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As the difficulty of buying and the high amount of buying have become the consensus of the industry, how to reduce the cost of buying has also become the direction that manufacturers have jointly explored. Casual games that regard the cost of buying as the lifeline undoubtedly have a more active and diversified attempt on this issue. For example, the “secondary gameplay” that GameLook has repeatedly reported before is a form of buying that has a very eye-catching effect on the user’s point of view.
Recently, GameLook noted that the overseas version of “X-Hero” issued by the domestic listed game company Glacier Network is ushering in explosive growth in the European and American markets, and the daily revenue of this card mobile game overseas has reached the level of 2-3 million yuan. What helps it achieve this achievement is the continuous development of the secondary gameplay in the game and the amount of materials bought.
More importantly, this model, which was once regarded as a “buying miracle”, is attracting the attention of more and more big manufacturers, such as a game recently tested overseas by FunPlus. All indications are that secondary gameplay seems to be becoming a new outlet for casual games to effectively reduce the cost of buying.
From parkour to cards, the Chinese market releases verify that the secondary gameplay is feasible
In theory, Clash of Spirits is a card placement mobile game with a typical American comic style. From this choice of themes, which are different from the more popular two-dimensional elements in the domestic market, it can be seen that the game itself should have the intention of going to Europe and the United States when setting up the project. But note that this is only “theoretical”.
In fact, whether it is the stickman-style game icon or the classic stickman parkour gameplay that first greets players after entering the game, the first impression of this game to the player is a standard ultra-casual game.
Only after completing two levels of parkour will the game screen change its style and turn into a card placement game with a strip-style dynamic vertical drawing. Although the two gameplay styles are very different, they are not unrelated, and players can get bonus content such as card hero fragments or character growth materials during the parkour process, which in turn drives the core gameplay process.
The reasons for this coupling are not difficult to understand. Stickman Parkour has always been the darling of players in the ultra-casual game market in recent years, similar to the gameplay of games in an endless stream, related to the amount of buying material in stimulating players to download is also quite effective. In contrast, the placement of cards in the Passion Clash of Souls is a serious scroll, and this gameplay itself is heavier than the ultra-casual game, and it is obviously not advantageous in terms of buying.
Therefore, through the coupling of the two ways of playing, both with the help of the eye-catching effect of stickman parkour to guide users to download and play, but also through the game’s own relatively good product quality to drive the player’s retention, once the player adapts to such a combination, its user stickiness and willingness to pay will obviously be higher than the simple stickman parkour.
Speaking of which, perhaps some readers have thought of quite a magical “Draw the Sign” creative. This kind of buying method, which is very popular in Europe and the United States, was once labeled as a defrauded consumer because of “hanging sheep’s head and selling dog meat”. In contrast, “Strife of the Holy Spirits” not only truly integrates the top-notch secondary gameplay in the creative into the game, but also complements the advantages of the main gameplay in terms of powder absorption and retention.
But considering that the ultra-casual players in the European and American markets have already seen this set, if they want to shine overseas, X-Hero obviously has to go further.
Before there is a fish to save the dog, the amount of buy can also be stylized?
Just as the domestic game icon hints at the stickman parkour side gameplay, X-Hero is equally mysterious from the naming to the icon.
Let’s start with naming. Single-handedly outlining the unique naming method of an X, it is easy for European and American players to associate with Marvel’s super popular IP “X-Men” series. The logical correlation between Hero and Men in semantics is also easier for players to have a clearer sense of style in this game. As for the dog that appears in the icon, it has become a weapon for the game to buy in the European and American markets.
The marketing theme of “X-Hero” in Europe and the United States is “Save the dog”. Around this theme, the stickman parkour in the game has also become the popular stick figure to save people. For example, in the following scenes, all the player needs to do is to protect the “dog’s head” from being stung by bees by drawing a path on the screen.
In fact, the player only needs to wrap the dog’s head with a closed graphic, basically you can pass the level steadily, but the freedom brought by stick figure allows the player to have more room to play freely, and also makes the already very magical “Save the Dog’s Head” more magical and easy to get on.
In fact, this kind of stick figure play is not a new thing, similar puzzle games that guide water or small balls to the designated container have long existed. However, through this magic dog head design that is very similar to the popular emoji expression “doge”, it undoubtedly makes the stick figure gameplay of “X-Hero” more stylized communication points and memory points, thus arousing players’ strong desire to explore.
Of course, using “save the dog” to create a marketing gimmick for the secondary game is not the first of “X-Hero”. Playrix, which can be called the “source of all evil” in terms of buying materials, has used “saving fish” to attract players. As another hit of the “Dream” series, Playrix has adopted a variety of secondary gameplay such as swallowing fish, pulling sticks and even parkour as buying materials in the promotion of the star match-3 game of “Dream Aquarium” (Fishdom), and their core theme is naturally to help clownfish become the ultimate survivor of the ocean.
Like X-Hero, these purchased materials were eventually really integrated into the game by Playrix, and the introduction of this sub-gameplay not only helped Playrix get rid of the accusations of European and American regulatory authorities, but also effectively improved the playability of the game itself, which is naturally beneficial to improve the user retention and payment of ultra-casual games.
According to the calculations of overseas industry insiders, the daily purchase cost of “X-Hero” in the five major channels is about 100,000 US dollars (about 710,000 yuan), while the daily new download volume reaches 200,000-300,000 times. The person also said that the most important buying area of this game is the United States, in addition to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland and other countries also have higher purchase investment, the determination to focus on the European and American markets can be seen.
In terms of effect, after adopting this purchase method, in the past 30 days, the daily revenue of this game has tripled, and now excluding the Chinese market, overseas daily revenue has reached the level of 2 million to 3 million yuan. Even considering the cost of other purchases outside of the five major channels, the game should be in good ROI for the time being and likely to continue to generate profits.
In other words, according to the monthly settlement convention of Apple and Google Store games, as long as the financial pressure of the first month of buying volume is resisted, this model can continue to be amplified, and for the listed company Glacier Network, which holds a large amount of cash flow, it is obvious that it has greater confidence and strength to take this game to a higher level.
Big factories enter the game, and the amount of secondary play bought or become the new normal?
While X-Hero was gaining momentum in overseas markets, GameLook noticed that FunPlus’ new game, Bullet Shot: Treasure Island Puzzle, which was being tested overseas, was using a similar model for buying attempts.
The game’s main gameplay uses a survival build + simulated business gameplay similar to 4X SLG, and players need to go through adventures on the lost Treasure Island, discovering treasures while constantly exploring, building and thriving their colonies.
But at the same time, in the specific level design, you can clearly see the figure of the secondary gameplay, this kind of full use of the reflection principle for the protagonist to design the ballistic route of the gameplay has also become an important means for “Stormshot” to stimulate European and American players to download and experience the game.
In fact, for the relatively heavier game category of 4X SLG, the feasibility of buying sub-gameplay has also been tested. In 2020, an old product called “Evony” changed itself from a typical vertical version of 4X SLG to an atypical puzzle game that integrates the gameplay of pulling the stick, that is, all the PVE levels in the game are changed to puzzle gameplay.
This huge gameplay and marketing change has also ushered in the second spring of this game that has appeared in 2016, and it has quickly returned to the Top 10 from 100 on the US iOS best-seller list, and the monthly turnover has exceeded 200 million. Today, “Evony” is still in the top 20 of the US best-seller list, and the vitality of the combination of pulling the pick + 4X SLG is evident.
So FunPlus’ attempt at Stormshot was clearly not a whim, but rather prepared. From X-Hero’s card placement gameplay to Stormshot’s 4X SLG, the main gameplay is undoubtedly one level heavier, but correspondingly, the degree of integration of the secondary gameplay has also been further improved. After all, for heavier, paid and deeper products, players will naturally put forward higher requirements for the quality of the game itself, and simply coupling the two gameplay together is obviously not enough to meet the higher requirements of medium and heavy players.
However, with the entry of more and more manufacturers and products, how long can this kind of sub-gameplay gimmick of buying materials continue to be popular will also be a problem that operators must consider. However, the common choice of the two games for the secondary gameplay also shows once again that after the coupling of the gameplay, the secondary gameplay can not only effectively reduce the cost of buying, but also show the strengths of the main gameplay and stimulate the user’s download, retention and payment. As for where the upper limit of the sub-game buying volume model is, it can only be left to the market to slowly test.
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