Brand Licensing Expo

Inside The Brand Licensing Industry

Posts tagged Interactive Gaming

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Licensing Expo: Interview with Ubisoft’s Greg Bartoletti at LX11

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: First of all, could you tell me a bit about what you guys are doing here?

A: Sure, Ubisoft just finished E3. We’re the third-largest provider of video games in the world. So we had a very successful E3, and this is kind of the next step for us in the licensing arena. Ubisoft wants to be known as an entertainment company, not just a video game company so we’re branching out into all areas of licensing, film, and of course consumer products in terms of t-shirts, toys, accessories, figurines, publishing. So we’re looking forward to meeting new partners here this week. We have appointments scheduled on the half-hour for three days – we’re very excited.

Q: I know you guys have the Ghost Recon brand and Assassin’s Creed – could you tell me a bit about the other brands you have here?

A: Those are core games for us. Our entertainment and dance genres have been very good. Just Dance just reached 14 million units. We have Michael Jackson: The Experience attached to that, and Just Dance for Kids. And then in the shooter format, we’re very excited for next spring, we’ll be launching Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Those are key games for us.

Then there’s Raving Rabbids, kind of an iconic brand for us that does really well in Europe. And our Petz series, which is a caring, nurturing game geared primarily towards girls. We’ll be lasting the MMO, online version in June. At the show here we’re looking to meet with different partners in toy and plush, cause we have an electronic element that will be a part of that game as well.

Q: So for your big brands, like Ghost Recon and Assassin’s Creed, what kind of franchise directions are you looking toward?

A: We’ve got great partners in figurines, so they have toys that are the iconic characters from Assassin’s Creed – and then we have multiple versions, so the 4-inch figurine, then the bigger 7-inch figurine. We’ll also be speaking with a few people to work on a collectors’ series with more of a 12 to 15-inch, higher end. So there’s tremendous interest there, plus apparel, plus accessories, custom controllers, strategy keys.

Q: Great! So is there anything else you’d like to share?

A: We’ll see how today goes, we’re very busy! We also have our European counterparts here, from the French office, which is pretty good and they also have appointments. The Licensing Expo I think has done a good job of bringing in people from all around the world, so we brought our Australian office here as well as our Paris office.

Filed under LX11 Licensing Expo Game Licensing social gaming Interactive Gaming

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Inside Licensing: Interview with Konami’s Careen Yapp

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.

Filed under LX11 Licensing Expo Game Licensing Social Gaming Interactive Gaming

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Inside Game Licensing: Interview with Sega’s Cindy Chau

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: For starters, tell me a little bit about what Sega is doing at the show – what is your purpose for being here?

A: The purpose for doing the show is to really promote Sonic the Hedgehog, the brand/character, it’s going to be his 20th anniversary coming up on the 23rd of this month. So it’s really selling branding, 20 years of a really iconic character in the video game industry, celebrating the licensing program we’ve had over the past few years. Back in the 90s he was really a household brand, and he’s expanded across all categories. And to this day we’re still doing amazing things with Sonic the Hedgehog.

We have a great toy program at Toys’R’Us that we’ve also expanded into Walmart and Target. He does outstanding in mass as well as specialty, reaching all age groups – anywhere from 7 to 25 as we get the younger kids playing the games. And then you have the retro properties, which touch the nostalgia, appeal to the older gamers. It does very well.

Q: With Sonic Generations coming out this November, are there big plans for licensing tie-ins?

A: We do have big plans for licensing. We are doing a 20thanniversary branding across all of our brand games. It started January 2011 and will carry on throughout December. We did tie-ins with our ice cream partner and our toy partner. We also have our home décor partner, the accessory guys and they’ve all been doing fantastic 

Q: Is there anything in particular you’re looking to get out of the show – any specific kinds of licensing deals?

A: Increased exposure for Sonic. We’ve had a lot of new pitches and proposals for Sonic so far. Just this whole part of the show was great – lot of exposure, people are reaching out left and right. We’re just rejuvenating the brand for Sonic.

Q: Are you looking to brand any of Sonic’s friends, like Tails and Knuckles et al?

A: Yeah, we have Shadow, Knuckles, Tails does quite well. Our entire cast of characters does just fabulously.

Filed under LX11 Licensing Expo Game Licensing Social Gaming Interactive Gaming

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Inside Licensing: Interview with Electronic Arts’ Patrick O’Brien

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, tell me a little about what EA is doing here at the show?

A: This is our third year at the show and we are meeting with a lot of our existing partners, meeting with potential new partners. There’s been a real growth in interactive entertainment licensing, partly because if you look at the connected nature of our games, and the growth of them, the whole industry is kind of heading towards a blockbuster industry. So you’ll see Battlefield for us is huge, you know Mass Effect, Need for Speed, FIFA, Madden – same with our competitors. As you have fewer and bigger games, the footprint is larger and it sort of lends itself to licensing and you want to be out there providing stuff to people wherever they are.

Q: Could you give me a couple of examples of the types of new licensing deals you’re looking for here?

A: Well, I’d rather give you a couple examples of the ones we’re launching in the fall.

·      So we’ve got a really nice deal with Mega brands, doing Need for Speed Megablocks cars and we’re partnering with them, with a number of retailers here and in Europe at the launch of our game, with the launch of our toys to create a significant retail footprint.

·      We do a lot in the fanboy animation, novels, comics world – we do a lot of figures deals. A lot of our brands that are the most licensable are things like Mass Effect, set in an alternate universe and so on – and they lend themselves to kinda fanboy collectors.

·      And a lot of apparel – we do a lot of online sales (our fans are online) so we’ve got a lot of online deals at Bioware.com, etc. We’re able to market and sell directly to our fans.

Q: When I was at E3 last week, everyone was wearing those N7 brands.

A: The N7 hoodies – it’s the Coach bag for men!

Q: So with something like Madden, how would you license something that’s already a license of something else (the NFL)?

A: Well, we license EA Sports. So we have a whole team here from EA Sports that has entered into licensing in a big way – they have a number of deals that they haven’t announced yet, but that are coming up this summer/fall.

Q: Anything you can hint at?

A: I’ll let them handle that!

Q: No worries! Have you done any licensing with EA Sports already?

A: Yeah, they’ve done peripheral deals, they’ve done apparel deals… they did some kinda educational toys where you’re learning how to hit a baseball, how to play soccer because of the mechanics in the ball or the bat.

Q: Great. Is there anything else you want to share with readers as far as your strategy here at the expo?

A: You know, we’re constantly educating people. We’re finding that even now, interactive is bigger than film, and particularly with social connectivity it’s just getting bigger and bigger. We’re still educating the licensing community on who we are, who our demographic is and why these are attractive licenses. And I think that’s 50% of the reason why we’re here is to constantly enforce what the interactive industry is all about.

(Source: )

Filed under LX11 Licensing Expo Social Gaming Interactive Gaming Game Licensing