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Mattel’s video games plans extend past Barbie and Hot Wheels IP

Global toymaker Mattel has detailed its plans for the video games market, with the release of three to four titles a year, including ones not based on its famed toy IP.

The move will arrive courtesy of Mattel163, an arm to the business that was formed last year as a joint venture between the toy giant and the Chinese corporation NetEase.

The current outfit is made up of 70 employees, featuring 60 game developers across its China and Los Angeles locations. Mattel163 has already launched one game based on its gaming IP Uno.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Mattel163’s CEO Amy Huang-Lee reveals that the release became one of the top games on Facebook’s Messenger app within 24 hours. The formation of Mattel163 is part of an effort to increase the toymaker’s digital presence.

“Mattel has been in the toy industry for decades with some very strong brands, but it had a very weak digital presence. They have had a lot of different apps in the past, but not anything that’s had any meaningful impact. And certainly nothing that was developed in-house.”

The partnership with NetEase allows Mattel to move into digital entertainment, while allowing the tech firm access to markets outside of China.

Huang-Lee has stated that while Mattel’s board games are now the obvious products to convert into digital games, there are plans for titles based on its Barbie and Hot Wheels IP. Mattel163 also believes it can develop up to four games in-house a year.

“We will also explore other genres, such as narrative storytelling and role-playing games with [Mattel’s] other brands. Those are all coming in the pipeline. For the next couple of years, we will self-publish Mattel IP games, as well as a few licensed titles from external studios.

“We will probably be able to create three to four games in-house every year, but we are also looking to co-develop collaborative games with external studios.”

Huang-Lee has also highlighted the outfit’s commitment to developing educational apps leveraging the company’s IP.

“Ne of the strongest assets that Mattel has – and not many people know this – is that Mattel has been working on education for a few years now, and it has educational curriculum and educational assessment tools.

‘We will be able to bring all of that into our educational app, and address the children in that age group. Whether it’s language apps, or maths apps, so that there are different educational apps, but with a gamified twist to them.” 

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