The Licensing Blog

zithromax 250mg,where to buy Valtrex? Buy Synthroid - Levothyroxine,buy Clomid

Q&A with Tony Key, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Ubisoft

TonyKey.LBUbisoft is one of the biggest video game publishers in the world, with hit franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, which has sold 76 million games to-date. Licensed products (as well as an upcoming film version starring Michael Fassbender) are expected to increase the franchise’s visibility even further, giving it life beyond the game releases.

The Licensing Book recently spoke to Tony Key, Ubisoft’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, about licensing in relation to some of the company’s top franchises, how it can evolve with the franchise’s success, and the art of adapting video games into products.

The Licensing Book: When you compare the licensing programs of the most recent Assassin’s Creed with earlier installations, are the programs bigger now? Is it easier to convince licensees to jump on-board now?

Tony Key: The programs are definitely bigger and the range of products has broadened as well. The sales of the licensed products, as well as the games themselves, have each increased year-over-year, and this helps us secure new opportunities—whether they come to us or we reach out to them. Also, we have expanded our product assortment from what we would see as niche or genre products coming from boutique licensees, toward more mainstream, mass market products and powerhouse licensees, like Mega Brands or BioWorld.

LB: Ubisoft has new games that recently kicked off this year, such as Rabbids and Watch Dogs. How do the licensing programs for those compare to an established franchise such as Assassin’s Creed?

TK: Watch Dogs has had a huge following since we announced the game, and that has only grown. It’s the fastest selling new brand in the history of gaming and sold more than 4 million copies in its first week. We have been picking our licensees carefully with the goal of building the franchise first with core fans, and eventually—like Assassin’s Creed—with a broader range of consumers.

The Rabbids brand really illustrates Ubisoft’s position as an entertainment company, not just a game company, and the Rabbids Invasion TV show on Nickelodeon has been critical in the increased awareness, opportunity, and sell-in of Rabbids products in the U.S. We have approached the license very much as the big entertainment licensing opportunity that it is, with top licensees like Simon & Schuster, McFarlane, and others on board. We expect this brand to continue to grow.

LB: In your opinion, what makes an ideal licensee?

ThinkGeek.Tshirtwithblurb.lowres,jpg

Watch Dogs T-shirt, from ThinkGeek

TK: I’m going to answer this in two ways. One is from the collaborative perspective, and the second is from the product/production perspective.

An ideal licensee is someone that we have a true partnership with and have built up a strong relationship and rapport. Then we’re able to really collaborate with them in all areas—including production, marketing, and retail—to make the product and line a success. I would also say that having open and honest communication is another great attribute, so when the going gets tough, you’re both willing and able to work together to find solutions and be upfront with expectations.

From a product/production standpoint, an ideal licensee is someone that really knows their product and our license and is able to then encapsulate that into something that will resonate in terms of creativity and design into the final product. We want them to have the confidence in their work, and the excitement of our brand/license, to then create a true must-have item.

LB: What do you think are the biggest challenges to adapting a video game into a consumer product?

TK: Video games are engaging, interactive, and fully immersive, so when approaching a consumer product, we have to be smart with how that translates and how it will come across for consumers. We want the product to be an extension or complement to the brand or game itself, something that can live on its own, but still look and feel like part of the game’s universe. Some products are able to become real world, tangible versions of their virtual selves, and those items can be pretty impressive and heavily sought after products.

LB: How would you describe the state of the video game licensing industry now, and how do you see the future shaping up?

TK: Licensing within the video game industry is opening up in big ways.  Video game sales are rivaling or exceeding opening weekends for movies, and with new-gen consoles, it’s an exciting time to capture new audiences and reinvigorate the market with content and products that create another pulse point for fans to connect with the brand. Taking into consideration the continued growth of the industry, the consoles, and the variety of properties that could make great products, the future of the video game industry is bright, for others as well as us.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Category: Brand Licensing, Games, Video Games

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Monthly Archives

Archives