UK kids entertainment company Mind Candy announced today that it’s partnering with mobile gaming giant GREE to bring at least two Moshi Monsters-branded mobile games to smartphones and tablets. The new partnership, along with the launch of its first in-house mobile app earlier this week, represents two parts of the company’s overall plan to expand to mobile platforms in a big way. A growing focus on mobile matches well with Mind Candy’s larger aim of creating a lasting, child-oriented brand complete with IP that translates well no matter where it appears.
The core Mind Candy product, an interactive trading game featuring colorful characters, has lived on the web since its inception, but CEO and founder Michael Acton Smith told BetaKit in an interview that the company is well aware of the growing opportunities in mobile, and want to take advantage of those opportunities in as many ways as make sense for the brand.
“We’re super excited about mobile, obviously as everyone is, and we’re tackling it in a number of ways,” he explained. “GREE is an incredible company, with a huge global reach, and they’ve built some very, very successful mobile games. So for our complex games it made sense to work with them. Secondly, we want to build our own mobile studio and get up to speed and become mobile experts.”
Asked why Mind Candy felt the need to pursue different paths, including one with an outside partner, instead of just hiring talent internally, for instance, Acton Smith told BetaKit that the commercial arrangement with GREE was something they were “very, very pleased with,” though he couldn’t discuss specific terms. Another reason to explore multiple avenues was that the company feels Mind Candy has a lot to offer with its wide-ranging IP, and can create app experiences that go beyond just games, into educational products and other avenues.
The first in-house Mind Candy game is a perfect example. Unlike the planned GREE titles, which Acton Smith says will be quite in-depth and should arrive later this year, Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters: Moshlings is a simple title that takes one type of character from the web-based game and gives fans the opportunity to learn about them, dress them up with virtual stickers, and share their creations.
Mind Candy isn’t entirely new to mobile gaming; it released a DS game featuring its IP in 2011. But reaching smartphones and tablets is increasingly important for entertainment companies, especially ones like Mind Candy focused on the youth market. A recent Nielsen study indicates that parents see tablets as a key educational and entertainment tool for kids, and smartphone use among children is also on the rise.
Ultimately, Acton Smith’s goal is to build Mind Candy into a global brand that extends far beyond the original product it found success with, and partnering with GREE, which will launch its Moshi Monsters games in several languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese and more will help with that. Likewise, the company’s tripartite approach to mobile, which includes porting the core Moshi Monsters experience to mobile devices in addition to building its own spin-off apps and partnering with outside developers like GREE, will the brand become one kids recognize wherever they see it.