Star Wars has been named as the Overall Best License of the Year by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) at its awards ceremony in New York City, an accolade reflected in the property's high profile in the video game industry.
LIMA noted that its "best in show" award recognizes "the property that has had a significant and profound impact on the licensing community at retail and in the general marketplace during calendar year 2005." Last year was the biggest ever for Star Wars merchandise, with $3 billion of worldwide retail sales. During this time, Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was the highest grossing film at the global box office, Star Wars was the number one entertainment license of the year, boys’ toy line, movie based video game franchise and licensed publishing franchise.
In the video game space, Star Wars: Battlefront II
was one of the top ten best selling games of 2005 in North America and beat the previous game’s record as the best selling Star Wars video game of all time. Other successful Star Wars titles of the year included the official movie tie-in by developer The Collective and surprise hit Lego Star Wars
, which unusually was published by Eidos Interactive rather than LucasArts themselves.
Ironically, no new Star Wars games were shown at E3 in May, beyond a sequel to Lego Star Wars
and an expansion pack for PC strategy title Star Wars: Empire at War
. Star Wars related tech demos were shown behind closed doors though, including hints of a Wii lightsaber game
Although the prequel trilogy of films has proven far more controversial than the so-called 'classic trilogy', the ongoing importance of the license is likely to continue, led by a major new TV show spin-off expected within the next two years, and a new series of CGI cartoons.
The Licensing International show is a three day annual trade event that gives owners and agents of intellectual properties the opportunity to showcase their brands to high-profile manufacturers, retailers, licensees, and promotional partners. Video games titles were well represented at the event both in terms of games using licenses and increasingly by merchandise licensed from original games properties.