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PopCap Games is announcing today a number of deals in which it will license its popular video game franchises to makers of T-shirts, toys, and other merchandise. You’ll soon see many new products, including zombie wallets and Plants vs. Zombies T-shirts (pictured above).
It’s surprising that a company as large as PopCap has never had a formal licensing program, given the number of hit brands it has had in its 12-year history. Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds series, has shown everybody how to make a game brand ubiquitous in the past year.
Of course, one thing that is different is that PopCap is now owned by Electronic Arts, which bought Seattle-based casual game publisher for $750 million-plus last year. EA has its own licensing division, and it is helping to execute the new licensing strategy with its own team of experts.
PopCap has struck licensing deals with Trends International, Bioworld Merchandising, Funko!, MjC International, Jazwares, and Walls360. The first products from PopCap’s partners will begin appearing this spring and will be based on the company’s Plants vs. Zombies game. Products based on Bejeweled and other franchises will appear in early 2013. The deals will make products available in North America and Europe.
Bioworld Merchandising will be creating apparel, headwear, bags, and accessories. Jazwares will make plush toys, figures, and electronic accessories including headphones, universal serial bus sticks (USBs), speakers, and device cases. Walls360 will be offering wall pictures of individual characters and exclusive bundles. Funko! will create Plants vs. Zombies versions of their distinctive Pop! vinyl figurines. MjC International is working on adult pajamas and boxer shorts. Trends International is developing calendars and posters.
“This is a deliberate move into the licensing business,” said Brennan Townley, director of brand licensing at PopCap, in an interview with GamesBeat.
Townley came aboard six months ago after the EA acquisition of PopCap, but he said that the move was something that PopCap decided to pursue. He said that the company is cutting deals with some of the highest-quality merchandise companies.
PopCap’s games have been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times and its Bejeweled game has sold more than 50 million units. Founded in 2000, PopCap has more than 600 employees.
Here’s a gallery of various licensed merchandise.[vb_gallery id=423034]