For 1980s babies, “Punch-Out!!” on the Nintendo Entertainment System was a legendary game. But for Mike Tyson, it turned out to be nothing but a “bad” business deal.
In 1983, Nintendo first released “Punch-Out!!” and ultimately obtained the rights to add Tyson’s name to the game in 1987 (which is when it became “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” and coincided with his rise in the boxing world).
And needless to say, the game flew off the shelves the minute Iron Mike replaced Mr. Dream.
“It broke all the records,” Tyson said to VladTV (via Atlanta BlackStar). “We anticipate them doing a new one too. They were discussing taking me out of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, and it was a hailstorm of negative reviews for that, and so we’re contemplating doing it with someone else, and no one can be angry, and then we can go our separate ways happy.”
While the game certainly did do numbers, Mike Tyson claims he did not get paid appropriately.
Atlanta Black Star reports “According to his Vlad TV interviewer, Zab Judah, the company gave Mike Tyson $50,000 for three years with no royalties, but Nintendo made $1.7 billion.”
However, Mike Tyson recalls different numbers and says it wasn’t the best deal.
“Hey, that was a bad deal, but I don’t think it was 50 G’s,” Tyson said in the VladTV interview. “I think it was $1.2 million or something in that range but it was just a really bad deal. I didn’t know nothing about business, what the hell.”
For those looking to get into the video game industry in 2022 and beyond, the numbers are certainly there for their participation. In 2021, it was projected that by 2026, the global gaming industry would have a value of over $300 billion, according to a report on Yahoo.
The Business of Video Game Licensing
While Iron Mike may have gotten the raw end of the “Punch-Out!!” deal, today’s video game licensing deals can yield quite a pretty penny for those who participate in them.
IGN recently broke down the dollars and cents of video game licensing, and they revealed that popular skateboarder Tony Hawk was paid by Activision for the exclusive rights to his name and likeness for their video games.
CNBC went into more detail and said that Activision’s initial offer was a “$500,000 buy-out to put his name to one of its games,” but Hawk held out for a longer-term deal.
The video game bearing his name went on to generate more than $1.4 billion in sales, and Hawk’s licensing deal lasted until 2015.
See what happens when you trust your instinct?