Toy maker Hasbro Inc. (HAS - Analyst Report), recently launched two casino-style virtual games for mobile devices based on its Monopoly brand. These games were introduced in association with the leading producer and distributor of entertainment software — Electronic Arts Inc. (EA - Analyst Report).
The games – Monopoly Bingo and Monopoly Slots – have now been made available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android devices and Kindle Fire tablets and can be downloaded for free from Google Play and Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN - Analyst Report) Appstore.
Monopoly is a popular game of Hasbro which is played by nearly one billion players for more than 75 years. We believe that this deal will enhance its coverage in the digital gaming arena and restructure its portfolio of gaming products.
The news of these product launches came in the wake of the company’s prior licensing agreement with Electronic Arts in early July. Per the four-year deal, Electronic Arts has agreed to develop mobile-compatible versions of some of Hasbro’s popular games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Game of Life, Battleship, Boggle, Clue, Risk and Yahtzee.
Hasbro has a long-standing relationship with Electronic Arts and has been regularly developing digital versions of the former’s popular games.
Hasbro has been working hard to transition its product portfolio from traditional board games/toys to digital solutions to cope with the recent trends. In this regard, Hasbro has been highly active in signing gaming deals. As part of this strategy, the company acquired a 70% stake in one of the most renowned mobile gaming companies – Backflip Studios – in July for $112 million. In August, the company added another feather to its crown by signing a deal with the Paris-based digital gaming company — Ubisoft Entertainment SA.
Toy manufacturers like Hasbro have to battle a broad array of alternative modes of entertainment including video games, MP3 players, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices. In this situation, deals and association like these provide the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company an opportunity to participate in the fast-growing digital gaming/casual entertainment category, a market that is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead.
Two other toy companies, which look attractive at the current level, is JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (JAKK - Analyst Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).