Konami has been hard at work with major licensors over the summer to put kids on the dancefloor with their favorite cartoon characters this holiday season.
Since introducing its Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) arcade game to the U.S. in 2001, the San-Francisco, California-based arm of the Japanese gameco has built its exercise-inspired game into a full-fledged brand.
In DDR’s five-year history, Konami has put out no less than 10 versions of the game on five platforms. Close to eight-million console games have been sold worldwide, with North American sales accounting for four-million units, alone. And now, according to Jason Enos, senior product manager for Konami Digital Entertainment, 2006 is shaping up to be DDR’s biggest year yet, with a slew of licensing deals and new releases.
For starters Konami forged a multi-year deal with Disney in July to use Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other characters and classic Disney tunes, such as ‘Zippity Doo Dah’ on upcoming DDR titles. The first offering is a plug and play port of Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix (an arcade version was first produced in 2001) that will hit mass retail shelves in Q 4 at US$29.99. Completely new versions of DDR Disney will follow in ’07.
Extending Konami’s relationship with DIC Entertainment (a new half-hour live-action copro, Dance Revolution, based on the game debuts on U.S. airwaves this month) Strawberry Shortcake will take a whirl on the dance floor in her own plug and play version of DDR. The game’s release coincides with the theatrical launch of the full-length Strawberry Shortcake movie in October.
Licensed versions of DDR are a big priority at Konami, but the gameco also has its hands full with in-house production. My First Dance Dance Revolution, is a plug and play version aimed at preschoolers and is due out for the holiday season. And before the year’s out, Konami will also be releasing a new arcade version of its dancing machine, a mobile offering and three new versions for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360 console systems.
Further licensing deals have not been announced yet, but Enos says Konami is always willing to entertain more ideas because the game lends itself so well to cross-branding opps.