Digital games are changing the merchandising business by bridging the gap between physical and virtual goods. For example, most Moshi Monsters toys are accompanied by a promotional code that offers users a virtual gift to use online.
Level Up Wear – a firm that produces clothing based on official game licenses such as Assassin's Creed and Dragon Age – believes this new link will continue to grow.
For retailers, it is a great way to counter the rise of digital sales as clothing is better placed in physical stores,” says MD Dimitri van Eetvelde. Retailers such as GAME who recently started selling DLC in stores are very interested in giving their customers incentives to buy the content in a physical store instead of downloading it – and bundling with a T-shirt is a very successful way of achieving that.”
AT New Media is also focusing on this transition. The firm's business development director Simon Kay adds: Bringing retail and virtual goods together is increasingly interesting, especially considering the download nature of many games, and how those products can be supported as codes on merchandise.
We are working on initiatives with GAME and other retailers across Europe to bring merchandising both on and offline close to games companies.”
And with downloadable games such as Angry Birds making an impact with physical merchandise at High Street retailers – through plush toys and other merchandise – the relationship between physical and virtual content will only flourish further in years to come.