Special Edition merchandise has become a hot commodity with special edition versions of games. Jon Buller, vice president of Marketing Instincts, says that his company has seen game sales positively affected by good merchandise.

“We’ve seen collectable merchandise drive in-game sales tremendously,” Buller said. “When a shout caster wore our custom League of Legends character hoodie (the infamous Blitzcrank hoodie) at PAX Prime before it was released, fans literally went crazy. Not only were fans excited about the future release of the merchandise, the hoodie actually drew attention towards the character Blitzcrank and increased in-game sales for the character.”

“Game companies definitely see collector editions and collectable items as both an incredible marketing PR tool and as a revenue generator,” he added. “The idea of exclusivity really creates hype and excitement for their games, as well as promoting and rewarding brand loyalty.”

Collector’s editions also have a holistic effect for game brands. “Gaming companies come to us to create awesome swag because it truly is a part of the gaming world. There’s something about us gamers that love swag,” said Buller. “When I visit my gaming clients I see it on everyone’s desk, in their cube, they’re wearing it – hats, shirts, hoodies, backpacks, shorts, socks, flip flops and probably, if you looked, their underwear.”

Buller noted that collectors are often willing to pay out big time to get  a piece of rare swag. “I’ve seen swag that our client gave away at Comic-Con being sold for $300 on eBay that day,” he said. “We know there is a growing trend for gaming fans to attend events with the intention to acquire as much free swag and exclusive retail merchandise as possible and then sell it on eBay and to their friends. I’ve managed retail merchandise booths at events for our gaming clients where individuals will commonly buy over $2000 of exclusive merchandise for just that reason. The demand is really that high.”

“I’ve seen the value of items going on eBay directly affect production quantities of many items we’ve produced for our clients,” Buller said. “If our clients see a high selling price on eBay for their swag they definitely ramp up production for their next events.”

Source: GamesIndustry International