The wildly creative, inherently innovative, behemoth of entertainment that is the video games industry presents a huge, often untapped opportunity for licensing. With a broadening and multi-faceted appeal and a lowering barrier to entry, its audience is growing exponentially. Now is the perfect time to get plugged-in to this platform.
Comic franchises such as Marvel have shared a similar trajectory over into the mainstream, showing how a medium once seen as ‘only for kids’ or ‘geeky’ can fully realise its potential, delivering fan-service to diehard fans whilst welcoming everyone else to enjoy their brilliantly developed universes and characters.
This is without doubt happening (in fact it has long since started) with the games industry. We are all gamers now.
Just over a year ago, Sandra Arcan and I set up Bits + Pixels, a licensing agency specialising in video games, due to our shared love of the medium and vision of where we wanted to see licensing for the industry go.
We noticed a reluctance when it came to gaming brands, even though it is by far the most profitable form of entertainment (last year bringing in a staggering $94 billion!), with the most avid, loyal and vocal of fanbases. And, understanding that for the uninitiated the games industry can be daunting, we wanted to encourage those in licensing to recognise this huge potential and dive in.
As gamers ourselves, we know all too well of the insatiable appetite for gaming merch – but it has to be just right.
Above: Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch has over 30 million players and enjoys a hugely broad appeal.
With video game licensing, understanding the type of audience you are dealing with is a must. Gamers are not this homogenous mass of people, spending all day indoors gaming whilst posting mean comments on Twitter. Far from it; there are as many types of gamers as there are games – that is to say, there are many. From hardcore gamers who spend hundreds of hours playing deep and complex games, focused on mastering their skills, to mobile gamers, social gamers, gamers who spend hours just watching others game on Twitch and YouTube, gamers who enjoy artful and creative indie titles – the list goes on!
Gamers are both introverted and extroverted, they can be fashionable, men and women, across all ages. They are internet savvy, early adopters and vociferous. Gamers are heavily invested in their favourite brands, both in time and money. They are part of its ecosystem: the game, the apps, the merchandise, the identity. Players aren’t just consuming media, they are taking part and contributing. Game developers understand this and are always looking to the community to help shape their products, it’s a wonderfully evolving medium.
Game publishers are, understandably, very protective of their IPs and how they are communicated through licensing. Not only are they acutely careful that licensing stays true to their brand identity and core values, they must also ensure that it resonates with its highly passionate and vocal fanbase.
At Bits + Pixels we truly understand not only the gaming brands, but who their fans are. We communicate this to licensees and retailers, ensuring that everyone is onboard with a tailored approach. With total brand immersion, we help develop concepts and inform the detail in products that really speak to fans, enabling the subtlety of design that is often required to delight this audience.
The games industry creates more new IPs than the movie industry and with that comes new fanbases. It’s such an exciting place to be and, for the brave, an opportunity to jump on this light-speed vehicle towards untold adventures.
If you’re ready to master video games with Bits + Pixels, just select ‘Ready Player 2’.