Jason Schreier: is an NYC-based freelance reporter/editor who writes for Wired.com, the Onion News Network, and a number of other sites and publications. His work has also been featured in Time, CNN, and NPR. He graduated NYU in 2009 (go Violets!) and is a hopeless, yet passionate Jets/Nets fan. You can follow him on twitter @JasonSchreier
Q: So first of all, could you tell me a little about what Konami is doing here at the show, what your goals are?
A: Well, the number one goal and the reason we have a booth is because we are building merchandising and licensing programs for our brands. A couple of the brands that we’re focusing on this year include
· Metal Gear Solid 3D and Silent Hill.
· Downpour, which are both coming out this fall.
· Pro Evolution Soccer, specifically in the Latin American territories, as it is the number one soccer game in those territories. So really trying to build our merchandising programs is the main goal.
Q: So what kind of brands, what kind of products are you looking at?
A: The traditional categories are very easy for us to obtain, so things like publishing for strategy guides, publishing for graphic novels, accessories, apparel, electronics. But we are also trying to meet with other licensees to see if there’s something a little bit more intriguing to build a merchandising program. What we’d like to do is really take our brand and expand the universe and make sure that the consumer is able to incorporate our brand into their lifestyle.
So for instance, we did a deal for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, for high end apparel which is available online right now. It’s great clothing – you can see this jacket, which [Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima] actually took a picture of himself wearing.
It looks like anything that anybody would wear in Europe, or New York, or Tokyo – but it’s a Metal Gear jacket, and if you look closely you can see small embellishments that reflect the Metal Gear Solid brand. So for us, it’s about providing the apparel with the logos, and the artwork, in addition to expanding that into a lifestyle.
Q: What are the other brands you’re showing here?
A: Castlevania is a big one for us. And Frogger – we have some exciting things happening with the Frogger 30th Anniversary – you’ll probably be able to see some apparel and accessories. There are lottery tickets available, and other things we haven’t announced yet. The coolest thing – and this is kind of a sidenote – the lottery ticket is actually very large, and it has three little frogs. When you scratch, you see arrows come up and you’re literally playing the game on the lottery ticket. But every once in a while, the arrow makes your frog run into a car or jump in the lake.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share about your successes here so far?
A: The licensing show is an important event for us, not only from a licensing perspective but from an acquisitions perspective, just learning what’s going on in the entertainment industry. I think that having this gaming area is great, having the participation of so many key players in the market is just fantastic – it shows that the video game industry is at a level where not only the consumers love us and pay attention to us, but it’s a great way for retailers and other licensees to understand that this is an important business.