News Article

Nintendo to Step Up Character IP Licensing, Including "Win-Win" Options in "Digital Fields"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Perhaps expect ringtones, toys and even more plushies?

It may be that you don't need to go far to find a Mario plush, or perhaps you do, but Satoru Iwata has stated that Nintendo will be expanding its efforts to license out its various character IPs with partners around the world. In a market with so many brands competing for affections, the indication is that there'll be a push to ensure that familiarity and loyalty to Nintendo properties is increased.

Below is the relevant section of the Investor Briefing.

Also, we are planning to utilize Nintendo’s abundance of character IP more actively. I think the reason that Nintendo is now considered to have this “abundance of character IP” is perhaps because of our passive approach toward the character IP licensing business, which tends to have a high risk of damaging the value of the character. In other words, we think that spending time to develop our approach of having our characters appear mainly in our carefully selected games has created our current fortunate circumstances. However, we are going to change our policy going forward.

To be more precise, we will actively expand our character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners. In fact, we have been actively selling character merchandise for about a year in the U.S.

Also, we will be flexible about forming licensing relationships in areas we did not license in the past, such as digital fields, provided we are not in direct competition and we can form win-win relationships.

By moving forward with such activities globally, we aim to increase consumer exposure to Nintendo characters by making them appear in places other than on video game platforms.

The reference to "digital fields" is intriguing, as it hints at officially licensed ranges of products on web browsers and smart devices, perhaps along the lines of official wallpapers, ringtones and products of those types. As some toy stores are flooded with merchandise for brands such as Angry Birds, meanwhile, Nintendo can always do more to push its wide range of characters — it doesn't have to be all about Mario.

What kind of licensed products would you like to see from Nintendo? Sound off in the comments below.


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User Comments (67)



Nintenjoe64 said:

This sounds like they want Nintendo IP in the kind games that they don't make......

Please be Grand Theft Wario



Lance168 said:

Maybe a Nintendo Smartphone app that sells rigntones(imagine Mario saying LETS A GO! in your phone) and music(Nintendo Tunes?) and wallpapers(Link vs Ganondorf, Mario and Luigi, Cat Suit Mario) and a 0.99$ app for Miiverse.



ajcismo said:

Sounds like you cats in the NL office have had a busy morning.

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if we see animated features like the old Mario Bros cartoon revived or maybe a live-action Metroid movie (which could very well be pretty awesome).



NintyMan said:

I'm all for more Nintendo merchandise! Although they're not rare where I live, it would be neat if more Nintendo franchises besides Mario and Pokemon could get more merchandise representation. Of course, that could be just one part of it, so who knows what else this could entail? Movies? TV? What if this made it easier for a Wreck-It Ralph sequel to have Nintendo characters like Mario?



HAL9000 said:

NFC and more character IP licensing means we will see Nintendo figurines function in a skylanders, Infinity type game at E3. The figurines are consistently on top sellers at amazon. Good move by Nintendo.



antipop621 said:

I want Nintendo comic books. Archie has been real successful with their Sonic and Megaman books.



FullbringIchigo said:

like they are doing with hyrule warriors licenceing it to omega force, this can only be a good thing I hope it brings to life some dormant nintendo ip's like star fox



Raptor78 said:

I remember some Mario Kart Kinex sets... but it would be nice to see some official Lego or even Megablox sets based on some of their larger IPs like Zelda and Mario. Mabey even tie things in with Smash Bros. and have smaller sets based on the different IPs within Smash Bros.



Trikeboy said:

Yup, that figuarts Mario is going right on my shelf next to my Nintendo figmas and D-arts Pokemon.



kepsux said:

Wearables. T-shirts, hoodies, etc. Also, soundtracks. I say sell the typical club Nintendo stuff and for the club members give back with free games instead.



fortius54 said:

@antipop621 I completely agree with you on this one. Out of all the licensing Sega has done with Sonic, comics have been the most successful. It would be nothing for Archie Comics to take these IPs and run with them.

Megaman from Archie is the only thing we get right now to quench our thirst for the Blue Bomber. I think this is an excellent idea. If Nintendo wants to increase the exposure of their IPs especially in the west, they need to do this immediately.



FiveDigitLP said:

@Raptor78 Lego, yes. Mega Bloks, no way no how. Their stuff is a joke and is not of the same quality as Lego nor does it have the same uniformity.

At any rate, though, I definitely support the idea of more character licensing. For years I've wanted easily accessible figures of Nintendo characters, but only recently have I been able to get Mario and a few Zelda figurines. (And I can't afford to buy the expensive figmas.)



AJWolfTill said:

Nintendo partner with Robinsons Ribena or Innocent and use Pikmin as their mascots. If a company claimed that all their fruit was collected fresh by humanely treated Pikmin I would never drink anything else again XD



Technosphile said:

It took forever to get proper Nintendo action figures made, hence the reason people paid hundreds for that lousy Samus figure that was a Nintendo Power bonus back in the '90s. Now that Link, Pit, and Samus figma exist, fans have a real option.

But there were implications that Nintendo was being very stingy and difficult for Max Factory to work with at first. Then, I think, Nintendo saw the huge demand and have now loosened up: Max Factory will soon be releasing Mario and Luigi Nendoroid figures. The more Nintendo merch, the better, and I agree that it can and needs to be more than just Mario.



Kirk said:

Nintendo themed Angry Birds game and Nintendo themed Lego toys...



kendorage said:

I hope they contact sega and go half with them on a football(USA-style) game featuring nintendo mascots. This would allow both companies to share the cost/risk of the game, allow for wii u to fill in a sports genre gap(madden 13 not withstanding), and allow sega to bring back their football franchise back as an exclusive to the wii u(since they can't have the nfl license thanks to ea).

Gameplay wise they could have a sim mode with heavy customizable features, and an arcade mode with power ups and gameplay similar to an nfl blitz or mutant league-style hockey game on the genesis.

Also, a 1st or 3rd person shooter with nintendo characters......but in a much more colorful game, with creative world/arenas , fun weapons and online emphasis. Team zelda vs team mario, etc.

Crazy ideas, I know. But these would be fun to me and fill in some game genre gaps and help alleviate costs if nintendo goes half on the project. Plus, because they get to use licensed nintendo characters, the game might sell better or have immediate brand recognition for 3rd parties who are worried their game might not sell.



rjejr said:

My kids have been wanting a Nintendo World for years. Not the lame store in Manhattan that was such a letdown for them, a real life Nintendo Land. Lego has amusement parks all over the world now, and smaller indoor centers. Heck even FAO Schwartz a few blocks from Nintendo World is more fun than Nintendo World. Sesame Street has it's own place.
I know the world econmy is sitll in the tank so this probably wont happen, but my kids are still waiting. Even a Chuck E Cheese like Nintendo Arcade would be nice w/ a Mario mascot. Times Square is littered w/ failed attempts at themed restaurants, Nintendo should have 1 on their resume. Their main mascot is an Italian plumber named Mario - 1 guess at the type of food they could serve there.

I guess there must be someplace like this in Japan, right? Or does Akihabara count?



Nintenjoe64 said:

@Sparx it's an ultra-violent FPS set in Hyrule. Tingle and his brothers go in search of the terrorists who killed their former leader.



Nintenjoe64 said:

@kendorage different type of football but remember Sega Worldwide Soccer? I would love a sequel to the Saturn version. I think for it to make any kind of impact in 2014 they'd need to make it a World Cup branded game though.



oreqano said:

How about collectable figurines for all the new Super Smash Bros. trophies with some.sort of NFC support!



PrincessEevee9 said:

I wouldn't object to a Nintendo ran Princess line that was tasteful and not like Disney Princess garbage. I want a Rosalina action figure. Shoots out Star Bits and mini Lumas.



kendorage said:

@ nintenjoe64

Never had access to a saturn. I do remember(vaguely) a sega soccer slam though.



marck13 said:

I demand plushies! Nintendo Land in Switzerland and plushies!!
Serioulsy I wouldn't know where to get Nintendo Merchandise and I've been several times thinking already what a nice gift f.ex. a big Yoshi-Plushie would make!



mike_intv said:

It should be interesting since I hear a lot of cash registers ringing up sales with the "gold coin" sound now. I wonder if those are licensed or not.



Dolphin64 said:




Kmno said:

Don't know if you know but there are already photos of Figuarts Mario out there, would be great if you could post something on that.



Melkaticox said:

@antipop621 If we're going to have Nintendo comics, then they need to be published by IDW, Image or Dark Horse. They're way more talented than Archie.

Hmm, maybe this is the perfect time to make a Mario movie, Nintendo! CGI, of course. You have ton of talented writers working on Intelligent System and Alpha Dream ;]



Tritonus said:

I hope this also hints at getting more 2nd party devs, having 2nd (and possiblt 3rd parties) develop games with their IP's more actively.



Sherman said:

Does this means we are one step closer to that Peter Jackson or Guillermo del Toro directed Zelda movie? =D



unrandomsam said:

@Tritonus They should farm out the cash cows (Like NSMB) to 3rd parties I cannot imagine they could do any worse and the engine is basically the same for all of them. And concentrate on new IP themselves. (Or when there is actually an interesting idea which recently seems to be hardly ever).,



unrandomsam said:

You can cheapen the brand by over licensing it. (Everything that is Ferrari branded is good quality. i.e The Meridan F1 Hi Fi).



shaneoh said:


Yeah I bought a Mega Bloks set a while back, it falls apart if you just touch it wrong, it doesn't mesh properly at all. Hopefully the Zelda Iron Knuckle set will pass the LEGO Cuusoo requirements (it's currently in the review stage). If Nintendo want a company that will do their brand justice, it's definitely LEGO. Just look at their licensed sets: Star Wars, DC, Marvel, Simpsons, Back to the Future, Minecraft, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia, Pirates of the Carribean. A Nintendo IP would fit nicely in there.



Rect_Pola said:

I want a Figma or D-Arts Mario/Luigi. I have decent Smash bros roster going. And you can release Powers sets that will attach (or face swap) with the original set.



DarkKirby said:


Seriously, Nintendo's insistence on an absolute iron grip on their IPs hurts sales more than it helps.



YoshiAngemon said:

Why not K'NEX for the Legend of Zelda? That way, when they do up Super Smash Bros. Stages with characters, they already have Mario, Luigi, DK, Diddy, Bowser, Peach, and Link and Zelda. Maybe throw in Pit, Olimar and Pikmin, Samus, and Villager.



TwilightAngel said:

woah if they do this i hope they make a shy guy plushie or better yet a whomp or thwomp there so many plushies nintendo can make the list is endless.



Gorlokk said:

" In a market with so many brands competing for affections, the indication is that there'll be a push to ensure that familiarity and loyalty to Nintendo properties is increased."

Man, it would be so rad to see plushies/toys from like, Star Fox, Metroid, Earthbound, or whatever else. Would buy.



Genesaur said:

Anything Metroid will get me to buy, for the most part.

For real, though? Nintendo needs to get some more adorable hats. I'm talking something just like the Epic Kirby Hat in StreetPass. I would shamelessly wear that hat all the freakin' time.

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