Having successfully launched its free-to-play mobile title, Hot Wheels Infinite Loop, Mattel Creative talks to Licensing.biz and ToyNews editor Robert Hutchins for MCV@gamescom about its desire to conquer new streaming platforms .
High on the successful launch of its free-to-play mobile title Hot Wheels Infinite Loop this gamescom, Mattel Creative, the digital arm of the global toymaker, has hinted heavily towards taking its wealth of IP to emerging streaming platforms in the near future.
Google, HTML5, Facebook and even Alexa are firmly on the radar for the unit that is only now seeing the fruits of the past 18 months’ labour of digital development with the arrival of its Hot Wheels title.
Infinite Loop is somewhat of a departure from the norm for the Barbie doll maker, targeting the over 16s market with a
free-to-play title that features in-app purchasing and ad-based rewards, that looks to simultaneously drive nostalgic fans back to the franchise.
And while Mattel Creative’s focus for the title and its upcoming launches this year will remain on PC, console and mobile, its head of digital, Andrew Chan (pictured), is keen to get IP up and running on emerging streaming platforms such as Stadia, too.
“We want to be everywhere, and we really like those spaces,” Chan told MCV@gamescom. “So we will be licensing our brands to people who have done things in those spaces, all the while building our franchises on PC, console, and mobile. This will be a new frontier for the company.”
Two years into his role with Mattel’s expanding digital team, Chan heads up a unit that itself is a relatively fresh endeavour for a toy company that has previously made little secret of its desire to be recognised as a “high performing, IP-driven entertainment business.” This mission statement is likely why the firm is now eyeing new platforms within the games space.
On top of this, there’s hint that a grander plan is at play for Mattel Creative.
“We may not be in the business of hiring or building out a game development studio today, but we would love to get there,” added Chan. “For now, we are working with the best-in-class partners in the kids’ space, in the all-ages space, and then across our brands.”
Hot Wheels Infinite Loop is not the first digital effort for the toy car franchise, however, but follows the global launch of Hot Wheels ID earlier this year – Mattel’s own leap into the challenging world of toys-to-life.
A physical track-building and car-racing play-set, Hot Wheels ID uses NFC and AR technology to tally stats racked up by the
toy’s use in the physical, which will then directly impact play within the digital and all in real-time.
“We are seeing physical and digital colliding, and at a faster rate,” continued Chan. “And as you start to see those worlds collide, you start thinking: how do you make a culture where both of those can thrive? That’s what we’re trying to do at Mattel.”
While toys-to-life has been a difficult space to pin down by those before it, Mattel has faith in its abilities to progress the market for future consumers.
“Someone is going to make a product where you don’t even know you’re playing with a physical-digital product. No one had to tell you to scan your car, no one had to tell you that you had to do something, you are just doing it,” he prophesised.
“That’s when someone has cracked that product, when it is seamless – and I hope it is Mattel.”