Over the past couple of years, we have seen a drastic increase in IP holders leveraging video games to promote popular IP. Video games offer a completely new and engaging experience for fans of IPs that have generally been consumed through watching (TV, movies) or reading (books, comics), which we believe will make video games the most attractive medium for IP in the future.
To showcase this in action, this week we saw major IP announcements like Pirates of the Caribbean coming to Sea of Thieves (natural fit) as well as Niantic Games announcing their partnership with Hasbro to build an AR-based Transformers game. Dark Horse Comics also recently announced its new gaming and digital division, Dark Horse Games, where they will bring “some of [their] 425 story-driven characters and universes to video games,” (VentureBeat). While these are recent developments, this is not a new trend. For example, Fortnite has been doing this for a while with external IP partnerships: Avengers, John Wick, Rick and Morty, NBA, NFL, and Tenet.
While we firmly believe that video gaming is the most engaging entertainment medium for IP, this does not mean that other mediums (film, books) will die out. To the contrary, these mediums will continue to thrive and originate incredible stories and characters. Yet video gaming, through engaging and compelling gameplay, offers a completely different experience that movies or books lack.
Lastly, video gaming has transitioned from one-time-sale and static experiences to the current state of live ops and on-demand updates. This amount of iterative flexibility in video gaming today is a perfect playground for IP to be creative, dynamic (books and movies are static, unchanging), and iterative. The experience can also be personalized to specific users, which opens up a wide array of opportunities for IP owners. For example, there are “limited time modes” in video gaming that create finite and short term experiences.
From small scale (cosmetics) to large scale (fully fleshed games), video games will continue to offer a medium that connects with existing fans and win over new fans on completely new levels of engagement (and monetization).