Popular books, hit films and TV series, characters from graphic novels, and even toys can all be translated into the digital space, allowing fans to immerse themselves in their favorite fictional worlds — and adding new income streams and brand extensions for the intellectual property (IP) holder. This increases the possibility of bringing in whole new audiences, or just maintaining engagement with their existing ones.

If you own this kind of IP, then allowing someone to create a game based around it can certainly deliver financial results — at least in the short-term. This can be true from the biggest blockbuster to the smallest mobile game.

At first glance, licensing your brand’s IP rights to digital games companies seems like a no-brainer. But it’s not always in the best interests of the long-term longevity and financial health of your IP, and it certainly doesn’t tend to deliver the most creative results or even, arguably, the best gameplay, meaning it’s an approach which can backfire if you let down your loyal audience. Nothing is worse than a fan who falls out of love with your characters and the universe they inhabit.

So as a brand owner, you need put care into who you work with and how you manage any relationship. Money must never be the overriding objective. The relationship with the audience is what’s paramount. As a brand owner, you should juggle delivering a healthy return with maintaining that strong bond between a property and its fans.

The danger of care

One particular danger is that major brand IP owners are restricting innovation in computer and mobile games based on…