It started this morning. My mind was all over the place, it is the last day of the year, so it is allowed to wander (I am such an enabling person) and whilst it was wandering, it started to shape an idea. It is about making merchandise more functional. Now the first idea was for Bethesda, but they are Microsoft now, so they lose out.
It was their Bobblehead trophy display that got me thinking. You see, gamers love their merchandise and some is neat. Yet most of it, nearly all of it has no real function. Now, this is fine. Yet what happens when the bow of Aloy does get function. It has hidden spaces for memory cards, it optionally even has a USB dive. The outer part can be exchanged so that you could always get a bigger drive. It could also hold a power bank, and the same could be the case for the spear. Now the fan has a functional device and there is no one who needs storage and a power bank more than a gamer?
The combinations are endless. And it does not matter where you play. The HALO helmet, the spear from Aloy, the axe from Kratos, all devices that are cherished and will be cherished a lot more when it comes with something functional. I was happy when I got my pip boy with Fallout 4 and it was a great start, but consider some of the other games. Minecraft, Pokemon, Mario Kart and the list goes on and it is not merely me. Talk to any given fam and he (or she) will come with the line “Do you know what would be cool?” And some of them will be truly cool. And it is not limited to simple devices. Some limited items no longer function, but that is not a given. The chainsaw I had with the gamecube edition of Resident Evil. What if there was a power bank with Bluetooth that could connect and make it work on a remaster or a new console? The device is generic, but could be more. To see this, in one time I had a N7 vault for my Xbox360. Now, this doesn’t hold up nowadays, the Xbox dimensions changed, but what if the vault was empty but connected? The same for the Master Sergeant helmet. What if they have additional options. The fans will go nuts and they will be happy for a very long time. Now I gave a few shallow examples and they are not the ‘real’ deal, but they could lead to the real deal. In a previous article I mentioned two items that when inserted into a ‘real’ wizarding wand could become a controller. The two elements are generic, so they can be moved from ‘toy’ to limited collectors item. Some stuff is playful, but from the playful to the shear appealing items for many gamers is sea of choices. And the merchandise makers have been about the short term appeal and left it there, but the stage could be a lot larger. The connected items could become a lot more. Who has not seen the Diamond Minecraft sword in toy and game stores? So what happens when we connect one element to it and suddenly your diamond sword becomes +2 stronger and lasts 20% longer? The location devices could be used. A larger stage for more use and making the game enticing, the gamer happy and all matters of options in-between. The bow of Aloy was merely the key to open a much larger door, the merchandise door has been largely ignored on many levels and why? Even now, today as I saw some of these items in shops. I see the larger stage ignored, the missed stage of interaction. Now, I will be the first one to admit that this is not always possible, but what about the Mario Kart that is also a night light? Basically a battery, lights and wires were missing, three parts and suddenly people pay $10-$20 more and some eagerly so. The larger part is not that people pay that amount extra, it comes with the stage that thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of gamers will get it as well because it was cool and the last three games sold well over 120 million items, so how many would want a kart that is a USB charged night light, optionally more? A whole niche with gaming connections spanning EVERY console out there and nothing to connect it at present, or at least massively too little of it. I remember my first figurine. A ninja, it held a sword which doubled as a letter opener (and that thing was bloody sharp) now consider the Assassins Creed figurines, or the Witcher or bloodborne figurines?
The Ninja was 1980 something, now we get the person who wants bloodborne and if that knife is also a letter opener, so much the better. And the nice part is not that it is everywhere. It is the figurine and optionally the collector can buy the knife as well. We need not have it everywhere, but some will want it. The market is flexible and no one is looking into this direction, or perhaps they are rejecting it. So what about the Sonic batarang? I was playing Arkham again last night. Why not have that batarang. As an actual bluetooth device, or even have the bluetooth as an optional expansion, we can look in so many directions and too many aren’t doing that. Now, lets be clear, these are not all great ideas, but they open a train of thought and that thought is ‘What else could we have?’ I had return to Arkham on day one and it came with a batarang, it looked nice, but was a bit of a let down. But it could have been so much more. So why wasn’t it? Some f the game developers have created the coolest games and the coolest items in game and they racked hundreds of millions of fans. So these are already in your corner, why not see what more you can do to make their gaming experience so much cooler? It was not that big a leap and they aren’t making it, why not? What stopped them? And another matter, not all items can contribute in the game, but like the bow with the storage and power bank, its use goes a lot wider than the game and it could contribute for a long time, optionally for years to come. It is the kind of marketing a maker hopes for and almost never gets. I wonder why.