Mattel and Outright Games partner on 3 console and PC games

Mattel announced a multi-year strategic partnership with family game publisher Outright Games to make three console and PC games.

The partnership begins with three new games for all consoles and PC slated for release before the end of this year: Matchbox Driving Adventures, Monster High: Skulltimate Secrets, and Barbie: Project Friendship, said Mike DeLaet, global head of digital gaming at Mattel, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Mattel’s partnership with Outright Games underscores its strategy to deepen engagement in the digital games sector, leveraging iconic brands to create compelling experiences for a global market.

In 2023, Mattel Digital Games achieved a significant milestone, reaching 48 million monthly active players, driven by successes such as Barbie DreamHouse Tycoon and Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged. As Mattel nears its 80th anniversary, the company is poised to expand its digital footprint by introducing more games across more platforms, resonating with fans of all ages.

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“Mattel is moving full steam ahead in its commitment to delivering fun, innovative digital gaming experiences that will broaden the universe of its many beloved franchises for fans worldwide,” said DeLaet. “A critical component of this strategy is choosing the right partners, which is why we’re very pleased to announce this multiyear partnership with Outright Games.”

Stephanie Malham, managing director at Outright Games, echoes the enthusiasm.

“At Outright Games we pride ourselves in expanding the worlds of iconic IPs into cherished video games — working with Mattel offers a fantastic opportunity to merge our combined expertise to create engaging and accessible new video games with Mattel’s beloved global franchises,” Malham said. “We are so excited to see this relationship evolve as we move forward to bring Barbie, Monster High and Matchbox fans of all ages a fresh and exciting way to enjoy these beloved franchises.”

Outright Games is known for producing high-quality games that can be enjoyed by the whole family, making it an ideal developer to bring Mattel’s beloved franchises to life on gaming consoles.

These games are designed to deliver a wide range of experiences, from high-speed competitive driving adventures from Matchbox to stories that emphasize teamwork and foster friendship from Barbie and Monster High. Further details for each game, including release dates and features, will be announced in the coming months.

Back in February, Mattel announced its partnership with Zynga’s Rollic to launch a new mass-market Barbie mobile game later this year. Shortly after that, DeLaet announced Mattel’s plans to become a games publisher.

Mike DeLaet is global head of gaming at Mattel.
Mike DeLaet is global head of digital gaming at Mattel.

“All three games were really built around what brands have a huge following and have been around for multiple decades,” DeLaet said. “They don’t have a presence in the PC/console gaming market so far. And these are games that could be for a younger audience and have been underserved in the market.”

While Mattel’s Hot Wheels toy brand has had a presence in gaming, Matchbox has not had the same treatment. Monster High has had games on other platforms, but never on consoles. I recall my kids played Barbie Horse Adventures on the Xbox a long time ago, but there’s been nothing lately.

There was a digital-physical Hot Wheels car racing game, but the RC cars were expensive and the product didn’t sell that well. DeLaet started at Mattel a couple of years ago and he has had game projects cooking for some time.

“We’ll finally have some products coming out this year,” DeLaet said. “We’re trying to go to pretty much any major platform where people are playing — on the phone, the PC, even electric vehicles.”

Mattel has a game coming out later this year in partnership with Take-Two Interactive and Zynga for a more adult Barbie experience.

“We’re really trying to find the developers that match the genre and the type of age range that we’re really going after,” DeLaet said.

Mattel also announced recently it was creating a self-publishing platform for games. DeLaet said about six more people have been hired to help make that happen. He is also looking at possible M&A to acquire more talent. Co-development might also be possible too.

DeLaet noted that Mattel is operating on a counter-cycle versus the rest of the industry, which is laying off a lot of people.

“Everyone else is laying off and pulling back, and we’re accelerating,” he said. “We’re always trying to skate where the puck is going.”

This isn’t happening just because of the billion-dollar Barbie movie. Each operating unit has to perform on its own at Mattel, DeLaet said.

At the moment, Mattel does not have a lot of internal development capacity but that could grow over time.

Mattel now has 48 million active users across its games business now, with many of those related to Barbie Dreamhouse Tycoon on Roblox on mobile, as well as other games.

“We’ve already had a lot of success and we’re going to continue to grow our business and world-class products, he said. “For me, first and foremost, it’s all about product quality. If the game can’t be awesome, I don’t want to go build it.”

DeLaet said the company is exploring UEFN but there is nothing to announce yet.