By Karina Masolova
The newly branded Nintendo New York store, previously Nintendo World, re-opened Feb. 19th with a new 15-foot gaming screen, exclusive merchandise and appearances by Mario, Luigi and Charles Martinet. The two-floor space has been redesigned with large-scale gaming events in mind; the location boasts larger, open spaces and merchandise on movable displays.
David Young of Nintendo confirmed that the company intends to get deeper into the licensing game, with a greater diversity and breadth of merchandise available to fans in conjunction with events to be held at the store, including game launches and gaming tournament events. Esports and tournaments are growing in scale, and are estimated to drum up $612 million in worldwide revenues, with $143 in North America, according to SuperData Research.
As for merchandising, the company is banking on nostalgic love for its classic video game brands. Major licensee partners for The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Pokémon and Animal Crossing were out in full force on shelves, including Jakks Pacific (toys, games, figures), Bioworld Merchandise (apparel, accessories, sleepwear), USAopoly (puzzles), LEGO (construction sets), Sporting Apparel Co. (apparel), San-Ei Co. (plush) and PEZ Candy (candy, novelties). Small figures and toys for Skylander and Disney properties—Star Wars, Inside Out, Frozen and Mickey & Minnie Mouse—were also on display. And although Hasbro launched a side range of figures, plush, trading cards and collectible medallions at Toy Fair for Level 5’s Yo-Kai Watch, Nintendo NY is taking a more cautious approach with comic books from Viz Media and its 3DS game the only options for fans.