Reinventing the Classics

Video game publishers are aggressively leveraging their classic brands into new merchandise areas. The video game industry is coming off a difficult 2009, with total sales declining 8 percent to $19.66 billion, according to T

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

Video game publishers are aggressively leveraging their classic brands into new merchandise areas. The video game industry is coming off a difficult 2009, with total sales declining 8 percent to $19.66 billion, according to The NPD Group, but that hasn't slowed the pace of extending evergreen franchises across a number of new platforms. i1_761.jpg

Electronic Arts and its EA Play division will maintain their focus on family-oriented video games this year with a new wave of Hasbro-brand titles headed by a new video game version of Monopoly in 3-D. Richard Cleveland, Hasbro's head of digital marketing, says the company's ongoing deal with EA will focus on building its franchise of video games based on classic Hasbro brands.

"Hasbro has some of the best-known games in the world and the idea is to leverage those games onto different platforms and allow people to enjoy them in different ways," says Cleveland. "And that could be playing Scrabble using an iPhone or the Littlest Pet Shop on a Nintendo DS in the back seat of a car."

One of EA's marquee titles this year is Monopoly Streets, a new game due to launch in fall 2010 that will allow players to experience the classic board game in a 3-D world.

"Monopoly Streets will strike a balance between offering the classic Monopoly experience and adding a spectacular new visual treatment as we bring the classic board game to life with players walking the streets of Monopoly," says Chip Lange, senior vice president of Electronic Arts' Hasbro division. The game will immerse players in a virtual 3-D Monopoly world and will be available on PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360. Electronic Arts is also working on a second game, Monopoly City, that's currently in development and will extend the 3-D experience. i2_410.jpg

EA has sold more than 8 million Hasbro-branded video games to date and launched 20 different Hasbro brands on 19 different platforms, ranging from standard video game platforms to the iPhone. And it has more than a dozen new Hasbro-branded games in development, with many due out in 2010. They include Hasbro Family Game Night 3, the third installment in its best-selling franchise. It will feature a collection of five games—The Game of Life, Clue, Mouse Trap, Twister and Yahtzee Hands Down—hosted by a digital Mr. Potato Head inside an imaginary theme park. Also on the list is The Littlest Pet Shop Biggest Stars, a game designed for young girls.

Sega will be busy looking for licensees to build a program around the 20th anniversary celebration of its classic property Sonic Hedgehog. "We're gearing up for the Sonic Hedgehog's 20th anniversary in 2011 so we'll be talking to licensees about putting together a program based on the anniversary," says Jerry Chu, Sega's licensing manager.

Sega is also planning to expand its line of merchandise based on retro gaming, which includes products based on classic platforms such as Sega Genesis that date back to the early days of gaming.

"We already have products that include apparel, accessories, headwear and novelty gadgets," says Chu. "And we'll be looking for partners to expand that program targeting specialty stores such as Hot Topic and Spencer's Gifts."

Capcom is leveraging some of its classic brands into new retail venues through a deal with Zazzle. The two companies have entered a partnership in which Capcom will open four online merchandise shops with Zazzle where fans can customize and purchase merchandise incorporating their favorite Capcom characters.

The online venture will include shops featuring Power Stone, Monster Hunter, Rival Schools and Classic Arcade where Capcom fans can create and buy everything from customized skateboards and posters to apparel. "Capcom's partnership with Zazzle allows fans of both new and classic Capcom franchises to design and customize their own unique, branded items," says Seon King, senior director of licensing for Capcom.

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