the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is September 18 - 25, 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...
I was speaking with Robert Pasin yesterday and it reminded me of how much I loved the Academy Award winning short film Taking Flight about the life and heritage of his grandfather, Antonio Pasin, inventor of the Radio Flyer Wagon. It is the sweetest film about the power of imagination and adventure in childhood and beyond. I still have the Radio Flyer wagon my mom gave to my kids when they were little. Someday when my children have children, we'll have our own epic adventures on that wagon. How wonderful that we are part of an industry that can bring joy to so many... including ourselves!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!
Think back to the first week in March 2020. Just after New York Toy Fair and pumped up for another year in the Toy Biz. Then……Covd-19 came and a global pandemic. Now what? It was so new and confusing at the time for all of us. I took a stab at writing the following March 12, 2020 to our 100+ Learning Express Toy stores in hopes to prepare them what “might” come based on history. My experiences. Here is what was written.
“What we could expect……..in the toy industry.
History says a lot about times like these.
I put on my Nielsen research hat from 25 years ago to look at what happens in times of much uncertainty as we're seeing with the spread of the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Customers are spooked at the prospect of financial distress as events are canceled, shelves at grocery stores are picked bare, and a 24-hour news cycle pounds us about an illness we don't yet fully understand. The current climate mirrors a lot of what happened following 9/11.
Over the past 20 years, two major disruptions have taken place that can provide insight into what is happening now and how it could play out based on historical data.
Sept. 11, 2001
In a pre-Amazon era, the toy industry was trending downward on a slight 3% decline during the 12-month period leading to 9/11. Overall, 2000 was a very strong year with Pokémon and Razor scooters dominating sales, which carried into what was shaping up to be a very solid year until 9/11 changed the world. Sales in September 2001 declined 30% versus the same period a year earlier, followed by a 28% decrease in October, a 15% decrease in November, and an 8% decrease in December. Yes, Christmas still came. Read More...
David Preti, COO of CMON - Looking to the Bright Future of Board Games- tBR Company of the Week!
The tabletop gaming industry has seen double digit growth for nearly two decades straight with no sign of slowing down. Roughly ten board games are released per day and many are calling this the "Golden Age of Tabletop." We spoke with CMON's COO, David Preti about what it means to be a major part of an industry coming into its own.
FIRST UP, HOW ARE YOU AND CMON DOING DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I'm happy to say, very busy. On one hand, we've continued to work at full speed on our upcoming games. We have staff and freelancers all over the world, and while no one has been unaffected by the virus, so much of what we do is behind the scenes, like the design, development, and artwork of our games so it's wasn't too difficult for most people to work from home. On the other hand, we've also been doing things we've never done before to transition to this new environment; really learning on the fly, for example, how to turn live events into on-line events in a very short window of time. I'm really proud of the effort everyone has put forward while being under such stress.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST CHANGES AT CMON HAVE BEEN DURING THE PANDEMIC?
Definitely our increased focus on direct interaction with players. When the lockdowns began worldwide, I really wanted to live up to our potential as an entertainment company. We make board games to entertain people, and I wanted to offer ways for people to take thier mind off current events. We increased the free content we offered on social media like free missions for Zombicide and Massive Darkenss. We did our first print-and-play of a game called Xenoshyft, and we put a couple of free games on Tabletop Simulator. The other big thing, as I mentioned, was taking our live events on-line. When we, sadly, had to cancel our annual CMON Expo in May, we immediately began working on an on-line version not knowing what to expect. That effort became CMON Virtual Expo, and we were so happy with the fan response, and thousands of people from around the world turned out. We did another Virtual Expo focused on Asia in July, and the two events really taught us a lot and gave us good feedback for future on-line shows. Read More...
Financial & Legal News . . .
The Centre for Retail Research has found that nearly 14,000 (UK) stores have permanently shuttered in 2020. Permanent store closures are up +24.8% on the same period last year, according to the Centre for Retail Research, which has also found that non-food retailers have so far lost around £9b in sales. The news comes as analysis by the consultancy Altus Group indicates retail space may ultimately have to be...
Walmart invests $560m in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart. US retail giant Walmart has invested $560m in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart as part of the $1.2bn round it announced in July 2020. Flipkart allotted 39,57,960 equity shares at $141.6 per share to Walmart for the US firm’s investment. Flipkart is reportedly planning for an initial public offering in 2021. According to media reports, the e-commerce firm is likely to be listed in the US and is expected to be valued in the range of $40bn to $45bn.
B&M to open up to 45 new stores in the UK following ‘strong growth’ in sales. B&M has detailed its plans to open between 40 and 45 new stores across the UK following a recorded ‘strong growth’ in sales that has encouraged the retailer to raise its half-year profit guidance as a result. The chain now expects to post an adjusted EBITDA of £285 million for the six months to September 26th.
Epic’s decision to bypass Apple’s App Store policies were dishonest, says US judge. A US judge hearing arguments in Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple has criticized the game developer’s decision to breach its contract with the iPhone maker by pushing a version of Fortnite with a custom payment system onto the App Store. The decision resulted in Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store.
Epic vs Apple judge calls for trial by jury. The judge overseeing the ongoing antitrust dispute between Epic Games and Apple has proposed a trial by jury, which is likely to take place next year. The first hearing in the case was held via a three-hour video conference yesterday and saw both sides argue their case directly to the judge for the first time.
Armada Interactive declares bankruptcy. Armada Interactive has declared bankruptcy, according to a Pocket Gamer report. The Helsinki-based mobile studio formed by ex-Remedy, Crytek, Seriously, and BioWare developers announced itself to the world in 2016 with $3 million in seed funding and a goal of making AAA-style PvP mobile games …
Take-Two sued over use of tattoos in WWE 2K. Tattoo artist Catherine Alexander has filed a complaint against Take-Two over the use of her designs in the WWE 2K series, and the case will be going to court. Alexander was challenging the use of WWE pro wrestler Randy Orton's six tattoos that she inked, and which have been included in the games without her consent.
TikTok: US judge halts app store ban. TikTok has avoided a government-ordered block on new downloads in the US after a judge issued a temporary injunction. The video-sharing app had faced being removed from Apple's App Store and Android's Google Play marketplace at midnight local time in Washington DC.
Supercell to pay $8.5 million over patent dispute with F2P dev Gree. A patent dispute between two mobile developers has ended in a Texas court ordering Tencent subsidiary Supercell to pay $8.5 million to the Japanese dev Gree for what a jury found to be “willful” infringement of Gree’s patents.
Fortnite creator, Epic Games, has revealed its acquisition of SuperAwesome, a technology platform based in London that allows developers to create safer digital experiences for children on the internet. Used by brands such as Lego, Hasbro, Sega and Nintendo, SuperAwesome offers tools and parental consent management services for safe engagement through apps, games and services.
(the above posted after September 25th)
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 move. OnBuy, 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.
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 Entertainment. Japanese 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...
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
Local shopping and family time will prosper this Christmas, says new research from Beano Brain . . . A Family Fare: ToyNews’ guide to the latest in the Games & Puzzles market . . . U.S. imports surge as pandemic worries have retailers stockpiling . . . Consumers urged to start their online Christmas shopping early.
(the above posted after September 25th)
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
Barbie could be queen of the holiday season with analysts upbeat about Mattel and Hasbro . . . Hedge Funds Are Coming Back To Mattel, Inc. (MAT) . . . Is Hasbro Stock a Buy? . . . Is Mattel Stock a Buy?
(the above posted after September 25th)
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 …
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 quarter. Wall 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.
Stories & Comments . . .
Empathetic Leadership Matters More Today Than Ever, Mattel’s Research Shows The Importance Of Doll Play. One of the most significant impacts around education and development among young children during the lockdown is the impact of reduced social interaction for pre and primary school children (aged 4- 8 years). Research from a team of neuroscientists, led by Dr. Sarah Gerson at Cardiff University and toy...
The October 2020 issue of Toy World is available to read online now. The 108-page October issue of Toy World is out now, accompanied as usual by the dedicated Mattel supplement. With the Festival of Licensing poised to kick off on 6th October, this issue has a major focused on the licensed sector. We’ve spoken to Anna Knight, Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group VP about what ‘Festival’ (as it’s being fondly referred to)...
Amazon unveils its top 12 toys for Christmas. As the countdown to Christmas begins, Amazon.co.uk has revealed its top toys for 2020. Handpicked by a team of Amazon toy experts, this year’s top gifts take inspiration from cult TV, movie and video game characters, alongside popular characters, the unboxing trend and technology. This year, with families staying at home and spending more time together, retro classics...
Cloud streaming has larger carbon footprint than downloads, physical games. PlayStation has published an annual report on its work to reduce its carbon emissions in partnership with Playing for the Planet Alliance, including data showing that cloud streaming can produce a larger carbon footprint than downloads or physical games.
Amazon Prime Day set for Oct. 13-14. Amazon Sept. 28 confirmed online scuttlebutt that it would hold its annual Prime Day ecommerce sales event Oct. 13-14. The news follows Amazon’s unveiling of a range of new and updated consumer electronics devices, including Luna online gaming system and controller, and globe-shaped Echo speakers.
India seeks to become toy capital by dethroning China after PM Modi's exhortation. According to a report by ET, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted startups and entrepreneurs to turn India into a global toy hub, it has emerged that the Indian toy industry is fractured, with just 3% of the 4,000-odd manufacturers being large-scale players, according to the Sports Goods Export Promotion Council.
Retail leader warns of huge changes in retail landscape. Lord Wolfson, chief executive at Next, fears there has been a permanent shift to online shopping and that high street retail will be forced to adapt. In an interview with the BBC, Lord Wolfson said there was a clear threat to thousands of traditional high street retail jobs, which are now "unviable", as shoppers have increasingly embraced online shopping...
Melburnians declare game-on during lockdown. With game night still on hold as Melburnians tentatively emerge from a long winter stuck at home, the virtual "big night in" offers us new ways to stay in touch with old friends. Rather than just hibernate on the couch binge-watching Netflix during lockdown, many of us have also rekindled our passion for playing games. This has seen a boom in sales, not just of video games...
Panic Buying could ruin your children’s Christmas. Panic Buying could ruin your children’s Christmas. James Owen of Rebo UK Ltd (www.outdoortoys.co.uk) warns parents that COVID-inspired panic buying will lead to a dramatic shortage of children’s toys before Christmas.
(the above posted after September 25th)
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...
Toy World's John Baulch's Friday Blog! This is just the latest twist in this most unpredictable of years. Undoubtedly, 2020 hasn’t been the year any of us would have hoped for, but one of the things that has shone through in the toy community this year is its passion for what it does. People care. They care what happens to trade shows and buying trips. They care about the people they work with in the trade – look at...
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 world. When 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 attacks. A 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 …
Remembering the toy industry's past . . .
Construct-o-Straws from Parker Brothers (1974). Parker Brothers’ Construct-o-Straws combined multi-coloured drinking straws with red plastic connectors to create an easy-to-use construction set for children of all ages. Advertised as “the new dimension in construction toys”, the flexible polyethylene tubes could be cut to any length, allowing models to be built using a variety of different curves and angles.
Attic discovery: Machine Man with box sets $159,900 toy robot auction record at Morphy. If it feels like déjà vu, it is because Antiques and The Arts Weekly ran a similar headline in March, 2019 when Morphy Auctions set an auction record for any unboxed robot with the $86,100 sale of a tin litho Machine Man. We reprise the story now as the firm has done it again - but this time without any qualifiers - as a Machine Man...
(the above posted after September 25th)
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.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Licensing nostalgia: Why Mattel is looking to the allure of yesteryear in 2020 and beyond, Whether it’s in the revival of the Masters of the Universe franchise, the ongoing celebrations for the 75th anniversary of Thomas and Friends, or the new waves that its pre-school brand Fisher-Price is making across markets right now, Mattel is well and truly tapping into the nostalgia trend this year. With partnerships, new launches,...
MGA Entertainment adopts new Rescue Tales line. MGA Entertainment is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare society, as a part of its launch for the new Rescue Tales line. “Rescue Tales offers an opportunity for kids to play a role in rescuing and taking care of a new pet,” said Isaac Larian, CEO and Founder of MGA Entertainment.
Barbie partners with Skinnydip to launch accessories range. The ‘Not Your Doll’ collection celebrates the evolution of Barbie, with designs inspired by the brand’s retro and modern elements. Barbie has teamed up with Skinnydip to launch a new collection of Barbie adult accessories, including tech and apparel, phone cases, water bottles, makeup bags, clothing and hair accessories.
New in licensing: tonies Speaker toys launches in U.S. Currently the fastest growing toy company in Europe, tonies has made their U.S. debut in time for the fall and holiday seasons. Currently the fastest growing toy company in Europe, tonies has made their U.S. debut in time for the fall and holiday seasons. tonies are an original, screen-free audio entertainment system designed specifically for children ages three and older.
Jazwares & All Elite Wrestling unrivaled toy line inspired by wrestling’s hottest new franchise available at Walmart now. Jazwares, a global leader in play, and All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the new professional wrestling league that is taking America by storm, are jumping into the ring together on AEW’s first line of action figures and role play collectibles. Available at Walmart now …
(the above posted after September 25th)
Mattel announces ‘Over the Moon’ doll and plush line. Mattel 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.
People . . .
Richard North proves he’s got the Wow! Stuff with TAGIE nomination video. The CEO of Wow! Stuff donned a floral crop top - borrowed from his daughter - to demonstrate the capabilities of the company's new mask printing machine. Wow! Stuff turned its hand to inventing a new kind of face mask during the early weeks of the pandemic, earning the company a nomination for a TAGIE, a Toy and Game International Excellence...
A 24-year-old game developer for Roblox who makes over $1 million a year shares how he started his own company after dropping out of school. In 2010, Alex Hicks released his first video game on Roblox. Ten years later, he's made more than $1 million a year as the owner of game development studio RedManta, which creates games for the popular kids platform and has since generated nearly one billion plays combined.
Michel Ancel denies link between departure and Ubisoft abuse scandal. Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel has denied accusations of toxic mismanagement. The claims were first reported by French newspaper Libération over the weekend, highlighting harmful behaviours from Ancel as well as various issues with the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2.
(the above posted after September 25th)
Vinnie D’Alleva – Collector, Curator, Captain America. Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry? My undergraduate thesis in graphic design led me to project work in the toy industry centered around transforming robots. What a great introduction, right? From that experience, I determined my first job would be in toys. And it was. I joined Monogram/Revell Model Kits toy division outside of Chicago.
Christina Callaghan - I’ve been in the Toy Industry since birth… What exactly do you do in the industry? I am the International Sales Director of Tree Toys Corporation [Taiwan]. I work closely with all of our International retailers and distributors. It’s my job to pitch new products, sell in store concepts and spread brand awareness for both Wild Science and Roo Games. At the moment my job is quite heavily focused on Amazon...
Marianne Szymanski - It’s fair to say I’m always thinking about toys! What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today? It’s never too early to act on your own entrepreneurial mindset. Recognize the skills you have and strengthen those you can get better at. How and why did you get into the Toy and Game industry? I thought of the idea for Toy Tips while standing on a ladder at Toy R US...
Ryan Logan and Steve Starobinsky: from Big Brothers, Little Brothers to Industry Colleagues I would tell them that everything is connected and to be as observant as possible, an insight from a decade ago could spark the next great idea in Play. I would tell them that you gotta say Yes all the time. The disadvantage of starting at the bottom is exactly what will get you the top if you embrace it with a positive attitude.
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 powerhouse. When 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 company. Two 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 development. Notable 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."
Companies . . .
Toonz, GoldieBlox team up on STEM content. Under the five-year deal, Goldie and Friends characters will get their own animated series, and the two companies will also create new jointly owned IPs. India’s Toonz Media Group has signed a multi-year partnership with STEM-focused toyco GoldieBlox to develop kids and family content featuring GoldieBlox’s characters, like Goldie and Friends, and new jointly owned IPs...
Mattel Unveils Yara Shahidi 'Vote' Barbie Ahead Of 2020 Election. El Segundo-based Mattel has relaunched its Shero Doll which features activist and actress Yara Shahidi with a new style. A new Barbie doll is encouraging people to vote this election. El Segundo-based Mattel has relaunched its Shero Doll which features activist and actress Yara Shahidi with a new style.
Hasbro & Renegade Game Studios to develop tabletop and RPG games for Power Rangers, Transformers, My Little Pony. The partnership is an extension of one already in place that witnessed the development of the Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid tactical miniatures board game back in 2018. The project was first initiated by Saban – the owner of the Power Rangers IP at the time – but was taken over by Hasbro...
Simba Smoby social media drive proves a success. The team at Simba Smoby Toys UK says it’s made 2020 a ‘pivotal year’ by heightening consumer awareness and loyalty via its UK social media channels, and reaching out to parents through influencers, celebrities and online media. Previously, all social activity was handled through the HQ in France …
WRITERS GEAR UP FOR MATTEL’S ‘HOT WHEELS’ MOVIE. It’s been nearly 20 years since plans for a big-screen Hot Wheels movie were first announced, and now it looks like the wheels are really turning. Following last year’s news that Mattel Films had partnered with Warner Bros. to bring the high-octane adventure to theaters, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) says that the project has a pair of writers that are now in the...
The Walking Dead invades Magic: The Gathering in limited edition Secret Lair monster mash-up. Wizards of the Coast’s globally revered Magic: The Gathering has struck upon a ‘one-of-a-kind crossover with AMC’s The Walking Dead, to bring a super-limited-edition drop to the strategy card gaming franchise called The Walking Dead Secret Lair.
Moose Toys unwraps three new must-have toys ahead of the 2020 holiday season. Ahead of the 2020 holiday season, Moose Toys, an innovative leader in the toy industry, unwraps a trio of new groundbreaking toys: in youth electronics, Squeakee the Balloon Dog and Gotta Go Flamingo, and new fashion doll line FailFix. The lineup appeals to kids of all ages …
Hasbro unveils new toys for Ghostbusters fans including retro Ghostpopper and Ecto-1. Hasbro unveiled two new Ghostbusters toys for fans over the weekend during Hasbro PulseCon. The first toy is the Kenner Classics Ghostpopper. This is a retro blaster toy that fires 6 foam projectiles to help you catch those ghosts.
New GI Joe Retro Collection Has Arrived from Hasbro. Hasbro continues to celebrate the legacy of GI Joe with some new Retro Collection figures. These 3.75-inch figure stays true to that iconic first line of figures but features some new design and detail. Three solo figures were announced and the return of a classic GI Joe vehicle.
Pendragon Game Studio launches 'The Thing - The Boardgame' Kickstarter. Pendragon Game Studios launched The Thing - The Boardgame, a hidden role game based on the John Carpenter's The Thing movie series, which is scheduled to be delivered in December 2021. In The Thing - The Boardgame, players take on the roles of protagonists from the film's Outpost 31 as they try to discover which characters have been...
Wizkids bares 'Fangs and Talons' For 'Icons of the Realms'. D&D Icons of the Realms: Fangs and Talons will be the fifteenth set in the popular series of pre-painted miniatures from WizKids when it releases in December, alongside the Purple Worm Premium Set. Like earlier sets in the series, Fangs and Talons will include a variety of creatures and foes designed for use with the Dungeons & Dragons game
Hasbro unveils Mandalorian Haslab crowdsourcing project. More than two years after launching its HasLab crowdsourcing platform, Hasbro Pulse is bringing Star Wars back into the fold. At the first-ever Hasbro PulseCon, members of the Hasbro Star Wars design team unveiled plans to create one of the biggest Star Wars vehicles ever released: the Razor Crest.
Nintendo’s Animal Crossing amiibo cards will be back in stores this November. Nintendo is reprinting its Animal Crossing amiibo cards, and they’ll be available in “select retailers” this November, the company announced today. The cards are worth collecting not just because they’re cute representations of the many adorable creatures in the series — they’re also one of the most efficient ways to fill your Animal Crossing...
E-commerce platform Kooomo enters nursery and toy market with Kaliedy. The global e-commerce platform, Kooomo is diving into the nursery and toy market with the launch of Kaliedy, a new online retail space developed for parents and families in Ireland looking for baby essentials, nursery items, toys, and books. Not only does Kaliedy boast to be build upon over 95 years of experience in the baby industry...
The Lakes Monopoly edition summer launch proves a success for Winning Moves. An official Monopoly edition based on The Lakes, produced by Winning Moves UK under the official licence from Hasbro, has proved all the rage and is slated to be a popular choice this Christmas. The game hit the shops in the early summer during lockdown and now the game has gone on a second print run, with a third not being ruled out.
'Quicksilver' bolts into 'Marvel Champions: Card Game'. Fantasy Flight Games revealed Quicksilver Hero Pack and Quicksilver Game Mat, for use with Marvel Champions: Card Game, to release into stores in December. There’s no one faster on the planet than Quicksilver, and this expansion features the speedy hero along with Protection aspect cards.
Cmon announces 'The Last Of Us: The Board Game'. CMON has reached a licensing deal with Sony Interactive Entertainment to produce The Last of Us: The Board Game, based on the video game series. The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic survival horror game developed by Naughty Dog and released in 2013, followed by The Last of Us Part II earlier this year.
'Sanctuary Guard Dragon' offers 'Valiant Sanctuary' for 'Cardfight!! Vanguard'. Valiant Sanctuary features new cards to support "Sanctuary Guard" decks, including "Sanctuary Guard Dragon". The set features 5 types of new cards (14 pieces total), including four Grade 1, four Grade 2, four Grade 3, one Grade 0, and an exclusive Quick Shield. The Quick Shield can be used with any clan.
Mantic Games unveils 'Kings Of War: War In The Holds - Two Player Starter Set'. Mantic Games unveiled Kings of War: War in the Holds – Two Player Starter Set, an introductory set for the Kings of War miniatures game, for release in October. This two-player starter set is meant for new players and features battles between the goblins and the Ratkin.
Mantic Games announces two goblin armies for 'Kings Of War'. Mantic Games announced Goblin Army 2020 and Goblin Mega Army 2020, for use with Kings of War miniatures game, which will release on October 26. The Kings of War goblin armies are made up of a ragtag group of scattered clans from across that land which can be assembled under the loose leadership of a goblin king.
Games Workshop unveils 'Battlezone: Manufactorum - Vertigus'. Games Workshop unveiled The Battlezone: Manufactorum - Vertigus, a new battlefield terrain set for Warhammer 40,000, for release on October 3. The Battlezone: Manufactorum – Vertigus adds two gaming boards to Warhammer 40K battles, and is meant to help games be more thematic and immersive.
Wizards of the Coast bans a card only a few days after a major 'Magic: the Gathering' set release. Wizards of the Coast updated its Magic: The Gathering Banned and Restricted Lists on September 28 by banning Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath in Standard.
The shuffle continues for WotC as they once again need to ban a card in the Standard only a few days after the release of a new set …
RNIB and Lego partner on UK distribution of Braille Bricks toolkits. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has partnered with the Lego Foundation to bring Braille Bricks to visually impaired children. The bricks help children with vision impairment develop tactile skills and learn the Braille system.
L.O.L. Surprise! Remix pop-ups launch at Selfridges and Harrods. Pop-up shops will appear in Harrods' toy department until 2nd November, and Selfridges London, Manchester and Birmingham until 18th December. MGA Entertainment has launched a major takeover of the Selfridges and Harrods’ toy departments, with pop-up shops celebrating the new L.O.L. Surprise! Remix range.
Spin Master unboxes Present Pets. Spin Master is unleashing Present Pets puppies, an innovative new line of interactive pets that unbox themselves. The new brand is inspired by the classic dream of kids being gifted a puppy in a bow-topped box. Present Pets have already secured a spot on the Toy Insider’s legendary Hot 20 list and will be available in North America in limited supply beginning Oct. 1.
Gamelyn Games brings back 'Dragonland'. Gamelyn Games announced that they will release a new edition of Dragonland, a family board game by Reiner Knizia, on October 6. Dragonland was first published in Germany by Ravensburger and then by Rio Grande Games, but now, Gamelyn has picked it up for a new, updated edition.
'Vampire: the Masquerade - Vendetta'. Luma Imports will release Vampire: The Masquerade - Vendetta, a deduction game by Horrible Guild, in Q1 2021. Vampire: The Masquerade - Vendetta is a competitive card game of strategy and deduction. Players take roles as leaders of one of the Camarilla clans of Chicago as they try to seize control of the city.
Hasbro is bringing ZOIDS toys back. Hasbro is bringing Zoids toys back! AHHHH!!!! I’m so excited for this, guys. I still need to watch the latest series, Zoids Wild, but I’ve always loved this franchise and I’m glad it’s making a comeback in the United States …
Crayola’s best-selling kids’ face masks now in Halloween styles. Crayola’s colorful kids' face masks have been a popular choice for kids and adults alike. And now, the arts and crafts brand has launched a new line just in time for the spookiest of holidays.
(the above posted after September 25th)
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 CREATTO. Thames & 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 game. Gale 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 channel. Ravensburger 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 scheme. Epoch 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.
Video Games, Gaming Hardware, and Game Development News . . .
Xbox Game Pass is getting EA Play games on November 10th. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will get access to EA Play just in time for Microsoft’s next-gen console launch. EA Play is arriving on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on November 10th, the same day that Microsoft launches both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles.
Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion, The Crown Tundra, launches October 22nd. The second Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion, The Crown Tundra, is coming to Nintendo Switch on October 22nd. Game Freak announced the news today during a Nintendo Direct. The Crown Tundra takes players to a snowy new location in-game and introduces additional story content, as well as new Galarian forms of pokémon...
The US Navy paid $2m to marketing company to assist with foray into esports. The United States Navy paid marketing and communications firm Young & Rubicam $2 million to help it with its foray into esports, according to a Vice report. This included creating landing pages for articles and sponsored content, facilitating Navy content on esports pages …
SEGA launches esports project for 'Virtua Fighter'. Virtua Fighter fans will be delighted to learn that SEGA is now reviving the beloved fighter franchise, breathing new life into it through tapping into Esports. The announcement came in the form of a new trailer showcasing footage of competitive gaming scenes and a small snippet of new cinematics.
Rocket League tops 1 million concurrent players after free-to-play switch. Rocket League has topped 1 million concurrent players one day after going free-to-play. Psyonix studio co-head Corey Davis announced the milestone on Twitter on September 24, just one day after the vehicular soccer sim made the free-to-play shift on September 23.
Zynga to sunset FarmVille after 11 years. Zynga will shut down the original FarmVille at the end of 2020, due in part to Facebook dropping support for Flash games. FarmVille players will be able to continue making in-app purchases until November 17. After that, the game's payment system will no longer function.
EA under fire for promoting FIFA loot boxes in toy catalogue. Electronic Arts publisher faces criticism for promoting FIFA's in-game purchases in a children's toys catalogue. VGC reports the publication in question is the latest in-store magazine from UK retailer Smyths Toys, which featured an advertisement for FIFA 21 centred around the Ultimate Team mode.
Amazon is muscling into cloud gaming with Luna. Amazon's push into the world of game-making and game distribution continues apace. Today the company announced Amazon Luna, a new service that uses AWS game servers to allow players to stream games for instant play on Amazon-friendly devices.
How Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service compares to Stadia, xCloud, and GeForce Now. Amazon has just taken the wraps off its long-rumored Amazon Luna, meaning the company is officially jumping into the cloud gaming ring - one that has become increasingly crowded over the past year. Google launched Stadia last November, Nvidia’s GeForce Now left beta in February, and Microsoft’s cloud gaming offering...
(the above was posted after September 25th)
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 now. Nintendo 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 worldwide. Zynga 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 …
Fortnite: Save the World for Mac is shutting down because of Epic’s battle with Apple. Epic 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.
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...
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 Supercell. The 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...
Nintendo download: one small step for Mario, one giant triple jump for Nintendo Switch. Super 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...
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
Mum's bath toy warning after little boy almost blinded in terrifying incident. Eden Strong said her little boy Baylor squirted himself in the eye with the little bath toy, and at first she didn't think much of it. But soon his eye grew to "twice the size" and the redness started spreading down his cheek. "His eye was so swollen that the white part was bulging out from between his eyelid and his iris was being obscured," Eden...
Toy safety: Commission consults on limiting aniline in toys. The Commission launched a public consultation on limiting values for aniline in toys in order to enhance the protection of children's health. Aniline, which may be bound to colorants in toy materials, such as textiles or leather, is suspected to cause cancer and induce heritable mutations in the germ cells of humans.
(the above was posted after September 25th)
New Zealand: Highly careless' toy importers fined $118k for toys that endangered children. Two 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...
Press Releases . . .
ELENCO LAUNCHES SNAP CIRCUITS® MyHOME. Designed to make learning electricity relevant and fun for kids everywhere! Elenco, maker of the award-winning Snap Circuits® line of educational circuit-building toys, announces the launch of Snap Circuits® MyHome. For nearly 20 years, Snap Circuits® has been the “go-to” toy for learning electronics. Now, Snap Circuits® expands its fanbase with MyHome...
FROM STOCKHOLM WITH LOVE: GET READY FOR KIDS TO CUDDLE WITH TEDDYKOMPANIET CHERISHED TOYS. Importer TriAction Toys Brings Cozy Cat, Cow and Elephant Themed Pals To American Nurseries Without Fiddling With The Krona Exchange Rate. Say hallå to the Scandinavian line of soft toys known as Teddykompaniet. For a quarter of a century this family-run business has been adored in Europe with the instantly recognizable characters guaranteed to bring a smile and an ahhh. Teddykompaniet toys are cherished for quality, safety and a high coziness factor. For the first time, TriAction Toys is importing this popular European brand to American audiences with distribution specifically focused on independent toy stores and specialty retailers.
Skyler Innovations and University Games are coming together to deliver the next best party game for adults, Judge Your ‘Friends’. Skyler Innovations’ first game that stormed the market was Watch Ya’ Mouth - the authentic mouthpiece party game with more than 2 million games sold worldwide. Skyler Innovations has since expanded its inventors’ team to the small circle of creative employees who helped make Watch...
(the above added after September 25th)
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
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals . . .
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more)
L.A. COMIC-CON WILL TAKE PLACE IN DECEMBER AS AN IN-PERSON EVENT. Will Be First In-Person Convention Held in California Since the Start of COVID-19 Pandemic. os Angeles Comic-Con announced that it plans to hold its annual convention on December 11 to 13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The convention was originally scheduled to take place in October.
SPIELWARENMESSE 2021 POSTPONED TO SUMMER. Spielwarenmesse 2021, which would have taken place from Jan. 27-31, has been postponed to the summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The international toy show, one of the first to kick off toy fair season, has been called off due to rising coronavirus infection rates worldwide and further restrictions on travel, which would have put the health of its exhibitors and...
50 standout indie games nominated in this year's IndieCade Awards. The folks at IndieCade have announced the finalists for this year’s IndieCade awards, ultimately selecting 50 of the games submitted to the now-digital event for consideration in this year’s awards show. As with IndieCade itself, the awards aim to celebrate the innovation and future of games being developed in the indie space.
Hasbro, Chicco, and Learning Resources among TIE’s Play for Change awards finalists. Hasbro, Chicco, Clementoni, and Learning Resources have been named among the nine finalists for the inaugural Play for Change awards, an initiative developed by Toy Industries of Europe to celebrate and champion the companies and products fueling changes in sustainability, and encouraging children’s future skills.
DreamToys 2020: Date confirmed for all digital event. The DreamToys committee and the Toy Retailers Association have confirmed the new date of this year’s all-virtual DreamToys event as October 28th, a date that coincides with the October half term. Organised by the Toy Retailers Association, DreamToys is billed as ‘the most authoritative predictive list of what will be the hottest products this Christmas.’
(the above posted after September 25th)
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...
Hasbro, Chicco, Clementoni, and Learning Resources have been named among the 9 finalists for the inaugural Play for Change awards, an initiative developed by Toy Industries of Europe to celebrate and champion the companies and products fueling changes in sustainability, and encouraging children’s future skills. Orchestrated by Toy Industries of Europe, entries have and will further be judged by...
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 kids. Fat 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 events. Melbourne 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 February. Blizzard 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 October. Asmodee 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 winners. The 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.
Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .
Adventure Media & Events (US)
aNb Media's (US)
Skyler Innovations and University Games Launch Judge Your Friends Game Worldwide
ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US)
1. 'HeroQuest's' Return Teased by Hasbro
2. Bandai Revives 'Digimon'
3. Decorate the 'Dungeons & Dragons' Trophy Room with Cursed Artifacts
4. 'HeroQuest' Makes Its Triumphant Return to the Tabletop
5. 'Zendikar Rising' Release Status Impacted Further By 'Magic: The Gathering' Production Delays
6. Rolling For Initiative -- Exploring The Possibilities After Avalon Hill's Move to Hasbro
7. In Quick Surrender, Cards Against Humanity Sells Chicago Board Game Café
8. 'Magic: The Gathering' Release Calendar for 2020/2021
9. Amazon Is Opening 1,000 U.S. Delivery Hubs to Compete with Walmart
10. Funko Will Release 'Disney's Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits Game' Into Retail
TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month
Toy & Hobby (Australia)
Video of the Week
I never tire of watching this short film! Here's the story...
"Taking Flight is a Academy Award winning short film inspired by the life and heritage of Antonio Pasin, inventor of the Radio Flyer wagon.
In this fictional tribute to Pasin’s legacy, what begins as a small boy’s over-scheduled, over supervised, boring day with Grandpa turns into a larger-than-life journey, narrowly escaping wild monkeys and battling aliens to save the universe.
Through the power of imagination and epic adventure, a boy learns to be a kid, a father learns to be a dad, and a grandfather reminds us all what childhood is about."
Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme
Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch
and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.
If you would like to reach Phil:
Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher