Briefly talk about why game companies want to build their own IP

In recent years, there have been various discussions about “IP”, such as “IP development” and “IP operation”. In general, it is all kinds of work to build IP.

However, as the frequency with which related concepts are mentioned has increased significantly, various articles on the topic of the media will be published every three to five. Therefore, some netizens have begun to ridicule, saying, “Contemporary China, especially some mobile game companies When it comes to’IP creation’, it is nothing more than making some low-cost and cheap derivative animations, comics or novels, and then looking for the media to write a few press releases to post. The content is to brag about the company’s future concept of creating the’XX universe’. Finally, find an opinion leader in the relevant field to come out and say a few words and it’s over.”

Such remarks may not be entirely correct, because we have reason to believe that some large companies do have their own thoughtful thinking behind their “IP creation” work, and they have well-educated management with rich experience and resources in the game industry, or It is that they can cooperate with top consulting companies (or they may find very good consultants at a high price), so they can ensure that each step of their work has a clear purpose.

However, it is undeniable that some teams with relatively scarce resources and poor information acquisition have a certain degree of blindness when carrying out “IP building” work, and the goal behind it is relatively vague or even just to “follow the trend” and do this work, such as “The big factories are all doing IP building, and the media, big and small, are also talking about IP building every day, so of course we have to follow up.” There may also be some teams who think that “IP building” is entirely a matter of large companies, and has no real benefits for themselves, so they directly choose to give up all. These two extreme cases are unreasonable. The author’s personal view is that the work of “IP creation” is now a matter of concern for normal game companies, and the reason is that it will be discussed today. topic of.

So let’s talk about the three main purposes of “IP creation” in the author’s eyes.

1. Self-protection

In the long river of game development in the past few decades, many companies have indeed suffered because they did not do a good job (or even did not do it at all) related to IP building. Some of them have indeed been in “product development”. It has made some achievements and has its own well-known series, but due to the neglect of IP development, players’ expectations for follow-up products have fallen, and the entire series has lost its stickiness to players, which leads to whether it is its own fist. The product has entered the so-called “recession period”, or a “rollover” has appeared in the development of the series, which will put the entire enterprise in a very dangerous position.

The following is a simple explanation through two examples.

The first is the “Stone Age” which can be regarded as a “phenomenal product” in the early part of this century. Many people will easily find two problems when reviewing this product:

  • Plug-in flooding
  • “Banknote Warrior” is too powerful

At that time, players who played “Stone Age” must use the plug-in. If the plug-in is not used, the “quick battle” mode cannot be turned on. The battle that originally took tens of seconds will be compressed to a few seconds by the plug-in function. It’s done (because it can prevent you from entering the battle screen), as an early online game, “leveling” in the game content of “Stone Age” accounts for a huge proportion, and “grouping for leveling and fighting monsters” is even more important. The choice of most players, if you don’t use a plug-in to form a team, it will lead to “one person wasting most people’s time”, so the captain will unceremoniously kick non-plug-in users out of the team. No plug-in is used in this game. It will be difficult to move. (Moreover, functions such as speeding up movement, teleporting, and meeting enemies in place will also produce dependence after getting used to it)

The plug-in program of “Stone Age” at that time, the function is quite perfect

In addition, the “commodity pets” in the game, that is, pets that require krypton gold to buy, are too powerful compared to the “native pets” that can be obtained in the game. If you say that the first “raising sheep benefit package” The black antelope is just an acceptable test of the water, so the subsequent “Nian Beast”, “Mechanical Leopard”, “Warcraft”, “Moon Rabbit” and so on have reached the level of “destroying the game environment”, players Pets such as “Green Storm” and “Yellow Tiger” that were captured and cultivated by spending time, energy and card points earlier were quickly eliminated. Later, as the frequency of commodity pet updates became higher and higher, the frequency of elimination also increased. Players It’s a matter of time to give up the game if you can’t bear it.

Later, the game company also realized the problem and began to try to make up for it. For example, the cheap paid props “Lijika” added props with functions such as “teleport, meet the enemy in place”, and started to develop some plug-in programs. Action; and more powerful native pets such as “Golden Tyrannosaurus” and “Deep Sea Shark” have been added to the new iterative version, and the pace of launching commercial pets has been moderately slowed down. But this hardly had any effect at the time, and players were still losing quickly.

3 yuan a “Laijika” can draw teleport feathers

One of the reasons why it was too late to fix the problem is that “Stone Age” was regarded as a pure “game product” at the time. The official hardly did any “IP creation” work. In fact, the “Elven King” in the background The background of “” and the several roles that players can choose (male and female “douding”, “hat girl”, etc.) can expand more stories and present them through carriers outside the game. If the player has feelings for IP, So basically, game companies will be given some chances to “fix bugs” (you can recall whether there have been many games in the past few years because their IP has a fan base, so the user volume and turnover are still not affected after the operation accident. Bone damage?),To put it more directly, the work of “IP creation” actually provides a higher “fault tolerance” for the subsequent development and operation of products. “After players are harmed by game products or services, game companies can rely on players Feelings towards IP get additional opportunities for remedy” This is probably the case.

At the same time, the exposure of IP in the public eye is also a manifestation of “self-protection” in a subtle way., This allows people to access various content related to the game outside of the game, so it can be considered that the total time people spend on a certain IP has increased. For example, I am a player in the “Street Fighter” series. When I learn that related animation works are online, I will take the time to watch it during non-game time. This time is the extra time I invested in Street Fighter IP. Many people in the industry have a common view that whoever can occupy more players’ time in the contemporary era has a greater chance of surviving. The quality of each generation of products like “Celebrity Volunteer” is basically good, and games that do have strong IP expansion potential are buried because of the company’s early years of negligence. It is indeed regrettable.

The IP of “Star Volunteer” actually has the potential to tap

In addition, after the IP has a certain degree of maturity, the game company can try more product routes “more securely” in the future..If you expand this part, I think“Under the premise of not doing any IP creation work, players will hope that the game type of the series products can be’one-off’, and the risk of’innovation’ of the sequel products is higher; but after the IP is created, players can accept the same One IP derives multiple categories of products”. Because from the cognitive level, players will think that the former belongs to the same “whole”, and the changes between each work should not be too large; they will think that the latter belong to the creative “material”, and the official can use these materials to create products of different categories. .

Let’s also give an example. The “Toy Soldier War” series released by 3DO that year used to be the childhood memories of many players, but they didn’t do any IP creation work. They were just treated as a series of pure game products and fell in 3DO. After the new company took over the project, the newly launched product “Toy Soldier War: Saki War” (2004) has made drastic changes-from the previous real-time tactical game to a shooting game. Because the players themselves are very resistant to changing the game category in the series, and the quality of the products is not too hard, the “Toy Soldier War” series basically fell into the abyss after the “Saki War” and never returned. Mainstream stage.

Traditional “Toy Soldier War” (left), “Saki War” (right)

But on the other hand, the “Resident Evil” series that has been working on IP for many years, even though the 7th and 8th generations are a bit “incompatible” compared with the previous ones, they even have to face the “impact” of the 2nd and 3rd generation remakes. But it did not arouse too many players’ dissatisfaction, because everyone has already acquiesced that “the official can use Resident Evil IP to make different forms of products”, even if there has been a popular product like “Operation Raccoon City”, it is not It will cause damage to the entire series. In contrast, the “Dark Angel” of the “Tomb Raider” series almost became the finale of the series due to its disaster-level performance. It was silent for 3 years and replaced After the development team, “Tomb Raider: Legend” finally got its reputation back.

This is probably the self-protection effect of “IP creation work”.

2. Expanding influence

Unlike the previous role that favors “defense”, this part basically belongs to the role of “IP creation” in “offensive”.

As mentioned above, almost all game companies in the contemporary era have clearly realized that players’ money, time, and energy are limited, so when a certain IP occupies more of the player’s attention, then It means that the attention occupied by other IPs will be reduced, and based on the algorithms of various contemporary websites and platforms, the “information cocoon room” is quite easy to form. If the player frequently searches for a certain keyword, the more relevant information is recommended to him. For example, if you often search for “Mortal Kombat”, then the information recommended by the platform will also have a lot of content related to “Mortal Kombat”. The probability of the player being exposed to other games is reduced, so a certain IP In this way, he completed his “expansion” invisibly. (So ​​the game company needs to build its IP to be colorful, and use publicity channels to attract others)

The most intuitive manifestation of “influence” is various data, Such as the number of daily/monthly active people in the game, flow data, the number of online and offline viewers of official events, the popularity of various game data, the number of fans of official accounts of major platform game companies, and so on. Game companies can use these data to allow the capital market to increase its valuation, thereby gaining access to better capital resources, and thus having more opportunities for investment and financing. This belongs to expanding their influence in the capital market. Nowadays, many Everyone knows that it is relatively slow for game companies to iterate through product iteration and scale expansion through the accumulation of revenue and wealth, while investment and financing can be regarded as an “accelerator” for team and project development, which can be used for a considerable amount of money. Funding to complete the so-called “barbaric growth” in a short period of time, we can often see similar descriptions in the technology media five or six years ago.

It can be seen that some mobile game companies are very good at “building with small” in terms of “IP building”.In short, it means to rely on its own newer and less famous IP to “link” with major manufacturers, or classic and well-known IPs, although such operations may be done economically in the short term. Make some concessions,However, in the long run, such linkage activities are backed by first-line products of major manufacturers or old classic IP.(For example, there have been cases of linkage between domestic mobile game companies and Ubisoft’s IPs before. It is a classic “big game with small”, which not only makes the existing player group more stable, but also attracts a group of domestic and overseas players. new player),The gains of the small IP party in “propaganda and drainage” and “familiarity improvement” are undoubtedly huge(Not only can it attract the attention of more new players, but it can also make old players feel the progress of the game itself, thereby generating self-confidence, so it also takes into account the role of “retention”).

Although expanding influence does not completely mean “direct realization”, if the data reaches the level of attracting capital markets, then you can embark on the road of “barbaric growth and then make big money”——A larger team, better resources and pipelines, more sophisticated products, richer product lines, greater economic benefits, and a higher level of influence……

That’s why it is said that expanding influence is another important goal in the “IP building” work.

3. Direct economic benefits

In addition to the two goals of “self-protection” and “expansion of influence” mentioned above, IP can of course also obtain direct economic income after being built, and the amount of this part of income is directly related to the influence of IP itself. The connection may be more complicated than some people think. In general, there are three most common ways to obtain direct economic benefits through “IP creation”.

First, the sale of various peripheral products of the game.For example, what we can often see is that mobile games in the two-dimensional category will produce figures, clay dolls, pillows and other peripheral products for sale; there are also many “universal goods” that can be made in all categories of games, such as keys. Buttons, themed T-shirts, notebooks and backpacks, etc. These products will basically be more expensive than mainstream products on the market, and some prices will even be doubled. For example, ordinary keychains can be purchased for only a few dollars, and the possible price of a pendant with a certain game character will be It rises to twenty to thirty yuan.

In the eyes of bystanders, or “outsiders”, they think that the extra price they need to pay is equal to the “IQ tax”, while for IP fans and in-depth game players, they think this part of the price is a “feeling tax” or “hobby” “Tax” category. Of course, if you put it in a better way, this part can be called “the added value that is easy to be judged subjectively.”It can be simply understood in this way-the game IP is added to a certain product and becomes part of the added value of the product, but this part of the added value will be transferred according to the subjective will of the customerFor example, a water bottle with the theme of “Sonic the Hedgehog” will have a higher added value for fans, but for ordinary people who just want to buy a water bottle to drink water, it has no meaning, for those who are disgusted. For the people of “Sonic the Hedgehog”, it will even become a “point reduction”; on the other hand, those high-tech drugs, which condense the knowledge of countless scientific researchers and their time, so such added value will not Due to the shift of the customer’s subjective will, it is an absolute “high value-added product”.

But in any case, using game IP as a value-added product is easy to achieve “low cost and high profit”, but the sales volume of the product is closely related to the influence of IP. It can be considered that “influence is the player A manifestation of the degree of recognition of IP value”.

Second, launch joint products across industries.This part is actually what many game companies want to do, but it is relatively difficult to implement, but there are already many examples for our reference. A little bit “longer” there is a joint event between “World of Warcraft” and “Coca-Cola”. The content of the event is relatively simple-some WOW characters are printed on the bottle of Coke, and then the cap of the Coke has a redemption code. The event page can be redeemed for various rewards, such as game time and so on.

The linkage between “World of Warcraft” and Coca-Cola

In recent years, there has been more and more cross-border cooperation, such as the joint clothing launched by “Pokemon” and “Uniqlo”; the joint instant noodles launched by “Tomorrow’s Ark” and “Nissin Ramen”; and “Yuan Shen” and The linkage made by “KFC” not long ago became a hot event at the time.

Of course, this can also directly contribute a certain amount of revenue to game companies, but apart from that, I personally think that the role of “promotional promotion” cannot be ignored. At present, most of the IP reputation in the game industry (especially in China) cannot match the traditional On the same level as the enterprises, the traditional enterprises mentioned here refer to beverages, instant noodles, fast food restaurants, etc. On the one hand, because games are highly vertical products, while the verticality of traditional enterprises is not so high, even with prefixes. “Original Cola, Tengjiao Beef Noodles” has a very wide audience; on the other hand, traditional companies have more diversified publicity channels. For example, they can use “TV” as a mass-oriented medium for publicity, while game companies Due to restrictions, basically choose a few relatively fixed publicity channels, and these channels themselves are for the “player” group, it is difficult to attract the “non-player group” (even if the game adopts the “offline promotion” method, its Propaganda efficiency also lags behind TV).

So for the “cross-border cooperation” of domestic game companies, this layer should be seen——Due to the limited publicity methods, game companies that need to expand more customer sources cooperate with traditional companies that have a more “flat” user base, and use the added value provided by their own IP as a bargaining chip to jointly launch co-branded products or activities. In order to increase sales or profits, and ultimately achieve a win-win result.

To be able to achieve the above goals, it is clear that the influence of the game IP itself is the most important indicator, which is mentioned before in the article, and it will be reflected in the data such as “daily activity, monthly activity, and turnover”. Said “Expanding influence is an important basis for IP realization.” However, although it seems simple, combined with the various news in recent years, the big IP can not be completely “whatever you want”. For example, in 2018, the virtual girl idol group “KDA” that Riot has made great efforts to create is in the follow-up. It’s just that they have cooperated with “Pepsi Sugar Free Cola” and “Logitech Peripherals”, but neither of them can be regarded as “the perfect partners”. After all, “KDA” has a particularly obvious label:

  • trend
  • Woman
  • young
  • Gaming

“Pepsi-Cola” has a low degree of expression of the label, and the cooperation between peripheral manufacturers and game companies is too “traditional” and lacks breakthroughs (the era when the G League is still alive, there is a voice that is “When will the giants in the traditional industry become e-sports sponsors” Business, when can e-sports things be done?”), “KDA” will not officially announce the joint news with Uniqlo until May 2021. I think it may be that larger companies have more detailed assessments of the added value of IP, such as “The influence of the LOL event and the influence of the KDA virtual idol” will be evaluated separately, so no matter how beautiful the viewing data of the “Global Finals”, it is difficult to impress each other.

Third, get investment and financing with excellent IP.This is actually the most important thing to test the top executives of game companies, especially the founders. In addition to the data mentioned before that can reflect the influence of game IP, the “growth rate” of related data will also become Quite importantly, the funders are more interested in those “high-speed growth” teams, which can be understood as an investment in “potential” or “future”. So obviously, in addition to the growth rate of data and data, the senior team’s description of the future blueprint of the entire project is also very important. If the perception on this point is too vague, then even if the project looks proud Data, but possible investment and financing matters will still be out of the question.

Although the funds that can be obtained in this way are very abundant, if there is negligence in equity, contracts, etc., the development direction of the project may no longer be completely in the hands of the original high-level team, and the work created by IP will naturally be affected. influences.

The above are several common methods for “IP building” to obtain direct economic benefits.

Source: Qinghuahui Game Encyclopedia


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