the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Oct. 23 - 30, 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! 

We all miss the shows where we can see one another and connect. As a producer of virtual events coming up, people have been asking me repeatedly how we are going to handle the networking, the social aspect. I've spent hundreds of hours over the past 7 months on just this one piece of the show and we just figured it out! It will be a labyrinth of themed zoom rooms accessible via a simple click on a map of what's behind each image. No additional passwords, no typing in urls,  A daily map of what is inside each room such as the speakers from a panel that day, industry topics, company hospitality room, rooms with names of libations for those wishing to just kick back and talk about their day with colleagues. You could tell colleagues to meet you in the Guinness room at 7pm, enjoy at chat with them and then click over to another room, perhaps a panel from earlier in the day to meet a speaker or visit another group of colleagues who chose the Jenga room to meet... if you are super social, visit all the rooms to see what's happening! Easiest networking you'll experience virtually! Join us and see for yourself!

The only thing I can compare this process to is building a ship while you are sailing it or building a plane while you are flying it. 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

Mary​​

Sahad Rivera Sonda: On Design, Journeys, and Alligators – tBR Person of the Week

Think about when you are happiest or when you feel your “youest” you. What are you doing? For me, creating things with my hands, designing, measuring, and building, is where I’ve always felt at home, full of joy and the magic of possibilities.

 

I can still remember being four years old and constructing cardboard mansions for my Barbies (complete with specially designed props and furniture that I sculpted out of clay). The ability to create absolutely anything that I could imagine felt like a superpower. Like many defining moments, I didn’t realize that through this simple play, I was already taking what would be the first steps in my journey toward becoming a toy designer. Twenty years later, I’m still using these same materials (along with some pretty intense computer software) to create mockups and models of real toys that kids play with around the world! Looking back now, it’s hard to believe how much has changed since those early days.

 

I grew up in a small town in the south of Mexico. When I say small, I mean it was the kind of town where everyone worked at the same place, or owned their own business providing contract work to. . .that same place. The entire town was a little island of industry surrounded by rainforest. The river flooded in the rainy season and it was a common sight to see alligators walking down the street. It was so humid and fertile, you could pick a piece of fruit off a tree, and a new one would start growing wherever you tossed the core. It was a beautiful and special place to live, but needless to say, it was not the type of town where people frequently dreamed big dreams and then pursued those dreams across international borders.  Read More...

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Phil Albritton: “Delivering Christmas”: PowerKid Podcast - tBR Company of the Week

I wore a stocking for my first photograph.

On the evening of December 25th, 1976, the nurses wrapped me up like a present to have my picture taken for the front page of the Jacksonville Times. When I was a boy, I was told that Santa Claus had delivered me to my parents – is it any wonder I wanted to follow in the big man’s footsteps and become a toymaker? Truly, I owe my motivation to my parents. My mother was an innovative 2nd grade teacher, and my father was a talented public speaker with a passion for comics and toys.

From them, I learned that playtime is not frivolous but precious. I grew up to pursue a degree in Marketing and Media Arts, where I focused my every paper and project on the toy industry. If I had a marketing essay due, I wrote about how Todd McFarlane was shaking-up the action figure aisle. If the assignment were to shoot a commercial, I loaded-up on Kenner Batman toys and made miniature sets from scratch.

Although it seemed like my fate was sealed, the fact is that it takes years of perseverance and hard work to stay in the game. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Sega Sammy sells off arcade business as COVID takes its toll. Sega Sammy, the holdings company above game maker Sega, has sold its amusement center business to Genda, citing significant losses due to COVID-19 as one of the key reasons behind the sale. The deal sees Sega Sammy selling off 85.1 percent of its shares in Sega Entertainment, its amusement center subsidiary.

Bandai Namco AtGames lawsuit dismissed. A Bandai Namco AtGames lawsuit has been dismissed a little over a year after it was first filed, once again allowing AtGames to produce retro consoles featuring Pac-Man games. AtGames is one of the many companies around the world that produces standalone retro consoles with built-in games …

Ten risks associated with the new EU Digital Content Directive. Legal expert Sebastian Schwiddessen breaks down how buggy games at launch, shutting titles down early and more can violate consumers' rights. With the new EU Digital Content Directive the legislative landscape is changing and becomes more challenging.

Judge rejects Google's attempt to push Epic case to October 2022. Google's suggestion of dealing with the lawsuit it faces from Epic Games in two years' time has been rejected. Judge James Donato, who is overseeing the case, told both Epic and Google that such a delay in starting the case would be unacceptable.

Tencent leads $25 million investment in Avakin Life dev Lockwood Publishing. Tencent has led a $25 million investment into Avakin Life developer Lockwood Publishing, according to GamesBeat. Avakin Life is a 3D virtual world that allows players to be anything and anyone" by creating and customizing an avatar, designing and building their "dream house," and socializing with others.

Hundreds of Argos stores to closeSainsbury's has also announced 3,500 job cuts, both from its Argos stores and its own in-store food counters, as its posts a £137m half-year loss. Some 420 stand-alone Argos stores have been earmarked for closure by March 2024 according to owner Sainsbury’s. The supermarket chain has, however, announced intentions to open 150 new Argos outlets within Sainsbury’s stores.

Covid-19: PM announces four-week England lockdown. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England to prevent a "medical and moral disaster" for the NHS. He said Christmas may be "very different" but he hoped taking action now would mean families can gather. Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will have to close for four weeks from Thursday, he said.

The Lego Group helps Builder's Journey dev Light Brick go independent. The Lego Group has spun off Builder's Journey developer Light Brick Studio into an independent studio.  The company originally established Light Brick as an in-house studio, but through a "spin-out collaboration" between itself and its investment arm Lego Ventures is now allowing the developer to go independent.

Mighty Mojo acquires Cortex Toys. The latest wave of mergers and acquisitions continues with news that Mighty Mojo Inc. has acquired Cortex Toys. Mighty Mojo Toys launched during Toy Fair New York with plans to offer a variety of licensed products, including party-in-a-box, pool inflatables, watches, and more across multiple categories beginning next year.

UK toy stores report pre-lockdown sales surgeRapidly rising infections and hospitalisations have necessitated a second lockdown in England, which comes into force for four weeks from Thursday 5th November. The new measures will force the closure of all ‘non-essential’ retailers, with the timing leaving many retailers frustrated at the potential impact on the retail industry during the golden quarter.

Belgium suspends sale of clothing, kitchen utensils and toys in supermarketsSupermarkets and related businesses allowed to remain open will not be able to sell goods usually available in other stores closed as a result of measures against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  The measure affects mainly toys, kitchen utensils and clothing.

Curve Digital acquires For the King developer IronOak Games. UK publisher Curve Digital has purchased For the King developer IronOak Games for an undisclosed fee.  Based in Vancouver, IronOak launched For the King in 2017 with the help of Curve, which published the roguelike tabletop adventure on PC and consoles.

Use of Humvees in Call of Duty franchise games not infringement. According to a group of curious law professors, the Humvee has been featured in over 1,000 movies and shows. But the maker of Humvees thought the inclusion of its military vehicles in the wildly successful Call of Duty video games infringed on its trademark rights …

Sony to buy Crunchyroll for over $957 million. The Tokyo-based electronics giant is reportedly going into the final round of negotiations to buy Crunchyroll. According to Nikkei Asia, the acquisition could cost Sony over 100 billion yen ($957 million). This comes as Sony obtained the exclusive right to negotiate for the popular anime streaming service.

Stillfront acquires collectible card game developer Everguild for $1.37 million. Swedish game company Stillfront Group has purchased indie studio Everguild Limited to expand into the collectible card game (CCG) genre. The deal will see Stillfront acquire 100 percent of the shares in Everguild for an upfront payment of £1.06 million ($1.37 million).

Zuru and Toi-Toys end three year litigation as European toy maker agrees not to sell Water Bombs. The European toy company, Toi-Toys has agreed to cease all trade on its Water Bombs product in 48 countries around the globe, including the USA and member states of the EU, following the conclusion of a dispute between its operations and the global toymaker, Zuru.

(the above posted after October 30th)

TikTok and Shopify Announce E-Commerce Partnership. Video app TikTok and e-commerce platform Shopify announced a partnership allowing Shopify merchants to create and connect their TikTok For Business account and deploy In-Feed shoppable video ads directly within Shopify.

Juratoys acquires Lilliputiens Lilliputiens joins the Juratoys group’s brand portfolio to feature alongside Janod and Kaloo. Juratoys has announced that it has acquired Lilliputiens, a Belgian company that has specialised in activity toys for 0 – 6 year olds for 25 years. Known for its quality designs and colourful characters, the Lilliputiens range spans 400 products, incuding fabric-made toys, books and bags, and has...

Simba Dickie Group to acquire the majority stake in Exit Toys Simba's acquisition is expected to further increase the international footprint for Exit Toys in the outdoor toys sector. Exit Toys, a Dutch enterprise that develops and sells outdoor toys and allied products in the international market, intends to sell the majority of its shares to the German toy manufacturer Simba Dickie Group. This collaboration fits both the Dutch...

SPIN MASTER TO ACQUIRE RUBIK’S BRAND, OWNER OF THE ICONIC RUBIK’S CUBE. The 40th anniversary of Rubik’s Cube will come to a close with the start of a new era for the iconic toy. Toronto-based Spin Master Corp. inked a deal to acquire London-based Rubik’s Brand Ltd., owner of the Rubik’s Cube and its related assets. The deal is expected to close on Jan. 4, 2021, marking the 22nd acquisition since Spin Master was...

It’s a hoax! Very Group dismisses Woolworths return rumours. For a brief spell there a return to simpler times for the UK High Street seemed almost plausible, as rumours circulated that Woolworths had confirmed plans to make its return. An announcement put out on Twitter certainly caught the attention of the UK’s media channels.

Tencent leads $100 million investment into Chinese esports company VSPN. Tencent has led a $100 million investment into Chinese esports company VSPN (Versus Programming Network). The cash was raised via a Series B funding round, which was led by Tencent and backed by other investors including Tiantu Capital, SIG, and Kuaishou.

Tomy and Drumond Park invest in Sky partnership. The partnership sees a series of TV adverts across Sky channels, video on demand and digital campaigns via Sky Advance until 21st December. With over 100 years of combined games experience, Tomy and Drumond Park have announced a brand new partnership with Sky to build on its success in the adult and family games category this Christmas.

Esports Entertainment Group to acquire Helix Esports and ggCircuit. Esports Entertainment Group has committed to acquiring ggCircuit and Helix Esports in a deal worth more than $40 million. The esports firm, which is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, has entered into an agreement to acquire both ggCircuit and Helix Esports for a combined total of $43 million.

Post-Brexit VAT rules set to cause significant impact on trading. The new regulations mean thousands of small traders in the UK and abroad will be impacted, with critics warning of lower sales and limited consumer choice after Brexit. As of January 1st 2021, anyone abroad wishing to sell product in Britain will need to register with HM Revenue & Customs and pay VAT directly to the UK government; making it more expensive.. 

Retailers call for “pandemic clauses” to cut rent payments. Retailers taking new leases are reportedly seeking “pandemic clauses” to ensure rent payments will be reduced if the store is forced to close as a result of a local lockdown. An increased number of retailers are seeking such clauses following the government’s newly imposed tier system in England, and other local restrictions across Scotland and Wales which are...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Five trends in consumer behavior that could impact end-of-year retail . . . U.S. retail sales rebound, but Covid-19 remains a threat, NRF says . . .   Toy companies cutting back on plastic to reduce waste . . . Exclusive: toy stores report pre-lockdown sales surge . . . U.S. TOY INDUSTRY GREW 19% IN FIRST THREE QUARTERS OF 2020 . . . Newzoo raises its annual games industry forecast for 2020 once again

(the above posted after Oct. 30th)

Surge in online holiday shopping will pack 2 years of growth into one season, Adobe says . . . The Toy Insider experts name top holiday toy trends of 2020 . . .  Retro toys to top Christmas lists as families seek familiar favourites to play together . . . Toy companies are cutting back on plastic to reduce waste . . .  Hasbro and sustainability: “Changes in the toy sector may appear tiny, but there’s a big shift in mentality in the background” . . . Toymakers expect strong Christmas sales despite coronavirus . . . Canadian Toy Industry Continues to Experience Unprecedented Sales Increases as Consumers Look For Entertainment at Home.

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

JAKKS Pacific Inc. soars 21.05% on November 03 . . . Pokémon Go's 2020 revenues estimated at $1bn so far.

 

Hornby sales surge as more take up hobbies in lockdown...Funtastic share price storms 200% higher following suspension . . . What is driving Mattel Inc stock?

Financial Reporting . . .  

Zynga posts record quarterly revenues, bookings. Zynga today reported its financial results for the third quarter, including the best revenue and bookings numbers in company history. For the third quarter, Zynga reported revenues up 46% year-over-year to $503 million and bookings up 59% to $628 million.

Switch driving growth at Nintendo as console nears 70 million sales. The sky is blue, water is wet, and the Switch is still a huge growth driver for Nintendo. According to the company's fiscal report for the six months ended September 30, 2020, net sales rose by 73.3 percent year-on-year to 769.5 billion yen ($7.4 billion), while profits increased by 234 percent to 213.1 billion yen ($2.05 billion) over that same period.

Jakks Pacific’s Q3 results exceed expectations as total sales take a dip to $242.3m. Despite a sales decline of around $38 million year over year to $242.3 million, the US based toy maker JAKKS Pacific has chalked its third quarter results up to a win, having exceeded expectations for sales, gross margin, and operating income.

Amazon reports strong Q3 results as profits tripleThe company’s revenues of $96.15b were better than analysts expected and net income increased to $6.3b in Q3, compared with net income of $2.1b at the same time last year. Amazon’s cloud-services unit, Amazon Web Services, reported net sales of $11.6b for the quarter, up 29% year over year.

Big gains in Hasbro Gaming in Q3. Sales in Hasbro’s total gaming category, including both its Hasbro Gaming brand portfolio and the games in its Franchise Brands portfolio (Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly), were up 21% to $543 million in Q3 from $449 million in Q3 2019, the company announced with its earnings report this week.  Hasbro’s gaming category sales in the first three quarters of 2020 were up 11% despite...

Digital and catalog sales continue to drive growth at Capcom. Digital game sales are driving net sales and profits at Capcom, which just released its fiscal report for the six months ended September 30, 2020. According to the report, consolidated net sales rose by 12.8 percent year-on-year to 42.1 billion yen ($402.7 million) while profits increased by 32 percent to 12.9 billion yen ($123.4 million).

Live games keep cash flow steady as Ubisoft readies for big launches. For the six months ending September 30, 2020, Ubisoft reported €754.7 million (~$881.2 million) in net bookings, up 14 percent from the same period last year. As always, and no doubt helped along by the current pandemic, the bulk of those net bookings, €655.4 million (~$765.2 million) came from digital sources.

Call of Duty drives Activision Blizzard revenues up 52% year-over-year. Activision Blizzard reported its third quarter earnings today, with the company's performance driven largely by the Call of Duty franchise. For the third quarter, Activision Blizzard reported net revenues up 52% to $1.95 billion, with net income nearly tripling to $604 million.

(the above posted after Octobr 30th)

Genshin Impact made $245m in its first month on mobile aloneGenshin Impact has brought in at least $245 million in spending during its first month on mobile alone. This is according to Sensor Tower, which says this makes it one of the biggest mobile game launches ever …

Microsoft's game revenue up by $550 million as Xbox readies for Series X debut. While the Xbox One generation is winding down, the Xbox brand is holding strong and is even listed as a driving force behind year-over-year growth in Microsoft's “more personal computing” segment as a whole. Revenue for Microsoft’s game business is up 22 percent year-over-year, an increase of $550 million when compared to Q1 FY2020.

First-party releases are driving sales and operating income at Sony video game division, according to the company's fiscal report for the second quarter ended September 30, 2020...sales in the Game & Network Services segment rose by 11 percent year-on-year to 506.6 billion yen ($4.8 billion), while operating income increased to 104.9 billion yen ($1 billion).

Hasbro's stock rallies toward 8-month high after profit and revenue beat expectations. Shares of Hasbro Inc. HAS, -10.23% rallied 1.7% toward an 8-month high in premarket trading Monday, after the toy maker reported third-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, and said deliveries are expected to improve in the fourth quarter. Net income was $220.9 million, or $1.61 a share, after net income of $212.9 million..

Future Financial Reporting... 

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

(the above posted after October 30th)

Hasbro and Mattel: Cautious Optimism for Q4. A combination of factors – retail caution, potential supply chain issues in some categories, and the shifting theatrical release schedule — is tempering projections for strong overall holiday sales as the ever-changing film release slate continues to impact the business, Hasbro and Mattel executives said in releasing Q3 financial results.

Jakks Pacific earnings information. JAKKS Pacific has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Thursday, November 5th, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.

Spin Master earnings information. Spin Master has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.

Zynga earnings information. Zynga has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.

Electronic Arts earnings information. Electronic Arts has confirmed that its next quarterly earnings report will be published on Thursday, November 5th, 2020.

Target earnings information. Target has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

Evolve your 2021 marketing strategyAs the year comes to an end, the toy industry is typically gearing up for toy fairs, planning showroom space and samples, and setting up appointments. It’s how we wrap the year and ring in a new one. 2021 will begin quite differently than in years past, meaning that we must operate differently and evolve the way we communicate with customers and consumers.

Parents Magazine Reveals hot holiday toy picks, debuts Parents X Toy Insider Holiday Hub. Meredith Corp.’s Parents magazine is rolling out a ton of holiday toy content, including its Best Toys for Kids of 2020 list. The Best Toys list includes 45 top toys as selected by the Parents magazine editors and is featured in the December issue of Parents magazine.

The risk of Christmas online shopping meltdown. Derek O’Carroll, CEO, Brightpearl discusses the impact lockdown could have on online shopping during the festive period – and why some families may not be getting their Christmas gifts on time. The BRC is warning that there is now a real risk of a Christmas trade meltdown, with online shopping networks failing to cope with the huge increase in Christmas trade.

Overriding the Amazon default: how can independent toy shops survive Lockdown II? The online-meets-physical retailing solution, Click and Collect has been the saviour of many independent toy shops over the course of the year, helping local businesses negotiate closed doors and a locked-in nation as the fight against coronavirus ensued …

NRF chief economist says strong retail sales growth 'points to the resiliency of consumers'. Retail sales have largely recovered from the pandemic heading into the holiday season but the growing number of coronavirus cases remains a threat and additional federal stimulus could help keep the economy on track, National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said …

How Barbie turned into a cultural icon. Barbie has become an icon of the toy industry unlike few others. the toy has been a mainstay of toy aisles and children’s wish lists since 1959. From its icon collaborations to its diverse variety of dolls, the Barbie brand has become a multigenerational fan favorite.

10 great movies based on real-life toys. While video game movies might be the next big genre, considering the slew of release dates based around console games, there's another genre that has been turning out great films for many years and that's those set around toys and board games.

Ghoulish games: Board gaming’s undying relationship with the horror genre. It’s a perennial favourite among the gaming enthusiast, from zombie hordes and haunted mansions, to murderous slashers and the escape room scene – the horror genre (or spooky, gothic, spine-tingling – whatever you want to call it) it all just seems to work on the board game platform.

Exclusive: Evolution, not revolution - Toy World sat down with Paul Reader. Toy World sat down with Toymaster's marketing director, Paul Reader, to find out his hopes for the months (and years) ahead, and how 2020 is likely to pan out after what’s been a rollercoaster year. Toymaster, the independent buying group, has undergone some substantial changes this year...

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia Game's Launch Trailer Streamed. Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developer WayForward revealed the launch trailer for their Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia game for Nintendo Switch on Thursday. The game will launch in U.S. on November 3 and in Japan on November 5. Nintendo describes the game: Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is an all-new action role....

The November issue of Toy World is out now. The November 2020 issue of Toy World is available to read online now. s another year fast approaches, this issue looks ahead at the all-important Q1 period, with a dedicated feature highlighting the up and coming ranges set to launch between Boxing Day 2020 and Easter 2021. Plus, with outdoor items seeing major success over summer, and big-box outdoor products...

(the above posted after October 30th)

John Baulch (ToyWorld UK) A better class of problem …it’s the Friday Blog! I called a client in Italy earlier this week and asked him how things were there – his reply was short and to the point: “It’s a giant mess.” To be fair, he was laughing when he said it and I doubt he is alone in his assessment of the ongoing handling of the pandemic, and in thinking it’s good to try to retain a modicum of humour about the whole sh*tshow.

Angellina’s Toy Boutique Named Finalist for TAGIE Awards. The Canadian toy store is a finalist for most innovative retailer of the year, as part of the 13th annual Toy & Game International Excellence Awards. Betty Burns, founding creative director of Angellina’s Toy Boutique in Yukon, Canada, said she is proud that her specialty toy store has been honored as a finalist in the 13th annual Toy & Game International Excellence...

Chris James from Casual Games Revolution. News Flash: Ohanami Released, Pac-Man The Card Game. Pandasaurus Games has released a new card game from the designer of The Game, Steamforged Games has a Pac-Man card game out, and The Op has released a new family friendly co-op game.

Warnings for Christmas supply chain chaos as peak trading season beckons. With more consumers avoiding crowded spaces and turning to the convenience of online shopping this Christmas, having already relied largely upon ecommerce platforms over lockdown, this year’s festive season is predicted to see a massive surge in online trading – which lends the question, will retailers and couriers be able to cope?

Talkin’ Toys: Imc Toys embraces a 360-degree play experienceThe Toy Book caught up with Karen Branson, country manager for IMC Toys in the U.S. and Canada about the new Cry Babies Magic Tears app, strategies about turning brands into 360-degree play experiences, and staying relevant in today’s world.

Toycos bite into fast food. Moose Toys, Playmonster and Discovery have jumped onto the fast-food bandwagon, and trendspotter Chris Byrne explores why that's a healthy choice. For a long time, the fast-food licensing agreement was king when it came to brand awareness. IP owners fought to have toys inspired by their properties pop up in kids meals. In recent years, however, health concerns led to backlash...

VTech shares their Top Toy Picks for Holiday 2020.  VTech® a leader in electronic learning products, has released their top picks for all the babies, toddlers and kids on your holiday shopping list this year.  Known for innovative, educational and fun toys, VTech has a wide variety of options that are shoppable online or in person with retailers nationwide.

Toys “R” Us relaunches Geoffrey’s Hot Toy List. Following a two-year absence, Geoffrey’s Hot Toy List is back. Tru Kids Brands — parent of the Toys “R” Us brand — relaunched Geoffrey’s Hot Toy List for the 2020 holiday season. The curated list from the Toys “R” Us team includes 20 of the year’s hottest toys.

DreamToys announces top 12 toys for Christmas 2020. The DreamToys list is the most authoritative independent prediction of toys that will be the most sought after this Christmas in the UK. “We implore consumers not to leave their Christmas shopping to the final few weeks of the year,” explained Gary Grant, chair of the DreamToys selection committee. “Due to Covid-19 restrictions across the country, retailers will simply not be...

TTPM Announces Favorite New Games List for 2020 Holiday SeasonTTPM, the leading video product reviewer for toys, baby gear & pet gear, announces their list of Favorite New Games for 2020. Revealed via video, the list contains 20 games from the biggest toy companies to brands you may not have heard of yet. All offer laughs, excitement and a whole lot of fun this holiday season. “We’re thrilled to share a dedicated list of our...

"The industry has come of age -- we take our responsibilities seriously". Despite the awful nature of 2020 and its impact on the entire world, the impact of games on popular culture within the UK is firmly established; our industry is mainstream and currently seeing growth in many ways. More than half of the UK population now plays games regularly …

Understanding LEGO part numbers. If you've ever looked at the bottom of a LEGO piece closely you will have noticed that there's a 4- or 5-digit number visible, which is its design number. However, when you look at the parts listing at the back of instruction manuals, this number isn't shown. The 6- or 7-digit numbers listed there are element numbers. So, what's the difference, how are the two related, and how are they...

How kids use play to cope and build resilience.“Unprecedented.” It’s a simple word to describe what has been a very (very!) complicated 2020. In a good year, most kids content takes 18 months to get to screen. That means creators today are looking at a 2022 release for a recently greenlit series. But how does one plan for two years down the line when the present is unprecedented?

LEGO CMO says playing can prepare the next generation of workers. Much has been made of the coming job apocalypse—a future rich in robots and AI that will not only supplant workers but demand the sorts of technological skills that many Americans do not possess. A recent survey from the firm ManpowerGroup found that 46% of U.S. companies already have trouble finding workers with the tech skills necessary to...

Bake adventure with new Dungeons & Dragons cookbookPlaying Dungeons & Dragons has been a comfort these last several months. And part of that comfort comes from treating myself to snacks while I play virtually with my fellow players. However, I’m about to level up in the realm of culinary adventure with the new D&D cookbook, Heroes’ Feast. The official collection of D&D inspired recipes …

Why toys are making a 2020 comebackIt’s been a good year to be in the business of selling toys, a fact demonstrated by Mattel’s recent earnings release showing a surprising jump in quarterly sales, with hope for more to come as the annual holiday shopping season is revving up. As it turns out, kids locked down and attending virtual school from their bedrooms are looking for ways to fill their time — which in turn has ...

From sales pitch to shelf: tips to get retailers to buy more of your products. I tell my customers that it is my job to make them look good — “go ahead, take credit for the gift wrap.” (And, of course, the wrapping has my store’s name on it.) We are the experts. That is why customers choose to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Manufacturers and sales representatives are behind the scenes helping retailers become these experts...

AOC's Twitch stream is a milestone for games -- and for politics.  Not so long ago, any story involving both politicians and video games was pretty much guaranteed to leave you sitting at your desk in the classic Picard facepalm pose. While occasionally you'd get a politician popping up to wax lyrical about the economic importance of the games sector, the history of political engagement with games has tended far more towards...

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Blythe from Kenner. Released in 1972 by Kenner, Blythe was a line of fashion dolls and accessories created by Allison Katzman, a toy designer at Marvin Glass and Associates. Intended as a competitor to Mattel’s Barbie fashion doll and inspired by Betty Boop, Blythe (all four dolls in the...

Plakie Toys. Frank M. Hoover thought outside the box. The Youngstown resident started using plastic compounds to manufacture automobile gearshifts in the 1930s. His son, Dean, played with a series of plastic samples Hoover strung together on a chain. He began a new toy company...

(the above posted after October 30th)

Zeroids from Ideal (1968). Released in 1968 from Ideal, the Zeroids were a set of three motorized robots from the planet Zero: Zerak, Zobor, Zintar. Later, a fourth robot named Zogg was added to the line. At the heart of every Zeroid was a small, removable DC electric motor powered by 2 AA batteries. When powered on, each robot could move forward through a combination of wheels and rubber treads located in its base.

ner of...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

MLGPC inks first-look licensing deal with the Nacelle Co. The company behind The Toys That Made Us and A Toy Store Near You is looking for more toys that could come to the screen. Toronto-based licensing agency, MLGPC inked a one-year, first-look deal with The Nacelle Co. to identify toy properties for its development and production slate.

HoloToyz partners with Intertoy for global launch of AR range. Following success at Spielwarenmesse 2020, HoloToyz – a business new to the toy industry – is launching a range of temporary tattoos, stickers, childrens’ books, wall decals, watches and clocks that come to life in 3D through augmented reality technology.

Licenses play starring role in TOTY nominations. Entertainment, character and brand licenses are prominent players among the 117 finalists announced by The Toy Association for the 2021 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award. More than 20 of the nominated toys carry licenses, and a host of the other nominees are based on toy and corporate brands that are widely licensed out …

LEGO goes digital with Dots. LEGO is making its Animal Crossing debut with a new Dots range in partnership with Nintendo. To kick things off, Animal Crossing rolled out a range of Halloween Dots patterns for spooky things like ghosts and bats to decorate players’ virtual islands and homes.

Sony Pictures Consumer Products celebrates Ghostbusters brand with slate of licensed products. Sony Pictures Consumer Products invites fans to gear up and bust ghosts this Halloween with a slate of new licensed products celebrating the classic Ghostbusters brand.  Spanning categories including interactive, apparel, costumes, crafts, gaming toys, collectibles and more, the Ghostbusters consumer products program...

Bandai teams with Sanrio to launch Hello Kitty Tamagotchi. Bandai UK’s Tamagotchi is joining forces with the ever-popular Hello Kitty to allow users to enlist the help of the iconic Sanrio character to raise and nurture their digital pets. ‘It’s everything that is familiar to people who have played with Bandai’s virtual pet gadgets,’ says the firm, ‘but with added cuteness of Hello Kitty.’

Electronic Arts and UFC extend multi-year partnership to bring more great games to fight fans around the world. Electronic Arts  and UFC announced a multi-year renewal of their partnership to continue to deliver authentic, innovative, and thrilling mixed martial arts (MMA) games. Millions of players worldwide for years to come will get to compete in the virtual octagon through the EA SPORTS UFC franchise, which was first...

Bing brings in the IP protection experts Incopro as global demand for products continues to surge. Acamar Films has partnered with the brand protection experts Incopro to ensure the safety of its Bing products and live events as well as safeguard the trust of its consumers as the global demand for the pre-school property continues to surge.

Need for Speed No Limits’ goes mad with Madballs. Firemonkeys Studio, an Australian-based studio of Electronic Arts (EA), and ‘80s toys Madballs, owned by Cloudco Entertainment, are launching a limited-time partnership in “Need for Speed No Limits,” the mobile edition of the popular racing franchise.

(the above posted after October 30th)

Jazwares named global master toy partner for The Smurfs. Jazwares has been named the global master toy partner for the popular animated franchise, The Smurfs. The toymaker will develop a new toy line inspired by the classic Belgian franchise, with plans for a 2022 launch. The partnership is part of International Merchandising Promotions & Services plans to revive the internationally popular brand for today’s...

“Munchkin” card game has gotten a Disney makeover. Steve Jackson Games has partnered with Disney for a new version of the role-playing card game “Munchkin.” Players can choose from a selection of roles such as the Heroine, Villain, Sidekick, Adventurer, Dreamer and Animal Friend. These Character cards track levels in the game and determine special abilities.

Smiffys takes on Masha and the Bear licence. In a deal brokered by Lisle Licensing, the acquisition of the Masha and the Bear licence will cover both costume and tableware. Leading supplier of fancy-dress costumes, wigs, accessories and make up, Smiffys (R H Smith & Sons) has been in business since 1894, and is delighted to announce this latest addition to its ever expanding portfolio.

Ubisoft and Netflix partner for live action Assassin's Creed series. Ubisoft and Netflix are partnering up to create a new live action series based on the Assassin's Creed franchise. According to a press release, the two companies have signed an agreement to create "dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.” It also notes that the Assassin's Creed show will be the "first...

Crayola, Running Press Color in publishing partnership. Running Press and Crayola have announced a new partnership to publish a range of products across Running Press imprints Black Dog & Leventhal, RP Studio and Running Press Miniature Editions. The partnership will include the creation of children’s activity books, stationery products and mini-kits.

NBA, NBPA partner with NetMarble for gaming experienceNetmarble U.S., the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have announced that they have partnered to create an all-new original mobile game featuring star NBA athletes.

Talkin’ Toys: PMI International brings its licensed toys to the U.S. Over the past several years, PMI International has steadily built a large portfolio of toys and collectibles based on some of the world’s top entertainment brands. Based in Tel Aviv, the family-owned company is Israel’s leader in manufacturing, marketing, and distributing licensed leisure products for kids, including toys, collectibles, publishing, back-to-school...

Antstream Arcade, Interplay Entertainment ink partnershipAntstream Arcade has expanded its global partnerships ecosystem by signing a licensing deal with Interplay Entertainment. Following a recent deal with Bandai Namco, this collaboration will see popular titles such as “Earthworm Jim” and “Descent” now available for streaming on the Antstream platform. 

Mattel, Raycom-Legacy launch Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru. Mattel and Raycom-Legacy Content Company have announced the all-new Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru, debuting at Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif. on Dec. 3. The experience, which will run through Jan. 2, will showcase more than a mile of life-size Hot Wheels vehicles and Monster Trucks.

 

People . . . 

Doug Wadleigh, David Norman to lead Goliath toy and gaming divisions. Goliath is making moves to bolster growth in the coming years by launching newly formed toy & game divisions. Former Mattel exec Doug Wadleigh has joined as global president of the new toy division. Goliath President David Norman will continue in his current role while taking on the additional role of global president of Goliath Gaming.

Giraffe Insights welcomes Lucy Irving as insight manager . Leading kids, youth and family specialist research agency, Giraffe Insights, has appointed Lucy Irving as insight manager. Giraffe Insights conducts bespoke research for brands globally alongside running award winning syndicated research studies ‘Kids and the Screen: Changing the Channel’ and ‘Little Voices’.

Sondra Mansfield Talks Chalk of the Town on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’ - In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Chalk of the Town‘s Chief Chalking Officer Sondra Mansfield. In recent years, Chalk of the Town has taken social media by storm with a line of products that kids and families use to design and style their own t-shirts, totes, and patches with water-based...

Hasbro appoints Laurel J. Richie to board of directors. Hasbro, Inc. today announced the appointment of Laurel J. Richie as an independent director to its Board of Directors. Ms. Richie is the former President of the Women’s National Basketball Association LLC (“WNBA”).

Wilton Bradley expands sales team with two new appointmentsFollowing a summer of record-breaking sales, the sales team at Wilton Bradley continues to grow with two new appointments. Pete Minch and John White join the team in the roles of national accounts managers. They will be responsible for the company’s development plans and will report to sales director, Ross Bradley.

Acclaim Entertainment co-founder forms new publisher Accelerate Games. Acclaim Entertainment co-founder and former CEO, Greg Fischbach, has established Accelerate Games, a new publisher with a focus on cultivating brands and building lasting franchises.

The company will specialize in publishing indie titles, and will offer a range of services including global publishing, distribution, and marketing... 

Jazwares promotes Jonny Taylor and welcomes Holly Oldham. As part of its on-going European growth strategy, Jazwares  has promoted Jonny Taylor to senior vice president, Europe and appointed Holly Oldham as managing director, UK & Nordics.

(the above posted after October 30th)

Nagendra Raina (President, Buffalo Games) - Problem-Solving the Future, One Piece at a Time. How did you come to a career in toys? Frankly, it was unplanned. I interned at Fisher-Price and instantly became captivated by the industry. What’s not to love? As a business that demands newness every single year, it keeps you on your toes. There’s no room for complacency in the toy industry and that aspect of always...

Polly Cochrane to head WarnerMedia UK & Ireland She'll lead theatrical distribution, content licensing, home entertainment and consumer products, and replaces Josh Berger, who departs in December. In her new role, Cochrane will oversee the development and execution of WarnerMedia’s commercial and group marketing strategies for theatrical distribution, content licensing, home entertainment, consumer...

Sesame Workshop promotes new CEO & president. As Jeffrey Dunn sets his retirement plan, Steve Youngwood and Sherrie Westin are primed to take the reins. Sesame Workshop president and CEO Jeffrey Dunn is set to retire in January, though he’ll stay on as executive chairman until July 2021 as part of his transition. To fill the impending leadership gap, Dunn’s responsibilities have been split in two, with Steve Youngwood...

Nina Hahn to lead new ViacomCBS kids division Under the Nick International vet, VIS Kids expects to develop more than 30 new kids shows over the next three years. VIS Kids will aim to broaden its global kids content pipeline to include short and long-form content that will be produced and sold to third parties, as well as to ViacomCBS brands and platforms.

AIS buying group names Sue Kemp its new MD as Sheila Cooper retires after 40 years. Associated Independent Stores has appointed Sue Kemp to the role of managing director as part of the buying group’s wider transformational agenda, and following the retirement of its former MD, Sheila Cooper, who leaves after 40 years with the company.

Companies . . . 

VTECH, LEAPFROG PARTNER WITH TERRACYCLE FOR ELECTRONIC TOY RECYCLING. “By partnering with TerraCycle, we are making it easier for parents to recycle electronic toys while making inroads to our ongoing sustainability goals for VTech and LeapFrog,” says Andy Keimach, president, VTech Electronics North America.

Finding the right piece of the puzzle – Rick Derr of Learning ExpressRick shares with Toy World readers his experiences as a specialist toy retailer in the US, in the first of a series of regular columns. After 20 years working at A. C. Nielsen/D&B Research Company, Richard Derr opened the first Learning Express Toys franchise in 1996 in the Chicago area, and then became a sub-franchiser, opening nine more stores. 

PLAYMONSTER RELAUNCHES THE ORIGINAL KOOSH. A staple of classic play is getting a full relaunch in time for its 35th anniversary. Wisconsin-based PlayMonster LLC inked a deal with Hasbro to bring the original Koosh back to retail next fall. Originally launched in 1986, Koosh won millions of fans with its signature item: a ball comprised of thousands of rubber filaments that kids of all ages can kick, bounce, jiggle, roll and...

Toy maker Mattel discloses ransomware attack. US toymaker Mattel revealed today that it suffered a ransomware attack that crippled some business functions, but the company says it recovered from the attack with no significant financial losses. The incident took place on July 28, according to a 10-Q quarterly form the company filed with the US Securities Exchange Commission earlier today.

Why 2020 has been the year for Zimpli Kids to make its biggest changes. Zimpli Kids is ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with a growing number of toy companies tackling the sustainability issue head on in the pursuit of a greener industry and a mission to work in unison with a greener environment. “2020 was the year that Zimpli decided to make some big changes to do our bit for the environment,” Zimpli Kids’ head of... 'Ghosts from the Past' return to 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Tcg'. Konami Digital Entertainment announced Ghosts From the Past, a new foil collector's booster set, for release on March 26, 2021.Ghosts From the Past is a 136-card foil collector’s set that features 9 popular themes from the past as well as two brand-new themes.

John Lewis to lay off 1,500 head office staff It has also been announced that finance executive director Patrick Lewis is resigning. John Lewis has announced its intention to cut 1,500 jobs at its head office, a move which it says is part of its five-year turnaround scheme. The redundancies will be completed by April 2021. Affected staff are currently being consulted about the layoffs; where possible, John Lewis says it will seek to re...

McFarlane Toys launches The Witcher action figures. If you like cool action figures based on popular video game franchises, chances are you are very familiar with McFarlane Toys. And now they've been at it again, as they've just announced on Facebook that they are about to launch a collection of action figures based on the Netflix version of The Witcher

'Scarlet Witch' casts a spell over 'Marvel Champions: Card Game'Fantasy Flight Games will release Scarlet Witch Hero Pack and Scarlet Witch Game Mat, for use with Marvel Champions: Card Game, in January. The Scarlet Witch Hero Pack adds Wanda Maximoff to games of Marvel Champions.

Sunny Bunnies plush secures major retail commitment for 2021 as pre-school series lands on UK channels. The popular pre-school IP Sunny Bunnies has secured further commitment to its feature plush range with major UK supermarket chains, department stores, and online retailers through 2021, including the likes of Argos, Tesco, Amazon, and other independent toy retailers. The commitment follows news that...

Dungeons & Dragons live-action tv show in development from Hasbro. Hasbro is developing a live-action Dungeons & Dragons television show. The tabletop role-playing game is published by Wizards of the Coast, which Hasbro bought in 1999. Hasbro also has a live-action Dungeons & Dragons film in the works …

Monopoly: Pixar Edition has themed properties like Andy's Toy Chest and Monsters, Inc. Calling all fans of Toy Story, Onward, and Monsters, Inc!: a brand-new Pixar-themed edition of Monopoly is hitting the shelves, and we have a feeling your kids are gonna love it! Designed for players ages 8 and up, families will make their way around the game board by snagging properties like Nemo's Anemone and Andy's Room.

Games and puzzles specialist Gibsons launches Card Game for Rebel Girls. Gibsons has extended its licensing partnership with the team behind the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book series to introduce its latest offering to celebrate history’s queens, activists, scientists, artists and sporting champions with the Card Game for Rebel Girls.

Wizards of the Coast reveals new retailer release information for 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Kaldheim'. Wizards of the Coast revealed a series of dates relevant to the release of Kaldheim, a new expansion for Magic: The Gathering. WotC has officially opened retailer scheduling for the next Standard expansion for Magic: The Gathering, Kaldheim. The set has thus been revealed to be a Viking-inspired plane that features new Gods

Ultra Pro announces new version of 'Snorta!' Ultra PRO announced a new edition of Snorta!, an animal sound-making game by Playroom, for release in November. Snorta! is a mad race to match cards, and then be the first player to blurt out animal noises.

‘Buy now, pay later’ option brought into The Entertainer and ELC as toy shop becomes among the first to adopt KlarnaThe UK family owned high street toy retailer, The Entertainer, has become the first major toy retailer to offer Klarna as a payment option to all online consumers shopping across its thetoyshop.com and elc.co.uk platforms, allowing customers to buy now and pay later in regular installments.

Funko expands 'Marvel Battleworld'. Funko, Inc. has announced two expansions for its Marvel Battleworld:  Mystery of the Thanostones collectible game, both releasing into the hobby channel in November:  Thanos Ship Showdown and Travel Portal – Gold Ultron.

The sustainability of Clementoni: “We must get consumers to realise the intrinsic value of toys”. It’s a challenge that Clementoni has presented to the toy industry, and one to rise to before the ‘small window of opportunity’ disappears entirely: Get consumers to realise the intrinsic value of toys and games to society, or suffer a catastrophic loss in the fight for a sustainable future. Clementoni has labelled...

(the above posted after October 30th)

Mattel transforms the Mattel Playroom into a holiday hub for parents and caregivers. By RICHARD DICKSON, president and chief operating officer, Mattel. “As we head into the holiday season, and families continue to spend a significant amount of time at home, we want to ensure that the Mattel Playroom continues to provide consumers with timely activities, information, and tips. Starting today, we have transformed the...

Hasbro CEO: toy sales are rocking before the holidaysIf recent toy sales are any indication, people's fears about the presidential election outcome and the lack of stimulus won't stop them from buying gifts for children this holiday season. Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner tells Yahoo Finance's The First Trade his company has had an impressive October despite all the external concerns …

Mattel unveils Star Wars: The Mandalorian Real Moves Baby Yoda Plush. Following the success of its 11-inch plush version of The Child (aka Baby Yoda) from Star Wars: The Mandalorian — the No. 1 item in plush both for the third quarter and year-to-date according to NPD — Mattel is introducing a new version that’s even more lifelike. The Mandalorian The Child Real Moves Plush is an 11-inch plush toy that includes sound...

Funrise Toys Launches New Cat Junior Crew, Mixing Construction Play With Constructive Learning To Inspire The Youngest Builders. Now more than ever, parents of preschool age kids are looking for quality toys that will offer age-appropriate play patterns to support their development. The Cat Junior Crew product line includes a number of toys that do just that! The new line extends the existing Cat construction range and features five products for the preschool set.

Boglins, the creepy ’80s icons, return to toy aisles next year. A legendary crew of creeps from the 1980s have emerged from the murky shadows just in time for Halloween. The Boglins are back! Originally released by Mattel, Boglins have amassed a cult following over the past 30 years, and next year, kids and collectors can welcome some new characters and reinvented favorites into the fold.

Critical Role ventures into tabletop publishing. Critical Role has announced the launch of Darrington Press, its new tabletop game publishing company.  The new company plans to release four games in 2021:  Uk’otoa, Critical Role Adventures, Syndicult, and Guardians of Matrimonia, one title each quarter.

Award-winning plush specialist The London Toy Company to launch ‘huge toy range next year’. The London Toy Company – the plush artists formerly known as High Resolution Design – famed for pushing the envelope of plush design with licenses such as TfL and Harry Potter, has revealed its plans for the non-plush toy space next year.

Upper Deck announces 'Realm Of Kings' for 'Legendary'. Marvel’s Inhumans and their royal family will be the focus of the Legendary:  Realm of Kings expansion releasing from Upper Deck on October 28. Legendary:  Realm of Kings explores the political infighting within the Inhumans’ palace in the hidden lunar city of Attilan as well as the kingdom’s struggles with the space empires of the Kree and Shi’ar.

Mattel, Hasbro play catch-up after demand for board games, toys surges. Mattel's and Hasbro's supply chains could be chasing demand into next year after the pandemic boosted demand for board games, dolls and toys, the companies' executives said on recent earnings calls. The two major toymakers said their supply chains are fully up and running, following manufacturing disruptions in various countries due to rolling …

Crazy-haired Squish-Doos join the Squishmallow squad. There’s no shame in this hair game! Kellytoy, a subsidiary of Jazwares, is introducing Squish-Doos as the latest addition to the Squishmallows family, featuring some seriously wacky hairdos that we’ve never seen before.

Hasbro targets kidults with Play-Doh Grown Up Scents. Hasbro is debuting its first-ever line of Play-Doh modeling compound that’s marketed exclusively to adults. Play-Doh Grown Up Scents is a new collection of Play-Doh in adult-themed fragrances, including Lord of the Lawn, Overpriced Latte, Grill King, Spa Day, Mom Jeans, and Dad Sneakers …

'Warcry' descends into the 'Catacombs'. Games Workshop is taking its Warcry skirmish-scale miniatures game underground with the new Warcry:  Catacombs starter set, shipping on October 31. Launched in 2019, Warcry creates small-unit battles between warbands of fighters from the Warhammer:  Age of Sigmar fantasy setting, with a focus on the worshippers of Chaos.

IDW launches 'Dragon Ball Z: The Board Game Saga'. IDW Games will release Dragon Ball Z:  The Board Game Saga, a cooperative boardgame based on the Toei Animation franchise, in 2021. In Dragon Ball Z:  The Board Game Saga, up to four players each choose one of 10 hero characters from the animated series and work together to thwart the evil plans of the villains …

Klutz introduces 10 new book-based activity kits for fallKlutz, a division of Scholastic, launched its fall lineup, which includes 10 book-based activity kits designed for kids ages 4 and up. The sets range from craft jewelry kits to STEM-based learning activities. Each one is designed to teach valuable skills like creative confidence.

Diamond Select Toys introduces Star Wars Select action figure range. Diamond Select Toys launched its Star Wars Select series of 7-inch scale action figures exclusively at shopDisney, Disney Store, and Disney Parks locations. The new range features premium deco and 16 points of articulation. In terms of scale, the new collection is compatible with Diamond’s long-running Marvel Select range.

Basic Fun! launches new Tonka campaign with brand spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal. Basic Fun!, the Florida-based toy company behind several iconic playthings including Tonka, has kicked off their fall campaign with Tonka spokesperson, superstar Shaquille O’Neal. The new humorous TV commercial features a nostalgic Shaquille reminiscing about his childhood days on the playground with Tonka trucks …

Luki Lab unveils holiday toys for 2020 season. Luki Lab, the direct-to-consumer division of Strottman International, a leading toy manufacturer delivering play experiences for 35 years, announced the launch of their must-have holiday toys for the 2020 season. The new lines are available now on Amazon and feature Gujo Adventure and Pinxies, two STEM authenticated creative building lines.

Playmobil’s CGI series Novelmore to land on YouTube with new play-sets en route. It’s been billed as the moment that Playmobil fans have been waiting for, as the international toy maker confirms that Novelmore, its animated children’s series, will be landing on the Playmobil YouTube channel and YouTube Kids App from this November.

Elton John is getting his own Barbie doll. Elton John is getting his very own Barbie doll. And while the doll won't look like the Rocket Man, it will be styled in his likeness. The limited-edition Barbie doll, which was released on Mattel's website on Thursday, will have a glittery top and flared denim complete with the singer's initials.

Wentworth Puzzles prepares Puzzle Positivity for National Jigsaw Day next monthWentworth Wooden Puzzles is calling for Puzzle Positivity ahead of this year’s National Jigsaw Day on Tuesday, November 3rd by encouraging its fans and followers to share their jigsaw puzzle love across social media in a call to bring the nation’s puzzlers together in an online event.

Taxi Game company launches five new trivia board games amid ‘rocketing demand’ across the UKThe Scottish board gaming company, Taxi Game, has launched a raft of new titles under its Taxi! trivia board game range, with the addition of three new sports-themed editions for Rangers FC, Chelsea FC, and The Open, as well as two destination-themed games for Liverpool and Greater Manchester.

Hess launches first-ever ambulance as annual holiday toy truck for 2020. The 2020 Hess Ambulance and Rescue is now available for purchase exclusively at HessToyTruck.com for $36.99 with free standard shipping and Energizer batteries included.

Japanime Games to bring 'Naruto: Ninja Arena' to markets beyond EuropeJapanime Games, alongside Don't Panic Games, has announced that they will release Naruto: Ninja Arena in Q1 of 2021. This release is another distribution team-up between Japanime and Don't Panic, who brought Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade to U.S. markets earlier this year.

Wizkids will release another round of 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' character packs in MarchWizKids will release new character packs for Dungeons & Dragons Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures in March 2021. The new character miniatures features a few obscure class/race combinations like Gnome Artificers and Wildhunt Shifter Rangers, and sculpted as highly-detailed figures that come primed and ready to paint.

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

Bringing more franchises to mobile is Activision Blizzard's biggest opportunity, says COO. Mobile is, so far, going well for Activision Blizzard but its current dabblings on the platform, which include Call of Duty: Mobile and its 300 million worldwide downloads, are only the beginning. Top Activision Blizzard execs talked about their vision for the massive company’s future on mobile …

Reports of Watch Dogs Legion source code leak prompts Ubisoft investigation. Ubisoft has launched an investigation into a potential Watch Dogs Legion source code leak. As reported by DSOGaming, a ransomware group called 'Egregor' has seemingly obtained the source code for Watch Dogs Legions after accessing Ubisoft's internal network.

League of Legends spinoff Ruined King will launch on consoles in ‘early 2021’. Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, the upcoming single-player League of Legends spinoff that will see the franchise debut on consoles for the first time, has released its first (albeit, vague) bits of information. It’ll launch sometime in “early 2021” …

Tencent-owned Honor of Kings is recording 100 million average daily active users. Tencent's flagship mobile title Honor of Kings has recorded 100 million average daily active users over the past year. The mobile MOBA, which is incredibly popular in Tencent's homeland of China, is developed by Tencent subsidiary Timi Studios and launched five years ago.

The next Fortnite event "will change the future" of the game according to new leakFortnite's creative director has reportedly said that the game's next major event "will change the future" of Epic's battle royale.  Donald Mustard's comments were made on a closed Zoom call hosted by Geoff Keighley, with details shared by Fortnite leaker FireMonkey.

PlayStation boss suggests the 'meaningful' future of VR is still years away. PlayStation chief Jim Ryan is bullish about the mainstream potential of VR technology, including the company's own PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset -- which had sold over 5 million units as of January 2020.

Activision-Blizzard needs to hire 2,000 people to meet production demands. Activision-Blizzard has plans to hire over 2,000 people to meet upcoming production demands, according to CEO Bobby Kotick. This need to staff up comes just a year and a half after the company laid off over 800 people at the same time that it announced a year of record revenue.

Annapurna, the most exciting indie publisher around, is making its own games. Annapurna, an independent media production company best known for producing award-winning video games and films, is forming an in-house game development studio to create its own projects.

(the above posted after October 30th)

Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase reveals new game details and surprise releases. During the last Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase of the year, Nintendo provided information about a variety of games coming to the Nintendo Switch family of systems from development and publishing partners like SQUARE ENIX, Remedy Entertainment, Koei Tecmo Games and HAL Laboratory.

CD Projekt Red devs speak out after Cyberpunk 2077 delay met with death threatsThe game industry has an ugly history with threats of violence, but its important those threats aren't ignored or written off as acceptable expressions of anger. As Zawadski says in his tweets, it's important to treat those messages as the threats they are and there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of behavior, even if made in jest or...

Msi’s Ge66 Raider Dragonshield Edition is a beautifully extra gaming laptop. If you’re on the market for a portable gaming laptop that serves the dual purposes of running demanding games and making everyone around you jealous, look no further than the MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield Edition.

Sony’s new PlayStation App is seriously clean and lets you do way more remotely. With the PS5 launch roughly two weeks away, Sony has unveiled a redesign for its PlayStation App on iOS and Android.  Early adopters of the console will have the ability to remotely launch games, sign in to their PS5 directly from the app, and the app will even allow you to remotely manage storage on your console in case you need to make...

SteelSeries’ new Aerox 3 gaming mice are lightweight and water-resistant. SteelSeries’ new Aerox gaming mouse lineup marks a few firsts for the company. It claims both its $60 Aerox 3 wired mouse and the $100 wireless version that will be available on November 10th are the first gaming mice to receive an IP54 rating, giving them a fighting chance against water and dust.

SEGA brings twice the fun to Nintendo Switch with Sonic double packsGood things come in pairs, Sonic fans! SEGA® of America, Inc. today launched two exciting new game packs, bringing everyone’s favorite Blue Blur to the Nintendo Switch in double form. Players can pick up bundles of Team Sonic Racing and Sonic Mania or Sonic Forces and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD to try their hand at some of SEGA’s ultimate...

Cyberpunk 2077's third delay pushes it to December 10. CD Projekt Red today delayed Cyberpunk 2077 for the third time, moving the release date back from November 19 to December 10. In announcing the delay, CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński and studio head Adam Badowski acknowledged the game had already passed certification earlier this month.

The Backbone One is a stunning controller that turns your iPhone into a more capable gaming device. As the high-profile disputes about what content you can play on your iPhone rage on between Apple, Epic Games, Google, and Microsoft, a company called Backbone is focusing instead on making sure you get the most out of the games that are currently available …

WWE SuperCard Season 7 coming soon for iOS, Android devices and Facebook Gaming. Take-Two Interactive will launch “WWE SuperCard”, the newest addition to the action-packed collectible card-battling game,  in November as a free, downloadable update on the Apple App Store for iOS devices, including iPhone and iPad, as well as the Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore for Android devices, and Facebook Gaming.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Hundreds of unsafe items seized from Manchester trader. Toys being sold were also found to have excessive amounts of phthalates – a substance which if ingested in large quantities can cause hormonal imbalances and is also linked to child asthma …

(the above posted after October 30th)

UL offers free webinar to help companies navigate Brexit. The webinar on the key implications of Brexit for consumer products, including a deep dive into toys, will take place on November 19th. Manufacturers, retailers and brands that need to manage complexity look to partner with UL, which has been a trusted name in product safety and science for over 125 years.

Large number of toys bought by Irish parents online fail EU safety laws. The European Parliament has proposed a series of measures to strengthen consumer protection and enhance product safety and sustainability. MEPs addressed the issue of unsafe products, particularly those sold on online marketplaces. This includes products that contain dangerous chemicals, have unsafe software or pose other safety hazards.

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Press Releases . . .

ask EINSTEIN™ ELECTRONIC FLASH CARDS ARE A GENIUS WAY TO PROD YOUNG SCHOLARS. Kids Can Quiz Themselves In Math, Science & Nature, Letters & Numbers, Animals & Dinos With Einstein the Mouse And His Brain-Scanning Helmet. Parker, CO (November 2, 2020) – There’s one smart mouse that moms won’t mind in the house. Dr. STEM™ Toys introduces Einstein, the world’s smartest animal, who can test kids in their knowledge of animals, colors, math and nature with the flip of a flash card. ask Einstein ($19.99) electronic flash cards are a fun way to fill up a preschooler’s brain with facts and figures that can be retained for a lifetime.

Goliath Strengthens Its Management Team With Big Additions. Doug Wadleigh has joined Goliath as its Global President of its newly formed Toy Division. David Norman, who cofounded Goliath’s fast-growing North American office in 2008, will continue as President, with the additional responsibility of Global President of Goliath's newly formed Gaming Division. David Norman, who cofounded Goliath’s fast-growing North American office in 2008, will continue as President and add the additional responsibility of Global President of its newly formed Gaming Division. Doug Wadleigh has joined Goliath as its Global President of its newly formed Toy Division. In this position he will amplify current global hit brands like Vet Squad and Animagic, as well as top shelf distribution brands such as Crayola, Ryan’s World and Squeezamals.

Irwin Toy - Trebor Rx Corp. to commence production of PRO+ Dual Respirator masks in Ontario, a break-through innovation in PPE technology. As North America continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, reopening the economy intensifies the need for a safe medical-grade PPE solution that is cost-efficient, readily available, and comfortable while alleviating waste sent to landfills. Trebor Rx, a new venture co-founded by Canadian trailblazer George Irwin of Irwin Toy, is proud to fill that void with the launch of PRO+ Dual Respirator masks, a technology that....

Project Anime Holds First-Ever Virtual Event November 17 & 18.  THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF JAPANESE ANIMATION (SPJA) is thrilled to announce Project Anime: Global 2020, a virtual experience. With the ever-growing worldwide interest in Japanese pop culture, the business conference helps educate, inspire, and support event organizers and global entertainment companies as they navigate the nuances...

TOY FORECAST FOR 2021: CREEPY-COOL IS HOT AGAIN WITH THE RETURN OF BOGLINS®. Drool™, Vlobb™ and Dwork™ Are Ready to Explode On Scene in 2021 As New Outrageous Boglins Creatures are Set to Once Again Come Alive In Kids’ Hands! Holly Springs, NC (October 30, 2020) – Kids in the late 1980s gravitated to one of the coolest toy lines ever that became a monster hit. Toy forecasters are predicting Boglins’ success in an all new line of toy figures by TriAction Toys manufactured in their original size and packaging (cages) for Spring 2021. Boglins will surely inspire and capture the imagination of both collectors and social media engaged kids of today. Look for the all new Boglins to be stars of Tik Tok, Instagram...

(the above posted after Oct 30th)

BRIGHT STRIPES LETS KIDS LIGHT THE WAY TO THEIR HAPPY PLACE NIGHT OR DAY. Ho-Ho-Ho Whoa: Candle Critters and Lantern Lands Make The Perfect Present For Artsy Kids To Customize, Then Glow With Pride! Bloomfield, NJ (October 29, 2020) – When the kids hear “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” they surmise, correctly that having a critter in their room is okay, especially around the holidays. Say hello to Mouse, Bunny, Fox and Turtle LED Candle Critters ($19.99). These ceramic creatures, including the just-released Unicorn, make a one-of-a-kind night light that kids personalize with colorful markers tucked inside each cottage-shaped box.

WHATSITSFACE EMOTIONAL PLUSH NOMINATED AS TOY OF THE YEAR FINALIST. Whatsitsface® Puppy Dog, Kitty Cat & Teddy Bear With Six Changeable Facial Expressions Enhances A Child’s EQ. Highlands Ranch, CO (October 29, 2020) –Whatsitsface plush toys, which feature six different facial expressions to help kids learn about emotions through interactive play, has been nominated as a finalist in the Plush category for the Toy Association’s prestigious Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. All TOTY finalists were nominated from within the toy industry and were selected by leading industry professionals, retailers, academia, media and consumers. 

SOFT & SWEET LES DÉGLINGOS AND TEDDYKOMPANIET SHINE WITH TWO OPPENHEIM PLATINUMS AND A GOLD. Toddler Toys Muchachos The Llama, Speculus The Tiger & Cat Baby Comforter Imported By TriAction Toys Dazzle Hard-To-Impress Oppenheim Toy Portfolio – When it comes to picking the best of the best, especially a child’s toy, it’s natural to be picky. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio has searched the globe for this year’s finest playthings. Newcomer and European importer TriAction Toys wowed the 2020 judges not once but three times with its loveable, huggable array of soft toys for infants and toddlers. Oppenheim showered them with its highest honors – two rare Platinum and one Gold Seal...

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

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

2020 National Toy Hall of Fame inductees. The newest inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York were announced on November 5. Three objects of play received the honor: Baby Nancy, Sidewalk Chalk, and Jenga.

Twitch announces a virtual TwitchCon next week. The pandemic has taken many things from the world — but mostly it’s stolen events. Every hang is a potential death sentence. Thankfully, Twitch, at least, has gone virtual: it announced today that its flagship conference, TwitchCon, will be happening online this year. Oh, and it’s not called TwitchCon. It’s now GlitchCon, and it’s happening on November 14th.

Spring Fair 2021 cancelled The organiser says Autumn Fair, which is slated to take place 5th-8th September 2021, is still on track to go ahead. n an email, Julie Driscoll, managing director – UK Retail, said: “Due to new UK government restrictions on the reopening of business conferences and exhibition halls, we have had to make the difficult decision that Spring Fair 2021 will no longer take place in February 2021.

(the above posted after October 30th)

The Toy Association Unveils 2021 Toy of the Year Awards Finalists. They’re often considered to be the Oscars of the toy industry, and on Friday, Feb. 12, the next Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards will be distributed virtually. The special online presentation will take place due to Toy Fair New York being pushed into May thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry experts determined this year's finalists in 16 categories.

SPIELWARENMESSE SUMMER EDITION DATES SET FOR JULY 2021. Following the postponement of the annual international toy fair due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition will take place July 20-24 at the Exhibition Centre in Nuremberg, Germany. The move marks the first time in history that the show has moved from its traditional spot on the cusp of January and February.

Potential change of date for Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2022. Toy World understands that the organizer of the Nuremberg Toy Fair is seriously considering changing the date configuration for the 2022 event. While the Spielwarenmesse will occupy its traditional week in the calendar, the show could replace its current Wednesday – Sunday format, shifting the show a day forward so that it would run from Tuesday 1st February...

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

  1. TikTok and Shopify Announce E-Commerce Partnership

  2. TTPM Announces Favorite New Games List for 2020 Holiday Season

  3. Spin Master to Acquire Rubik’s Cube

  4. Hasbro Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

  5. Jazwares Named Global Master Toy Partner for Smurfs

  6. Shaquille O’Neal to Star In and Executive Produce Children’s Series, Shaq’s Garage

  7. Basic Fun! Launches New Tonka Campaign with Brand Spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal

  8. Jenna Boyd Partners with The Cartel to Launch Production Company Field Day Entertainment

  9. Luki Lab Unveils Holiday Toys for 2020 Season

  10. Dr. Seuss Enterprises and American Eagle Team Up for Grinch-Themed Holiday Line

Toyworld (UK) 

1.            A better class of problem …it’s the Friday Blog!

2.            The November issue of Toy World is out now

3.            DreamToys announces top 12 toys for Christmas 2020

4.            The 2020 DreamToys list in full

5.            Potential change of date for Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2022

6.            Spin Master to acquire Rubik’s Cube

7.            Warnings for Christmas supply chain chaos as peak trading season beckons

8.            Hornby sales surge as more take up hobbies in lockdown

9.            Simba Dickie Group to acquire the majority stake in Exit Toys

10.          Post-Brexit VAT rules set to cause significant impact on trading

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

  1.  'Adult Red Dragon Premium Figure' Unleashes its Fury on 'D&D Icons of the Realms'
  2.  IDW Launches 'Dragon Ball Z: The Board Game Saga'
  3.  More 'D&D Icons of the Realms' Hero Minis Coming
  4.  Rolling For Initiative -- Musings on MAP and the Prisoner's Dilemma
  5.  Geek Retreat Plans 100 Stores in the Next Two Years
  6.  FFG Reimagines 'Descent' as 'Legends of the Dark'
  7.  R.I.P. Lenard Lakofka
  8.  New Monster Two-Packs For 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' Coming in March

  9.  Gifts Week: Top Ten Gifts for Card and Miniatures Gamers
10.  Critical Role Ventures into Tabletop Publishing

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month 

  • After Corona: What do customers want?

  • Fair & sustainable: Germany’s toy industry takes responsibility

  • Counterfeit toys: How a parody award makes plagiarists look like fools

  • Biopolymers: The stuff future toys are made of

  • SPIEL.digital: The world’s biggest analogue games fair dares to go digital

Toy & Hobby (Australia)

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

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Video of the Week

Tim Walsh put together this sweet video! I teared up watching it. 

 

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