From action figures to comic books, video game companies are merchandising en masse to promote their new releases. This is a very effective strategy for sequels and established brands alike to build on fans’ nostalgia and/or anticipation for upcoming releases. And, as the following three merchandising examples suggest, it’s a great way to give fans a little something extra for the holidays.
1.) Online retailer CafePress, which specializes in user-designed merchandise, announced it has partnered with Microsoft to create custom Xbox LIVE Avatar Gear just in time for the holidays. Along with Microsoft’s new app, My Xbox Live, which lets users interact with their Live Friends in all kinds of cool ways, it’s another innovative way the company found this season to connect with fans outside of the games themselves. Through CafePress’ website, gamers can emblazon their carefully honed avatars on T-shirts, water bottles, commuter mugs and other types of merchandise then ship it off to themselves for Christmas… because nobody but them would ever want something so ridiculous (albeit fun.)
2.) No game-related merchandising post would be complete without some mention of Rovio’s “Angry Birds,” which had been capitalizing on fans’ fiendish desire for product spin-offs long before the holiday season rolled around. In November, however, the company outdid all its plush toys and iPhone cases with “Knock on Wood,” a board game that lets fans bring the game off the screen and into the living room. Like seemingly everything “Birds¬”-related, “Wood” has been a massive hit, lingering in the top 10 in Amazon’s “Toys & Games” section since its inception.
3.) In November, Nintendo teamed with West Coast Customs to create life-sized replicas of two different vehicles from “Mario Kart 7”: Mario’s Standard kart, replete with glider attachment for soaring through the air, and Luigi’s Bumble V kart with rear propeller attachment for underwater navigation. The karts brought a lot of attention to the new release when they appeared at the Los Angeles Auto Show from November 18-27 and will continue to do so when they appear in an upcoming episode of the West Coast Customs reality show. And, to chime with the holidays, one lucky gamer will get to take the Mario kart model home as part of GameStop’s monthly Epic Reward Giveaway program. Now that’s a gift we’d like to see Santa fit under the ol’ Christmas tree!
Of course, before picking up any of this sweet swag, you have to get the games themselves, if you don’t have them already. That’s why the number-one gift request on OUR video game merchandise holiday wish list is a good ol’ fashioned Xbox 360 Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars Bundle. Merry Christmas!