Billy Langsworthy talks to Steven Schoenmaekers, Cartamundi’s VP Games Manufacturing Services, about how the firm is helping independent game inventors take their first steps in the industry
Cartamundi been producing cards for over 250 years and innovation remains at the heart of the business.
Whether it’s dipping a toe into magic with iCards or embracing technology with its Shuffle line, the firm strives to keep its finger on the pulse.
With new inventors coming up with some of the most interesting fresh additions to the games market, Cartamundi has gone about ensuring it has all the tools available to help individuals and start-up firms achieve their vision.
“In our industry, the ‘small producers’ are the independent games inventors,” Steven Schoenmaekers, VP Games Manufacturing Services, Cartamundi Group, tells ToyNews.
“Over the years we have established a custom-made approach for any inventor depending on their size. We listen to their story, we make suggestions on the most cost effective type of material, we give general advices on patent, route to market and we even offer digital enhancement via our digital department.
“At Cartamundi, we have extensive knowledge when it comes to the production and the launch of new games. Recently, with the arrival of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms, we have seen that our support has become part of the foundations of the inventors’ bids.
“We wish all these games could see the marketplace, but we know these inventors are really resilient and keep coming back with new inventions.”
The firm is currently creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for inventors that will boast a set of tools designed to help new ideas reach the market.
Schoenmaekers adds: “Small inventors are welcomed at Cartamundi and we have seen that the word of mouth in the gaming community is certainly the best way to promote our services.
“We are creating a global incubator where the inventors can take advantage of all our tools to bring their ideas to the marketplace. This will be a one-stop shop where everything needed is just a click away, still maintaining that human touch factor which is part of our DNA.
“Thanks to our global production network, which spans from Europe, US, Brazil, India to Japan, we can offer the right solution for any small inventor in terms of size, material, packaging and special printing techniques.
“Our partnership doesn’t end when the game is produced. We go further and we try to open new markets, support the inventor to find the right distributor and create new revenue streams with our promotion department.”
Inventors are coming to the toy industry from a wide variety of backgrounds, with engineers, video game specialists and even scientists helping to fuel the industry’s next wave of tech toys and toys-to-life products.
Cartamundi is backing this movement with services that enable more tech-minded creators to bring cutting edge ideas and innovation to life.
“You will be surprised of the many type of cards we can produce,” says Schoenmaekers.
“Recently we have created an ecosystem with some European partners to bring RFID/NFC cards to the market. These are regular cards that look and feel like regular cards, but they have a microchip and an antenna embedded in the card.
“This allows the cards to communicate with an NFC reader available in tablets or smartphones and any other hardware devices.
“By 2016, there will be 1.8 billion NFC handsets worldwide. As you can imagine, this opens a lot
of opportunities to integrate digital into card and board games.”
Having seen the competition begin to embrace the next wave of inventor talent, Cartamundi doesn’t see its approach to this area as a temporary measure.
“We have seen existing publishers change their approach towards smaller inventors, reaching out and tapping into this pool of ideas in the search of their next big thing,” adds Schoenmaekers.
“Cartamundi fosters such creativity and has a team of people across the world that advise and support these inventors with optimal manufacturing solutions.”