Overwatch is one of the most popular gaming properties to launch in the last couple of years. Now, it’s getting what comes to all beloved brands: Lego merchandise. Publisher Blizzard Entertainment revealed today that the toy company is making Lego Overwatch sets. Overwatch joins Minecraft, Star Wars, and other Lego partner properties.
In a post on Twitter, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan puts together a Tracer minifigure. Once completed, the plastic time-jumping hero came to life. This is wonderful because it means we get to see Kaplan try to act. It is very good.
Blizzard and Lego did not provide many details. For example, we don’t know about pricing or availability beyond “coming soon.” But I would bet that you’ll find these products on store shelves in time for the upcoming gift-giving holidays.
Build the perfect team, brick by brick.
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) October 2, 2018
Fandom as a service
Blizzard continues to support Overwatch with new content, characters, and events. It also runs an esports league. And as with most other esports organizations, it likely doesn’t generate a lot of net profit yet. Instead, the publisher puts resources into that content to keep people coming back. The expectation is that they will then spend money in the game.
Merchandise like Lego sets serve multiple purposes. They generate revenue through licensing deals. At the same time, they give fans another way to interact with and get excited about the property.
Most important, however, is that merch is a safe way to get more money out of your biggest fans. Every industry is trying to find ways to increase the lifetime value of their most dedicated customers. Gaming has done this better than most through tactics like lootboxes. But many fans resist those new business models. In particular, a loud group of gamers despise lootboxes and have drawn the attention of regulators due to the similarities between these items and gambling.
Lego sets don’t have those issues. For people who don’t care about them, a toy like this is out of sight and out of mind. But for the biggest fans, this is another way to express their love for Tracer, Reinhardt, and Kaplan.