This month, Copenhagen-based SYBO Games celebrates a major milestone for its flagship mobile game, Subway Surfers, which passed a whopping 2.5 billion downloads on its 7th birthday, continuing its reign as the world’s most downloaded endless runner game. Seven years may seem like a long time when it comes to mobile gaming, but Subway Surfers is just getting started. SYBO appointed Alpha Group as its master global toy partner ahead of this year’s Licensing Expo. Alpha Group will produce an extensive array of products based not only on the hit game but also on its Subsurf consumer and lifestyle brand.
SYBO Chief Commercial Officer Naz Amarchi-Cuevas tells the Toy Book that the path to expanding the world of Subway Surfers beyond its first screen is a journey that began as the game celebrated its 5th anniversary two years ago.
“Our founders met in animation school, so for them it was very important to first solidify the story of the four characters, along with elements of street art, dancing, and hip-hop — in a way democratizing the subculture through the game,” she says. The strategic plan took shape as the game moved into animation with the release of Subway Surfers: The Animated Series last year. Penned by Brent Friedman (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and produced by Daytime Emmy Award-winning producer Sander Schwartz (The Batman, Justice League, Scooby-Doo), the short-form content on YouTube via SYBO.tv helped bring new fans into the game, which hit 2 billion downloads just one year ago. “We wanted to make sure that we had an audience built around an established brand with credibility and engagement, and we have all of that,” Amarchi-Cuevas says.
Alpha Group is on board to design, manufacture, and market products across many categories, including action figures, vehicles, R/C toys, plush, electronic toys, smart toys and games, role-play toys, dress-up and accessories, consumer electronics, novelties, activities, and seasonal items.
“Recently, Alpha Group has become rather known for going after pop culture — something that used to be a niche — and bringing it to the masses. We really like what they’ve done with SpongeBob SquarePants,” Amarchi-Cuevas says. “For Subway Surfers, the most important pieces will be anything with an element of ‘the reveal’ — anything that’s shareable. The fans will want to share, becoming ambassadors from the brand. Collectibility is key, with figurines and vehicles, as well as elements of street art and music involved.”
“The vision SYBO Games has for Subway Surfers beyond the phenomenal success of the game is incredibly exciting” adds Brehan Maul, general manager North America and head of marketing for Alpha Group. “As the master global toy partner, we’re excited to do our part and deliver a wide array of inspired consumer products that express the authentic street-smart, edgy youth culture, skate, music and dance influence the property’s loyal fans demand.”
The first Subsurf Alpha Group products are expected to hit shelves next year.
SYBO has 10 licensing agents covering more than 30 territories around the world, including Retail Monster U.S., who helped broker the deal. Additional Subway Surfers Subsurf partnerships will be revealed in the coming weeks.