With WrestleMania 32 just around the corner at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is adding a new mobile game to its line-up, partnering with game publisher Scopely to launch WWE Champions later this year. It will be the first puzzle game featuring the WWE brand.
Casey Collins, executive vice president of consumer products at WWE, says this Scopely partnership is part of an ongoing plan to expand its brand across multiple mobile genres.
“We set a new mobile games strategy in 2014 and identified different genres for our brand,” Collins says. “The puzzle genre made sense because of the success of mobile games like Candy Crush. And we looked at Scopely’s track record, where it’s last seven games have all been number one titles.”
WWE Champions allows Android and iOS players to collect more than 100 different WWE superstars such as John Cena and legends like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to use in puzzle gameplay.
Collins says WWE internal research found that its fans play across a whole host of mobile genres.
“Our fans wanted more than just an arcade or simulation wrestling game,” Collins explains. “This gave us some flexibility to expand our bran into different areas.”
WWE extended its partnership with 2K, a division of Take Two Interactive, beyond its console simulation games, WWE 2K, into the mobile sector with WWE SuperCard. Since launching in late 2014, Collins says that developer Cat Daddy’s match trading card game has over 9.5 million downloads. The game continues to add to its collection of 800 cards.
“2K targets the console audience, but this mobile game doesn’t connect to the console game,” Collins notes.
In spring 2015, WWE worked with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to launch WWE Immortals, which is an over-the-top, arcade-style fighting game featuring superstars and divas outside of the ring in fantastical environments. Collins says the game has over 15 million downloads to date.
In addition to standalone mobile games, WWE has integrated its brand and wrestlers into established mobile games. The company worked with Glu Mobile to integrate WWE cars into Racing Rivals. It also worked with Hutch Gaming to introduce WWE monster trucks into the MMX Racing game. WWE slot machines have been added to Zynga’s Hit It Rich! mobile game.
WWE also worked with developer TinyCo to add Triple H, John Cena, The Undertaker, Roman Reigns, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to a “WrestleMania in Quahog” event in Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff.
“We have such a vast marketing tool box we can tap into for these games,” Collins posits. “We can use our Smackdown and Raw programming with commercials or graphics or mentions. We can announce launch titles and promote games.”
Collins cites WWE has over 600 million social media followers to whom it can market these games as well.
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Collins will be traveling to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco next week to meet with game developers about additional mobile games.
“We have a lot more planned in the mobile games space for the coming years,” Collins promises. “Our early success with WWE SuperCard and WWE Immortals has generated a lot of interest from game developers that want to work with a brand that has international appeal.”
Collins says the company is taking a timed release strategy for its mobile titles in the hopes of giving each game room to grow an audience as well as add new characters and content.