Marvel Pinball

    • Licensing
    • Contract Negotiation
    • Business Development

Client: Zen Studios

Platforms: PlayStation Network & Xbox Live Arcade

Our client Zen Studios has been developing and publishing digital pinball games for about a decade. Zen started out by making original IP tables, but we quickly realized that a good strategic move for Zen would be to seek out licenses. Since the company was focusing on digital pinball, and was not constrained by traditional real world pinball playfield constraints, Zen Studios could use the power of a brands to widen Zen Pinball's market and capture a larger audience.


When Zen Studios first started out, they faced many challenges:

  • Little to no corporate & product brand recognition.
  • Unproven digital pinball category on PlayStation Network & Xbox Live.
  • Convincing larger brand holders to license their brands to Zen Studios for Zen Pinball.


Our main objective for Zen Studios was to build a portfolio of branded pinball tables to create a stable and sustained business.

Services Performed

Licensing, Contract Negotiation & Business Development

Knowing the mostly male hardcore gamer demographic on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, Flashman targeted licensing game brands that would directly appeal to the hard core gamer demographic: Ninja Gaiden, Street Fighter, Ms. Splosion Man etc. Flashman presented the brands to Zen Studios, then actively pursued and negotiated the licensing deals.

To further widen Zen Pinball's market beyond the hardcore gaming demographic, Flashman analyzed and created a list of potential brands with mass market appeal and ranked those brands according to criteria such as: cross-platform appeal, universal brand awareness, evergreen appeal vs. market event brands (movies), cross-marketing potential with a brand holders and pinball playfield suitability. At the top of the list for us was a brand that ranked high across all categories – Marvel.


Flashman has continued to help Zen Studios by successfully negotiating multiple new consumer brands that will launch in 2012 and 2013 (including Plants vs. Zombies from Popcap). For Zen Studios a successful licensing acquisition strategy has been a pillar of growth for the company. Result highlights include:

  • Through a sound licensing strategy, Flashman helped propel Zen Studios to #1 status on Xbox Live and enabled them to extend their pinball games across virtually every game platform.
  • Zen Studios went on to became the market leader in digital pinball and a top 5 game on Xbox Live.
  • Flashman successfully negotiated a wide ranging licensing agreement for the Marvel universe of comic book characters for Zen Studios.