One of Sony's biggest problems is the lack of an big IP with merchandising. Will it change with the PS5?

Oct 25, 2017
3,709
The Ocean
Huh... Spiderman?



TLOU sold more than any Halo. They don't have books and other stuff, but I don't think it's that important.
Spider-Man is not a Sony brand that has marketable products Sony can make money on outside of games and movies. They’re custodians, not owners. OP is talking more about toys, books, clothing anything that can be made on the back of an IP like how Nintendo has done with Mario.
 

IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,999
that's the thing, they just like to move on to newer things. it's clearly working for them and their fans, but the downside is they can't really make anything into a media franchise that they can profit from for decades.
They can, they just won't be Mario, Pokemon or Minecraft tier and probably never would be in most cases as that's unrealistic for 99% of I.Ps, like even GTA doesn't compare to them, despite being in the same tier as a franchise, as it's just not universally appealing to all ages for merch sales.
 

erlim

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,057
Los Angeles
It’s not from lack of trying. Like Resistance has action figures and stuff and was actually pretty damn great by R3, but nobody cared.
 

mazi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
22,289
They can, they just won't be Mario, Pokemon or Minecraft tier and probably never would be in most cases as that's unrealistic for 99% of I.Ps, like even GTA doesn't compare to them, despite being in the same tier as a franchise, as it's just not universally appealing to all ages for merch sales.
not everything has to be as big as mario, pokemon or minecraft in order to be successful. there are many other IPs on that list that have been active for 2 or 3 decades and are still making money, both through game sales and merchandise.
 

PapaJustify

Member
Nov 3, 2017
51
I think a lot of it stems from Sony being very diverse and not so focused on one or two single IPs. This comes to our benefit though. They have a really diverse lineup of games that we can enjoy while others mainly focus to push their big IP's (Microsoft is all about Halo, Nintendo is all Mario).

It is sometimes a bit funny though that Sony has the best setup in terms of media production (Sony Music, Sony Pictures), yet you rarely see any of their game IPs turned into something useful there.
 

IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,999
not everything has to be as big as mario, pokemon or minecraft in order to be successful. there are many other IPs on that list that have been active for 2 or 3 decades and are still making money, both through game sales and merchandise.
Exactly, that what I said in my post, read my post you replied to.
Sony have plenty of merch and old I.Ps that they still do stuff with too, also a lot they don't, but that's true for everyone.
 

pswii60

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,776
UK
In terms of a big mainstream merchandise-able IP, LittleBigPlanet was exactly this. The Sackboy plushes etc. Strange that Sony just left that franchise to die as I think there was a ton of potential there to turn it in to something huge, with scope beyond just the games.

But with regards to the OP, PlayStation itself is the juggernaut IP. Sony's first party focuses on the gaming core, and making great games, rather than worrying about whether the games will transcend to mainstream media and merchandising.

Clearly Nintendo is like the Disney/Pixar of gaming, unlike Sony they're aiming at a family audience and recognisable mascots and merchandising is a big part of targeting that demographic.
 
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IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,999
My point wasn’t about the sales. The point was despite being an M rated game series, it still has movies, books, board games, comics and the like based upon it.
Neither was mine, God of War, TLoU, Bloodborne, Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank and more Sony I.Ps all have a combination of comics, board games, card games, either released or planned movies or TV shows for, it's not unique, but none would ever be on the tier of those 3, using them as comparisons, is just not realistic, they aren't even close to what's achieveable to damn near every I.P.
 

MrConbon210

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,195
Neither was mine, God of War, TLoU, Bloodborne, Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank and more Sony I.Ps all have a combination of comics, board games, card games, either released or planned movies or TV shows for, it's not unique, but none would ever be on the tier of those 3, using them as comparisons, is just not realistic, they aren't even close to what's achieveable to damn near every I.P.
Fair to say Sony does occasionally slip their IP’s into a different medium but I’d still argue that nothing they have done are even close to what Halo has. God of War had some mini comic lines and R&C had a mediocre film but they could be doing much more.
 

Hoo-doo

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Oct 25, 2017
3,091
The Netherlands
I see we’re really grasping at straws to find something to criticize here. Why is this an important metric when they are achieving record profits with their franchises as is?
 

mazi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
22,289
Exactly, that what I said in my post, read my post you replied to.
Sony have plenty of merch and old I.Ps that they still do stuff with too, also a lot they don't, but that's true for everyone.
i read your post, to me it sounds like you're saying just because they can't be big as mario, pokemon or minecraft, there's not much of a point in trying to maintain the relevancy of some of their old IPs. that part doesn't make sense. they've had many big series during the PS1 or PS2 days that have been dropped. yeah maybe if they had kept them alive they wouldn't have been as big as those 3 but i think it's still smart for a company to keep their IPs somewhat relevant instead of just fully dropping them and moving on.
 

Leo

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Oct 27, 2017
1,552
Unless they try to build an IP from the ground up to be a merchandising juggernaut that's not really going to happen organically. Very few gaming franchise just stumble upon that avenue for revenue unless you've reached cult status like Mario or Zelda to a lesser extend.

Even Nintendo probably struggle with it. I'm sure Animal Crossing could have had the potential to be a merchandising giant if the franchise started a decade earlier.
Agreed. Sony definitely focuses on different things than, say, Nintendo, when making games, so it would be very difficult for them to get lucky and have a big multimedia franchise just by chance. I'd say that have tried with LBP and R&C, but as it didn't work, they just keep doing their own thing.
 

saenima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,076
It's ok to make a few games on a franchise and then move on. What we need less is infinite milking of the same old shit forever and ever.
 

mazi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
22,289
Few companies do. Honestly I don’t care either. Focus on making great games, not merchandise sales.
well not too few. nintendo, activision, bandai namco, square enix, capcom, blizzard, rockstar, sega, microsoft, ubisoft and even level-5 all have franchises in that list, considering how big sony is it's easy to notice their lack of presence in there (other than gran turismo which is right at the bottom).

and it's not like they're all there because of merchandise. a lot of those series are there based mostly on game sales. mario, call of duty, final fantasy, street fighter, warcraft, GTA, assassin's creed, for these series merchandise and licensing only makes a very small percentage of the money they've made.
 

edo_kid

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,305
I mean the biggest ip that Sony had for many many years was Gran Turismo, a sim racing game, what exactly do people expect them to do with that? Thats not a franchise that you can go big into "merchandise".
 

IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,999
Fair to say Sony does occasionally slip their IP’s into a different medium but I’d still argue that nothing they have done are even close to what Halo has. God of War had some mini comic lines and R&C had a mediocre film but they could be doing much more.
Doesn't help Sony Pictures are ass at managing the projects, pretty much all got stuck in development hell, as for the quality, there's not exactly been a high bar set by others, so not really relevant if there's was also mediocre (pretty generous to R&C, that was saved thanks to the game filling in the blanks).

i read your post, to me it sounds like you're saying just because they can't be big as mario, pokemon or minecraft, there's not much of a point in trying to maintain the relevancy of some of their old IPs. that part doesn't make sense. they've had many big series during the PS1 or PS2 days that have been dropped. yeah maybe if they had kept them alive they wouldn't have been as big as those 3 but i think it's still smart for a company to keep their IPs somewhat relevant instead of just fully dropping them and moving on.
If I was trying to say that, why would I ask if people where serious with the comparisons?
As for the rest, not all I.Ps need to live for ever, if you have a constant supply of new stuff, you don't need to many mainstays, what they have is a lot, even if people think they don't do a lot of merch.
 

Joeyro

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,267
I feel like its harder to sell merchandise for mature games which seem to be the main focus of Sony this gen. Almost every Nintendo franchise has a child-friendly mascot that can be used to move figurines and others pop culture items and Microsoft has Minecraft so there's that.
 

MilesQ

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,503
It's really difficult to release a game character that will be appealing to a wide range of gamers and non gamers alike. Mario and Sonic are two such examples, but after those, you'd be hard pressed to name many more.

Sony had Sackboy for a while, I remember seeing keychains and plush toys, but then Sony opted to move in a different direction. Crash Bandicoot could have been a real contender, but again, Sony opted not to strike while the iron was hot.
 

degauss

Member
Oct 28, 2017
930
I get what he's saying.

I saw an article Pokemon makes more money from merchandise than the games itself. How true it was I don't know. Microsoft probably make a lot of money from Minecraft merchandise.

But Sony... lots of first party game franchises, but not much that would translate to plush toys and crap (except for sackboy). It's basically a lack of iconic characters - they have serious adult games full of mostly generic looking adults.
 

Lotus

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Oct 25, 2017
45,121
They had their chance with Kat (and Dusty) from Gravity Rush, and they blew it!

:P
 

UltimusXI

Member
Oct 27, 2017
193
I feel like its harder to sell merchandise for mature games which seem to be the main focus of Sony this gen. Almost every Nintendo franchise has a child-friendly mascot that can be used to move figurines and others pop culture items and Microsoft has Minecraft so there's that.
Although this is true to some extend, I think the share of merchandise revenue that adults (even without kids) bring in for brands like Disney / Marvel / Harry Potter / Star Wars / Game of Thrones is still huge. Of course, most if not all of those adults may have been young when they got to know most of those brands, but nostalgia works wonders there. Sony has been around long enough to have built some of that nostalgia too. They did for the brand, but not so much for iconic characters that could be turned into merchandise easily.

Edit: reading your post again, I now read that you're not implying that adults wouldn't buy it, but the properties themselves needs to have a broader / younger audience and that I can agree with.
 

Zelas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,992
I dont think the audience Sony has cultuvated is into a bunch of cheap merchandise. Let the other publishers exploit whales.

And Sony has just spent the last decade trying to cut itself free from a bunch of money pits. Why should they put a bunch of dead weight on the gaming division’s shoulders again when the market they’re after isnt asking for it.
 

pagrab

Member
Oct 27, 2017
389
Quite honestly, I think that a lack of single or multiple IPs that they could milk every generation translated to their biggest strenght: the ability to create new IPs which are extremely successful during a generation or two. Naughty Dog, Insomniac and Sucker Punch are great examples of this tactic. Instead of churning out new Crash, Spyro or Sly installments, both companies created completely new games that captured the audience. The same can be said for Guerilla Games.
 

Bede-x

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,387
I hope it doesn't change. I'd rather have them move in the opposite direction and considering the size of their bigger productions, they're already pretty good at it. Naughty Dog will likely move on from Uncharted, Guerrilla moved on from Killzone, Sucker Punch is moving on from Infamous. This is a good thing. And as much as I love the new God of War, I still wanna see what else SSM can do at some point.

Once they hit it big with a franchise, with tons of merchandising, I fear they'll end up getting stuck on one franchise and that fear is still there, even without being big in merchandising.
 

fourfourfun

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,976
England
I think a lot of it stems from Sony being very diverse and not so focused on one or two single IPs.
But, of their IPs, they aren't really any that are iconic. You don't even have to be a long running IP to be iconic. Angry Birds effectively reached icon status off the back of a single game to the level where its mainstream consciousness was absolutely massive.
 

Hoo-doo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,091
The Netherlands
Doing good at one thing doesn‘t mean you can‘t improve elsewhere.
Calling it ‘One of Sony’s biggest problems’ is complete hyperbole though. Bordering on clickbait. Merchandising is an avenue where they can expand, absolutely. But it’s not a significant problem in any way, shape or form when Sony’s IP’s keep dominating the majority of the gaming mindshare regardless.
 

Betty

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
7,963
But, of their IPs, they aren't really any that are iconic. You don't even have to be a long running IP to be iconic. Angry Birds effectively reached icon status off the back of a single game to the level where its mainstream consciousness was absolutely massive.
Many of their iconic games like Crash, Spyro, FFVII all ended up on other platforms dventually, that’s the issue.
 

Raijinto

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,316
Calling it ‘One of Sony’s biggest problems’ is complete hyperbole though. Bordering on clickbait. Merchandising is an avenue where they can expand, absolutely. But it’s not a significant problem in any way, shape or form when Sony’s IP’s keep dominating the majority of the gaming mindshare regardless.
Source on where Sony IP are dominating the majority of the gaming mindshare?
 

Papacheeks

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,429
Watertown, NY
So i stumbled upon this Wikipedia article:

List of highest-grossing media franchises

And while of course not all of them are gaming franchises, the lack of a really big Sony IP ( apart from GT being last ) is apparent. And while of course Nintendo is the non plus ultra on, there are also the likes of Activision, Square Enix and even Microsoft doing a better Job at developing their IPs.

Now i know Sony has this thing of basically changing IPs every generation. This is clear when you look at Naughty Dog games.
But hasn't this basically prevented Sony from developing a really big IP?

It‘s not only games. It's Movies, Merch etc. Minecraft made more Money with Merchandise than with their Games

Will Sony be able to develop a long lasting IP? And which IP could it be? Uncharted? The Last Of Us? Horizon?


Just to be clear. TLOU, Horizon and God Of war are all amazing games, TLOU is probably one of my GOATs. Sony of course is doing fine without having a juggernaut IP. I just think it's an important part of a brand identity to have one.

EDIT:

I'm n ot arguing Sales! I'm not saying Sony hasn't developed any IPs that are selling well.
Perhaps i'm not able to express myself well (with my poor english). But i'm talking about more than games sold.

Pokemon is the biggest brand not because they sold so many games, but because of Licensed merchandise.
Sony doesn't live or die by mascots which is kind of what your saying. With mascots like master Chief, marcus from gears, mario, pokemon you can sell more than just games.

And can make sub games within those. Uncharted is a franchise that has that, and so does god of war.

Source on where Sony IP are dominating the majority of the gaming mindshare?
Um... Game of the year category? They are not bigger than lets say some of rockstars games. But their games sell a lot, and are talked about all over from big youtubers to articles. Their games always have tons of articles as new info comes out.
 
OP
OP
plow

plow

Member
Oct 28, 2017
434
Calling it ‘One of Sony’s biggest problems’ is complete hyperbole though. Bordering on clickbait. Merchandising is an avenue where they can expand, absolutely. But it’s not a significant problem in any way, shape or form when Sony’s IP’s keep dominating the majority of the gaming mindshare regardless.

They are not though, that's the problem. Sony has really, really big IPs, but they only live inside the Playstation ( Console ).
You can buy Fortnite Shirts at Primark, Super Mario Shirts at H&M and i can go on.

If for some unknown and granted very very unlikely reason the PS5 is a failure, Sony's can't bank on making money through other stuff.

If the next Nintendo Console is a failure Nintendo still makes billions of profits thorugh Merch alone because these are not bound to a console.
 

Raijinto

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,316
Sony doesn't live or die by mascots which is kind of what your saying. With mascots like master Chief, marcus from gears, mario, pokemon you can sell more than just games.

And can make sub games within those. Uncharted is a franchise that has that, and so does god of war.



Um... Game of the year category? They are not bigger than lets say some of rockstars games. But their games sell a lot, and are talked about all over from big youtubers to articles. Their games always have tons of articles as new info comes out.
I mean if course they're popular, but 'dominating the majority of the gaming mindshare' indicates to me that they're still the best selling games of the year and getting tons of press when I haven't really seen that this year. I could be mistaken though which was why I wondered what GoW/HZD/Uncharted discussions and news I missed recently.
 

Raijinto

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,316
Are you honestly trying to downplay the impact of Sony’s exclusive franchises? Come on, son. Their output is the central pillar of their current success and sales trajectory.
See above. Your wording sounded really hyperbolic to me so I wondered if I was missing something happening recently but I guess not. So yes some Sony games are popular if that is all you meant. I agree with you.