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Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

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Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby Staff » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:50 pm

I ran into this article over at Kotaku this morning. For those of who are unfamiliar with the situation, Nintendo recently announced their quarterly earnings and it was bad, really bad. So bad that the media blew a comment made by President Iwata about mobile devices way out of proportion leading some to speculate that Nintendo may be developing games for iOS. All of this lead up to the investor call that Nintendo had last night where Iwata outlined plans for their future. One tidbit in particular stood out to me.

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.

So, what could this possibly mean? Could LEGO and Nintendo form a licensing agreement to produce sets based on some of their characters and/or games? It's not unheard of as an inside source has once told me that LEGO did try to obtain a license a long time ago, but the two companies could not come to agreeable terms. With Nintendo's earnings in the tank and the new direction Iwata wants to take character licensing, maybe it's time for both companies to come back to the negotiating table and hammer something out.

There is one potential hiccup: K'NEX. They currently have a line of construction toys based on Nintendo properties but does anyone actually buy that stuff? Even if they do, it's not unprecedented for a construction toy company to find one of their licenses suddenly expired and given to another.

I've been daydreaming pretty much all day on what LEGO Mario Kart sets would be like. Or Samus' Gunship. Or Starfox ships. Everything 8-bit. There are so many possibilities. It's a bit of a stretch to even assume that the people at LEGO and Nintendo who can make this happen have even thought about approaching the other. But with LEGO's success in licensed brands, and Nintendo's financial needs, it would be stupid for them not to.

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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby scottcos » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:13 pm

While I agree that Nintendo's deal with K'NEX would probably nix any chance of seeing the Mario license in LEGO, Nintendo has several other great properties. Cuusoo has considered a Legend of Zelda set at least twice, and has never been detoured by licensing issues, I would not be surprised if it eventually came into existence. I can not imagine how the Pokemon franchise would do in the LEGO realm, but Mega has made an honest attempt with Skylanders. Animal Crossing, while not one of their most popular licenses, already looks like they had Fabuland in mind when they made the game.

Nintendo has never realized the full power of merchandising their licenses, and whether that leads to some cool LEGO offerings or not, I for one am game for whatever they have coming.
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby legendarybarr » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:28 pm

Oh man this would be awesome.
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby daevster » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:47 pm

Very interesting news! I would gladly support Nintendo series sets, especially Legend of Zelda, if Nintendo and LEGO can take advantage of the situation!
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby Robzula » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:17 am

Arwing vs Wolfen please
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby RfAurora » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:26 am

I think that this might lead to a new Super Mario RPG with Square, and maybe even some Kingdom Heart appearances if Disney gets in.
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby crazybirdman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:08 am

I could see them trying to work with Disney. They both have the family friendly vibe. And Disney is looking to market to the young male demographic.
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby Faefrost » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:03 pm

While interesting news, I would still be amazed to see a major change in things without some top end leadership changes at Nintendo. Nintendo has a long history of preferring to be the stronger player in any licensing or partnership arrangements. I can't see this preference changing unless Iwata leaves or they get much more cash desperate. Lego is much to strong or powerful a partner. With K'nex Nintendo is their largest and most powerful licensing partner. With Lego they are barely noticeable, falling well below Star Wars, Marvel, DC and Disney among others. I predict if Nintendo leaves K'Nex they will go to Mega Brands. (Assuming Mega wants them). Kree-O is Hasbro and has the same issues of size as Lego.
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby darth_fett » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:55 pm

I want to see a Hero Factory style Samus Powersuit, props if they make the helmet removable. We could get Ridley and Mother Brain's mobile form, the SA-X with lightup visor and some minifig Samus would be nice. Honestly i'd almost prefer a Megablock Samus cos their minifigs are larger and much more detailed (see CoD, Halo figs) but a large helmet Samus a la Batman/Iron Man could be cute.

I'm down for many many forms of LoZ sets, such 4 Swords Links, Ganon's many forms, and Possibly Twinrova.

I've made brick built metroid (larval stage only) it'd be nice to TLG take on the Gamma, Omega, etc forms. And of course we need Donkey Kong with barrel throw/launch actions.
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby HJR » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:54 am

How is it possible that FBTB. Once THE Star Wars LEGO website, is placing an article about Nintendo on the front page, yet completely overlooks the Nurnberg toy fair where two new Star Wars LEGO sets were released?

This isn't the first time FBTB doesn't stay on target, which is a real pity. For me FBTB is written off as Star Wars LEGO news source. Pity...
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Re: Nintendo To Expand Character Licensing

Postby rushiosan » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:05 am

I have high hopes that some day LEGO and Nintendo work together. They are so far my favorite companies (and #1 purchases) since early 1990's.

However, I'm strongly against a possible iOS exclusivity for their IPs. I don't buy Apple products and I probably never will, simply because they have very restrictive (abusive, to be honest) policies. They don't offer much freedom to developers and everything (I mean everything) is overpriced to a point you're paying more for the "I have an Apple" status than the benefits of the product itself. I'm totally out in this case.
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