SkyVu’s Battle Bears appeared in a skit on Attack of the Show, and SkyVu founder Ben Vu (center) met the show’s hosts, Candace Bailey (left) and Kevin Pereira last month at Comic-Con. Photo courtesy of Ben Vu.
SkyVu Entertainment went to Comic-Con International July 21-24 in San Diego and came back empty-handed. Well, empty-handed in a literal sense, anyway. “We introduced our first Battle Bears toy, two new T-shirts, an exclusive comic book,” SkyVu founder Ben Vu said in an email, “and we sold out of everything.”
But that the team from the Omaha-based animation studio couldn’t seem to hang on to any of its merchandise while in San Diego is hardly a bad thing. Especially when you consider what SkyVu did take away from its second trip to Comic-Con, which Vu deemed “an overwhelming success for us.” (Above, life-sized Battle Bears characters added an extra attraction to SkyVu’s booth at Comic-Con. Photo courtesy of Ben Vu.)
For one, Vu said that, because of Comic-Con, SkyVu is now in talks with several toy companies to manufacture and distribute a larger line of toys based on Battle Bears, its signature line of mobile games.
“The biggest highlight for us was that a large amount of people buying our merchandise (at Comic-Con) had never played our mobile games,” Vu said. “We see this as a good indicator that the Battle Bears brand appeals to a wide audience.”
Potential merchandising deals are just part of what’s on the horizon for SkyVu. The company, which Vu said is currently raising its Series A round, just entered beta testing with its latest game, Battle Bears Royale. Vu will demonstrate the game, which is scheduled for a September release, on Thursday at Cornstalks Demo Night.
“The response has been great so far,” Vu said of Royale, which will be a free download and allow up to eight players to play at once. “BBR is our first online multiplayer game and (we) anticipate it will be a hit with its unique, customizable characters and team-oriented gameplay.”
Battle Bears Royale, which is currently in beta, will be SkyVu’s first online multiplayer game. Screenshot courtesy of Ben Vu.
SkyVu’s most recent release, Battle Bears Blast, launched last month, reached the Top 50 Paid Games in the U.S. within a few hours of its release and was featured by Apple’s New and Noteworthy section in the App Store. SkyVu has since updated Blast to include a new Pirate-themed map pack and added several new objectives and achievements, and other updates are in the works, including seasonal updates for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. In the coming weeks, Vu said, Blast will be launching as a free game on Android Market.
Meanwhile, SkyVu is building a 3,600-square foot facility in Aksarben Village. Vu said the company, which is now 14 employees strong, plans to move into the new space by November and hopes its location will pay dividends. “Being located across the street from the University of Nebraska at Omaha,” he said, “will allow us to more effectively recruit and grow our workforce.”
While SkyVu’s plate is plenty full, the team took some time to enjoy itself in San Diego. Among the trip’s highlights, SkyVu appeared on G4‘s Attack of the Show with Kevin Pereira and Candace Bailey: in a comical skit, Battle Bear Huggable nearly hugged Bailey to death before Battle Bears Oliver and Riggs came to the rescue. So what SkyVu lacked in excess merch by Comic-Con’s end, the team more than made up for with everything else it brought back from the conference.
“Meeting our fans is our number one goal at Comic-Con,” Vu said. “Fostering these relationships with our core fans is critical to our success. It’s also rewarding for our team to see the end result of their hard work.”