the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Oct. 30 - Nov. 6, 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! 

What a week! Thought I'd go light and entertaining and introduce you to the nominees for the TAGIE Toy Innovator of the Year! You just can't help but smile watching this video! 

 

Join us for the TAGIE Awards , and then stay for the after party: POP's Got Talent! - a spectacular event showcasing crazy acts of real live People of Play! Pro inventor brothers Bob and David Fuhrer will be your hilarious hosts, so get your tickets now! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

Mary​​

Mastermind Toys - tBR Company of the Week

Ever wonder how Canada’s Authority on Play creates their iconic, highly-anticipated gift guide? Mastermind Toys shares the behind-the-scenes on how their expert toys curators make their best picks and how their creative team brings it to life on the pages and in-store.

 

Mastermind Toys started as a “smart, little toy store” in Toronto, Canada in 1984, selling educational software for home computers. Since then, we’ve grown to be the nation’s largest specialty toy and children’s book retailer with 68 stores across Canada. Each store is uniquely designed to encourage a sense of wonder and be a place where curiosity guides kids—and kids-at-heart—to new discoveries.

 

At Mastermind Toys, we take play very seriously because we believe deeply that “Play is Kids’ Work.” We have developed our Why Kids Play model, which is the foundation for selecting every toy, game, puzzle, and book we sell in our stores and online. Our toy and book curators are industry-leading merchants that deliver the best selection of products based on age and learning stage, and lead thinking on development, education, and play patterns in the industry.  Read More...

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

Bundled 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 and opportunities to network virtually.

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

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

  • One year membership to POPPro platform debuting soon. The network where you can find people, products and companies. 

Emanuele Briano talks about The "Game Designers Association" (SAZ) - tBR Company of the Week

The "Game Designers Association" (SAZ) represents the interests of game designers to the public as well as to publishers and other work users. It supports game designers and campaigns for a stronger recognition of games as a cultural property in our society.

The SAZ is a strong community with many advantages for its members. Founded in 1991 in Germany, it now represents more than 500 members all over the world. SAZ is gaining an international character through its multitude of members from other countries. SAZ-Italia, which was founded in 2017, is a good example of this.

The counseling of our members and the promotion of the exchange of experience are an important focus. This includes, if required, negotiations with publishers for fair contractual conditions. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . . 

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 asks Donald Trump: 'Are we still banned?' Chinese video service TikTok has begun a legal challenge against the Trump administration over plans to shut it down in the US on 12 November. President Donald Trump ordered a ban on new downloads of the viral video service on that date unless ByteDance was purchased by a US firm.

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.

(the above posted after November 6th)

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.

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

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

(the above posted after November 6th)

Five trends in consumer behavior that could impact end-of-year retail . . .   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

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

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

(the above posted after November 6th) 

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

Financial Reporting . . .  

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 popular card games UNO and Phase 10.

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.

(the above posted after November 6th) 

FUNKO SALES DOWN 14% IN Q3  Games a Bright Spot. Funko sales were down only 14% in Q3, a big improvement from the 49% decline in sales in Q2 (see "Funko Reduces Workforce 25%"), and profits were actually up a tick over the same quarter a year ago according to the quarterly report released Thursday.  Sales were $191.2 million in Q3 2020, vs. $223.3 million in Q3 2019.  Sales declines in Europe and in U.S. specialty channels... 

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.come 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 …

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

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".

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 office bomb.

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...

(the above posted after November 6th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Always look on the bright side of life… it’s the Friday Blog! Like many of you, last Saturday evening I sat and watched our somewhat bewildered PM deliver the news that the business community was dreading – despite repeatedly insisting that he wouldn’t do it, he had made yet another U-turn and decided after all to put England back into lockdown, from 5th November until 2nd December. 

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...

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

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.

(the above posted after November 6th)

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...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

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’ …

(the above posted after November 6th)

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.

 

People . . . 

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...

(the above posted after November 6th)

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.

Companies . . . 

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.

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.

Mattel Creations, Frank Kozik team up for Mega Collabs launch. 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.

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...

(the above posted after November 6th)

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...

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

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.

(the above posted after November 6th)

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.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

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.

(the above posted after November 6th)

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 …

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Press Releases . . .

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.

(the above posted after November 6th)

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...

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

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

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.

(the above posted after November 6th) 

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.

Asmodee set to take AsmoFair to 'the next level' in January. AsmoFair offers retailers the opportunity to book virtual meetings with Asmodee for a closer look at the company’s must-have products for 2021.

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.

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

1. The NPD Group: U.S. Toy Industry Saw 19% Growth in First Three Quarters of 2020

2. JAKKS Pacific Reports Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results

3. The Toy Association Unveils 2021 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award Finalists

4. TriAction Toys to Bring Back Boglins’ in 2021

5. PlayMonster’s 5 Second Rule Game Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

6. Goliath Strengthens its Management Team With New Additions

7. Llama Llama Merchandise Launches at Kohl’s

8. Meredith Corporation Names Evolution USA as North America, Australia, and New  Zealand Licensing Agency for LIFE

9. Moxie & Co. and Hunt A Killer Forge Brand Partnership

10. Jane Goodall Confirmed to Keynote Kidscreen Summit Virtual

Toyworld (UK) 

  1. Always look on the bright side of life… it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Hundreds of Argos stores to close

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

  4. John Lewis to lay off 1,500 head office staff

  5. Exclusive: Mattel’s Sanjay Luthra reaffirms commitment to toy retail partners

  6. Jazwares promotes Jonny Taylor and welcomes Holly Oldham

  7. Exclusive: toy stores report pre-lockdown sales surge

  8. Toy retailers reassure customers toys will be available throughout lockdown

  9. Spring Fair 2021 cancelled

  10. Asmodee set to take AsmoFair to ‘the next level’ in January

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

  1. Wizards of the Coast Unveils a Jeweled Lotus Card for 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Commander Legends'!

  2. Hasbro Developing 'D&D' TV, More
  3. 'Flesh and Blood: Welcome to Rathe' Alpha Edition Booster Box Sells for $1499.99 on eBay!
  4. Top Ten Board Game Gifts for the Holidays – 2020
  5. Big Gains in Hasbro Gaming in Q3
  6. WizKids Will Release 'D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden' Papercraft Sets
  7. Rolling For Initiative -- Getting in the Spirit Again
  8. Wizards of the Coast Reveals New Retailer Release Information for 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Kaldheim'
  9. Games Workshop Unveils New 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Space Wolves' Set
10. Funko Expands 'Marvel Battleworld'

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

The Story Behind POP's Got Talent! 

Bob Fuhrer, a professional inventor and on our TAGIE Awards Committee, suggested an after party to the TAGIEs: POP's Got Talent. He then recruited the talent, all crazy entertaining acts of real People of Play, including his brother, David, to co-host. They are hilarious! Get your tickets now to the most entertaining show in our industry: TAGIEs + POP's Got Talent = Solid Gold Entertainment! 

TICKETS are only $50! Or get an All Event Pass (Conference+TAGIEs+POP's Got Talent) for just $350! 

 

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