The epidemic last year caused travel restrictions, which further promoted the shift of offline entertainment represented by chess and cards to online. Many chess and card game products have achieved gratifying sales results. Some listed companies that promote chess and card games also ushered in performance in the first quarter. A good start”. Chess and card culture is rooted in the soil of traditional Chinese culture, which determines its very long life cycle. In addition, the close relationship between online and offline, as well as the unique local market for chess and cards, still has room to be tapped in the future.
When I was young, when I mentioned playing cards, my first reaction was “you do your homework well at home, and I will come back when I go to play cards.”
But now, when it comes to playing cards, there is only one sentence echoing in my mind, “Pour a cup of cappuccino for Auntie!”
Last year, the epidemic caused travel restrictions, which further promoted the natural shift of offline entertainment represented by chess and card games to online. Many chess and card game products have achieved gratifying sales results. Some listed companies that promote chess and card games also ushered in the first quarter. A good start to the performance.
According to the data of Analysys Qianfan, in February 2020, the monthly activities of the top chess and card games “Happy Landlord” and “Tencent Happy Mahjong Collection” reached 70.15 million and 32.75 million respectively, and “Tencent Happy Mahjong Collection” reached double digits. Increase (11.4%).
During the Spring Festival this year, under the measures such as in-situ Chinese New Year and crowd restrictions, board games are expected to maintain inertial growth, but due to objective factors such as version number restrictions, it is difficult to make major breakthroughs.
Compared with other types of games, the typical characteristics of chess and card games are low development threshold and low cost, while the gross profit rate can be maintained at about 90%, which is comparable to Moutai, and is considered a real profiteering category.
Since the resumption of version approval at the end of 2018, the regulatory environment for the board and card game industry has become increasingly strict, and the industry has been cleared and reshuffled continuously, showing a clear Matthew effect.
In this context, those chess and card game companies that have survived and tried to re-enter have begun to change their playing styles. The industry has shown two obvious development trends. One is to move closer to the mainstream and deepen the “national people” of chess and card games with the idea of IP operation. A sense of “participation”; the second is going to sea to earn a living, targeting potential markets such as Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, India, and Southeast Asia.
At the same time, chess and card games are also following the development and evolution of the times, from PC to mobile, from middle-aged to young people, from entertainment to social, from pure game products to national competitive competition…
Nowadays, under the main theme of regularization, the chess and card game industry, whether it is product micro-innovation or event operations, is constantly deepening its cultural attributes.
And it is precisely because chess and card games are rooted in the soil of traditional Chinese culture that determines their life cycle can be very long.
The important thing is that the close connection between online and offline, as well as the unique local market for chess and cards, still has room to be tapped in the future.
Invisible Moutai in the game
Cultural attributes + social attributes
Chess and card games are really one of the few puzzle game categories that can be participated by the whole people, and they have a strong offline cultural soil and recreational scenes.
Take Mahjong as an example. If you ask people in a province or region in China who don’t like to play Mahjong, the answer is undoubtedly: No.
The charm of mahjong not only exists at the level of game mechanics, but also embodied in a wide and solid mass base. It was once called the “quintessence of the country” and rose to the emotional dependence of the group.
For example, when the earthquake came, they were still playing mahjong calmly. “The earthquake is coming!!! Ah, ah, run away—” “Don’t make a noise, have you seen the market? No one is allowed to leave after this lap.”
For another example, when the flood came, I still played mahjong peacefully.
“It’s flooding!!! Ah, ah, run away—”
“What’s the matter, put up the mahjong table and soak your feet by the way.”
In short, it is one sentence: The troubles in this world are nothing to do with me, I just need to play mahjong.
In addition to self-cultivation and training of will, Mahjong can be said to be completely free from time and space constraints, and its application scenarios can be extended to any place.
And this mysterious oriental force has also attracted the attention of the luxury jewelry industry, forming a cycle of culture and consumption.
As the luxury jewelry industry has continuous demand for global brand marketing, in the Asian regional market where China is located, every Chinese traditional festival such as Spring Festival and Qixi Festival, you will see many luxury brands launching series with Chinese elements. Product.
However, these festival limited items often appear to be “stepped on thunder”, and are “perfunctory” and “ugly” by complaints, and many consumers do not buy it.
For luxury jewelry, it is not easy to make a good Chinese style and maintain the brand tone.
But there is one thing that almost never rolls over, that is: Mahjong.
At the end of last year, Tiffany launched a mahjong suit, priced at about 137,000 yuan, limited to 20 sets worldwide. The Mahjong suit is equipped with the iconic “Tiffany Blue” leather case and artificial suede interior. The leather box contains mahjong tiles, scoring sticks and dice, and is made of sterling silver, American walnut and leather.
The Mahjong suit quickly became popular on Instagram. At the same time, it also triggered a discussion among users on the comparison of “luxury jewelry mahjong”. Coincidentally, brands such as LV, Hermès, Gucci, Cartier, Prada and other brands have launched mahjong suits, making Mahjong change. Become a “status symbol”.
For example, Tiffany&Co. Mahjong set (price is about 137000 yuan) (picture below)
LV Mahjong Set (price is about 523,000 yuan), Hermès Mahjong Set (price is about 277,000 yuan), Gucci Mahjong Set (price is about 20,000 yuan), Cartier Mahjong Set (price is about 329,000 yuan), Prada Mahjong Set (price is about RMB 329,000) About 26,000 yuan).
Chinese New Year-Golden Week of Board Games
Chinese New Year, summer vacation and October are often the highlight moments of board games.
In other words, playing cards is not necessarily the ultimate goal, but it is indeed the glue for people across ages, circles, and regions.
The download volume of online chess and card game products during the Spring Festival has increased significantly.
According to Qimai data, during the Spring Festival holiday period of 2018-2020, the average ranking of “Happy Landlord” on the app store game (free) list is 7, 11, and 9; during the same period, the average ranking of “Tencent Happy Mahjong Collection” For 7, 9, 8.
If you push the previous month, that is, 30 days before the Spring Festival holiday in 2018-2020, you can see that the average ranking of “Happy Landlord” on the app store game (free) list has dropped significantly, being 11, 11, and 25 respectively. ; Over the same period, the average ranking of “Tencent Happy Mahjong Collection” also dropped to 17, 16, 42.
The length of entertainment has also increased in tandem with downloads.
Whether offline or online, chess and card games are inherently addictive. The core rules are simple and easy to understand. However, every game is full of uncertain factors, coupled with the element of luck, circulation system and social attributes, players It is easy to have active stickiness to the game.
Analysys Qianfan data shows that in January 2020, the total usage time of card and board game users ranked first, accounting for 44.12%. Board and card games are still the category with the highest user exclusive rate, and 14.7% of mobile game users only play board and card games. , Instead of playing other categories of games.
All these have promoted the chess and card games to show their super ability to attract gold during the Spring Festival.
According to SensorTower data, in the top 10 growth value of China’s ios mobile game revenue list in February 2020, “Happy Landlord” ranked 5th, and “Tencent Happy Mahjong Complete Works” ranked 10th.
Many manufacturers have also released new products taking advantage of the popularity of the Spring Festival traffic. For example, the chess and card mobile game “Little Beauty Fights the Landlord”, which was launched during the Spring Festival last year and was developed by Yaoji Technology and exclusively represented by Ohayoo, a casual game platform owned by Byte, was promoted with “buy volume” +Content marketing” strategy quickly went out of the circle and became the dark horse of the Chinese New Year game. It topped the free list for 10 consecutive days, with daily activity exceeding 1 million and daily advertising revenue of about 1.5 million.
Some listed companies involved in the concept of chess and card also ushered in a wave of market during the Spring Festival. For example, Kunlun Wanwei’s market value increased by nearly 10 billion in the first month of last year, and the stock price of Yaoji Technology has increased by more than 100%. The two executives of the company During this period, it reduced its holdings of approximately 200 million yuan in shares.
The popularity of board games during the Spring Festival will continue to a certain extent after the year.
30 days after the Spring Festival holiday in 2018-2020, the average ranking of “Happy Landlord” on the app store game (free) list is 7, 13, and 14. Compared with the ranking during the holiday period, there is no significant decline. ; Over the same period, the average ranking of “Tencent Happy Mahjong Collection” was 7, 9, and 11, almost the same as the ranking during the holidays.
According to gamma data, compared with the boom in January last year, most categories in the mobile game market declined to varying degrees in February, but the flow of board and card games increased by 10% compared to January. Although there are accidental factors for extended holidays, the popularity of board games has indeed lasted longer than the market generally expected.
Some analysts believe that the version number is indeed a key factor in the development of the chess and card game industry. Many companies are aware of this and are exploring multiple monetization models such as advertising, short video, and live streaming to drive the growth of performance. Companies and local chess and card companies still have the opportunity to go public.
For the industry as a whole, Byte and Kuaishou’s layout of the game market is expected to boost the casual mobile game track and open up a path for realizing chess and card game advertising. As the global mobile game market continues to grow, and the cost of buying cars in emerging regional markets is lower, chess and card games The game has a huge space to go to sea.
Beyond the data, the opportunities and trends of board games
On the whole, chess and card games are still a more controversial category. Therefore, the understanding of chess and card games, while seeing the self-adjustment and innovation of current chess and card games, cannot avoid the fixed patterns and gameplay accumulated in past history. understanding.
Dongxi Games believes that in the long run, the basic board of board and card games will remain at a higher water level. Under the big DAU attribute and regulatory policies, the industry may enter the stage of intensive cultivation. In addition to events, live broadcasts and overseas, It is also an option to integrate into a young culture.
Two sides in one: the basic gameplay and rules of board games
Before the version freeze in March 2018, chess and card games were very popular.
In February 2018, just before the freeze, a total of 472 domestic games were approved. Among them, there were more than 150 chess and card games with the words “Mahjong” and “Fight Landlord”. Among them, there were many companies that passed the review at once. For example, 66 chess and card games such as “Zhongzhi Ganyan”, “Zhongzhi Fengcheng Mahjong” and “Zhongzhi Dexing Mahjong” developed by Qunyou Technology have obtained the version number at the same time.
With some differences in details, most online chess and card games have similar playing methods and rules.
Chess and card games are very special. Its online and offline linkages are very obvious and close. At the product level, board games are generally divided into two categories: national board games and local board games.
Among them, the national board game is characterized by relatively uniform gameplay rules, which can be accepted by most users across the country. For example, the national mahjong game is more inclined to the two game modes of Sichuan Mahjong and bloody battle. For example, Doudizhu, a chess and card game with less obvious regional differences.
Local chess and card games vary according to different rules of play in different regions. For example, in addition to Sichuan Mahjong, Mahjong also includes Changsha Mahjong, Guangdong Mahjong, Wuhan Mahjong, Nanjing Mahjong, etc. These games may be counted and called. There are differences in the method and the way of ending the game, but the core rules are generally similar.
There are generally two modes of chess and card games, namely, the strange game and the acquaintance game.
The Health Bureau generally adopts a random matching model, and the profit methods are mostly paid items and recharged virtual currency. On this basis, the acquaintance bureau has added a room card game method, which is similar to the charging form of the offline chess and card room, and is more common in localities. Chess game.
However, the room card mode is the easiest part of the board game to reach the red line. Some chess and card games do not simply use room cards to exchange for profit, but combine online room card points with offline red envelope cash, using a multi-level agency approach, and the group owner will participate in room card sales, promotion, and rake. Some even organize card games to encourage offline fund settlement and transactions, which greatly increases the risk of gambling.
In 2016 and 2017, when the board game was hot, many manufacturers used the room card model to “get rich overnight”. Previously, Xianlai Mutual Entertainment had made a profit of 280 million yuan in 8 months, using WeChat to inform users. Selling a room card of 3 yuan, the game itself has no in-app purchases and no ads.
In fact, this model requires a first-mover advantage. Generally, an agent establishes a relatively stable and mature group owner system in the local area, and will not easily transfer to other platforms. The replacement cost of the game platform is very high, not only the owner alone Switching costs, the migration cost of users managed by the group owner is higher, so the earliest wave of manufacturers ate dividends, and some companies even successfully rushed to the capital market and obtained high valuations.
Correspondingly, the gray area of the room card model has caused some manufacturers to move their minds to carry out illegal activities such as gambling, especially in local cities, third- and fourth-tier cities, and sinking markets, bringing great impact to families and society. Hidden dangers.
A study in the Journal of Social Sciences and Medicine showed that more frequent social activities are associated with better mental health, and urban middle-aged and elderly people who play Mahjong are less likely to feel depressed. But mahjong has nothing to do with the mental health of the elderly in rural areas. The study added, “One hypothesis is that in rural China, playing mahjong is more competitive and sometimes becomes a form of gambling.”
The important thing is that most middle-aged and elderly people have limited understanding of mobile devices, and have certain acceptance barriers to the operation of online board games and the krypton gold model. Some board games that are simple in design and spread through private domains are more affected by the sinking market. Middle-aged and elderly users are welcome.
Mainstream chess and card game manufacturers choose to actively avoid them to reduce the risk of gambling. In 2018, Tencent’s various board games including “Tencent Happy Mahjong”, “Guizhou Mahjong”, and “Happy Fighting Landlords” removed the “Friend Room” mode, and “Tiantian Dezhou” also closed the entrance to the game group mode.
Micro-innovation, mainstreaming, going to sea: the adjustment and status quo of chess and card games
However, since the review of the game version number was resumed in December 2018, the State Press and Publication Administration has disclosed over 2,000 domestically-made games review information on its official website, but there are almost no traces of board games.
Especially in 2019, the chess and card game industry entered the winter overnight. Although some competitive chess games such as gobang, chess, and flying chess were reviewed during the period, there was no chess and card game such as mahjong and poker. Lianzhong once reported in the annual report. Mentioned that 2018 is the most challenging period for the company. As an important part of the company’s business, the domestic board and card game business encountered significant industry regulatory resistance that exceeded expectations. The “Poker Mass Mahjong Game Software V1.0”, which passed the review in December 2018, will be “the only chess and card game software that passed the version number review in 2019” as a promotional highlight after its launch.
The tightening of the policy is intuitively reflected in the continuous wave of “shutdown” of board games.
In 2018, Tencent shut down its head chess and card game “Tiantian Dezhou”. In the first half of last year, news of the closure of chess and card games frequently appeared. Local chess and card games “Hunan Mahjong”, “Bashu Teahouse”, “Hu Lai Le Mahjong”, “Qianyou Guizhou Mahjong” “Youle Jiangxi Mahjong” and others have announced the suspension of services and even the permanent shutdown of the server.
In the context of supervision, the entire board and card game industry is approaching the mainstream direction of compliance, competition, and youth.
IP labeling moves closer to the mainstream, event + live broadcast “stalk” out of the circle + brand co-branding = pan-entertainment of chess and card games
In July 2015, Tencent Chess announced at the strategic conference that it would invest 20 million tournament prizes to create various online and offline professional tournaments, including tournaments, finals, charity tournaments, and master exhibition tournaments. In the same year, the first Tencent Fighting Landlord Championship (TDT) kicked off.
Today, the TDT finals prize pool has risen from the initial 200,000 to 1 million. Throughout 2020, TDT will hold a total of 8 monthly games and 1 annual finals, with a total of 9 line-to-ground games. More than 450 advanced players were selected to participate in online regular games, online direct games, and cooperative games.
At the same time, chess and card games have a strong randomness, which is very suitable for the live game scenes, and is easier to create a circle. Many anchors have created epic scenes on “Happy Landlord”, and the dramatic effect is full. .
At the end of last year, “Happy Landlord” officially announced the first celebrity spokesperson-Guo Qilin. In addition to posters, promotional videos and other materials, the game also launched a free gift of Guo Qilin’s customized suits.
Previously, “Happy Landlord” had launched joint cooperation with brands such as Hailan House, Cha Cha Nut, Jiao Nei, Hey Tea, MINISO.
Recently, “Happy Landlords” and the Rainbow Chorus officially launched the new year theme song “Good luck in the beginning”.
Taking the initiative to go to sea, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, India, and Southeast Asia have become the best battlefields for chess and card games
Chess and card games choose to go overseas, mostly because of domestic version restrictions and severe regulatory environment. However, in most overseas markets, the gaming industry is thriving and there are almost no problems with policies. It is important to localize games and work hard at the operational level.
According to EGBA data, Europe, Asia/Middle East, and North America each account for the top three online gambling market shares. From the perspective of the development of global gambling games, emerging game markets such as Brazil and Argentina are driving the advancement of gambling games in the Latin American market, while the Asia-Pacific region is driven by population growth and emerging markets such as India, Thailand, and Indonesia, where Internet penetration is increasing. , Leading the development of gaming games throughout the region.
Generally speaking, the United States is the main market for board and card games. Players have a high paying ability, but at the same time the cost of acquiring customers is also high. Therefore, it is a battlefield for large manufacturers, and small and medium manufacturers can only stay away.
In contrast, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, India, Southeast Asia and other regions are more suitable for the development of small and medium manufacturers. Among them, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have lags behind the mainland in the development of the mobile game market, and at the same time, it is easier to perform game localization. In addition, the overall market is more inclusive, and the customer acquisition cost is generally lower than that in North America, which has become a lot of domestic chess cards. The first choice for gaming.
Source: Dongxi Cultural Entertainment