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...

Happy Friday! 

This week John Baulch from ToyWorld (UK) reported as top news: Richard North proves he’s got the Wow! Stuff with TAGIE nomination video (that goes viral). Be assured that I am more neutral than Switzerland when it comes to voting or promoting any nominee over another, but I am thoroughly and gleefully enjoying all the super creative and heartfelt videos being shared all over social media. Since I don’t cast a vote, YOU should vote HERE now. With all the comradery and excitement in this run-up to POP Week, we’re all reminded why we belong to the play industry... we have the best people! 

And speaking of the best people, check out the Leaders and Legends and what they are talking about at our International Innovation Summit! There is no bigger industry conference and it even includes the TAGIEs and POP's Got Talent. We have more Presidents speaking than the U.S. has had since 1776!

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

Mary

We’re barreling toward what promises to be a very strange holiday season for the toy industry. With stores still under tight restrictions and parents anxious about browsing in person, companies are scrambling to get their IP in front of kids in a playful setting. Their best tool for discovery may be the online game platform Roblox.

For those unfamiliar, Roblox isn’t one game, but the “YouTube of games.” Anyone can play and anyone can build and publish. Since before the pandemic, use has been rising like no other platform: Roblox’ 150 million worldwide users log 1.5 billion hours monthly. Half of all US children play at least weekly.

What does this have to do with toy companies? Roblox games have sold over 40 million toys. The company aims to have half of all US toys carry a Roblox scan tag by 2023. There’s interplay between the physical and digital, in that Roblox toys often come with a code for an exclusive in-game item. But, there are other ways to have a toy presence on Roblox.  Read More...

Dubit - tBR Company of the Week!

In an old railway roundhouse, by a canal in Leeds, England, you’ll find one of the biggest kids- and teens-specific agencies in the world. Dubit is both a research and strategy consultancy, and a digital studio making games, apps, virtual worlds, VR and AR for companies ranging from CBBC and PBS Kids to LEGO, Topps, K’NEX and GoNoodle.

 

Dubit was established in 1999, with a remarkable distinction – the founders recruited teens to guide the company, resulting in the Guinness Book of World Records listing Dubit as having the youngest directors on record. When the company was formed, Second Life was popular, but the teen board felt the virtual world wasn’t designed for them. As a result, the company’s initial product was the first Flash-based virtual world for teens.

 

One very big element remains from those early days – listening to children is at the core of our work. When Dubit develops a game or app in our studio, it gets tested at every stage in our on-site Playlab. That means both our researchers and our developers and designers can watch kids at play and compare observations. They’ll note the points where children’s engagement rises or falls, where the UX or UI may need tweaking, and most of all make sure it’s fun! Read More...

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Target joins forces with FAO Schwarz for holiday season toy domination.  The discount retailer said Thursday it will join forces with iconic toy seller FAO Schwarz for an exclusive 70-piece toy collection at all of its 1,900 stores and online. It marks the first time the two retailers have worked together. The collection will debut later this month. As an added wrinkle, the well-known FAO Schwarz store in New York City will carry...

Toymakers and retailers in France have signed a new government charter committing to make children's toys gender neutral. Ahead of the Christmas shopping season, toy manufacturers, retailers and advertisers have signed up to an Economy Ministry charter that aims to end the practice of designating toys as 'for girls' and 'for boys'. The charter follows a long consultation with people in the toy industry, parliamentarians...

Amazon Prime Day boycott: U.S. workers chase EU successes. It seems to be a recurring anniversary; every Prime Day–the annual sales event exclusively for Amazon Prime members–Amazon workers take the opportunity to protest against working conditions and wages. But after several successes in Europe, American workers are more optimistic about making an impact–and many are calling for consumers to boycott Prime,,,

Euro zone retail sales stronger than expected in August. Euro zone retail sales were much stronger than expected in August due to a sharp surge of online purchases and increased clothing sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic, although July sales were revised downwards, data showed on Monday. Retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro jumped 4.4% month-on-month in August for a 3.7% year-on-year gain, beating...

Thunderful Group acquires UK developer Coatsink for $29.8 million. Nordic development and publishing group Thunderful has fully acquired Shadow Point and Phogs! developer Coatsink Software for an initial £23 million ($29.8 million). The deal will see Thunderful pay an initial £11.5 million ($14.9 million) in cash and £11.5 million ($14.9 million) in newly issued ordinary shares for the UK studio.

Rubie’s Costume Co. officially emerges from bankruptcy under new ownership. The 70-year legacy of the Rubie’s Costume Co. continues as the company emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy under new ownership. On Friday afternoon, the sale of Rubie’s and several of its related entities officially closed. The deal was approved on Sept. 21 by the Honorable Alan S. Trust, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in the Eastern District of NY.

Tencent grabs 'major stake' in GTFO developer 10 Chambers. Tencent has acquired a "major stake" in GTFO developer 10 Chambers. The studio broke the news on Twitter, and said the investment will add "more muscle" to its development capabilities that will "allow it to reach new heights in the co-op FPS genre."

University Games acquires Lagoon Group from Asmodee. The company purchased The Lagoon Group from Asmodee and will begin shipping select Lagoon products to retailers in the U.S. and Canada today. “I have admired Lagoon Games and its product line since first meeting Lagoon’s founder Simon Meluish in the 1990s on a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand,” says Bob Moog, University Games president and co-founder...

Roblox reportedly is preparing to go public. Roblox is reportedly preparing to go public on the US stock market early next year. According to sources speaking to CNBC, the children's game and creation platform expects to double its most recent valuation, from $4 billion to $8 billion.

TikTok's US ban is on hold. What comes next? TikTok averted a ban in the United States last week when a federal judge ruled that Washington couldn't block it from app stores just yet. The short-form video app is still accessible, but its fate in the country is far from certain.

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .  

Newzoo reduces its esports market forecast for 2020 for the third time . . . There's an Acquisition Frenzy in Video Games. Activision Blizzard Shouldn't Join In . . . 3 reasons why holiday toy sales will be huge this year . . . NRF chief economist says holiday forecasting is a puzzle with missing pieces . . . Independent retailers share their plans and predictions for Q4

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Riot Games shuts Sydney office and scraps OPL esports league . . . Activision Blizzard closing France office

Financial Reporting . . . 

Tencent takes "a major stake" in GTFO studio 10 Chambers. Tencent has invested in the Swedish game developer, 10 Chambers. Founded in Stockholm in 2015, 10 Chambers is principally known as the creator of GTFO, a cooperative first-person shooter currently in Early Access.…

Future Financial Reporting... 

Mattel earnings information. Mattel has confirmed that its next quarterly earnings report will be published on Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2020. Mattel will be holding an earnings conference call on Thursday, October 22nd.  Interested parties can register for or listen to the call using this link.

Hasbro earnings information. Hasbro has confirmed that its next quarterly earnings report will be published on Monday, October 26th, 2020. Hasbro will be holding an earnings conference call on Monday, October 26th. Interested parties can register for or listen to the call using this link.

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

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

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

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

Amazon.com earnings information. Amazon.com has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.

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

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 . . . 

The real story of Slinky is headed to the big screen. As the 75th anniversary of the iconic Slinky brand winds to a close, the true story behind the classic toy is set to be told in theaters everywhere. Variety reports that filmmaker Tamra Davis (Billy Madison, CB4) will direct from a screenplay by Chris Siverston (Shattered Memories), Ann Carli, and Cristina Curbelo.

‘Connecting with human truth’: CMOs at Lego and GSK discuss customer-centricity. On day two of the Festival of Marketing 2020, Ashley Friedlein, founder of Econsultancy and Guild, chaired a discussion with the CMOs of two leading global companies – Tamara Rogers, CMO at GSK, and Julia Goldin, Global CMO at Lego – all about the subject of customer-centricity.

A very Covid Christmas: Mall Santas will see kids from behind plexiglass snowglobes. While the pandemic won't keep Santa Claus from making an appearance at the mall or at Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, don't count on touching Santa, hugging Santa, or having the kids sit on his lap this year. Some mall operators are even offering Zoom calls with Santa instead of in-person visits.

LEGO, Disney and Marvel named in Bargain Max’s most in demand toy brands for Christmas 2020. LEGO, Disney, and Marvel have come in at the top three most expected and in-demand toy brands for Christmas, according to the results of a new survey from the online discount toy retailer, Bargain Max. The retailer surveyed more than 2,500 parents ahead of this year’s big festive season to get a grasp on the shopping ...

Toy Story: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. In 1995, Toy Story first arrived to explore the exciting concept of toys who can talk, move, and think autonomously. After three sequel movies and several short animations, the characters of the Disney-Pixar franchise are still an important part of pop culture. Toy Story didn't try to reinvent the wheel with all its animations as several of them were depictions ...

Hocus Pocus Is Back In Theaters Right Now And Apparently Crushing It. The beloved Disney Halloween classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy was re-released in 2,570 theaters around the United States this weekend. According to Deadline, it’s estimated to rake in between $1.6 and $1.8 million dollars, enough to make it the second highest grossing film in the country, behind Tenet.

Collector spotlight: Fred Weichmann. Fred Weichmann collects diecast vehicles (among other objects) and has celebrities autograph them for a one-of-a-kind collection. Here, Weichmann shares details about his collecting adventures and explains how his passion led him to meet Adam West, Frank Gorshin, Van Williams, Larry Dixon, and other recognizable personalities.

Smyths reveals its Top 10 Toys for Christmas. The highly anticipated list includes new Paw Patrol, Pokémon and L.O.L. Surprise! toys, alongside classic brands such as Monopoly, Barbie, WWE and Lego. "We are excited to announce our Top 10 Toys for Christmas, and it was a difficult choice again this year," said Sinead Byrne, joint head of marketing at Smyths Toys.

Chris James's Casual Gamer: Wonder Woman 1984 Card Game Announced, Super-Skill Pinball 4-Cade Released
Cryptozoic has announced a Wonder Woman card game, WizKids has released a roll-and-write game, and Lucky Duck Games has announced a new game for later this month.

 

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Séance from Milton Bradley (1972). The Séance board game from Milton Bradley turns players into relatives of late Uncle Everett and gives them the chance to add to the fortune he left them. Designed for three to four players, ages seven to 14, Séance has player battle for items in Uncle Everett’s estate.

Betty Crocker Juicer/Blender from Kenner (1980)Long before whipping up a batch of kale smoothies became all the rage, Kenner released the Betty Crocker Juicer/Blender. Geared toward children ages 8 and up, the Juicer/Blender looked and worked like the adult-sized version that kids saw in their parents’ kitchen.

Look at the toys popular in Ireland 20 years ago with these Smyths Christmas catalogues from 1993 to 2010. We've gotten our hands on every Smyths catalogue from 1993 all the way up to 2010 for a nostalgic look at Christmas toys. The catalogue is a permanent fixture in many households nowadays with all the toys, games and gadgets available in the festive season.

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Best-selling book Prisoners of Geography eyes board games, strategy games, quizzes and puzzles in edutainment licensing move. Board games, strategy games, quizzes, and puzzles will be top of the bill for a new licensing programme centered on the Sunday Times best-selling books Prisoners of Geography, as the publishing house Elliott & Thompson look to develop a family edutainment brand around the title.

Asmodee’s Aconyte Books reveals publishing plans for hit board game IP Zombicide and Terraforming Mars. Aconyte Books, the fiction imprint and publishing arm of Asmodee Entertainment, has detailed a raft of new partnerships with some of the leading names in tabletop gaming to develop a series of novels set within the worlds of a selection of the most critically acclaimed board games.

Flair Just Play signs high impact sponsorship deal with Nickelodeon’s Slimefest. Flair Just Play has signed a high impact sponsorship deal with Nickelodeon for this year’s Best of Slimefest show that will place the firm’s Hairdorables front and centre of the show’s coverage next month. The move comes as the latest in Flair’s 2020 marketing drive for the brand.

Jazwares to launch dolls, toys, and more for latest YouTube sensation Like Nastya. The next six months will witness the global launch of a new line of toys based on and inspired by the current YouTube sensation, Anastasia (Nastya) Radzinskaya, lead by the leading toy company, Jazwares. The new range will encompass the first Like Nastya doll land in January 2021, followed by toys, games, dress-up, role-play and more.

Oh, goody! Hasbro and Urban Outfitters launch exclusive Peppa Pig collection. Hasbro, Inc. announced that Peppa Pig is jumping into Urban Outfitters with an all-new exclusive collection including vinyl, tech accessories, apparel and more.  The collection will be available on www.urbanoutfitters.com and in stores starting this week.

PhatMojo offers first look at new Paddington plush, vehicles and figures. PhatMojo has today released a first look at its new Paddington toy line, a range comprised of figures, plush, vehicles, and play-sets that will be available this month. Driven by the TV show, The Adventures of Paddington, currently airing on Nickelodeon’s networks worldwide, Paddington, according to the firm via a press release, has seen a surge of love from the global pre-school audience.

Spin Master launches new licensed preschool app Gabby’s Dollhouse. Spin Master is excited to launch Gabby’s Dollhouse app in collaboration with Universal. Based on DreamWorks Animation’s all-new Netflix original preschool series set to debut on November 3rd and developed by Spin Master Digital Studio,

Jazwares adds ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ X-Men to Zōteki collectibles line. Following its launch with an Avengers collection, Jazwares just expanded the Zōteki collectibles line with two new licenses: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and Marvel’s X-Men. All of these collectibles will be available later this month, exclusively in Target stores.

A game for every gamer: how Asmodee is bringing its massive portfolio to licensingAsmodee Group is bringing its wide-ranging catalogue of tabletop-game franchises to the licensing field through its Asmodee Entertainment division and they’re looking for partners at this year’s Festival of Licensing.

Asmodee brings its much loved board game artwork to life in Artovision partnership. Asmodee Entertainment has signed a new licensing partnership with Artovision to bring to life several of its tabletop gaming properties through Artovision’s innovative multi-dimensional art collectables. Under the deal, Artovision will develop pieces inspired by the artwork of Catan, Arkham Horror, Twilight Imperium, KeyForge, and...

Moose Toys and Ravensburger to lead UK retail charge for BBC Studio’s pre-school hit Bluey. BBC Studio’s popular pre-school animated series, Bluey is making its mark on the UK consumer products space with a new raft of licensees spanning toys, apparel, bedding and accessories as the series makes its arrival on Disney+ this year. Bluey has already been met with a ‘phenomenal response’ in Australia and the US.

Playmobil details additions to Scooby-Doo range. Playmobil has revealed its latest additions to the best-selling Scooby-Doo range, just in time for Halloween. The six spooky new sets each come complete with Scooby-Doo figure wearing a unique hat and Ghost Cards which can be used with the Mystery Machine, released in May, to project and identify each spectral character.

Licensing special: Licensing International UK’s Graham Saltmarsh on the new shape of things to come. One month into his new position as MD of Licensing International’s UK division, the licensing industry stalwart Graham Saltmarsh has already begun to cook the plans with which he aims to give the organization the shake-up that the year 2020 has required of it. Whether it’s the proposed introduction of master classes...

‘My Little Pony: Pony Life’ gallops into new global broadcast dealsThe new adventures of the Mane 6 (Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy) will soon be available worldwide. Hasbro’s global entertainment studio Entertainment One (eOne) inked new deals with global broadcast partners for My Little Pony: Pony Life, a new 40-episode series that “explores the funny side of friendship...

Mattel Films is developing a ‘Thomas & Friends’ live-action film. Mattel Inc. and 2Dux² are developing a new live-action/animated feature film inspired by Thomas & Friends. Mattel Films will co-produce with filmmaker Marc Forster (Christopher Robin, Quantum of Solace, Monster’s Ball), who will also direct, and Renée Wolfe (Christopher Robin, All I See Is You), co-founder and co-CEO of 2Dux². Mattel Films‘ Robbie Brenner...

Funko unveils 'Dc Comics Pop!' holiday-themed figuresThe holidays are just around the corner, and it's time to start thinking about gift items to carry. Funko is releasing fun DC Comics Pop! holiday-themed figures, much like they did with Marvel characters in years past.

People . . . 

 

10 Minutes with Casey Collins of Hasbro. License Global catches up with Casey Collins, senior vice president and general manager, global consumer products, Hasbro, during Festival of Licensing.  It’s no secret that Hasbro is one of the biggest names in the toy industry and one of the biggest names in licensing. Their products are everywhere and they’re a trusted source for consumers all over the world.

Hasbro president and COO John Frascotti announces plans to retire from the firm next MarchHasbro’s president and chief operating officer, John Frascotti, has revealed his plans to retire from his current position with the global toy company when his contract comes to an end on March 31, 2021. Frascotti will remain employed by the company for one year in the role of special advisor to the CEO, Brian Goldner.

HABA USA has appointed Willie Wilkov its new CEO and Managing Director for North America, the company announced.  In addition to growing the core toys and games business, Wilkov will be charged with building connections with the company’s other divisions, which include apparel, furniture, and educational products. Wilkov has an ecomm and marketing background.  He served most recently as VP-Digital....

RYAN HAMILTON OF PLUS-PLUS TALKS TOYS ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Ryan Hamilton, head of product development at Plus-Plus A/S and head of operations at Plus-Plus USA, makers of open-ended construction toys loved by kids and grownups alike.

Renegade Game Studios has added Elisa Teague as Senior Producer, heading up the company’s expanding line of roleplaying games.  The company is staffing for a larger RPG pipeline as it adds licenses (see "Renegade Game Studios Licenses More Hasbro Brands for Games"), and has announced plans for a Power Rangers RPG. Teague has worked on over 100 games in her 20+ years in the tabletop games business, including...

Toy Marketer Roger Shiffman Unleashed Furby and Giga Pets. ‘Grown-up kid’ relied on his instincts and ability to outmaneuver industry giants. Roger Shiffman was perfectly cast as the public face of a toy company, Tiger Electronics Inc., maker of Furby, Giga Pets and other hits of the 1980s and 1990s. He had a jungle of curly brown hair and a cherubic expression that prompted the Chicago Tribune to describe him as a grown...

Obituary: Jack Wolff. Jack Wolff passed away on Friday 2nd October 2020 at the age of 82. Jack was a much-loved figure within the toy trade.

Rovio CEO Kati Levoranta will leave the company at the end of 2020. Rovio CEO Kati Levoranta will depart the company at the end of 2020 after more than four years at the helm. Levoranta has spent over eight years at the Angry Birds maker, initially joining as chief legal officer in June 2012, before making the switch to head of sales in March 2015. She was eventually named CEO in January 2016, but will now be leaving the...

Craft Buddy expands UK operation following strong growth. Following a period of strong growth, both in the UK and internationally, Craft Buddy has announced the opening of a second warehouse in Chesham, Bucks, five minutes’ drive from its headquarters. Craft Buddy is also expanding its sales team with the appointment of Danielle Bell as account manager.

ZAG gets in the game with new division. The LA-based animation studio is pressing play on a new business division, launching ZAG Games & Interactive Experiences to turn its properties into offerings for mobile, PC, online, consoles, VR, AR and apps.Elinor Schops has been tapped as VP of the new division. Based in Israel, she joins the team from game developer and publisher CrazyLabs, where she served as VP of business...

Paul Frank returns to Firefly Brand Management. Saban Brands’ Paul Frank is back with a familiar agent. Firefly Brand Management has been named as the non-exclusive North American agency of record for the brand in categories including toys and games, publishing, party goods, stationery, jewelry, food and beverage, sporting goods, and cross-collaborations.

Activision Blizzard esports CEO Pete Vlastelica is stepping down. Activision Blizzard esports CEO and Overwatch League commissioner Pete Vlastelica is stepping down after little over a year. As reported by Variety, Vlastelica is taking on a new position within the company, and will officially vacate the role following next week's Overwatch League Grand Finals.

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Companies . . . 

MATTEL LAUNCHES MATTEL CREATIONS TO CELEBRATE 75 YEARS OF CREATIVITY. (by RICHARD DICKSON, president and chief operating officer, Mattel) It all began in a garage, with the words Mattel Creations painted above it. This was our birthplace of ideas that inspired the creativity of generations and created the toys that have transcended toyboxes to influence pop culture. Working within it, were the creators...

Thames & Kosmos welcomes The Lost Words and new Exit titles to its games range. Thames & Kosmos UK has announced the arrival of The Lost Words – Card Game, based on the stunning book by best-selling author Robert Macfarlane, and the acclaimed Illustrator of over 40 beloved classics, Jackie Morris. Retailing for £13.50 RRP, The Lost Words is simple enough for ages 8+ to play, but strategic enough to keep adults...

Big G Creative expands party game offerings with Mega Mouth. Big G Creative just launched a new party game that puts players’ lip-reading skills to the test. Players take turns holding up a plastic magnifier up to their mouth, then silently mouthing words listed on a category card. Hilarity ensues as their teammates try to guess the clues just by reading their super-sized lips.

Trouble: On the Moon edition from Hasbro. In honor of World Space Week (October 4-10), Hasbro released a new On the Mood edition of the classic game, Trouble. It’s part of Hasbro Gaming division’s new space capsule collection, which also includes Monopoly Space and Battleship Outer Space.

Asmodee USA reveals 'Trails Of Tucana' for release into the U.S. hobby channel. Asmodee USA revealed Trails of Tucana, a flip-and-write game by Aporta Games and Matagot, for release into the U.S. hobby channel on November 11. Trails of Tucana is a flip-and-write game where players are given a map of the island Tucana, and must draw trails between neighboring terrain.

CMON will release 'Mother of Dragons' miniatures set into trade. CMON will release Mother of Dragons, a new miniatures expansion set for A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, into trade on November 27. The Targaryen faction is almost defined by their unique relationship with dragons as both living war machines and companions.

IDW Games announces 'Galaxy Hunters' for trade. IDW Games announced Galaxy Hunters, a worker placement game, for release into trade on January 29. In Galaxy Hunters, players become mercenary battle mech pilots sent out by the Megacorporations to hunt down mutants for harvesting.

Kohl’s debuts holiday Toy Shop. Kohl’s is getting into the holiday spirit with the launch of its expanded seasonal toy department. Kohl’s Toy Shop features curated assortments of toys based on age and interests across categories including dolls, collectibles, vehicles and action figures, arts and crafts, STEM, construction, and gaming.

MATTEL AND BUDGE STUDIOS LAUNCH A HOT WHEELS MOBILE GAME. A new racing and track-building Hot Wheels mobile game has arrived.

Mattel and Budge Studios — creator of the mobile games Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures and Thomas & Friends: Go Go Thomas — have officially launched Hot Wheels Unlimited, a racing and track-building game for iOS and Android devices. Players can roll into Hot Wheels City...

IMC Toys says its first TikTok campaign has gone viral, smashing all projected targets. The influencer campaign, which was implemented this month to raise awareness of the company’s new VIP Pets range, delivered 10x the estimated views, amassing over 5.7m. This was in addition to double the amount of click-throughs and 6x more engagement in comparison with similar campaigns.

The Entertainer announces Lowest Price Guarantee for Christmas 2020. Following a challenging year, The Entertainer is determined to help its customers have an smooth Christmas and has introduced its Lowest Price Guarantee, a new initiative that gives customers peace of mind that they are getting the very best deal on toy purchases now. If prices are reduced before Christmas on over 2,000 toys, The Entertainer will refund...

Combining Power: Hasbro and eOne’s 2021 Plans. What the Hasbro and eOne merger means for blockbuster entertainment for 2021. Executives from Hasbro and eOne shared news on upcoming releases as well as plans to evolve its consumer products line amid shelter-at-place orders at the Festival of Licensing live panel, "Hasbro + eOne: Fueling Franchises Together," which is available now on-demand. 

Mattel and production company 2Dux² have announced plans to develop a feature film based on Thomas & Friends, the global franchise about the iconic blue engine. Mattel Films and 2Dux² will bring Thomas & Friends to life through a four-quadrant family adventure that blends live-action and animation. Mattel Films will co-produce the film alongside Marc Forster (Christopher Robin, World War Z, Monster's Ball), who... 

Hasbro’s Mr. Potato Head goes green. Another classic toy has been reinvented with the future in mind. Hasbro‘s Mr. Potato Head Goes Green figure and accessories are made from sustainable plant-based plastic derived from sugarcane. The 15-piece set comes in “virtually plastic-free” Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper packaging.

Dino-Riders are back from Mattel as a EE exclusive. The Dino-Riders are back as Mattel announced the Entertainment Earth exclusive figure set. If you don't remember, Dino-Riders started with an animated series to promote the Tyco toy line. The series was short-lived with only 14 episodes but left a mark many kids.

Asmodee USA brings 'Glasgow' to U.S. trade. Asmodee USA will release Glasgow, a resource management game by Lookout Games, into U.S. trade on November 11. Glasgow is a tile-laying, resource management game by Mandela Fernandez-Grandon where two players compete to become the most successful merchant in the city.

Pandasaurus Games will release 'Robots' into the U.S. hobby market. Pandasaurus Games will release Robots, a Kinderspiel des Jahres nominated guessing game by Reinhard Staupe, into the U.S. hobby market on October 14. In Robots, one player takes on the role of an imaginary robot and the other players team up to take turns moving it between objects.

Wizards of the Coast pushes back entire launch schedule for 'Magic the Gathering: Commander Legends'. Wizards of the Coast announced that they have pushed back the entire launch schedule for Magic: The Gathering Commander Legends due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic production challenges. Commander Legends products were originally scheduled for a prerelease on October 30 with a full-retail release set for...

Spin Master launches Present Pets for Christmas 2020. Spin Master has revealed its newest imaginative toy packed with innovation; Present Pets puppies, interactive pets with an unboxing experience. Inspired by the childhood dream of being gifted a puppy in a bow-topped box, these soft interactive puppies are wrapped in an unboxing experience.

Asmodee USA unveils 'Patchwork: Winter Edition' for U.S.trade. Asmodee USA unveiled Patchwork: Winter Edition, a holiday-themed English edition of the Patchwork quilting game, which will release on November 11. Looking for the perfect holiday gift for a quilter? Lookout Games has this covered with their new version of their classic Patchwork quilting game by Uwe Rosenberg.

Be Amazing! breaks collectibles ice. A storm is coming, but Be Amazing! Toys is ready for the snow. Best known for its STEM-focused activity kits, the toymaker plowed into the collectibles category in September with its Snow Pets brand. The range features eight winter-friendly animals contained in spheres filled with snow powder, a compound that expands and feels cool to the touch when watered.

Pocket.Watch’s ‘Love, Diana’ debuts new toy line. Pocket.watch announced the new Love, Diana — Princess of Play consumer product line, which is available exclusively at Walmart today. The line is inspired by the widely popular YouTuber Diana, who collected 5 billion views across her 14 channels since August alone. Diana is considered a global influence with her content available in nine languages and her universal message...

Thames & Kosmos predicts surge in sales for its Three Detective series as stock lands in the UK. Thames & Kosmos UK is expecting to see a surge in sales of its popular Three Detective series of forensic science play-sets in the run-up to Christmas, having seen the range hit new levels of popularity during the UK’s lockdown period earlier this year. With its best-selling Master Detective Toolkit now back in stock, the UK...

Funko Games reveals three new tabletop titles for the holidays. Funko Games revealed three new tabletop titles on the way for the holidays, including two based on some popular brand names. First off, they introduced two new additions to the Disney card game Something Wild as we're now getting versions featuring The Little Mermaid and Toy Story. Both of which are stocking-stuffer sized. Meanwhile, they also revealed...

Vivid details plans of TikTok campaign for Escape Room: The Game 2. To support the launch of Escape Room: The Game 2 and new expansion packs, Vivid has announced collaborations with a number of TikTok creators that will celebrate the different personalities involved when trying to solve an Escape Room. The campaign, developed in partnership with Norton PR and the team at KidsKnowBest, provides amusing insight into...

Squishmallows bring touch to direct-to-consumers. Squishmallows, the ridiculously soft plush brand from LA-based Kellytoy Worldwide, was built for the brick-and- mortar retail experience. Seeing an entire wall of those squeezable characters has proven to be tantalizing to kids—and, let’s face it, to a lot of adults, too. But in a post-pandemic world—one where parents are hyper-aware of what their children are touching...

Greenlight Collectibles adjusts 2021 plans amid trade show upheaval. As it stands right now, 2021 is already shaping up to be a direct sequel to 2020. With uncertainty looming regarding the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its global economic impact, members of the toy industry are evolving their businesses to operate in a world without the traditional trade show season. Indiana-based GreenLight Collectibles...

Walmart signs trio of drone deals as it races to play catch-up with Amazon. Walmart has struck deals with three drone operators to test how the technology could be used for on-demand deliveries and to help it better compete with Amazon. It is testing different drone uses, from dropping off groceries to delivering Covid-19 at-home test kits.

Lego names its Young Explorer competition winner. The competition asked children to get creative and build adventurous nature scenes using only Lego Bricks and Figures, and the great outdoors. Eight-year-old Lexi from Immingham, Lincolnshire, has been crowned the ultimate Lego Young Explorer after taking part in a competition that saw thousands of kids across the UK get creative in the outdoors...

Barbie version of Susan B. Anthony is here. Toward the end of her life, in explaining her rationale for never marrying, Susan B. Anthony said she wanted to avoid becoming a man’s “drudge or a doll.” More than 100 years after her death, she’s become a doll — a literal doll, a Barbie doll. On Monday, Mattel launches its Susan B. Anthony doll as part of its Barbie Inspiring Women Doll line, which “pays tribute to incredible...

A Blast from the Past to Help You Fight off those Pesky Ghosts. Who you gonna call?!  Usually, the answer would be Ghostbusters, obviously.  Now, however, you don’t even need to make the call because you can handle those pesky ghosts yourself.  Well, maybe your kids can.

In order for you and your family to be ready for all those ghostly encounters this Halloween season, Hasbro will be releasing the Kenner Classics

Two new Hamleys stores to open. Hamleys has announced the opening of two new stores. The first, located at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, opened its doors yesterday. The second will be opening at Trinity Leeds, though a date for this has not yet been confirmed.

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

The Nuraphone headphones are getting a gaming microphone attachment. The company behind the $399 Nuraphone Bluetooth hearing-correcting headphones have made a new gaming microphone accessory that effectively makes the wireless headphones wired. The microphone can be used with PCs, Macs, mobile devices, the Nintendo Switch, and modern console controllers.

Mortal Kombat 11 has topped 8 million sales in under two yearsMortal Kombat 11 has sold more than 8 million copies since launching in March 2019, according to developer NetherRealm. NetherRealm creative director Ed Boon broke the news on Twitter, and teased an announcement relating to the future of the game later this week.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars was Japan's biggest-selling game in September.     Super Mario 3D All-Stars was comfortably the best-selling game in Japan last month, fending off competition from other new releases such as Marvel's Avengers.   That's according to Famitsu's latest monthly charts …

Crash Bandicoot 4 narrowly beats Star Wars Squadrons to No.1 l UK Boxed Charts. Activision's Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time beat EA's Star Wars Squadrons to No.1 this week, with just 1,000 boxed sales separating the two games. The latest Crash Bandicoot title follows the successful remakes of the first three Crash games.

Ubisoft survey reveals that 25 percent of employees have seen or experienced workplace misconductUbisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has published the results of an employee survey undertaken by the company over the summer following allegations of endemic harassment and toxicity, and the results are eye-opening. In the anonymous survey of nearly 14,000 employees, one in four respondents said that they had...

Google Play delays 30% cut in India to 2022Google will be delaying the implementation of its mandatory 30% cut on the Play Store in India to March 2022. The policy will still go ahead as planned in other territories, but Purnima Kochikar, director of business development of games and applications at Google Play, said the tech giant was setting up "listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns...

Facebook Gaming surpassed one billion hours watched in Q3. After a significant leap in streaming hours watched due to pandemic-related lockdowns, viewership for Q3 appears to be steadying somewhat, though YouTube and Facebook Gaming continue to see gains.

Sony expects PS5 to sell more than 7m units by April. Sony Interactive Entertainment expects that PlayStation 5 to shift more than seven million units by the end of the current financial year. In an interview with Korean site Naver, via Google Translate, president and CEO Jim Ryan predicted the console would "sell more in its first fiscal year than [we] sold in the first fiscal year at the time of [the] PS4 launch."

SteelSeries’ new Arctis 7-series headsets use a USB-C wireless dongleSteelSeries has announced two new versions of its Arctis 7 wireless gaming headset, releasing in time for the Xbox Series X / S and the PS5 to launch. The Arctis 7X has a black and green design catered toward the Xbox Series X / S and Xbox One. The other is called the Arctis 7P, and it’s an all-white headset that will look better paired with the PlayStation 5.

Sky more than doubles installs in three months. Sky: Children of the Light is taking off, as Thatgamecompany today announced the iOS and Android free-to-play game has been downloaded 50 million times worldwide. That shows significant momentum for the game, as it was just three months ago that TGC announced it had reached 20 million installs after a year of availability.

Hardware launches and pre-orders desperately need a shake-up | Opinion. Retailers and manufacturers have failed consumers with the botched, badly-managed launches of consoles and graphics cards in recent weeks

Corsair’s new K100 gaming keyboard has a fantastic, multi-purpose dial. Corsair’s new $229.99 K100 is currently the company’s most expensive mechanical gaming keyboard. What lends to the high cost, in part, is the handy iCue control dial at its top left, which is so fun to use.

Nvidia delays RTX 3070 launch to October 29th. Nvidia has delayed the launch of its upcoming GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card so there’s more stock available on launch day. In a blog post, the company admitted that the news “may be disappointing” to some, but said, “this shift will help our global partners get more graphics cards into the hands of gamers on launch day.” The graphics card will now launch on October 29th...

How an obscure 2018 computer game became a global phenomenon overnight. One of the most popular video games in the world today had almost no players a few months ago. Among Us, a party game that launched in June 2018, has now been downloaded more than 100 million times, according to its US-based developer, InnerSloth. Over 60 million users play the game each day. The game peaked at 3.8 million...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Funskool become first toy manufacturer to get BIS certification. MRF Group's Funskool India on Wednesday said it has become the first Indian toy manufacturer to get certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards for Safety for electric toys. It has received certification IS 15644 for the manufacturing plant based in Goa.

Knock it off: How toycos are fighting counterfeiters. According to Barcelona-based brand protection partner Red Points, revenue generated from counterfeit toys reached US$32.3 billion in the US and US$44.6 billion in store closures accelerating consumers’ move to digital retail. As COVID-19 has shifted parental shopping online, toycos, distributors and retailers are being forced to find new ways to stop these copycats in their tracks.

Product certification for Vietnamese exporters to utilize new opportunities. The EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) officially took effect on August 1, 2020, opening up great opportunities for Vietnamese products to access the second largest import market in the world. According to the International Trade Center (ITC), the EU market still has up to 49 percent of the capacity that Vietnamese products can penetrate.

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...

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Press Releases . . .

The esteemed inductees into the 2021 Toy Industry Hall of Fame: 

William C. Killgallon – who transformed the Etch A Sketch into a household name; Pleasant T. Rowland – the trailblazer who founded American Girl; and the late Margarete Steiff – inspiring inventor of the world's first stuffed animal. Additionally, Phillip Bloom, founder of "The Bloom Report," was inducted for his work as a respected toy news pioneer. (Congrats, Phil! Well, deserved!)

CLUB EIMMIE MONTHLY PLAYTIME PACKS PROMPTS EVERYONE TO GET ALL DOLLED UP, ADORABLY. Gingerbread Baking Set, One Of Dozens Of Open-Ended Play Adventures Sized Perfectly For A Girl And Her 18” Dolls, Makes THE Perfect Present. What could be better than unwrapping a gift from Grandma this December? Getting an adventure delivered from Grandma every month with Club Eimmie ($12.99 introductory offer, then $19.99/mo.)! Little girls who indulge in imaginative play with their 18” doll pals will be inspired with fresh outfits, accessories or playsets sized perfectly for dolly. Sometimes there’s a matching outfit for the big girl!

Tiny Love Introduces Wonder Buddies, the New Toy Designed to Promote Developmental Growth in Toddlers. Dorel Juvenile, a segment of Dorel Industries (TSX: DII.B, DII.A) and the world's largest juvenile products manufacturer, has announced today the launch of Wonder Buddies, a new and innovative toddler toy under the Tiny Love brand.

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

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

People of Play kicks off 15th annual Young Inventor Challenge under new leadership. People of Play (POP), formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group, kicked off its 15th annual Young Inventor Challenge with a new leader at the helm. 3D printing innovator and educator Jazmine Darden, founder of IAMEARHERO assumes the role of program director. Mattel, Magformers, Goliath, and Hasbro are sponsoring the event alongside The United Inventors Association and Female Strong.

League of Geeks named Studio of the Year at Australian Game Developer AwardsLeague of Geeks was named Studio of the Year at the Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDA) this week. The Melbourne-based developer signed a publishing deal with Private Division in July for its second project -- the first being the hit digital card game, Armello.

Fat Brain Toys announces the winner of their 2020 Kidventor Challenge, a toy and game invention contest for kidsFat Brain Toys, one of the nation's leading independent toy companies, today announced the winner of their Kidventor Challenge for 2020. The Kidventor Challenge invites children ages six to thirteen to submit toy or game ideas for the chance to have their concept commercially produced and sold...

Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle puzzle takes Bloggers Choice as BlogOn Toy Awards reveals 2020 winners. University Games’ Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle 3D Puzzle has taken home the Blogger Choice Award for 2020, a choice reflective of the boom the puzzles market that has seen since the UK was subjected to lockdown restriction this year. The award was given at this year’s BlogOn Toy Awards, which this year, revealed...

Lego names its Young Explorer competition winnerThe competition asked children to get creative and build adventurous nature scenes using only Lego Bricks and Figures, and the great outdoors. Eight-year-old Lexi from Immingham, Lincolnshire, has been crowned the ultimate Lego Young Explorer after taking part in a competition that saw thousands of kids across the UK get creative in the outdoors over the summer...

War Child UK hosting 'Game of the Girl' panel to spotlight women in gamesWar Child UK is hosting a 'Game Of The Girl' panel on October 7, 2020, to celebrate and support International Day of the Girl. The charity, which provides assistance to children in areas experiencing conflict around the world, explained the free event will offer insights into how women working in the games industry are celebrated, challenged,...

ToyFest West Postpones 2021 Show. Ahead of the 60th anniversary year of the Western Toy & Hobby Representatives Association, the WTHRA Board of Directors and ToyFest Slate of Officers have decided to postpone the annual ToyFest West Trade show, originally set for March of 2021. New show dates will be set for later in the year.

TOY FAIR NEW YORK SET TO RETURN IN MAY 2021. The Toy Association will bring the industry back together this spring for Toy Fair New York, taking place May 1-4, 2021 at the Javits Center. “The Toy Association’s trade events effectively and efficiently help members and the industry do more business more often, whether large- or small-scale,” Pasierb says. “We canvassed our primary audience of retail buyers and toy sellers...

Record breaking BLE kicks off tomorrow as part of Festival of Licensing. Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) 2020 opens its virtual doors at 9am on Tuesday 6th October as part of Festival of Licensing. According to the organisers, the event is already breaking records: 11,000 meeting requests have been made since the platform opened just two weeks ago, and Global Licensing Group is expecting this figure to rise exponentially...

ORIGINS AWARDS 2020 WINNERS UNVEILED. Along with Hall of Fame Inductees. The Academy of Adventure Game Arts & Design announced the winners of the 46th annual Origins Awards. The winners are traditionally announced at a gala ceremony on the Saturday night of Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, which was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

1.     Officially Licensed Billie Eilish Collectible Figures and Fashion Dolls Launch at Target October 15

2.     Spin Master’s Latest Innovation, Present Puppies, Unbox Themselves this Holiday Season

3.     MGA Entertainment Partners with Best Friends Animal Society for Launch of Rescue Tales Plush Pets

4.     Barbie Partners with Cardiff University Neuroscientists to Study Effects of Doll Play

5.     ZURU Introduces a New Twist on 5 Surprise Mini Brands with Toy Mini Brands

6.     Jazwares Announces Fuzzible Friends, First Plush Toy to Integrate Alexa Gadgets Technology

7.     ZURU Rainbocorns Big Hair Surprise Arrives in Time for Holidays

8.     HasLab Reaches 8,000 Backers, Tier 2 Unlock Revealed

9.    Hasbro, eOne, Crunchyroll, and Chupa Chups Confirmed for Festival of Licensing Live Stage

10.  New Interactive Lilo and Stitch Figure From Playmates Toys Lands Exclusively at Walgreens

Toyworld (UK) 

  1. News travels fast…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Spielwarenmesse postponed to summer 2021

  3. Amazon unveils its top 12 toys for Christmas

  4. Toy Industries of Europe announces winners of Play for Change Awards

  5. The October issue of Toy World is out now

  6. Toy World’s Mattel supplement is out now

  7. L.O.L. Surprise! Remix pop-ups launch at Selfridges and Harrods

  8. Barbie and neuroscientists from Cardiff University show benefits of doll play

  9. Character Group expresses confidence as it enters Q4 2020

  10. Two new Hamleys stores to open

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

 1.  Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Secret Lair X The Walking Dead'

  2.  Wizards of the Coast Bans a Card Only a Few Days After a Major 'Magic: The  Gathering' Set Release
  3.  Renegade Game Studios Licenses More Hasbro Brands for Games
  4.  WizKids Bares 'Fangs and Talons' for 'Icons of the Realms'
  5.  Rolling for Initiative -- Package design for Fun and Profit (Mostly Profit)
  6.  CMON Announces 'The Last of Us: The Board Game'
  7.  Online Battle Royale Set Up for Mid-October, as Mass Merchants Take on Amazon
  8.  Pendragon Game Studio Launches 'The Thing - The Boardgame' Kickstarter
  9.  Upper Deck Will Release 'ALIENS: Bug Hunt'
10.  Mantic Games Unveils 'Kings of War: War in the Holds - Two Player Starter Set'

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month 

Toy & Hobby (Australia)

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

Video of the Week

Tim Walsh's WTFF? series is Uno in my book!

Thanks, Tim, for telling the entertaining stories behind our beloved brands! 

 

Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher