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You and I both know that ActiBlizz take their marketing responsibilities very seriously indeed. In fact, only yesterday, they launched a cross-property cash in to make more people play Heroes of the Storm and therefore help promote the upcoming Facebook-only streamed Heroes of the Dorm event:

The thing is, Dev types, that mount on the right is the most ugly-assed thing I have ever seen. You’d have gotten FAR more people to play your silly MOBO if you’d have offered the mount on the left as the Warcraft one, because ANYONE a) with a Blood Elf or b) who’s ever played a Paladin would have been all over that, day and night. What still seems to happen, with an often predictable amount of regularity, is that the Company don’t do the research well enough on cross-promoting certain items. It is why you’ll never catch me buying a Warcraft ‘dress’ or leggings design at any point in the present or future when they just look like straight copies of the in-game armour (and effectively tell me where my breasts ought to be ^^) However, it appears that this occasional stutter with merchandising missteps is about to be addressed.

tim-kilpin

This smiley bloke is Tim Kiplin, former Mattel and Disney veteran, who has become the CEO and President of the newly created Activision Blizzard’s Consumer Products Division. When you read the press release for said launch in detail, it becomes abundantly apparent that the Company mean business going forward:

beveryafraid

Notice that includes King in the original remit, and presumably this new Division can also serve the needs of the eSports sector going forward. In fact, this is typical of a Company that is very good at identifying gaps in its own potential marketplace and exploiting them to their fullest potential. Centralising the purchase and distribution of this merchandise in one place will also save money and presumably as game designers often don’t really grasp the subtlety of modern marketing techniques (as can be demonstrated by previous historical choices) this will pretty much allow ActiBlizz to extend their remit far beyond where it already stands. That means, I’d wager, you can expect to see a range of Overwatch action figures and plushies in short order.

overwatch_giant_tracer

The whole Pepe thing and the Paladin dressing gowns show that franchises can provide a decent stream of potential ‘properties’ that will and are purchased by players and lovers of the game alike. If the company produced their own line of Funko-style toys, for instance, they’d be making millions themselves literally overnight. It’s a really solid move this, and I would wager it will mean us seeing more cross-game offers and virtual stuff becoming ‘real’ in short order. I can even see, in the style of Lego and other toy manufacturers, there being an ActiBlizz Collectors ‘Club’ which you’ll join (lots of lovely in game freebees guaranteed) assuming you’ll buy one item a month for a year. There, you can have that prediction on me for nothing.

Activision Blizzard just took another significant step towards worldwide product domination. Frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long to realise.

2 thoughts on “Barbie Girl

  1. One thing I noticed when I played some free to play, or pay to win, mmos was that when you can pay to look as cute as possible, or to have the coolest mount, it’s no longer an achievement. It becomes ordinary and boring. Right now Blizz has a good balance between cool items you can pay for and cool items you have to earn, but I worry that may change if they don’t pay attention. Do you think that the ramp up of offering in-game items via tokens, real life money, or cross promotion could lead to a de-valuing of those same items?

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  2. I think, we should ask ourselves as a matter of some urgency what would divide us into a dual-class society ingame. I’m not aware of any data backing that but I feel that games divided that way in the end become rich people’s games which I would have no interest playing. At least asking that question could provide us with means to counter that separation.

    Regarding world domination: Creating novels and comics once had made sense for the player base they’d been serving, and that opportunity they’d taken quite soon (although the comic’s something I have nearly zero interest in). They may have failed to pick up the pace somewhere between TBC and Wrath and surprisingly, we’re still waiting for a cartoon or something.

    And I still prefer paying money for good games. Looks like if we didn’t, quality would go down hill.

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