At the end of last month, a new tour that squeezed into the top 100 best-selling list in South Korea attracted my attention. This game called “갑부: 장사의시대” is obviously stylized, and its artistic performance has a strong national style. At first glance, it is easy to think of “Qingming Shanghe Tu”, and the gameplay is simulated operation.
It is understood that the manufacturer behind the game is Sanqi Mutual Entertainment. The traditional Chinese version is called “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper”, which has been launched in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and has broken into the top ten best-selling games in the three places.
About a month ago, “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” was launched on the Korean market, and it immediately dropped to the 60th place on the best-selling game list. After that, the overall ranking showed an upward trend, and finally successfully broke into the top ten on February 21.
You know, it has been a long time since a new game from a Chinese manufacturer can achieve such results in the Korean market. In addition to Sanqi Mutual Entertainment, in the past month, only Tencent, Mihayou, Lilith and FunPlus have been able to break out of a crowd of Korean MMOs.
This result, coupled with the stylized and obvious appearance, made me curious about it, so I decided to check it out to see how this game performed and how it successfully broke through in the Korean market.
1. The traditional kernel under stylized packaging
After experiencing it, I found that this game has a relatively traditional gameplay framework.
The core goal of “Call Me the Big Shopkeeper” for players is to make money. Based on this, two main gameplay systems are derived, one is store management, the other is family development, and then connected through a revenue bonus mechanism. .
As a businessman, players can only build commercial-related buildings and cannot change the layout of the buildings. Therefore, the business goal is relatively simple, which is to unlock shops, and then increase output by recruiting men, upgrading buildings, and cultivating doormen. The doormen here are similar to the role of card development, grades, levels, and skills are all available.
After the player earns more money or meets certain conditions, he can unlock new shops, and the cycle goes back and forth (you can continue to develop in other cities later).
Once you have set up a business, you can start a family. The development system revolves around the mansion. After the player has certain assets, he can purchase his own mansion and open the marriage and heir system at the same time.
The mansion will become more and more luxurious as the property increases. Wives or husbands will also become more and more (duo) affectionate, and upgrade their skills to improve the efficiency of making money; upgrade their ranks can improve the rank of offspring; obtain offspring by favoring them, and when they become adults, they can marry other people. All of this will eventually affect the player’s income.
If you have played some financial development games, you should not be unfamiliar with this gameplay. “Call Me the Big Shopkeeper” is essentially a product that breaks through through stylized play within the framework of the existing gameplay. Compared with the internal gameplay, the theme and art style of this game are obviously more bright.
The game also handles some details well, and the more advanced character drawing has dynamic effects; the CV has made a geographical distinction, which is shameful. In addition to Mandarin, I can only distinguish Cantonese in the traditional Chinese version; the city interface will have People in the market are engaged in various activities to add life.
In general, the external packaging of “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” is quite particular, but the essence is still a relatively traditional game.
2. Familiar buying method and detailed localization work
After roughly introducing the game, let’s take a look at what other attempts have been made in terms of purchase volume and localization of “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper”.
After comparing several popular videos, I found that these materials especially emphasize the importance of “choice” (although the game’s selectivity is not strong). For example, the following video provides pawnshops and buns shops. The protagonist who wants to make money quickly chooses the pawnshop, but because he has no eyes, he regards a divine beast as an ordinary sheep and refuses to pawn and loses his fortune.
Another piece of material tells the story of the protagonist who opened a pub with a loan and was blocked because of choosing to sell fake wine.
Not only emphasis on choice, these materials will also add copywriting such as “test your business acumen.” You may have seen similar routines in certain purchase materials for “crisis and promotion” or “puzzle solving”. They all use some inductive words, and then use the failed ending to attract attention, achieve an exciting effect, and let the player Thoughts like “This is it? Let me do it.”
Some materials will also focus on themes, such as emphasizing “the only ancient business war RPG.” Sometimes even the gift code is directly used as promotional copy, or the video emphasizes how good the game benefits are.
In South Korea, “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” also specially invited South Korean actor and singer Ren Changding as the spokesperson to shoot the promotional PV for the game. Except for one shooting tidbit, the other four were developed in the form of sitcoms, all about Ren Changding “airborne” to people worried about money, using this game to let them “get rich”, and emphasized “getting money fast.” “Easy”.
Although the purchase amount of “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” is a bit simple and rude, it can capture the game theme and player psychology to output, and hit the “critical point” directly.
In addition to inviting local celebrities to endorse, the localization of the game is also more concerned. This refers to not only the spokesperson style mentioned above or the most basic language localization processing, but also the actual content changes.
Comparing the traditional Chinese version and the Korean version, it can be seen that the game has modified the image of the characters who went to defect in the early stage of the game.
Not only that, some of the gatekeepers in the game are also corresponding to the market “special edition”. For example, the characters in the picture below only appear in the Korean version, and the design has elements of Korean mask dance and fan dance.
For these “facade projects”, the efforts made by “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” are worthy of recognition.
3. Sanqi Mutual Entertainment in Transformation
“Call me the big shopkeeper” is actually a microcosm of the transformation of Sanqi Mutual Entertainment. Before mentioning it, we can always think of various ARPGs with big wings, but in the past two or three years, Sanqi Mutual Entertainment is also actively demanding changes, but your perception may not be that strong at present.
At the Fifth Anniversary Meeting in 2018, the management put forward the concept of “diversification”; in December last year, Liang Rong, director of investor relations of Sanqi Mutual Entertainment, discussed the company’s operations with a number of foreign institutional investors and analysts from the research team of securities firms. When communicating the situation, they also emphasized that their future goals are diversification, youth, and diversification.
At the same time, “going out to sea” has also become the key to its long-term development. According to the financial report of Sanqi Interactive Entertainment for the first half of 2020, the company’s overseas business revenue in the first half of the year was 969 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 95%, and the proportion of overseas revenue to total revenue increased to 12.13%.
In the past year, 37 Interactive Entertainment has achieved good results in many games in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. In addition to the “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” mentioned above; the eradication mobile game “Puzzles & Survival” with the theme of doomsday survival successfully squeezed into the Sensor Tower “Top 30 Chinese mobile games that successfully went overseas in January” last month; in addition, The light MMO “Song of the Clouds” has also entered the forefront of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan bestsellers.
Simulated operation, match three, and MMO. These products are different from the ARPG that 37 Interactive Entertainment was good at before, indicating that the “diversification” strategy it said has set sail; at the same time, the outstanding performance of some games overseas also shows It has found a way to “go to sea” that suits itself.
In the future, Sanqi Mutual Entertainment will certainly continue its “diversification” strategy and regard overseas markets as the key to opening up new prospects. At that time, Japan and South Korea may be a good springboard.
Fourth, the rising Japanese and South Korean markets
In addition to South Korea, I found that “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” is also actively preparing for the Japanese market. Obviously, Sanqi Mutual Entertainment will not give up another big market “in front of the door”.
Facing the domestic market that has already entered the era of stocks, going overseas has become the choice of more and more manufacturers. Especially in the past one or two years, traditional manufacturers like Sanqi Mutual Entertainment have also begun to actively explore ways to go overseas.
The United States, Japan, and South Korea are the three major markets for going overseas. According to the “2020 China Game Industry Report” released by the Game Working Committee of the China Music and Digital Association (GPC), the United States still accounts for 27.55% of revenue, and it follows closely. Next are Japan and South Korea, accounting for 23.91% and 8.81% respectively.
At the same time, the pattern of going overseas has been quietly changing in the past two years, and the Japanese and South Korean markets have seen a clear upward trend.
According to SensorTower’s data report, last year, China’s top 30 mobile games in overseas revenue attracted a total of US$2.8 billion in the Japanese market, an increase of 81% year-on-year. It has surpassed the United States to become the most popular overseas market for Chinese mobile game manufacturers.
The Korean market also has huge potential, achieving nearly 30% year-on-year growth in the past two quarters. Q4 revenue reached 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, a record high. Among them, 40 Chinese mobile games were shortlisted in the Top100 Korean mobile game bestseller list, the highest record in recent years, attracting nearly 300 million U.S. dollars, accounting for 24.6% of Top100’s total revenue.
Japan was once known as the “Game Island”, this label does not seem to be suitable for it, and the door to the Korean market is gradually being opened. Many “veterans” going overseas have begun to turn their bows, and emerging manufacturers are also willing to devote more energy to these two “front” markets.
This phenomenon has a certain inevitability. From a market perspective, the United States has entered a relatively late stage of development, and new entrants have to face a market with fierce competition and relatively few opportunities; for the authorities, the overall market is not sufficiently expandable and develops. The space is also small.
As mentioned earlier, the Japanese and South Korean markets are the largest overseas markets after the United States, and are still on the rise. It is not difficult to understand how to increase the strategic weight of these two markets.
In addition, from a cultural perspective, since the cultures of East Asian countries have a certain degree of commonality, it is easier to find a compromise between the aesthetics, habits, interests, and even value orientations of the player groups. For example, the art style and subject matter of “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” is obviously more popular in East Asia.
To be sure, these two “front” markets will receive more attention from overseas manufacturers.
According to Qimai’s data, in the past month, only Mihayou’s “Original God”, Tencent’s “PUBG Mobile”, Lilith’s “Awakening of Nations”, FunPlus’s “State of Survival” and “Call Me the Great Shopkeeper” “Able to enter the top 10 best-selling games in Korea.
Through differentiated themes and stylized packaging, coupled with more refined details polishing and localized promotion and operation, it can also make a more traditional core game shine. Apart from other things, only from the market performance, the game of Sanqi Mutual Entertainment can undoubtedly serve as an example of successful overseas trips to South Korea for our reference.
Source: Something about mobile games