Activision Blizzard, the interactive gaming and entertainment company, has extensive licensing programs behind its gaming titles like “Candy Crush,” “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft,” “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone” and “Diablo.” Matt Beecher, vice president, Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group, shares how the company is celebrating its milestone anniversary while keeping its wide fanbase engaged.
License Global: What were Activision Blizzard’s biggest licensing initiatives in 2020? Which brands saw the most success last year?
Matt Beecher: As Activision Blizzard fans spent more time with our beloved franchises last year, consumer products released a robust slate of licensed programs to help expand our stories and bring our digital worlds to the real world. Our games, whether you’re talking about the “World of Warcraft: Shadowlands” expansion or “Call of Duty: Warzone,” have been extremely popular, and we’re aiming to build on those successes.
On the “Call of Duty” side, we launched new peripheral programs with partners including ASTRO, KontrolFreek, Nacon and SCUF to help players level up their game play as they ventured back in time to the Cold War.
For “World of Warcraft,” we brought Azeroth into our world with the new Small World of Warcraft board game release from Asmodee/Days of Wonder, and new peripheral partnerships with Blue Microphones (Logitech) and Secretlab. Fan-favorite heroes from “Overwatch” were brought to new audiences with apparel and collectible programs with Funko, Hot Wheels and Pull&Bear.
Elsewhere, Activision Blizzard’s esports divisions continued their foray into mainstream culture with streetwear partnerships including those between the Call of Duty League and Billionaire Boys Club, and between the Over-watch League and streetwear designer Jeff Staple.
Across franchises, we launched a summer reading initiative that spotlighted new literary releases from Del Rey Books, Dark Horse Comics and Scholastic to help expand the worlds and lore of “World of Warcraft” and “Over-watch” through releases like Shadows Rising (World of Warcraft: Shadowlands), The Hero of Numbani (Overwatch) and the Tracer - London Calling (Overwatch) comic series. The Tracer - London Calling comic series even inspired an in-game micro event where players could unlock comic-inspired in-game cosmetics.
How has the profile of the gamer changed over the years, and how is that reflected in licensed consumer products?
The stereotypical gamer no longer exists. Our fans span continents and are multi-faceted in their interests. Whether casual or hardcore, our fans have helped make our games mainstream. The change in this landscape has also been reflected through our licensee programs which cater to a diverse set of interests.