“No IP, no content” has almost become the status quo of the content industry. Competitors fight for high-quality IP. The trinity of film-TV play-game becomes a basic package. And mobile games fight for IP most fiercely based on many reasons. However, there is a great knowledge of making full use of the IP to operate mobile games, which is worth our careful study.
According to the Baidu index, adapted IPs mainly concentrate on 6 categories–game, animation, TV play, variety show, movie and novel. This article is to describe relations between hot IPs and game promotion from four angles.
Four major categories of IPs most favored by manufacturers currently
- IPs of books: the first choice of adaptation, attracting new users, good habits of users’ paying
Including traditional novels, network novels and animation; among them, the traditional literature IPs (novels) have the biggest IP value because of deep cultural background and accumulated fans.
The biggest characteristic of audience of this kind of promotion lies in:
- They are literate and have consumption strength. Most “Book fans” are not mobile game enthusiasts, aged between 12~40, with high cultural literacy, who are willing to pay a large amount for books. When books are adapted for games, they are more likely to support the consumption.
- Their retention rate is low, mainly due to low interest in games. But once the game is well made, their loyalty is often at the forefront.
In the early phase, they respond to advertising positively. But ultimately, retention relies on the quality of the game.
For example, Fantasy Westward Journey and Journey to the West have attracted a large number of audience and carried out overseas promotion smoothly, as a result of exquisite production.
- Adaptation of films and TV plays: a great method to attract female players which is a huge group of audience whose paying ability need to be tested.
Audience of films and TV plays and players of games overlap a lot. Their ages and characteristics are similar.
Whether schedules are synchronized and whether marketing can share resources are the differences between video IPs and other IPs. If videos and games can be implanted into each other in the early development stage and the contents match each other brings up high profits but also requires strictly development and operation of the game market.
The retention rate of pure “book fans” and pure “video fans” is lowest. The retention rate of pure “fans” is highest, determined by their cultural quality and personality factors. “Users of three crossover types” are main users for games, with the highest activity degree, the highest retention rate and the most easily-moved feelings. The scale of audience is largest. It’s in the climax that other categories can’t reach.
For example, Ghost Story along with LOVE O2O has a great promotion during the hit period, attracting a large number of audience.
Ghost Story is derived from Gu Man’s LOVE O2O (hereinafter referred to as LOVE). The advantage of LOVE is its plot guided by the game. Not only do the scenes and characters of the game reproduce in the virtual world in the play, but also the characteristic of the game–”bride-snatching” is introduced in the play from the point of view of the game developers:
In the meantime, posters of the performers in the play specifically tailored for the characters of the game style are promoted in the play synchronously.
In the early stage of TV play broadcast, Yang Yang, spokesperson of Ghost Story and leading actor of LOVE propagandized Ghost Story on his Sina Weibo, attracting fans to respond positively. It is thus obvious that NetEase have set overall arrangement for the operation of Ghost Story for a long time.
During the broadcasting of Ghost Story, TV commercials and cut-in commercials of online video websites are almost all advertising of Ghost Story. Up to now, the promotion of Ghost Story still carries on with the heat of LOVE and the adverstising conversion effect is very considerable. The timing and hot spots are grasped rapidly and accurately.
The interaction between TV shows and games is not just a simple cross-border interaction. The timing of the IP operations needs to be accurate. The best node to do online and offline propagation is undoubtedly before and after the broadcasting of the TV play.
- Old-line game IPs regenerating IPs; continuation of feelings and innovation of gameplay fighting one’s way out
The adaptation of the classic game IPs is a “shortcut” to success, discovered by traditional manufacturers of traditional mobile games with higher ARPU. Take “Contra Returns” for an example. This game was born in the period of the family computer. The two tough figures have accompanied most of childhood of the post-80s and early post-90s. 30 years later, Tencent cooperated with Japan company KONAMI to bring this game filled with yearnings on the mobile game market, by the introduction of genuine sequel Contra Returns. This game continues to use the original characters and the classic boss. And the position of the characters in loading page is also consistent with the original work.
Through SocialPeta, promoters of Contra Returns mainly play the nostalgic cards well. One single sentence has evoked childhood memories of game players. The whole marketing strategy takes this route, instantly flooding the screen and lighting the nostalgia of game players.
The pictures of Contra Returns are more delicate. 3D effects and scenes of fine rendering have stronger visual impact and higher quality experience. In addition, the introduction of a new story, various weapons and props categories, the increase of game characters, provide wider choices to game players and create more combat experience. A variety of combat modes, such as open battle mode and qualifying promote the spread of the game with social attributes.
The introduction of these innovative elements will undoubtedly inject new blood into the old IP, keeping the old IP fresh while increasing the playability of the old game. The endorsement for big IPs can attract attention quickly in the short run. Innovation and re-creation based on the original IP operating under the nostalgia of players, is one of the winning tactics of long-term operations.
- The variety IP, regeneration is also a technical work!
Popular TV shows and catchphrases become favorites of fate in the network era. The mobile game of Where Are We Going, Dad? has been on the hot search lists of Apple store and Google play for three successive quarters. The network TV show of Mars Intelligence Agency also wants a share of the mobile game market. The simple operation game adapted from the sentence “certainly choose to forgive her” of Forgive Her also reached the popularity achievement by flooding eight servers.
The audience of the variety show IP are fans of shows or “lookers-on eating melons” (which means people who keep a watchful eye on what happens without expressing their own opinions). The variety show has its own natural advertising platform, but the life cycle disappears easily with the heat of derivatives. So, the life cycle is very short and the maximum value needs to be dug out in the peak period.
From the macroscopic point of view, the flooding phenomenon of IPs is the necessary condition to realize good “fan economy”. As an extension of the entertainment industry, games and TV shows, literature and other products are bound to permeate and help each other.
I. Where is the value of the IP?
A high-quality IP can help the game attract a large number of users at the early stage and save promotion costs. The conversion rate is 3 to 7 times to games without good IP, and the income doubles.
- IP is making the world view of the game build faster
The playability of a game depends on whether the world view is constructed completely. And games with IP usually has a complete and logical world view.
- IP reduces users’ learning costs
IP allows players become familiar with the product quite soon, making the game characters more recognizable, increasing the sense of substitution and sense of engagement, thereby increasing the users’ stickiness.
- IP brings stunts to attract fans
IP can provide a very good publicity stunt, which can not only promote the original IP fans, but also differentiate the game from the general ones.
- Dual effects of fans and well-known writers, with more paying ability
Die-hard fans will pay for the contents of the novels and they are more likely to pay for games than ordinary players.
- The work has been verified by the market, easy to catch target groups—young users’ preferences
The serial novel has been proven by the market with low risk coefficient and the popularity of the IP can increase new users. Besides, Chinese online literature reflects the needs of young people to the greatest extent, coinciding with target users of the game extremely highly.
- IP attracts the attention of channels
IP is already a standard for a game. If a game has no IP, it can’t attract the attention of channels or recommend seats.
II.How to make good use of IP in game promotion?
How to make the game be worthy with the high IP royalties?
Pay attention to the following elements
- The heat of IP: the value of the IP varies, so everyone is fighting for hot IPs.
- The timeliness of IP: an IP has a certain timeliness. Grasping the hot spot and the timeliness of the IP promotion is the key.
- The difference in developing the IP value: If an IP is reused, or divided up many times, the surplus value is very little.
- The culture attribute of IP and the integrating degree of game: many manufacturers have good cards in hand but play badly. One of the reasons is that they neglect the process converted from the original IP carrier to the game carriers, with a lack of awareness of the difference of the two kinds of medias, causing irreversible damage to the original text content essence and making the core group of fans unable to accept it.
- Fully studying the original IP user groups: a common problem is a lack of understanding the essence of the IP thoroughly, causing a tepid interest. Players who love the original work want to participate in the plot of the game. The Journey of Flower is a hermit play of killing demons, very suitable for ARPG mode. The audience of TV show Nirvana in Fire are slightly older, but the game mode is the younger type, unable to meet the demand for the original work experience. So, they are very different in performance on the list. Even with an high-quality IP, fine operations are still needed. Different users have different paying characteristics and habits. Respect them fully in the promotion and operation!
Water can carry a boat, and can also overturn it. We should be good at developing the best value of IP—continuous self-replication and self-growth potential. The work is the source of the IP. The film and the TV play are the best amplifier of transmission. The game is the best cashability at present. Only synergy and collaborative efforts, rather than simple authorization and transfer, can grow and sustain an IP.