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Toikido talks | “Video game licensing is in the best health of any entertainment platform”

Fresh from welcoming the latest major gaming IP to the fold in the form of the British indie game developer’s multiplayer title, Gang Beasts, there’s a palpable and persistent excitement among the Toikido team right now. This was an outfit that, upon launch last year, promised to turn the toy and licensing sector on its head.

So far, having turned around a successful toy line based on one of the biggest gaming franchises of the past two years, within a record-setting six months (navigating a pandemic and shipping chaos out of China along the way), Toikido’s debut product portfolio for the Among Us IP appears to have done just that.

Straight out of the box, the Among Us toys have been subject to rave reviews online from across the markets, hitting demand in a timely fashion as retailers now begin to reap the benefits of the Toikido model. It’s why expectations are now high for the team’s follow up property, and why excitement levels are even higher; all for a game that is yet to receive an ‘official’ launch.

Licensing.biz catches up with Toikido co-founder, Darran Garnham for a quick run through of all the latest:

There was a lot of excitement around the announcement that Toikido had signed with Among Us – what has the momentum behind the signing been like in the months since – the buzz doesn’t seem to have gone away – what’s been fuelling the excitement?

The team at Innersloth and Duel Wield have managed the programme phenomenally well. Protecting their licensees and not double licensing ensures the products supply and demand is in a great balance to keep momentum. Inbound interest from fans has been incredible and great fun.

What plans have you got in place for the Among Us brand from here and for the rest of the year onwards? What categories will be key for you as you build the brand from here?

Product is just hitting shelves now with toys in market in most countries.  We have moved from contract to shelf in just six months which is amazing.  We could have been even quicker had we not had Covid & the shipping chaos out of China. The reaction from every market has been positive and we have delivered to retail ontime.

The toys will be driving the programme but design on apparel, bedding and puzzles looks really strong. The game itself has had some exciting updates so this allows us to plug into new characters / colours and ship elements.

How do audiences for gaming IP differ to other entertainment, how does it influence the licensing strategy for the brand? How do you tap into the cross-generational audiences?

The gaming community are extremely supportive and invested in the game and products and are very vocal on social media. I love that. I want the fans to tell us what we are doing right, wrong and what products are missing from the range.

Gaming content – compared to entertainment like films – is never static – i.e. subject to updates and new gaming modes etc… To what extent does this influence the licensing programme, what level of creativity or freedom does this bring to the table for you guys?

Thankfully working with digital IP is nothing new to the team at Toikido. We are set up to flex and move fast as game updates drop. We all love what we do and so the WhatsApp / Slack chat over the weekend is as busy as it is during the week.

Can you talk us through the latest gaming IP under the Toikido umbrella? What will this be bringing to the video game licensing space?

We are really proud to have added Boneloaf and the multi-award winning Gang Beasts. This is a crazy, bright character fun filled multiplayer game. I know when my kids are playing as I can hear the shouts and laughter.

We will be working closely with Boneloaf so expect a wide variety of products and some super fun toys. The game is coming to Switch this fall and so it’s great timing building on the current fanbase and expanding with Nintendo. 

 Why is this the right move for you guys, what makes this an ideal partnership and IP for Toikido?

The Boneloaf team share our values. We like working in partnership rather than just feeling like ‘another licensee’, that’s what we have with Innersloth and now with Boneloaf.

 

Is the video game licensing space in good health? What do you think of the state of innovation and creativity in the video game licensing sector? What is Toikido bringing to that space?

I think it’s in the best health of any of the entertainment platforms. I think it’s also setting positive visions of change through the #RaiseTheGame Diversity Pledge – ‘RaiseTheGame is a collaborative and high-impact pledge to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the games industry – creating cultures where everyone belongs, voices are heard and ideas can thrive.’

It’s exciting to be working with studios to expand their fanbase, work with current fan crop and expand global opportunities for their IP.

What’s the next step for you guys?

We have three of our own IP in development, a Netflix IP launching in fall and an NFT project that I believe is very unique in this exploding space.

We will also announce an exciting strategic investor in the coming months so we not only have fuel for growth but additional IP coming into the business.

 

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