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November 10 - 17, 2023


Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday! 


This morning I showcased toys and games from our Chicago Toy and Game Fair and our Holiday Gift Guide for LA's KABC Holiday Toys and Games segment. Next Monday I'll be doing the same on Portland's KOIN, and more TBA soon. We’re definitely in full holiday swing!

Want to be part of our Holiday Guide? (Of course, you do!) Mark one or two products in your POP profile's product section as favorites by clicking on the hearts, then send me the url of your profile. Doesn't matter if you are an inventor, manufacturer, PR agency, retailer, or any other person of play. You may showcase as many products as you want in your profile, and your one or two favorites will be featured in our Holiday Guide, leading readers to peruse your whole POP Profile.

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here and on the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!


  • The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.

  • “I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation

  • "TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY

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Person of the Week - The Good Game Co.'s Dave Yearick

Was the invention of COW PIE CATAPULTS influenced by Saturday mornings years ago wrestling and de-horning cows?

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Hey Dave! We've known one another long time.. even before you were an OG at our Chicago Toy and Game Fair 21 years ago! Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

On a whim, two college buddies and I invented and self-produced a game called TriBond. We introduced it at New York Toy Fair in 1990. (Shout-out to Tim and Ed!)

What came after this for you in the industry? 

During my TriBond experience, I learned that the industry looks to freelance inventors for new ideas. My first of many game pitches (and rejections) was with Ron Weingartner at Milton Bradly. After he said he was passing on the two game concepts I brought to East Longmeadow, MA, we shared some Cokes in the cafeteria and his advice to me was to stay at it as he thought I had what it took. (Shout-out to RonW!) Then in 2009, I started Moonracer Industries to begin the self-production of my inventions.


Interesting. What was the reason for this, and, is there a backstory to the meaning of the name Moonracer Industries? 

As a matter of fact, there is! 

One of the main reasons I started self-producing my inventions was that many (most) of my submitted concepts were passed on, and the ones that were licensed failed to stay alive longer than a year. 

One evening in December, I was watching the Christmas special, “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer.” I had seen this show many times prior, but that night I was uniquely relating to the “passed on” misfit toys, such as the squirt gun that shoots jelly - I mean how cool is that? I became further intrigued when I realized that the winged lion who watched over all of the rejects was named King Moonracer. That’s when I thought to myself, “Hey, I feel like I am King Moonracer, the overseer of very cool, yet rejected toys!” :)  READ MORE...

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Industry Commentary - York-Jersey's Bob Witkin 

Cyber Attacks are Increasing in the Toy Industry

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning companies in the United States to be alert to the risk of dual ransomware attacks, in which the same organization is targeted more than once in quick succession.


The warning came in an FBI private industry notification dated 27 September 2023: "The FBI noted a trend of dual ransomware attacks conducted in close proximity to one another. During these attacks, cyber threat actors deployed two different ransomware variants."


The FBI also pointed out that a range of ransomware tools are being used in different combinations - with potentially devastating consequences for targeted companies. "This use of dual ransomware variants resulted in a combination of data encryption, exfiltration, and financial losses from ransom payments. Second ransomware attacks against an already compromised system could significantly harm victim entities."


In most cases, the second attack has come within 48 hours of the first, but the period between attacks has been as long as 10 days.  READ MORE...

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Make a Bear-y Special Difference: Giving Tuesday for Kids in Hospitals 

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As we kick off giving season, we invite you to be a source of joy and healing for children and families facing the challenges of illness and hospitalization. 


This Giving Tuesday, your compassionate contribution to our enCourage Kids Teddy Bear initiative can bring courage, peace, and joy to those who need it most.

Sara was terrified in the emergency room as she grappled with severe stomach pain. Confronted with the prospect of an IV placement, her anxiety was overwhelming. Yet, thanks to Teddy, a tool designed for both comfort and education, Sara found the strength to confront her fears. The Child Life Specialist used Teddy to demonstrate the procedure, turning a frightening moment into a moment of courage and calm. As Sara hugged tightly onto Teddy during the IV placement, she emerged with a proud smile, proclaiming her bravery to her mom.


Support Kids Like Sara

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Cartoon of the Week: Thank you, Michael Kohnerfor the funny cartoon this week! 

Lexophile Lovers:  "My friend told me he was going to a fancy dress party as an Italian island. I said to him, “Don't be Sicily." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers! 

Memorable Quotes:

"If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it."  - Wanda Sykes

"I think if anyone tells you the odds are slim, just keep walking. Just do whatever the hell you want to do, because they don't know what they're talking about. When you love something, and you work really really hard at it, you can do it." - Melissa McCarthy

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

Financial and Legal


Barbie trademarks in China: Is it ‘Kenough’? Mattel has had a great summer, making Barbie popular again with new generations through its first Barbie movie. It even made a new cultural…


US inflation eases as lower gas prices offset rent rise. A drop in petrol prices last month helped to drive US inflation to the lowest rate since July. Prices increased at a rate of 3.2% over the 12 months to October, the Labor Department said. That was down from 3.7% a month earlier. Housing costs continued to climb, but overall price pressures were milder than analysts had expected, suggesting the country's fight...

Why businesses are pulling billions in profits from China. Foreign businesses have been pulling money out of China at a faster rate than they have been putting it in, official data shows. The country's slowing economy, low interest rates and a geopolitical tussle with the US have sparked doubt about its economic potential. 

Sega of America accused of trying to cut 40 percent of unionized workersSega has been hit with an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge that accuses the company of deploying union-busting tactics to dismantle the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA union that was formed with help from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) earlier this year. 

The Epic vs. Google courtroom battle sounds bonkers. We are now six days into the Epic v. Google legal showdown over whether the Google Play Store is an illegal monopoly with high fees and strict rules designed to control Android app developers. Things are getting wild as Google employees—including the company’s CEO—might have deleted evidence or hidden chats from court proceedings, leading to...

In October 2023, publishers University Games and Forbidden Games filed lawsuits against one another in US District Court for the Northern District of CA, with University Games alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud by Forbidden Games and Glenn Drover alleging fraud, breach of contract, and wrongful termination by University Games...

Parents sue Roblox for allegedly hosting child grooming, sexual content. Multiple families have filed a class action lawsuit against Roblox Corp., alleging the Roblox game contains sexual content harmful to young players. The suit claims children using the popular platform encountered player avatars that were nude or doing in-game actions mimicking sexual intercourse. 

Meta calls for parental control laws for under-16s. Meta has called for laws that would force app stores to get parental approval when a child downloads an app. The proposal would put app stores, like those run by Apple and Google, on the hook for implementing parental controls - rather than social media companies. Meta, owner of Instagram and Facebook, has faced criticism for how it handles teens using its platforms. 



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Financial Reporting


Embracer Group reported sales increases for Asmodee and declines for Dark Horse in its Q3 financials, released this week. Tabletop game sales were up 25% to $382.5 million for the quarter, with organic growth (i.e., not due to acquisition) of 15%.  TCG sales drove the increase, with low single digit worldwide growth for board games.


Amazon lays off 180 employees in its video game divisions. 180 employees in Amazon's video game division are being let go today, according to Aftermath's Nathan Grayson. These cuts are said to affect the Prime Gaming team as part of what the outlet called a "larger goal of refocusing efforts" around it. The Amazon-backed Twitch channel Crown is said to be impacted by this, as is the Game Growth team. 


505 Games owner Digital Bros to cut 30 percent of its staff. Digital Bros, the owner of publisher 505 Games, revealed its plans to make reductions in the coming weeks across its various studios. Approximately 30 percent of its larger staff will be laid off, and the company confirmed these cuts will have "no significant impact" on its financials for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.


Click Distribution’s Biggies sales triple in two weeks. Following a crescendo of PR and marketing activity, Biggies, the first-of-its-kind super-size plush, saw its sales triple at the start of November. 


B&M reports strong trading and says on course to double in size and is now on course to have 1,200 UK outlets thanks to acquiring multiple premises from Wilko. B&M has raised its full-year profit guidance after posting a 16.1% rise in first half core earnings. For the six months to 23rd September, group revenue climbed to £2.55b, an increase of 10.4% on the previous year driven by an increase in the number of customer...


Unity is reviewing its product portfolio and says layoffs are "likely". Engine maker Unity has told shareholders it will "likely" be making layoffs, reducing its office footprint, and discontinuing some products as part of a "comprehensive" portfolio assessment. 

Humble Games lays off "valued colleagues" as restructuring begins. Humble Games told Game Developer it has laid off an undisclosed number of staff as part of a restructuring plan designed to ensure "long-term success". 


Embracer confirms 900 layoffs following net sales upswing... after actioning a restructuring program designed to turn the company into a "highly cash flow generative business." Those layoffs represent around 5 percent of Embracer's total workforce, and were made despite net sales increasing by 13 percent year-on-year to SEK 1.8 billion ($170.5 million) during Q2. 





Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

Holiday toy sales expected to slow amid economic struggles. Santa Claus may not have as much to give this year because hard up shoppers in Europe and the United States are prioritizing food and household staples, global toy makers and industry experts said.

October 2023 total U.S. consumer spending on video game content, hardware, and accessories fell 5% when compared to last year, to $4 billion


Toy World takes its second look this year at the Outdoor Toys category, with spring summer ’24 in mind, as suppliers share emerging trends and support for products and partners. 

Top 30 toy trends in November. These November 2023 toy trends range from preschool gaming subscriptions to interactive play experiences. 

The Insight Partners report finds kids toys market worth to reach $183.15 billion globally by 2030

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice



Kidscreen talks to licensing execs from Upper Deck, hand2mind and Relatable about new opportunities in the market, including demand for card games that can age down. Licensing is a difficult business where a few super-categories dominate the market, and it’s hard to stand out unless you have a big brand—or unless you find the gap. Kidscreen talked to three toycos about white-space opportunities...


The most sustainable toys are the ones that are fun for decades. As the holidays approach, my kids’ toys evoke a Christmas carol, and not in a good way. I count: 12 Brio train cars, 11 plastic veggies, tens of Magna-Tiles, 900 picture books, eight tiny teacups, seven bathtub boat toys, six packs of markers, five sidewalk chalks, four tasteful block sets, three cans of slime, two blowup swords and a mountain of plush...

Building Resilience. Amid A Mental Health Crisis, Toy Industry Takes On A New RoleAs more children emerge from the pandemic grappling with mental health issues, their parents are seeking ways for them to build emotional resilience. And toy companies are paying close attention. While still in its early phase, a growing number of toy marketers are embracing MESH — or mental, emotional and social health...


***The above posted after tBR started sending on November 17th***


John Baulch, Toy World - slow and steady wins the race …it’s the Friday Blog! In last week’s Blog, I suggested that a little patience was needed, and that I remained quietly confident that an upturn in sales was coming, after a lacklustre October for the UK toy market. I headed into my local town centre (Watford) last Saturday, and as soon as I hit the ring road, traffic was noticeably heavier than it had been for weeks.


HOW DID 2023 LOOK BEFORE WE HIT Q4? Before we take a look at the outlook for Q2, it’s worth setting the scene. Firstly our industry had a terrible Q4 2022, due primarily to high inflation causing a cost of living crisis across major Western economies. The failure of the consumer to show up in Q4 2022 left over abundant inventory in retail and eventually as that stock was aggressively cleared out by Toy companies...


Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav now admits that striking writers were correct in their demands for sweeping changes in how creatives are compensated in Hollywood. Zaslav told The New York Times in a lengthy new profile that he has no regrets about the deal struck between studios and the Writers Guild of America for a new three-year contract on Sept. 24.

Gabby’s Dollhouse is a soothing alternative to ‘cocaine for babies’ TV. The wholesome kids’ show that took the world by storm during Covid – and has spawned endless merchandise – has been a godsend for parents. In Jan 2021, when Covid deaths were surging and many preschools were closed, Netflix launched a show about a girl who wears cat ears, sings cheerful songs about science and says things like “miaow-mazing”...


YouTubers put anal bead chess conspiracy to the test. The chess world was rocked by a cheating scandal last September after former world champion Magnus Carlsen insinuated that an opponent, grandmaster Hans Niemann, had used foul play to beat him at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri. Now, some British YouTubers have put the most outlandish theory that arose from the scandal to the test...


Smash Bros: Could Nintendo's new rules end esports competitions? Nintendo's games have long been a source of fierce competition on the sofa at home. And Super Smash Bros - its successful fighting series featuring a cast of characters including Mario, Donkey Kong and Pikachu - has spawned a global tournament scene. 

Rolling For Initiative -- The recent decline in TCG sales at the retail level. Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne talks about the recent decline of TCG sales at the retail level, and looks at a few new things Wizards of the Coast has tried. 


Disney Lorcana card rarity explained: How to identify the rarest Lorcana cards. Disney Lorcana’s debut set The First Chapter includes over 200 cards for Disney fans and TCG collectors alike to discover in the game’s booster packs. With shiny holographic variants and the rarest Enchanted Lorcana cards to find, we’re here to explain every Lorcana card rarity and how you can identify how rare your Lorcana cards are.

Whatever happened to NFTs? When Homer Simpson comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme it usually ends badly. In the latest episode of The Simpsons the hapless dad turns his son Bart, and then himself, into NFTs to make millions. It all goes wrong when Homer finds out from a floating pizza cat that "the NFT craze is over". The episode has been widely applauded by NFT fans and sceptics alike for successfully poking fun...

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History and Nostalgia


Pandamonium from Milton Bradley (1983). Released in 1983 from Milton Bradley, the Pandamonium board game gathered an embarrassment of pandas competing to be the first bear to reach the Pyramid of Power. The game board was colourfully illustrated with mountains, trees, a bright yellow path, pandas, and lurking threats that included an abominable snowman, evil spirits, and an imposing green serpent.

Lace-Ups from Whitman (1970s). In the 1970s, Whitman released Lace-Ups, a line of educational toys designed to help young children, ages four to eight, develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Each Lace-Up was a thick cardboard card depicting an ordinary object or classic children’s character. Interspersed throughout the illustration was a series of punched holes. 


10 obscure toy lines that can now return as part of the Nacelle-Verse. Recently, the Nacelle Company, the production house behind The Toys That Made Us, launched the Nacelle-Verse. This new universe is composed of several obscure toy lines from the late 20th century, appearing in new comics and television shows, as well as all-new toys. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

'Once-in-a-lifetime dream': Mariah Carey gushes over her own Barbie doll. The Grammy winner and 'All I Want for Christmas' singer says that her younger self 'would flip out' if she knew that she'd become a Barbie someday. All I want for Christmas is ... a Mariah Carey Barbie doll? Mattel announced that it has created a doll in the likeness of the Grammy winner and self-titled "queen of Christmas" just in time for the songstress'...


***The above posted after tBR ran November 17th***


PBS KIDS has commissioned Fuzzytown Productions and Spiffy Pictures to produce Carl the Collector, its first series featuring a cast of characters who are on the autism spectrum. Set for a fall 2024 premiere, this 2D-animated concept for four- to eight-year-olds was created by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Zachariah OHora (My Cousin Momo). 

Mattel Creations, the company’s design collaboration and direct-to-consumer platform, is adding to its growing list of creators with a UNO collaboration with design company, Kartell. Componibili UNO, a limited-edition iteration, comprises a four-element version of Kartell’s Componibili, featuring white bodies adorned with the hole-grip doors in hues that include red, yellow, green and blue. 

Warner Bros Discovery Global Consumer Products is unveiling a sweet collection of global merchandise to celebrate the highly-anticipated release of Warner Bros Pictures’ big screen holiday spectacle, Wonka, arriving in theaters and in IMAX internationally beginning 6 December 2023 and in North America on December 15, 2023. 

The Little Tikes Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MGA Entertainment (MGA)  introduced the Little Tikes Story Dream Machine to the classic bedtime routine for parents of young kids earlier this year. The innovative toy launched with a robust catalog of story collections for extended story time.

Cameo Kids is introducing two beloved Sesame Street characters to its platform, Elmo and Cookie Monster, creating personalized messages for children and fans of all ages. Cameo Kids is a unique platform enabling parents and loved ones to book personalized Cameo videos featuring favorite family entertainment stars, whether for birthdays, congratulations, bedtime, holidays, or just an everyday “we love you!”  

The “Frozen” franchise is growing twofold, as Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed on Thursday that “Frozen 4” is already in the works in addition to the already announced “Frozen 3.” “‘Frozen 3’ is in the works, and there might be a ‘Frozen 4’ in the works too,” Iger told “Good Morning America.” “But I don’t have much to say about those films right now. Jen Lee, who created the original ‘Frozen’ and ‘Frozen 2,’ is hard at ...

Luxury candy brand Sugarfinia is teaming up with Hasbro to launch a special edition of Candy Land featuring gourmet treats. 

“Putting a spin on whimsy is what Sugarfina is known for,” says Scott LaPorta, CEO and Co-Investor of Sugarfina. “With this collaboration, we were excited to innovate the beloved childhood game while bringing a new way of candy tasting to grown ups and children alike.”

Bold art finds its way to the bathtub! Keith Haring’s striking art is appreciated across generations. The artist himself will always be remembered for his activism, large public artworks, and more. Now he’ll also be remembered for bath toys, as Etta Loves released a new collection of sensory bath toys featuring the iconic art of Haring. 

BBC Children’s and Education has put out a call for animated TV series concepts from UK creators/producers that it may develop and commission as part of its Ignite Animation program.  Applicants should get their submissions in online by February 8, 2024. The Beeb is interested in concepts for kids of all ages with stories, settings and characters that represent the UK’s culture and values.

Atari is excited to announce a collection of Atari Club Jackets created in collaboration with the apparel brand Members Only. The collection, which includes black, red, and white racing-style jackets with Atari branding, are meticulous remakes of an original jacket offered exclusively to Club members in the early 1980s.

DreamWorks taps into a nostalgia-led strategy to power up Trolls. Film producer Gina Shay gives us a look at how the multi-generational appeal of boy bands is helping the studio's Band Together threequel generate early box-office steam and unique licensing deals. While toy-based IPs have been making a lot of bank at the box office this year, DreamWorks Animation has been busy prepping one more blockbuster contender...

Crayola and Cupixel team up for augmented reality art kits. Crayola is teaming up with augmented reality (AR) art company Cupixel to create art kits that combine Crayola’s kid-friendly creativity with a new realm of technology. Each kit comes with Crayola art supplies, a device stand, and access to the Cupixel app. 


Radio Flyer, Tesla launch new Cyberquad for kids. The ride-on has been updated to meet all toy safety standards. Radio Flyer may be best known for the original Little Red Wagon, but since its launch more than 100 years ago, the company has been developing an impressive portfolio of vehicles for kids such as bikes, scooters, and more. 


'The Walking Dead Universe: RPG Starter Set' heads to retail. Free League Publishing will release The Walking Dead Universe: RPG Starter Set, which will hit retail on November 28, 2023. This game was first announced back in February 2023 as a Kickstarter campaign. The new entry level boxed set comes with everything players need to play a beginning game of The Walking Dead Universe RPG. 


'The Marvels' bombs; SAG-AFTRA strike ends; 'Ghostbusters,' 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' and 'Inside Out 2' trailers; 'Legend of Zelda' live-action movie. The strikes are over, productions are getting back on track, and it's time for a showbiz round-up. The Marvels had the lowest opening ever for a Disney MCU title, bombing both in the U.S. and internationally. 

'Marvel Champions' enters the 'Age of Apocalypse'. Fantasy Flight Games will release Age of Apocalypse, a new expansion for Marvel Champions: The Card Game, into retail on March 29, 2024. In this expansion, Professor X is dead, and Apocalypse rules over the ruins of humanity.  Age of Apocalypse is the conclusion of the mutant trilogy of expansions for Marvel Champions: The Card Game. 


The treasure hunt is on with new 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Tomb Raider' crossover: 'Secret Lair X Tomb Raider'. Wizards of the Coast will release Secret Lair X Tomb Raider, a new Magic: The Gathering drop set, onto preorder on November 20, 2023. Tomb Raider joins Jurassic Park with a new drop set to add more treasure hunting flavor to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan release. 


New range of ‘Bing’ Toys available in U.K. retailers. A new range of “Bing” toys is available in U.K. retailers. Featuring characters from the multi-award-winning series produced by Acamar Films, the toys are made by the independent studio’s master toy partner, Golden Bear. The full range is available online and in stores. Peek-a-boo Bing draws from the “Bing” episode, “Hiding,” and invites Bingsters to shout...


Build-A-Bear’s ‘Glisten and the Merry Mission’ debuts in theaters. Earlier this month, Build-A-Bear Workshop launched its new movie Glisten and the Merry Mission at Cinemark locations in major cities across the country. At the events, kids built their movie-going pals from the Merry Mission plush collection and got to meet Glisten, the main character of the movie.

New LEGO set is filled with awesome secrets. An upcoming Lego Monkie Kid set featuring a large city might be one of the coolest things of 2024 thanks to all the deep-cut secrets hidden throughout the build. Old-school Lego nerds, this one’s for you. Recently, Lego showed off some of its upcoming January 2024 sets to influencers and online content creators. 


Millimages inks new licensing and content deals in Latin America. Millimages, an independent animation studio based out of Paris, has secured a portfolio of new international deals. The studio has a catalog of more than 75 intellectual properties, including the preschool series Molang. Molang got its start as a character doodle by Korean illustrator Hye Ji Yoon but is now a popular brand boasting more than 712 million...


‘Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir’ celebrates the Holidays with the launch of new products. Enter a world of imaginative play with all new products launching in time for the holidays for fans of the globally popular animated series ZAG Heroez Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir and the blockbuster animated feature, Miraculous: Ladybug & Cat Noir, The Movie. 


It's the perfect time to capitalize on a long dormant animated franchise: LEGO. The animation industry is making bold moves with unique stylized visual choices dominating the current conversation. However, before the likes of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, one animated film broke new ground, catapulted an incredible creative team, and cemented an already impressive animation studio.

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People of Play


The Weathered Plastic Confessions of a Toy Collector. A daring exposé of a grown man’s toy collection. Ahem. I have an announcement to make. I have a massive Transformers collection. Come in, and know me and my 5 different Optimus Primes better, man. All toy collectors know that, sooner or later, they’ll have to ‘come out.’ And not just once. Again and again, to each family member that dares to ask. There’s dating. 


Melissa & Doug built a $1 billion toy empire. Now they’re making stress-relief toys for adultsAfter 30-plus years of selling wooden toys, Melissa and Doug Bernstein are now selling mindfulness products. Last year, the brand generated nearly half a billion dollars in revenue. Now, 35 years after launching, the Bernsteins are ready to move on from the company they have devoted their lives to. Last month, they sold...

***The above posted after Nov 17th***

Spin Master president Chris Beardall retires, names successor. Chris Beardall, President of Toys and Chief Commercial Officer for Spin Master, is retiring at the end of the year after being with the company since 2000. Beardall is being replaced by Doug Wadleigh, the current Head of Global Toy Brands at Spin Master. “During Chris’ illustrious 23-year career with Spin Master he has been a driving force behind the introduction of thousands of toys to the market while also deepening and diversifying our portfolio and expanding our global footprint,” says Max Rangel …


Hilary Key, owner of The Toy Chest in Nashville, has been awarded Most Innovative Retailer of the Year as part of the Toy and Game International Excellence Awards. The TAGIEs, now in its 16th year, honor the most innovative inventors, designers, suppliers, retailers, marketers and PR teams in the international toy and game industry. Event sponsors include Disney, Mattel, Hasbro and ASTRA.

Former head of drama development at Disney’s 20th Television Michelle Mendelovitz has been named head of Mattel Television Studios. In her new role, Mendelovitz will oversee the development, production, and distribution of Mattel’s slate of episodic content on broadcast and streaming globally. She will report to Mattel executive vice president and chief franchise officer Josh Silverman.


Inventor Of LeapFrog Teaches Granddaughter Using His Original Prototype. Michael Wood was an attorney, but he named the invention that made him famous after a childhood game — Leap Frog. When he had difficulty teaching his son to read, Michael developed a solution that later became a product known as the LeapFrog Phonics Desk. The Phonics Desk became LeapFrog’s first product and hit the market in 1995, before... 


Bop It Inventor Dan Klitsner: Utilizing The Culturally Iconic Creation As a Force For Good. For many Millennials and Gen Zers around the world, the Bop It is one of the most memorable iconic games of their childhood. Due to this notoriety the Bop It has recently been nominated to be inducted into the prestigious Toy Hall of Fame.  The Bop It was invented by Dan Klitsner and was first released in 1997. 

The Children’s Media Association’s Scott Traylor recently talked to Sago Mini founder and GM Jason Krogh about the changing business of making apps for children, and how companies can succeed in a very competitive market that barely existed when he started his company 10 years ago. 

The latest exhibition at the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, titled Toys & Play, celebrates the joyful exploration of games that have impacted the imaginative minds of Charles and Ray Eames. By inviting viewers into a realm of whimsy and innovation, this exhibition offers a distinct peek into how toys influenced the design process of these iconic figures. For them, play wasn’t simply about enjoyment; rather, it ...

ZAG expands management team with hire of Michael Berreth to new franchise marketing director role. Global independent animation studio ZAG continues to build its brand roster on a global scale and has created a new Franchise Marketing Director role, with the appointment of veteran industry marketing executive Michael Berreth to the position.

Nick Poole named CEO of UK video game trade body Ukie. Nick Poole has been named the new CEO of UK video game trade body Ukie. Poole will step into the role on April 1, 2024, replacing former CEO Dr Jo Twist who departed the non-profit earlier this year to lead music trade body, the BPI. Ukie works with developers, publishers, and other game businesses in the UK to ensure the region is the "best place in the world...


Wild Child Animation names Joyce Miller as its new consultant advisor. Wild Child Animation has tapped Joyce Miller as a Consultant Advisor. Miller previously worked as a Senior Manager for Animation Production of Television Series at Netflix. She also held senior positions at Spin Master Entertainment and Disneytoon along with additional consulting positions at other production companies.


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Companies and Brands


In collaboration with The Salvation Army, The Entertainer has announced the return of The Big Toy Appeal for its fifth year. The Big Toy Appeal, encourages customers to embrace the spirit of giving by picking up an extra toy to donate towards the cause when visiting The Entertainer in-store or online. For each gift generously contributed by customers, The Entertainer will match the donation, effectively doubling...

Funko, Inc has announced a significant update to the Funko app: the integration of new collection valuation capabilities, based on eBay transaction data. The update enables the Funko community to price their Funko Collections with increased accuracy, by seamlessly connecting the Funko catalog with recent, verified sales data from the eBay marketplace.

In celebration of Hasbro’s brand-new Monopoly campaign – All is Fair in Monopoly – the leading toy and game co. is getting into the holiday spirit by partnering with SpotHero to offer over 1,000 free parking spots for Black Friday shoppers in 5 metropolitan US cities on Friday, Nov. 24. In addition to the city specific, Monopoly Free Parking coupons, Monopoly and SpotHero will be offering a 10% off coupon...

Walt Disney Co. is donating $1 million to Student Veterans of America for the SVA Career Center, a program that will aid veterans as they transition from military service to the civilian workforce. “Disney has a long history of supporting our nation’s service members and their families dating back to our co.’s founding, including through our Heroes Work Here initiative, which has enabled us to hire more than...


Just Jigsaws is attempting a world record for the largest puzzle ever made by hand – with a staggering 140,000 pieces. The company is inviting businesses to get involved by sponsoring the record attempt, with the money raised being used to increase its traditional annual donations to charity, including the provision of puzzles to Sheffield Children’s Hospital at Christmas. 

Revell unveils new James Bond model kits. The new James Bond model kits feature a line-up of famous vehicles from the franchise, all offered in gift set format. Offering something for every James Bond fan to appreciate, the new assortment of James Bond model kits from Revell includes a range of glue kits for fans to assemble. There’s the 1:72 scale Eurocopter Tiger helicopter from GoldenEye, the 1:24 scale BMW Z8 from...

iiZO, Toho International’s premier online store for every fan, is now live! After months of anticipation, the anime shop has announced a lineup of items that connects fans with their favorite shows, from My Hero Academia to Spy x Family to Jujutsu Kaisen, and more! iiZO, named after the Japanese colloquial term of agreement meaning “Yeah!” or “Great!,” leverages Toho International’s...

Sesame Workshop is partnering with NY-based events company Round Room Live for the first time to develop Sesame Street Live! Say Hello, a new interactive musical stage show that will tour North America next year. Aimed at kids ages one to seven, the 80-minute experience will feature iconic Muppets including Elmo, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby singing, dancing and encouraging the audience to get up...

World’s largest LEGO store opens in Sydney. The world’s largest LEGO store has officially been unveiled. Opened by The LEGO Group in partnership with Alquemie Group, this new store is situated at Sydney Arcade, overlooking Pitt Street Mall in the heart of Sydney, Australia. The 900-square-meter (roughly 9,687 square feet) store spans two levels. 


Miniso launches Oxford Street flagship store in London. Miniso officially opened its flagship store on Oxford Street in London last week. The new location is Miniso’s largest retail location in the U.K., with almost 3,000 square feet of surprise toys, plush, homewares, and more. The Oxford Street location is not just a destination for shopping, featuring bubblegum pink displays and a photo op designed to look like...


Toys”R”Us to open a flagship store at Mall of America just in time for the Holiday shopping season. WHP Global, parent company of Toys”R”Us, announced the location of its second US flagship store at Mall of America, the largest shopping and entertainment destination in North America. Set to open just before Thanksgiving, this marks the first flagship store in partnership with Go! Retail Group with additional flagship...

Ty introduces Beanie Baby Hunt for 30th anniversary. Ty Warner, owner of the soft toys manufacturer Ty, has launched a 30th Anniversary Beanie Hunt Contest. Ty will be giving away $1,000 every week until New Year’s Eve to the creator of the best TikTok video depicting their hunt for a limited-edition 30th anniversary Beanie Baby. Although Ty retired Beanie Babies for a period of time, the company is now bringing...

Bandai Namco launches Gundam Base Mobile Tour. Bandai Namco is taking its Gundam brand to the road. The Gundam franchise is known amongst collectors for its detailed model kits of mecha (giant robots). The brand got its start as an anime but has since released additional series, a large portfolio of collectibles, and more. Now, Gundam is launching a tour with the Gundam Base Mobile visiting cities across the U.S. 


Tomy brings Screwball Scramble to life in holographic form. Two Screwball Scramble hologram activations, created in collaboration with Disturbed Media, reached over half a million consumers in October. Tomy and Disturbed Media Group have joined forces to create an innovative 3D hologram experience taking the global toy brand’s best-selling game, Screwball Scramble, to new heights. 


Gel Blaster reveals Nexus Spatial Gaming Console. Gel Blaster, a company specializing in water blasters, has revealed the Nexus Spatial Gaming Console at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in Orlando, Florida. Gel Blaster is aiming to launch Nexus with select partners in location-based entertainment (LBE) centers across the U.S. Gel Blaster is hoping to make Nexus...


Ravensburger launches mushroom-themed deck-building game. Ravensburger’s latest game is taking players to nature. Designed for preteens and adults, Mycelia is a deck-building game that is entirely mushroom-themed. To win the game, players must collect unique mushrooms and leaves to help clear the board of dewdrops. As dewdrops are cleared from the board, players add them to the Shrine of Life.


Zuru partners with AB Gee as exclusive UK distributor. Zuru will maintain a direct FOB relationship with major retailers, but says the partnership will broaden its reach within the UK retail landscape. Zuru UK has announced AB Gee as its exclusive distribution partner for the UK market in 2024. Separate to Zuru’s long-standing direct-FOB business, this collaboration further enhances reach for the company...


The 23 most rare and expensive Pokémon cards. Have you got any rare Pokémon cards hidden in your collection? Wondering if that shiny Charizard or promo card stashed up in the attic or down in the basement is valuable? You’re in the right place, as we’ve rounded up a definitive list of the most expensive Pokémon cards of all time - along with how much they’re worth, what makes them so valuable...


Lucky Duck will release 'Nestlings'. Lucky Duck Games will release Nestlings, a new board game, into retail on April 5, 2024. In this game, players take control of birds attempting to assert their dominance in four different biomes: Savannah, Alpine, Freshwater, and Desert. Players will assign dice each round to the biomes, including a wild grasslands area. 


Asmodee will release 'Lockdown'. Asmodee will release Lockdown, a new horror game by Grare Games, into retail on December 15, 2023. This semi-cooperative horror game thrusts players into a world overwhelmed by Monsters.  Little is known about these monsters other than their affinity for munching on human flesh.  


Biggies goes little for new range extension. Eolo Toys is launching Little Biggies for spring/summer 2024, taking its hit blow-up plush concept and shrinking it down so fans can collect Biggies and take them on the go. little biggiesEolo Toys’ hottest brand, Biggies, is ready to enter a new category with the launch of Little Biggies for spring/summer 2024. This strategic move aims to further establish Biggies...

Pat Avenue locks in Slida distribution deal. Pat Avenue UK is to bring Slida, the award-winning 3D puzzle for all ages, to the UK and Ireland. Slida 3D puzzles introduce a new play pattern to puzzlers and is the first of its kind, appealing to both children and adults. To be able to solve the award-winning puzzle, the player will need to rely not only on their observational skills but also problem-solving skills...


VR Distribution launches Shenanigrams. A word game filled with sneakiness, shenanigans and  anagrams, Shenanigrams is compact, portable, super-addictive and can be as simple or strategic as players decide. Shenanigrams is the brainchild of serial-inventors Kate and Zak Walton; the British game-obsessed husband and wife duo who sold their last successful family and party games business (Gutter Games) in 2021... welcomes new creator partners. The studio now has 48 partnerships with kids and family content creators. Kids and family digital entertainment company is welcoming eight new creators to its portfolio of 40 other creator partners, representing 830 million YouTube subscribers. Daniel LaBelle, The McClure Twins, Dominoki Kids Songs, Papa Jake, Akili and Me, Wilson World, Gaby and Alex...

LEGO annual Build to Give campaign returns. Lego Group is encouraging everyone to help share the superpower of play with children who need it most, by building a heart out of Lego bricks. For every heart built and shared on social media or on Lego Life using the hashtag #BuildToGive before 31st December, the Lego Group will donate a set to a child in need. 


Enter into epic scale battles with new 'Warhammer: The Horus Heresy' boxed set. Games Workshop will place Legions Imperialis, a new boxed set for Warhammer: The Horus Heresy, onto preorder soon. This set allows players to engage in epic scale battles out of the box.  It comes with two armies: one for the Legiones Astartes and one for Solar Auxilia. 

The Op bringing 'Gnome Hollow' to retail. The Op will be offering Levity Games’ nature-celebrating Euro-style boardgame Gnome Hollow to the trade in Q3 of 2024. Created and illustrated by Ammon Anderson (T.A.C.O.: Taunt, Attack, Conquer, Obsess), Gnome Hollow is a game about creating and harvesting “fairy rings” of mushrooms.  

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Bandai Namco expands physical stores in the UK. Following the Cross Store launch in Camden Market, a new store will open in Victoria Place this week and more Bandai Namco Group Stores will roll out nationally. Bandai Namco Amusement Europe is set to follow on the success of the first UK Bandai Namco Cross Store in Camden Market with another collection of Bandai Namco Group brand stores opening at London’s...

Ticket to Ride has a new PC game, but it’s not going down well with fans. Train game classic Ticket to Ride has received a spruced-up digital adaptation on PC. Unfortunately, though, it’s not going down too positively with players - and for good reason. While a digital Ticket to Ride has existed for years, this latest adaptation adds new 3D graphics and animations to Alan R. Moon’s venerated game of collecting routes...

Highlighted Press Releases

MY GNOME SAYS: GIVE THE KIDS A GIFT SO BIG IT WON’T FIT IN THE HOUSE, BUT THAT’S THE IDEA!  My Gnome On The Roam Entices Tots To Get Out In The World, For A Lifetime Of Adventures That Become Mesmerizing Family Memories. Roam On Over For Black Friday & Cyber Monday Savings To: Madison, TN (November 22, 2023) — Whoever said big things come in small packages must have met the little gnome that families are talking about! Just in time for holiday giving, My Gnome on the Roam® (found at is a brand of toys, books and tools that help busy families create adventures and capture the memories of those adventures. The result is a gift that can’t be confined to just one moment but will be used again and again and recalled fondly until the kids are grown and flown.


WE WISH YOU A MOOSH-MOOSH CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR OF CUDDLY COMPANIONS FROM HEAD TO TOE! Kids And Kidults Will Adore Holiday 2023 Collection Of Wearable Moosh-Moosh Hoodies & Sliperz Plus Stocking Stuffer Clipz And Of Course Starlight Buddies, Squared & Sleep Pillows. Simi Valley, CA (November 20, 2023) – With visions of gingersnaps, nutcrackers and elves in their heads, the designers at Moosh-Moosh have reimagined the most delicious ideas of the holidays into the perfect presents for every kid (and kidult) on the list. Are those Slipperz winking at me? Yes, when it’s Gingersnaps sporting a red bow tie. The cutest and most creative holiday presents are being rolled out this week online at


***The above posted after November 17th***


PAW PATROL™ TO THE RESCUE! CHASE IS ON THE CASE AS NEWEST STORYPOD CRAFTIE. Miami, FL— The paw-sibilities of finding a magical gift for the tots on your list just got better with the announcement of Storypod’s newest collaboration with PAW Patrol™. Just in time for holiday giving, PAW Patrol is just one of three upcoming product developments with Paramount Consumer Products. Look for a rollout of three PAW Patrol Crafties with Book, Token and a branded Storypod Sleeve now through 2024. Blue’s Clues & You! and Bubble Guppies licenses will also expand Storypod’s Crafties Collection for months to come for kids ages 3- to 5-years old. Now, kids can hear engaging stories and songs from breakfast to bedtime without ever turning on a screen.

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Safety and Counterfeiting


Lawmaker calls for national ban on children’s toy due to health risks. Government officials, public health professionals and concerned parents are calling on Congress to ban water beads, a children’s toy that they say poses significant health risks. In a news conference Monday, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey announced that he will be introducing a bill at the House of Representatives this week aimed at instating a national ban on beads marketed to kids. Pallone said that product warnings are not enough. “We have to ban them.”

Consumer watchdog lists '10 Worst Toys' for 2023, highlights child safety concerns. W.A.T.C.H. – World Against Toys Causing Harm – issued a list of toys they said are hazardous and should not be in children's hands. The organization said the toys on their list contain hazards like "toy weaponry with the potential for blunt force and eye injuries, plush pillow toys that could potentially lead to infant suffocation, and water beads...


Erie Insurance offers tips for choosing cyber-safe toys this Holiday season. As the holiday season approaches and children build their gift lists, smart toys may be at the top of the list. By 2027, the smart toy market is expected to exceed $24 billion but internet-connected toys, which typically have a built-in microphone and speaker, can potentially expose children and others in their household to data or identity theft. .

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

With Barbie Dominating the Grammys, Can the Oscars Be Next?  Four songs from the film’s blockbuster soundtrack earned Grammy nominations—but the Oscars will make it a bit trickier. Barbie’s having a blowout party with planned choreography and a bespoke song at this year’s Grammys, and we’re all invited. Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster was a dominant force among this year’s Grammy nominees, announced ...

The annual ToyCocktail competition for Spielwarenmesse aims to discover a special new drink for guests at the int'l toy fair to enjoy. The winning cocktail, the Pearplex with this year’s other entries. For the 18th time, Spielwarenmesse has invited bars from the local metropolitan area to enter its ToyCocktail competition. On 13th Nov., seven bars from Nuremberg and Fürth each presented drinks they had created...

Announcing the finalists for the Tabletop Awards 2023, this year’s standout board games, RPGs and creators. The votes are in! This year’s finalists for the second annual Tabletop Awards have been decided by our panel of industry experts. The shortlist representing the best games and creators from across the hobby will now be whittled down to determine a final winner in each category to be announced at...


Barbie’s Ken is left out again as Cabbage Patch Kids and Fisher-Price Corn Popper make Toy Hall of Fame. Fans have pushed the Fisher-Price Corn Popper into the National Toy Hall of Fame, elevating it from perpetual finalist to 2023 inductee, alongside baseball cards, Cabbage Patch Kids and NERF foam toys, the hall announced Friday. But Barbie’s kind-of boyfriend, due to his portrayal by Ryan Gosling in the summer blockbuster “Barbie.”

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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 readers. Archives can be found HERE

Jim Southworth, Baldur's Gate 3 cinematics lead, has passed away. Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian Studios announced the passing of one of its developers, Jim Southworth. He served as the animation lead for the game's cinematics.

"Jim cared deeply about his team," Larian wrote, "and the results shone through in their work. He loved making games, and we loved making them with him. We're all going to miss him."

Southworth first joined Larian in 2019 as Baldur's Gate 3 was in Early Access as an art lead through the third-party vendor Turbulenz Limited. He then became a part of the studio full-time in 2021 to lead production on its in-game cinematics.

His career spanned multiple studios and games, including 2005's Blade II and EyeToy: Kinetic and 2016's PlayStation VR Worlds.


Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.


Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

Toyworld (UK)

  1. Venceremos… it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Biggies goes little for new range extension

  3. Don’t miss Toy World’s January Nuremberg supplement

  4. Zuru partners with AB Gee as exclusive UK distributor

  5. Click Distribution’s Biggies sales triple in two weeks

  6. Spin Master president announces retirement

  7. Tomy brings Screwball Scramble to life in holographic form

  8. Wilton Bradley celebrates promotions as expansion continues

  9. 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour winner crowned

  10. AB Gee World’s Smallest range will go to the ball Powered by Toyworld

  1. Last call for BLE’s 2024 Retail Mentoring Programme

  2. Pokémon Horizons premieres on BBC

  3. Beano collaborates with Radley on handbag line

  4. Pokémon – always ahead of the game!

  5. New range of Bing toys available in UK

  6. Zag welcomes Michael Berreth as Franchise Marketing director

  7. Edizioni Play Press partners with Tara Duncan for activity books

  8. Warner Bros. reveals new Wonka merchandise

  9. The Everywhere Group celebrates award for Peaky Blinders experience

  10. Moonbug teams up with George at Asda

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'Magic: The Gathering' Holiday Promo Card for 2023
Wizards of the Coast Announces Dino-sized December for 'Magic: The Gathering'
Rolling for Initiative -- The Recent Decline in TCG Sales at the Retail Level
'Marvel HeroClix Iconix: Wakanda Hulkbuster' Inbound!
'D&D Icons of the Realms' Dares to Enter the 'Red Dragon's Lair'
Bandai Reveals Next 'One Piece CG' Booster Set
'Magic: The Gathering' 'Murders at Karlov Manor' Gets a Date
Preview: 'Disney Lorcana: Rise of the Floodborn' Starter Decks
Renegade Game Studios Unveils New 'Transformers RPG' Sourcebook
Fantasy Flight Announces 'Arkham Nights 2023 Organized Play Kit'

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

- National Toy Hall of Fame reveals 4 newest inductees

- The American costume brand, Disguise, presents its Disney costumes for the first time in Spain.

- The world´s largest LEGO Store opens in Sydney

The Bugg Report (Australia)

People of Play Announce Winners of The Toy & Game International Excellence Awards

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Run Released, Nestlings Announced
Fowers Games has announced a new two-player game, Lucky Duck Games has announced a new bird-themed game, and The Op has released a new cooperative game.

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