1. Making the most of in-house creativity
Chrono Bomb’ is a home-grown success that sold more than 700,000 copies worldwide in 2015 and topped the sales charts in France. A huge hit, it is the culmination of many long hours of work that began in TF1’s creativity room. There, half a dozen people from TF1 Games-Dujardin shut themselves away for an afternoon every two weeks to review trends, the internet buzz and marketing studies.
They pull out all the stops to find the right, 100% in-house idea. But they never lose sight of the most important thing: the kids who play the game must be at the heart of the action and the heroes of their own adventures.
As nothing is left to chance, each member of the team has had training in child development, which is very useful when you need to know what pleases children of 4, 7 or 10 or what makes them laugh. A number of concepts emerge from these brainstorming sessions. Time does its work: some ideas are dropped, others taken up again. Once a concept has been finalised, trials are carried out in-house and between adults. Rules that can be understood in 15 seconds – the length of a TV advert –, innovative and stand-out packaging and a reasonable price (not more than €30) are all essential in order to gain a foothold in the market.
2. Bespoke manufacturing
To help bring the project to fruition, the production aspect is factored into the creative process very early on. From the outset, the aim is to frame the idea in such a way that a manufacturer can interpret the concept. Changes may have to be made as the project progresses, taking into account the requirements of feasibility, cost, scheduling and very strict European standards. Much more than a mere contractor, the manufacturer must be capable of creating the project in 3D.
Although a few products, like the cards for Mille Bornes, are made at Nancy in eastern France or assembled at Terrasson-Lavilledieu in south-west France by two partner firms of TF1 Games-Dujardin, most are produced in China, where long-standing design and manufacturing skills are plentiful. After all, Hong Kong was known as “Toy Town” in the 1970s, long before French manufacturers joined the exodus to Asia.
3. Targeting international markets
It takes between 18 and 24 months to get from the germ of an idea to the release of a new game. It’s a real obstacle course where nothing can be taken for granted. If a new game concept fl ops at a trade fair, everything comes to a halt. On average, only one out of twenty or so prototypes will ever make it to market.
Chrono Bomb’ was out of stock well before Christmas, the most crucial time of year. Its unveiling in February 2015 at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany, the industry’s biggest international trade show, caused a major stir. In 2015, the game was sold in over thirty countries, including on the notoriously tough American market.
Its amazing expansion is continuing in 2016, with a highly promising newcomer hard on its heels. Trésor Detector, a new take on the traditional treasure hunt concept and another in-house creation, has already sold 110,000 copies. Two major hits in rapid succession have boosted sales at TF1 Games-Dujardin by 20%. In 2015, the TF1 group subsidiary became the third largest board games vendor in France, behind the American firm Hasbro and the French firm Asmodee.
Not bad for the 30-strong team, which is hoping that Power Quest, the new release for Christmas 2016, will follow in its predecessors’ footsteps.