Funtactix CEO Sam Glassenberg, whose studio develops video game tie-in The Hunger Games Adventures, believes that these kinds of licensed games are in the middle of a dramatic shift due to social and mobile platforms.
This shift is apparent when you take a look at the numbers – in 2005, seven of the top 10 US films had game adaptations that sold as boxed retail games – in 2012, only 3 movies enjoyed a retail adaptation, with other films such as The Hunger Games making use of social media.
“We are changing the way Hollywood does business,” Glassenberg said. “The lines are blurring. The old model was marketing would go and invest in cheesy advergames for the movie that nobody cared about, and licensing would run out and try to license some big console game. But now the walls between marketing and licensing are starting to fall.”
According to Glassenberg, the issue before was finding people who were both big fans of the movie and who owned the console – no one else would be willing to pay full price for a retail game. However with social media these developers can provide a much lower barrier to entry – fans can play games on hardware they’re likely to own already. This means more people in cinemas, more brand awareness, more merchandise sales and a bigger audience to turn to when it’s time for the sequel.
“You’re creating something that’s a revenue-generating profitable product on its own, but at the same time, it’s the ultimate marketing tool,” Glassenberg said. “Because not only does it market the movie, it markets everything that comes after and keeps the audience engaged.”
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