Massively Multiplayer Online Games Driving Innovation in the Toy Industry

This transformation is not just a testament to their compelling gameplay but also reflects broader trends in social connectivity, digital innovation, and the global gaming community’s expansion.

In February 2024 Disney announced its plans to acquire a $1.5 billion equity stake in Epic Games, the developer of Unreal Engine and popular first-person shooter title “Fortnite.” The deal is a clear signal that the entertainment giant hopes to populate the metaverse to come with its homegrown characters and IP.

These MMOG’s have proven to be a fertile source of inspiration for global toy companies in recent times, dominating the sales charts and creating a pipeline of development opportunities to serve the loyal fanbases that have literally grown up with these gaming powerhouses.


In Australia, as in many parts of the world, the appeal of MMOGs is partly rooted in their ability to create vibrant, interactive communities. Games like Fortnite have become virtual social hubs where players from Perth to Sydney can connect, collaborate, and compete. For instance, during the unprecedented lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, these platforms provided an essential social outlet for many Australians, facilitating a sense of normalcy and connectedness amidst lockdowns.


Minecraft, with its limitless possibilities for creation and exploration, has captivated a diverse audience across Australia, from young learners to adult gamers. Educational institutions have even integrated Minecraft into their curriculum to promote creativity, problem-solving, and digital literacy, showcasing the game’s broad appeal and versatility.

Similarly Roblox as a sandbox oriented platform allows kids to not only create their own virtual characters but to build their own games to challenge their mates and other players on the global stage. Fornite has established itself with huge multi-generational appeal which has seen parents teaming up and challenging their kids in loungerooms across Australia to be the last one standing on Battle Royale Island! With a focus on co-operative play looting, building, exploring, and fighting to overcome 99 other players in the match.


Fortnite’s ever-evolving landscape, characterized by seasonal updates and live events, has consistently captured the attention of the Australian gaming community. The game’s developers have mastered the art of keeping content fresh and engaging, exemplified by collaborations with global franchises and icons that resonate well with the Australian audience, such as the inclusion of characters from Marvel and Star Wars universes. Minecraft & Roblox have also favoured cross over content with well known licensed characters to attract built in fanbases to dip their toes into these virtual worlds.


The accessibility of these MMOGs across multiple gaming platforms, including smartphones, has significantly contributed to their popularity in Australia. Fortnite’s free-to-play model, in particular, has lowered barriers to entry, allowing a wider demographic to participate. This approach has not only expanded the player base but also introduced new revenue streams through in-game purchases or “micro transactions” demonstrating a successful business model in the digital age. Roblox in-game currency Robux allows you to purchase upgrades for your avatar or buy special abilities and experiences purchased individually, or through a premium subscription. You can also earn Robux by making clothing and accessories for Roblox avatars or by making making pay-to-play games or games with in-game purchases which has spawned a whole new virtual industry outside the game.


The cultural impact of games like Minecraft & Fortnite in Australia cannot be overstated. From influencing fashion and music to making appearances in educational settings, these games have become integral to modern Australian culture. They have also provided a platform for Australian gamers to compete on the global stage, with several Aussies making a name for themselves in international esports arenas.

Minecraft in it’s 15th year stands as a colossus in the gaming world transcending the digital realm to establish a formidable presence in the physical world of toys and collectibles. This voxel-based adventure game, developed by Mojang Studios, has not only captured the imagination of millions worldwide but has also paved the way for an expansive merchandise program that includes partnerships with major toy companies like Lego & Mattel and a variety of collectibles that appeal to a broad audience.

Minecraft’s journey from a simple sandbox game to a cultural phenomenon is nothing short of remarkable. With its unique, pixelated aesthetic and an open-ended gameplay that encourages creativity and exploration, Minecraft has amassed a diverse fanbase, spanning all age groups. This universal appeal has been a key factor in the success of its toy merchandise program, which has seen significant growth since its inception.

One of the most notable collaborations in Minecraft’s merchandise arsenal is with Lego, a synergy that seems almost predestined given both brands’ emphasis on building and creativity. The Minecraft Lego sets allow fans to bring their digital creations to life, offering a tangible way to engage with the game’s blocky universe. From intricate scenes and characters to customisable landscapes, these sets have become a hit, both as toys and collectible items, fostering a new avenue for creative play.

Beyond Lego, the Minecraft merchandise line extends to action figures, plush toys, and collectibles that encapsulate the game’s iconic characters and elements. These products not only serve as a bridge between the digital and physical play but also enable fans to showcase their love for the game in their everyday lives.

The success of Minecraft’s merchandise program is a testament to the game’s enduring popularity and its ability to inspire creativity across different mediums. The advent of a new Minecraft movie from Warner Bros set for release in April 2025 features an all star cast including Jack Black and Jason Momoa. The movie & rumoured follow up TV Series provide a new entry point for fans as well as a host of new merchandise development opportunities.

In the ever-evolving landscape of online gaming, Roblox has emerged as a revolutionary platform in Australia, redefining the boundaries between creation, collaboration, and play. This unique platform allows users to design, share, and participate in an infinite array of immersive, user-generated 3D worlds, making it a standout success among Australian gamers of all ages. Its skyrocketing popularity down under is a function of its engaging gameplay as well as its success in creating a vibrant community and a thriving economy of creators.

Roblox’s ascent in Australia can be attributed to its innovative approach that empowers players to become creators. Australians have embraced this opportunity, contributing to and expanding the Roblox universe with games and experiences that reflect the diverse tastes and interests of its community. This user-generated content model has facilitated an unprecedented level of engagement and loyalty among its users, setting Roblox apart in a competitive market.

Moreover, the Roblox platform’s success in Australia is buoyed by its robust ecosystem that supports young developers, who can create and monetise their very own games and experiences. This has not only encouraged new creativity and entrepreneurship among Australian youth, but has also led to the emergence of a new genre of digital creators who are now making significant incomes through their Roblox creations.

Beyond the digital realm, Roblox has made significant inroads into the physical world, particularly in the toy industry. The platform has launched an array of merchandise, including action figures, playsets, and apparel, allowing fans to extend their engagement beyond the screen. These products have been warmly received in Australia, further cementing Roblox’s place in the cultural zeitgeist.

As Roblox continues to grow in Australia, it is clear that its success lies not just in its ability to offer an engaging gaming experience, but also in its community-driven model that fosters creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. With its innovative platform and supportive ecosystem, Roblox is not just playing a game; it’s shaping the future of digital play and creativity in Australia and beyond.

Fortnite stands out as a cultural juggernaut that has crossed over from being a mere video game to become a global phenomenon. Developed by Epic Games, Fortnite’s blend of vibrant visuals, engaging gameplay, and its iconic battle royale mode have captivated millions worldwide. It has unlocked huge opportunities for players, creators, and marketers alike, showcasing a blueprint for success in the digital age. This opportunity is the driver in Disney’s decision invest $1.5 billion into Fortnite developer Epic Games in exchange for a small equity stake in the company and the promise of building out digital worlds based on the company’s intellectual property.

Epic Games revolutionary approach to gaming has turned it into a virtual stage for live concerts, brand partnerships, and in-game events that blur the lines between entertainment, gaming, and social interaction. These innovative ventures have not only enhanced the user experience but have also opened new avenues for engagement beyond traditional gaming. For instance, the in-game concerts featuring global music stars like Eminem, Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande have attracted millions of viewers, demonstrating Fortnite’s massive reach and its potential as a marketing and entertainment platform.

Fortnite has also been at the forefront of the esports explosion, offering players the chance to compete in high-stakes tournaments with substantial prize pools. This competitive scene has provided a platform for amateur and professional gamers to showcase their skills, fostering a thriving community centred around competitive play. The success of these tournaments highlights the lucrative opportunities within the esports industry, driven by community engagement and spectatorship as well as major sponsorship opportunities for companies wanting to tap into the lucrative opportunities Fortnite fandom presents.

The game has also propelled the creator economy forward through its Support-A-Creator program, allowing content creators to earn from the purchases made by their followers. This initiative not only encourages the production of diverse Fortnite content but also offers a sustainable income model for creators, further solidifying the game’s role in shaping the digital content landscape.

In addition to these digital opportunities, Fortnite has expanded into physical merchandise, including action figures, apparel, and collaborations with major brands, extending its cultural footprint beyond the virtual world. These new ventures have not only augmented Fortnite’s brand presence but have also opened new markets for merchandise and brand collaborations.

As Fortnite continues to evolve, it remains a beacon of innovation in the gaming industry, offering a glimpse into the future where games are more than just play; they are platforms for creativity, competition, and collaboration. The myriad opportunities presented by Fortnite highlight its significance not just as a game, but as a cultural and economic force, paving the way for new forms of digital interaction and commerce.


The ongoing success of MMOGs like Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox in Australia is a reflection of their ability to adapt to and satisfy the evolving demands of gamers and building real world communities. By offering a blend of social connectivity, creative freedom, and regular content updates, these games have secured a lasting impact on the Australian digital and cultural landscape.

As the digital realm continues to evolve, the enduring popularity of MMOGs will likely pave the way for new innovations and experiences as well as a plethora of merchandise & promotional opportunities for toy companies and retailers alike, further solidifying their role in shaping future Australian entertainment and social interaction trends.

Article by Lincon Boyd — Managing Director Blueprint Licensing

This article originally appeared in Edition 9 of The Toy Universe Magazine




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