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January 6 - 13, 2023


Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

Last week I shared the POPDuo interview of Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel, by Kedar Narayan, our Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) Ambassador and Kedar's behind the scenes tour of Mattel’s Design Center.


While Kedar was in LA for Mattel, he stopped by to meet Jim McCafferty of JMP Creative.  Jim and his team gave him this over-the-top fun behind-the-scenes tour. *Spoiler Alert* you’re going to need a tissue as you watch the exchange between Jim and Kedar at about 6:40.

Bob Fuhrer sent me an amusing New Yorker cartoon and suggested adding a toy/game related joke or cartoon each week tBR. He's right! We could all use some levity. So, if you see a funny cartoon or joke, send it in! 


​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues! You can also comment on the posts in the News Feed! 



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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers

Create the Space

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In 2011, when I was struggling to bounce back from breast cancer, I found myself depressed and adrift.  I knew I had to make some changes, but I didn’t really know what changes to make at that point.  Shortly after my course of treatment ended, I made plans to meet up with good friends in Sedona, AZ.  Known as a “spiritual vortex,” Sedona seemed like a good place to get healing and clarity. 


Sedona vortexes (or ‘vortices’) are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration.  Many people have reportedly felt inspired or recharged after visiting a vortex.  There are four main vortexes in Sedona that seem especially alive with this energetic field, one of which—Bell Rock-- I visited on that trip.


I climbed up the rock and found a place to sit and meditate.  I got two very clear intuitive messages during that meditation.  First was “All is well” and I instantly felt a sense of calm. The second message was a bit less direct: “Create the space.”  Create the space?  For what?  As I reflected on what that meant, I realized that a fool-proof way to invite something new into your life is to first create the space for something new to occupy.  Afterall, it is a scientific truth: nature abhors a vacuum.  


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Behind the Scenes at JMP Creative: Jim McCafferty, President of JMP Creative, & Kedar Narayan, Young Inventor Challenge Ambassador

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Person of the Week: Ric Scott, Educational Insights

Growing Up with Monkeys: The Winding Road That Sparked a 20+ Year Career in Toy Development

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“You never know where life will lead you, especially if you keep an open mind,” says veteran toy developer, Ric Scott of Educational Insights, who prides himself on never saying “no.” This is the attitude that led him from furniture and car design to feature film art direction to theme park attraction design before finding his true calling in toys.


After working with some of the biggest toy companies in the world, Ric Scott now hangs his hat at Educational Insights, the California-based educational toy manufacturer committed to igniting the spark in every child. Learn more about his path, process, and commitment to sustainability, and how Educational Insights sparks Ric’s passion, below.


How did you get into industrial design?

When I was a kid, my dad was always making something, and I was always by his side. I started helping him in the workshop when I was about two (really!), eventually becoming the only kid in elementary school who was using a cutting torch at home. In college I was drawn to electrical engineering, but I missed the building and testing of physical things, which I found in industrial design. I consider myself a problem solver. Industrial design combines math, science, and design to find holistic solutions. I love applying these principles to consumer products.


Financial and Legal


Retail Trends Media reported that, following ongoing, long-term discussions, Smyths Toys will be opening stores in The Netherlands, with the first 2 locations slated for launch in time for the Easter 2023 holidays. The Dutch website says that 5 yrs ago, at the beginning of Jan. 2018, the retailer announced an ambition to open thirty stores in The Netherlands in the short term, to be followed by other countries on the European...


Party City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the latest casualty in the U.S. retail industry as persistently high inflation takes a toll on consumer spending. Troubled retailers often seek bankruptcy protection following the holiday season to take advantage of the cash cushion provided by recent sales. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY.O) raised doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern earlier this...


Tencent fired over 100 workers, including some within its video game division, for offences including suspected bribery and embezzlement in 2022. As reported by Reuters, the Chinese tech company said those incidents span over 70 cases across businesses such as live-streaming, advertising, and video games.  

Microsoft has confirmed it intends to make 10,000 layoffs by the end of Q3, FY23. The news comes with the Xbox maker pursuing a mammoth $68.7 bill acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft said the job cuts are signed to align its cost structure with its revenue targets and "where we see customer demand." Addressing employees in a communication shared on the Microsoft blog, CEO Satya Nadella said the layoffs...

***The above posted after January 13th***


Spin Master Corp. formally revealed its plans to acquire HEXBUG from Innovation First International. The pending deal is set to close next month and marks Spin Master’s 28th acquisition since its founding in 1994. HEXBUG launched in 2007 and has since expanded to include a robust portfolio of more than 100 toys, including buildable Nano playsets, licensed BattleBots, mechanical bugs, and HEXMODS R/C. 

The online retail giant Amazon has announced that it is to close three of its UK warehouses; those in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster and Gourock. At the same time, Amazon has also detailed plans to open two new sites in Peddimore (West Midlands) and Stockton-on-Tees (County Durham) which it says will create 2,500 new jobs. The 1,200 people affected by the closures will be offered roles at other warehouses around the country,

Private equity fund Balmoral Funds revealed that Enesco has been sold to Ad Populum. Based in Itasca, Illinois, Enesco is a leading designer and wholesaler of gifts, home accents, and collectibles. Since its founding in 1958, the company has sold a variety of owned, artist, and licensed brands, such as Department 56, Our Name Is Mud, Izzy & Oliver, Disney, Lolita, DC, and Jim Shore.


US inflation eases as energy prices drop. A sharp drop in energy prices, in particular gasoline, is helping to ease cost-of-living pressures in the US. US inflation was 6.5% over the 12 months to the end of December, down from 7.1% in November, the US Labor Department said. That was the smallest increase in more than a year, and marked a sixth month in a row of declines. 


Saudi state-backed investment fund now owns 6 percent of Nintendo. Saudi Arabia's state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF) has upped its stake in Nintendo to 6 percent. That's according to a filing spotted by Reuters, which shows PIF now owns a 6.07 percent stake in the Japanese console maker. PIF is chaired by Saudi crown prince and deputy prime minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, who has been linked...


Global recession warning as World Bank cuts economic forecast. The global economy is "perilously close to falling into recession", according to the latest forecast from the World Bank. It expects the world economy to grow by just 1.7% this year - a sharp decrease from the 3% it predicted in June. The report blames a number of factors stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic. 



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Financial Reporting




Very Group reported that retail sales grew 2.2% against the corresponding period in 2021, when the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic drove strong performance among UK online retailers. Compared with the corresponding period in 2019 (pre-pandemic), Very retail sales grew 19.6%.


Roku Ends 2022 With More Than 70 Million Accounts, Streaming Hours Up 19%

Ubisoft delays Skull and Bones, cancels more games, and announces new cuts. Ubisoft held an emergency call with investors on Wednesday to reveal that the company’s 2022 sales had fallen well below expectations and that it would be taking drastic measures going forward


Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

China: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’ Secure February Release Dates; First Marvel Movies In Market Since 2019

Games theory: Glut of toys sparks massive discounts, pain for industry



ICv2 columnist Scott Thorne makes his games industry predictions for 2023.


***The above posted after tBR started sending January 13th***


Paw Patrol tops Netflix's most popular kids' shows and movies

Rick Derr from Learning Express talks through 2022, discusses the endless discounting in the US during the busiest season and gives his outlook for 2023.


Toy World Exclusive: UK Toy retail remains upbeat

What each streaming service has up its sleeve in 2023

Kidscreen - Five predictions that could define the kids market in 2023


Is ChatGTP The Future Of Customer Service?



Bandai UK on the soaring popularity of Collector products.



DECEMBER 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS Manga First Volumes Are Holiday Faves

TCGplayer top 25 sealed product (with price shifts) - December 2022.

Netherlands - More retail spaces converted into homes bringing retail vacancy to 10-year low. “It also applies to the toy industry,” Locatus director Gertjan Slob said, according to NOS. “In 2004, our country still had over 1,100 toy shops, of which there were still over 600 left. Now we can see from the figures that the number of toy shops is rising slightly again. 

All eyes were focused on Roblox last year, but in 2023, UK research firm Dubit says the industry should pay attention to Fortnite Creative. The gaming platform is evolving into a space where users can make and play their own games, and it could become a new hot spot for kids.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

John Baulch - What next for trade show season? Toy Fair season 2023 is set to look very different from the traditional January/ February period. For starters, the long established trip to Hong Kong in the opening days of the New Year is off again this year for the vast majority of European and American visitors. The Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair was expected to be a largely domestic event this time round, with a...

How games can make behavioural science better. Wordle, Minecraft and Scrabble are played online by millions. Gamifying experiments can make behavioural research more inclusive, rigorous and reproducible — if it’s done right. When US cognitive scientist Joshua Hartshorne was investigating how people around the world learn English, he needed to get tens of thousands of people to take a language test.


***The above posted after January 13th***


John Baulch, Toy World - Being cheeky…it’s the Friday Blog! It feels strange not writing this Blog from Hong Kong. Even though this is the third year in a row that I’ve not travelled there in January, a part of me still thinks that’s where I should be at this time of year. The FOMO is not as acute as it might have been, given how few of my UK customers are there this year, although I have read a posts from a few people who did make the...


Ice Bath Business Meetings Are a Thing Now, Apparently.  In a recent article from The NY Times, executives report preferring to address workplace challenges after “[spending] 6 mins in icy cold water, breathing through the pain.” At nouveau social wellness clubs, like BIÂN, Remedy Place and Bathhouse, executives are able to catch up, exorcise the demons of a flubbed deal, and even interview job applicants…all while...


Mom Goes Viral After Finding Daughter On Roblox To Ask Her To Defrost Lasagna For Dinner. Chariel Watson and daughter play the online game together all the time — which proved helpful when the 11-year-old wasn't answering her mom's calls. Instead of bothering with a voicemail, Watson went on Roblox and found Miracle just before the 11-year-old sped off in a virtual car.

In his Toy World column this month, Jonathan Chambers from Generation Media examines the outlook for 2023 and how to achieve marketing success in tough times. Jonathan reflects on how since the global outbreak of Covid early 2020, the industry has been subject to unprecedented change and hoped for a more optimistic 2022, which didn’t quite happen. Having launched Generation Media during the last ...


Inside The Secretive World Of Shark Tank Deals: Who The Real Winners Are. After sharing his “American Dream” story about immigrating from Kyiv, Ukraine to New York and starting his toy business—a Lego competitor in which every block is the same shape, allowing users to create complex, 3D models—O’Leary offered the young entrepreneur a typically sharky deal: He’d give Smolyanskyy $100,000 in return for half of the...


Much of the tech at CES is ready for primetime, but we also get a glimpse of the big ideas that may or may not come to fruition. Here are some of the more intriguing concepts from the show. CES is typically where you get a first glimpse at the technology that will be hitting store shelves in the coming year. But many companies use the show as a way to preview concepts or show off prototype technology that may not...


A stunning shape-shifting screen from Samsung and a flying car that may soon actually hit the streets (skies?) were among our favorite highlights of CES 2023. The world's biggest consumer electronics show is back and, for the first time since 2020, that means prowling an actual show floor in Las Vegas. CNET has been on the ground, sifting through the big reveals from companies like Samsung, LG, Intel, Nvidia, Razer...

Disney Princesses Return to Mattel as Barbie Maker’s Turnaround Ambitions Grow. A line of dolls hitting the shelves this weekend will test whether the new design mojo is working. Nearly a decade after losing the Walt Disney Co.’s princess doll license to rival Hasbro Inc., Mattel is back to making and selling the doll versions of some of Disney’s iconic characters.


A teacher in Melbourne, Australia is gaining worldwide attention after making handmade toys for her students based on the drawings they created in their classroom.  Reid Parker, a student’s parent, posted the photos on social media to "share how wonderful they [the toys] were." "I guess it came at the right time of the year, because it became a very widespread story and captured the hearts of a lot of people,"...

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History and Nostalgia

From Barbershop to International Games then Mattel: The Evolution of UNO. Mattel recently announced UNO Flex, the latest expansion of the number-one non-collector card game in the U.S. Like some of the company’s other UNO variants, Flex incorporates the game’s traditional rules with new Flex cards that allow players to change the color or action of a card. The launch of this new version is the latest milestone...


Monopoly Was Designed to Teach the 99% About Income Inequality. The story you’ve heard about the creation of the famous board game is far from true. I spent 5 yrs researching the game’s history for my new book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, and found that Monopoly’s story began decades earlier, with an all-but-forgotten woman named Lizzie Magie, an artist...

Computer to cardboard: Video game-themed board games. Board games and card games that attempt to duplicate the look and play of video games, effectively or not, have been popular since video games began. Today, there are millions of video games, table games, and multiple hybrid examples. Games touch our thoughts, shape our pastimes, and influence other games we play. Games impact us, but they also impact...

Ice Bird from Kenner. Released in 1974 by Kenner Products, Ice Bird was a toy to make snow cone-inspired treats at home. Everything needed to get started was in the box. The main component was a plastic orange and yellow bird with a round opening on its back and small metal grater attached to its base. A rectangular tray was included that could be filled with water and placed in the freezer to create a large block of ice. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

On the heels of a record-breaking year where Disney Junior ranked as 2022’s #1 TV Network among Kids 2-5 overall and retained its standing as the #1 Preschool Network for the last 10 years (every year since its launch), Disney Branded Television has ordered second seasons of its newest animated series Firebuds and SuperKitties, as well as an early season two renewal for upcoming series Pupstruction. 


Sambro has entered 2023 with a raft of new contracts in the licensed toy space as it drives its ambitious growth plans for the UK and EMEA regions over the next 12 months and beyond. Already working closely with a number of top licensors, the company recently secured new and extended agreements with Cosatto, Disney, Hasbro for 2023 and renewed its Paramount contract for 2023-2025.

Orchard Toys has confirmed an Indian licensing agreement as it expands its international distributor network and explores expanding its network of distributors, with new partners for Benelux, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GAS). Offering distribution through its Indian infrastructure, Gameworks LLP is looking to deliver the success Orchard Toys has seen in the UK, Italy and USA.

IMC Toys is set to strengthen the licensing roll out for its hugely successful Cry Babies Magic Tears brand. Alongside a fresh new Tropical brand theme launching in the spring, and brand-new animated episodes scheduled for release shortly, 2023 will see a whole host of new UK licensees coming on board. Poetic Brands will be launching a full range of Cry Babies Magic Tears kids’ apparel, which will include day wear...

Ravensburger announced that the first set from the collectible trading card game (TCG) Disney Lorcana will be released in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg from August 2023. Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter will feature a line-up of products and accessories featuring all-new, original illustrations of beloved Disney...

As pet ownership levels in the United States continue to reach new heights, MetLife Pet Insurance announced it will partner with one of the world’s most legendary pets, Snoopy, to build greater awareness of the critical importance of pet health insurance. While there are over 90 million families with pets in the U.S. today, less than 3% of those pets are insured.

Tomy will launch the new Pop Up Super Mario Game at the end of March, with it expected to be one of the most successful pop-up games yet. Super Mario, part of the Nintendo brand, is a key player in the licensed toy market, and since its creation in Japan in 1975, the game has proved to be a firm favourite among families, having recently celebrated its 46th anniversary.

Posh Paws International and Whitehouse Leisure have signed a three-year partnership deal with the emoji brand to produce a range of Emotional, Multicultural, Official, Joyful and Iconic plush gifts for 2023 across EMEA. The emoji brand and its related icons are a globally recognised language that is seen and used daily to communicate how people feel, and Posh Paws will bring the most popular and widely used emoji brand...

Viewers in the Spanish-speaking Americas will be able to dig into more than 1,000 episodes of animated content, thanks to several big package sales just closed by CAKE. The London-based distributor’s head of sales, Bianca Rodriguez, brokered a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery that includes two seasons of 2D-animated fictional reality series Total Drama Island (26 x 22 minutes); two seasons of British coming-of-age...

Disney Branded TV has inked a new overall deal with writer/animator Dan Povenmire that will include a revival of Phineas and Ferb, which he co-created with Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Under the agreement, Povenmire will produce two brand-new seasons of Phineas and Ferb, for 40 episodes in total. This popular series originally aired from 2008 to 2015 on Disney Channel and Disney XD. 


Genius Brands International is getting into the music business. The kids’ entertainment company, known for its content such as Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten on Kartoon Channel and Llama Llama on Netflix, has opened the doors to a new division, Genius Music. Genius Music concentrates on the development and monetization of music publishing rights for new streaming platforms and existing broadcast outlets. 


Kids2 and Moonbug Entertainment are launching a new animated kids’ show. Baby Einstein Ocean Explorers is a STEAM-based show with 5-minute episodes that explore the ocean with Baby Einstein characters like Cal, Neptune, Opus, Tinker, and Dean. “Each episode was created to spark curiosity while supporting key development milestones,” says Rochelle Wainer SVP of Global Insights and Analytics at Kids2. 


Barcelona-based distributor GoldBee has closed three new broadcast deals for preschool series The Game Catchers, including a key one in the UK. CBeebies has acquired all linear and streaming rights to the 2D/CG-animated series produced by Canada’s Sphere Animation and Studio Bozzetto in Italy, and it will be dubbed with British voice actors for a more local feel before it launches this spring on linear TV and iPlayer.


PBS KIDS is looking to encourage an interest in problem-solving and earth science among elementary school students with two new 2D-animated series. The pubcaster has greenlit Lyla in the Loop (pictured below) from Pennsylvania-based Mighty Picnic (Peg + Cat) and Canada’s Pipeline Studios (Alma’s Way). This 40 x 30-minute series centers around a seven-year-old girl who looks for creative solutions to daily problems...


Nelvana is aiming to capture The Most Magnificent Thing…again. Canada’s Corus Ent. has greenlit a CG-animated series based on author Ashley Spires’ book and a same-name 2019 short film for its Treehouse preschool channel. Millie Magnificent features the book’s namesake protagonist taking on kid-sized challenges in the neighborhood with her friends and pet dog using STEAM-based skills and creative problem... 


When Heathside Trading was established 17 years ago, it was as a clearance line company, but the business is now becoming better known for its Khadou brand, which covers a broad range of price points and properties including Minecraft, Sonic, DC and Only Fools and Horses. Max tells Toy World how the collectibles division came about after acting as a distributor for other companies, plus a desire to...


Zuru‘s globally popular collectible toy line 5 Surprise Mini Brands is enjoying continued success in the United Kingdom & Ireland. Mini Brands was 2022’s No.6 item in the total market YTD, with Mini Brands Disney coming in at No.12 in October, as per NPD. In addition, Mini Brands has amassed over 5b views on TikTok. This success helped Zuru become the No.7 supplier in the UK YTD.


Jazwares, the global master toy partner for CoComelon, will be taking over direct distribution of the licensed toy line in the UK & Ireland as of January 2023. Holly Oldham, managing director, UK and Nordics, Jazwares, commented: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the CoComelon brand, with brand engagement at an all-time high. We would like to thank the team at Bandai for all the work it has done to date.


CandyRific is bringing a new Nickelodeon candy novelty to market.  The SpongeBob SquarePants candy fans are topped with Spongebob driving a boat with the boat’s motor acting as the fan. The included candy is stored in the fan’s handle for easy access. The fans will be available for retailer orders starting next month and will ship in time for the summer. 

Paramount+ has ordered a new YA movie called Zoey 102 (working title) from Nickelodeon that will revive the kidcaster’s Zoey 101 series that originally launched in 2005. Based on characters from this four-season live-action series, the feature film will reunite Pacific Coast Academy alumni for a wedding. Production has already started in North Carolina, and the pic will premiere this year exclusively on Paramount+.

***The above posted after tBR started sending on January 13th***


Toy World rounds up some of the key UK properties which we believe will be making waves in the kids’ space in 2023. The top growing licences of 2022 came from a variety of platforms – movies, TV, computer games and streaming services – and covered the entire age range from Infant & Pre-school to Kidult.

The newest signing for Nottingham Forest seems to be none other than Nexcube from Vivid Goliath, which this week made social media headlines as the newest addition to the expanding Premier League squad within the January transfer window. With a video released on his IG Reels, Brazilian midfield maestro Gustavo Scarpa filmed the team trying to master the clubs’ puzzling new addition as teammate Neco Williams...


Mondo TV Studios has inked a licensing deal with V-Me Media to air its animated shows in the U.S. The TV shows included in the agreement include The Drakers, a show about high-tech race car drivers; Dinofroz, a show where four friends travel dimensions using a board game to help save a dimension ruled by dinosaurs; and Bat Pat 2, which is a supernatural adventure with a talking bat and his human friends


Hasbro’s Potato Heads are timeless toys, and with the help of Mighty Jaxx, it’s bringing young Stella Peaches’ Potato Head design to an actual collectible. 9-yr-old Stella is the daughter of Stikki Peaches, a well-known graffiti and print artist with celebrity fans, such as Lady Gaga. Stella’s Potato Head will be available at a much more general consumer price than Stikki’s works — Mighty Jaxx is selling the collectible on its...


Funko’s first co-branded retail store is open for business. This past Friday, Funko hosted the grand opening of Tha Dogg House, a collaborative retail experience developed in partnership with multi-hyphenate Snoop Dogg. Fans showed up in mass to celebrate Snoop’s exciting lifestyle and iconic pop culture moments in his career at the unique retail location — which is aptly located in Inglewood, California. 


A “Dungeons & Dragons” live-action series has been ordered at Paramount+, Variety has confirmed. Rawson Marshall Thurber wrote the pilot for the series and will direct the first episode. Paramount+ has given the show an eight-episode order. The series is a co-production between eOne and Paramount Pictures, with eOne serving as the lead studio. Exact plot details, including what elements of the “Dungeons & Dragons”...


Moominvalley heads into season four with a new co-producer. Finland’s YLE and Sky in the UK have renewed Helsinki-based Gutsy Animations’ flagship series Moominvalley for a fourth season. Viaplay Group has also just joined the team behind this CG-animated series based on a series of books and comics by writer/illustrator Tove Jansson and her brother Lars. The Swedish mediaco will co-produce the fourth season...


Sesame Street Mecha Builders heads to Milkshake! The STEM-based spinoff will be localized for preschool viewers in the UK with British accents for all secondary characters. The British broadcaster has picked up CG-animated series Sesame Street Mecha Builders, which will make its UK debut in Five’s Milkshake! preschool block with all of its supporting characters speaking with a British accent in order to appeal to local viewers.


WildBrain CPLG Partners with the Playmobil Brand for Global Licensing Representation. WildBrain CPLG, a world-leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agency, is to handle worldwide rights of Playmobil as the masteThe partnership spans across both the core and franchise Playmobil brands from the Horst Brandstätter Group, including Wiltopia, Novelmore, Adventures of Ayuma, and more. 


CARLIN WEST AGENCY INKS LICENSING DEAL WITH WORLD OF TANKS. WOT is an online multiplayer vehicular combat game that is played worldwide and currently has more than 160 million users. The game features historically and technologically accurate tanks and offers players over 600 armored vehicles to choose from. Each tank has its own strengths and weakness that impact the overall gameplay. 


Genius Brands International (GBI) is tapping into the popularity of online gaming platform Roblox with a new competitive reality series. Aimed at tweens, Kidaverse Roblox Rumble (10 eps between eight and 15 minutes long) will follow a group of contestants ages eight to 12 as they compete for a grand prize of US$1,000. 


India’s GOODTIMES has signed on to sell South Korean animation studio YouNeedCharacter’s CricketPang in the region. The distributor will focus on securing broadcast deals for the 2D-animated series, which has dubs available in English, Hindi and Tamil.  Targeting preschoolers, CricketPang is about a group of animal pals who play the bat-and-ball sport of cricket—which is hugely popular in India. 


Toonz Media Group and India’s ELE Animations are betting that a gang of skeletal pranksters will have the “legs” to travel internationally in a new 2D-animated series co-pro they currently have in pre-production. Drac and Skeletons kicks off when three silly young skeletons move into Count Dracula Junior’s castle and refuse to leave, instigating a hijinx-fuelled feud that drives its episodic storylines for four- to seven-year-olds.


Moonbug Entertainment continues to expand the Blippi franchise with the addition of Juca, the second Blippi Buddy to be added to the franchise. Building on the success of Meekah, Blippi’s first buddy, Juca is a live-action show set in Brazil, which is currently the largest market for the franchise outside the US. Juca launches via a distribution deal with Warner Brothers Discovery in Brazil as well as globally on YouTube...

The Toy Book can exclusively reveal that WeCool and Jacklyne have inked a three-year extension of their deal to develop and market products from the Compound Kings and ILY Activity Kings brands. Jacklyne boasts nearly two million followers on TikTok in addition to a robust digital presence on YouTube and Instagram garnering millions of views and likes.

Play-Doh, the trusted #1 brand in arts and crafts, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Consumer Products announce their partnership to create the ultimate and iconic Slime for kids and adults. Have the slime of your life with the satisfying sensory experiences of the 2023 product line up including a variety of slime textures, big volume, and customizing kits. 

Fanhome, the leader in subscription-based collections and models, brings the action and excitement of one of anime’s most legendary properties home to fans and collectors across North America as it announces the Naruto Shippuden Figurine Collection. Charismatic heroes, dangerous enemies, and mystical ninja techniques come to life in this extraordinary collection. 

ColourPop Cosmetics announces its latest collaboration, the first-of-its-kind, limited-edition Winx Club X ColourPop collection in partnership with Rainbow! The iconic Italian animated series, created by Iginio Straffi, is based in a magical universe inhabited by fairies, witches and enchanted creatures. This collection is giving Winx Club fans a dose of major nostalgia accompanied by loads of colour, sparkle and fun! 

Hasbro, Lucasfilm reveal ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ toy range. Due to land in theaters June 2023, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” – the fifth in the Lucasfilm franchise – will bring Harrison Ford back to the titular role alongside stars, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen and Antonio Banderas. To celebrate the launch of the latest edition in the long-standing franchise, Lucasfilm has joined...


Tons of Super Mario Movie toys leak online. Jakks Pacific has been making figures based on the Mario license for a few years now, and the company will also produce toys based on The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Fans haven't gotten to see any of the Mario toy designs in an official capacity, but a new leak has revealed a plethora of options that will be available in the near future.

Cleopatra Entertainment has acquired U.S. territory rights to the latest incarnation film from the Japanese Superhero franchise Ultraman from Tsuburaya Productions. Entitled Shin Ultraman, this new Ultraman adventure was the sixth-highest grossing Japanese feature film of 2022 and will hit U.S. theaters – via Fathom Events – on January 11th and 12th, 2023.

Monster High Skullector welcomes Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Mattel Creations, Mattel’s e-commerce and content platform for creators, collaborations and innovators, will be releasing the newest Monster High Skullector Doll: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Launching this month on Friday the 13th, the launch follows previous Skullector sellout drops of Universal Monsters’ The Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s...

People of Play


Bulldog Licensing, one of the licensing industry’s leading agencies, has welcomed Alex Salisbury to its team as Senior Licensing Manager, covering categories such as Publishing and Toys for all brands. Alex Salisbury joins Bulldog fresh from a three-month trip travelling around Southeast Asia. Before her well-earned break, she had been at Paramount since 2017, where she held roles as Retail Licensing Manager...


Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. revealed that Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear Workshop President and CEO, is launching her first book with Forbes Books. Stories & Heart: Unlock the Power of Personal Stories to Create a Life You Love follows John’s unlikely combination of small-town southern roots and big-city Ivy League education. 

Nocopi Technologies, Incorporated (OTC Pink: “NNUP”), a developer of specialty reactive inks, announced that Jackie Goldman has been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors to replace Philip B. White, who resigned from the Board of Directors on January 11, 2023. Ms. Goldman currently serves as the CEO and President of Puzzles Plus, Inc., which she founded over 33 years ago.


Studio 100 Media, a studio known for children’s entertainment offerings such as Maya the Bee and Vic the Viking, is welcoming a new Business Development Manager and Fashion Lead, Alexandros Visentin. ”With Alexandros, we are gaining a young, innovative, and well-connected colleague who has learned licensing from scratch,” says Joachim Knödler, Head of Licensing Distribution, Studio 100 Media. 


Wisconsin-based PlayMonster is making more moves in the C-suite. The international toy and game company revealed that Tim Kilpin will transition into the newly created role of Executive Chairman and member of the Board of Directors. Steve Adolph, who joined the company as President last September, has been promoted to CEO, effective immediately.

Tokyopop has promoted Marc Visnick to COO and Publisher, responsible for managing all North American operations and reporting directly to Founder and CEO Stu Levy. Tokyopop credits Visnick with doubling year over year revenues, expanding its retail footprint through new partnerships and channels, increasing its market share, and implementing a new, scalable production process.

Creative Fold is happy to announce that Edoardo Kulp has joined the company as its Director of Business Development and co-owner. Edoardo has consulted with Creative Fold for over a year and, together with his duties in Business Development, will continue to be a part of Creative Fold’s product development team, helping create amazing results for Creative Fold clients. 


***The above posted after January 13th***


LA’s Invisible Universe has brought in Shane Mang, Spin Master’s former director of global sales and outbound licensing, as its first head of licensing. Mang is tasked with developing and launching new consumer products programs for the web-first animation company’s roster of entertainment brands, with an immediate focus on Serena Williams’ Qai Qai—Invisible Universe’s first and most established IP...


Build-A-Bear Workshop is continuing its digital revamp with a new hire -  Dara Meath as its new Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer... Meath will lead Build-A-Bear Workshop’s tech team and lead the way in the company’s digital transformation. Meath previously worked as Divisional Chief Information Officer, Leader of Data, Digital and E-Commerce at Conair, where she worked on global information...


GENIUS BRANDS UNITES CONSUMER PLATFORMS, TAPS TODD STEINMAN TO LEAD GENIUS NETWORKS. “Consolidating our consumer platforms under Todd’s proven leadership gives us the ability to grow our brands globally, increase revenue, and maximize profits more quickly,” says Andy Heyward, Chairman and CEO at Genius Brands.


Stephane Madi, formerly Head of Ravensburger Canada, steps into the role of CEO at Ravensburger North America to oversee the business in the U.S. and Canada. Concurrently, Filip Francke takes the lead as Global Head of Games with plans to grow the company’s business around the world as it prepares to enter the trading card game (TCG) market with Disney Lorcana this fall.

Promotions and new hire expand Sambro’s senior leadership. Sambro International is celebrating two senior promotions and one senior hire, solidifying its Senior Leadership Team for 2023. Clare Rix has taken on the newly created role of Brand and Licensing director, Ed Whieldon the role of Buying and Sourcing director and John Mallett has joined the business in the role of Product director. 

Pat Avenue welcomes Guy Rooney as commercial director. Guy joins Pat Avenue (formerly DKL-Beysal) as commercial director and brings with him a raft of industry knowledge having previously worked at Zapf, Character Options and IMC Toys. Terry Crew, managing director, Pat Avenue said: “This is a great appointment and I am delighted to have Guy on board. 

Pinkfong appoints David Levy to head up its US studio. The former Disney exec is tasked with creative oversight of Pinkfong USA's slate as the company behind Baby Shark eyes more franchise growth. Levy will be responsible for overseeing the LA-based prodco’s slate of co-pros, as well as long-form and short-form original content. He will also help drive original IP growth for the company, which is best known for its flagship...

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Companies and Brands

Indian toy brand Namasthe World inks distribution pact with Rowan’s, Hamley’s. Under the partnership, Namasthe World's products will be available across Hamley’s stores and other sub-brands of Rowan’s both physically and digitally.

Metallic Dice Games, founded in 2014 and recently sold to toy industry veteran Neal Hoffman has “rolled” into the new year with a new name. The company announced its decision to rebrand the company as FanRoll and has launched its new website, Shark Tank Alum, Neal Hoffman led a group of investors to purchase Metallic Dice Games, a leading tabletop dice company, this past summer.

The Pokémon Company International revealed more details about the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG): Scarlet & Violet expansion, launching worldwide beginning on March 31, 2023. The new expansion will adopt an updated take on Pokémon ex, a gameplay mechanic featuring Pokémon with high HP as well as powerful attacks and Abilities. 


Mattel163, the global games developer and publisher has revealed figures behind the company’s continued growth, led by the success of Mattel’s globally-loved IPs produced exclusively for mobile. The highly-successful studio, founded and led by CEO Amy Huang, generated high double-digit growth in revenue year-on-year. Across Uno! Mobile, Phase 10 Mobile and Skip-Bo Mobile, Mattel163’s global player base has...


Vivid/Goliath is partnering with All3Media International and Identity Games to distribute the official Traitors Board Game in the UK & Ireland from September. Originally created by Dutch producer IDTV, the new psychological reality format has been an international ratings and critical hit, licensed in multiple territories including the UK, US, France, Spain and Australia.


Highly valuable airtime, online and printed media spots have been kindly donated from the UK’s leading media outlets and the toy trade press. The result is a colossal £170,000 of media space to bid for. The auction is a classic win-win scenario for all; companies can bag themselves a media bargain whilst all funds raised go to help the Toy Trust’s chosen children’s charities throughout the year.


World Alive, the owners of Aqua Dragons just surpassed a significant milestone with its social media efforts with views across all its channels surpassing half a billion. That does not include Brainstorm’s own efforts specifically targeting the UK and ROI. Much of the content broadcast worldwide for Aqua Dragons is in English, and World Alive has worked with over 300 influencers since the company...


Known for its quality building blocks, dough and licensed role-play toys, Bildo will work with Flair GP to bring its varied licensed range to market in the UK & Ireland. In 2023, Bildo will be globally launching an innovative product in the Construction Toys category under the Play-Doh brand. Combining the much-loved dough compound with hybrid building blocks, the new Play-Doh Blocks line will offer a creative and sensory...

LEGO Ideas has unveiled a new place to stay warm this winter. The LEGO Ideas A-Frame cabin set is inspired by the architectural design of real A-frame log cabins. Designed by Andrea Lattanzio, an Italian LEGO fan designer, the set has two stories: an upper-level bedroom and a lower-level living room and kitchen.


The Singing Machine Company, Inc., the worldwide leader in consumer karaoke products, shared its vision for the future of fully-integrated, in-car karaoke entertainment last week at CES 2023, and as the Times UK noted, “Long family journeys will never be the same…” One of the world’s largest consumer karaoke companies, Singing Machine, attracted the attention of top automotive brands...


Since Vivid Goliath partnered with Lansay for a relaunch of Sky Dancers in July 2022, sales of the re-versioned dolls from the ’90s: Fuchsia Fantasy, Miss Mint, Sapphire Sparkle, Coral Cutie and Purple-Licious, have been sky high. Coming off the back of a sell out success in autumn/winter 2022, Vivid Goliath is excited to be launching the new duo Sky Dancer and Pet series later this year.


Cepia and Mookie Toys are pleased to announce a new joint venture arrangement to market Cepia’s growing range of products in the UK, including VS World and POP Art Soft, as well as many exciting new lines to come. The two cos. have already co-operated on sales to certain key accounts in 2022, so the move represents an extension of that co-operation, including accounts previously handled through Two in 1 Direct.


Wow! Stuff is set to use Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg 2023 for its official launch of Nano Pods: a unique and patent-pending collectible. “Nano Pods are launching as the connectable collectible,” said Wow! Stuff’s head of R&D, Kenny McAndrew. “Using our ‘connectable collectible’ concept, we have nano-sized kids’ favourite superheroes and iconic character brands. Each hexagonal pod contains a miniature character...

UK's Wilko has announced in a letter to suppliers that it is to stop stocking toys in its stores but has offered some reassurance that it will offer seasonal/outdoor toys at the relevant time of the year. The news follows an announcement in October that the company had called in advisers as it explored cost-cutting and restructuring options in an effort to improve its balance sheet. 


PetSmart Debuts Exclusive Fisher-Price Puppy Toy Line. The iconic brand's new dog toy offerings can only be found at PetSmart. The collection of toys for puppies was designed to provide “mental stimulation and physical activity throughout dogs’ developmental stages.” The collection includes Fisher-Price’s famous toys like the Rock-a-Stack and Xylophone in pet form, but also includes other noise-making plush items like...

Dungeons & Dragons open game license update delayed following fan backlash. Dungeons & Dragons fans were ready to roll for initiative against Hasbro after the company attempted to rewrite its two-decade-old open game license in order to boost revenue. On Friday, though, the Rhode Island-based toy maker postponed its update of its licensing terms in order to address mounting concern from the D&D community...


Just Play UK details everything readers need to know about the raft of new licensed toys coming to market in 2023 for the powerhouse pre-school brand Sesame Street. For generations, the classic, beloved franchise Sesame Street has been a firm favourite with pre-schoolers across the globe. The team at Just Play is therefore extremely excited to partner with Sesame Workshop on the development of an extensive...


Lucky Duck Games has inked a distribution agreement with Asmodee USA to provide exclusive distribution to mass market and e-commerce outlets (including Amazon, mass merchant ecomm sites, and sister company Miniature Market), and non-exclusive distribution to independent hobby game, toy, and gift stores. As an initial manifestation of the new agreement, Lucky Duck’s Chronicles of Crime will appear at Target...

***The above posted after tBR started sending on January 13th***

Hunter Price International is teaming up with global arts and craft giant Crayola in a pan European partnership. The collaboration includes the debut of 4 collections which will be available this autumn. Each collection has been designed to inspire children to think outside the box and get creative with colour by making their own personalised creations, goals that both companies have in common. The 4 new collections...


As Jazwares’ UK marked its 10th anniversary, Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Jonny Taylor and Holly Oldham about years gone by and what lies ahead.  This time last year, before all the trials and tribulations of 2022 made themselves known, we told Toy World readers that for Jazwares, ‘another bumper year is on the cards’. We weren’t wrong. Jazwares’ strong brand portfolio – driven by Squishmallows and Pokémon...


Mattel is giving preschoolers a new age-appropriate Barbie doll that it says is better suited for their needs. The doll, called “My First Barbie,” is specifically created for kids three years old and older, said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls for Mattel. The age range for the original Barbie fashion dolls is for kids 3 and up. “We talk to parents and kids almost every day. Interestingly...

Hasbro has been named one of America’s Most Just Companies by Just Capital, along with media partner CNBC. The rankings are the only comprehensive evaluation of how the nation’s largest corporations perform on the issues that matter most to Americans today across five stakeholders: workers, communities, customers, shareholders and governance, and the environment.

A First Look Inside the Incredible Super Mario Brothers-Themed Restaurant. Power up with a Princess Peach Cupcake, Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, and even a Piranha Plant Caprese when Toadstool Cafe opens at Universal Studios Hollywood.  A collaborative effort between Nintendo, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Japan, Toadstool Cafe takes many of its design and culinary cues from sister...


Make It Real Launches Latest Innovation – Friendship Bracelet Maker. This item is the latest in the Make It Real roster of award-winning products that include the Color Fusion Nail Polish Maker, Sticker Chic: Rainbow Chic, and the 5 in 1 Activity Tower. The Friendship Bracelet Maker marks the first of its kind and offers tweens the opportunity to create complex bracelets with an easy-to-follow guide. 


Shashibo is Now Going Wild with New Series. Building on the ongoing success of Shashibo as the industry’s #1 creative fidget toy, Fun in Motion Toys has now introduced its Wild Series, with four new cubes featuring our planet’s unique environments: Arctic, Forest, Jungle and Savanna. Nature’s secrets can be puzzling, so what better way explore them than collecting and connecting all of them with Shashibo Wild?


Starting on March 1, the Walt Disney Company will require employees to report to the office four days a week, a relatively strict policy among large companies. Robert A. Iger, who came out of retirement in Nov. to retake Disney’s chief executive reins, said in a memo to employees on Monday that a return to mostly in-person work — for the first time in nearly 3 yrs — would benefit the company’s culture in general and...

Tomeka Purcell Creates ‘Morgan’ Doll Line and Book Series to Improve Financial Literacy in African American Communities. The disparity in financial literacy is greatest among African Americans. According to the 2022 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index, African Americans answered 37% of the study’s financial literacy questions correctly, whereas White Americans answered 55% percent of questions correctly.

Douglas Adds to Their Soft Doll Collection. In February 2022, Douglas added an adorably sweet, Soft Doll collection to their plush line-up. February 2023 will see three new darlings join the family. All of Douglas’ Soft Dolls have precious embroidered facial features, sewn on, quality-made clothing and are completely machine washable.


Opening in November, Hamleys’ new store in Westfield London has already proved a great attraction at the popular shopping destination, bringing with it all the magic and theatre that Hamleys is known for. In the run up to Christmas, the 11,000sq ft wonderland experienced brisk trading with Daniel King, Hamleys’ trading manager, UK & ROI telling Toy World how it had been primed for success...


As Paramount gets set for a big year in 2023, Venetia Davie, VP Consumer Products, UK & Ireland, ANZ and Israel tells Sam Giltrow how its wide-ranging content is boosting toy sales. Some significant milestones will be celebrated by Paramount this year across its hottest properties, including the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen and a movie sequel for its ever popular Paw Patrol, which also celebrates...


Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels told Citi’s 2023 media conference “the [streaming] industry had gone overboard and went on a spending frenzy. There was a lot of thinking of, ‘Let’s do more, more, more,’ not necessarily, ‘Let’s do the exact right things, let’s do what works’.’” Wiedenfels said the company was focusing on “relaunching and building” the business over the next 12 months, following...


BABIES “R” US RETURNS TO THE U.S. WITH FLAGSHIP STORE AT AMERICAN DREAM. Following the relaunch of Toys “R” Us in the U.S. with a flagship store at American Dream in Bergen County, New Jersey, and last year’s rollout of Toys “R” Us at Macy’s, WHP Global is officially relaunching Babies “R” Us in the U.S. Babies “R” Us will open its first U.S. flagship store this summer at American Dream.

The LEGO Group is expanding its Botanical Collection with two new sets: the Dried Flower Centerpiece, a red, orange, and yellow fall arrangement that can be put on the table or hung on the wall, and the Wildflower Bouquet, a group of eye-popping flowers of different shapes and sizes that can be displayed in a vase. 

This Tiny Japanese Folding E-Bike From Toy Designers Is An Unreliable Car's Best Friend . "Given the Tatamel’s nifty folding nature, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that the company’s founders used to work for Takara Tomy, the Japanese maker of Transformers toys. Not only do the wheels and handlebars fold up for compact storage, the whole folded package measures just 27.2 inches by 27.2 inches by 10.2 inches. 

ZAG, the global studio behind Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, revealed plans to launch its first toy line from the new ZAG Play Toy division. The first toys will span 10 categories and feature the Miraculous brand. ZAG Play will debut the toys at Spielwarenmesse, the international trade fair taking place in Nuremberg, Germany, Feb. 1-5, 2023. 

Toymint is announcing that it is releasing its next generation of Minted Teddy NFTs and accompanying collectible toys on January 30, 2023. The first collection of 100 teddies launched in December 2021, followed by 1,000 Series 1 NFTs in January 2022. All collections released to date have sold out immediately. Only 11,111 Minted Teddies will be created. 

New 'Pokemon TCG: Cyrus or Klara Premium Tournament Collection' coming soon. The Pokemon Company International will release Pokemon TCG: Cyrus or Klara Premium Tournament Collection, a new deck display, into retail on March 24, 2023. These collections feature one of Team Galactic’s leaders, either Cyrus or Klara. Cyrus disrupts an opponent’s  plans with Boss’s Orders, while Klara will stop at nothing to promote…


Looney Labs reveals 'Around the World Fluxx'. Looney Labs revealed Around the World Fluxx, a new travel-themed version of the classic card game, which will hit retail on May 5, 2023. This is the second travel-themed Fluxx game scheduled to be released in 2023 (see "'Across America Fluxx'"). Much like Across America Fluxx, players head off on a tour, but this time they will be out to explore the world. 


Creative Kids names DKB as UK & Ireland distributor. DKB Toys & Distribution has signed a deal with US Toy and arts & crafts company Creative Kids Group, which will see it distribute the company’s arts & crafts ranges in the UK & Ireland from this year. Supplying the speciality channel, DKB will initially bring four key Creative Kids brands to market, with plans to increase this throughout 2023. 


Chefclub taps multiple new partners to distribute its brand internationally. Chefclub — Europe’s leading food-themed content studio — announced five new toy distribution partnerships across several countries. The brand will partner with White Knight Toys in the U.S., Autruche in Canada, Hutter Trade in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, JPM Toys in Benelux, and CMC in the Middle East. 


Games Workshop reveals new 'Warhammer Age of Sigmar' boxed set. Games Workshop revealed Vanguard: Slaves to Darkness, a new Warhammer Age of Sigmar boxed set, which will be up for preorder on January 14, 2023. Chaos players can continue their conquest over the Mortal Realms with the new Vanguard box set. 


Rainbow Designs signs distribution deal with Animal Adventure. The Animal Adventure collection for Rainbow Designs features a carefully curated range of everyday soft items for baby and a line up of animal soft toys for kids of all ages. Headlining the baby range is the stylish Safe & Soft Collection including My First and Baby Comfort Toys. 


Thames & Kosmos unveils Reiner Knizia's 'My City Roll & Build'. Thames & Kosmos unveiled My City Roll & Build, a new city building game, for release into retail in Q2 2023. My City Roll & Build is part of the Spiel Des Jahres nominated series of games by Reiner Knizia (see "2020 Nominees" and also, "'My City,' 'Aqualin'"). In the Roll & Build version, players roll dice to determine which building they draw on their game pad.


Hachette will release 'Qawale' into U.S. retail. Hachette Boardgames will release Qawale, an abstract strategy game by Gigamic, into retail on February 1, 2022. Qawale is a simple yet tactical game where players place stones on a board in order to be the first to get four of their stones in a row. Each player starts with eight stones in their color. 


Ares Games will release 'Cangaceiros' in U.S. retail. Ares Games will release Cangaceiros, a bandit strategy game by Ergo Ludo Editions, into retail in April 2023. In Cangaceiros, players control the chief cangaceiros and their gangs attempting to survive in the Caatinga arid lands. They will need to arm up to push back on the volantes (the state police trained to kill them), attack the corrupted cities...

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

The Last of Us review: 'The best video game adaptation ever'. Live-action video game adaptations are hardly renowned for being serious works of art. At best, the last decade has produced well-crafted family fare, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu; at worst, the genre has found itself defined by a string of cynical mediocrities and unwatchable failures. The challenge tends to be two-fold. 

31 of the biggest games coming in 2023. Another year, another 12 months where we get to collectively complain about how there are too many games and not enough dollars in our wallets and hours in our days to play them. As such, it’s probably best to start looking ahead and planning what you want to prioritize in your gaming allowance of money and time for 2023. 


Almost 90% of games sold in UK in 2022 were digital - ERA. Digital sales accounted for almost nine out of every 10 video games sold in the UK in 2022, according to a trade body. The digital entertainment and retail association (ERA) said 89.5% of games sold had been digital downloads and the remaining 10.5% actual physical copies. About 30% of the sales came from mobile apps, which are sold digitally. In total...


Deep Rock Galactic sold over 2.3 million copies in 2022. Deep Rock Galactic has sold over 5.5 million copies since launching in 2018, according to developer Ghost Ship Games. An infographic shared by the studio and publisher Coffee Stain provided a candid look at the co-op shooter's sales performance, revealing that it sold over 2.3 million units in 2022 alone.

Steam tops 10 million concurrent in-game users for the first time. Steam continued its trend of breaking concurrent user records over this weekend, but this time there was an added twist. As highlighted by SteamDB, the platform managed to surpass 10 million concurrent in-game players for the first time ever. It also amassed more than 33 million concurrent online users, which is another record, but perhaps not...


Apple preparing Reality Pro headset for fall 2023 release. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple is preparing to reveal its long-in-development mixed reality headset. Reportedly known as the Reality Pro, the headset has been in development at the iPhone and Mac creator for seven years. The device is planned to be revealed at June's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) ahead of its fall 2023 release. 

Gaming YouTube is in turmoil thanks to new violence and profanity rules. Members of YouTube’s gaming community are calling out the video hosting site for adding new regulations regarding profanity usage and violent content, disproportionately affecting gaming creators who produce unscripted videos such as let’s plays of M-rated games. Worse, the policy is retroactively deeming their videos in violation of new rules...

Highlighted Press Releases

LITTLE KIDS, INC. IS CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF NO-SPILL® BUBBLES, AND SO MUCH MORE IN 2023! From Wild New Ways To Collect And Play, To A First-Ever Technique For Egg Decorating, Little Kids Is Changing The Game With 8 New Toy Launches. Seekonk, MA (January 19, 2023) – It’s not just about bubbles at Little Kids anymore! Following up their innovative new foamy fun line of Fom Mania products from last year is a fun-dippin’, fist-pumpin’, ball-bouncin’, bubble-blastin’ line-up of new products across Little Kids’ Dippin’ Designs™, Junk Ball®, Ballz’n™, Föm Mania® and Fubbles® product lines! 


WANT TO RAISE A GLOBAL CITIZEN? MULTILINGUAL KID’S PODCAST SERVICE IS THE PERFECT/PERFECTO/PARFAIT START!.  France’s #1 children’s subscription podcast service, DISO (pronounced dee-ZOH) is now available to children worldwide in three languages: DISO in English, DISO en français and DISO en español for $3.99/month or $37.99/year on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Teaching our children to communicate and interact with people across diverse cultures and in other countries — including learning a second language as early as possible – is the first path to raising a global citizen. English, Spanish and French are among the top five most spoken languages worldwide. And research has shown that 50% of our ability to learn is developed by age four and another 30% by age eight.


From World Of EPI, Winner Of TOTY’s 2022 Doll Of The Year, Comes Newest 2023 Collections Of Multicultural Dolls For Boys and Girls To See Themselves Reflected In Their Toys. San Diego, CA (January 13, 2023) – There are some fresh faces in the toy aisle this Spring and they may look a little different. Children will be saying hello to Ian, Amari and Miles, the trio of 12” dolls that make up the Fresh Squad Platinum Collection available exclusively at These authentic looking dolls with one-of-a-kind face sculpts, custom-blended skin tones and natural hair styles like afros and fades will get instant smiles from children and parents who see their own beauty reflected in these dolls.


***The above posted after tBR started sending on January 13th***


Creative Fold is happy to announce that Edoardo Kulp has joined the company as its Director of Business Development and co-owner. Edoardo has consulted with Creative Fold for over a year and, together with his duties in Business Development, will continue to be a part of Creative Fold’s product development team, helping create amazing results for Creative Fold clients. “As we head into 2023, we look forward to Edoardo further developing our client base, expanding Creative Fold’s reach within the toy and game industry and beyond,” says Katie LaSeur, Creative Fold’s COO and Creative Director.

Safety and Counterfeiting


India: Over 18,500 toys seized from Hamleys, Archies stores for lack of BIS markThe government on Thursday said 18,600 toys have been seized in the last one month from major retail stores, including those of Hamleys and Archies, at airports and malls across India for lack of BIS quality mark and use of fake licences. Meanwhile, consumer protection regulator CCPA has also issued notices to three major e-commerce players -- Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal -- for alleged violation of toys quality control order, it said.

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals


TokFEST takes place at the NEC on 25th and 26th March and promises a festival of opportunities for TikTok content creators and influencers. Character Options is to further increase its TikTok marketing in 2023 thanks to a major sponsorship deal with this year’s TokFEST show. Taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 25th and 26th March, TokFEST 2023 will be packed with live activities, talk panels, Q&As, live...


Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group is launching a new event for UK retailers – Licensing for Retail – in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International. The inaugural Licensing for Retail conference – Planning for the Future – will take place at Convene, London, on 19th April 2023. A limited number of free tickets are available to vetted retailers. 


Toy World took a quick look at how things are shaping up in the final few weeks, and spoke to Christian Ulrich, spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG, about the international trade fair. Around 2,000 exhibitors from across the toy and games market will descend upon to the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre in early February, while the last day of January, the 31st, sees the PressPreview take place... 


Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products UK & Ireland finally welcomed its licensee partners to The Ned yesterday to celebrate the successes of 2022, as well as offer a peek into what lies ahead this year. A short presentation gave attendees a glimpse into some of the exciting content which will be launching in 2023, Warner Bros’ centennial year. The company will be celebrating its 100 year milestone...


The latest trade fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) recorded encouraging traffic and exhibitor participation, with buyers placing orders at the events. The organisers said the recent reopening of the Hong Kong-Mainland China border and resumption of international travel helped drive the response from buyers and exhibitors.


London Toy Fair is back for its 69th iteration in January, when it will once again draw crowds of visitors keen to discover the latest toys, games and hobby products from leading toy suppliers, innovative new ideas from young start-ups and developments in the pipeline for the coming months and years. If the content of this year’s huge Toy Fair Preview is anything to go by, everyone is very much looking forward to...


The Spielwarenmesse Toy Business Forum is welcoming 15 countries to present products within its International Pavilions, with Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and France joining for the first time this year. The 2023 Spielwarenmesse is coming right up, running from Feb. 1-5. The International Pavilions have been a feature of the toy fair for a while, and this year is no exception.


‘Dungeons and Dragons’ to kick off SXSW Film and TV. The South by Southwest Film Festival had a banner yr in 2022, with an opening-night film that still figures prominently in awards shows as the best: “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” So it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether the festival can repeat its stellar opening. The festival has announced its opening-night film of 2023 to be “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) has announced its nominees for the 26th D.I.C.E. Awards, with Santa Monica Studios’ God of War: Ragnarok leading the pack with 12 nominations. The annual video game award recognizes the best games of the year as chosen by the members of the AIAS, and the winners are chosen at an annual awards show hosted in Las Vegas.

***The aboved after tBR started to send on January 13th***


Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio named best animated motion picture at Golden Globes (THR)


Toy World caught up with leading suppliers to find out which product lines they are most excited about presenting at London Toy Fair this year. We also asked if they would be kind enough to send a photo of themselves proudly displaying their chosen item. Some entered fully into the spirit of the request and embraced the idea with gusto. 


Spielwarenmesse Digital has now gone live with many different functions, giving the trade even more ways of preparing for Nuremberg Toy Fair. The business platform, which supplements Spielwarenmesse taking place from 1st to 5th February in Nuremberg, is available now and all year round at Interested users can register free of charge and a ticket for the Spielwarenmesse is not required...

The International Istanbul Toy Fair is preparing to bring the toy industry together once again when it returns to Tüyap Fair, Convention and Congress Center, Büyükçekmece, Istanbul, from 28th February-3rd March 2023. The exhibition, which is located in the centre of Eurasia, will see visitors from the region gather together with leading toy brands and suppliers under one roof.  


First industry delegation heads to HK exhibition a day before border between the mainland and HK reopens. Some 300 representatives from the Guangdong toy industry have departed for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for the HK Toys & Games Fair from Shenzhen Bay Port on Saturday. It will be the first delegation attending an exhibition following the border between the mainland and HKSAR...

Gen Con drops proof of vaccination requirements and masks for 2023. Gen Con LLC. has announced that they have dropped vaccination and mask requirements for Gen Con 2023. As the pandemic is in its waning hours, Gen Con organizers are taking a step towards returning convention operations closer to what they were pre-pandemic. 

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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 colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

For those we lost in 2022, may they rest in peace and play.

Marilyn Maher - Longtime CFO of game and toy distributor ACD Distribution Marilyn Maher passed away in Henderson, Nevada on January 2 after a brief illness.  She was 71.  The Maher family had gathered to celebrate the holidays in Nevada where she and her husband planned to retire. Maher became Chief Financial Officer of ACD after the purchase of the company in 2007 by her son Robert Maher, Jr. (who is CEO, see "Interview with ACD’s New Owner"), and had served in the role since then.  She and her husband, Robert Sr., have been splitting time between Middleton, Wisconsin (where ACD is headquartered) and their home in Oak Brook, Illinois since the acquisition.  Earlier in her career Maher also served as Executive Director of the YWCA in Freeport, Illinois.

Tom Karen - A prolific designer who had a hand in designing a host of 1970s creations including the Raleigh Chopper, Bond Bug car and marble run toy has died. Tom Karen, who lived in Cambridge, died aged 96 on New Year's Eve surrounded by his family, a statement said. The industrial designer was born in Vienna, Austria, and arrived in England in 1942 during World War Two. A museum in Letchworth, Hertfordshire - currently hosting a dedicated exhibition - called him a "true great". In the statement confirming Mr Karen's death, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation - which runs the town's Museum at One Garden City - said he had overseen some of the UK's most iconic designs.

For years, Mr Karen's role in designing the Raleigh Chopper bike - manufactured in Nottingham - sparked controversy.

It was originally said that Raleigh's design director Alan Oakley had been on a fact-finding trip to the USA and was solely responsible, but Mr Karen said the firm later credited his contribution in helping create the children's classic.

His 1968 sketches of the bike - which sold 1.5 million units - have been stored in the archive of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr Karen, who was appointed OBE in 2019, was the managing director of Letchworth's Ogle Design from 1962 until 1999.

During this time, he helped design the Reliant Scimitar car, the Reliant Bond Bug - a two-seater, three-wheeled sports car that was launched at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire in 1970 - and Leyland lorry cabs.

The Bond Bug's unusual chassis formed the base of Luke Skywalker's landspeeder in Star Wars, while Ogle Design's association with Leyland resulted in Mr Karen designing one of the Popemobiles after the lorry firm was commissioned to manufacture them.

Ogle director Philip Martin said the firm was "deeply saddened" to learn of Mr Karen's death.

"He was an exceptionally talented designer and a very special man," he said.

"He was such an integral part of the Ogle success story. He pioneered so much of the work that we continue to do today, overseeing our progress from automotive designs, through the thrill of Star Wars and into aerospace.

"The company owes him a great debt of gratitude."

However, Mr Karen said one of his greatest achievements was devising the plastic marble run after watching his children play with a wooden one.

Josh Tidy, heritage manager at Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, described it as a "simple idea, perfectly realised and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of children for decades".

Museum at One Garden City has been running a retrospective of the inventor's career called Tom Karen Creations, which will continue until 10 March.

"The happy clacking sound of the marbles plopping down the latest creation has been the wonderful soundtrack of this exhibition, and filled Tom with so much joy," said Mr Tidy, who has curated the exhibition.

"His designs, artworks and sheer joie de vivre will continue to be remembered fondly for many years to come."



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