Activision Blizzard has announced the launch of a new Consumer Products division. The company has stated that the new division is supposed to help accelerate their global growth content by taking Activision Blizzard intellectual properties and “creating new ways for audiences to connect with the Company’s franchises and characters.” The division will not be starting from scratch: Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment and King Digital will all be placed under the Consumer Products banner.
The launch of the Consumer Products division is yet another example of how gaming companies are exerting themselves to find new revenue streams. For instance, privately-held Rovio recently opened a London studio to try its hand at making new IPs and MMOs. As an S&P 500 company, Activision Blizzard is under considerable pressure from its stockholders to find new ways to make the company more valuable. One example of Activision Blizzard attempting to squeeze more cash from its customers would be the Diablo III auction house which was subsequently closed due to the damage it inflicted on core gameplay. More innocuous attempts at additional revenue can be seen in company’s expansion into interactive content, television and film, competitive gaming and mobile, the most prominent being the Warcraft movie that only succeeded due to the Chinese market.
Still, it is not like the company lacks series it can milk. Between Activision and Blizzard, the company owns the following franchises: Call of Duty, Destiny and Skylanders, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, King’s Candy Crush, Pet Rescue, and Farm Heroes. Nor is it aiming at a small market; the company claims 500 million “active” users a month across all of its products.
The new division will be headed by Tim Kilpin as its CEO and president. Kilpin served as Mattel’s president and chief commercial officer, overseeing the company’s sales and marketing functions across all regions. However, before that he was executive vice president for Mattel’s Boys and Girls Division, leading global brand strategy, marketing, product design and development, consumer products and content development. That experience parallels what Kilpin has been tasked to do for Activision Blizzard: lead the development of new consumer products based on Activision Blizzard’s franchises and will also be charged with making those products reach its customers by establishing long-term retail partnerships.
However, it’s unlikely that Kilpin will limit himself to making toys and collectibles. The new CEO’s resume includes a stint as executive vice president of franchise management for The Walt Disney Company, where he oversaw global cross-category franchise plans for Disney Princess, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Pixar properties. How he’ll leverage that remains a mystery, but let us hope it won’t be with a Warcraft movie trilogy.