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Ep. 4: What Are The Biggest Trends in IP licensing for Games in 2022? w/ Erno Kiiski, Game Refinery


Join us for an exciting episode of the Licensing in Games podcast, featuring guest Erno Kiiski, Chief Game Analyst at Game Refinery. Over the past few decades, the use of licensed intellectual property (IP) in video games has become increasingly common. This trend is driven in part by the increasing overlap between the gaming and entertainment industries, as well as the growing recognition of the value of well-known franchises and characters. In this newest episode of the licensing in games podcast, Erno chats with Rachit and Mitch about his insights and predictions into the biggest trends in IP licensing for games in 2022.


Read the episode transcript here

Mitch: 0:04

Welcome to Layer licensing and games Podcast. I’m Mitch and this is Rachit. And today we’re joined by Erno Kiiski, who is from Game Refinery. He’s based in Finland. And he’s been chief game analyst for Game Refinery for over seven years, and often provides industry commentary and insight into the mobile games market. So today, we’re really excited to speak to Erno. Just going to recap some of the trends that we’ve seen in IP licensing in 2022. Thanks for joining us on Erno.

Erno: 0:36

Hello, everyone. And thank you very much. Fun being here. Great to be here. Always nice to talk industrial chats anywhere. So, love to be here.

Mitch: 0:48

Awesome. Well, welcome. So just maybe to get everyone up to speed, could you maybe give us a bit of a high level summary of Game Refinery? What you guys do? And you’ll roll at Game Refinery?

Erno: 1:00

Yeah, of course. So, Game Refinery, what we are basically? We are a market data provider. So, of course, everybody knows we’re a revenue, market data providers. And that’s often where we are compared at. But our main key difference... We are also actually offering revenue and a little bit of performance data, but that’s never been our focus and not our bread and butter. But where we’ve been always been focusing on actually is, the game research on a deeper level. So, what we have? We have actually a teams of analysts who’re actually playing those games and deconstructing the games into their bits and pieces and features and the updates and live events and so on. So, we are following games on a little bit more deeper level. So, we are deconstructing them into the features, so you can research something like feature level data, find about specific game feature, for example; or find out about specific genres, where we have our own genre taxonomy that goes much more deeper than, for example, the App Store’s taxonomy. And that’s the main idea. So, basically, as a customer, you want to find out what’s going on. Of course, everybody still plays the games. And that’s never going away. Then, the value of that never goes away. But we are there to help to go a little bit deeper when you’re doing the market research. Like, what are the features that are trending? What kind of events your competitors are having in your game? What seems to be performing when you benchmark that data that you saw that they added — I don’t know — this battle bass feature in this update, for example, or they had this type of an event, at this point of the game’s lifecycle, what happened to the performance data, as an example. So yeah, basically, a market data provider that gives a deeper game level insights for the different companies.

Rachit: 3:07

So, you’ve got a team that gets to play games and researching them all. That sounds pretty fun, I guess.

Erno: 3:16

Yeah, it’s fun. It’s work after all. Like, after a while, it’s not just for fun. So yeah, we do have people who can do that as their work, for sure. 

Rachit: 3:28

Cool. Maybe if I need a new job, I’ll reach out. I’m curious, like I’ve noticed insights from Game Refinery around IP based games, like the usage of IP in games. And we actually spoke about it recently. I was on the Game Refinery podcast. So, it’s nice to go the other way. But I’m curious like how do you get that data. It’s going to be my first question. And do you go through and figure that out manually and understand what’s happening there? And why do you think that specifically is worth focusing on?

Erno: 4:04

Yeah, definitely. Well, our data comes… Like, half of it this is automated. So, we have automated algorithms. And for example, the performance estimations and we have motivation estimation. We have this our own motivational model, which uses also automated data that we have done surveys and then based on other data points we have. We have algorithm that we can give estimation based on the different games motivational model. So, we have the automated part. But actually a big part of our offering and one of our key differentiators always has been that we have a more personal that we actually have. We go on a level that you cannot get automated. We write about those games and so on. And when the company was founded, I wasn’t one of the founders, but I was actually one of the very first employees of the company. And especially, back then, nobody was doing it like this and nobody had a deeper insights about games. And then when we were doing market research, we were like, “Okay, it’s interesting. Okay, this game is doing okay.” But then you didn’t get any idea to look at what actually happened. Well, you can look at the app store update. And that’s about it. But you were not able to get any data on that level. So, that’s the key thing for us, always being, go deeper, go on actual game design, and game feature level, and look at data. So yeah, basically, it combines the automated data, and then it combines the actual manual research that we do, and then provide to our SaaS service. Actually, that’s probably good to mention that, yeah, we are a SaaS service as well. So we’re not doing just cases and stuff like that. But our main product is a SaaS service.

Rachit: 6:01

Yeah. So software that anyone can use. Are you mostly used by the games industry? Or is there also users and customers that are looking to understand the games industry, whether they’re brands or something similar? 

Erno: 6:16

Yeah, definitely, there is a use case for different kinds of users. Our core audience is definitely game developers, like 95%, I would say. But then there are chances of, for example, investors or even licensors or license holders to research that: “Okay, what kind of things…?” Trying to get a better understanding that: “Okay, first of all, how many license games, for example, there are currently in the market?” And let’s say, top 200 best performers in games. Or then, go on the other side that: “Okay, somebody approached us to either making a partnership for an event for their game, and then tried to understand how different games are doing it, and how they are performing and so on.” So definitely, there are use cases for other different types of people as well. But mainly, 90-95% is the game developers are core audience or main users.

Rachit: 7:19

Yeah, I mean, it makes sense. And you mentioned the method of getting the data and the researches, but it’s automated and manual to make sure there’s enough quality and depth. Going back to that earlier point, what’s been the primary reason or the driver behind the insights around IP? Is there a reason why you’re focused on that or have that as part of what’s out there?

Erno: 7:42

Yeah. Well, IP – of course, for our data point - is just one of the... We are tracking over 200 different metrics and different parameters for different games. So, IP is just one of them. But naturally, if you’re talking about games, if the game has an IP or it doesn’t have an IP, it’s quite crucial on everything. From marketing and even to the playing of the game, it can be a big factor. So, we thought that this is definitely something that we want to also include in our research and give idea that: “Okay, actually, it might explain a little bit more that this game has this IP, and then it might explain the performance in that sense, even though it would be like an exact copy, let’s say, on a feature level than another game, for example.” So definitely, that was the key thing to trying to find out and differentiate the impact of different IPs, because, yeah, it does have an impact, for sure.

Mitch: 8:47

So, licensed IP 2022 felt like a pretty big year again for IP in games. Was that the case? I’m keen to kind of recap some of the trends that you’ve been seeing at Game Refinery. What’s going on in the spaces? Is IP moving up or is it down?

Erno: 9:08

Yeah, definitely, it’s moving up. Well, maybe, I could pinpoint here one key factor on the whole mobile game market – what is the main reason why the IP is up and why the value of IP is up? So, in the mobile game market, if you’re familiar with it, there was a massive privacy changes that Apple did, called ATT. So, basically, back in the days, it used to be that they have this idea of a data tracker that they are able to track that which users are which... And that data point was used to give advertising to different players, different users. And that was removed with ATT popup. They added privacy change for Apple. And then what that did for the whole mobile game marketing is that now hyper targeting got much, much more difficult. Because back in the day, you could make a game for a little small audience that, for example, monetizes extremely well. But it’s not really a wide audience game that it doesn’t have such a wide appeal. But you had that sniper, that you get to target the specific audience that you know that monetizes really well, you could make a game based on that and find your niche much more better. But now, when that is basically gone to some extent, and the targeting and the marketing side is more using a shotgun than a sniper, to be honest. And that’s how that ties into the IP. It’s that when you have an IP in your game, when you are working with something already familiar in your game, naturally, organic benefits are there. So, the reach of audiences, trying to find new type of audiences, the brand is marketing for you, for example, if your partner with a game and so on. The organic way to differentiate in the highly competitive market is much, much more bigger. There are big benefits from there. And then if we go to this year, so 2022, and we look at, for example, new game launches, because that’s the main good time when you need to scale your game, find the audiences for your game, and so on. And now you don’t have that super targeted possibilities anymore. And now, if you look at those games that were launched, actually, in this year, and that had, and were able to scale almost to top game. So whatever, like top 200, for example. Actually, a lot of those games actually had an IP. So, we were talking about, of course, like Diablo, immortal, Marvel snap, Apex legends. There was a MLB baseball game, the Office Isler, a game that use that TV series brand on top of that, and so on. So actually, if we compare that to time before this privacy changes were introduced, it’s quite clear that the share of the games that have an actual an IP is much, much more bigger after the changes. And especially this year, overall, the new games, there are much more fewer, because scaling a new game is harder than ever. But we can see a correlation of an IP also becoming a big thing for a branded, totally licensed games, where a brand is on top of the game overall. And talking about the whole product, it’s totally branded product. 

Rachit: 13:26

Yeah, it sounds like since these changes have come around from ATT, I think, it’s the takeaway about like IP is being used for games and apps in general to stand out, not only in marketplaces like the App Store, but also to better target their advertising, so that they can try and align with that audience with that fan base. Is that the main way that you see utilize that IP?

Erno: 13:54

Yeah, I would say, overall, as the games has to be more widely appealing now, or like the niche approach doesn’t work anymore, then when you have an IP, it unlocks a much more bigger audience, much more maybe.... Like, even players or new type of audiences that were not familiar, haven’t played this type of genre before as an example, so then tapping into that, getting that organic wider appeal, it’s definitely something, like post IDFA that is really helpful and beneficial for many companies. And then, of course, like you mentioned, not just having an IP and differentiating in AppStore, but even the benefits of having an, let’s say, the IP holder, for example, advertising your game through the social media and so on, and using that as a marketing channel as well to try to find the audience. So yeah, that’s definitely the key thing where I see, because, of course, IPs have been in these games always. And then it has been before IDFA. And also the same benefits were there. But now I would say, the importance and the size of the benefits, so to speak, are bigger. So, in this new landscape, the benefits that can be achieved seem to be even bigger than it used to be.

Rachit: 15:36

Yeah, makes sense. And you touch there on a wide range of ways of working with an IP, from a larger IP, to getting support from the IP on how they promote it. I mean, the other things that you mentioned, there were kind of different levels of IP. So, I think, as you said, there’s something like the office game, it’s a whole Office based around that licensed IP. And then you’ve got other things like Apex Legends or other games where they’re like, Cookie Run is out there collaborating with external IP or musicians or artists. So, are you seeing any change or any difference there? I think, I mean, 10-15 years ago, maybe things were more licensed IP games? Is that changing? Is that just how it feels to me? Or what are you seeing in terms of the way IP is being used?

Erno: 16:26

Yeah, definitely. That kind of gets us to the second way of the IP utilization and how that has changed and how it’s increasing. It’s definitely true, the kind of collaboration events. So, especially... Well, Game Refinery is all about the mobile market. And in mobile market for years, live game is a service type of a model, free to play games, service based models. And so where am I get the live ops part has been always a big thing, and a bit more and more on the PC console side as well. But also the utilization of an IPs through that has definitely increased. It’s also not something that just popped up this year, but it has been slowly increasing all the time. And I feel the scale has also varied. So, these, type of, are short-term partnerships. So, if you’re thinking about you’ll make a new game, and then you have an IP, and get that on top of your game and have permanent partnership, getting an IP for that can be quite difficult, especially depending on what kind of company or what kind of game you have, and so on and so on. And overall, I would say that the difficulties are much more bigger. But then, the short-term partnerships, where you don’t have to necessarily tie yourself for a lifetime for working with a different IP. Much more, let’s say, opportunities and different scales of doing this. So, what we have seen, like mentioned this type of... How to utilize IP in your live ops, there are also lot of different of scale on it. So there are events where — I don’t know — some companies are doing just advertisements, for example, with a celebrity for example. Then if we go to the actual end game content, there are the most simplest level that, okay, they have a little bit of advertisement and then they have, let’s say, some bundle offers that have a skin of a celebrity or a different brand and so on. But there is not actually any playable content. And then we can gradually go deeper and deeper and more and more content, and then we can talk about like, well one like mega examples from this year, quite recent one is, like you mentioned, the Cookie Run game. They are collaborating with BTS. They had collaborated with Disney. And those events are mega extravaganza, so to speak. So, there are the content, there are the bundles, and then there are unique characters and skins, and there are unique gameplay modes that are narrated with the BTS one, with the boy band members as an example. So, also in that side, so when you realizing for the live ops, they’re such a big variety from super simple ones where it’s more like a marketing based one clearly that: “Okay, they made advertisement and then it’s somehow little bit visible in the game, but there’s not that much.” But then when we go deeper and deeper in bigger experience, it comes also this engagement retention play as well. So, you’re offering players something new, something fresh to experience in their game, compared to just having a different bundle offer with the different UX, for example. So yeah, there’s the big, big variety of scale in the utilization of IP in events, as well. And overall, I would say, because there are so different IPs, there are so much different type of people’s and celebrities of different scale to the [unclear 20:50] to a smaller, more niche names, so to speak. So, there is also the massive scale, depending, of course, on your company and what kind of game you have, what IPs you’re going after. There’s also the big scale and a much more opportunities of different companies of every size. So, you don’t have to be the Epic Games Fortnite to have pretty much all the IPs in your game, nowadays, it starts to seem like, or there are so much examples. So, smaller companies doing something, not maybe the biggest IPs, but smaller IPs and trying to find out a perfect marriage with the different IPs and with different games.

Mitch: 21:42

Yeah, you’ve talked so just a bit there about the different types of integrations, the way developers are working with IP is changing. It’s not just license games anymore. It’s all these different levels of integrations. What about the types of IPs? So, it feels like we’re seeing more and more fashion brands or its individual characters or kind of more niche, TV film series, that type of thing. Are you seeing a change there and the type of IP that people are using as well?

Erno: 22:18

Yeah, that’s actually also something that we have day down, and we are actually following. So, if you look at, for example, the top games in the US as an example. So, the biggest share of... Now, I’m talking about, especially just license games first. So, the games that have are a permanent collaboration with the specific IP. Definitely, of course, the biggest one is different kinds of established game brands known from  - I don’t to know- like, for example, PC or console side, and then you realize like PUBG and Call of Duty and Apex legends and so on. So, a bit different. So, for example, of course, they are not in that sense collaborating, but they a big IP, in house, so to speak. And then they made a mobile version of that. And that’s the biggest IP still, if you look at the top charge in it, but then the second biggest is, definitely, TV movie. So, different type of movie or TV brands. And then you realize that’s utilizing the characters of a specific IP, for example, Marvell. Of course, everybody knows. Probably, especially on the mobile game scene, one of the, I would say, the best IPs if you can get a hold of it. Because, for many a free to pay to play models, they are all about collecting. And if we think about collecting a wide variety of characters, they’re gonna like yeah, the chest, the symbol, a deepness of that IP. We have seen so many examples and even the one of the latest one, the Marvel snap character, like the card game. Marvel is such a perfect IP for a game like that’s because it’s all about creating a deck, collecting characters and which IP has so many well-known characters that Marvel not. But yeah, and then it also comes.... There are some IPs that doesn’t… It might be a great IP but doesn’t work on those genres as well. So, there are also many examples of that. So games have tried to use different, for example, movie IPs. One example that comes to my mind is, there was Next games was doing a character collector RPG based on a Blade Runner IP. And if we are talking about the fundamentals of the IP, and we think about the fundamentals of the genre, and the game type, it doesn’t really match. Because Blade Runner, it’s a great IP, but it’s not about a wide variety of character where the character collector RPG is based on. So, it never really worked out. And they already killed the game and so. But yeah, I would say those two are the biggest ones, but where we are seeing much more increase in my opinion and based on our data as well, is this wider variety of brands. So, it’s a different consumer products, whether it’s cars or whether it’s... Well, cars have been always, of course, a big thing on the game market. But other consumer products like there are been gonna like, for example, fast food chains, especially in this live ops format, a lot of them have these type of a consumer products or different types of brands that are not necessarily entertainment brands, starting to see the value of a games industry, and collaborating with these games. So, we have started to see this type utilization of brands in different games. One example comes to my mind that, for example, tennis clash had… I think it was this year. They were collaborating actually with American Express, which is something that may not comes first to mind, and most likely... Of course, I don’t know what kind of a deal it was. But, at least, to me, it appears like it was probably not something that get your audience excited about the American Express racket in the tennis class game, for example, but it’s an actually an advertising channel for American Express. And they had that kind of a collaboration. So, I would say, if I had to mention one type of a brand that has been increasing in usage, various type of other IPs, the entertainment IPs that have really increased in the analog utilization and implementations.

Rachit: 27:36

That’s where we go and I guess with American Express, it kind of feels right in a way that when you go to a tournament, or if you watch a tournament, there is always the title sponsor, and it kind of ties in well, I think if it was a space where advertising or kind of corporate sponsors weren’t part of it, maybe it would feel a little further for that for the player. I’m curious, like, I think you mentioned that, interestingly, like marvle snap works well, because there’s, a deep link between the universe of Marvel characters and what they’re trying to do with the CCG collectible game there. And then, with Blade Runner, that about obviously, is much harder, because the Blade Runner characters, I guess, are less iconic to some extent. You know, I wanted to flip on that. And one of the trends that I think we started noticing or been talking about a lot is kind of this concept of licensing and collaborations where it seems a little more off kilter or something that you wouldn’t expect and it seems to be more around audiences and the first one I think of is either like Garena free fire with BTS and then I know they did, I think, I think it was a collaboration with the Ronaldo a couple of years ago and then followed up with a BTS one and I think recently we’ve also seen college uni on the venue mana warfare to with Messi and Neymar. And a few others, like, what’s your thoughts there in terms of these kinds of these collaborations that are less thematic and more seem to be aligned with just like player bases or fan bases? Is there anything you can tell us about what you’re seeing there and what your take is on those?

Erno: 29:21

Yeah, definitely. Done. I will say that is also a trend and more wilder, so to speak. Tests and like marriages, I remember when fortnight started to do this type of collaboration with IP’s. And the first day brought... Some of the first IPs that they brought, and there was a lot of people, especially the West, people are like, this is weird, like why is this character or why is this IP be in this game and so on. But now, when it’s been going on for years, it’s... Nobody thinks it’s so weird anymore, so to speak. And if you look at Asia side, that’s something that has been happening for so much more longer, especially Japan, it’s all about collaborations. And they in there, of course, the types of collaborations is also, they are, for example, more collaborating with different games collaborating between themselves and having this synergy over there. But overall, the types of brands and types of IPs. I would say, to some extent, it’ll force you need to be sure, often, what it is today. But for example, the examples that you gave about, you know, Ronaldo being in various other games, or like, actually, now, you mentioned the war zone, Colorado, the messy one and Assad was and then then the, now the World Cup is on, and there are like, so many World Cup events at different players are actually utilized in different games, so caught up to the ball, but had like, I think it was Neymar and Paul Pogba events, and then there were like, Neymar was also in like, this mobile game called Mobile legends. And he was also in this kind of, like, make shooter game called MC arena, you were able to get Neymar in there. So, the overlap between the brands. And with an IP and especially, I think it’s so much more crucial to think about, and you need to be so much more careful when you’re making a license game. So like I mentioned, if you make an like an character collector RPG, and then you use an IP that really doesn’t have that much characters have like to view strong characters, it might be that okay, this is not the genre for this IP. But when we are talking about again, this live upside, you can, you know, deep in so much different a wider way. So that comes back also to the kind of again implementations because you can use it as a marketing tool that, okay, you have this... Well, of course, these big football players, probably not available for everyone, but you have this football player, they are maybe, pinpointing it in their social media. And then you also some games like the Call of Duty, you can buy the skin, you can monetize kind of an existing user base on that. So I would say, especially for this live stuff, you can play around, you can be more creative, you can try different things, of course, in that one as well, you need to be, it’s not cheap to unite, especially with a big IP to create something like that. So, you need to be careful. But I would say use much more, free your playground to use the IP or try different IP. And after all, like, for example, this football, many players play shooter games, they also fall on with ball. So there is the synergy, most likely for a big audience in there. But then yeah, and then you’ve said the other example of like BDS and [Unclear 33:29]. And I don’t know, I haven’t, researched the audience, so to speak so deeply in in that one. But like the first idea of like, you have a term, term based RPG game, and then you have this Korean boy band group might start like, first might seem that Okay, is there an overlap? I don’t know, there might be an overlap in the audiences. So like, Egypt gauges, store dances, but then again, it can be a thing that try to find new audiences through the IP. And that’s the second approach. So, I would always in this a live ops based IP usage, it’s always about like, what is your end goal? Like, is it engaging your users is monetizing your users? It’s, is it all about the retention offering something a new for your existing players, or is your approach no more marketing based, and trying to find new audiences mainly? And that’s yeah. We could talk about these different implementations quite a lot. But like clarium, who is the company behind the MC arena, which had the name or collaboration and then they have the raid shadow legends, which is a really popular game. Their approach is always this marketing ruin. So, they always make these high quality ads. And if you go actually inside the game, it’s only like a login calendar and then you unlock the character. So, little bit of the okay, something new, something cool. But there’s not actually any linear playable content in the games.

Rachit: 35:07

Yeah, seems like, as you’re building a whole game around an IP, then there is a higher element of risk. You’ve got to get a rave, it’s got to be thematically in line, it has to make sense for that IP. But if you’ve got a game that’s performing, you’ve got a base of players, you can use that to either attract new players from a different audience, or you’ve got the ability to engage them, or give them some new content in a way that they can kind of pick and choose whether they interact with it as well. So, I think you’ve got more flexibility, more options as well with I guess, a game that’s live and running.

Mitch: 35:42

Exactly. So like, with all the data you have from Game Refinery, what are you seeing in terms of the effect that all of these deals are having? A, is there a way to measure the uplift in terms of spending engagement? And if there is like, what does that look like?

Erno: 36:03

Yeah, well, of course, like the fully licensed games, it’s much more hot offer to kinda like, extract the value of the IP from there. But especially on this, again, live ops base stuff, live events that the games are running. So, as we have they’re going to like a performance estimations in terms of loss and in terms of the revenues. There, we can see some correlation. So naturally, that okay, the game runs, first of all this event, what is then we go a little bit deeper on that event? Okay. What kind of event it is, it has a, like an IP, like they’re collaborating with the different IP, and then we go a little bit deeper that, okay, how is it actually built? Is it like things that they are actually monetizing? Or is it just this, like flurry of approach that it’s all about engagement and marketing, just adding a new character for free, for every players. And then from there we can... Of course, it’s always there’s always because they are like living ecosystems, lots of things happening at the same time. But we can try to find out correlations of, for example, different event performances. And if we look at that, and that’s actually a really interesting thing to follow and look at different events. And we’d be jogging about this like, shooter games like the PUBG and Call Of Duty. And overall, I would say these cosmetic monetized games in mobile, they are collaborating nowadays with different IPs all the time, and they have all the time different, different events with the different kind of brands. So, it’s actually quite interesting to follow that many times, the actual mechanics of the events are actually really, really similar that, okay, they might have a some side mode or something. And then they are monetizing with exactly the same like, for example, a Gotcha mechanic this a loot box mechanic or is the direct purchase skin or whatever. But when you compare these two together, these are actually mechanically exactly the similar events, they have the same monetization models, the whole the whole live events, and then you go and look at the analog performance data, we can see quite a lot of differences. So like, I talked about the mobile legends, the mobile game, they have had different these type of collaboration events. And, for example, they had one with transformers IP, that had an actually a massive bump in the revenues, when it was launched. But then they had actually, just recently, or like, few months ago, they had an event, exactly similar type of monetization, they had an event bit cuckoo Panda, of all the other possible brands. And if you look at the performance on that event, it actually didn’t make a dent. So, clearly, we can see that like, difference that okay, this event worked in terms of performance, much, much more better than the other one, of course, we are not familiar with the because all the other, you know, these different IP deals are different, what kind of deal they made, how much they, you know, pushed it, but if you look at just like, in game, what they were offering, the mechanics were the same. The distribution of the content was the same. Monetization was the same. We can see that okay, this one actually performed in terms of the revenues much more better than the another one. So, yeah, to that extent, you can go and find out those correlations quite nicely in the platform.

Rachit: 39:48

Cool. At a market level, like, generally, how do you see the, you know, is there a metric or like a benchmark that people are shooting for women when they’re looking with this or is it different in every case? Like, is it just based on depending on the deal of the license and billing as you’re trying to increase or lower their acquisition cost? And then kind of monetization after that? Or in general, do you see IP working to actually overcome those issues that we were talking about earlier

Erno: 40:19

Yeah. Well, to my understanding and my feeling is that if... So case by case, and then again, it comes back to the implementations and your goals for a collaboration. Is it the monetization or engagement or retention or you use requisition what’s your end goal for the collaboration? Then it kind of got like, comes back to that. So, it’s really hard to say anything in a bigger level, I would say, it’s following individual examples, individual cases trying to find out how different events did how, how the performance was impacted. So, I will say it’s really, really case by case, depending on the goal of the company, depending on the goal of the event.

Rachit: 41:16

Yeah, makes sense. We’re coming up on time, as we’re doing a recap on trends of the year gone by, I think that’s been really, really informative. So thank you for kind of covering, like, how it’s changing in the landscape. What I do want to do is step back down to like, a few personal favorites. I mean, I wanted to know, you know, and image as well. You know, like, what’s your, what’s your top deal that you’ve seen in this space this year, what favorite collaboration and why?

Erno: 41:46

That’s a good question. Because there’s been so much. Well, I would have to say, like, well, if I give you two, so I give you the license game, I have to pick up Marvel Snap, because it’s so well executed against the IP or like, with the IP in mind, how to make a license game with that kind of IP, how it fits to your games genre. It so well done, in my opinion, and the synergies of the IP and the game are so clear. But then if we look at on the other side of the spectrum, so we go on the live events side, which is almost as important nowadays, like mentioned, super, kinda like to utilize the all across the genres. I would have to say, let’s see, well, I would say overall, the PUBG’s kinda like... I don’t pinpoint any specific one necessarily from this one. But like the PUBG if you follow that game, and if you follow that live ops machine, it’s kinda insane. They had probably, like 10 different collaborations just this year. And kinda like the scale of those collaborations. It’s not the most simplest one. So, the following… How it has evolved from this just Battle Royale shooter with a realistic art style and a realistic skins and so on. And now if you look at actually PUBG mobile, they are experimenting, like one of the most...  Best performing ones that were actually with an Anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, like olds, really old quite popular anime, or they had a like a mega event with that with specific skins, certain specific modes for that. So, but yeah PUBG, it’s... If you’re looking for collaborations with different IPs, that’s quite a machine of how much they are utilizing that and it’s one of the key things for their whole live operation, collaborations with different IPs.

Rachit: 44:26

Yeah, for sure. And I think they just announced their Dragon Ball, I think collab for next year. Actually, it’s a really good segway to mine. I think PUBG, I think last year maybe collab with Blackpink which was really interesting. So, it was one of those like, fits that you don’t necessarily think of. Like, it just doesn’t kind of add up when you’re when you’re thinking of two things that go together. But I think off the back of that, I wonder if it made it easier for the market in general and my favorites are actually the worst that the Deb Sister Team at Cookie Run, have done because I think they’ve shown the ability to work with such a wide audience. I know they’ve... And I think it was the Disney festival, I can’t remember the festival’s name... Festivals of dreams or something. But then they also had BTS in there. And again, it’s showing the versatility of IP. I think, you know, BTS and Blackpink run in similar circles almost. And for them to be both in PUBG but also in Cookie Run, I think is really interesting. And the way that the cookie run is kind of taking that model of IP colabs and applying it in that in the mobile space, I think is really interesting to follow. So they’re definitely mine. Mitch what about you? 

Mitch: 45:46

I’ll go a license game as well. The office was that this year? Somehow we manage. I think it was. 

Rachit: 45:55


Mitch: 45:55

He said it, right? 

Mitch: 45:56

It was this year 

Mitch: 45:57

Yeah, I think it was this year. So it’s this year? Yeah, I’ll go to the Office. Because I think like, it’s another great example of taking an IP that, like, how on earth do you turn the Office into a mobile game, and you do it by creating like this really cool sim game, right? Like, it’s the perfect marriage of the game mechanic, and the call loops, like all really fitting with the IP. And with that audience as well. Like, I think it’s just executed really, really well. So I also just like, love the fact that Eastside just want to take like, every niche kind of comedy IP of all time and turn it into a mobile game. So that’s really cool to see them build on that. And then the other one is the World Cup. Integrations with Messi and Neymar and Pogba. Just because I think like, it’s this kind of new frontier of, like, we were speaking about earlier, where it’s like an overlap of the audience, rather than the kind of somatics. You wouldn’t expect like, publicists would be going crazy, like Messi you cannot be running around. Wasn’t an AK, but, you know, like, it’s a really great marriage between user base and also like timeliness as well. Because I love the World Cup. So, it’s just the perfect timing. Cool. Well, just quickly, then we might finish up on. 

Erno: 47:27

Actually the world... Yeah, I was just about to say that actually, it’s quite interesting, the World Cup thing. Because in like, more especially mobile games, as there has been these big, big championship. Like the last World Cup, for example, there were a lot of like, there were these type of events, but like the scale of them were four years ago so much more wider, and so much more utilized. And not just, the collaboration with the different players and so on, but there are so many games that are having events, overall, like World Cup events that okay, for example, is a popular game this year, and they have these events where you’re like predicting the outcomes of the matches, and then you can get something in the game and so on. So this timeliness of a mega event happening in the world. It’s quite interesting how that is also increased.

Mitch: 48:26

Yeah, it’s like, 10 years ago, the way you used to kind of create a game experience around an event was like, create the game, create the lunchbox. Like you spent, like two years creating the game to go with the movie release. Now it kind of feels like, well, we could just do a live event in an existing game. And I think it’s a really cool trend that we’ll continue to see. So, that’s a good segue into, let’s wrap up quickly, because we could talk forever. But where do you see IP based games going in 2023?

Erno: 49:02

Yeah, I definitely see it because of this, especially the mobile, the changes that we talked about, in the start of the start of the podcast, I see the value of IP bigger than ever, the benefits of an IP bigger than ever. Also, in the license games on scaling, new games, having an IP, the benefits of that, but then again, on the other side of the spectrum, so the LiveOps side, that trend is upwards, so I don’t expect to see it stop. Because to be honest, like I mentioned a little bit about the kind of Asia market and collaborations there. They are, like, in many ways ahead. Like I mentioned, the fast food chains. And if you look at for example, again, Janine beck they had have had these insane collaborations with the different fast food chains with KFC, is in China and so on. Then like the League of Legends had a perfume with the, I don’t remember the perfume brand, but they... In China they had like, I think it was league of legends or then it was the honor of kings. So dependents, a mobile game. And this massive utilization and wider thinking of an utilization of IP and not just okay, we make this license game with this IP, but then going a bit wider, of course to the events, but then also the types of IPs and possibilities there. And I think also in the West, the license holders are seeing the kinda like a value of collaborating with the different mobile games, using them as their marketing channel as well. Is becoming gonna like a bigger and bigger thing. So definitely, I see kind of big good things for IPs in the future in the mobile game scene for sure. And just like expanding on what we already have.

Mitch: 51:09

Awesome. Well, thanks very much for joining today. I really appreciate all the insights and the recap. Looking forward to a big 2023. Thanks for joining us.

Erno: 51:18

Thank you. My pleasure.

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