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Are Fortnite-style branded collaborations the key to Overwatch 2’s future success?



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It’s been a rough month for the launch of Overwatch 2. In the first few days of its release, Blizzard’s long-awaited sequel to the 2016 team-based shooter was plagued with connection issues, leaving millions of players unable to enter matches. While many of the problems relating to server issues have now been addressed, Blizzard now has another challenge on its hands: making enough sales from microtransactions to support the franchise’s move to a free-to-play model.

So far, that’s been pretty difficult. Overwatch 2’s recent Halloween event, Halloween Terror, introduced a variety of themed character and weapon skins into the game for the ‘discounted’ price of 2000 Overwatch Coins each, roughly the equivalent of $20. A legendary skin for the character Kiriko was available for 2600 Overwatch Coins, a discount on the original price of 3700 Overwatch Coins. As you might imagine, this is already causing upset amongst some players, especially as this year’s Halloween update removed the option to earn unlockable skins simply by progressing through the game.

Evidently, some players aren’t willing to spend over $20 for an alternative outfit for their character. However, we do know that players are more than happy to spend roughly the same price in other free-to-play games such as Fortnite to unlock characters from popular franchises, whether that’s Goku from Dragon Ball Z or Marvel’s Spider-Man. This is something that Jon Spector, Overwatch’s commercial leader and vice president at Blizzard, seems well aware of, according to a recent interview with GameInformer.

In the interview, Spector announced that while he isn’t a Fortnite player, he thinks it’s ‘super cool’ and ‘awesome’ to see branded collaborations such as Naruto appear in Fortnite.
“As we look at the Overwatch 2 space, those are things that we’re interested in exploring,” he says.

So, with Overwatch 2’s current monetisation strategies leaving a lot to be desired, could we see a shift towards branded collaborations as a core monetisation strategy rather than the traditional legendary and epic skins? Dropping the price of skins and embracing Fortnite-style collaborations would make a lot of commercial sense for Overwatch 2, especially as the company still seems torn on its pricing, according to a recent survey sent out to select players.

We know that Fortnite’s collaborations with the likes of Marvel, NFL, Nike and Ferrari have been hugely successful for Epic, largely due to the amount of revenue they generate from the sale of cosmetic items such as skins, emotes, banners and emoticons. As an example, the game’s collaboration with NFL resulted in 3.3 million NFL-themed skins being sold for $15 each in November and December 2018, according to leaked court documents from the Apple v Epic case. That’s nearly $50 million in revenue.

The big question now is how easily Overwatch 2 can replicate Fornite’s primary business model, and how well-suited these collaborations are for the Overwatch brand.

One of the biggest challenges facing Overwatch 2 is the fact it’s a hero-based shooter, with each hero boasting their own unique set of skills, traits and playstyles. As is often the case with team-based shooters, players often find themselves favouring specific heroes, whether that’s offensive heroes or defensive heroes that suit their preferred styles of playing.

This means Overwatch 2 will have to think carefully about how it rolls out branded collaborations. As an example, will a Marvel collaboration introduce special themed skins for every single hero in the game, or will it introduce a new limited-time character into the game? The introduction of any new character will have to be calculated carefully, so it doesn’t negatively impact the balance of existing characters.

It’s more likely that Overwatch 2 will introduce themed skins rather than new characters such as those seen in Dragon Ball Z. Depending on the popularity of the IP that Overwatch 2 pursues, I suspect players will be more susceptible to investing $15 or $20 into a skin that turns their favourite Overwatch hero into an alternative version of their favourite anime, film, TV or comic book characters, whether that’s Spider-Man, Darth Vader or one of The Transformers.

The hero-based mechanics of Overwatch 2 could also mean skins are only available for specific characters. While this might cause backlash amongst some fans at first, it could also open up alternative revenue streams. As an example, the style and appearance of the tank hero Reinhardt lends itself well to a Transformers skin. Players that don’t typically choose Reinhardt but are huge Transformers fans may be tempted to purchase a Transformers skin for him and start using him more. In turn, this could lead to a knock-on effect for players who go on to purchase Reinhardt’s wider cosmetic items.

There’s no denying that Overwatch 2 is a great game; the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. If Overwatch 2 continues to struggle with monetisation models, branded collaborations like those in Fortnite might be the answer to its future success. But taking an established franchise that previously carried a full-price retail tag and moving it over to a free-to-play model is no easy task.

Key considerations when choosing your target IP

If you’re a game developer looking to emulate Fornite’s IP success, there are a few things you need to consider before bringing IP into your game.

  • Don’t pick a target IP just because it’s a really popular brand or character. Look at your game and your players and ask yourself if it’s something that will resonate with them. For example, a clever partnership between The Walking Dead and State of Survival brought 20 million new players to the game. So a good understanding of your player demographics is a must. Be prepared to prove this to the license holders, too, as they’ll be just as interested to know if there’s any audience overlap.
  • It may sound simple, but make sure you do your homework. Different IP rights holders can have very different priorities and strict requirements for usage. Bigger properties, especially ones that are popular with children, can be especially stringent as its in the holders interests to carefully limit their use. So, it’s up to developers to demonstrate their ability to comply with them. Being prepared can give you a huge advantage, and help clear some of the initial screening phases and get in front of the right decision-makers.
  • There are more ways to integrate IP into your game than ever. So think carefully about your main goals, as simpler in-game items, like cosmetics and skins, are often much easier to negotiate with rights holders due to less complicated terms, plus, lighter development and creative costs can make them much quicker to roll out. FIFA 23 recently brought Apple TV’s Ted Lasso as well as Marvel cards to Ultimate Team, with these simple, smart deals opening the door for more collaborations in future.


Written by: Rachit Moti, founder and CEO at Layer Licensing, a licensing marketplace that helps game creators access brands, characters and stories that players love.


In gaming culture, phones are replacing computers: “Charge your dopamine for the whole day in 5 minutes”



Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is common to think that gaming culture and its best experiences are only associated with computers and consoles. However, the gaming environment has changed significantly over the past few years. Once considered quite niche, mobile devices have now become the dominant force in gaming. Games on smartphones now account for more than half (according to Statista, 51%) of the global gaming market revenue.

According to one of Lithuania’s most famous gaming community members and the country’s most popular streamer, Karolis Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), whose broadcasts are followed by more than 130,000 followers on the “Twitch” channel, we are living in a time of transformation.

User engagement and the number of game downloads illustrate that gaming culture is rapidly migrating to phones. Do you think it is starting to catch up with traditional gaming among true enthusiasts?

In the Baltics, events for games with mobile devices are just beginning to be organized, but the number of interested participants and their level of engagement is rapidly growing. Observing this activity, we can assume that gaming culture on phones can not only match but in some cases even surpass the traditional one.

We used to have many various popular consoles and other devices — from “GameBoy” to “PSP.” Now, the experiences they created are also available on phones. Does gaming on a smartphone match the quality of gaming on consoles? How is the gaming community reacting to these technological changes?

Comparing mobile games and gaming on consoles or computers is quite difficult. I would say it’s like comparing a car to a motorcycle. Both move, but one offers more entertainment, excitement, and emotional experiences, while the other offers more practicality.

A similar situation exists with gaming devices. You could say that smartphones have worse graphics or a more superficial gameplay experience, but their simplicity and pace open up a completely different gaming experience. Additionally, they are accessible anywhere and anytime. You don’t have to play only at home.

Currently, true gamers who play on consoles or computers don’t yet consider themselves in the same category as mobile device players. However, I think this attitude will change over time.

At the end of May, you invite your community to meet at the “Brawl Stars” mobile game tournament “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.” Is it true that this is a gaming phenomenon? It is already estimated that “Brawl Stars”

downloads have exceeded 500 million. What is the secret of its popularity? How does this mobile game already have its own e-sports team today?

“Brawl Stars” stands out with its brilliantly designed combination. The game is extremely simple, and its concept is very straightforward. Defeat your opponent, and you will be the best. And the matches are super fast. You can play 3-5 matches in 5 minutes and charge your dopamine for the whole day. This is probably the main secret of the game’s success. Plus, there are various game accessories and special events that are very engaging.

Additionally, these are the reasons why this mobile game has its own e-sports team. It is competitive and easily understandable to a wide audience.

What will make the upcoming tournament of this game different from others?

For the gaming community, this “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” is relevant because it gives us an impression of how many people are engaged in gaming with smart devices. “Brawl Stars” players have a unique opportunity to test themselves against the best players. Participants are also motivated by the impressive prize—a “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”.

In the qualifications and selections, players will play in teams of two, and in the finals, the teams will be changed—the players who make it will be assigned one of the Lithuania’s famous content creators participating in the event. This should add a lot of intrigue and excitement, as it will show how well the best players can communicate with content creators who may not be as good in the game as they are.

More and more gaming-oriented phones are being introduced to the market. For example, the new “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”. How do they help the culture of gaming on phones grow? Can a phone even influence game results?

Just like athletes or racers need the best equipment or gear, a powerful phone gives a player an advantage. The fewer technical issues you have in the game, the faster you can progress.

Meet the most famous gamers

All gaming enthusiasts and professionals will have the opportunity to experience the best gaming moments on May 24-26 in Vilnius at the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States, “Comic Con Baltics powered by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.”

The “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” will take place at the impressive “Galaxy AI” booth. Here, visitors will also meet K. Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), Simas Anužis (“Svarbeuse dariti”), Edvisss, and other famous players in the Baltics. There will be an opportunity to get up close with the most advanced “Samsung” smart devices, discover new opportunities that innovative “Galaxy AI” artificial intelligence features open up for gaming.

At the beginning of this year, “Samsung” was the first to offer its users a smartphone with artificial intelligence features. These change many ways of using and controlling the phone, as well as the habits users have adopted until now. At the event, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with and try out AI features such as “Search by highlighting,” “Photo editing,” “Notes assistance,” “Live translation,” “Chat assistance,” and others.

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Dr. Shocker set to prove an ‘electrifying game’ from Galaxsy



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Galaxsys continues to light-up the game’s vertical with the release of its electrifying game, Dr. Shocker, a thrilling action-packed game.

Main Release

Galaxsys, a games studio that creates high-energy games preferred by players who enjoy quick wins and something unique, is gearing up for its next major game release, Dr. Shocker, which will be available on the web and mobile.

”Dr. Shocker’ offers a thrilling, fast-paced experience where players connect electric cables to win. The ”doctor” in question is the game’s central character, who busily tries to connect electrical cables without being ”shocked”. The aim of the game is to win with the highest possible odds, and the electricity running towards the cables is electrifying!

Vigen Safaryan, Chief Product Officer of Galaxsys, commented, “We are always looking to make our games fun, engaging, relevant, and authentic around a central relatable character such as Dr. Shocker. It won’t come as a shock that this game includes all our key player engagement features, such as the Bonus Game, Auto Bet, Buy Bonus and 3 Bonus modes enjoyed by casino players.

This new turbo game not only expands our reach but also enriches the gaming experience for players. It has the potential to become a star in our portfolio, much like Ninja Crash, which recently won the ‘Most Played Game’ award in Latin America. Galaxsys is focused on our commitment to expanding our games, ensuring players always have access to the most exciting gaming experiences.”

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The best European gamers will meet in Vilnius: global tournaments and the latest technology presentations



Reading Time: 3 minutes

As Lithuania increasingly finds itself in the spotlight of the global gaming community, country’s gamers can once again rejoice at significant news. Lithuania will host “Trackmania World Tour” stage. With this news, it is planned that 24th to 26th of May, in Vilnius the “Baltics Gaming Expo” will bring together the best gamers from across Europe and the world.

International tournaments and showcase battles

“We love to play, and we’re really good at it at the highest level. This is the second year that the “Baltics Gaming Expo” will gather video game enthusiasts and professionals from all around Europe. If last year, 29,000 participants and visitors came to participate or watch tournaments, explore the latest technologies, and try out newly released games, this year, we expect even bigger growth. After all, we have some special news – the “Trackmania” game tournament at the event is included in the global rankings. In other words, all the best players are coming to Vilnius”, says Šarūnas Tamulis, one of the organizers of the “Baltics Gaming Expo”.

Players from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia, and other countries will participate in the global ranking tournament. Among the participants will be representatives from Lithuania.

The largest gaming and technology event in the Baltic States will also feature “Counter Strike”, “Valorant”, “Rocket League”, “League of Legends”, and other international tournaments.

“There will also be special showcase battles. The best players and streamers in the country will meet on the main stage and compete playing “Counter Strike” and “Valorant”, the organizer says.

From famous streamers’ to retro games

In the gaming community, it’s popular to watch other players remotely broadcast their matches via social networks (game-streaming). Streamers are like opinion leaders, whose popularity and influence grow every day.

“To the delight of our community, the very popular streamer AnnieFuchsia will also attend the event. She has gathered half a million followers on her Twitch channel alone. For those interested, we will create an opportunity to participate in a discussion with the gamer, get answers to significant questions, or even get a photo together”, says Š. Tamulis.

Attendees of the event will also be able to enjoy a space dedicated to exceptional retro games. It will feature dozens of classic arcade games from the 80s and 90s.

“The technology giant “Samsung”, has prepared special activations for the visitors. At the largest “Galaxy AI” stand, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the latest artificial intelligence news and try them out on smart devices. There will also be a special “Brawlstars” tournament at the stand, where well-known content creators and enthusiasts of this game from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia will meet. The winner will receive the latest “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” phone”, the organizer presents.

A weekend for popular culture

The “Baltic Gaming Expo” will take place during “Comic Con Baltics 2024 powered by Samsung,” the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States. From May 24th to 26th, “LITEXPO” will turn into a universe of popular culture.

Fans will have the chance to meet stars from iconic Hollywood projects. Among them are actors from the “Harry Potter” films Natalia Tena and Devon Murray, “Marvel” film actor Sean Gunn, “Highlander” actor Adrian Paul, actress Natasha Halevi, internet comic stars Rob DenBleyker of “Cyanide&Happiness,” “Natural Habitat Shorts,” “Nobody Sausage,” and Nathan W. Pyle, creator of “Strange Planet” comics.

The event will also feature the largest cosplay competition in the Baltic States, premieres of the latest films, presentations, and discussions, an interactive family space, the “Artists’ Alley,” which annually unites around a hundred popular culture artists, a space for vendors offering many curiosities, impressive decorations from the most famous films and series worldwide, and many other attractions.

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