Starting with KaKu-San-Sei Million Arthur, two-dimensional games have gradually received public attention. With release and gradual growth of IP of manga and Chinese cartoon in recent years, two-dimensional games usher in their booming days. In addition, Onmyoji and Honkai Impact made more impressive achievements last year, which makes two-dimension become one of indispensable mainstream elements in game industry. However, it’s worthy of our continuous exploration about how game makers conduct market arrangement of two-dimensional games and obtain popularity with more game players.
Characteristic analysis of two-dimensional gamers
- Younger-age trend
Part of users born in the late 1980s and after 1990s and 2000s become main groups of two-dimensional games. The proportion of game players under the age of 24 is approximately 70%, marking an obvious trend of younger age.
- Concentrated in coastal megacities
Game enthusiasts are mainly concentrated in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. However, as a whole, the degree of concentration of coastal megacities is higher than that of inland areas.
- Rational consumption model
If being enabled to feel diligence of game makers, game players are willing to pay the bill for high-quality games and extremely rational.
- Fond of sharing and happy to make propagation
Core gamers do not only have high viscidity but also are fond of sharing and happy to make propagation. Utilizing word-of-mouth promotion to create divergent chains from inside to outside, they make contribution to promotion, thereby attracting more gamers.
- Gathering in vertical channel
Core gamers prefer to gather in particular channels. However, a large number of two-dimensional users still exist in traditional channels.
- Strong capacity for charging money
Expenditure of active users in single month for Onmyoji is 5 times of that of Arena of Valor. Gamers of The Idol Master charge money frequently for the purpose of owning this card on account of loving certain role. Strong capacity of two-dimensional users for charging money has been verified by a series of two-dimensional games.
Marketing strategies of two-dimension
- Creative materials catch the eye of gamers
In view of game features, publishers devote themselves to build two-dimensional brand images such as single character, virtual combination, large collection of characters, using creative materials with diverse styles to add more vitality to game.
1) Introduction to single role of such attributes as attack, life, defense and velocity including voice actors and costume stimulates games to unlock new game roles.
2) Combination of virtual reality strengthens immersive sense of games.
As making promotion in Japanese market, NetEase specially invites a popular Japanese actress named Haruna Kawaguchi to shoot TV advertisement. She acts the part of a girl traversing into Heian period from real world, meeting another herself over there. Imagination and special effects bring another wave of flow.
Intricate scenarios and extremely cool fighting scenes allow gamers to place themselves in game scene fully and delightfully with completely immersive sense.
3) Japanese animations are accustomed to large collection of characters at the ending or beginning and have an extremely complicated and magnificent scene. Onmyoji also utilizes such a technique: characters are gathered and ostentatious game screen is interspersed in the middle with very tight rhythm. The whole advertising film is thick and heavy in colors with obvious characteristics of two-dimension.
Two-dimensional game is mainly dominated by role characteristics or rendering of scene about selection of picture materials to highlight exquisite two-dimensional painting style. Girls’ Frontline with painting style themed by girls’ firearms directly catches the eye of the people fascinated by military science and firearms, giving gamers extremely cool impression. It improves transformation effect of advertisement to some extent, grasping accurate content of materials.
- Participation of voice actors with strength to dub in background music
In order to attract two-dimensional gamers with preference to Japan, Onmyoji invites a famous Japanese voice actor to dub in background music: Sugiyama Noriaki presents loneliness and indifference of Seimei Abe vividly and Kugimiya Rie reveals innocent kindness of Kagura in a lifelike way. Expressive force of Japanese voice actors stirs up countless people, allowing Onmyoji to obtain a great deal of supporters.
Dream Book recommended recently by App Store also knows it very well, inviting well-known domestic and Japanese voice actors for dubbing in the whole course. Switch of Chinese ancient and Japanese dubbing at any time provides gamers with choice. That is more humanized.
3.Pattern of stage play + bullet screen of gamers
Requirements of social contact and self-identification enable bullet screen to become new favorite of video. Onmyoji makes scenario become pattern of stage play in a creative way, which does not only bring abundant game experience to gamers but also allows them to appreciate up-and-down scenario. Additionally, gamers can send bullet screen when watching it, not only delivering their own comments and thoughts but also teasing about scenario. As an innovative mode, bullet screen adds fresh elements to two-dimensional mobile game undoubtedly and conforms to fashion of young people.
Popularity of every game is not achieved in one action. Onmyoji explores current trend and characteristics of game fully and appropriately, adopting such innovative mode as stage play and bullet screen. Such approach to give game awarded marks provides reference for other creativities of game as well.
- Marketing of accurate users, channel is king
Two-dimension is a market segment in the field of mobile game, which determines that the scale of two-dimensional enthusiasts appears “minority” relative to other types of gamers. However, it is worth noting that core gamers are highly centralized and prefer to gather in specific channel. For example, CHANCE chooses such well-placed vertical channels as Baidu Post Bar and TapTap convenient for communication of users to really reach core gamers at the time of promoting Girls’ Frontline.
It’s cannot be underestimated that a huge number of two-dimensional users still dispersedly exist in traditional channels. Because such channels as Facebook and Audience Network own detailed information of users, Girls’ Frontline chooses high-quality two-dimensional users for release in virtue of these channels to win more loyal gamers for game.
5. Offline “nuggets”, online “Taobao”
Annual ACG exhibition is the “nuggets” to expand two-dimensional users and one of the most primary channels as well. During Labor Day this year, number of people in ACG exhibition reached unprecedented new height. For example, YOOZOO took Touken Ranbu –ONLINE- to appear in such four offline ACG exhibitions as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Hangzhou during the vacation. The unique marketing mode of offline exhibition does not only expand group of gamers but also lifts activity degree of core fans.
While offline activities are held in full swing, bilibili (B station) devoting itself to two-dimensional culture and entertainment community is loath to lag behind as well. On the occasion of the eighth anniversary of celebration of B station, Azur Lane launches the activity that extremely beautiful skin of warship in the version of B station can be obtained as long as request of activity is satisfied, which attracts numberless fans. B station also becomes “Taobao” in which publishers expand two-dimensional users.
- Ip + game: the most promising development mode
IP is a basis of two-dimensional games because IP of animation, novels and games often has strong accumulation of fans through years’ practical accumulation and reduces the cost of promotion, becoming the most promising development mode. According to the statistics, top several two-dimensional games in the best-selling list are still those well-known IP of animations.
Of which, popular overseas IP is mainly dominated by Japanese one. For example, Naruto, One Piece and Slamdunk have a great impact on two-dimensional users. It’s found through a search from SocialPeta that game video advertisement customized for protagonist of Naruto has a highly good volume of interaction for only several days of being online because mobile game originates from sufficiently popular IP of animation.
Except for popular IP dominated by Japanese animation, domestic animation grows gradually with pan-entertainment. In addition, it’s more down-to-earth in China and receives a higher sense of identity from gamers. For example, three classical domestic IP such as Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Swordsmen also make a great achievement.
Mobile game Fantasy Westward Journey adapted from “senior” client game Fantasy Westward Journey 2 is highly uniform with the version of client game in the scenario and background of game, which brings increasingly high popularity to mobile game.
As a whole, high-quality two-dimensional game grasps creativity of materials, voice actor, channel promotion, IP and content of other aspects in a comprehensive way based on full understanding of two-dimensional gamers, making use of marketing and users for deep operation of two-dimensional market to seek breakthrough.
What should be considered about promotion of two-dimensional games?
- Localization shall be strengthened in the process of importing overseas products to overcome “unacclimatized” symptoms.
- Two-dimensional gamers are firstly attracted. Propagation made to pan two-dimension in a word-of-mouth way is a key to enlarge order of magnitude of gamers. However, there must be high-quality products to reach this purpose.
- It’s easy for two-dimensional users to gather in vertical channel (currently dominated by B station). However, cover area of users in traditional channel is much larger and its role cannot be ignored.
The emergence of a series of hot cakes has verified the boom of market of mobile game. However, China’s two-dimensional games are seriously homogenous in such aspects as game scenario and core playing method. If a two-dimensional game wants to cater for more gamers, it must grasp characteristics and preferences of core gamers and listen to their emotional appeal carefully, based on which diversification and maturity of two-dimensional games are facilitated. Game developers are needed to develop more high-quality two-dimensional games so as to stimulate greater vitality of market. The publishers carry out a series of targeted marketing and interaction, taking advantage of word of mouth to “Amway” effect. I’m convinced that it will not be unreachable any more for two-dimensional games to be elevated to a new height in such a two-pronged way.