Brand licensing has been part of the marketing landscape since the advent of mass media and promotion. Possibly the earliest success story belongs to a certain mouse. The tremendous popularity of Mickey Mouse in America in the 1930s and 1940s opened the floodgates of books, t-shirts, toys, and other consumer products. In some instances, the copyright holder simply grants a license to a third-party company to produce merchandise for sale to the public. The licensing agreement can take the form of a one-off fee or a fee plus a percentage of every item sold.
However, as marketing and promotions became more sophisticated, brand partnership and sponsorship deals saw licensed merchandise create a whole new niche. A company like Mcdonald’s, for example, can work with a successful game title such as Monopoly and carve out an entirely new market for the original license holder. It could be argued that the board game Monopoly might have faded into the background without this global promotional activity. Like Mickey Mouse, Monopoly was first popular in the 1930s, and like Mickey, it has stayed relevant for almost ninety years.
The Reinvention of a Classic
It is not only fast food restaurants that saw the opportunities that an established brand such as Monopoly could bring to their brand. The game is played and loved throughout the world, and its owners did not just sit back when video gaming changed the landscape of games. Many board games found themselves consigned to the back of the cupboard, but this is not the case for Monopoly, which has continually reinvented itself. There is a pack of cards version of the game, and fans can get their own personalized version of the board if they want. The owners, Hasbro, have taken the classic title and created a licensing success story.
By expanding outside of its original format, the game has crossed into digital form, video game, and then on to the casino. There are Monopoly slot machines in land-based casinos, a popular online slot from Playtech. It is easy to see what is in all of this for Hasbro, but what is in it for Playtech? Why do online casino game developers not just come up with their own titles? Surely, the fruit machines have their own iconic status and do not need to borrow credibility from another gaming title?
Capitalizing on Success
There are many reasons that software companies create licensed games. They do not only use other game titles, but there are licensed online slots based on TV shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. The online slot platform can attract a new audience by teaming up with an existing successful media franchise. People who might not have previously considered taking a punt online could be interested if the game appeals to their particular interests. These games can then be offered with the best casino bonuses available and attract new players to the site.
Advances made in gaming technology have also been engineered into online slot games. The video slots offer super high-quality graphics and slick animations. This allows the programmers to develop sophisticated storylines within the game. Adding a well-known licensed brand or personality adds to the enjoyment of the experience. Some games, for example, include original soundtracks or voice accompaniment to the visual stimulation. So in The Hell’s Kitchen game, players are treated to the chef’s infamous catchphrases.
A Whole New Audience
So while the game development companies have to pay a premium for the license, they can use it to leverage additional revenue streams. For example, if someone comes along because they have heard about a Superman official slot game, they might play that title for a while and then try another title on the same platform.
Online casinos must keep their library of games up-to-date and exciting to stay relevant. Having a tie-in with a popular franchise is one of the tactics they use to keep their site fresh and top of mind. In addition, licensed games can be a good entry point for new customers.