The Sims FreePlay and LEGO DOTS form virtual partnership

The Sims FreePlay has teamed up with LEGO DOTS for a virtual partnership that will allow players to bring LEGO DOTS products to life within the game.

The Sims FreePlay is a mobile experience that allows Sims creators – known as Simmers – to create an entire town inspired by their own style and personality. Opening a new world of DOTS-inspired fun and in-game products, the collaboration – engineered by Electronic Arts’ Firemonkeys Studio – features a limited-time LEGO DOTS x The Sims Live Event and free LEGO DOTS pack, both of which are officially available until July 24. The limited-time LEGO® DOTS x The Sims Live Event allows players to complete a series of activities to unlock the exclusive items by crafting at Arts and Crafts Stations to gather resources over the course of the event.

Once they have collected enough resources, Simmers can unlock up to 10 exclusive DOTS products to put in their Sims’ virtual home. This includes real-life products like a banana pencil holder, candy land bracelet, message boards, rainbow bracelet, stick-on canvas, stitch-on canvas, panda tray, and ice cream picture frame, plus inspired décor such as bright wallpapers, fabulous flooring, and other fun items featuring bold colours and special patterns.

“We want to connect with LEGO DOTS fans in a new way and introduce DOTS to passionate Sims FreePlay players,” says Marjorie Satgé Lopez, Global Marketing Manager of LEGO. “We can’t wait to see the engagement from fans who fully immerse themselves in the Live Event and free pack, whether it’s through crafting jewellery, decorating their Sims’ houses with DOTS-inspired items, creating a LEGO DOTS message board design, or sharing their creations with other like-minded fans on social media.”

“Our game developers worked directly with the LEGO DOTS team for their guidance so that we could ensure that players felt their Sims were accurately interacting with the real-life products from their retail line, and we are excited about what we were able to achieve,” says Danni Hindi, Game Producer of The Sims FreePlay. “Both The Sims FreePlay mobile game and DOTS are suited to being taken with you on the go, everywhere and anywhere! We are extremely excited to bring DOTS sets into our game; the patterns, likeness and item scale – it took a lot of time and effort to get it absolutely right.”

The Sims FreePlay partnership with LEGO DOTS is available to all players until July 24 2022.

Download The Sims FreePlay for free on iOS, Android and Amazon devices here:

To view the real-life LEGO DOTS products included in The Sims FreePlay, click here: LEGO® DOTS | Fun Crafts for Kids



Netflix hires EA veteran in its boldest play for the video gaming space to date

In possibly its boldest play for the space to date, Netflix has tapped the games industry heavyweight and EA veteran, Mike Verdu as its vice president of game development.

Verdu has made the move to the streaming giant from Facebook where he held the role of VP of VR and AR content and a remit of bringing games to Oculus devices. Prior to this, he held various positions at EA, both in mobile and console gaming.

A veteran of the gaming industry, Verdu has also spent time at the mobile games specialist Zynga as chief creative officer.

The hiring of Verdu arrives amid a renewed and re-energerised suite of activity from Netflix in the video gaming space, who, according to a report from Bloomberg this week, could be delivering games as part of its streaming service ‘within the next year.’

Unnamed sources told Bloomberg that a games offering could be integrated as part of a Netflix streaming package, with no additional costs. The idea is that games will appear alongside current content as a new programming genre, similar to its documentaries of stand-up specials.

Gaming presents an additional avenue via which Netflix can continue to grow and follows recent developments such as a bolstered kids’ offering and its launch of an online shop to sell merchandise inspired by its original content. Netflix even managed to turn the head of Steven Spielberg recently in order to bring more prestigious films to its line-up.

In Verdu, the streaming giant will be able to tap into an experienced games pro who has worked on popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, including the Sims, Plants vs. Zombies, and Star Wars. 

An in-road to games development – of which, Netflix Originals can presumably be on the cards – will offer the platform yet another differentiator from its closest competitors on Disney’s Disney+ and HBO Max.

The Netflix insider has stated that the platform will be building out its gaming team in the coming months, adding that the company has yet to settle on a game development strategy. 

It’s thought that Netflix could start with just a few games on the roster and build its library from there. Netflix has previously licensed the rights to games based on its hit shows, including Stranger Things. The new move, however, will likely put Netflix fully in control of all gaming developments for its IP library.

Electronic Arts acquires Golf Clash mobile game makers Playdemic from WarnerMedia for $1.4bn

Video game publisher, Electronic Arts has acquired Warner Bros. Games’ Playdemic Ltd, the mobile games studio behind the popular app game Golf Clash, for $1.4 billion in cash. The move is the latest in EA’s ongoing strategy for mobile game growth and drive to ‘deliver new experiences’ to its network of half a billion players worldwide.

Founded in 2010, Playdemic is a mobile gaming company known for its award-winning Golf Clash, a title in which players compete with each other around the world in real time. It has been recognised as one of the leading mobile games in the US and UK with more than 80 million downloads globally to date.

The game has even been honored with numerous industry awards, including winner of the BAFTA Games Mobile Game of the Year (2018), Mobile Games Awards Game of the Year (2018), Game of the Year (2017) and The Independent Game Developers’ Association (TIGA) Awards Game of the Year (2017).

“We have enjoyed working with the talented team at Playdemic as they have grown Golf Clash beyond all expectations into a hit mobile game with tremendous longevity,” said David Haddad, president, Warner Bros. Games. “While we have great respect for the Playdemic team, our decision to divest is a part of our overall strategy to build games based on Warner Bros. storied franchises.”

Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, said: “Playdemic is a team of true innovators, and we’re thrilled to have them join the Electronic Arts family. In addition to the ongoing success of Golf Clash, the talent, technology and expertise of Playdemic will be a powerful combination with our teams and IP at Electronic Arts.

“This is the next step building on our strategy to expand our sports portfolio and accelerate our growth in mobile to reach more players around the world with more great games and content.”

The acquisition will add to EA’s mobile portfolio of more than 15 top live services across fast-growing genres, including lifestyle, casual, sports, and mid-core games.

Playdemic’s experienced executive team has worked together since 2014, with strong expertise in mobile games and a proven track record of success in clash games. Playdemic’s expertise in building mobile games beloved by players around the world, combined with EA’s industry-leading IP, presents opportunities to expand the clash mechanic to other franchises and for future growth in mobile experiences.

“We founded Playdemic with a focus on creating highly engaging and innovative game experiences. Our success with Golf Clash has proven our approach and demonstrated the ability of our incredibly talented teams to develop and operate best in class mobile games,” said Paul Gouge, CEO of Playdemic.

“Joining EA, one of the most successful games companies in the world, is an important next step in our journey and we are excited to continue to develop both Golf Clash and new titles as part of the EA family.”

The purchase price for the transaction is subject to customary adjustments, and will be paid in cash at closing and retained by AT&T. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

The remaining Warner Bros. Games portfolio is included in the recently announced WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction and will become part of the combined media and entertainment company after the expected close of that transaction.

Flowhaven bolsters is US sales team with a suit of licensing expert new hires

The licensing relationship management platform, Flowhaven, has strengthened its US sales team with a raft of new leadership hires, including the appointment of Adam Christensen as the US sales director, and Chris Davlin and Rebecca Dennis as US sales managers.

The new additions to the growing Flowhaven team will report directly to Jessica Trinca, the firm’s US general manager.

This suite of new hires is just the latest in a series of developments to sustain the company’s accelerated growth. Flowhaven had a record-breaking first quarter in 2021 with a number of customer acquisitions across new verticals including universities, record labels and more.

In the last year, Flowhaven raised $16M in funding led by Sapphire Sport, and more than doubled its team in Helsinki, Finland, Los Angeles and London. The company also has plans to open offices this year in New York, Berlin and Tokyo to support customers locally.

“Hiring the best and brightest leaders has always been core to our company’s success, and Adam, Chris, and Rebecca are the perfect example,” said Kalle Torma, Flowhaven.

“Not only do they have proven expertise leading teams at companies like Electronic Arts, Disney, and Lucasfilm; they also embody Flowhaven’s values of collaboration, community and trust. Their contributions will be key for us as we continue to innovate and expand globally.”

Christensen brings more than 15 years of sales and operations experience to Flowhaven. As US sales director, he will be responsible for the company’s national sales strategy and execution. Most recently, he served as Director of Alliances and Partner Sales at Claravine, where he led the company’s strategic channel efforts. Previously, he was senior licensing business development manager at Electronic Arts managing the company’s strategic brand licensing initiatives.

There, Christensen closed seven-figure partnerships with household brands such as Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Barnes & Noble, GameStop, Target, Liverpool and many more. Previous roles included Disney Interactive, among others.

As US sales manager, Dennis will be responsible for scaling revenue operations across the Western United States. Prior to joining Flowhaven, she held several positions at Global Licensing Group, a division of Informa, with a focus on Licensing Global Magazine.

She also worked on the company’s Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe events. Prior to joining Flowhaven, Rebecca spent nearly a decade in sales and revenue operations positions within the fashion industry.

Chris Davlin joins Flowhaven as US sales manager and will oversee the brand’s continued growth across the Eastern United States, with a focus on New York City where Flowhaven plans to open offices by end of year. Her responsibilities will include synergizing the company’s sales efforts with centralized marketing support to deliver curated content to experts in the licensing space.

Previously, Davlin held a number of sales roles at such companies as Hint, and ran her own licensing and business development consultancy. She also held licensing roles at prominent brands, including Lucasfilm for Disney Consumer Products, where she acted as Project Manager for Star Wars Day 2014. There, she successfully executed Maythe4th campaign, performed all preparation for Disney Consumer Products division, and doubled Star Wars Day social media presence by exceeding 2.1B impressions and 1.1M global posts.

Toy maker TOMY bolsters licensed portfolio with Sing 2 and Plants vs Zombies ranges

Last month witnessed the international toy maker, TOMY bolster its licensing portfolio with new toy, plush, and play-sets plans for both Illumination’s upcoming animated motion picture, Sing 2, and the popular Electronic Arts mobile game, Plants vs Zombies.

Scheduled for launch on December 22, 2021, TOMY’s Sing 2 toy line will comprise innovative products including collectable figurines, feature plush, and a role play game.

The range will be launched in partnership with Illumination and Universal Brand Development, the studios behind the popular animated feature film Sing and its upcoming sequel, Sing 2.

“Audiences everywhere have already fallen in love with the relatable characters of Sing, and we’re looking forward to bringing them to life and into playrooms,” said TOMY’s director of global toys, Morgan Weyl.

“The Sing films are about overcoming obstacles and pursuing dreams, so we created a musically-infused toy line that will help inspire the next generation to shoot for the stars – no matter what challenges they may face along the way.”

Joe Lawandus, senior vice president and general manager, global toys and hardlines, Universal Brand Development, added:  “Our filmmaking partners at Illumination continue to deliver dynamic characters and storylines that bring joy and smiles to audiences across the globe, and we’re excited for the worldwide debut of Sing 2.

“We look forward to collaborating with TOMY on an all-new toy line that will bring the franchise’s signature comedy and hit music into the hearts and homes of fans worldwide.”

In addition, the toy maker has also secured a new partnership with Electronic Arts to bring the Plants vs Zombies video game characters to life in plush form.

In a deal brokered by the licensing agent Retail Monster, TOMY’s Club Mocchi-Mocchi brand will deliver a variety of soft, squeezable plush.

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense classic in which players pit their loyal plant squad against the zombie peril, fending off boss invasions and banding together with friends to help save their small town. With over 1.2 billion installs to date, the popular franchise is looking at granting its fans new adventures with future content releases.

“Plants vs. Zombies is a wildly popular video game franchise and we’re thrilled to be the licensed partner that gets to bring its characters to life in plush,” said TOMY’s Weyl. “Many of Club Mocchi- Mocchi-‘s most popular plush toys are characters and accessories from beloved video games, so we’re excited to bring a little piece of Plants vs. Zombies into gamers’ homes around the world.”

Retail Monster’s founder and CEO, Michael Connolly, added: “TOMY’s Club Mocchi- Mocchi- brand is renowned for its bespoke plush format, and we’re thrilled to delight Plants vs. Zombies fans with what will surely be an in-demand range of iconic plush characters.”