China’s mobile gaming market has been seeing mounting competition since last year as more and more developers piled into the already crowded field after witnessing the revenue uptake of hit titles, a phenomenon driven mostly by an explosion over the past years in smartphones. A stats shows that currently there are more than 1200 mobile games available on the market, to survive in such a highly-competitive market, old-school marketing skills won’t suffice anymore, one has to take whatever it takes to come up with really creative campaign to appeal to players who are always under rivals’ marketing radar.
Beijing-based YouLongTeng, an up-and-comer mobile gaming company which was licensed to operate DOTA Baby developed by Korean developer APD Games, recently ambitiously announced a RMB 100 million worth marketing campaign in partnership with Focus Media, China’s digital and indoor advertising expert. Ads for the title would appear through Focus Media’s inventory including commercial location media network, in-elevator poster-frame network among others. Currently, interactive ads featuring the title made it to elevators in commercial buildings and apartments in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chendu and about a hundred of other Chinese cities.
According to industry watchers, this is for the first time in China gaming industry’s history that a company splashes over 100 million yuan to market a mobile title. Besides, it’s also a rare case for a game developer to adopt indoor advertising as its major marketing method.
In addition to the big money campaign, the game developer which was just founded this year also sought for other methods in promoting the title, namely a product placement in movie The Lost 5 Years, also a ground-breaking move and seemingly the first of its kind in crossover marketing between movie and mobile game title in China.
YouLongTeng’s DOTA Baby marketing strategy which consisting of in-door poster promotion and embedded marketing does shed lights upon on the status quo of local mobile gaming market which currently is filled with thousands of titles and littered with corpse of failed attemps. To stand out, you need to work on magic and think outside of the box in marketing strategy in this highly competitive market.
The newly founded developer, which was rumored to be owned by a gaming subsidiary of Qihoo 360, set a precedent in China’s mobile games marketing field that could be an inspiration to its peers as we should expect more crossover cases going forward.