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Why digital behemoth World of Tanks is rolling into physical retail

Why digital behemoth World of Tanks is rolling into physical retail

One of the largest digital games brands on the planet World of Tanks is finally coming to brick and mortar stores with a number of PC accessories. Wargaming has partnered with Konix to produce a range featuring headsets, keyboards, mice and mousepads, with each item bundle with an in-game item. These launch on October 22nd. 

We caught up with Wargaming licensing and partnerships manager Pascal Portier to see why the online-only brand has decided to invade physical retail. 

What's the thinking behind bringing World of Tanks to retail?

We actually have developed a range of licensed products around our brands, including World of Tanks, for the last four years, with partners such as Cobi, Hachette, Merlin Publishing, Carlton books or GB Eye. With these being sold directly through our online storefront we noticed there was a real interest from our players in these as long as they are of good quality and at the right price.

Being in retail is, therefore, a big part of our strategy. We are now working in Europe with partners such as such as Panini, Cobi, Italeri, and now with Konix to bring our players an authentic World of Tanks product line.

In addition, a physical retail presence is also a way to attract new players who we want to reach, through the quality of our brands. Without revealing too much, some new projects are under development and will be live in 2019.

Why team up Konix?

It's been a long time since we wanted to develop a full range of PC gaming accessories and we were looking for the perfect partner to get this right.

Ultimately, Konix is a brand that understands and indeed experiences great success with its own gaming accessories brand, Drakkar. They develop quality products at the right price and therefore meet the right level of accessibility for consumers to engage with our brand.

In addition, the channel of distribution is wide, so it will allow us to be present in gaming specialized stores but also in mainstream retailers such as Carrefour, MediaMarkt or El Corte Inglès, etc. In the UK, the World of Tanks gaming accessories will be distributed by Centresoft Limited.

Can you tell me a bit about the process of working with Konix on these peripherals?

It’s a true and effective collaboration. Konix and Wargaming worked from the ground up to ensure that these accessories will bring the best gaming experience to our players. Once we knew what products we wanted to provide players with, a large amount of time was then spent developing a series of designs that would enhance the gameplay experience: these accessories are all designed to complement the fast-paced action and coordination that World of Tanks is known for.

A variety of headsets, keyboards, mice and mousepads will be available later this month.

It looks like Wargaming has taken an 'added value' approach to this. When did the notion of additional items coming alongside your line of peripherals come about?

We want to provide our players with a great experience while playing with the World of Tanks branded peripherals, and it is important for us to reward our dedicated players with some in-game content, as well as welcoming new players with a starter kit - of in-game content - that allows them to enjoy their onboarding.

Physical retail is definitely on the downturn. Why support retail at this point in time?

It is true physical retail is under transformation. Nevertheless, for us being in retail is still relevant for two main reasons.

The first incentive is our player base. As I mentioned, I think that some of our players prefer to buy products in stores and this is particularly the case for licensed products that are by their nature physical products.
The other incentive is that there is still a large proportion of people that like going to and discovering new products in retail. I think that letting them discover our World of Tanks range gives those people an entry-point to our game that they may have otherwise not found.

World of Tanks has historically been such a 'digital' brand. Can you tell me a bit about how you are planning on communicating/incentivising your audience to go to a physical store?

We have constant dialogue/communication with our audience on all our social media channels as we publish news every day. In this context, we never fail to inform our fans about new branded products available in retail through these community channels. Thanks to articles on our portals, social media posts and e-newsletters, we can reach our players easily and let them know where they can buy their branded products in physical stores.

Each product also contains an invite and a bonus code (i.e free in game digital goods for new and/or existing players), as it was important for us to provide our players with a nice experience as well.

What's the ambition for this campaign?

The objective is to make our players happy and allow them a deeper immersion in the World of Tanks universe.


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin launched PCGamesInsider.biz in August 2017 and has been its editor since. Prior to this, he was deputy editor at UK based games trade paper MCV and content editor for marketing and events for London Games Festival 2017. His work has also appeared in Eurogamer, The Observer, Kotaku UK, Esquire UK and Develop.

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