Licensed Board Games: Selecting Suitable Brand Licenses For Board Games

Licensed Board Games: Selecting Suitable Brand Licenses For Board Games

Licensed games based on an entertainment or content license represent a significant segment of the overall board games business. Classic games brands often launch a licensed version by way of a brand extension.

These types of licensed games are quite often ‘label slaps’ i.e. overlaying a brand license on an existing gameplay. As a result, many licensed games are either lacking in originality and/or authenticity. This type of game is very often given as an easy gift and are either never played with or rarely. There is a significant market for this type of throwaway gift purchase.

However, there is also a growing trend for new and innovative gameplays offering a deeper and more original experience on licensed games. The key consideration is to match a fitting gameplay to the license. Some gameplays and brand combinations are just not going to work very well. If the entertainment brand appeals to a target age of 8 or 9 years of age or older, then a super basic memory game version is probably not going to be as successful as something with a bit more substance. When looking at licensed games for adults, the same applies doubly. Many licensed games will sell well on the basis of being general merchandise and easily giftable to someone based on what TV shows or movie franchises they like. That doesn’t though mean that they will play well.

Whereas it is usual business for toy companies to develop large product lines for new movies which will only drive merchandise for brief promotional windows, for board games we can already fill our product lines with zero royalty own developed games brands. It makes less sense to launch ‘in and then out’ licenses with lower profitability and more complicated product development and approval processes. What makes more commercial sense is to focus more on evergreen licenses which will be around for years to come, and then to develop authentic bespoke gameplay for those games. This provides both better experiences for those who buy your games but also gives you a greater sales window to recoup your investment in the product.


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