How Film Studios Benefit From Licensed Games and Vice Versa - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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How Film Studios Benefit From Licensed Games and Vice Versa

In a world where box office success is no longer enough, movie production companies need to find new ways to generate revenue. Besides turning a movie into a franchise to prolong its success and sell merchandise, licensing the film brand to game developer studios has become another popular and profitable option.

In principle, film studios allow games to use names, trademarks, logos, and other movie creatives to develop a game and, in turn, receive either a fixed license fee or payment through a prior negotiated revenue share deal. Besides Playstation or Xbox titles, this type of partnership is especially popular amongst casino software developers.

Movie-Based Online Slots Are an Easy Sell

Companies like Microgaming, a leading games developer for online casinos, have soon spotted the unique opportunity to partner with film studios to rake in big bucks. Microgaming's slot games include titles such as Jurassic Park, Bridesmaids, Game of Thrones, and Tomb Raider, all developed in a corporation with Hollywood.

It's easy to explain why Microgaming is betting big on movie-based online slots. It's an easy sell!

The Tomb Raider or Game of Thrones brand is known worldwide. Nearly everyone recognises Lara Croft, Jon Snow, or the film logos. For game developers, all they have to do is develop a game around the existing brand. There is almost no need to market the new game, as the film studios have already done this in the past.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck once explained why he paid Johnny Depp $15 million to play in the Tourist. He said that without Depp, he would need to spend roughly the same amount to generate a similar reach. It's as simple as that.

The Problem With Licensed Games

What's beneficial to films and game studios isn't necessarily good for consumers, the players. More often than not, licensed games lack a series of features resulting in poor gameplay.

As for the reasons, it's pretty clear. Since licensed games have a naturally high consumer interest, game developers have fewer incentives to go above and beyond to create an outstanding online slot. Instead, they often entirely rely on the movie brand to generate sales and don't focus on adding sought-after features such as bonus rounds, multipliers, or progressive jackpots.

For that reason, licensed online slots often feel rushed and typically see a much shorter player lifespan than the average slot machine. There's hope that film studios will run some sort of QA process before launching new online slots to ensure that casino software developers don't hurt the carefully crafted brand with inferior games. However, it needs to become more common to sign revenue share deals than one-time licensing fees for that to happen. Once Hollywood studios see the potential to earn more money by releasing better online slots, they will become more active in enforcing quality guidelines.

Until then, casino game developers will continue following their current approach as it's been proven as a highly effective way to generate profits with minimal effort.

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