the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is September 4 - 11, 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! 

Last week I wrote how I loved my toy printing press. As it happens, Karri Bean, Kaye White and I were in a TAGIE Awards planning meeting this week and talked about how we loved Easy Bake Ovens and would love to bake with one now. I mentioned I had sent one to my daughter in university. She and her friends had a blast! Kaye and Karri don't know it, but I've ordered them Easy Bake Ovens. Kids aren't the only ones who need toys in a pandemic ... and they make a unique thank you and stress reliever gifts. Just sayin'. 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

Mary

Me: What if we did a Monopoly game just for cheaters?

Hasbro Exec: You’re joking.

Me: Exactly.  And that’s why we should do it.

 

A guy walks into a doctor’s office with a duck on his head.

Doctor: What’s the problem?

Duck: Hey Doc, can you get this guy off my butt?

 

We laugh at the unexpected.  Everyone goes to the doctor, but no one expects the duck’s point of view.  Monopoly is familiar to everyone.  You know it’s a family board game about making money in real estate.  And because it’s a game, you know it’s about following rules.  To make a version about cheating is unexpected.  That’s known as “benign violation” in the humor analysis biz.  Cheating is contrary to game etiquette, but it’s also safe because everyone cheats at Monopoly.  It’s funny when you juxtapose the two – like a straight line and a punch line.  The joke gets better still when you imagine an enormous manufacturer like Hasbro taking it to market.  Maybe it’s an Onion headline – Hasbro to Release Game for Cheaters! – but there’s no way Hasbro would mess with Monopoly like that, right? 

 

But Hasbro did.  Monopoly: Cheaters Edition came out in 2018, and it made a big splash. The joke became a real game, and late night talk show hosts built their monologues around it, giving it the kind publicity money couldn’t buy. The joke got real, then went back to comedy.

 

You’ve probably heard of The Second City, the famous improvisational theater. Most people take improv classes there with the dream of becoming the next sensation on Saturday Night Live. I’m the odd duck who went with the dream of coming up with better toys.  I had joined the famous toy invention house, Marvin Glass and Associates, right before I started improv workshops at The Second City. .... Read More...

Scott Houdashell and Curtis McGill Share the Hey Buddy Hey Pal Story - tBR Company of the Week!

Entertainment enthusiasts have found delight in finding the “Easter Eggs” in films, video games and television shows. The hunt is not dissimilar to the thrill kids have when on their yearly Easter egg hunts, looking for the egg that hasn’t quite been discovered yet.

 

For years, the ritual of egg decorating hasn’t changed. Kids dunk eggs in smelly and messy dye, affix stickers, draw with a wax pencil. That’s how toy company Hey Buddy Hey Pal and their Original EggMazing Egg Decorator came to market.

 

In 2015, Scott Houdashell and his best friend Curtis McGill were sitting around a kitchen table, watching their kids and family members dye their Easter eggs. The excitement just wasn’t there – the kids were bored! That’s when Houdashell, who’s always had a knack for woodworking and building, thought: “There’s got to be a better way to decorate these eggs.” He grabbed a glue gun, hot glue stick, an electric screwdriver, a spoon and markers and the first prototype of what millions of consumers now known as the Original EggMazing Egg Decorator was born.  

The idea: nest a hard-boiled egg in a battery-powered mechanism that not only holds the egg, but also spins it while kids place colorful markers on the rotating egg. They create stripes, lines and other fun designs BUT no messy hands or surfaces and no vinegar smell!

 

When Houdashell came to McGill with this business proposition of putting a new spin on Easter egg decorating, he couldn’t refuse as it’s in his nature to take risky business propositions while always trusting his gut. With finalized prototypes, a company name had to be established. The two realized every time they called one another; they’d always start with “Hey Buddy” “Hey Pal”. And the rest is history.  Read More...

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oracle beats Microsoft in deal for TikTok's U.S. operations. Oracle Corp. edged out out rival Microsoft Corp. in negotiations over the weekend for the U.S. operations of TikTok, moving closer toward a deal for the Chinese-owned music-video app that could thwart a threat by U.S. by President Donald Trump to shut it down …

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

Reliance Industries, owned by the Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is in talks with Amazon about selling a $20b stake in its retail arm, Reliance Retail Ventures. Reliance bought Hamleys toy store in May last year , in a deal worth nearly £70m, and announced a partnership with The Entertainer in January to bring to India a selection of action toys & figures, soft toys, art & craft sets, games & jigsaws, outdoor toys...

J.C. Penney on cusp of rescue deal with landlords. J.C. Penney Co Inc's landlords are nearing a deal to rescue the beleaguered department store chain from bankruptcy proceedings, averting a liquidation that would have threatened roughly 70,000 jobs and represented one of the most significant business collapses following the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the matter said.

UK issues new Brexit guidance on manufactured goods. The UK government has issued new guidance for manufacturers, distributors and assessment bodies on placing manufactured goods on the UK and EU market at the end of the Brexit transition period. The guidance covers conformity assessment for manufactured goods including toys, electrical and electronic equipment, and personal protective equipment …

Amazon, which expects net sales between $87b and $93b in Q3, is hiking fees (in UK) so that sellers absorb the new tax. Amazon has said it will increase referral fees, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) fees, monthly FBA storage fees and Multichannel Fulfilment (MCF) fees by 2% in the UK to reflect the additional cost of a digital tax announced by the UK government. The online retailer, which has seen its sales and profits soar...

Indian toy industry to get a big push after PM Narendra Modi's digital strike against Chinese apps. New Delhi: After banning 200 Chinese mobile apps, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started taking steps to encourage the domestic toy industry by issuing Quality Control Order (QCO). The government has issued instructions for cluster development in various states and has also started providing the necessary...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .  

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

A cautious outlook for U.S. Toy Holiday sales . . . Amazon's explosive e-commerce growth could accelerate further.

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

GameStop sales declined 26.7% to $942 million in its Q2 ended August 1, compared to $1.286 million in the same quarter last year

Financial Reporting . . . 

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

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

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

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

Black Desert Online has amassed almost $2 billion in revenue since 2014. Pearl Abyss' popular sandbox MMO Black Desert Online has amassed nearly $2 billion in revenue since launching in 2014. The studio broke the news in a press release, and explained 40 percent of that revenue came from North America and Europe, with 26 percent heralding from Korea and the remaining 34 percent bring spread across...

(the above posted after September 11th)

Despite pandemic and its reboot, GameStop says it's ready for next-gen demand. Net sales for the three month period ending August 1, 2020 came in at $942 million for GameStop, down 26.7 percent year-over-year and complicated somewhat, according to GameStop, by the impending new console launches and store closures, either temporary due to COVID-19 or permanent due to its “optimization” plans. 

OnBuy’s ‘audacious Q4 marketing strategy’ sees £1m ITV deal and £5m for Q4 activity. The online marketplace, OnBuy, has detailed its most ‘audacious Q4 marketing strategy’ to date, having secured an £1m deal with ITV and set aside a further £5m marketing budget for Q4 this year. The move, it says, is part of a strategy to ‘massively expand its 8 million strong customer base and drive more sales for its sellers.’ 

Future Financial Reporting... 

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 . . . 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The surprising reason Nintendo made Super Mario a plumber 35 years ago. As the franchise celebrates its 35th anniversary September 13, CNN Business spoke to four Nintendo developers who have worked for decades on the Super Mario Bros franchise about how the company grew what is arguably gaming's most successful franchise, estimated to have made several billion dollars. Nintendo did not comment on sales.

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

'Kids can smell fear': the standups who took over children's TV. Is performing for young audiences easier? Far from it say the comedians who do clubs at night and CBBC shows by day. What do standup comics do in the daytime? A glance at television schedules provides an answer: many hone their craft in the gaily coloured landscape of children’s comedy.

John Baulch from ToyWorld - Should old arrangements be forgot…it’s the Friday Blog! This week has seen a combination of surprising news, tantalising rumour and further uncertainty – in many ways, a microcosm of the year so far. A few weeks ago, I wrote that planning this year has been like building on quicksand. Well, the sands have shifted again this week – on multiple fronts. Here at home, gatherings of more than six...

John Lewis announces Top 10 Toys for Christmas. Published on: 11th September 2020. This year’s list includes products with an emphasis on sustainability and wellbeing, alongside best-selling brands such as Lego and Brio. 

The race for the Best Picture Oscar is changing. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced new changes to the Best Picture Oscar nomination eligibility as part of its new inclusion standards in its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative. The new changes will be required in the Best Picture category beginning with the 96th Academy Awards, set to air in 2024. “The aperture must widen to reflect our diver...

Amazon's murky world of one-star reviews. Amazon's marketplace is being abused by independent sellers using one-star reviews to harm rivals, the BBC has been told. Newsnight spoke to a number of those affected who believe their sales have suffered as a consequence. A consumer rights champion now wants a UK watchdog to investigate further, as part of a probe into fake reviews that is already under way.

Amazon takes down a five-star fraud in the UK. Amazon’s top reviewers in the UK appear to have engaged in fraud, leaving thousands of five-star ratings in exchange for money or free products. The company took down 20,000 product reviews following an investigation by the Financial Times. Justin Fryer, the number one Amazon reviewer in the UK, left a five-star rating once every four hours on average in August...

Amazon unveils 2020 Toys We Love hot holiday toy list. The retail industry is placing increased focus on encouraging families to shop early and avoid crowds this holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While big-box stores such as Walmart and Target have seen massive growth in e-commerce this year, Amazon remains the top player in that space and is making moves to get parents’ attention ahead of the holidays...

 

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

Teddy Bear Day: History and how to celebrate this day. Celebrated on September 9th consistently, Teddy Bear Day is an holiday in which individuals set time to recognize the special connection they have among themselves and their teddy bears. The teddy bear is one of the most famous toys for kids, and holds an extraordinary spot in numerous grown-ups hearts, as well.

Planet of the Apes from Milton Bradley (1974). Little did french author Pierre Boulle know his 1963 novel, La Planète des singes, would become the basis for a media franchise that would remain popular for decades. First came the 1968 American film adaptation featuring Charlton Heston, then a slew of merchandise that kept the adventure alive. One of the games it spawned is the Planet of the Apes board game released by...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

LEGO and Levi’s build new collection that turns fashion line into “a blank canvas for LEGO play”.  The worlds of fashion and toys have discovered an innovative way to combine through a new partnership between The LEGO Group and Levi’s and the introduction of the customisable baseplate, that will turn your pair of jeans “into a new blank canvas for LEGO play.” Exclusive to the collection, the collaboration...

Kellytoy expands Star Wars Squishmallows line with new characters. Kellytoy, a subsidiary of Jazwares’ dropped the news a short time ago in a galaxy not too far away that it would add Star Wars Squishmallows to its squad of huggable plush. The Toy Book exclusively revealed the first character, The Child Squishmallow, and now more huggable versions are joining in. In addition to The Child, families can take home their...

Playmobil’s Volkswagen line unites 2 classic German brands. Playmobil featuring Volkswagen (VW) will debut in January with a pair of iconic vehicles that are being presented as Playmobil miniatures for the first time. The VW Volkswagen T1 Camper Van will be joined by the VW Beetle, the classic family car that sold more than 21 million units to become VW’s best-selling model until the VW Golf surpassed it to take the top spot.

Wow! Stuff unveils the Peppa Pig Clever Car – a self-driving car with obstacle avoidance technology. Wow! Stuff is pushing the envelope of innovation in the licensed toy space once more, this time with the unveiling of the self-driving Peppa Pig car for pre-schoolers. Developed in partnership with Hasbro – the now owner of the eOne Peppa Pig IP – the Peppa Pig car features obstacle avoidance technology, meaning...

Xbox Series X launches on November 10th for $499. Microsoft is launching its Xbox Series X console on November 10th for $499. Preorders for the new console will begin on September 22nd, with the company also offering the Xbox Series X through its Xbox All Access program. Xbox All Access is a bundle that splits the cost of an Xbox console, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and Xbox Live into monthly payments across 24 months.

Playmobil Playland: ‘Scooby-DOO!’ adventure in the Mystery Mansion PlaysetWelcome to the Playmobil Playland, where we take a peek inside those impressive blue boxes and see what treasures await within. Sometimes we’ll have step-by-step photos walking you through assembly, maybe we’ll discuss and review a particular set or theme, or maybe we’ll have an unboxing video. Playmobil’s newest addition...

Asmodee USA will release 'Peaky Blinders' board game into U.S. trade. Asmodee USA will release Peaky Blinders: Under New Management, a board game by Just Games, into U.S. trade on October 23. Peaky fans can now get a taste of Birmingham in the roaring twenties where the Shelby family battle other gangs for control of the city. Players can assume their own role in the gangster war, and accomplish missions to defeat...

WildBrain Spark to develop digital series based on Korean toy brand Super Binks. WildBrain Spark has secured a deal with the US-Korean production company Park Star Media to co-produce and launch a new digital superhero series, Super Binks. Originally created as a toy figurine range in Asia, Super Binks will now feature as a short form 2D animated series. WildBrain Spark will also handle the YouTube management...

Disguise debuts first-ever LEGO Star Wars Halloween costumesJakks Pacific‘s Disguise Inc. division is punching the hyperdrive to debut the first-ever line of LEGO Star Wars-inspired costumes, just in time for Halloween. The minifigure-style costumes will debut with Darth Vader and an Imperial Stormtrooper in kids sizes. Structured foam elements within each costume mimic the look of LEGO’s iconic minifigures.

WildBrain CPLG connects with new european partners for Line Friends. WildBrain CPLG, one of the world’s leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agencies, has secured a raft of new deals in Europe on behalf of Line Friends’ brand Brown & Friends, featuring the brand’s signature characters Brown, Choco, Cony, Sally and others.

Games publisher Days of Wonder partners with Blizzard to launch Small World of Warcraft tabletop title. The board game publisher Days of Wonder has detailed the release of Small World of Warcraft, a new tabletop title that combines Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft universe with the mechanics of the game company’s Small World franchise.

Sony Pictures Consumer Products announces robust licensing program ahead of “The Boys” Season 2 premiere. Ahead of the highly-anticipated second season premiere of “The Boys” on September 4 on Amazon Prime Video, Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) is helping fans celebrate (or not celebrate) the ‘Supes’ with a robust line of consumer products offerings, including apparel, accessories, collectible toys...

Bing toy sales surge in UK as MV Sports and 8th Wonder join Golden Bear on licensing roster. Acamar Films’ hit pre-school series Bing has seen toy sales achieve huge growth at UK retail over the past year, with the NPD Group listing it within the top ten fastest growing toy licenses for the period of January to June 2020. The surge follows the launch the Golden Bear master toy line in 2019. Acamar Films is confident that...

Funko reveals 'Pop! Vinyl' figures featuring iconic Hasbro characters. Funko, Inc. revealed new Pop! Vinyl figures, featuring characters from iconic Hasbro game lines, for release in October. This new wave of Pop! Vinyls showcase true pop culture icons from the gaming and toy world. From classic board games, the wave will have Cavity Sam from Operation, Rock'Em Sock'Em Robot (Red) and Rock'Em Sock'Em Robot (Blue)...

People . . . 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the above was posted after September 11th)

Sid Meier's Memoir review – Civilization creator is all about fun. This enjoyable, if light, autobiography by one of the first auteurs of video games focuses on the games over the man behind them. One billion hours, veteran game designer Sid Meier notes in this light and enjoyable memoir, is an unfathomable length of time. And yet it took just six years for players to spend a billion cumulative hours on the fifth iteration...

BUGG Report - DC FanDome Returns! We Speak to Andrew Bromell, Executive Director at Warner Bros. Consumer Products Australia & New Zealand, about all things DC FanDome in-time for the launch of the second event on September 12th. The idea for DC FanDome first sparked in April, soon after most of the world had effectively shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the cancellation of San Diego Comic-Con...?

Senior appointments made at Toymaster following Ian Edmunds’ departure. Colin Farrow and Yogi Parmar have been appointed as interim joint managing directors, while Paul Reader has been promoted to marketing director. The Toymaster board has issued an update on its senior roles following the news yesterday that Ian Edmunds, managing director, was stepping down with immediate effect.

Ian Edmunds leaves Toymaster. Ian has left after more than 20 years with the buying group. In an email to members, Chris Blatcher, chairman of the buying group, said: “I am writing to inform you that Ian Edmunds, managing director of Toymaster Ltd, has today left the company by mutual consent. I am sure that Toymaster members, suppliers and staff will join me in thanking Ian for over 20 years of dedicated service to the group and the toy industry in general.

Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Bruce Canner, president of sales, North America at Nikko Toys. Canner’s long career path includes stops at Remco, Tyco, Fisher-Price, Shelcore, Hit Toy, and Toy State before joining the relaunched Nikko last year. On the show, Canner and Albritton finally put to rest the debate on how to pronounce “Nikko” — the name behind some of the fastest RC cars on the market...

ZAG appoints MGA’s Lisa K Foster to vice president of licensing, North America. The announcement was made by Julian Zag, EVP, of global operations at the firm. In her new role, Foster will report directly to Kirk Bloomgarden, the company’s SVP of global licensing, and will work alongside Rebekah Belzer in her own new position as VP, new business and retail development. Both Foster and Belzer will work to develop...

David Norman (Goliath, Pressman Toy and JAX) interviewed by Thrive Global's Penny Bauder. Every year at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair my company participates in the Young Inventor Challenge. This is where we select great games made by kids and produce the best ones. So far, we have brought games made by three winners to the market. The last one, Betch Can’t! was invented by the kids of one of my friendly competitors in the industry. Of course, I had no idea! We just placed the game in Target and I expect it to be a hit. Strange to get a hit product from your competitor.

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Companies . . . 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

Walmart has launched a pilot drone delivery program with drone delivery company Flytrex.  The move comes only a few days after the FAA granted Amazon a permit to test drone deliveries (see "FAA Grants Amazon Drone Permit"). The Walmart pilot program, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, focuses on delivering grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores. 

LEGO unveils the Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina made up of over 3,000 bricks and 21 minifigures. The LEGO Group has detailed the launch of its Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina building set, an extension of its popular LEGO Star Wars range that boasts a whopping more than 3,000 pieces and brings to life one of the most iconic locations from the original Star Wars trilogy. The new construction kit gives LEGO fans the chance to 

Moose Toys launches Oh! My GIF: GIFs Gone Live app to extend the Oh! My GIF experience. Toy company, Moose Toys, has launched the Oh! My GIF: GIFs Gone Live app, a  digital tool that allows consumers to extend their experience with the Oh! My GIF animated figurines (GIFbits) brand, which recreates internet GIFs, memes and stickers in toy form. Using augmented reality (AR) technology, the GIFs Gone Live app brings...

Warcradle Studios to launch ‘Bill & Ted’ gameWarcradle Studios have announced “Bill & Ted’s Riff In Time,” the official board game inspired by the “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” film franchise, in partnership with Creative Licensing. The new board game is set in the “Bill & Ted” universe and follows the duo as they set off through their next quest through time.

Delays on upcoming 'Magic: The Gathering' releases. Wizards of the Coast has announced additional delays on upcoming Magic: The Gathering releases due to "production issues." Shipments of Zendikar Rising, due for release on September 25, will arrive in two waves, the company said.  The first wave will arrive for the intended release date; a second wave will arrive in stores 7 to 10 days after launch.

Days of Wonder unleashes ‘Small World of Warcraft’. Days of Wonder is excited to announce the release of “Small World of Warcraft” in stores and online, including the Blizzard Gear Store. “Small World of Warcraft” is a new board game combining the “Small World” game mechanics with Blizzard Entertainment’s “Warcraft” universe. The game is set on Blizzard’s fantasy world of Azeroth, where the races of the Alliance and the...

Explore Peter Pan's enchanted isle in 'Neverland: A Fantasy Role-Playing Game Setting'. Andrews McMeel Publishing announced Neverland: A Fantasy Role-Playing Game Setting, designed by Andrew Kolb, for release on October 6. Take a quick flight to the world of Peter Pan and the lost boys and girls in this new roleplaying setting. Players can craft their own fantasy world with pirates, mermaids, and all sorts of fantasy fairy...

Steamforged Games unleashes 'Animal Adventures RPG Starter Set'Steamforged Games announced Animal Adventures RPG Starter Set, a new roleplaying game beginner set, for release on November 9. Following up on the success of Dungeons & Doggies and Cats & Catacombs, SFG introduces the Animal Adventures RPG Starter Set. It is a set is for the true beginner who wants to dive into spellbinding adventures with cats...

VTech expands baby, infant, toddler and Go! Go! Smart Wheels lines with delightful additions. VTech announced the availability of innovative new additions to its award-winning baby, infant and toddler collection and Go! Go! Smart Wheels line. The interactive new toys encourage play and discovery at home, offering children engaging play experiences.

Mattel brings home a fan-favorite Star Wars character. When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuted last year, fans were quick to dub Babu Frik, a tiny, but highly skilled, droidsmith, as the movie’s true star. Mattel has released a plush version of the fan-favorite character, exclusively available to preorder from target.com. This 9-inch version of the character features a plush body and a sculpted vinyl head. 

McFarlane Toys' Teen Titans Cyborg figure is liveMcFarlane Toys continues to tear through the lineup of figures that they debuted at San Diego Comic-Con / Comic-Con@Home back in July with the release of the 7-inch Cyborg figure from the 2003 Teen Titans animated series. The figure includes an interchangeable hand, sonic cannon, base, and a collectible art card. Pre-orders for the figure are live here on Amazon for...

Kids’ audio system Tonies adds Disney’s Frozen, Cinderella, Toy Story and Finding Nemo to the fold. The children’s audio system Tonies has added a slate of Disney and Pixar characters to its lineup of licensed character Tonies, welcoming children’s favourites Frozen, Cinderella, Toy Story and Finding Nemo to the fold. The new characters will join the portfolio in October and November this year ahead of what the firm’s...

Management of Avalon Hill board game brand will move from Wizards of the Coast to Hasbro. Wizards of the Coast announced that the management of the Avalon Hill board game brand will move to their parent company Hasbro in January. Avalon Hill has been a quiet brand under WotC management for a while now, producing an average of one to two games per year since 2016. This brand encompasses evergreen titles...

Goliath’s Superthings blast into Meijer and Fred Meyer stores. Goliath’s SuperThings are expanding their presence in the U.S. The new range of miniature collectibles are everyday items that are transformed into superheroes and supervillains. Globally, SuperThings are known as SuperZings, which have already become an international hit. SuperZings is the No. 1 boys action figure line in Spain, and is the No. 2 collectible...

Mattel issues new Barbie doll to mark Day of the Dead. With Day of the Dead looming, toy-maker Mattel has announced the release of the 2020 version of Day of the Dead Barbie after last year’s debut edition sold out. The dolls and their clothing are exquisitely crafted, with an attention to detail that far surpasses that of a normal Barbie doll. And so does the price. These collectors’ editions are designed for adults...

Steamforged Games details 'Devil May Cry: The Bloody Palace' expansions. Steamforged Games Ltd. will release The Walking Arsenal, Devil Trigger, and The Alpha & The Omega expansions for Devil May Cry: The Bloody Palace, on October 26. The Walking Arsenal adds new enemies such as the Hell Caina, Pyrobat, and Hellbat for Devil Hunters to slay.  Players will be able to play as the popular Lady and take on the...

Games Workshop releases Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Lumineth Ream-Lords Collection and Battletome: Lumineth Realm-Lords. Games Workshop will release the Lumineth Ream-lords Collection and Battletome: Lumineth Realm-lords, miniatures and rulebook for use with Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, for release September 12. The Lumineth Ream-lords Collection was previewed earlier in the year at the Las... 

Wizards of the Coast to offer double the product ordered on select Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair drops for WPN Premium stores. Wizards of the Coast is offering double the product on select Magic the Gathering: Secret Lair drops to WPN Premium stores in return for accurate, on-time POS data. WotC has been adding new perks for its WPN Premium stores in 2020 as well as adapting the program to the...

Toys R Us restoring controversial LOL dolls to UAE shelves. Following an outcry from UAE parents regarding the inappropriate nature of markings on some LOL Surprise! Dolls, Toys R Us, the distributor for LOL across the MENA region, took the decision to remove the dolls from their shelves. However, after a thorough investigation of the LOL dolls sent to the region, Toys R Us says it is now putting them back out into...

The Flash races Red Death in this McFarlane Toys two-pack. McFarlane Toys continues their journey into the Dark Multiverse with another figure release. We have seen this set announced before but now pre-orders are here and full figure details have arrived. The Flash and Red Death are ready to race into action with this special two-pack that included the McFarlane Toys debut of Batman Earth -52. 

MGA Entertainment opens new offices in France, Italy, and Spain as toy firm sees continued international growth. MGA Entertainment has opened new offices in France, Italy, and Spain in a move that will see the global toy company assume direct representation and sales for its entire portfolio of products in Southern Europe. The move is part of the company’s ongoing mission to maintain its position as one of the...

Step2 expands U.S. manufacturing operations. The Step2 Co. is expanding its manufacturing base with its acquisition of manufacturing, distribution, and shipping assets for its new facility in Decatur, Georgia. Step2’s Decatur location opened this summer in an effort to meet increasing demand for the Ohio-based company’s signature line of rotationally molded toys and home products.

NINTENDO REVEALS SUPER MARIO 35TH ANNIVERSARY GAMES. Velan Studios and Nintendo revealed Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit today — one of many games announced at the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct Event — watch it below. With the mixed-reality game, players can turn any living space into the next great circuit. Players design and construct the routes in the real world and then race the digital...

Hasbro announced Guess Who? Hometown Helpers, a game that celebrates healthcare workers, first responders and everyday heroes that have helped foster strength and community during the global health pandemic. Available for pre-order now  It is a new take on the family-friendly classic game that shines a light on essential careers, including Mom, Dad, Firefighter, Teacher, Nurse, Mail Carrier, Police Officer, Doctor 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

David Beckham's Guild Esports to float on London stock market. An e-sports company in which David Beckham owns a significant stake is seeking to raise £20m by listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange. Guild Esports will be the first in the UK to offer fans the chance to put money into backing its teams of gamers. The company plans to field teams in the global online games Fortnite, CS:GO, Rocket League and Fifa.

Epic Games accounts won’t be able to use Apple’s sign-in system as soon as September 11th. Apple’s “Sign In with Apple” login system will no longer work with Epic Games accounts as soon as September 11th, Epic said today. The new restriction is another casualty of Apple and Epic’s ongoing spat. If you currently use “Sign In with Apple” for your Epic account, Epic says you’ll need to update your account with new login...

NFL Superstars take a run in Subway Surfers. For the first time, NFL players will appear as playable characters in Subway Surfers through a new group licensing partnership, it was announced today by SYBO Games, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and OneTeam Partners (OneTeam). The endless runner mobile game crossed three billion downloads worldwide in August and was the No.1 most downloaded...

No More Robots and Game Devs of Color Expo launch $75,000 grant program. Descenders publisher No More Robots and the Game Devs of Color Expo (GDoC Expo) have joined forces to launch a $75,000 grant program. The program will award five grants worth $15,000 to "exceptional developers of color," who will also receive guidance and mentoring.

Fortnite special edition Nintendo Switch announced for Europe. Nintendo is releasing a new Fortnite-themed special edition Switch next month, via NintendoLife. The bundle includes yellow and blue Joy-Cons — the latter with the Battle Bus etched around the home button — and a dock that features various well-known Fortnite skins. The Switch tablet itself also has characters on the back. 

Assassin's Creed Valhalla bumps up release date to match next-gen Xbox launch. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is arriving a week earlier than previously announced on most platforms. Ubisoft announced that Valhalla, once slated for a November 17 launch, will now release on the recently-revealed Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X release date of November 10.

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

AMD’s next-generation Zen 3 CPUs and Radeon RX 6000 ‘Big Navi’ GPU will be revealed next month. Last week, Nvidia unveiled the $699 RTX 3080, which promises double the performance of the RTX 2080 for the same price when it releases next Thursday. Perhaps you’re already sold on that upgrade, but there is one reason you might want to wait: AMD will likely answer with its own competitor to the RTX 3000 series...

Apple is now seeking damages from Epic Games over breach of contractApple isn’t sitting idly by as the legal battle between it and Epic Games continues to gain momentum. The iPhone maker has now filed counterclaims against Epic Games accusing the company of breach of contract and asking the court to award Apple damages due to that alleged transgression. The exact size of those damages is unknown currently …

Nintendo boosting Switch production to meet consumer demand. Nintendo is increasing Switch production to 30 million units for the current fiscal year, according to a report from Bloomberg. People familiar with Nintendo's strategy claim the company is struggling to keep up with consumer demand despite raising production orders to 25 million units in August.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time demo will be available next week for those who pre-order the gameDeveloper Toys For Bob has revealed that those players who pre-order their digital copy of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time will get access to the game's demo, which will become available next week. The announcement was made in a recent episode of the PlayStation Underground, and more information...

Xbox Game Pass is adding EA’s Play subscription service at no extra cost. Microsoft’s Netflix-like subscription service is getting a bit bigger. Today, the company announced that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Game Pass for PC subscribers will soon get an EA Play membership at no additional charge. Essentially, this means that if you shell out for Game Pass Ultimate or on PC, your subscription will also include access...

Google distances itself from Epic versus Apple legal dispute. Google is trying to distance itself from the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple. As judges attempt to determine whether Epic's dispute with Google is related to the Fortnite maker's other dispute with Apple, Google has advised the two cases "should not be related."

Epic is attempting to have Fortnite reinstated on the App Store. Epic Games will attempt to have Fortnite reinstated on the App Store by filling a preliminary injunction against Apple on September 28, 2020. It's the latest maneuver in an ongoing legal dispute between Epic and Apple, which began when Epic added an unsanctioned payment method to Fortnite on iOS, prompting Apple to remove the title from its marketplace for breaching platform guidelines.

Xbox Series S: Microsoft confirms price and release date. Microsoft has confirmed that it will release a second next-generation console after a leak prompted it to unveil the Xbox Series S. It said the machine would be the "smallest Xbox ever" when released on 10 November in the US. The machine is set to cost £250/$299/€249. It is £50 more than the lowest-priced version of the firm's existing Xbox One range. 

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a new Zelda action game for the Switch. The next Legend of Zelda adventure is coming very soon. Today, Nintendo revealed a new title called Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which will launch on the Switch this year. The game, which is being developed by Koei Tecmo, looks to be a successor of sorts to the original Hyrule Warriors from 2014. That game combined the massive battles...

PUBG cuts video game ties with Tencent in India after ban. The maker of the hit video game PlayerUnknown's Battleground (PUBG) has cut ties with Tencent in India after Delhi banned apps with links to China. PUBG Mobile was one of 118 Chinese apps that the Indian government blacklisted over national security concerns. Developer PUBG Corporation said it would take on publishing responsibilities in India in a bid to...

CI Games opens internal studio Hexworks to develop Lords of the Fallen 2. Polish developer-publisher CI Games has opened a new studio called Hexworks to work on action-RPGs, starting with Lords of the Fallen 2. Hexworks is the third developer to work on the project, which is currently slated for launch on next-gen consoles and PC. The sequel is being pitched as a 'dark fantasy' title with challenging Souls-like combat. 

Karaoke game Twitch Sings will shut down at the end of the year. Twitch Sings, the streaming platform’s live karaoke game, is shutting down, the company announced. The company says it decided to close down the game effective January 1st, 2021 in order to “invest in broader tools and services that will help support and grow the entire music community on Twitch.” It launched in April 2019, and let streamers choose a song...

The Witcher 3's next-gen debut promises free upgrade for current-gen owners. The Witcher 3 is joining the growing list of games that plan to bridge the generational gap, and notably the 5-year-old title isn’t charging current-gen owners a penny to upgrade to the next-gen version. CD Projekt Red announced it’s working on an upgraded version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that brings the game to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox...

Fall Guys to use Fortnite’s anti-cheat software. Popular video game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout will use the same anti-cheat system as Fortnite, its developer has announced. The UK company, Mediatonic, said the update would be implemented within the next two weeks. Since the game launched, in August, players have found ways to cheat, such as flying or running faster than the default settings.

Here’s what you need to run Crysis Remastered on PCAfter a two-month delay following an underwhelming trailer, Crysis Remastered is finally launching on PC, PS4, and Xbox One this month. Ahead of its release, Crytek has unveiled the system requirements needed to run the game on your computer, and shockingly you won’t need a supercomputer this time …

Minecraft is coming to PlayStation VR as a free upgrade later this month. Minecraft is getting a free upgrade making the game playable in PlayStation VR later this month, developer Mojang Studios announced in a blog post today. Fans have been asking for PSVR Minecraft for a while now. Although the ever-popular game is already available to play on various virtual reality platforms (it launched on the Oculus Rift back in...

 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

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...

(the above posted after September 11th)

Testing specialists SGS gains China Compulsory Certification to help manufacturers sell toys into the region. SGS, has gained accreditation to test toys against the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) standard at its laboratory in Hong Kong. The development means that SGS can carry out testing against the CCC standards and guide manufacturers through the process in its facilities in China.

Alex’s Life Hack for keeping toys germ free. It is more important now than ever to keep as many germs away from the kiddos as possible! Did you know that most kids toys are actually dishwasher safe?! – they are!! So here’s the lifehack: simply put them in a laundry delicates bag and throw them right in the dishwasher. Dry- and back to the little ones they go!

India: Mandatory BIS Compliance for toy manufacturers & importers (Toys Quality Control Order, 2020). Pursuant to this Order, the toy manufacturers and Importer are under mandatory obligation to comply with the Bureau of Indian Standards ('BIS'), to meet the safety standards, while manufacturing and or importing the toys. From 1st September 2020, onwards it will be obligatory for the toy manufacturers/importers... 

ndian Standards.

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Press Releases . . .

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 11th)

JAMBO BOOKS SUBSCRIBES TO EMPOWERING NOTION OF DIVERSIFYING HOUSEHOLD BOOKSHELVES WITH CHILDREN’S STORIES OF INCLUSION Monthly Jambo Book Box Subscriptions Jump 4000% As Families Grapple How Best To Combat Polarizing Views Of Racism For Kids Ages 0-13. — Once upon a time — before COVID, stay-at-home schooling and George Floyd’s death — there lived Runako and Mijha and their two daughters. They tried to read a fresh story to the girls every night as there were plenty of wonderful books, initially. But they became dismayed by the lack of diversity of the characters in those books. So, they created Jambo Books for families to showcase kids that looked like their own and who looked like their neighbors.

BELOVED BY GLOBE-TROTTING CELEBS, SAY BONJOUR TO LES DÉGLINGOS WHIMSICAL CORDUROY PALS. Cuddle Up With A Super Soft Flamingo, Hippo, Llama, Ostrich or Tiger That Arrives In A Tube, Perfect For Gift Giving Or Just Because.  What do celebs Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg and Vanessa Paradis have in common besides fame and fortune? They are fans of the whimsical French toy line Les Déglingos. Translated into English as “The Wackos”, this beloved European plush collection uses corduroy fabric to create crazy creatures. Now American families can find them at independent toy and specialty retail shops stateside thanks to importer TriAction Toys.

Uncanny Brands Releases Collection of Star Wars The Mandalorian™ Themed Pop Culture Appliances.   Uncanny Brands, a leader in pop culture licensed small appliances, is adding eight new products to its line this summer, featuring the Star Wars fan favorite the Child, from the hit Disney+ series, The Mandalorian. All items will all be available as of August 2020. Offerings include three exciting waffle makers, one unique...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the above posted after September 14th)

MIPCOM 2020 moves entirely online. Five weeks out from the start date, Reed Midem has pulled the plug on a physical MIPCOM—a key event in the kids entertainment industry calendar. The virtual event will have three components: MIPCOM Warm Up, MIPCOM Week and MIPCOM Follow Up+. Beginning October 5, MIPCOM Warm Up will include market intelligence sessions, content and finance briefings...

NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME REVEALS 2020 FINALISTS. Which toys will join the ranks of Mr. Potato Head, Barbie dolls, and Etch-A-Sketch as some of the most memorable toys of all time? The Strong today revealed the 12 finalists for induction into its National Toy Hall of Fame in November, including Baby Nancy, bingo, Breyer Horses, Jenga, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Risk, sidewalk chalk, Sorry!,

Halloween Comicfest 2020 has collectible figures, but no comics. With what will likely be substantially reduced trick-or-treating for Halloween in the COVID era, Diamond Comic Distributors has substantially adapted Halloween ComicFest, an in-store event that normally includes special full-size comics produced especially for the event, as well as packs of mini-comics, which can be used instead of candy for trick-or-treaters.

Women in Toys introduces WIT Launch virtual programming seriesWomen in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) is looking toward the future with the debut of WIT Launch. WIT Launch is the latest educational programming series from the organization that champions the advancement of women through leadership, networking, and educational opportunities.

Registration for Kidscreen’s new digital event Kids of 2022 is now open. This series of research-driven presentations will run from October 20 to November 5 (with catch-up viewing available for two weeks following each session premiere). Every Tuesday and Thursday, kid culture experts will dive into new findings to help the industry understand the long-term impact the pandemic will have on kids. Kicking things off will be Cathy...

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

  1.  Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Announces ‘WIT Launch’ Virtual Program Series

2. Kids Have Voted — MGA Entertainment Hot Holiday Toys Included on Walmart’s Top Rated by Kids List

3. Hasbro Honors Essential Workers with Guess Who? Hometown Helpers

4. ZAG Expands Consumer Products Team, Appointing Lisa K. Foster as VP, Licensing, North America

5. Disguise Launches First-Ever LEGO Star Wars-Inspired Halloween Costumes

6. BBC Studios Names Penguin Random House Master Publishing Partner for Preschool Series Bluey

7. NHRA and Castline Race to Retail

NFL Superstars Take a Run in Subway Surfers

9. Festival of Licensing Unveils Community & Wellbeing Program Sponsored by ViacomCBS Consumer Products

10. WildBrain Spark and Funrise Toys Team Up on Digital-First Content Strategy for Launch of New Doll Brand ‘BFF Bright Fairy Friends’

Toyworld (UK) 

  1. Should old arrangements be forgot…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Ian Edmunds leaves Toymaster

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

  4. Reliance Industries offers Amazon $20b stake in its retail arm

  5. Amazon raises fees following ‘digital tax’ introduction

  6. Amazon’s 2019 tax figure draws ire from across industry

  7. John Lewis announces Top 10 Toys for Christmas

  8. Wow Stuff! unveils Peppa Pig’s Clever Car

  9. Young Americans – Learning Express’ Rick Derr talks to Toy World

  10. Flair unveils new look for its company website

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

 1.  Management of Avalon Hill Board Game Brand Will Move from Wizards of the Coast to Hasbro
  2.  Proudly Display A 'Dungeons & Dragons: Owlbear Trophy Figure' in the Gaming Room
  3.  Rolling for Initiative -- Your Customers Are Not Rational (But Then, Neither Are You)
  4.  Delays on Upcoming 'Magic: The Gathering' Releases
  5.  Funko Reveals 'Pop! Vinyl' Figures Featuring Iconic Hasbro Characters

  6.  Wizards of the Coast to Offer Double the Product Ordered on Select 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair' Drops for WPN Premium Stores
  7.  SolarFlare's 'Invid Invasion' Begins
  8.  FAA Grants Amazon Drone Permit
  9.  Dive Deeper Into Nordic Horror With 'Vaesen: Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries'
10.  Portal Games Unveils 'Robinson Crusoe: Treasure Chest'

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month 

Toy & Hobby (Australia)

TBA

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

 

Video of the Week

Throwback to 2018

Who doesn't love kids excited about their inventions? Alicia Alexander and Dan Klitsner put together this heart warming put-a-smile-on-your-face sizzle reel for our Young Inventor Challenge a couple of years ago. Princess Pirate Ships and more! 

 

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

 

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

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

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

If you would like to reach Philphilip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher