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“The fan experience is at the centre of everything”

Activision Blizzard adds new licensees as focus on esports and brand collaborations continues.

Activision Blizzard has been attracting huge swathes of interest to its booth at Licensing Expo this week, with the company continuing to grow its franchises ‘beyond gameplay’.

New licensees have been confirmed for both Activision and Blizzard brands, while ABCPG continues to raise the bar in the esports space via the merchandise programme for the Overwatch League.

“Activision Blizzard has a portfolio of some of the world’s most beloved franchises, and our aim is to work with world-class licensees that enrich our fans’ experience around the world,” said Steve Young, president of Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group. “The fan experience is at the center of everything we do, and we’re thrilled to create new opportunities for players to immerse themselves and show their passion for Activision’s and Blizzard’s games through relationships ranging from LEGO to Uniqlo.”

2019 marks the 40th anniversary of Activision, and it is looking to ‘celebrate gamers’ across generations, leaning into consumer demand for retro properties with the reemergence of classic characters from the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro franchises.

To this end, consumer products possibilities are being explored for Crash Team Racing, as well as for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Activision also continues to build on the successful programme for first person action series, Call of Duty. International streetwear brand DRKN, in collaboration with Activision, will launch a high-end Call of Duty capsule collection, which will be available from autumn 2019.

Additionally, Fashion UK – newly appointed Pan-European apparel and fashion accessory collaborator – will develop and offer a range of products across a wide selection of retailers, again from the autumn.

As previously confirmed, ABCPG worked with Bioworld, KontrolFreek, New Era and Pyramid on a range of products, while Astro, Scuf Gaming, Surreal and Rubber Road will return with COD licensed programmes this year.

For Blizzard, meanwhile, toy and apparel offerings for Overwatch continue to expand. LEGO Group kicked off the year with the announcement of the first ever LEGO Overwatch product line, due to hit retail later this year.

Additionally, Overwatch franchise master toy licensee Hasbro continues to create a wide range of play experiences, including the recently released Overwatch Ultimates Action Figures and NERF Blasters product lines, as well as the upcoming tabletop board game Overwatch Monopoly, with more to come this autumn. Uniqlo launched – with a global programme in May rolling out regionally through the end of June – an exclusive line of clothing across Blizzard franchises, including Overwatch and World of Warcraft, as part of its spring/summer 2019 collection.

Further new lines include Funko (Overwatch Pops!), Insight Editions (Overwatch: The Official Cookbook) and Scholastic (World of Warcraft book series), while the official Blizzard Gear Store has relaunched in China with new ecommerce licensee, Baozun.

Meanwhile, esports highlights include a deal with Fanatics for the Overwatch League. Newly launched relationships for the Overwatch League include New Era, Starter, G-III, Outerstuff, and the first ever trading card programme for esports with Upper Deck. Additionally, Funko will be launching an Overwatch League-themed Pop! Vinyl sku in Q4 of this year.

ABCPG is also currently exploring opportunities for the next iteration of Call of Duty esports.

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