The comeback kings: Mind Candy and the return of Moshi Monsters

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

August 2nd 2017 at 3:18PM
UPDATED August 3rd 2017 at 9:17AM
The comeback kings: Mind Candy and the return of Moshi Monsters

It was only a few months ago that the London start-up, Mind Candy looked to be on the ropes. But with a renewed faith from investors, a new digital strategy and new mobile title, Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt, the firm could be on the cusp of the turnaround of the decade. Robert Hutchins talks to Mind Candy CEO, Ian Chambers

It may have been years in the making, but Moshi Monsters has made the move to mobile. It’s an initiative that – in concordance with the seismic shift in the way kids engage with entertainment today – is filled with the potential to put the one-time leading UK children’s property back on the map.

It’s no secret that Moshi Monsters creators, Mind Candy, has had quite the rough ride in recent history. Once the talk of the playground, Moshi Monsters didn’t just occupy the web space, it appeared to command it.

An online digital children’s game, Moshi Monsters hit the big time in the licensing space, expanding into books, clothes and, of course, toys and collectables. Created by the media’s golden-child, Michael Acton-Smith, this was Mind Candy’s flagship.

Children across the globe demanded a piece of Moshi Monsters, and the world’s journalists each wanted a piece of Acton-Smith.

But its meteoric rise to fame didn’t safeguard it from the treacherous line children’s IP can all too often walk. In what seemed like quick succession, both toy sales and online user numbers fell and Mind Candy found itself paddling to keep its head above the water.

12 months after an extensive executive reshuffle that saw video games man Ian Chambers take up the mantle as CEO, having come from Ubisoft, IGN and GAME, Mind Candy is ready to take the spotlight once more with Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt.

“We are excited to be bringing Moshi Monsters to a whole new generation of kids via the Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt game. We have taken key elements of the Moshi Monsters web game and developed the relationship further by adding elements of personalisation,” Chambers tells ToyNews.

Let’s not forget, while numbers may have dropped, Mind Candy still sees 250,000 kids engaging with and playing with Moshi Monsters via its web platform each month.

“With Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt, kids can adopt, name and customise a Moshling created just for them and share it with their friends via physical trading cards.

“The platform we have created gives us the opportunity to do things at retail that were not possible before. We are already in conversations with key partners.”

Speculation has been made over whether Moshi Monster’s delayed move to mobile gaming is the root cause of the issues it suffered in the past. However, having shot to the number one spot in the kids’ six to eight category on app stores at launch, the firm now appears to have this sewn up.

“Mobile is the natural platform for us to create new relationships with the Moshi world, as part of a wider cross-channel strategy. Our goal is to create an environment in which creativity meets tech, that kids will love and parents will trust.”

Combining the digital with the physical, Egg Hunt also launches with a vast collection of trading cards, each accounting for every piece of content and character within the game.

“Each card has a scratch panel at the back, and you can either scratch or swap. You can then use the code behind the panel and the item will appear in their game.”

You’d be quick to admit, Chambers paints an exciting picture on how the property will work at retail, with some innovative ideas on monetising digital engagement in a new way.

“We focus on the audience and how we believe they want to engage with our worlds, looking for ways to enhance their experience,” Chambers adds.

“Games remain a core focus of the business, but only as part of a wider entertainment strategy. Meanwhile, characters, story, sharing and collecting are at the heart of the Moshi Monsters world, so we will be looking at building new licensing relationships as the audience for Egg Hunt continues to grow.”

By the way, that audience looks like 600,000 Egg Hunt downloads within its first week of launch. And tapping into a heritage that still sees 250,000 users via its Moshi Monsters web platform and one that has seen more than 100 million Moshi Monsters adopted to date, Egg Hunt offers some exciting prospects to the consumer products market.

“Our continuing goal is to create worlds that fuel the imagination and Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt is a key part of this. For us, and in the consumer products market, the sky is the limit,” Chambers explains.

What this will eventually span remains to be seen. Whether Egg Hunt will kickstart a revival for the Moshi Monsters brand is a question only time will answer. But with more innovation waiting in the wings from the firm, including whispers of a Moshi Monsters subscription box service, it would appear Mind Candy is back on the scene.

“Ultimately we want to create a world that we believe kids will fall in love with. As tech becomes more accessible, we are looking at new ways to engage audiences and bring them in to the magical world of Moshi. After all, who wouldn’t want to adopt a pet monster?”