The head of consumer products at Activision Blizzard has welcomed the toy industry’s ‘monumental shift’ in attitude towards video gaming as a new era of collaboration across the entertainment platforms.
In an interview with ToyNews, the ex-Mattel man and now head of the video game studio’s recently formed CP division, has praised the industry’s recognition of fan engagement in franchises that ‘reaches new levels.’
Specifically, Tim Kilpin, CEO and president of Activision Blizzard Consumer Products talked about the studio’s own gaming IPs Overwatch and Call of Duty, both of which have not only hit the big time in the esports arena with the launch of the Overwatch League late last year, but also new programmes rolling out in the consumer products space, in particular, toys.
Last week it was announced that Hasbro along with its hit brand NERF and LEGO had each signed up with the Overwatch brand to deliver a range of toys based on and inspired by the popular gaming title.
Meanwhile, pop culture specialist, McFarlane Toys had jumped on board to develop a line of Call of Duty collectable figures.
“We have now seen a big, pretty monumental shift in attitudes from the toy industry towards just how important video games are and what can be done in the toy space,” Kilpin told ToyNews at last week’s Las Vegas Licensing Expo.
“They see what we see and that is that they recognise that the fans engage [with these gaming franchises] at a different level. It’s a fanbase that doesn’t fall off or go away, and stays engaged across a broader age spectrum than things they might typically have worked on before.”
When the Overwatch League launched to the esports space late last year, Activision Blizzard totalled a more than 10 million fan head count within its first week. The result, Kilpin suggested, allows the firm to ‘demonstrate to the world and the marketplace just how viable it now was to expand on the franchise experience.’
“They [fans] are playing multiple hours per day or they have millions of people who are tuning into watch people play on Twitch or at an esports competition, and the toy industry is seeing what we are seeing here, too,” continued Kilpin.
“And those partners are saying to themselves and ultimately to us ‘how do we make more of this? How do we bring that engagement to life in the things we do three dimensionally?’
Through action figures, LEGO building sets and the Hasbro Nerf brand, Activision’s Overwatch gaming title is now being brought into the toy space.
Products are expected to bow over the next year.