the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is September 11 - 19, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted each day with newest articles at top of each news section. 

The previous week drops off each Friday when we send you highlights via email. 

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! 

You will be enjoying some awesome videos over social media and elsewhere the next six weeks. Our Toy and Game International Excellence Awards (the TAGIEs) are virtual, so we decided to not waste the creative, fun and heartfelt acceptance speeches and have encouraged the nominees to share them now (and ask for people to vote for them). Some of them will bring tears of laughter and others tears of gratitude. All make me so joyful, grateful and proud to be a part of our industry! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

Mary

Hey-O! My name is Liesl Kadile and I am a Design Manager at Educational Insights! My goal at this company is to make pretty fun things, and have fun doing it, of course!

 

I’m sure we can all agree that design should be driven by the end user, so a little research and a lot of empathy go a long way. I start my process of visual design by determining:

1 - What is it?

2 - Who is it for?

3 - Why do they want it? 

4 - How will they use it?   Read More...

Hello, toy people! My name is Joey Lopez, and I’m a design manager at Educational Insights. This medium-sized toy company has some deep history, the kind you have to respect as well as live up to—and I feel it is my duty to do all I can to help keep this brand’s standards wildly high.

My design process starts with gathering information, inspiration, a little market research, but mostly—a lot of visuals. I think about what’s out there, what was done 100 years ago that isn’t around anymore, what I WISH the toys I had as a kid COULD do but didn’t. Oh yeah, and how to keep it under budget—but that isn’t always the end of an idea. Read More...

Ultra PRO Entertainment - tBR Company of the Week!

The evolution of a 70 year old company

 

Ultra PRO International LLC ("Ultra PRO") was founded in 1952 with the idea of keeping your prized possessions safe. As a privately-held, family-owned company with head offices near Los Angeles, California, we have been designing and manufacturing top quality products since 1952, and our brands are recognized for their high quality standards and design innovations.

 

With humble beginnings in photo albums and photo pages, the company quickly grew a reputation for keeping valuables safe. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, with the rise of sports card collecting, the company added storage solutions for these valuable items, quickly expanding into the growing market of sports memorabilia storage.

 

Then, in 1995 during the significant growth of collectible and trading card games, the company added another product - gaming card protection. As the first company to develop products specifically for games, this product propelled the company into a new level of success and an entire line of gaming accessories. Read More...

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Walmart plans to hire 20,000 holiday staff to meet online demand. Walmart Inc. will recruit more than 20,000 workers ahead of the U.S. holidays to prepare for an expected surge in online shopping amid the pandemic, its first large seasonal hiring in five years. The world’s biggest retailer is readying itself for a holiday e-commerce battle with Amazon.com Inc. by bringing on more seasonal staff to handle online orders ...

Hamleys owner Reliance Retail enters bidding for Debenhams. According to Sky News, Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and the powerhouse behind one of the country’s largest conglomerates, has emerged as a contender to take control of Debenhams, which has been in administration since April.

Following months of delays amid the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon Prime Day is now reportedly set to launch on October 13th. The annual sales event normally takes place in July and a number of sources with knowledge of Amazon’s plans have revealed it will now take place in three weeks’ time, although Amazon is yet to publicly confirm this. 

Breaking News: Rubie’s close to finalising agreement to come out of Chapter 11. Company behind the deal is headed by Joel Weinshanker, chairman of collectible toy specialist Neca. Following the announcement earlier this year that Rubie’s Masquerade Company had filed for Chapter 11 in the US, Toy World understands that a deal for the company to exit Chapter 11 is imminent. 

August a slow consumer spend month, yet retail sales jump a teeny bit. U.S. consumer spend slowed in August and core retail sales fell 0.1% but overall retail sales increased 0.6%. The sluggish spending, according to a CNBC report, was likely tied to extended unemployment benefits ending for millions in the U.S. and the overall sales bump was reportedly due to higher gas prices.

Voodoo wins plagiarism lawsuit against Zynga-owned Rollic Games. Voodoo has won an ongoing legal dispute with Rollic Games and developer Hero Games after accusing the two companies of copying one of its games. The hypercasual mobile games giant first took legal action against Rollic and Hero Games, both based in Istanbul, back in January over an update made to its free-to-play title Wood Shop.

OnBuy details plans to span 140 countries by 2023 in latest globalization moveOnBuy, the online marketplace that has set out its mission to rival Amazon and eBay, has detailed its latest plans for globalisation, aiming to scale up to span 140 countries by the year 2023. The platform will start with 40 initial sites by the end of this year, and has forecast to drive growth by 50 times the number within four years. Should OnBuy achieve the goals, it...

UK Smart Freight system not ready for January deadline. The government has told industry body Logistics UK , that the system will not be ready for January 1st, 2021. The Smart Freight System is designed to avoid congestion caused by new customs checks at key ports such as Dover when UK leaves the EU single market at the end of December.

Bandai Namco acquires Unknown 9 developer Reflector EntertainmentJapanese publisher Bandai Namco has acquired Canadian developer Reflector Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. The deal also includes the studio's subsidiary Reflector Interactive Productions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Supercell ordered to pay $8.5 million for infringing Gree's patents. Japanese mobile developer Gree has won a lawsuit against Finnish developer Supercell and been awarded at least $8.5 million. Gree has been targeted the studio for a couple of years now, claiming its games -- such as Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars -- infringe on multiple patents the Japanese firm holds in the US.

Unity valued at $13.7bn after successful IPO. Unity has completed its Initial Public Offering and been valued at $13.7 billion. The company, best known for the game development engine of the same name, began trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday under the symbol "U".

Xbox buys Bethesda parent ZeniMax for $7.5bn. Microsoft has announced the surprise acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. The deal cost $7.5 billion and expands the number of development studios Microsoft owns from 15 to 23.

Riot Games, Epic Games come under US Gov't scrutiny over Tencent ties. Days before the Trump administration is due to take action to ban two Chinese apps, Tiktok and WeChat in the United States, the US Committee on Foreign Investment has started scrutnizing the data security protocols of US-based game companies with ties to the Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Identity Games shutters U.S. office, shifts focus to distribution partners. Following the downsizing of its U.S. office in Washington over the past year, the Rotterdam-based company made the decision to close its Stateside outpost in favor of distribution partnerships. “In the U.S. we are happy to have Spin Master as our mass-market distribution partner for Escape Room,” says Jeroen Nugteren, managing director...

Nanobit acquired by Stillfront in $100 million deal. Stillfront has acquired the mobile developer Nanobit in a $100 million deal, though the acquisition could set Stillfront back as much as $148 million if certain sales targets are met. The initial leg of the deal sees Stillfront shelling out $100 million for 78 percent of Nanobit’s shares, with the remaining shares up for grabs in 2023 for an additional $48 million pending those...

(the above posted after September 18th)

Apple claims Epic is orchestrating legal battle to 'reinvigorate interest' in Fortnite. Apple has launched a scathing counterattack against Epic after the Fortnite maker filed a preliminary injunction in a bid to get its popular battle royale title reinstated on the App Store. Epic intends to officially file the injunction on September 28, 2020, and hopes the move will force Apple to allow Fortnite back onto the App Store.

Holiday retail sales to rise 1% to 1.5% this year with e-commerce growing as much as 35%: Deloitte. Experts at Deloitte are forecasting a 1% to 1.5% year-over-year sales increase this holiday season, with total retail sales expected to be $1.147 billion to $1.152 billion between November 2020 and January 2021. E-commerce sales, which have been strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic, are expected to climb 25%

NEW NRF IMPORT DATA SUGGESTS AN UNEXPECTEDLY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON AHEAD. Despite coming at the end of a challenging year, the upcoming holiday season might prove to end better than expected. The toy industry is well-positioned with a solid lineup of new toys this fall, and new data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates bodes well for retail as a whole. The toy industry is well... 

TikTok picks Oracle over Microsoft in Trump-forced sales bid. Microsoft announced Sunday that its bid to acquire TikTok's U.S. operations was rejected, removing the tech giant from the running a week before President Donald Trump promises to follow through with a plan to ban the Chinese-owned app in the U.S. over spying concerns.

Nvidia to acquire processor and software design company Arm for $40 billion. Graphics card maker Nvidia has agreed to purchase semiconductor and software design company Arm for $40 billion. The deal will see Nvidia acquire Arm from current owner Softbank for a total of $21.5 billion in common stock and 12 billion in cash, which includes $2 billion payable at signing.

Video games sales soar 37% in August. Total spending across video game hardware, content and accessories totaled $3.3 billion in August 2020, a 37 percent increase when compared to a year ago. Digital content on console platforms, mobile content and subscription spending were among the largest growth segments.

Amazon to hire 100,000 more workers in its latest job spree this year. Amazon said it is recruiting 100,000 more workers, the fourth hiring spree it has announced for the United States this year, to keep pace with e-commerce demand that jumped during the pandemic. The world’s biggest online retailer said the positions are for full and part-time work in its home country and Canada, and these will include roles at 100 new warehouse and operations sites it is opening this month.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 sells 1 million copies in less than two weeks. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, the recently released remake of the beloved PS1-era duo, has officially crossed 1 million sales. It's quite the feat, given the remake has only been out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC for around 10 days at this point. In a tweet announcing the milestone, publisher Activision also notes that 1+2 is now the fastest selling game in...

US budget deficit soars to $3tn record. The US budget deficit has hit a record high of more than $3tn (£2.3tn), driven by the government's massive spending on coronavirus relief. The federal government spent more than $6tn in the first 11 months of its financial year, including $2tn on coronavirus programs, the Treasury Department said. The figure outpaces the $3tn it took in from taxes.

YouTube faces new UK lawsuit over children’s privacy. One year after agreeing to pay US$170 million to the US FTC and New York Attorney General, the Google-owned platform is facing new claims that it tracks children under 13 across the pond. London-based Hausfeld & Co LLP is seeking more than US$2.5 billion in damages to be dispersed among the five million British children and parents who have access to the...

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

 

Program Highlights

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

  • Exceeds Wal-Mart and other leading retailers insurance requirements

  • Variable rate based on sales projections

  • Foreign & Domestic Liability coverage

  • Blanket additional insured vendors

  • Employee benefits liability

  • All certificates and claims handled in house

  • Quick quotation turnaround

  • Product recall expense $250,000 limit

 

Additional Coverage

  • Umbrella up to $50,000,000

  • Ocean Cargo & Property

  • Commercial Auto

  • Lead coverage

  • Intellectual properties (copyrights, trademarks, & patents)

  • Credit Insurance

  • US Customs Bond Insurance

  • Health Insurance

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

for a free consultation and quotation for your business needs.

185 Newman Springs Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

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

or Bob Witkin bobwitkin@york-jersey.com

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .  

Hot toys in pandemic ditch screens, embrace social justice . . . Target adapts to new normal as shoppers go online. . . . Retail sales: rough days ahead at the register? 

(the above posted after September 18th)

Online retail sales slow in August after massive spike during pandemic . . . US credit insurers cause concern for suppliers and retailers . . . Kid spending shifts to online games . . . COVID-19 takes its toll on toys: movie delays create merchandising challenges for toy retailers . . . Crayola products now being made by 100% renewable energy, company says . . . New NRF import data suggests an unexpectedly happy holiday season ahead

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Hasbro +3% after BMO Capital turns bullish . . . Stocks Showing Improved Relative Strength: Mattel . . . What Hasbro, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:HAS) ROE Can Tell Us

(the above posted after September 18th)

Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz to Participate in Virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference

 

Financial Reporting . . . 

Hornby trading update reports ‘return to normal’. Hornby reported that sales and margins for the period from 1st April to 31st August, 2020 were higher than previous years, and commented: “It is encouraging to report that our operations are nearly back to normal and we have made good progress against our strategic plan and KPIs.”

BMO upgrades Hasbro on toy industry performance. Hasbro Inc. may be headed for a strong holiday season - at least much better than what investors are currently anticipating. Gerrick Johnson of BMO Capital Markets upgraded the rating for Hasbro from Market Perform to Outperform, while raising the price target from $69 to $90.

JAKKS Pacific Inc. plunges 6.36% on September 23. JAKKS Pacific Inc. had a rough trading day for Wednesday September 23 as shares tumbled 6.36%, or a loss of $-0.26 per share, to close at $3.83. After opening the day at $4.12, shares of JAKKS Pacific Inc. traded as high as $4.14 and as low as $3.80. Volume was 83,286 shares over 622 trades …

WildBrain steady in 2020, despite COVID. An increase in production revenue in Q4 has helped WildBrain offset revenue losses in the final quarter of its 2020 fiscal as it realigns its sales strategy to prepare for 2021. The Canadian company reported financials for its Q4 and full fiscal 2020, which shows a year-over-year revenue loss of 3%.

Hong Kong: Kidsland unveils innovative trendy & collectible toy platform kkplus records sales of HK$400,000 the first weekend. Kidsland International Holdings Limited, the largest toy retailer and distributor in China, is pleased to unveil its innovative trendy and collectible toy platform kkplus at Langham Place, Hong Kong on 18 September. It offers differentiated product range and art museum-like shopping …

Why Hasbro stock popped 5% this morning. Shares of toymaker Hasbro popped more than 5% in early trading on the Nasdaq today after analysts at BMO Capital upgraded the stock to outperform with a $90 price target. Shares have since settled down to about a 3.7% gain …

(the above posted after September 18th)

Over 35 Oculus Quest games have generated revenue in the millions. Over 35 games on Oculus Quest have generated revenue in the millions from Quest content alone. 20 Quest titles brought in over $1 million, 11 Quest titles have made over $2 million, four games had seen over $3 million in revenue, and three had made over $5 million …

DESPITE DECLINE IN DIRECT MARKET SALES, IDW PUBLISHING REPORTS BREAK-EVEN QUARTERAs It Pivots to Book Market, Direct-to-Consumer. IDW Publishing sales for the quarter were $5.2 million, down slightly from $5.3 million in the year-ago period.  Because there were no new releases, there were no game sales in the quarter, compared to $200,000 in the year ago period.

Games Workshop sees online sales surge over lockdown as latest financials beat expectations. Games Workshop is continuing to play its role as the Great British success story, having reported that trading in the three months to August 30th was ahead of the board’s expectations thanks in part to a solid online performance.The miniature wargaming company has said current estimates show sales of around £90m...

Gamestop sales down 27%. GameStop sales declined 26.7% to $942 million in its Q2 ended August 1, compared to $1.286 million in the same quarter last year, the company reported in its quarterly report.  There were several factors driving the sales decline, starting with the closing of 206 stores worldwide during the quarter …

Future Financial Reporting... 

Stocks showing improved relative strength: Mattel. Mattel had its Relative Strength (RS) Rating upgraded from 68 to 71 Monday -- a welcome improvement, but still short of the 80 or better score you prefer to see. When looking for the best stocks to buy and watch, one factor to watch closely is relative price strength.

Amazon's gearing up for a massive Q4. Amazon.com has already seen its sales grow extremely quickly through the first half of the year as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed consumers to do more of their shopping online. But Amazon's making moves that indicate its fourth quarter could be an even bigger blowout for the leading online retailer.

Mattel Inc expected to announce Quarterly Sales of $1.46 billion. Wall Street brokerages expect Mattel Inc to announce $1.46 billion in sales for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Mattel posted sales of $1.48 billion in the same quarter last year, which suggests a negative year over year growth rate of 1.4%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, Nov...

$1.78 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarterWall Street brokerages predict that Hasbro, Inc. will report $1.78 billion in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Hasbro reported sales of $1.58 billion in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year-over-year growth rate of 12.7%. The firm is scheduled to issue its next quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, October 27th.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

First Wave of Panels Announced for 2020 Toy & Game International Innovation Summit. People of Play, formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group, is excited to announce its first wave of notable speakers and keynotes for the Toy & Game International Innovation Summit November 16-20. Sponsored by Longshore Limited, this virtual education and networking event focused on the toy and game inventing...

7 Candy Crush-inspired cakes that will make fans of the game drool. So you’ve spent countless hours matching up colorful confections in Candy Crush Saga. Maybe you’ve even mastered the notorious level 65. You’re starting to become a pro at this game you can’t seem to get enough of. So what’s next? Feeding your cravings in real life, that’s what—because we just unearthed the Candy Crush cookbook.

How TikTok is just beginning to transform advertising. TikTok recently launched our global business platform with a simple message to marketers: Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks. This isn't about simply pulling together a creator, a snappy sound, a creative effect. Overall, it’s not about the tactical output—it's about a strategy to transform how marketers can tell their story to the world.

Five dolls that changed the worldWhen scientists bring dolls into the lab, the toys transcend their role as playthings. They can expose racism and unleash aggression. The humanoid forms are easy to identify with, allowing them to serve as scientific stand-ins and therapeutic companions.

A wargame designer defines our four possible civil wars. I’m a wargame designer. I co-developed the first reboot of Axis & Allies and its D-Day edition, made a mythological Risk game called Risk Godstorm, and burned down both the Roman Empire in Gloria Mundi and medieval France in Veritas. I write about game theory learned from simulating war outcomes. Like many people, I’m stuck on this as the likely outcome of...

Games industry a "prime target" for cyber attacksA report from cybersecurity company Akamai revealed the extent of cyber attacks in the games industry, with games companies and players particularly targeted during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Video game loot boxes: another form of gambling? The government is asking for the public's opinion about the impact of loot boxes in video games, in an eight-week consultation. Loot boxes are a controversial feature of many video games - both console and mobile …

(the above posted after September 18th)

People of Play (formerly known as Chicago Toy & Game Group) announced finalists for the 13th annual Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIES). The TAGIES now feature eight categories and 80 nominees and honorees. The newest category for 2020 is the “Most Innovative Supplier of the Year.” This year’s awards are sponsored by Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation, PlayMonster, Cartamundi, and Nexttoy. Check out all of the finalists below, and cast your vote by midnight on October 30.

John Baulch's Friday Blog! One encouraging sign that a semblance of normality is returning to business life here in the UK is the abundance of stories about new appointments and promotions which we’ve reported on this week. Both Interplay and Gibsons have boosted their teams with multiple new recruits, while there have been some notable senior appointments across a range of organisations. More of that sort of thing...

How retailers should prep for a weird Black Friday. The pandemic and its economic fallout are going to make it exceedingly difficult for retailers to have a merry Christmas. The industry is expected to see an uptick in seasonal sales of a measly 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent, according to a forecast released Tuesday by Deloitte, which would be well below the 4.1 per cent increase the industry recorded last year.

Sam’s Club gets an early start on the holidays with September toy picks. Sam’s Club revealed plans to debut more than 50 club-exclusive toys for the holidays. This month, pallets of new toys have begun rolling into clubs across the U.S. as families begin to get an early start on an unusual shopping season. Top picks for September include …

Asobu: Putting Japan's indies on the international map. Co-founder Mark MacDonald discusses why Japan didn't have an indie boom, and Asobu's plans to kickstart one anyway. For a five-year period spanning the end of the 2000s and the start of the 2010s, the Japanese games industry was perceived to be in trouble …

Vietnam: Traditional toy making village bustling as Mid-autumn festival nears. The days of waiting for summer-autumn rice to bloom, for the people in Ong Hao village (also known as Hao village) at Lieu Xa commune, Yen My district, Hung Yen, is not leisure time. From the sixth and seventh lunar month of the year, every house in the village becomes very busy making toys for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Rescue & Restore. Aimed at adult antique collectors and vintage enthusiasts, the Rescue & Restore YouTube channel showcases the process of restoring classic and antique toys to their former rust-free glory. Videos are straight-forward, exceptional in their detail, and showcase the skill and craftsmanship behind each restoration project.

Argos reveals the toys predicted to top children’s Christmas lists for 2020Despite the retailer’s recent decision to say farewell to its bi-annual printed catalogue children (and adults!) can rest assured, Argos will still be producing its iconic printed Christmas Gift Guide, inspiring families as they get together to circle products they would love to find under the tree. Among the toys expected to feature on thousands of children’s...

John Lewis focuses on sustainability and wellbeing in Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2020. John Lewis & Partners is backing the sustainability movement this festive season with the unveiling of its own Top Ten Toys for Christmas, that this year witnesses the embrace of eco-friendly toys, those themed around climate change, and a range of interactive learning products. “This year is driven by the importance of learning through...

READ THE DIGITAL VERSION OF EDPLAY'S  LATEST ISSUE. IT'S INTERACTIVE!  The Trade Show, Reinvented: Virtual markets Toy Fair Everywhere and ASTRA Camp were the next-best things to being there this summer, and gave the industry a taste of trade show alternatives to come.  Survivors of the Stay-at-Home Summer — Three Toy Stories: With multiple issues to address ranging from staff safety and race relations to...

AN ‘EGGMAZING’ EDITION OF THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Scott Houdashell and Curtis McGill, the duo behind the popular Eggmazing. Intended to be “a better way to decorate eggs,” what started off as a hot glue stick, a cordless drill, and a spoon became a Shark Tank hit that landed a deal with Lori Greiner and put the invention in front of a national audience.

Millions of African children rely on TV education during pandemic. Five-year-old Kenyan student Miguel Munene sits between his parents, holding their hands as he watches cartoon characters teaching him to pronounce "fish". The television has replaced Munene's teachers and classmates after the government shut schools indefinitely in March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. They are closed until...

“A great way to find fun and escape is to play games,” says longtime games creator Sid Meier. “In fact, there are games about politics, firefighters, and even pandemics. Play the game and you may gain a better understanding of the situation. Stress often comes from fear of the unknown or incomplete knowledge. When life gives you lemons, play the lemonade stand game!”

 

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Talking View-Master from GAF (1970). Buoyed by the success of its View-Master, GAF released an audio-enabled variant of the 3D stereoscopic picture viewer in 1969-70. The Talking View-Master was powered by two C-batteries and contained other internal components, like a speaker, that made it roughly 3X the size of its audio-free counterpart.

Matchbox Toys Really Were Designed To Fit Inside a Matchbox. The classic Matchbox cars have been beloved childhood toys for decades. The toy vehicles were first created by a British company in the '50s, but the idea behind the little collectibles was really all because a dad wanted his little girl to be able to enjoy her toys at school.  In the 1940s, a couple of friends named Leslie and Rodney Smith (no relation) started a...

Batmobile From Corgi Toys (1966)Released in 1966, the Corgi 267 Batmobile was a 1:43 scale diecast model car introduced in concert with the 1966 Batman TV series starring Adam West. The car was painted mat black and featured wheels adorned with bat symbols engraved on the wheel hubs and doors. A highly detailed cockpit featured hand-painted figures of Batman and Robin at the controls …

The Toy Army of Peter the Great. As a child, Tsar Peter had all kinds of marvelous toys. Clockwork birds, music boxes, silver-cast horses, a real, but miniature carriage with windows made of crystal, drawn by four ponies, with a suite of four dwarves. But his most-loved toys were his toy guns, bows and arrows, axes, pikes, and swords, all made in sizes suitable for a child.

(the above posted after September 18th)

WKRP in Cincinnati Disk Jockey Control Center from Vanity Fair (1982). In 1982, Vanity Fair released the WKRP in Cincinnati Disc Jockey Control Center, allowing fans of the T.V. sitcom to channel their inner Dr. Johnny Fever or Venus Flytrap and hone their DJ skills. The core of the durably constructed 17-inch x 12.5-inch Control Center was a child-safe turntable designed with solid-state circuitry.

The surprising reason Nintendo made Super Mario a plumber 35 years ago. In 1985, a little Italian plumber became the face of video games, and changed the way we play them. "Super Mario Bros." saw the main characters in the game, Mario and Luigi, jump around the Mushroom Kingdom, collect coins and rush to save a princess from Bowser, a villainous turtle 

Sealed Pokémon box set sells for world-record $198,000 at Heritage Auctions. A rare sealed Pokémon booster set broke a world record Thursday when it sold for $198,000 Thursday, Sept. 10, in Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art Auction. The Pokémon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) soared well past its pre-auction estimate of $80,000+ during the advance bidding before...

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_2_SEL

Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Mattel announces ‘Over the Moon’ doll and plush lineMattel has signed on to produce dolls and plush for Netflix’s newest animated musical, “Over the Moon.” “Over the Moon” is a story about a young girl passionate about science who builds a rocket ship to prove the existence of a moon goddess. On this adventure, she discovers a fantastical land full of creatures.

IMC Toys strikes new partnership with Nickelodeon for Cry Babies Magic Tears. IMC Toys has detailed a new collaboration with Nickelodeon that will see the broadcast of a series of Cry Babies Magic Tears content on Nick Jr. The partnership – brokered by Generation Entertainment – will feature linear content and a digital hub on Nick Jr. scheduled to go live from this month. Reaching over one million kids in the UK on the Nick...

Zag, On Kids & Family tap Wildbrain Spark for ‘Power Players’ Youtube expansion. ZAG and ON Kids & Family (Mediawan Group) appointed WildBrain Spark to manage the YouTube presence for Power Players. A full toy line from ZAG Lab and Playmates Toys is available at Walmart, Target, and Amazon in the U.S.

Fisher-Price expands Little People Collectors Series with Elf, Lord of the Rings. More famous faces are joining the ranks of the Fisher-Price Little People. Following the introduction of sets inspired by The Beatles, Masters of the Universe, KISS, and The Office, Mattel‘s Fisher-Price is adding characters from Elf and Lord of The Rings to the Little People Collectors Series.

Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. to premiere all-new episodes this fall of Genius Brands International’s hit animation ‘Rainbow Rangers. Heading into its third year of airing on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. channel in the U.S., Genius Brands International “Genius Brands” announces the fall premiere of a slate of new episodes of its flagship animated preschool series, Rainbow Rangers, beginning Oct. 11. 

Billie Eilish launches her own doll line with Playmates Toys and Bravado. The American singer-songwriter, Billie Eilish, has released a new line of collectable toys and figures inspired by the looks she adopts in her music videos for Bad Guy and All Good Girls Go To Hell. The new range has been developed by Playmates Toys in a licensing partnership forged by Bravado. The toy line will launch this October and will be available...

Bored? Games? – Festival of Licensing examines the crossover between licensing and board games. Anna Knight, Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group vice president, offers readers an in-depth look at licensing in the toy and game space. As Kids Industries’ co-founder Gary Pope recently said: “In times of difficulty, entertainment is the thing that keeps a family together, so there are reasons to be cheerful.” 

The Mandalorian gets a ton of new toys, including plenty of Baby Yoda. The second season of Disney+'s The Mandalorian hits the streaming service October 30, but with a new season, comes new toys. As the saying goes, this is the way. Disney and Lucasfilm have announced Mando Mondays, and to celebrate the announcement, starting October 26, toy juggernaut Hasbro will release new products for The Mandalorian …

Posh Paws named new plush partner for Sesame Street. The plush specialist, Posh Paws and its parent company Whitehouse Leisure, has been named the new plush partner for the iconic and globally popular Sesame Street brand in a deal that will cover the EMEA region. Under the partnership, Whitehouse Leisure will also be developing plush ranges for amusement channels.

Warner Bros. Games announces Hogwarts Legacy. Warner Bros. Games today announced Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world, single-player, action role-playing videogame (RPG) set in the 1800s wizarding world. Players will experience life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry like never before, as they live the unwritten and embark on a dangerous journey to uncover a hidden truth of the wizarding world.

Forbidden Planet teams with BBC Studios and Titan Merchandise on ‘most ambitious Doctor Who merch project ever’. Geek pop culture and hobby retailer, Forbidden Planet has partnered with BBC Studios and Titan Merchandise to launch an exclusive apparel and giftware range for Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious, in what it has billed its ‘most ambitious Doctor Who merchandising project ever.’

Jakks Pacific unveils ‘Treats At Home: Halloween’ with Super Mario, Frozen II Characters. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force creativity and evolution across a variety of industries, including toys that incorporate seasonal elements. As the owner of Disguise Inc., Jakks Pacific is a major player in the Halloween business, and this year, the company is introducing a new product range in an effort to connect with families during the spooky season while cross-pollinating its toys and costumes: Treats at Home.

(the above posted after September 18th)

Spin Master joins forces with The League of Legends franchise announcing a licensing agreement with Riot Games. Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY), a leading global children’s entertainment company, announced a multi-year agreement to become the global master toy licensee for Riot Games’ League of Legends, the most-played PC game in the world. Spin Master will develop products including action figures, playsets and...

Jakks Pacific Inc. just made a sweet licensing deal with HARIBO Group, the makers of popular gummy candy.

Under the new deal, Jakks becomes the global master toy partner for the confectioner with the rights to create and sell collectibles and activities based on HARIBO candy brands in North America and the EMEA territories. “We are thrilled to partner with HARIBO in bringing to life a truly...

AMERICAN GIRL UNVEILS NEW HISTORICAL ’80S DOLL WITH LICENSED ACCESSORIES. American Girl — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel — revealed its newest Historical doll with a little help from The Go-Gos this morning on Today. The new character Courtney Moore celebrates a historic era of high hair and neon leggings with her ‘80s theme. Her bright clothes match her bright ideas as she aims to become a video game...

Kinder partners Gameloft to bring toys to life with AR app Applaydu. Gameloft for brands and Kinder have launched Applaydu, a new mobile app which brings Kinder toys to life through augmented reality in a fun world of discovering and imagination. Applaydu is a free edutainment playing experience, developed with Gameloft for brands, which aims to encourage bonding time where parents and their children can play...

Cuphead gets his own fast-food toy line at Arby's Restaurants. Cuphead has come a long way since his initial release in 2017. He's got a spirit event and Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and has even signed a deal with Netflix. In an attempt to continue building the character's profile, Cuphead developer Studio MDHR is now teaming up with the US fast-food chain "Arby's" to release a special toy line.

Moonbug lines up licensing dealLondon-based kids entertainment company Moonbug has teamed up with L.A. talent agency UTA to grow its licensing business in North America. UTA, which has been the licensing agency for Moonbug’s Blippi IP since 2018, will now represent seven brands in the kidco’s portfolio - CoComelon, My Magic Pet Morphle, ARPO, Supa Strikas, T-Rex Ranch, The Sharksons and Gecko’s Garage.

Funko Europe to launch Pokemon Pop! vinyls for the first time in the company’s history. The global purveyors of pop culture, Funko has detailed what it bills a ‘monumental partnership’ for the first time in the history of the company’s European division, partnering with the Pokemon Company International to launch a Pokemon collection of Pop! Vinyl figures to the region from this October. P

Leo&Tig conquer the first italian licensees: numerous contracts with Maurizio Distefano Licensing (MDL). After just a couple of months since MDL was appointed as the Italian licensing agency for Leo&Tig, the new TV series on air every day on Rai YoYo and available on Rai Play, there are already 5 sealed contracts with important companies.

PLAYMATES TOYS NAMED MASTER TOY PARTNER FOR YOUTUBERS ‘VLAD & NIKI’. Retail Monster and Haven Global brokered a new deal for Playmates Toys to take the reins as the global master toy partner for Vlad & Niki. The deal comes just four months after the popular YouTubers inked a deal with ZURU to create a variety of toys in select categories.

NINTENDO AND MATTEL TEAM UP FOR SUPER MARIO BROS. THEMED BARBIE "STORYTELLING FASHION PACKS"  The latest Mario collab is one I don't think any of us saw coming. It looks like Barbie is quite the fan of Mario! As part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary celebrations, Nintendo and Mattel are teaming up for Super Mario Bros. themed Barbie Storytelling Fashion Packs. This merch line for Barbie...

‘Bing’ announces increased toy sales, new licenseesRecent NPD data has shown that Acamar Film’s “Bing” is listed in the top 10 fastest growing toy licenses in the U.K. between January to June 2020. The news comes on the heels of last year’s announcement that Golden Bear was selected as master toy partner for the property in the U.K., EMEA and Australia.

Licensed Rubik’s Cubes are now available from the Op. Three new Rubik’s Cubes have arrived from the Op to celebrate the toy’s 40th anniversary and some popular franchises. The toys are inspired by Harry Potter and SpongeBob SquarePants for kids ages 8 and up, and a 17-and-up version is for fans of Rick and Morty.

Hunt A Killer Expands into RetailHunt A Killer has announced the company’s first all-in-one game for the retail channel, “Death at the Dive Bar.” The new all-in-one game takes place in the seedy underbelly of the Old Scratch Tavern where players must uncover the truth of the seemingly accidental death of the owner before it’s too late.

ToyMonster Debuts ‘Jurassic World’ Toy Range. A new range of “Jurassic World” toys are headed to market. The Jurassic World Captivz Slime Egg and Jurassic World Zoom-Riders ranges will launch in Australian stores this month, marking the toys’ worldwide debut. The range offers more than 15 original edition Pop N Lock dinosaurs to find initially, including rare, ultra-rare and limited-edition metallic species, all roaring...

People . . . 

LA-based Genius Brands has appointed Marc Rosenberg as president of global brands and chief marketing officer.Beginning in the role today, Rosenberg is charged with growing the company’s portfolio of children’s properties. He will be responsible for content sales and overseeing global licensing efforts. Most recently, Rosenberg worked as CEO of The Edge Desk, a workspace furniture company he founded. 

Hasbro’s VP of consumer products Marianne James on becoming a pre-school powerhouseWhen Hasbro first made clear its plans to take over the Entertainment One entity at the end of 2019, the writing was pretty much on the wall that 2020 was going to be an atypical year for the world of children’s entertainment, licensing, and toys.

Wilton Bradley expands marketing team. Following a summer of record-breaking sales for Wilton Bradley, the company has announced three new appointments to its growing marketing team. Anna Howard joins the team as head of digital marketing. Tom Drakett-Cain and Matt Parker join as brand marketing managers

Former Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime announces new game companyTwo years after stepping down as CEO at Blizzard, the game company he co-founded in 1991, Mike Morhaime is back with his next venture. It’s called Dreamhaven, and it’s a combination of a publisher and developer, with “a common goal to empower creators, help bring their ideas to life, and create original gaming experiences that foster meaningful...

AIS Play-Room names Rosie Marshall its new head of toys and children’s gifts. The former Toys R Us and Boswells Department Store buyer, and toy industry buying expert, Rosie Marshall has taken on the role of head of Play-Room, the toy and children’s gift division of AIS. Marshall’s appointment follows the announcement earlier this year that long-standing director, Miles Penhallow is to take early retirement...

Michel Ancel quits games developmentNotable games developer Michel Ancel is leaving the industry. He announced his departure via Instagram, where Ancel said he will "stop working on video games and fully focus on my second passion: wild life."

(the above posted after September 18th)

The Friday Five: Mary Couzin. Toy Tales talks with Mary Couzin about the recent rebranding of her organization, ChiTAG, to People of Play, and what sets today’s young inventors apart from their predecessors.

He invented the Rubik’s Cube. He’s still learning from it. The first person to solve a Rubik’s Cube spent a month struggling to unscramble it. It was the puzzle’s creator, an unassuming Hungarian architecture professor named Erno Rubik. When he invented the cube in 1974, he wasn’t sure it could ever be solved. Mathematicians later calculated that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 ways to arrange the squares, but just one...

Smiffys’ announces new appointments. Smiffys’ has promoted Sharon Poulter to licensing and marketing manager, whilst Chris Isitt has been appointed as licence consultant. Dress up manufacturer and supplier Smiffys has announced the promotion of Sharon Poulter to the role of licensing and marketing manager, as well as the appointment of Chris Isitt as licence consultant.

Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz to Participate in Virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia ConferenceMatteltoday announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz will participate in a fireside chat at the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference on Tuesday September 15, 2020 at 2:05 p.m. Eastern time. The webcast will be available on Mattel’s Investor Relations website, https://mattel.gcs-web.com/. An archive of the webcast will be available on the Company’s website shortly after.

Netflix hires new director of preschool animation. Netflix has hired children’s media advisor and consultant Kevin Clark as its new director of preschool animation. Based in LA and reporting to preschool content director Heather Tilert, he starts this month. In the past, Clark has consulted on diversity, content development and strategy for a wide range of kids companies, including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, YouTube Kids...

Rick Greenberg named CEO of RedwoodVentures. Rick Greenberg, a toy industry executive with a broad range of C-Suite experience, has been named Chief Executive Officer of RedwoodVentures, maker of hit brands including Smooshy Mushy, Lil’ Fishy’s and GoGoGochas. Greenberg rose from sales positions to President & CEO of Shelcore Toys where he transformed a domestic operation into a prominent global toy manufacturer.

Caroline Tyre departs Genius Brands for WildBrain. As part of a reorganization of its distribution team, WildBrain has hired Caroline Tyre to be its VP of global sales and rights strategy. Tyre will be responsible for leading WildBrain’s international sales team (outside of China) and will oversee the implementation of the company’s commercial content strategy.

Gibsons expands team with new hires. Gibsons, the British, independent games and puzzles company, has welcomed three new members to the team. The company was already experiencing a period of steady growth, which has accelerated due to the nation turning to puzzling during lockdown. These appointments join two new employees recently appointed to cover maternity leave.

Licensing International names Graham Saltmarsh its new MD for UK division. Industry veteran, Graham Saltmarsh has been named the new managing director for Licensing International’s UK division, marking ‘the beginning of a bold new chapter’ for the trade organisation and its operations in the region. In this role, Saltmarsh will be responsible for advancing the business of licensing across all sectors of the industry in...

Genius Brands introduces Kartoon Classroom!, new exec appointments. Jon Ollwerther, who joined Genius Brands from Measure last year has been appointed to oversee the operations of Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Classroom! in the new role of general manager and executive vice president of global business development. Additionally, Disney vet Lou Fazio has joined the Kartoon business as a senior advisor.

Barbie’s Kim Culmone on how she approached making a legacy brand more inclusive: “we exploded it completely”.  In her current role, Culmone, who started at Mattel as a designer in 1999, has been involved in redesigning Barbie in a diverse and inclusive way for a whole new generation. For Culmone, her job is a dream role, considering she grew up loving Barbie too.

POP-WebBanner01-540x250.png

Companies . . . 

Cards Against Humanity Sells Board Game Cafe To Canadian Chain, But It Will Mostly Stay The Same. Earlier this month, the card game crew sold its elaborately designed board game cafe at 1965 N. Milwaukee Ave. to the Canadian board game cafe chain Snakes & Lattes. The cafe will reopen under Snakes & Lattes’ ownership Oct. 14, according to a news release.

Awaken the Spirits for Funko’s Haunted Mansion Board Game. Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Disney Haunted Mansion – Call of the Spirits Game. Perfect for a game night this Halloween, Funko Games has materialized a Haunted Mansion board game based on the fan-favorite Disney theme park attraction. Designed for 2-6 players ages 9 and up, the game takes about 30 minutes to play and features...

Spin Master launches original ‘Mighty Express’ preschool series. Spin Master is launching its original preschool series Mighty Express on Netflix today, 22nd September. Spin Master fully owns the Mighty Express franchise and will retain the rights to distribution of the series (outside of SVOD), including licensing consumer products. Consumers can expect a toy line based on the series to launch next year.

Hasbro unveiles a new addition to its Marvel Legends line. As Hasbro gears up for its virtual PulseCon event this Friday, the company unveiled a new addition to its Marvel Legends line: a series of 3.75-inch retro figures. These new figures will go live exclusively on Hasbro Pulse at 5 p.m. ET this Friday, Sept. 25. They each feature five points of articulation and come in retro-inspired blister packs with Kenner branding.

Pre-orders ‘coming in fast’ for Thames & Kosmos’ building kit CREATTOThames & Kosmos has welcomed a new creative and versatile building system to the fold in the form of CREATTO, a kit that allows children to design and construct their own illuminated, three-dimensional characters. Aimed at kids aged six and upwards, CREATTO made its first appearance at London Toy Fair this year …

Gale Force Nine unveils two new expansions for 'Aliens' board gameGale Force Nine unveiled ALIENS: Ultimate Badasses and ALIENS: Get Away from Her You B***h, two new expansions for the ALIENS board game, coming in 2020. ALIENS: Ultimate Badasses expansion adds more options for battling the bugs. ALIENS: Get Away from Her You B***h expansion tacks on more Campaign options …

New Transformers Generations: War for Cybertron: Kingdom figures announced by Hasbro. Ahead of its PulseCon fan event this weekend, Hasbro unveiled 4 figures in Wave 1 of its Transformers: Generations War for Cybertron: Kingdom line. Basically, if you grew up a fan of Transformers: Beast Wars, you're about to get your nostalgia wishes for new figures granted. Hasbro revealed Rattrap, Cheetor, Cyclonus and...

Kellytoy’s new Squishmallows Heroes hit retailers this October. Kellytoy, a subsidiary of Jazwares, LLC, has announced details for its Squishmallows Heroes squad featuring six distinctive, colorful characters to inspire kids, tweens, collectors, toy lovers and hero worshipers of all ages. The lineup celebrates our nation’s everyday heroes …

Ravensburger will release 'Harry Potter Strike' into U.S. hobby channelRavensburger NA will release Harry Potter Strike, a dice game, into the U.S. hobby channel on October 1.  In Harry Potter Strike, players roll dice into an arena in attempt to cast spells successfully and win back more dice to roll.

Craft Buddy is ramping up its UK retail partnership with Norton PR campaign. The arts, crafts, and hobby specialist, Craft Buddy is ramping up awareness for its popular Crystal Art brand ranges through a new targeted B2B campaign for 2020 and 2021. Already firmly placed within toy, gift, and hobby markets across Europe, Craft Buddy is looking to expand the Crystal Art brand offering and retailer partnership opportunities...

Top GameStop investor wants to turn retailer into Amazon rival. Ryan Cohen, the entrepreneur who built Chewy.com into a pet-supply giant and sold it for more than $3 billion, is now pitching GameStop Corp. on a lofty goal: becoming a true competitor to Amazon.com Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

TOMY celebrates surge in sales as UK families embrace arts & crafts ahead of National Doodle Day. The international toy firm, TOMY, is preparing to celebrate National Doodle Day in style this September 25th, highlighting the products that it believes will be topping the wish lists of kids and families taking part in the artistic action this year. The firm believes that National Doodle Day, a day that celebrates the artistic talent...

Games Workshop unveils 'Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave - Arena Mortis'. Games Workshop unveiled Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave - Arena Mortis, a multiplayer expansion for Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave, for release on September 26. Warhammer Underworlds now features multiplayer combat in Arena Mortis which transforms the miniatures game into a free-for-all fight.

Corvus Belli offers 'Infinity' 'Stakeout Event Pack'. On October 23, Corvus Belli will release the STAKEOUT:  Season 11 Event Tournament Pack for the Infinity tabletop miniatures game. STAKEOUT is intended to support tournament play, with everything needed including a complete Competition Pack plus the prizes needed for the tournament and some exclusive extras …

Epoch launches Aquabeads TikTok campaign. Intended to broaden the brand’s appeal to a wider, more lifestyle-conscious audience, and using thousands of Aquabeads including the new Starbeads range and Disney licensed sets, each TikTok video is accompanied by the bespoke new #AquaBeats track being hosted on the company’s newly created Aquabeads TikTok account.

Epoch reveals enhanced Sylvanian Families loyalty schemeEpoch making toys is increasing its support for independent retailers in the run up to October half term and Christmas shopping period, with its flagship brand, Sylvanian Families, updating its loyalty scheme. Two in-store promotional campaigns have been created to boost sales and drive the collectability of the range.

LEGO details new partnerships that support racial equality. LEGO has introduced a slate of new partners as it moves towards a commitment it made in June this year ‘to stand together with the Black community’ against racism and inequality. Over the summer, the Danish toy maker also stated it would donate to organisations dedicated to supporting Black children and educating all children about racial inequality.

Rio Grande Games announces 'Praga Caput Regni'. Rio Grande Games announced Praga Caput Regni, a city construction game by Vladimir Suchy, for release in November. In Praga Caput Regni, players are wealthy citizens that are looking to build up medieval Prague thereby gaining the favor of the king.

'Heroquest's' return teased by Hasbro. Hasbro teased the return of Heroquest, a popular dungeon-crawling game first published in 1990, with a reveal countdown clock that ends at noon EST on September 22. It's been thirty years since Milton Bradley first sent fans on a dungeon adventure with Heroquest ...

Battle Sister is the first Warhammer 40,000 VR game. Battle Sister is an Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 exclusive, and lets you play as one of the Adepta Sororitas. For the uninitiated - or the faithless! - the Adepta Sororitas is an all-female division of the Ecclesiarchy (the Imperium of Man's state church). The Sisters of Battle is the military arm of this division, and bad-ass they are, too.

Monopoly is releasing a 'Disney Villains' edition that will encourage you to scheme and steal your way to victory. If you've been itching to play as your favorite Disney villains in a board game, Monopoly has you covered. Hasbro just released a Disney Villains edition of the classic board game and it encourages fans to scheme and steal to make the game extra devious.

Amigo Games announces 'Dealt!' for U.S. hobby market. AMIGO Games announced Dealt! the English-language version of its Krass Kariert card game. In Dealt!, players try to dump all of the cards in their hand by playing up to three cards that are of higher rank than previously played cards. The catch is that players cannot rearrange their hands to play cards, and must only play the cards next to each other as they were dealt.

'Zendikar Rising' release status impacted further by 'Magic: The Gathering' production delays. Wizards of the Coast has updated the status of the Zendikar Rising production delays, which they had originally issued earlier in September. Zendikar Rising will still be headed to North American retailers in two waves. However, the first wave is now facing delays,

SEGA announces new gear to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog's 30th Anniversary. Next year, 2021, will be the 30th anniversary for the famous blue hedgehog named Sonic. To celebrate the occasion, SEGA is pulling out some new Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise for fans to enjoy. This includes the Sonic Encyclo-Speed-Ia from Dark Horse Comics, a new collection of Pop! Vinyl figures from Funko, toys from Jakks Pacific …

PMI prepares to launch Series Three of its Fortnite range. Following the successful launch of Series 1 and 2 in 2019, which received positive feedback from retailers across the toy and entertainment industry, PMI is now gearing up for the UK launch of Series 3 of its Fortnite range this month. The line features stationery collectibles with items including stampers, highly detailed 3D figural key chains and more.

John Lewis scraps staff bonus following major cutbacks. The John Lewis Partnership confirmed this week that staff members will not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953, following a raft of store closures and job losses amid the coronavirus pandemic. The group posted a £55m loss for the six months to July 25th after higher costs offset an increase in revenues.

Bandai revives 'Digimon'. The English-language version of the new Digimon Card Game will be released by Bandai in January, including all the cards in the Japanese version to date. The Digimon Card Game was created by designer Ryan Miller and it features new mechanics.

(the above posted after September 18th)

Educational Insights is introducing three new packs of face masks for kids ages 3 and up. The packs each have three designs and are made out of double-layered, breathable cotton and stretchy elastic that shouldn’t pull on ears. Kids can choose the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Edition; the version with a Dinsosaur, Tiger, and Shark; or the Puppy, Kitty, and Fox variety. Each mask comes in just one size — 5 inches by 4.5 inches...

On Friday, toy maker Hasbro dropped a bombshell on the world of tabletop gaming. HeroQuest, the classic dungeon-crawling adventure first published in 1990, is back. The Rhode Island-based company launched a new website, including a mysterious timer. It’s currently counting down to an announcement at noon ET on Sept. 21.

HOW ONE COMIC AND GAME RETAILER COPED WITH CORONAVIRUSEd Greenberg at Collector's Paradise. Collector’s Paradise, with three Los Angeles-area comic-and-game stores, has turned over every rock in looking for workarounds, and is finding its way through.  Owner Ed Greenberg shared some of his tips and tricks, and how if you look for the light, you’ll find it. YES, YOU CAN NEGOTIATE RENT. All three Collector’s Paradise...

LEGO to invest US$400 million on sustainability. The brickmaker is looking to accelerate green efforts, and will parse the money out over three years to work towards achieving zero-waste and carbon-neutral status. As part of a push to make packaging sustainable by 2025, LEGO will phase out single-use plastic bags from its boxes. Starting next year, the company is planning to trial Forest Stewardship Council-certified recyclable...

Set celebrates its 30th anniversary this ‘Setember’. PlayMonster has rebranded this month as Setember to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the popular game Set. All month, the company will celebrate with #SETSundays, in which PlayMonster’s social media will be dedicated to solving Set puzzles. In addition, a new puzzle shows up on this website every day, where people can head to solve it.

Winsing Animation launches new toy lines based on its IPs. Winsing Animation held a New Toy Line Release Conference on 11 and 12 September, to introduce a new toy line inspired by its popular established IPs such as GG Bond , GOGOBUS and Team S.T.E.A.M.!.  The conference hosted more than 200 toy distributors and licensees from different cities of China attending and giving a high value on the new products.

Zimpli Kids details international distribution plans for its eco-friendly and educational ranges. Zimpli Kids has detailed its plans for the international distribution of its full eco-friendly and educational ranges of products. Over the past couple of years, the firm has been developing ranges specifically for the educational sector, to encourage the use of their products for multi-sensory play in educational environments.

Cap Kakumei Bottleman revealed with toys and a battle set that is compatible with Switch. Following the teaser last week, Takara Tomy officially revealed Cap Kakumei Bottleman. The cross-media project features new toys that are a lot like B-daman but shoot bottle caps instead of marbles. In addition to an anime, a Bottleman Digital Battle Set was revealed with Nintendo Switch compatibility. The new “shooting hobby”...

Wizards of the Coast reveals that 'Magic: The Gathering's' Commander audience has tripled between 2018 and 2020. Wizards of the Coast revealed that the Magic: The Gathering's Commander audience has tripled between 2018 and 2020. Between the start 2018 and when metrics were frozen in February 2020, the number of unique players attending Commander events per week at WPN stores went from 9,000 in 2018...

L.O.L. Surprise! Remix launches with global YouTube viewing partyTo celebrate the launch of  new line, L.O.L. Surprise! Remix,  a global live stream event will be held on Saturday, September 26th from 11am on the L.O.L. Surprise! UK Instagram channel, before moving to the global launch at 5pm on the L.O.L. Surprise! YouTube channel.

Spin Master to launch Mighty Express on Netflix. Spin Master has announced that the CG animated pre-school series Mighty Express will roll onto Netflix on 22nd September 2020. From the company behind the global blockbuster Paw Patrol, the new original series builds on Spin Master’s legacy of creating powerhouse franchises and marks the company’s 11th series overall.

SEGA reveals Sonic The Hedgehog 30th Anniversary merch collection. SEGA revealed more details for their plans to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Sonic The Hedgehog this morning. Primarily when it comes to merchandise that they plan to release over the next year. We have the complete list of items for you below …

Mantic Games unveils 'Kings of War: Armada'. Mantic Games unveiled Kings of War: Armada, a naval warfare miniatures games, for release into retail in November. Now, Kings of War fans can take to the high seas of Pannithor to do battle with both their opponents and lurking sea monsters in this new miniatures game line.

Steamforged Games reveals two new 'Epic Encounters'.  Steamforged Games revealed Caverns of the Frost Giant and Halls of the Orc King, new miniature sets for the Epic Encounters line, scheduled to release in November 26. Steamforged Games also will release Epic Encounters: Shrine of the Kobold Queen and Epic Encounters: Lair of the Red Dragon.

Hasbro re-releases three board games for D&D, Clue, & MonopolyHasbro has re-released three board games that are out now, two for Clue and Monopoly, along with a D&D board game. The three titles are Clue: Liars Edition, Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure Begins, and Monopoly: Ghostbusters Edition. All three of these have already been released over the course of 2020, but with COVID-19 not going away anytime soon, the company is promoting them again to get people into playing games at home.

Toy major Funskool seriously looking to develop India's traditional games: CEO. Chennai, India: Toy major Funskool India Ltd was seriously looking at developing the country's traditional games as part of strengthening its operations in the country, a top company official has said. The company was also looking at 'substantially' expanding its distribution network in rural areas, Funskool India chief executive officer, R Jeswant said.

Interplay UK welcomes swathe of new hires as it gears for continued growth and success. New recruits include the former Spin Master executive, Mark Murray who has joined as UK sales manager, Jenny Hodges who brings experience from LEGO and Schleich to her new role as national account manager, and Alison Clapcott, who joins as sales administrator. 

The BTS fever is real with Epoch’s new puzzle line. Epoch Everlasting Play is delivering a backstage pass to fun with a line of collectible puzzles, starring the popular South Korean boy band BTS. Each 108-piece puzzle features a different member of the band: RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, or Jung Kook. Superfans can collect them all and once completed, the puzzles also depict images from BTS’ latest album, Map of the Soul: 7.

Micro Scalextric James Bond No Time to Die Race Set from Scalextric. As moviegoers await the arrival of No Time to Die, the latest on-screen adventures of James Bond, toymaker Scalextric offers a chance to bring the adventure home. Its new 007-branded slot car race set features miniature versions of the Aston Martin DB5 and Jaguar XF showcased in the film.

Marks and Spencer now sell giant Percy Pig toy - perfect for Christmas. Percy is undoubtedly the nation’s favorite pig, every year over 400 million individual Percy Pig sweets are sold - that’s 10 sweets every second. He’s been in our lives since 1992 and this week M&S brings Percy fans the ultimate early Christmas present, launching life-size Percy toys for the very first time.

Asmodee USA to roll out 'Troyes Dice' into U.S. retail. Asmodee USA will roll out Troyes Dice, a "roll and write "game by Pearl Games, into U.S. retail on October 30. In Troyes Dice, Players can discover the medieval city of Troyes as they transcend its social classes in a hunt for recognition. This society was organized around three orders …

Mondo Games unveils 'Disney Shadowed Kingdom'Mondo Games unveiled Disney Shadowed Kingdom, a cooperative game by Imp House Games, for full retail release in October after being available online and in Target stores prior to that. In Disney Shadowed Kingdom, players assume the roles of explorers in search of Magic to restore their kingdom to glory …

Vtech debuts Fall toy lineup - in stores now. VTech’s toy lineup for the Fall is packed with products that spark imaginative play and get kids active. Tots can catch fish, shoot some hoops, run a firehouse, or catch up with their BFF Cory Carson.

Jazwares’ introduces Avengers Zōteki characters. Marvel’s mightiest heroes are heading to collector shelves with a new line from Jazwares. The Avengers Zōteki Series 1 includes 4-inch characters that are inspired by Marvel Comics 2013 “Infinity” comic book crossover event, designed for fans ages 8 and up.

Squishmallows become unlikely retail hit, with 'Star Wars' and Baby Yoda next on the listBaby Yoda, already a hit with audiences, is now becoming iconic to toy lovers as well. Squishmallows, which have become popular in the aisles of big retail chains like Walgreens, Target, and Costco, are squeezable, pillow-like toy creatures. In just 2 years on the market, Kellytoy has sold more than 50 million cuddly characters...

Zapf Creation strengthen digital strategy for UK with new Baby Annabell and Baby Born websitesZapf Creation is strengthening its digital strategy for the UK market with the launch of two new websites for its Baby Annabell and Baby Born brands. The new platforms will look to reinforce the brands’ positioning and align with their social media channels to ‘enhance customer loyalty and engagement.’

Good Smile Company’s newest figure, Nendoroid Tomato Head is now available for pre-order! Good Smile Company, Inc., a premier Japanese collectible figure maker, announced on September 10th, 2020 (PT) that Nendoroid Tomato Head is now available. From the popular game Fortnite comes a Nendoroid inspired by the Tomato Head outfit! The figure is fully articulated so you create your own action-packed scenes!

PSI to distribute Skybound Entertainment's tabletop gamesPublisher Services, Inc. announced that they will distribute Skybound Entertainment's tabletop game line to all channels, including the hobby market, starting September 8. As it does with other lines, PSi will distribute to hobby distributors rather than directly to hobby retailers.  PSi also added Golden Egg Games,  CrowD Games, and Alley Cat Game...

Wizards of the Coast releases more 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Zendikar Rising' product info. Wizards of the Coasts dropped some additional product information about the upcoming Zendikar Rising set for Magic: The Gathering including the contents of the two Commander Decks and what is on The List for Set Boosters. Zendikar Rising is slated to release on September 25, but due to production delays, it will come in two...

Asmodee USA will release three city map 'MYPUZZLES' into U.S. trade. Asmodee USA will release three city map MyPuzzles, puzzles by Helvetiq, into U.S. trade on September 18. MyPuzzles are a line of 1000-piece puzzles by Helvetiq that are an excellent way of constructively passing time at home. These new city map puzzles feature the streets of Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco …

BrainLeap focuses on ADHD with gaming platform. California-based BrainLeap Technologies is putting out a new research-backed video game to help kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and broader attention issues - an oft-forgotten audience for game-makers - to improve their critical functions like focus, memory and self-control.

Pottick-Ad-High-Res-01.jpg

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

Innersloth cancels Among Us 2 because the first game has become so popular. Innersloth has canceled Among Us 2 to continue supporting the first Among Us, which has become hugely popular in recent weeks. For those who missed the memo, Among Us is a multiplayer social deduction game of teamwork and betrayal that asks players to figure out who among their plucky space-faring crew is a murderous imposter.

Nintendo just announced a new Kirby game for the Switch, and it’s available right nowNintendo has just announced Kirby Fighters 2, a brand new game in the Kirby series for the Nintendo Switch, and it’s available to download from the eShop right now for $19.99. In the game, you fight against up to three other players in local or online multiplayer.

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X 1TB expandable storage priced at $219.99. Microsoft’s first 1TB expandable storage drive for the Xbox Series X / S will be priced at $219.99. Best Buy has started taking preorders for the accessory, revealing a final price that had leaked recently. These expandable storage cards slot into the rear of both the Xbox Series X / S to match the internal SSD speed and provide 1TB of extra storage.

Zynga launches Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells worldwideZynga Inc. announced that its magical Match-3 mobile game Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells has officially launched and begun rolling out to territories worldwide. Officially licensed from Warner Bros. Games and published under the Portkey Games label, the game is available for free download

Nintendo Switches are finally back in stock at Amazon—but not for long. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nintendo Switches have been nearly impossible to find. Between being stuck at home and the release of Animal Crossing New Horizons, it seemed that everyone wanted a Switch to play with. Seriously. We spent months scouring the internet for Switches in stock, and more often than not, we could only find...

Core dev Manticore Games raises $15 million, thanks in part to Epic Games. Manticore Games, the studio behind the create-a-game platform Core, has raised $15 million in a funding round led by none other than Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games. Core aims to be to video games what YouTube was to video production by offering a platform and suite of tools focused on lowering barriers through ease of creation.

Spellbreak hits 5 million players in under three weeks. Magically infused battle royale title Spellbreak has attracted 5 million players in under three weeks. Developer Proletariat, Inc. shared the milestone, and revealed the free-to-play title has been particularly popular with players in the United States, Japan, and Brazil.

BTS is coming to Fortnite. One of the biggest bands in the world is coming to one of the biggest games in the world. Today, Epic Games announced that K-pop group BTS will be debuting their next music video on Fortnite’s party royale island.

Football Manager 2020 sees 1 million players in first days of Epic Games Store free week. Football Manager 2020 director Miles Jacobson has shared a candid look at the game’s free week over on the Epic Games Store, chronicling the first few days of the promotion and the one million players it attracted in a matter of days.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars beats Avengers to No.1 | UK Charts. After two weeks at the top of the UK charts, the Avengers have been knocked down by another superhero: Mario, as Super Mario 3D All-Stars shot straight to No.1. Nintendo's bundle featuring HD ports of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy for Switch is the third biggest game launch of the year in the UK …

Amazon is telling those who pre-ordered PS5s they may not get them at launch. Amazon is warning those who pre-ordered a PlayStation 5 from its listing that they may not receive the console on time. In an email circulating on social media, Amazon tells purchasers that they "may not receive this item on the day it is released due to high demand."

Sony apologizes for PS5 preorders mess, promises more stock over ‘next few days’. Sony has apologized for PS5 preorders being a bit of a mess. “Let’s be honest: PS5 preorders could have been a lot smoother,” says Sony from the official PlayStation Twitter account. “We truly apologize for that.” Preorders for the new PS5 console began on Wednesday, a day earlier than Sony had said retailers would take orders. It led to a scramble …

Fortnite: Save the World for Mac is shutting down because of Epic’s battle with AppleEpic Games says Fortnite: Save the World will no longer be playable on macOS beginning on September 23rd because Apple is preventing the game from receiving new updates. The co-op action shooter was initially released as a paid early access title in 2017. Epic’s far more popular free-to-play battle royale will still be playable on Mac, the company says.

The average cost to acquire a mobile game user plummeted this year. Mobile gaming user acquisition costs have plummetted year-over-year, but the cost to turn an installed user into a paying one has shot up. According to Liftoff's 2020 Mobile Gaming Apps Report, the cost to acquire a user now averages out to $1.47 per user -- down 66% from $4.37 last year …

First PS5 photos show just how big Sony’s next-gen console truly is. Sony’s upcoming PS5 hardware has appeared at Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC), providing us with the first close up photos of the next-gen console. The NCC has published a variety of images (PDF), showing the standard PS5 laying horizontally, the included cables, and the removable base that holds the console in both vertical and horizontal positions.

Xbox Game Pass has topped 15 million subscribers. Xbox Game Pass now has over 15 million subscribers, up from the 10 million it boasted as of April, 30 2020. Microsoft announced the new milestone alongside its $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media and The Elder Scrolls developer Bethesda.

Sony sees another three to four years of life in the PlayStation 4“The PS4 community will continue to be incredibly important to us for three to four years.” The folks over at Sony Interactive Entertainment have already said that their support for the PlayStation 4 won’t end with the PlayStation 5’s impending launch, but now SIE’s Jim Ryan has lightly expanded on that timeline.

Metacore gets €25m investment from SupercellThe Finnish developer Metacore has secured €25 million in investment and credit from Supercell. Metacore has also rebranded from its previous incarnation as Everywear Games. The new name, CEO and Co-Founder Mika Tammenkoski said, reflects the emphasis it places on the metagame of its products.

Warner Bros. reassures fans that J.K. Rowling isn’t directly involved with new Harry Potter game Warner Bros., the studio behind the latest Harry Potter video game title — Hogwarts Legacy, which will debut on next-gen consoles and PCs — has just posted an FAQ that directly addresses J.K. Rowling’s involvement with the title. “J.K. Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World,” the company writes. “This is not a new story from J.K. Rowling.”

Nintendo download: one small step for Mario, one giant triple jump for Nintendo SwitchSuper Mario 3D All-Stars, which includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy all in one package, is the ideal way to experience some of Mario’s greatest adventures of all time. In addition to having higher resolutions than their original versions, the games have been optimized for a smooth gameplay experience on Nintendo Switch.

(the above posted after September 18th)

Slime Rancher tops 3 million sales in just over three years. Slime Rancher has sold over 3 million copies in just over three years, according to developer Monomi Park. The studio highlighted the latest sales milestone in a brief press release, and revealed the game currently has over 800,000 average monthly users.

Oculus Quest 2 launches in October for $299. Facebook has unveiled the Oculus Quest 2, offering an official first look at the standalone VR headset following yesterday’s leak. During Facebook Connect, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed many of the details we saw yesterday in a duo of leaked promotional videos, along with fresh news that the Quest 2 will launch on October 13.

Among Us got 70% of lifetime downloads in 45 days. InnerSloth's breakout hit Among Us saw monthly downloads rise by more than 600% in August, according to data from Sensor Tower. The mobile game's popularity has soared in recent weeks after it was picked up by content creators on platforms like Twitch and YouTube …

Advice from Microsoft's GDX lead for taking on next-gen's biggest challenges. Game developers have a lot on their plate right now with new consoles on the horizon and many devs working from home, making it more important than ever to have the right tools and teams at your back. That's where Kevin Gammill and the Gaming Developer Experiences Team at Microsoft comes in.

Sony reveals PS5 accessory pricing, including $70 DualSense controller. Alongside the reveal of the PlayStation 5’s $399 and $499 price tags and November 12th release date, Sony also announced how much the various accessories for the upcoming console will cost. The most important price is that of Sony’s new DualSense controller, which will cost $69.99 for additional gamepads.

Nintendo plans new Switch games, extending console’s life cycle. Nintendo Co.’s Switch gaming console is in the middle of its life cycle and the company is preparing to give it a boost with a large injection of new games in the next year and beyond, company President Shuntaro Furukawa said in an online briefing Wednesday 16th.

PlayStation 5 matches the price of the Xbox Series X. Sony has matched the price of the forthcoming flagship PlayStation 5 to that of Microsoft's Xbox Series X. Last time round, the PS4 significantly undercut the Xbox One at launch. Sony also confirmed the PS5's "digital edition" - which does not have a disc drive - would cost about 40% more than the low-end Xbox Series S.

Logitech’s new gaming headsets are certified for Oculus Quest 2. Logitech is launching two new gaming audio products that are built for the just-announced Oculus Quest 2. One of them is called the G333, and they’re Logitech G’s first in-ear headphones pictured above. The other announcement is Logitech’s G Pro wired gaming headset …

Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 review: 4k pc gaming finally makes sense. Nvidia is promising big things with its new generation of graphics cards. The GeForce RTX 3080 is supposed to deliver twice the performance of the RTX 2080 at the same price. It’s even supposed to surpass the RTX 2080 Ti, providing solid 4K gaming performance for much less than Nvidia’s last-generation cards cost.

Bose turned its Quiet Comfort 35 II noise-canceling headphones into a gaming headset. Bose’s Quiet Comfort 35 II aren’t its latest set of noise-canceling headphones (those are the $400 Noise Cancelling Headphones 700), but they’re in the news again today because the company has turned them into a wired gaming headset. Simply called the Quiet Comfort 35 II gaming headset, the $329.95 package contains what seems to be the same old QC35 II over-ear headphones, as well as two new accessories …

Stadia unleashes ‘UNO’ video game. Ubisoft and Mattel have announced the UNO video game, based on the classic card game, is now available on Stadia. Players can experience features that will bring UNO matches to the next level. The game allows users to customize their experience with various house rules to ensure they never play the same game twice.

Sony denies report it’s making millions fewer PS5 consoles than expected. Sony is denying a report that on Tuesday said the company has cut its expectations for PlayStation 5 production by 4 million units and now expects to manufacture about 11 million units by the end of March. “While we do not release details related to manufacturing, the information provided by Bloomberg is false,” a Sony statement reads …

Nothing says ‘ready to game’ quite like being cocooned in a giant scorpion cockpit. This is the Cluvens IW-SK zero-gravity esports gaming chair and workstation. It can, according to the Cluvens website, support an ultra-wide 49-inch monitor, or three curved 27-inch monitors, and comes with HDMI/DP cables to connect them. It weighs 265 pounds, is 65 inches long, 47 inches wide and 82 inches tall when fully extended.

Sony announces PS5 event for Wednesday September 16th. Sony is holding a special PlayStation 5 event next week. The company will broadcast a 40-minute “digital showcase” on Wednesday, September 16th that will include updates from first-party Sony game studios and third-party partners. Sony is pitching the event as “one more look at some of the great games coming to PS5 at launch (and beyond!)” before the console launches.

Microsoft will have more than 150 xCloud games when it launches September 15. Microsoft is revealing today that the company will have more than 150 games to stream through its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service on September 15. Known previously as xCloud, the game streaming feature launches on September 15th for Android tablets and phones.

This Clash of Clans animated short is a first step toward a bigger fantasy universe. Supercell’s mobile games, Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, are massive: together, the pair has been downloaded more than 3 billion times, according to the developer. Now, the Finnish studio is bringing them together with a new Clash animated short, a 12-minute piece called Lost & Crowned. It’s gorgeous and funny but also part of a broader strategy to make the overarching fantasy world something bigger and more enticing.

Goat Simulator dev Coffee Stain expands diversity funding program. Goat Simulator developer Coffee Stain Studios has expanded its 'Leveling the Playing Field' diversity funding program to support studios pushing for racial diveristy. The studio launched Leveling the Playing Field in 2018 to help tackle the gender imbalance in the games industry by offering funding to small teams and startups that employed at least as...

Apple's updated iOS App Review Guidelines basically put the kibosh on Stadia, xCloud. The line in the sand has finally been drawn for streaming services like Stadia and xCloud on iOS. Apple issued an update to its App Review Guidelines today that essentially bars both services, and any other app that streams console games to mobile devices over the cloud, from operating on iOS.

Ubisoft CEO issues apology for past misconduct ahead of Ubisoft Forward event. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has delivered a long-awaited statement on the controversy that’s arisen around Ubisoft over the last several months, apologizing both for the actions of Ubisoft employees accused of misconduct back in June and for harmful imagery in a new Tom Clancy mobile game.

Video: Strategies for small developers launching their first game. Making the jump from game player to game developer is always a dramatic step. When you don't have a lot of resources, how can you take your big ideas and get them out the door in a sellable way? That was the journey that Ahmed Abdullah and Khalil Abdullah found themselves on when they launched Decoy Games …

A closer look at Nvidia’s new RTX 3080. Nvidia is promising big things with the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card. “Twice the performance” of the RTX 2080 is perhaps the biggest claim of them all, with pledges of a PC gaming breakthrough. While we’re still putting the RTX 3080 through its paces, here’s a closer look at what the actual hardware looks like.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake brings the classic back for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Ubisoft is bringing back one of its most legendary games with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, a modern version of the classic action-adventure game set for release on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on January 21st, 2021. The company says that the new version of The Sands of Time is emphatically Ubisoft’s...

Epic says ‘Sign In with Apple’ will keep working for Fortnite after all. Epic said that as soon as Friday 11, Apple would no longer let people use its single sign-on solution, “Sign In with Apple,” to access their Epic Games account. That would mean that anyone who relied on their Apple credentials to log in to Epic services like Fortnite and the Epic Games Store would lose access when Apple pulled the plug, unless they changed...

Crysis Remastered will beat next-gen consoles to the punch with ray tracing on Xbox One and PS4. We already knew that Crysis Remastered would support ray tracing if you had the PC hardware to run it. However, ahead of the release on PC and current-gen consoles, Crytek announced this week that, for the first time, in this console generation, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X will offer ray-tracing support...

All the biggest announcements from Ubisoft’s Forward eventUbisoft just debuted another one of its Forward events, where the company previewed more upcoming titles and details on its fall lineup, including a better look at Immortals Fenyx Rising, the return of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, and the announcement of new games like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake and the massively multiplayer Riders...

Here’s a better look at the Game & Watch handheld launching in NovemberNintendo is offering a closer look at the new Game & Watch hardware coming on November 13th that will come preloaded with the original Super Mario Bros. game. In case you missed out on the announcement last week, it’s a $49.99 device that’s being released in limited quantities for Mario’s 35th anniversary celebration — and...

‘Fall Guys’: Meet Gaming’s New Overnight Knockout. The cute, brightly colored characters bumbling through PlayStation’s latest game-show-inspired video game represents competitive gaming at its most wholesome, but why is everyone talking about it?

 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

New Zealand: Highly careless' toy importers fined $118k for toys that endangered childrenTwo companies have been called “highly careless” and fined a total of $118,000 for importing toys that were unsafe and put children at risk. Greenstar Holdings Ltd was fined $54,000 in the Manukau District Court, after it pleaded guilty to four representative charges relating to the supply of 217 toy animal sets between Nov...

India- Govt extends deadline for implementation of quality norms for toy industry. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on wednesday issued a notification, extending the date of implementation of Toys (Quality Control) Order, 2020 as 1.1.2021 in place of 1.9.2020. As the government is focusing on promoting domestic manufacturing of toys, it came out with a quality control order and increased...

Peggy Brown Consulting Ad 540x250 pxl.jp

Press Releases . . .

ElevatorUp Founder Nominated for Young Inventor of the Year, a Toy and Game International Excellence Award. Harrison Brooks, 17, ElevatorUp’s creator, designer, and CEO (Chief Elevator Officer), received a nomination for a Toy & Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Award in the category of Young Inventor of the Year. This award, considered to be an Oscar Award of the toy and game industry, is a major milestone for the card game which hit shelves just over 2 months ago, in the works since the founder was 12 years old.

EVEN PICKY EATERS ARE SCOOPING UP THREE PEAS IN A POD – TODAY’S HOT TOY CRAZE. Pea Pod Babies Boast 27 Collectible Tots Plus Three Rare And One Ultra-Rare Set Of Twins! Every Baby Doll Is Unique, Just Like Us! Move over carrots, peas are being preferred by kids with the rollout of Pea Pod Babies ($11.99). Inside each soft silicone peapod rest three pods – one containing a mystery baby doll, one filled with a complete outfit, and one holding accessories and a birth certificate. Kids won’t know which baby they are adopting until they pop it open. Boys and girls enjoy caring for their baby, even (or especially) when they squeeze baby after a bottle feeding as it spits it back out!

Spin Master's Latest Toy Innovation, Present Pets™ Puppies, Unbox Themselves in Heartwarming Way this Holiday Season. Inspired by the childhood dream of being gifted an adorable puppy in a bow-topped box, these soft interactive puppies are wrapped in a truly magical unboxing experience the whole family will love. Anticipation for these furry friends is already building with Amazon...

Spin Master Debuts New Preschool Series Mighty Express™. Spin Master Corp., a leading global children's entertainment company, debuts Mighty Express the CG animated preschool series that rolls onto Netflix today globally. From the company behind the blockbuster PAW Patrol® series, this new original series builds on Spin Master's legacy of creating powerhouse franchises marking...

YOUNG STUDENTS’ MUST-HAVE SUPPLIES LIST: SHARPENED PENCILS, WIDE-RULED PAPER & WHATSITSFACE® Emoting Plush Pals Can Save The Day For Beginner Students (& Parents) Coping With the New Normal Of In-Home Or Hybrid Classrooms. It took a while, but grownups conquered the pitfalls of Zoom and WebEx meetings with mute and unmute, typing in the chat room and talking on camera while others stared back at you. Now, imagine you are five or six-years-old and starting school – in a virtual classroom. Are you frustrated? Want to cry? Or do you have a wide-eared grin all the time? So many emotions are part of the new normal of being a student. Wouldn’t it be great to have a comforting plush pal nearby? Luckily there’s a puppy, kitty and teddy who emote what kids are feeling. Say hello to Whatsitsface 

(the above posted after September 29, 2020)

FROGGY’S LAIR INTRODUCES KIDS TO NATURE AND NURTURE WITH CAPTIVATING BIOSPHERE. Low Maintenance Aquarium With Two African Dwarf Frogs Captures Learning Express Science Toy Of The Year. Pet adoptions have soared this year as families seek comfort and calm with a non-human companion. Pandemic puppies, cats and even frogs, are a marvelous addition to the household. Froggy’s Lair BioSphere ($69.95) introduces African Dwarf Frogs to children who quickly discover how to nurture these aquatic creatures in a one-gallon tank. It’s the perfect STEM project for youngsters “attending” school from the kitchen table.

KIDS OF ALL STRIPES EMPOWERED BY iHEARTART ARTIST-QUALITY SUPPLIES AND INNOVATIVE PORTFOLIO SETS. Retailers And Parents Alike Praise This Premium Line Of Art Materials That Donates Back To Art Feeds’ International Program. Give a kid a blank piece of paper and a fistful of gel pens and watch what happens. Creativity sparks, drawing from their imagination to doodle or draw a masterpiece. One brand of premium art supplies – watercolors, sketch pads, fine-tip markers, all-in-one portfolio sets and more– has found the perfect spot between chunky crayons and professional tools to empower the next generation of artistic expression. Say hello to iHeartArt and its rollout of the Fall 2020 Collection of ...

Influencers Battle It Out In the 2020 BEYBLADE BURST Digital Beymaster Invitational. The legendary BEYBLADE BURST franchise is hosting its inaugural digital BEYBLADE BURST Championship, the 2020 Beymaster Invitational. Global play and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) has teamed up with ADK Emotions NY Inc. to select top brand fans including influential Bladers and digital influencers from......

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

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

First Wave of Panels Announced for 2020 Toy & Game International Innovation Summit. People of Play, formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group, is excited to announce its first wave of notable speakers and keynotes for the Toy & Game International Innovation Summit November 16-20. Sponsored by Longshore Limited, this virtual education and networking event focused on the toy and game inventing...

Voting is now open for People of Play’s 2020 TAGIE Awards. People of Play – formerly known as Chicago Toy and Game – has unveiled its list of Toy and Game International Excellence awards finalists. Spanning categories such as Toy Inventor of the Year, Game Inventor of the Year and Young Inventor of the Year, the 13th annual TAGIE Awards honours the best innovator, designers, marketers, retailers, and suppliers in the...

Tribeca launches inaugural Games Award, assembles high-profile advisory board. The Tribeca Film Festival is bringing video games into the fold as of 2021. Organizers have announced plans for games to join the Festival as Official Selections, making those chosen eligible for the inaugural Tribeca Games Award.

Fat Brain Toys announces the top entries for 2020 Kidventor Contest, a toy and game invention contest for kidsFat Brain Toys, one of the nation's leading independent toy companies, today announced the selection of the top eight entries of their 2020 Kidventor Contest. The Kidventor Contest invites children ages six to thirteen to submit toy or game ideas for the chance to have their concept sold around the world.

Schleich invites kids to get creative with Times Square billboard contest. Few things go together like New York City and the Holiday Season. Schleich is celebrating both — and its big 85th anniversary — with the Your Imagination Up in Lights Contest, which will show off some kids’ creations in the heart of Times Square this December. Between today and Oct. 11, kids can submit a minute-long video that shares...

Melbourne International Games Week reveals nine days of online eventsMelbourne International Games Week will return this year with a full programme of online events. From October 3 to 11, events that typically take place live in Melbourne, Australia will be held digitally - a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

January HK trip in jeopardy as travel restrictions and quarantine measures expanded  As infection rates and confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to rise across the globe, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has quietly extended its restrictions on foreign travellers to 31st December 2020, while Toy World has ben told that the UK is about to be added to Hong Kong’s ‘high-risk’ travel list, starting...

ASTRA REVEALS LEADERSHIP SHAKEUP; APPOINTS SUE WARFIELD AS INTERIM PRESIDENT.  Sue Warfield is taking the helm as interim president of ASTRA. In a statement issued by the trade organization, ASTRA simply said that Kim Mosley, previous president, “is no longer employed by the association.” Warfield, a 30-year toy industry vet, most recently served as director of member relations at ASTRA.

Here's the Full List of Panels for Hasbro PulseCon This Month. Hasbro PulseCon is coming up for Hasbro to show off some fun new games and toys. The event will run for two days from September 25-26 via Hasbro Pulse’s YouTube channel.

Barbie 60th anniversary campaign recognised at EMEA Purpose Awards. Barbie – the only toy brand shortlisted for the awards – has been ‘highly commended’ for it’s 60th anniversary campaign, which set out to inspire the limitless potential in every girl and to close the ‘Dream Gap’, the time when girls start to doubt that they can be anything.

BlizzConline will bring back Blizzard’s canceled convention as an online show in FebruaryBlizzard Entertainment was forced to cancel its annual BlizzCon fan convention earlier this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the company has announced new plans for an online-only version of the show. BlizzConline will take place on February 19th–20th, 2021.

Asmodee and Coiledspring Games launch AsmoFair Part II this OctoberAsmodee and Coiledspring Games are jumping swiftly onto the success of their pair’s pioneering all virtual trade show, AsmoFair – a digital showcase of board games and products that bridges the gap for supplier and buyer throughout the hiatus on physical events – with the launch of a second offering. 

MadeForMums reveals its Top Christmas Toys 2020 winnersThe MadeForMums Top Christmas Toys 2020 winners have been revealed, championing an expansive feast of toys voted the best of the year so far by UK children, families, and experts in the field. Spanning the sectors, names such as Laser Battle Hunters, Hatchimals Pixies Crystal Flyers, Gotta Go Flamingos, and LEGO Super Mario Adventures all feature.

(the above posted after September 18th)

People of Play reveals 13th annual Tagie awards finalists. People of Play (formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group) announced the finalists for the 13th annual Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIES). The TAGIES now feature eight categories and 80 nominees and honorees. The newest category for 2020 is the “Most Innovative Supplier of the Year.” This year’s awards are sponsored by Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation, PlayMonster, Cartamundi, and Nexttoy. Check out all of the finalists

New York Comic Con announces first wave of panels. ReedPop, the world’s leading producer of pop culture events, announced the first wave of panels for this year’s all-digital New York Comic Con’s Metaverse. From October 8-11, the New York Comic Con YouTube channel will exclusively live stream panels from leading entertainment brands.

Mojo Nation reveals its 2020 Play Creators Awards winners. Mojo Nation has revealed the winners of this year’s Play Creators Awards, a celebration of the toy and game industry’s design talent that saw Spin Master, Big Potato, and Heayes Designs’ Richard Heayes named among them.

IKEA underlines commitment to child’s play as it joins The Toy Association. The Swedish retailer, IKEA, has highlighted its commitment to the toy space by joining the Toy Association a its newest member. The international brand is now among around 1,000 manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that make up the organisation’s membership.

2020 Essential Retailer Summit to take place in cyberspace. The Games Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced that it will host a virtual ESSENtial Retailer Summit on October 19 and October 20. This virtual version will be the fourth annual summit that is traditionally held at Internationale Spieltage in Essen, Germany.

Toymaster issues rallying cry. The Toymaster retail buying group is looking to the future and keen to engage with toy suppliers to strengthen relationships. Following a number of recent management changes at the group, which saw former managing director Ian Edmunds leave the company, Yogi Parmar and Colin Farrow made interim managing directors and Paul Reader promoted to marketing director

Festival of Licensing announces virtual retail programme. Festival of Licensing – the month-long virtual celebration of the global licensing industry running from 6th-29th October – has announced its retail programme, packed with exclusive content and expert advice for retailers at all experience levels. Three trusted industry partners will deliver on demand, never-before -seen content including:hings off will be Cathy...

SCORE Banner ad.jpg

 

Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

  1. 2020 ‘Toy Fair Everywhere Influencer Favorites’ Unveiled by Toy Association and Clamour

  2. Rick Greenberg Named CEO of RedwoodVentures

  3. CreateOn Unveils New Luminary MagnaTiles Set in Suport of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

  4. L.O.L. Surprise! to Launch L.O.L. Surprise! REMIX with Global Live Stream Event on Sept. 26

  5. PlayMonster Celebrates 30th Anniversary of SET Card Game

  6. Genius Brands International Launches Kartoon Classroom! As a Brand Extension of Kartoon Channel!

  7. YouTube Duo Vlad and Niki Ink Worldwide Merchandising Deal with Playmates Toys

  8. Canva for Education Announces Exclusive Care Bears Collection to Empower Teachers with More SEL Resources

  9. Dr. Seuss Enterprises Looks to Expand Merchandising in Latin America and Latinx Markets

  10. Moonbug Partners with UTA to Expand Kids’ Products in North America

Toyworld (UK) 

1.            More of that sort of thing…it’s the Friday Blog!

2.            Senior appointments made at Toymaster following Ian Edmunds’ departure

3.            Smiffys’ announces new appointments

4.            Toymaster issues rallying cry

5.            L.O.L. Surprise! Remix launches with global YouTube viewing party

6.            Graham Saltmarsh to head up Licensing International UK

7.            Lego makes substantial investment in sustainability pledge

8.            John Lewis scraps staff bonus following major cutbacks

9.            Mega Show Series 2020 is cancelled

10.          PMI prepares to launch Series Three of its Fortnite range

 

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

  1.  Wizards of the Coast Releases More 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Zendikar Rising' Product Info
  2.  Rolling For Initiative -- The Week at Wizards That Was
  3.  Mantic Games Unveils 'Kings of War: Armada'
  4.  Wizards of the Coast Celebrates Another Return to Zendikar With a New 'Secret Lair'
  5.  More Cute Monsters Join 'Dungeons & Dragons: Figurines of Adorable Power'
  6.  Wizards of the Coast Reveals That 'Magic: The Gathering's' Commander Audience Has Tripled Between 2018 and 2020
  7.  Mondo Games Unveils 'Disney Shadowed Kingdom'
  8.  GameStop Sales Down 27%
  9.  Channel Check - Barnes & Noble (Games)
10.  Asmodee USA Will Release Three City Map 'MyPuzzles' Into U.S. Trade

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month 

Toy & Hobby (Australia)

TBA

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

Video of the Week

Have You Seen David Fuhrer Talk Backwards?

Watch him here on David Letterman and at our

POP's Got Talent, the after-party to the TAGIEs! 

 

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 Philphilip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher