Licensing Roundup

The Hunger GamesFor the 50th anniversary of the original series Star Trek, CBS has licensed Gale Force 9 to produce hobby games, USAopoly for board games, and Spin Master for RC vehicles.

Pressman has the game license for Powerpuff Girls. Spin Master has the master toy license.

According to a press release from Rovio, the game license for the upcoming Angry Birds movie went to Hasbro, yet at Toy Fair, I saw a game at Spin Master and none at Hasbo.

Jumbo has a license to produce Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice games in Europe.

Netflix has ordered a Stretch Armstrong series from Hasbro Studios.

River Horse is working on a board game based on The Hunger Games. WizKids used to have that license.

There will be a Master of Orion board game from Hobby World.

Winning Moves UK has a new Midsomer Murders Cluedo.

Mattel has taken over the Halo toy and figure license.

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Hasbro logoGame revenues were down 4 percent for Hasbro in 2014. According to its latest report, the company earned $1.26 billion from games in 2014, compared to $1.31 billion in 2013.

Growth by Magic: The Gathering, Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Simon was offset by a decline in sales for Duel Masters, Twister, and Angry Birds.

Overall, though, 2014 was a good year for Hasbro, with total net revenue up 5 percent to $4.28 billion and adjusted net earnings up 10%. The strongest performer for Hasbro was the boys category, up 20 percent mostly on the strength of Transformers, Nerf, and Marvel.

Benefiting from growth in lifestyle licensing, the entertainment and licensing segment was also up 15 percent.

Answering questions after the presentation, Hasbro’s president, Brian Goldner, revealed that sales of Magic: The Gathering are divided roughly 55/45 percent between large retailers and other outlets (specialty, hobby, etc.). The Friday Night Magic program has grown to 7,000 gaming sessions each week. And by next year, sales of Beyblade are expected to have pretty much evaporated.

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Hasbro logoAt its investor day event this week in Providence, Hasbro updated the latest news on its games business.

Production begins next week on the Ouija movie.

The company announced a deal with Disney:

[We’re] expanding our strategic relationship [w/Disney] to include global rights for gaming and other play experiences based on major Disney Properties including Disney Princess and Disney Junior. The Deal also includes rights to include Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys based on Disney Princess characters.

And regarding Dungeons & Dragons KRE-O, which launches in January, Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s CEO, said:

We’re delivering all new building and battling play experiences that combine fast module building and performance weapons for battling. We’ve also developed a new series of animated shorts that will introduce today’s kids to the rich lore and heritage of Dungeons & Dragons and all the great characters in the Dungeons & Dragons brand.

Kreo D&D

In terms of general strategy for the games business, Hasbro is working off of six “gaming insights” derived from market research.

#1: Gaming continues to become more consumable. In line with this, Hasbro is launching this fall a number of new under-$15 products based on well-established brands.

#2: Girls like to game too. According to Hasbro 51 percent of digital gamers are girls but under 10 percent of the game aisle is targeted to girls. Thus, while known for its boys business, Hasbro is working to expand its demographic coverage, starting with Disney Princess games for girls in 2014.

#3: Adults prefer “friction-free” games. Hasbro’s research has found that adults think games take too long to learn, too much time to set up, and too long to play. For adults, then, the company will be releasing friction-free games including Draw Something Party, based on the mobile app, and Pointing Fingers, which allows players to point at their friends with giant foam fingers. A Funny or Die party game that has players matching captions with pictures is already in retail.

#4: The retail experience is important. Hasbro is supporting retailers with a gaming merchandising toolkit to help them make the game aisle easier to shop.

#5: Personalization engages. The recent Monopoly token replacement campaign in social media demonstrated the value of personalization in games. Monopoly revenue in the first half of 2013 was up 17 percent.

#6: Mobile integration is an important feature in the current market. And addressing mobile integration is Hasbro’s new Telepods line. Telepods is a series of physical games with components that can be recognized by a mobile app and added to a digital game. Physical products for Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods are currently available. The mobile app components launch September 19th.

Hasbro Game Segment 2013

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