MAY 15, 2020

We produce custom items, and are often asked how far we can go with them.

As a creative studio, we like to push our limits. We’ve worked on a huge number of custom item projects and have produced video game controllers, custom consoles, PCs with amazing new skins, branded headphones… the list is endless.

Custom items are a bit different from our limited editions. Limited editions are manufactured in relatively high numbers and are a great way to bring more attention to a game in general, providing returns beyond the financial and sparking conversations online.

Custom items are a little bit different, though. Custom items are one-offs and are produced in low runs, typically far lower than 100 units.

That can create challenges, too. The vast majority of factories won’t commit to producing runs of, say, 50 custom units. The typical minimum order quantity (MOQ) is often 3,000 units. It isn’t worth it to them operationally, logistically or financially to go lower.

So, we have to be creative and provide solutions in other ways. We never duck a challenge though; for custom item projects with a low run we bring the project in-house where our talented team (with eco-friendliness in mind) will use 3D printing techniques and other creative approaches to provide a factory-grade finish.

Just some of our custom item projects include… 

Planet Coaster’s ‘Slimer’ PC: Frontier Developments had partnered with Ghostbusters to have their IP and its characters included in Planet Coaster. A competition prize, we created a ‘Slimer’ skin that could be affixed to custom PCs for fans to win. 3D printed and with a luminous artistic finish, the design was featured across key gaming press titles, doubling as great marketing exposure for Planet Coaster.

43einhalb custom console: In collaboration with Xbox DE and German sneaker specialists 43einhalb, we created 10 exclusive custom Xbox One S consoles as part of a competition to celebrate Nike AirMax’s anniversary. Each limited-edition case included a pair of Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 Elephant sneakers, alongside an Xbox One console and two controllers customised with a unique ‘Atmos’ style. 

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers console: If it has a flat surface, we can add an incredible amount of detailing to a custom project. Our Shadowbringers PS4 console and controller is the perfect example. A competition prize, we were able to combine an airbrushed background with key printed elements to create a bold Final Fantasy-themed design with the Warrior of Darkness commanding centre stage.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider custom console: The rarity of custom items and the effort that goes into them is a great marketing tool itself, as SQUARE ENIX found with our Shadow of the Tomb Raider custom console. We created a Mayan temple-inspired custom Xbox One X and controller that were auctioned for the Best Friends Animal Society. The console’s level of detail and eventual sale for $7,600 saw it covered by global mainstream press.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice custom console: Designed to be displayed at Activision’s internal PR events were our dozen custom Sekiro Xbox consoles and controllers. They could also be won in competitions and wowed gamers the world over; the custom console was topped with Wolf’s Mortal Blade, with a highly-polished wood effect covering the Xbox.


Like everything and anything in the marketing process, though, custom items can carry various pros and cons depending on the size of the brief, your budget and other factors that you may not have thought of.

So, what are they, and what’s the best way to navigate them to make your custom collector’s project a success?

The pros and cons of commissioning custom items

Below are some of the most frequent questions we hear from clients when it comes to custom items and collector’s editions, and our responses:

Q: Aren’t custom projects time-consuming? Won’t it delay the wider launch and cause sequencing issues?

A: Issues could indeed be caused – if you partner with an unreliable provider. As we’ve mentioned in our previous post, it pays to work from the end of the project first (outlining your key goals) and working back to the beginning, to highlight every single part of the process to make sure it’s delivered on time and to the highest quality.

As an experienced creative agency with over a decade of providing custom items to clients, we know what works best and have strong relationships with top manufacturing talent. We also take each and every project on its merits, too; we will work extremely closely with you to not only make the project seamless and affordable to you, but to make sure it blows the expectations of your target audience.

Q: What about the look and feel of the product? How can you ensure each item is as perfect as the last on the production line?

A: As above, we can ensure an incredible end product not just because of the relationships we have with our manufacturers and suppliers, but because of the lengths we go to to create a strong relationship with our clients. Our solution – from initial concept to final delivery – is all-inclusive, and totally tailored to your needs and budget.

We will take that work from your shoulders so you can concentrate on other aspects of the project. We will work with you to get the assets we need (including working with an agency if you don’t have 3D assets), logistics, custom clearances, paperwork, and more. We aren’t only about creative ideas; we’re also about managing the whole process and everything in-between.

Q: This is our first time commissioning something like this. Will it look cheap, and how many units do we order?

A: The ‘cheap’ point is exactly why custom items with us are such a good investment. The entertainment market is flooded with merch that can be best described as junk. Creating something premium and unique as press kits and limited editions doesn’t just raise the bar; it shows your market that you actually care about them, their interests, and want to reward their loyalty to your brand. 

Many are also surprised at how affordable custom items can be. Based on a run of 500 units, average items cost about €5-€8 to produce and look better than anything on the shelves today. That may not seem like much, but in the manufacturing world, it’s a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, and sets you apart from the rest.

Less than 30 units would equal a 3D-printed manufacturing solution, while 200-500 units would likely use a silicone mould. We’d recommend your minimum order quantity (MOQ) be 1,000 units; it’s a good number and can help keep the edition ‘limited’, increasing hype for its rarity amongst your fan base. Additional units can also be turned into press kits with minimal effort if needed, getting you more from your initial budget.