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 brands to widen Zen Pinball’s market and capture a larger audience.
When Zen Studios first started out, they faced many challenges:
Our main objective for Zen Studios was to build a portfolio of branded pinball tables to create a stable and sustained business.
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 hardcore 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 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.