy Mini Brand Collectables from Zuru and Dough, Construction and Playsets by Gener8.

How COVID-19 rocked Hollywood’s $125 billion licensing and consumer product cash cow. Much like other best-laid plans in 2020, the consumer product pipeline was ravaged by the coronavirus. Licensing rights to major films and streaming intellectual property generated $124.8 billion in revenue in 2019, according to a global study from trade organization Licensing International.

Remarkable Brands inks new licensing deals for Doug the Pug. The licensing program for a four-legged social media superstar is growing. Remarkable Brands inked new deals for Doug the Pug, a canine celebrity with more than 18 million followers across his social media accounts.

the two have come together in the consumer products space.

RedwoodVentures and Moonlite World announce licensing agreementRedwoodVentures, the fast-growing global leader in children’s products, announced an exclusive global licensing agreement with Moonlite World, Inc., the worldwide leader in story time technology through mobile phones.

LEGO unveils its most detailed Ghostbusters ECTO-1 to date ahead of Ghostbusters: Afterlife film. The LEGO Group has revealed its largest and ‘most detailed’ recreation of the Ghostbusters ECTO-1 vehicle ever to be realised in brick form, months ahead of the release of the 2021 film Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The new, buildable version of the classic car is ‘crammed full of authentic details’ …

 

People . . . 

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...

(the above posted after November 13th)

People of Play's Jazmine Darden Talks Young Inventors Challenge on the 'Power Kid Podcast' In the first of two special episodes of the “Power Kid Podcast” this week, host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with IAMEARHERO founder Jazmine Darden, newly minted program director for People of Play’s (POP) 15th annual Young Inventor Challenge. POP, formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group, will launch its annual Toy and Game International Innovation Summit and a virtual edition of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) next week.

Bugg Report - We Speak to Brendan Santamaria — CEO at Seafolly. We learnt recently that one of the all-time Iconic Australian brands, Seafolly, had moved into administration off the back of the on-going global Pandemic. Since being founded in 1975 by Peter Halas at Bondi Beach, it has become a global beacon for fashionable swimwear and lifestyle clothing. As the fashion industry continues to be impacted by consumer...

Student trailblazes in toy-making industry Self-proclaimed tinkerer and Iovine and Young student Jennifer Ellis first started her toy making journey while working at the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. After noticing the different ways students around her used technology to create interesting gadgets, she wanted her four-year-old daughter to learn more about science, math...

Tru Kids Brands has appointed Brian Maeda (pictured) as chief business development officer. In the newly created role, Maeda is responsible for expanding and managing the company’s brand portfolio, and he will also serve as the primary point of contact for all international licensing partners. After filing for bankruptcy protection in September 2017 and shuttering its US operations in March 2018, Toys “R” Us....

Gary Marsh takes on new role in Disney’s restructure. As the company flips its attention to streaming, the former president of Disney Channels takes the helm as president and CCO of the newly formed Disney Branded Television unit. Moving forward, Disney will separate content creation from distribution and commercialization. Rice’s team has been rebranded as Disney General Entertainment Content (DGE), and is...

PEOPLE OF PLAY’S MARY COUZIN TALKS CHITAG AND BEYOND ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’In the second of two special episodes of the “Power Kid Podcast” this week, host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Mary Couzin, founder of People of Play (POP), formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group. Next week, POP will launch its annual weeklong toy industry event starting with the 2020 Toy and Game ...

Scooby-Doo co-creator Ken Spears dies aged 82. Spears, who created the animated characters alongside his creative partner Joe Ruby, died of complications from Lewy body dementia. Their original show, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, only ran for two series from 1969-1970, but established a template that spawned 50 years of stories. Spears' death comes three months after that of his co-creator, Ruby.

Former Xbox trust and safety head Angela Hession joins Twitch. Angela Hession, once the head of trust and safety for Xbox, has joined the team at Twitch to head up the streaming giant's own VP of trust and safety. Twitch calls the hire an extension of its own efforts to bolster its internal trust and safety forces …

TRU Kids Brands expands leadership team with former WWE, Ferrero execs. The owner of the Toys “R” Us brand has added a pair of executives to its ranks as it looks toward the future. New Jersey-based Tru Kids Brands welcomes back former Toys “R” Us executive Anand Shah as general counsel with Brian Maeda joining the company as chief business development officer.

Creative agency Summer Day Media teams with Toyologist Peter Jenkinson for toy industry venture. The creative powerhouse, Summer Day Media, has joined forces with Toyologist, Peter Jenkinson as it looks to develop new business opportunities across the toy industry. Founded by Alistair Bendyshe-Brown, Summer Day Media is an agency known for its branding and creative work on some of the biggest names in the toy...

Companies . . . 

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.

(the above posted after November 13th)

The Good Toy Guide responds to consumer demand with eCommerce solution The first wave of brands on board with the Good Toy Guide’s evolution includes Learning Resources, Hornby Hobbies, Geomag, Galt Toys and Trends. The Good Toy Guide, founded by Dr Amanda Gummer, has expanded its business to offer a one-stop-shop for users, in preparation for the busy festive season.

Covid-19 Leads to Boom in Educational Toy Market. Edx Education – one Amazon’s best-selling educational toy brands – is anticipating a bumper Christmas this year, following unprecedented worldwide growth in the educational toy market in 2020. The combination of Covid-19 school closures and lockdown measures have fuelled a home learning trend which is set to last well into 2021 and beyond.

HASBRO’S NERF TURKEY VORTEX SPIRALS HOME FOR THANKSGIVING. Created as part of a collaboration between Concepts and Nike for the TurDUNKen fashion capsule collection, the NERF Turkey Vortex will be sold separately through Hasbro Pulse while supplies last beginning Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. EST. The entire capsule collection is available at the Concepts flagship stores in Boston and New York City and online.

Mattel Creations is continuing its fusion of toys and art with the debut of MEGA Collabs, a new collection that pairs iconic artists with MEGA Builders to create exclusive collectibles. MEGA Collabs will debut with a project from graphic artist and collectible pioneer Frank Kozik.

Kozik rose to fame in the early ’90s by creating unique concert posters for rock acts including Nirvana, Melvins, Gwar, the Beastie Boys, and more.

Asmodee USA will release 'Fake That!' into U.S. trade. Asmodee USA will release Fake That!, a new quiz game, into U.S. trade on December 4. In Fake That!, players ask each other zany questions while trying to guess whether their opponents answers are true or false.

Cra-Z-Art opens first international sales office in Manchester as it eyes European growth. The popular arts and crafts kits, puzzles, and school supplies manufacturer, Cra-Z-Art has opened its first international sales office in Manchester as the company continues to see steady international growth. The new office will be headed up by the toy industry sales veteran, Oliver Williams.

Lucky Duck Games will release 'It's A Wonderful World: War or Peace' into U.S. trade. Lucky Duck Games will release It's a Wonderful World: War or Peace, an expansion for It's a Wonderful World, in Q1 of 2021. This expansion contains six scenarios that let players make choices that will tip the balance of the It's a Wonderful World  story towards either peace or World War.

Dantoy’s new Green Bean toy line will ‘push boundaries of consumer perception’ and eco toys. The Danish toy maker, Dantoy is looking to push the boundaries of both product development and consumer perception with the launch of its latest sustainable-developed toy line, Green Bean; a range of toys created directly from the waste material of the toy company’s own toy production methods.

Funko unveils new 'Pop! Funko Masters of The Universe' figures. Funko unveiled a wave of Pop! Masters of the Universe vinyl figures for release in December. Masters of the Universe fever is ramping up again as a new RPG is in the works and Kevin Smith is firing up a new animated series.

Try to speak words good in 'Poetry for Neanderthals'Exploding Kittens will release Poetry for Neanderthals, a family word game, into retail on January 1. In Poetry for Neanderthals, players form teams and attempt to earn points by guessing words and phrases utters by the other Neanderthal Poets.

Jazwares to launch the UK’s first plush play-sets this December with Squishville. Jazwares is looking to break the mold in the UK’s plush market with the launch of Squishville, an extension of the popular Squishmallows brand that brings the first all-plush play-sets to the UK retail scene this December. The colourful and squishy brand extension follows the international success of its Squishmallows plush range.

PAC-MAN: The Card Game. First released by Namco in 1980, Pac-Man was an immediate hit with gamers and an entry point for many new video-game enthusiasts. Now, UK-based Steamforged Games brings the arcade hit to tabletops in the form of a new card game aptly titled, PAC-MAN: The Card Game.

‘I’m A Girly’ European fashion dolls make U.S. debut. I’M A GIRLY, a new line of collectible fashion dolls focused on empowering young girls and boys to play creatively and help to find their own style, has launched in the U.S. following its incredible success in Europe and in Canada.

Super7 adds ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ to Reaction Figures line. Halloween may be over for this year, but in Halloweentown, it’s Halloween every day! And Super7 is bringing fans a little bit of Halloweentown with new The Nightmare Before Christmas ReAction figures.

Unlock gems in an old castle with 'Clever Keys'. HABA USA announced Clever Keys, a press-your-luck memory game, for release on February 11. In Clever Keys, players attempt to unlock a stockpile of gemstones from a treasure trove located in the middle of an old castle.

THE TOY COACH, TINKERTINI TEAM UP TO FACILITATE PITCHING TO MAJOR TOYMAKERS. Budding toy creators now have a new path to pitching that could help put new toys on the fast track to retail. The Toy Coach and TinkerTini are joining forces to offer graduates of the Toy Creators Academy instant access to pitch their ideas directly to major toymakers through the Tinkerly Innovation Platform.

Disneyland to Furlough More Employees, Including Executives. Major Southern California theme parks remain in a stalemate with Gov. Gavin Newsom over reopening. Disneyland on Monday instituted more furloughs as the Southern California theme park resort remains shuttered.

According to a memo from Disneyland President Ken Potrock obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the additional furloughs impact an...

This Teddy Bear Company Has Been Around For 140 Years  Founded in 1880, Steiff is the manufacturer of high-end toys and collectibles. The original founder, Margarete Steiff, was recently inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. In this week’s Q&A, we discuss this achievement with Steiff Spokesperson Liza Marques Grando and learn what’s ahead for the toy company. Q: Congrats on the Toy Hall of Fame induction for Founder...

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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.

(the above was posted after November 13th)

PUBG Mobile plans to re-launch in India with new game and $100 million investment. The PUBG Corporation says it plans to launch a new PUBG Mobile game in India, after being banned in the country in September due to the mobile app’s links to China’s Tencent. At the time of its ban, the game was India’s top downloaded title, with some 50 million users.

PS5 media remote hands-on: simple, streamlined, safe. In comparison to the PlayStation 5 itself — a big hulking mass of a game console — the PS5-branded media remote is very conservative. It does pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a media remote and not much more, but at least it’ll match your new games machine.

Epic Games and Disney expand collaboration with new Disney+ offer. Epic announces a special offering for Fortniteplayers. From November 11 through December 31, 2020, Fortnite players age 18+ who make a real-money purchase in-game and who are new subscribers to Disney+ can receive up to two months of service.

EA looks to revamp its mobile biz to tap into an 'unbelievable exponential opportunity'.  Like other major leaders in the video game space, Electronic Arts is hard at work plotting its own expansion into mobile games. The company is no stranger to the platform, and has heavy hitters like a mobile Apex Legends and future FIFA titles already on the way.

Codemasters: UK games firm to sell to Take-TwoVeteran British video game company Codemasters has confirmed it plans to sell to US giant Take-Two. Codemasters is best known for its racing games, including the Dirt Rally series and Formula 1 licences.

Fortnite set to return to iPhones via Nvidia cloud gaming service. Owners of iPhones and iPads could soon be able to play Fortnite again, via a cloud service, the BBC has discovered. Nvidia has developed a version of its GeForce cloud gaming service that runs in the mobile web browser Safari.

Capcom hacked in latest cyber-attack on game-makers. Video game-maker Capcom said its computer systems were hacked earlier this week, in the latest cyber-attack to hit the games industry. The Japanese firm is behind major franchises such as Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and Mega Man.

‘WWE Undefeated’ mobile game announced for iOS, Android. Animoca Brands subsidiary nWay has announced that “WWE Undefeated,” the latest WWE mobile game featuring real-time head-to-head competition, will release worldwide on Dec. 3 for iOS and Android devices. Featuring WWE Superstars and Legends, “WWE Undefeated” blends action with real-time strategy gameplay.

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).

(the above posted after November 13th)

Smyths toy stores recall swing set sold to hundreds of Irish customers over child injury risk. Smyths toy stores are recalling one of their swing sets after a fault in the product may cause injury to children. Some 741 affected products have been sold in Ireland.

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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...

(the above posted after November 13th)

Endless Games Builds On Its Puzzle Line. “We had already planned an expansion of new puzzles for 2021, but when we saw the tremendous increase in demand, we quickly moved to make sure that we could provide our new puzzles for families to enjoy this year,” Mike Gasser, President of Endless Games, explained.

Larktale, An Innovative Baby Gear Brand, Enters The Kid's Toy Industry With The All New scoobi ...Larktale, a rapidly growing baby gear brand that gives active parents the ability to easily integrate their baby into everyday life, is proud to announce the launch of their new kid's toy, the scoobi™ 5-in-1 Convertible Scooter.

STORY TIME CHESS CHECKMATES ALL OTHER GAMES WITH A COVETED TOY OF THE YEAR NOMINATION. Unique Chess Set Teaches Children 3+ to Play Using Stories Brooklyn, NY (November 10, 2020) – “King Chomper has a big belly so he moves very slowly, in fact one step at a time.” Children hearing this tale quickly discover when playing the iconic game of chess that the king can move only one square at a time. Story Time Chess ($49.99), using silly stories, vibrant illustrations, custom chess pieces and a unique chessboard has won the hearts of The Toy Association and snagged a shot at the highest prize of all with a finalist spot in the 2021 Toy Of The Year (TOTY) competition.

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.

(the above posted after November 13th)

GAMA cancels Expo 2021 in Reno. The Game Manufacturers Association will not hold GAMA Expo, its annual trade show, in Reno next March due to Covid concerns, the organization announced.  The 2020 show was held as the coronavirus was starting to take hold in the U.S., one of the last trade shows of any kind in the U.S. this year.

Women In Toys' 30th Annual Wonder Women Awards Moves to Los Angeles Back in February, nearly 900 members of the toy, licensing, and entertainment industries were gathered in New York City as Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) pulled back the curtain on the 2020 Wonder Women Award Winners at the sold-out 16th Annual WIT Wonder Women Awards. The vibrant celebration dinner honors the best and... 

The 2020 Creative Play Awards results revealed The results of the Creative Play Awards recognise products which enhance creative development in young children. The awards are sponsored and organised by Creative Steps magazine, which promotes creative play as vital in a child’s development. The results of these awards recognise the  products which enhance creative development in young children and are... 

REEDPOP RESCHEDULES TWO MAJOR SHOWS PLANNED FOR MARCH 2021 To December. ReedPop has rescheduled two major comic conventions originally planned for March 2021 to December, citing Covid concerns. Emerald City Comic Con, originally scheduled for the weekend of March 4, 2021, will now be held December 2-5, 2021.  The 2020 event was one of the first to fall to the coronavirus pandemic; it was...

Calling all heroes: enter the BTHA Toy Retailer of the Year Awards This year's awards have a strong emphasis on retailers or employees that have gone above and beyond during the coronavirus crisis. There’s a little less than three weeks left to enter the BTHA Toy Retailer of the Year Awards 2020, with entries set to close on 27th November.

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.

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

 

aNb Media's (US)

  1.  PUMA and L.O.L. Surprise! Unveil New Sneaker Line

  2. Fifi the Flossing Sloth and Frankie the Funky Flamingo Join ZURU Pets Alive Brand

  3. Spin Master Reports Q3 2020 Financial Results

  4. PUMA and L.O.L. Surprise! Unveil New Sneaker Line

  5. DonateAToy.org and Toys for Tots Launch Virtual Gift Drive

  6. PlayMonster Adds Koosh to Portfolio in New Deal with Hasbro

  7. The 15th Annual People of Play Toy & Game International Summit Kicks off Next Week

  8. RedwoodVentures and Moonlite World Announce Licensing Agreement

  9. Doug the Pug Secures Six New Licensing Deals

  10. Sesame Street 51st Season Launches on HBO Max

ToyWorld (UK)

1.            Essentially…. it’s the Friday Blog!

2.            Early Learning Centre ties up with M&S to supply toy range

3.            First look at Smyths Toys Superstores new 2020 brand ad

4.            EU regulators slap Amazon with anti-trust charges

5.            The Entertainer in disagreement with Westfield landlord

6.            Lockdown surge sees first half profits soar at B&M

7.            Exclusive: The NPD Group’s global Q4 update

8.            Cra-Z-Art opens European international sales office

9.            Exclusive: Dolu details plans for the opening of its new factory in 2021

10.          Indie toy retailers voice frustration at lockdown closure rules

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

 1. Rolling for Initiative -- 'Magic' and 'D&D' in the Time of COVID-19
  2. WizKids Announces New 2D Sets for 'D&D Idols of the Realms'
  3. Flat River Acquires Another Distributor
  4. Wizards of the Coast Reveals Decklists for 'Commander Legends' Pre-Constructed Commander Decks
  5. TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed TCG Products - October 2020
  6. Heritage Auctions Puts Another 'Pokemon 1st Edition' Sealed Booster Box on the Block
  7. GAMA Cancels Expo 2021 in Reno
  8. TCG Market Analysis: Taking a Closer Look at TCGplayer's Top 25 Sealed Product Prices
  9. Blazing Hot 'Pokemon' Singles Market May Be Partially a Result of Social Media Hype
10. Funko Sales Down 14% in Q3

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)

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Video of the Week

Who Invented Silly Putty? | WTFF? by Tim Walsh! 

Who knows Aaron Muderick from Crazy Aaron's Putty World?

You've never seen Aaron like you will as part of the TAGIE Awards this year! 

 

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