Activision Blizzard wants to produce more toys and merchandise based on video-game franchises like “Call of Duty,” “Overwatch,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush.”
The video-game conglomerate has created a new consumer products division, headed by president and CEO Tim Kilpin, who hails from Mattel and Disney. It’s the latest revenue-diversification move from Activision Blizzard, which in the last two years formed a TV and film production unit, bought eSports player Major League Gaming (MLG) and acquired mobile games maker King Digital.
In the new role, Kilpin will lead development of consumer products and experiences and oversee long-term retail partnerships. He will manage existing consumer product teams from Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment and King Digital. “The goal is to accelerate what we’re doing already,” he said in an interview. “The opportunity exists to take it to another level and connect the dots across a lot of different brands – to leverage the power of the portfolio.”
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors in November 2015 that the company would look to bolster its consumer products biz. “Under Tim’s leadership, we will elevate our consumer product offerings to the same level of exceptional quality as our games and transform the ways audiences connect with the characters they love in their everyday lives,” Kotick said in a statement.
The biggest product area for Activision Blizzard today encompasses toys, games and collectibles. Its second-largest category is apparel and accessories, followed by book and comics publishing.
The company’s Skylanders toys-to-life line has generated $3 billion in revenue to date, according to Activision Blizzard. “I’m eager to understand where the consumer is with that category – where that can go next,” Kilpin said.
Most recently, Kilpin served as Mattel’s president and chief commercial officer, overseeing sales and marketing functions worldwide, before exiting the company in November 2015 and working as an independent consultant. Previously, he was executive VP of Mattel’s Boys and Girls Division, which encompasses brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Monster High. He first joined Mattel in 1984, working in various marketing positions and serving as GM of the then Character Brands business unit through 1999.
Prior to rejoining Mattel as SVP of marketing in 2003, Kilpin worked at Disney as executive VP of studio franchise management where he oversaw global cross-category franchise plans for Disney Princess, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Pixar properties. He currently serves as an independent director of Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Kilpin, who starts at Activision Blizzard on Wednesday, will be based in the company’s Santa Monica headquarters.