September 8 - 15, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin' Friday!
Thank you to Learning Express's Rick Derr for hosting a Young Inventor Challenge Camp in his store through our partnership with ASTRA Retailers. And a big congratulations to his store's 7 year old winner who will be going on to the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) International World Championship at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair this November! Also, thank you to Tim Walsh for bringing together an awesome YIC Advisory Board to reach more kids. Thank you to Mattel and Crazy Aaron's for sponsoring. We are looking for toy people and companies to join us in our mission!
The mission of the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) is to inspire the next generation to use creativity, critical thinking, and STEAM skills in the invention and innovation process and to connect professionals within the toy and game industry to mentor these young innovators in their design process.
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Person of the Week - Christopher Byrne, The Toy Guy
Christopher Byrne: New York Toy Fair: A Movable Feast
Though it may not seem like it to people who have only been in the toy business a scant decade or so, even longer, historically the dates of Toy Fair have moved over the last 120 years as the demands of a dynamic industry shifted. Its primary purpose has always been to sell toys to retailers—and get them made and on shelves for the holiday season.
In the early years, starting with the first organized Toy Fair in 1903, the idea was to promote the fledgling U.S. toy industry and promote domestic products at a time when most manufactured toys came from Europe. As the show grew—and it was only open to U.S. manufacturers at the time—it ran in mid-April and May. (A.C. Gilbert one of the founders of the Toy Association and creator of Erector sets, said, “Toys doesn’t not mean, ‘made in Germany.”) However, as buying patterns changed, toys became more sophisticated which increased production time, and, most importantly, production moved overseas; Toy Fair moved earlier in the year. In 1930, Toy Fair ran from February 2 to March 13. It continued moving earlier—and getting shorter, and one of the first two-week fairs was in 1960, the first two weeks of March. For many years, Toy Fair held the title as the longest-running trade show in the country. READ MORE...
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Cartoon of the Week: Ok, it isn't a cartoon, but it is playful! Sender is anonymous!
Lexophile Lovers: "Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers!
"In the toy industry, it's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins, novelist (adapted)
“If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this Earth.”
- Roberto Clemente
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
German toy manufacturer Haba filed for insolvency. The company is to be continued. The Upper Franconian toy manufacturer Haba Sales GmbH & Co. KG has filed an application for insolvency under self-administration at the Coburg district court. The company, based in Bad Rodach (Coburg district), announced that the court had ordered provisional self-administration. “The application for self-administration was...
Getting toys on shelves at mass-market retailers is harder than ever, but Spin Master, Funko and BBC Studios are all successfully tapping into dollar stores, specialty retailers and DTC to sell consumer products. One of the primary goals of every toyco is getting its new products stocked at big-box retailers, but the retail landscape has changed dramatically post-pandemic. Walmart, Target and Costco are more...
Disney and Comcast move up Hulu sale talks with valuation likely ‘way more’ than US$27.5bn”. The sale of Hulu has been a constant source of discussion over the past year in the US, with Disney owning 66% of The Handmaid’s Tale streamer and NBCUniversal parent Comcast holding the other 33%. A put-call deal struck in 2019 will come into effect in January 2024, through which Disney can force Comcast to sell its 33%...
TikTok is officially kicking off its US e-commerce efforts with the launch of TikTok Shop. The short-form video platform launched an in-app shopping experience in the U.S. after months of testing. TikTok Shop allows users to find and directly purchase products used in live videos, tagged in content shown on their algorithm-driven For You page, pinned on brand profiles or marketed in a new “Shop” tab. For creators...
US inflation pressures stubborn as fuel prices rise. Consumer prices in the US rose by more than expected last month, driven by higher costs for rent and fuel. The inflation rate, which measures the pace of price rises, was 3.7% over the 12 months to August, the Labor Department said, up from 3.2% in July. The figures underscore the challenges facing officials trying to stabilize prices, which soared last year...
Google trial: US takes on tech giant in landmark case. Just a few years ago, a crackdown in the US to curb the might of America's tech giants seemed at hand. On Tuesday, the next legal battle will begin - a high-stakes trial that pits the government against Google. The company is accused of unfairly cementing its position as the world's go-to search engine by paying billions of dollars to phone-makers like Apple and web …
Marvel Studios visual effects workers have voted unanimously to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union announced on Wednesday. The election held by the National Labor Relations Board marks the first time a unit made up solely of visual effects artists has unionized with IATSE in the VFX industry’s entire history.
Youtooz receives funding package from Decathlon Capital Partners. The funds will help to expand distribution and launch new product lines. Youtooz, a company that is known for its stylized collectibles, has received a significant funding package from Decathlon Capital Partners. The new funds will go toward expanding distribution and launching new product lines.
Eurozone interest rates raised to all-time high. Eurozone interest rates have been hiked to a record high by the European Central Bank (ECB). The bank raised its key rate for the 10th time in a row, to 4% from 3.75%, as it warned inflation was "expected to remain too high for too long". The latest increase came after forecasts predicted inflation, which is the rate prices rise at, would be 5.6% on average in 2023.
Holiday sales growth to be sluggish; six tips to weather the storm. A new holiday sales forecast is predicting sluggish holiday growth but offers some hope for improvement. Unadjusted seasonal sales are expected to grow 3.0% year-over-year in November and December, with 90% of the growth coming from e-commerce and mail-order sales, according to Bain & Company’s “2023 Holiday Shopping Outlook” study.
Indies and unions rally behind Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal. Nine amicus briefs have been filed in support of Microsoft's $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard by a group including indie developers, venture capitalists, the CWA labor union, and former regulatory advisors. As highlighted by The Verge senior editor Tom Warren on X, the briefs were submitted in response to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) ...
France halts iPhone 12 sales over radiation levels. France has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12 for emitting too much electromagnetic radiation. On Tuesday, the French watchdog which governs radio frequencies also told the tech giant to fix existing phones. The ANFR has advised Apple that if it cannot resolve the issue via a software update, it must recall every iPhone 12 ever sold in the country.
UAW prepares to strike as contract talks hit deadline. Staff at three of America's biggest carmakers are poised to strike in an unprecedented co-ordinated action. With current labor contracts set to expire on Thursday night, the United Autoworkers Union said the companies had not put forward acceptable offers. The fight threatens to trigger higher prices for buyers and major disruption for the firms: GM, Ford and Stellantis.
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IDW Publishing showed a loss of $1.28 million in its fiscal Q3 ended July 31, 2023, the result of lower sales coupled with higher expenses, a difficult combination. The loss was a big drop-off from the $595,000 loss in the year ago quarter, and from the $200,000 loss in the most recent quarte
***The above posted after September 15th***
WildBrain year-end revenue jumps 5%, driven by CPLG growth. The company generated US$393 million in revenue from its licensing and content businesses last year, and is building towards a location-based entertainment push for 2024.
Eugy sales set to exceed £10m by 2024. Brainstorm has announced that its collectible line Eugy remains as popular as ever and is forecast to surpass £10m in revenue.mSince launching in 2019, the eco-friendly craft brand Eugy has steadily grown in popularity with retail sales, in the UK & ROI, due to surpass £10 million by the end of the year
Square Enix suffering from mismanagement, "ad hoc dev process". A new report from Bloomberg claims Square Enix has lost nearly $2 billion in value after the release of Final Fantasy XVI.
Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after September 15th***
Amazon reveals the 2023 Toys We Love list, including 200 toys from brands like LEGO, Mattel, Magna-Tiles, and Disney. The list also features more than 100 new toys and more than 80 toys found exclusively at Amazon.
Inside the growth of Arab kids content in the Middle East. Increasingly globalized strategies come into play in the region, where execs are focused on elevating cultural representation and using platforms like YouTube to grow their IPs.
AUGUST 2023 CIRCANA BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS New Young-Readers Manga Debuts in the Top 20
Spotlight on Pocket Money Toys & Collectibles. Due to the cost of living crisis, a prominent spotlight has been shone on the Pocket Money & Collectibles category this year.
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Bear Sighting Forces Closures at Disney World. The black bear, which was spotted in a tree, was captured on Monday after some rides and attractions in the Magic Kingdom were closed. Singing and dancing animatronic bears are a common sight at the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World, but a bear that was spotted there on Monday was real and most likely looking for food, prompting officials to close some...
***The above posted after September 15th***
John Baulch, Toy World - The best laid plans … it’s the Friday Blog! I have had quite the week. Saturday should have seen Anita and I heading off for a mini break for our wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, we woke up on Saturday morning to find that our chosen destination – Marrakesh – had been hit by a devastating earthquake. Our thoughts are with the people of Morocco, we didn’t feel it would be appropriate...
A Constantly Rebooting Children’s Franchise That’s Actually Good. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is one of the summer’s surprise hits, highlighting the unlikely endurance of the wisecracking reptiles. In 1984, the comic-book artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a dark and snarky satire starring the cartoonish crime fighters. Then, in 1987, Eastman and Laird licensed...
He’s Been Barbie’s Boyfriend For 62 Years. Is That Enough To Get Ken In The Toy Hall Of Fame? The hugely popular Barbie movie may do something for the Ken doll that 60-plus years on toy store shelves couldn’t do: Get him into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The Ken doll is one of 12 iconic toys named as finalists for induction into the The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame, in Rochester, N.Y.
Saturday morning cartoons died on this day in 1992. So long, Smurfs. Adios, Alvin and the Chipmunks. Hello, "Saved by the Bell." If you were a kid in the 1980s, you'll remember this hallowed ritual. Every Saturday morning, you'd wake up at the crack of dawn (yes, even though school wasn't in session), pour yourself a heaping bowl of sugar-laden cereal (preferably of the Ralston-Purina variety — the Donkey Kong box was...
YouTuber Max Fosh had a viral moment on Saturday when he pulled at a reverse Uno card during the Sidemen FC charity soccer game. In footage from the game during the 78th minute, Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg gave Fosh, who played for the YouTube All-Stars, a yellow card, and Fosh responded by taking out a green reverse Uno card. Players on both sides and fans in London Stadium cheered...
Steve Reece - #23 TOY RETAIL: THREE OLD SCHOOL FUNDAMENTAL PRACTISES WHICH STILL WORK… Way back in the 1980s I experienced Toy retail for the first time. My grandparents had a wallpaper/decorating shop in Manchester, England, and my grandmother, being of mixed Russian, Byelorussian and Ukrainian descent started selling Matryoshka Dolls in the window of the store.
5 ways Zuru Toy Brand Has Dominated The Blind Box Toy Scene. Everyone from children to teenagers and adults alike are obsessed with their Mini Brands, Snackles, Buncho Balloons, and the many toys they have within their collection. ZURU have carved out a unique niche in the industry and captivated consumers with their quality products.
Toys and Trends: How Europe is getting kids moving again. In an era dominated by screens and digital interactions, the significance of physical activity for children has never been more crucial. Physical activity not only ensures the healthy growth and development of children but also instills in them habits that can last a lifetime. It aids in cognitive development, enhances social skills, and, most importantly, combats …
Inside the growth of Arab kids content in the Middle East. Increasingly globalized strategies come into play in the region, where execs are focused on elevating cultural representation and using platforms like YouTube to grow their IPs. As a region with a long history of storytelling and diverse subcultures, the Middle East looks poised for a transformational decade in media creation and consumption, thanks to cultural changes …
Touching Base with Games & Puzzles suppliers. As Games & Puzzles enters its peak selling period, Toy World catches up with senior figures in the sector to find out their thoughts on the all-important category. Major players in the Games and Puzzles sector tell Toy World how they category is gearing up for Q4, whether pricing has been affected by cost-of-living challenges and predict their bestsellers for this year.
Man charged after attempting to steal toy train from train collectors club.A Brentwood man has been arrested and charged Thursday after attempting to steal a toy from the Big Bend Railroad Club earlier in the week. Travis Akins, 22, of Brentwood, has been charged with attempted second-degree burglary, a class E felony; possession of burglary tools, a class E felony; and second-degree property damage...
AI- and camera-equipped robot toys for kids, Yea or Nay? I think this is crazy: Would you buy a toy, made by an overseas company, that's armed with a camera, connectivity and AI, and set it loose in your house for your child to play with? That's the idea behind the UGOT Robotic Kit, by Hong-Kong-based UBTECH, an AI and robotics company. The Robotic Kit a modular series of parts that allows one to assemble...
Guinness World Records: Astronauts, jugglers and cuddly toys - who has made it into the book for 2024? Skaters, ninjas, and even farmyard animals are among the weird and wonderful record-breakers who have made it into the latest edition. When is the right age to stop collecting teddy bears? Some might say your early teens or your mid-teens at a push. Try telling that to Nicolas Cherrywood from the US - who...
History and Nostalgia
Call It! from Ideal (1978). Released in 1978 by Ideal, the Call It! game married skillful rolls of the dice and pure luck to advance players along a winding game board with the goal of being first to reach the finish line. To begin, players chose one of the five tokens and placed it on the Start position of the game board. The player with the highest roll of the dice started the game.
Secret Sam Spy Accessories from Topper Toys (1966). The popularity of the company’s Secret Sam Attaché Case led Topper Toys to release additional spy gadgets for budding spies-in-training. Options included Bomb Binoculars, Pipe Shooter, Spy Dictionary Camera Book, Cane Shooter, and Bazooka Bat. The defining feature of each accessory was concealability – Topper designed them to resemble ordinary objects …
Licensing and Entertainment
Apple TV+ orders a spooky toon from DreamWorks Animation. Filmmaker and actor John Krasinski is executive producing CURSES!, which targets six- to 11-year-olds. CURSES! tells the story of two kids trying to lift an ancient family curse that has turned their dad into stone. To do this, they must join their mom on a journey to return artifacts that were stolen by their ancestors.
Costco’s $1.50 hot dog and soda combo’s price tag is “forever.” Now it’s been immortalized as a Monopoly piece. The wholesale giant this week unveiled a Costco-themed Monopoly set, just in time for the Seattle-based company’s 40th anniversary. Gone are the classic game pieces like the thimble, iron and boot. Instead, they’ve been replaced by Costco staples including the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo, oversized...
***The above posted after tBR ran September 15th***
Rubies has announced the launch of a new Monster High costume and accessory range for 2023. With a recent explosion in popularity following new media releases, including YouTube videos and more, the dress-up includes favourite characters like Clawdeen Wolf, Draculaura and Frankie Stein. The costumes come in both standard and deluxe editions with matching wigs also available, making them perfect for Halloween.
Monopoly: Dune, the most recent edition of the classic board game from The Op | Usaopoly, is now available for preorder, ahead of Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s theatrical release of Dune: Part Two next year. It’s the spice — and maybe the tension that accompanies all Monopoly family game nights — that will make this board game an instant hit for Dune lovers.
Every Mattel toy movie set for release following Barbie's blockbuster success. It was apparently always the plan, even before Barbie officially became the highest grossing toy movie of all time (almost tripling the next nearest box office hit of 2014’s The Lego Movie), for manufacturer Mattel to dig through its entire IP to create an extended cinematic universe.
Studio Bozzetto, with the support of Italian licensing consultancy VLM Licensing & Consulting, has appointed UK licensing consultancy and agency Lightbulb Licensing to develop the consumer products programme for the upcoming CBeebies show The Game Catchers. The news follows recent confirmation of Zodiak Kids and Family Distribution having picked up TV sales rights worldwide.
Thunderbird brands is taking off in a big way. New kids’ shows in production and a new division unveiled at Licensing Expo are only the beginning. At Licensing Expo, the company focused on four of its brands. Three are kids’ properties, and one is an adult brand. Although it’s not set to debut until January 2025, the response to “Mermicorno: Starfall” was particularly positive.
YuMe Toys expands ‘Stranger Things’ collection for season 2. YuMe Toys has announced the launch of a range of “Stranger Things” licensed products for the second season of the show. The new lines include: Season 2 lines of the “Stranger Things” Upside Down Capsules, including new character designs, such as Vecna and updated “reveal” features DZNR collectible plush toys, which are produced as limited-edition...
CreateOn and Crayola come together for Colorful Magnetic Tiles. Crayola, known for its colorful assortment of crayons and other art supplies, has partnered with educational toy maker CreateOn for a new collection of magnetic tiles featuring bold and colorful designs. The collection includes a variety of magnetic tile construction sets with different patterns as well as tiles that kids can draw on directly.
Cicciobello and Canta Tu! a new licensing program is now available in the market. The two high awareness brands are available for licensing projects and are now part of Maurizio Distefano Licensing’s portfolio Giochi Preziosi has decided to entrust Maurizio Distefano Licensing Cicciobello and Canta Tu to initiate new licensing projects with these iconic brands who are very loved by consumers.
Heathside Trading Ltd. inks licensing agreement for 'Star Trek'. Heathside Trading Ltd. inked a licensing agreement with Paramount Consumer Products for Star Trek, and plans to launch a line of board games under the Destination brand. The new board games will be based on different Star Trek series. These games will be Destination games, which are classic move and roll style games originally designed by Rachel Lowe.
Toikido partners with Chuck E Cheese on expansive Piñata Smashlings promotional campaign. Toikido, the London-based entertainment company on the cutting edge of digital design and toys, is partnering with Chuck E Cheese, the world’s number one global family entertainment fun center, to bring an immersive Piñata Smashlings experience to young fans, in-game and in-store, that will include the popular...
The NFL scores a Toy Story telecast with Disney and ESPN. The companies are teaming up on a kid-friendly feed of next month's game between the Falcons and Jaguars, set in one of Pixar's most iconic filmscapes. The NFL has recruited Woody and Buzz Lightyear to help it age down football viewing, partnering with Disney and ESPN for a kid-centric alternate telecast...
India’s Green Gold Studios is expanding Chhota Bheem beyond its animated series roots with a first live-action family film based on the popular franchise in the works. Chhota Bheem and The Curse of Damyaan (pictured) centers around a young boy and his friends as they fight off evil forces in the fictional kingdom of Dholakpur. Targeting kids and families, the film is slated for a May 2024 domestic theatrical release.
Disney Lorcana’s Rise of the Floodborn will introduce 6 alternate artwork cards with artists’ signatures. Disney Lorcana announced its second set today, and Rise of the Floodborn will expand on the foundation set by The First Chapter. Not content with more than 200 new cards and a fresh keyword, the popular trading card game also revealed a spread of six alternate art cards that will release as a special anniversary...
People of Play
Paris-based studio Samka Group has hired former Cartoon Network SVP Tramm Wigzell to be its first-ever global head of content. Based in LA and reporting to CEO Samuel Kaminka, Wigzell is tasked with developing new animated and live-action projects with US market and international co-production potential. Wigzell will also oversee business development for the companies Samka owns and operates, including...
***The above posted after tBR ran September 15th***
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has launched ExoDexa, a learning games platform incorporating K-12 curriculum. Bushnell serves as chairman of ExoDexa, joined by Leah Hanes as CEO and president. Hanes is also CEO of the Two Bit Circus Foundation, a STEAM education-based nonprofit organization. The educational game company uses an adaptive learning platform to educate students through gameplay...
The Entertainer announces Andrew Murphy as new CEO. The Entertainer is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Murphy as group chief executive officer. Andrew most recently held the role of group chief operating officer at John Lewis Partnership (JLP). Andrew started his career on the John Lewis shop floor in Aberdeen, rising quickly through the business to lead John Lewis’ Scottish business...
DreamHack taps Guy Blomberg to oversee North American festivals. Esports event holder DreamHack has enlisted Guy Blomberg to direct its N.A. division. As noted by DreamHack, Blomberg has extensive leadership with video game-related events, and held leadership positions for E3, PAX, and Comic-Con. In addition to event planning, he serves on the board of directors for the Int'l Game Developers Association (IGDA)...
Ex-Senate counsel Christianna Barnhart joins ESA as government affairs SVP. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has brought on Christianna Barnhart as its senior vice president of governmental affairs. Per the press release, she'll be "responsible for driving the trade association’s advocacy efforts on federal and state legislative and regulatory matters that are vital to the industry."
Marvin Berglas elected president of The Magic Circle. Continuing his family legacy, the founder of Marvin’s Magic has been elected as the president of The Magic Circle. The Magic Circle was formed in 1905 to promote magic and protect its heritage and is recognised as the world’s foremost magic society with around 1700 members around the world. These include all the top professional and elite magicians as well as...
Wind Sun Sky (Invincible) has hired former BBC Children’s head of brand Jo Redfern as its first-ever managing director of kids. She’s tasked with managing the growth of the company’s new IP Future Chicken—an eco-focused project that WSS plans to launch initially as a 16 x 12-minute mixed-media series, a podcast and a Roblox game.
BBC Studios has announced the appointment of Nat Poulter, former co-CEO of global social publisher Jungle Creations, as VP of Digital – Commercial. Based in London, Nat will be responsible for building a cross-platform digital consumer proposition across a portfolio of new and expanding brands with the aim of strengthening BBC Studios’ position as a partner for impactful and integrated global campaigns.
Banijay Kids & Family is bolstering its commercial division, hiring former Cloudco Entertainment exec Roubina Tchoboian to spearhead licensing in a newly created role. As the company’s first head of global licensing, Tchoboian will oversee and develop international licensing programs for Banijay’s portfolio of kids series, including Totally Spies!, Topo Gigio and Mr. Bean: The Animated Series.
Companies and Brands
Top toy brand Melissa & Doug will open its first-ever retail store on October 6, 2023, in New York. As the company's first brick-and-mortar location in its 35-year history, the 1,600-square-foot store will feature a wide selection of the brand's top-selling toys across categories. The “designed-to-inspire” brick and mortar will bring the brand to life in innovative ways consumers have not seen before, the company said.
Scholastic’s Graphix imprint currently dominates the children’s graphic novel market, and now it is venturing into new territory with the announcement of its first manga series, Unico: Awakening, adapted from Osamu Tezuka classic Unico. Like the original, Unico: Awakening will be published in color and will read from left to right. The four-volume series, along with a handbook and an activity book...
NJ-based toy creators, are excited to announce the launch of their newest product, Lil Wish Lanterns Surprise! This exciting new toy incites anticipation to reveal which magical Wishimal comes with your lantern! Lil Wish Lanterns Surprise! starter packs include a uniquely-designed lantern. Once the surprise Wishimal is revealed, it is placed inside the lantern.
Wizards of the Coast is offering Ponies: The Galloping 2 | Extra Life 2023, a card set for Magic: The Gathering that will support the Extra Life charity organization, through the Secret Lair. The crossover set will be available direct to consumers until November 6. Ponies: The Galloping 2 will include four cards featuring My Little Pony characters Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash, each with...
***The above posted after tBR ran on September 15th***
Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy retailer and a beloved British icon, has inaugurated its very first exclusive retail store in Italy with franchisee Giochi Preziosi S.P.A. Giochi Preziosi is a prominent player in Italy’s toy manufacturing and distribution industry and under the terms of the franchise agreement, has secured the exclusive rights to operate Hamleys stores throughout Italy, paving the way for flagship Hamleys...
Cloud b’s latest product, the Cloud Box, combines audio storytelling with a nightlight to comfort kids through the night. The Cloud Box is built with patented technology, and features 36 original stories, eight melodies, and eight white noises that are synchronized with four light projections to soothe kids and babies as they settle down for the night. The Cloud Box also has a recording function for adults and kids...
Creators of Snap Ships launch board game inspired by hit toy. The creators of the hit toy line Snap Ships have made a board game. The tabletop game Snap Ships Tactics is heading to retail after raising nearly $300,000 on a Kickstarter campaign. The game debuted at Gen Con and was designed by Josh Derksen of Lynnvander Studios. It features Snap Ships models from co-creators Scott Pease and Jeff Swenty.
Rachael Simpson-Jones paid a visit to Warlord Games to find out about the company’s retail expansion plans and what makes its wargaming ranges stand out from the rest. Warships gather in the choppy waters off the coast, bombers soar overhead to replenish their payloads back at the airfield, and in the ruins of a once bustling village, an enemy battalion is wiped out by a well-placed mortar. No, it’s not...
Eolo Toys opens permanent Hong Kong showroom. The company is known for brands like Biggies, Gummymals, and more. Eolo’s new showroom features a larger space and will offer opportunities for retailers, distributors, and partners to network with the co. The showroom will highlight the latest releases from Eolo and have the sales team on hand to answer any questions as well as provide product demonstrations.
Strider Bikes reaches 4 million bikes sold. It is estimated that at least 10 million kids have learned to ride on Strider Bikes. Strider Bikes has reached a sales milestone.The kids’ balance bike company revealed that it has sold more than 4 million bikes. One of the first pioneers in the balance bike space, Strider has been building lightweight, efficient, all-terrain bikes that develop two-wheeled balance...
Lego celebrates 20 years of Clone Wars with new set. The Lego Group has unveiled its latest fan requested set the Lego Star Wars Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser building set, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Clone Wars. This highly detailed and impressive 5,374-piece Lego set is the first Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series building set inspired by the Venator-class Star Destroyer and is the first Clone Wars …
Monogram International reveals Toy Fair plans. The company will showcase new products for popular brands One Piece, Star Wars, and more. Monogram International is bringing an impressive collection of mystery bags and other goods to this year’s Toy Fair. Toy Fair is coming right up, with companies across the industry heading to New York’s Jacob K. Javits Center.
Douglas Introduces My First Purse Plush. The latest plush toy from Douglas gives kids their first purse to play with. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the My First Purse is a plush playset that fits into a plush purse. Inside the purse, kids can find a key fob, just like an adult’s car key; a tube of pretend lip gloss; a plush cell phone with a screen that features a video call with a hedgehog; and a blue water bottle with pink flowers on it.
Just Play’s new style Bae Dolls feature 2D and 3D elements. Just Play’s latest collection of dolls is here and features a unique design to inspire a new kind of play. Style Bae is a collection of 10-inch dolls that have a 3D head with long locks of gorgeous hair combined with a 2D body that kids can style with seven removable outfits made of stickers.
Diverse Companies reveals new Mass Retail Division. Diverse Companies has unveiled its newest division: Diverse Brands. This mass retail division was previously known as part of the key account division of Diverse Marketing, but more recently branched off on its own. Diverse Brands, led by President Tamre Sutphen and Executive Vice President Ryan Fry, brings innovative products and brands to the top retailers...
Incredible Group to make Toy Fair debut. The company is also releasing new Popper Blasters next month. Incredible Group, a distributor of toys and licensed products, will be making its first appearance at Toy Fair in New York from Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Some highlights of the company’s Toy Fair lineup are licensed Jelly Belly toys and collectibles, including squishy toys that look and smell like jelly beans; squishy fidget toys including...
Phalanx launches new edition of Martin Wallace's 'Rocketmen'. Phalanx Games launched Rocketmen, a science fiction deck-building game by Martin Wallace, which will release into retail in October 2023. Rocketmen was first announced for release by Ares Games in December 2020 (see "'Rocketmen'"). It is a deck-building, resource management game where plan missions to other planets close to Earth.
'Everdell: Mistwood' heads to retail. Expansion adds solo and two player modes. Tabletop Tycoon will release Everdell: Mistwood, an expansion for the Everdell series of board games, into retail on October 13, 2023. In this expansion, the Nightweave and spiderlings are plotting to overrun Everdell. Players must find a way to outwit her and save the realm.
Para Bellum Games unveils 2000-point faction boxed sets for 'Conquest'. Para Bellum Games unveiled 2000-point faction boxed sets for Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings, which will release in late September 2023. Each faction boxed set comes with a ready to construct and play 2000-point army. These armies are geared toward getting Conquest fans into playing the game competitively.
10 Minutes With … Panini on the growth of the brand and keeping consumers engaged. Founded in Moderna, Italy, by brothers, Benito and Giuseppe Panini, in 1961, Panini has been producing and publishing collectible soccer stickers since the 1970 FIFA World Cup and has grown into a global brand synonymous with sticker collecting.
YouTube is letting a select number of users play online games as part of a new experiment. The games will live in a new “Playables” section on YouTube’s home feed, and can be accessed on both desktop and mobile. This confirms a previous report by The Wall Street Journal, which wrote that Playables would feature titles such as Stack Bounce, an arcade-style game where players bounce a 3D ball to break..
Cartamundi has recently undergone something of a transformation that promises to put the emphasis on building brands and community construction. Rachael Simpson-Jones sat down with Andrew Brown, marketing director for Northern Europe, and Nigel Kay, recently appointed sales director to find out about the changes within Cartamundi, the worldwide leader in games production, board and card games...
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s DLC has gender-neutral restrooms. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s first DLC, The Teal Mask, is finally out, and it takes the player and all their pocket monsters on an exchange student program to the land of Kitakami. In this wondrous land they’ll find new Pokémon to catch, new friends to make, and, as fans have discovered, restrooms that are gender-neutral. I, like many other players, stumbled upon this discovery in the first 10 minutes of arriving in Kitakami, at the community center where my character was staying.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order director departs from EA. Stig Asmussen, the director behind Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and its recent sequel has left publisher Electronic Arts for unspecified reasons. 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was a huge hit, selling millions of copies and garnering rave reviews from critics and fans. Earlier this year, the game’s sequel, Jedi: Survivor, debuted to equally positive reviews and sales. Both games were seen by many as a huge improvement over EA’s previous Star Wars output, which included …
How Roblox hopes to capture brands’ attention – and budgets – with its latest updates. As Roblox continues to expand, brands are still top of mind for the leaders of the metaverse platform. Over the weekend, a select group of developers, marketers and Roblox users gathered in San Francisco for the latest iteration of the annual Roblox Developers Conference. At this year’s event, Roblox rolled out a slate of new tools and functions — all of which at least partially intended to make the metaverse platform more accessible to brands and marketers.
PS Plus September games are a rad grab bag of RPGs, shooters. The fall season is fast approaching and with it comes a new lineup of games for PlayStation Plus subscribers. Keeping in line with last month’s diverse catalog of PS Plus offerings, September’s list features role-playing games, first-person shooters, and gorgeous story-driven games coming to the service on September 19. First up is Nier: Replicant ver.1.22474487139, the 2021 remaster of Square Enix’s cult-classic 2010 action-RPG, Nier: Gestalt.
Xbox Live Gold is regenerating into Xbox Game Pass Core. Xbox Game Pass Core is replacing Xbox Live Gold tomorrow, and the newly-rebranded subscription will offer access to 36 titles at launch. Back in July, Microsoft announced Xbox Live Gold will be supplanted by Game Pass Core on September 14. At the time, the company said the entry-level subscription plan would include access to over 25 titles from the existing Xbox Game Pass library. Now, Microsoft has confirmed that 36 titles will be available to play on the Xbox Series X | S …
Embracer might sell Gearbox two years after $1.38 billion acquisition. Embracer is reportedly considering the sale of Borderlands developer Gearbox Entertainment just over two years after it purchased the company for $1.38 billion. According to a report from Reuters, the Swedish conglomerate is exploring a sale with the help of Goldman Sachs and Aream & Co and has already received interest from two unnamed parties. Gearbox CCO Dan Hewitt sent an email to staff confirming Embracer was looking at the studio's options, including selling it or …
Blizzard has banned over 250K Overwatch 2 cheaters since launch. In its efforts to make Overwatch 2 a healthy place to play, Blizzard Entertainment has banned over 250,000 cheaters since launch. The developer revealed the metric in its recent blog post, showing that its goal to reduce cheaters has yielded results. That's worth noting, given its originally rocky path. At launch, Overwatch 2 had a controversial SMS Protect system which required players to use their phone number to verify their Battle.net account. It was especially damaging to those with …
Unity engine: Among Us and Slay the Spire makers join criticism. What do hit indie games Among Us, Slay the Spire and Cult of the Lamb all have in common? They're all made with the Unity engine - a development tool that's popular with smaller studios. Or, at least, it was, until its owner announced plans to introduce a new pricing strategy.
Highlighted Press Releases
The Learning Journey Announces 17 New Product Awards. The Learning Journey International, LLC (TLJI) is continuously innovating and improving product lines to offer the best educational value to families all over the world. New-to-the-brand products and revamped products remain recognized for the educational opportunities they provide. This summer, TLJI is proud to announce 17 new product awards! Awards have been received from the following: PAL Awards (4), Mom's Choice Awards (2), Academics' Choice (1), The National Parenting Center (1), Creative Child Awards (6), Baby Maternity Awards (3)
Safety and Counterfeiting
Buffalo Games Recalls Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits Due to Serious Ingestion, Choking and Obstruction Hazards; One Infant Death Reported; Sold Exclusively at Target. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Buffalo Games LLC, of Buffalo, NY, are announcing the recall of about 52,000 Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits due to ingestion, choking and obstruction hazards.
Four child protection regulations to have on your radar – and how to comply with them. Yoti's Julie Dawson offers advice to developers on verifying the age of their players and protecting them from inappropriate content. There are many wonderful learning and educational opportunities available online, and in an ideal world we create an online environment where children can thrive. However, much of...
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Industry vets, educators, mentors join POP’s Young Inventor Challenge Advisory Board. People of Play (POP), host of toy and game industry events that occur during Chicago Toy & Game Week, has revealed the formation of an advisory board for the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC). The YIC is a toy and game design and pitch competition for kids ages 6 to 18 that is held during the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. “2023 marks the 17th...
Hasbro announces Women Innovators of Play Challenge. Innovators of Play Challenge, which is open September 12 to October 12. Hasbro is searching for the next great woman-led mass market toy or game; submitted ideas will be judged on innovation, fun factor and playability, design and aesthetics, mass marketability, and manufacturability. Those who submit toys or games to the Challenge must...
The British Toy and Hobby Association has awarded a Golden Teddy to Stephen Town as he retires from the toy industry. Steve has worked a lifetime in toys including at companies such as Lorimers, Westgate Co-op, Youngsters and SMF. During those years, and for many years after, Steve took on a leadership role on the TRA (Toy Retailers Association) Council. Steve was a Council member for more than 17 years...
National Toy Hall of Fame reveals 12 finalists for induction. Twelve finalists for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame have been announced, The Strong National Museum of Play said Wednesday. Seven of the 12 finalists this year are first-time finalists. The finalists include baseball cards, Battleship, bingo, Bop It, Cabbage Patch Kids, Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks, Connect 4, Ken...
Red-State libraries pull out of American Library Association over claims AA's free speech efforts are political. State libraries in Montana, Missouri, and Texas, as well as the Campbell County Library in Wyoming and the local library in Midland, TX, have all announced they are leaving the American Library Association, the Associated Press reports, objecting to the ALA’s defense of challenged books...
The Big Christmas Press Show 2023, held on Wednesday 13th September at the Business Design Centre in Islington, was kicked off with the much-anticipated unveiling of 33 The Big Christmas Wishlist award winners. The awards were introduced this year in response to requests by journalists and the retail community. The winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges comprising a range of...
The 14 th Annual Blue Plate Media Lounge, at NY Toy Fair, sponsored by Blue Plate Media Services, in association with Toy Association, will be available free to all Toy Association exhibitors and Show attendees, on Monday, October 2 nd , Room 1D05, at New York Toy Fair. This highly anticipated educational lounge, commemorating its consecutive 14 th Year, will provide a series of timely, informative Media...
The 2024 D23 Expo will be the biggest edition yet and will take place from August 4 - 11, marking the first week-long event. Major announcements from all branches of Disney can be expected during the Expo, including film and TV projects from Marvel and Star Wars.
In addition to film and TV, the Expo also focuses on updates and teases for Disney theme parks, giving fans a taste of what's to come in future visits.
Starting in 2025, the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) plans to fold its kids media awards into the main ceremony as part of a new Young BAFTA rebrand. This strategic move comes at a time when the annual UK film, TV and gaming awards program is seeing a consistent drop in new entries and industry engagement, according to the org. BAFTA has traditionally hosted a separate Children and Young People...
Hasbro releases Pulse Con 2023 lineup. Hasbro will reveal more than 30 new products throughout the day. Hasbro’s Pulse Con is returning for another year of virtual content and product releases on Sept. 22. Hasbro will reveal more than 30 new products throughout the day alongside panels from Marvel, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Power Rangers, Transformers, and G.I. JOE...
Brand Licensing Europe 2023 content agenda announced. Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has announced the content agenda for its 2023 event, which takes place Oct. 4-6 at London’s ExCeL. The full BLE 2023 content agenda, including speakers, is available now. All sessions are free to attend and focus on the trends defining brand licensing, extensions and collaborations with sector-specific sessions, covering...
Spielwarenmesse eG’s Kids India sees successful 2023 show. The show welcomed more than 5,315 trade visitors from 35 countries. The ninth Kids India wrapped up earlier this month, reporting a successful event that welcomed more than 5,315 trade visitors from 35 countries. Kids India, jointly organized by Spielwarenmesse eG and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, was first established in 2013 and …
Licensing Awards 2023 Winners Announced. On Sept. 12, the licensing industry gathered in The Great Room at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel to learn the winners of the 2023 Licensing Awards. Compered by comedian, Tom Allen, standing in for Joel Dommett, the audience of 1,200 were welcomed by Max Publishing’s Ian Hyder and Jakki Brown. The awards culminated with Danny Schweiger and Mark Schweiger...
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed
If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE
Joan Packard Luks, MARCH 14, 1946 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2023, Joan was a former President of Women in Toys and left a legacy of mentorship and work in toys and licensing.
Luks previously worked as the Director of Licensing at GUND, fostering partnerships with industry bigs such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, and others. She then moved on to leading her own company, The Serenata Group. Luks also worked closely with her partner David Wollos at The ThinkTank Emporium.
“Joan's vibrancy, positivity, and warmth brightened the lives of everyone fortunate enough to know her. Her contributions to our industry were matched only by her genuine kindness and unwavering dedication to uplifting others.” WiT President, Janice Ross
In addition to her work in the licensing industry, Luks was an important member of the WiT community. Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment is a non-profit organization with the aim of advocating the advancement of women through a variety of opportunities in leadership, networking, and education.
Luks’ work as President of WiT included mentorship, advice, and support, working diligently toward the goal of a more equitable workplace for women in the industry.
WiT has extended its condolences to Luks’ family, friends, and colleagues. A memorial service will be held today at Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors. More details as well as the opportunity to share memories are available on the official page.
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