Using Brand & IP Collaborations to Boost Engagement & Revenue

Discover the game-changing impact of IP and brand collaborations in the gaming industry. We break down the latest data from Newzoo and shed light on implications for web3.

Eliza Crichton-Stuart author picture}

Eliza Crichton-Stuart

Head of Operations

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In a rapidly evolving gaming landscape, publishers are increasingly turning to brand and intellectual property (IP) collaborations to elevate the player experience and boost revenue. A recent report from Newzoo delves into the intricacies of these collaborations, shedding light on trends from 2021 to 2023 and providing valuable insights into their impact on the gaming industry.

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The Power of IP and Brand Collaborations

IP and brand collaborations serve as potent tools for game marketing, breathing new life into titles and presenting lucrative monetization opportunities. Newzoo's report defines these collaborations as instances where games incorporate content from partner IP holders and brands, spanning skins, characters, items, maps, stories, game mechanics, and modes.

Key Takeaways from the Report:

  1. Engagement Boost: On average, IP and brand collaborations increased a game's Daily Active Users (DAU) by 11% within the first seven days of launch. Premium games experienced an even more substantial increase at +19%.
  2. Inter-Game Collaborations: Out of the 477 collaborations surveyed, 158 originated from other game IPs or franchises, showcasing the effectiveness of inter-game collaborations due to shared audience appeal.
  3. Short-Term Impact on Engagement: Short-term engagement benefits were evident, with a consistent average increase of +11% in DAU during the first week following a collaboration.
  4. Event Dynamics: DAU typically peaked between the fourth and fifth days of the event, gradually returning to pre-collaboration levels afterward.
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Current Trends & Challenges

Despite a decline in the number of IP and brand collaborations from 2021 to H1 2023, the strategy remains viable. The slowdown in gaming activity and metaverse excitement in 2022 and 2023, attributed to budget constraints and layoffs, impacted collaboration numbers. However, as more game franchises shift to live-service models, collaboration opportunities are expected to rise.

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Insights into Collaboration Numbers

Upon delving deeper into the 477 collaborations scrutinized in this report, it becomes evident that the predominant form of collaboration involves two gaming IPs. Collaborations with anime, manga, and comic IPs also stand out as quite prevalent. These partnerships not only enhance a game's engagement and revenue but also contribute to expanding the reach and appeal of the associated brand or IP holder, particularly among new audiences.

As the digital landscape increasingly encompasses various forms of media, including anime, manga, and comics, the facilitation of IP and brand collaborations is poised to become more streamlined. This, in turn, will render the creation of in-game content and branded assets more cost-effective.

Prominent gaming IPs such as League of Legends, Street Fighter, and Among Us, as well as anime and comics franchises like Marvel, Attack on Titan, and DC Comics, emerge as some of the most active collaborators with PC and console games.

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Examining various game genres, the Battle Royale category emerges as the undisputed leader, largely attributed to the influence of Fortnite. The Battle Royale mode in Fortnite consistently incorporates brand activations from the latest TV shows, movies, and popular franchises such as Star Wars and Dragon Ball Z. Noteworthy brands like the NBA and Ferrari have also ventured into this space.

Fortnite Creative serves as a platform for brands to engage through user-generated content (UGC). Any individual, including brands like Coachella and 7-Eleven, can contribute content to Fortnite Creative. ROBLOX stands out as a prominent UGC platform in the gaming market, witnessing significant brand activity. Consequently, Sandbox ranks second in collaborations within this landscape.

Taking the third spot in the genre hierarchy are role-playing games, and this is largely attributed to miHoYo's Genshin Impact. This game has been a focal point for collaboration events spanning various industries, including automotive (Cadillac), consumer electronics (Samsung), and the food sector (Domino's).

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Case Studies: Showcasing Success Stories

Dead by Daylight

Since its debut in 2016, Dead by Daylight has gained recognition for its immersive crossovers with iconic horror IPs. The survival horror game has consistently introduced a variety of skins, characters, maps, game mechanics, and narratives to captivate its user base. Notably, the addition of two new chapters (DLC) inspired by Resident Evil and the film Ringu significantly boosted the average daily active users (DAU) during their release weeks by +31% and +29%, respectively. These impacts surpassed the average effect (+11%) observed for all collaborations within the game from January 2021 to June 2023. The success of these collaborations has established a precedent, creating eager anticipation among fans for future partnerships.

While factors like discounted base game prices and a substantial influx of additional content have contributed to the success of these collaborations, the strategic decision to collaborate with IPs that resonate with a similar fan base has proven to be a particularly effective strategy. This approach attracts fans who might not have discovered the game otherwise. Games offer a unique avenue for enthusiasts of non-gaming IPs to immerse themselves in familiar stories and worlds through a new, more playful dimension.

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Top Gun Maverick

The partnerships between Top Gun: Maverick and Ace Combat 7, as well as Microsoft Flight Simulator, substantially enhanced the daily active users (DAUs) of these games. Coordinated with the movie's debut, both collaborations introduced fresh content to the games, capturing the thrill of the Top Gun franchise and seamlessly integrating with the aviation-focused gameplay of the games. The strategic timing of these collaborations alongside the movie release sparked enthusiasm among fans of both the games and the Top Gun IP. These collaborations exemplify the rising trend in entertainment companies embracing transmedia strategies.

Rather than solely creating video games based on their IP, some intellectual property holders opt for partnerships with existing games, leveraging in-game assets, new content, and game modes to effectively connect with gaming audiences. The synchronization of such collaborations with the broader launch and marketing initiatives of the intellectual property not only garners interest from IP enthusiasts and gaming fans but also results in heightened engagement and increased revenue for the games.

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Relevance for Web3 Gaming

In the ever-evolving landscape of gaming, the findings and data presented in Newzoo's report on IP and brand collaborations hold profound relevance for the emerging era of web3 gaming. As the industry witnesses a paradigm shift towards decentralized and interconnected gaming experiences, the insights gleaned from successful collaborations offer a roadmap for developers navigating the web3 terrain.

Building Community and Engagement in Web3

Web3 gaming places a premium on community-driven experiences and player engagement. The report's revelation that IP and brand collaborations consistently elevate Daily Active Users (DAU) by significant percentages provides a crucial playbook for web3 developers seeking to foster vibrant player communities. The inter-game collaborations, in particular, highlight the potential for shared universes and cross-title experiences, aligning with the collaborative ethos of web3.

Monetization Strategies in a Decentralized Ecosystem

As web3 introduces new economic models and decentralized monetization avenues, the report's emphasis on the monetization opportunities stemming from collaborations becomes even more relevant. The ability to seamlessly incorporate branded content, from skins to game modes, offers a compelling proposition for developers exploring innovative revenue streams within decentralized ecosystems.

Adapting to Changing Trends in Web3

While the overall number of collaborations may have experienced a decline in recent years, the report underlines the enduring viability of IP and brand collaborations. This resilience aligns with the adaptable nature of web3 gaming, where trends and player preferences can shift swiftly. Developers in the web3 space can leverage this insight to stay agile, adjusting collaboration strategies based on the evolving needs and interests of their decentralized player base.

Final Thoughts

As the traditional gaming industry continues to shift towards the web3 era, the data and findings from Newzoo's report serve as a compass, guiding developers through the uncharted territories of decentralized, community-driven gaming. By understanding the enduring value of IP and brand collaborations, developers can forge ahead with confidence, creating immersive and interconnected gaming experiences that resonate with the principles and expectations of the web3 ecosystem. The journey towards the future of gaming is undoubtedly collaborative, and these insights pave the way for an exciting evolution in the realm of Web3 gaming.

Industry ReportsNews


February 20th 2024


November 18th 2023

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