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Baidu Index Surged for “Gods and Dragons”: Bracing for a Major Influx of Mobile Games

2013-07-17

According to latest statistics, the scale of China’s mobile game market has reached 5.87 billion RMB in 2012. The popularity of mobile games peaked in 2013, as the market experienced an influx of new games. Currently, around 300 game development teams in China have released some form of mobile card-battling games. Showering with the joy of overnight popularity, China’s mobile game industry will inevitably become inundated with homogenous games, thus bringing the already fierce competition to a higher level.

Partnering with CMGE China Mobile Game (NASDAQ: CMGE), FL Mobile announced its ambitious product for 2013 during the press conference. The much-anticipated “Gods and Dragons” is a card-battling game, which will be released cross-platform. Within a week of the announcement, the Baidu Index for “Gods and Dragons” surged more than 300%. The reason for the game’s extreme popularity, which has helped it beat out hundreds of others in the competition, lies not only in the superior quality of the game itself but also in the wise marketing strategies employed by its distributor. Some of the elements in the marketing strategies of “Gods and Dragons” are very important in explaining its success:

Cross-Industry Partnership with Celebrity Investors

Although celebrities have a long history of investing in traditional industries, merely a handful of them have taken interests to invest in the Internet industry. As the symbol of “positive energy”, Yu Quan, a pop duet hailed as the “King of Pop” in China, announced their first-time investment in “Gods and Dragons”, which made another headline for the game release. The investment from Yu Quan will not only help increase popularity of the game but also encourage more high-level players to participate in beta-tests for the game. The popularity of Yu Quan has had a positive impact on the advertising of “Gods and Dragons”. “There will be more creative collaborations across different industries in the future. The mobile gaming industry will borrow successful marketing strategies from the film, television and desktop gaming industries to improve their development and marketing initiatives. There are also possibilities for collaborations among different industries to market games in similar genres in the future”, said Ni Xianle, CEO of FL Mobile.

All evidence points to the fact that celebrity investment in mobile games is a huge event for the mobile Internet industry. Not only will the investment spark a round of heated discussion among the public, it will also encourage some of Yu Quan’s fans to start playing “Gods and Dragons”. This win-win strategy will undoubtedly bring enough media attention for both Yu Quan and “Gods and Dragons”.

Farewell to Lolita and Hail the Return of Goddesses

“Hot Girl Sponsorship” is one of the most common game marketing strategies. However, some attractive female players of “Gods and Dragons” are somewhat different from those of other games. Instead of the usual Lolita-style girls with images similar to subservient maids, they are now presenting themselves as confident but down-to-earth “goddesses”.

Shrewdly capitalizing on their “hot girl players”, FL Mobile published a post on its official Sina Weibo (@Gods and Dragons or @龙之召唤), revealing the weibo IDs and posts of 22 female players who are touted for their remarkable resemblance to the “goddess” prototype. The list of “hot-girls players” includes an impressive roster of Internet celebrities, multi-talented entertainers, commercial actresses, 20-something models, racing models etc. Unsurprisingly, the IDs of these beautiful female players have attracted overwhelming attention from male players, who enthusiastically praised the game for its “largest roster of hot girl players among all mobile games”. The ubiquity of physically attractive and financially well-off female players of “Gods and Dragons” has earned wholehearted admirations from male players, which helped to increase the game’s popularity.

The down-to-earth goddess image will make male players feel at home while attracting more potential players to the game. The current relationship trend in China sees some ordinary-looking men with limited financial resources (called “Diaosi” by Chinese netizens) winning over attractive girls. By publicizing “goddess” type female players, “Gods and Dragons” tries to stay connected to the current social trend, making the game more accessible to ordinary players. At the same time, the “hot girl strategy” also serves to revamp past images of similar-looking “hot-girls”, who have now transformed into outgoing, realistic-looking and down-to-earth “goddesses”.

FL Mobile’s Advantage as a Global Distributor

There is a popular saying in the mobile game market: “30% of the success depends on the quality of the product, while the remaining 70% comes from marketing and management”. Behind every successful mobile game, there is an outstanding distributor. With global distribution capacity and rich experience in global marketing, FL Mobile has successfully distributed many popular mobile games, including “QQ Royal Blade: FL Deluxe Edition”, “City of Splendor”, “Golden Maze”, “Fairune” etc.

The influx of new games marked 2013 as the year of exponential growth of the mobile game industry. The market share of a game is often determined by its marketing strategies. The entertainment marketing strategy of “Gods and Dragons” is an important first step to its eventual success, as the volcano of mobile games has erupted this year.

With a clear understanding of the characteristics of mobile games, FL Mobile employed entertainment-oriented marketing strategy. The sheer size and demographics of mobile game players has well surpassed that of client games and browser games, which traditionally place more value on their users. With more than 1 billion mobile users, China is the top market for mobile games that value user experiences. Given the fact that some users are out of reach by traditional media coverage, drawing influences from other industries to catch the attention of potential players is a far better marketing strategy.

The entertainment marketing strategy has successfully made “Gods and Dragons” stand out from the crowd. There is little doubt that all of the marketing strategies mentioned above were utilized in just the right way. Some of the characteristics of these strategies are:

1. Introducing celebrity investment. Celebrity investment is a hot topic for both the celebrity and the game. The amount of media exposure in both the entertainment and gaming industry will have long-term effect on promoting the game and expanding player demographics.

2. Social media interaction between attractive female players and ordinary players. The popularity of social media and casual games naturally asks for the integration of the two. As more “goddess” players come into the spotlight, players will become more addicted to the game, thus giving rise to peripheral industries.

3. Global marketing strategies utilized by the distributor have given “Gods and Dragons” a head start in the competition with similar games. With rich experience in global marketing, the high caliber distributor can ensure the quality of operation, which in turn promises a long enough life cycle for the product. The experience in managing user experience is what distinguishes it from ordinary distributors.

The influx of mobile games makes whichever survives the competition the best in the market. Mobile games will be the main player in the ruthless competition in the mobile Internet industry in the next two years. A great product with exceptional marketing strategy is the fundamental rule of survival in this industry.

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