Recently, a lot of new mobile games ushered in public beta, and careful analysis of these mobile games, it is not difficult to find a situation, that is, many of them are Japanese IP authorization and Sino-Japanese cooperative research and development models, such as “Ghost Weeping: Battle at the Pinnacle” and “Saint Seiya: Legend of Justice”, “One Piece: Passion in Blood”, “Sword Art Online Black Swordsman: Ace”, etc., even appeared in the top ten iOS best sellers at the end of June. Many such games.
Not only that, in the top 200 iOS best-selling lists, we can also see “Contra: Return”, “King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Battle Online” and other games that have been launched for a few years can still occupy the list. Of a location.
In addition, some new mobile games announced in the first half of this year are also in this model, such as the two mobile games “Random Story” and “Metal Slug: Awakening” announced at Tencent’s annual game conference this year. Previously announced the “Dynasty Warriors” that appeared at the press conference.
So, why do Chinese game companies like Japanese IP so much? Why is this cooperative model favored by many game companies now?
The long-term accumulation and value of Japanese IP
One of the most important reasons why Chinese game companies will look at these Japanese IPs is that these IPs have been accumulated for a long time. For example, the first generation of the Ranch Story series was released on the SFC platform in 1996, and it happened to be 25 this year. Anniversary, and the first generation of the Metal Slug series appeared on the arcade in 1996, and this year has also gone through 25 years of history.
Not to mention the fond memories that the Three Kingdoms series and the King of Fighters series have brought to players for a long time in the past.
A long time means that this IP can attract more user groups, and it may attract post-80s, post-90s, post-00s, and of course post-70s and post-10s are also possible.
Because of the accumulation of so long, the elements and content that can be used when adapted into a mobile game can be said to be very rich, and it can even be said to be inexhaustible.
For example, IP such as “Saint Seiya” and “One Piece”, there are countless wonderful characters that have appeared in animations and original comics. Just updating a few new characters every month can run for a long period of time. Time is up.
The same is true for the Pokémon series. I am afraid that few people can say clearly how many works have been released in the past so many years without consulting the information. How many different Pokémon appeared in it is also a big problem, no wonder Tencent has to spend a lot of effort and resources to win Pokémon’s IP to make derivative works such as the MOBA version and the 3A masterpiece. Just making some of the first-generation classic characters can make players play for a long time.
Time is money, and money is efficiency.
It should be said that many domestic game companies are actually working hard to make original IPs. For example, “Tomorrow’s Ark” and “Yuan Shen” are such typical examples, but it takes too long to cultivate such an original IP, like Miha Youhua It took so many years to create the two big IPs, the collapse series and the original God.
So for some game companies, in the case of trying to cultivate their own IP, borrowing some famous Japanese IP to develop related works is a beautiful thing, and some of the experience can also be used in cultivating their own original IP in the future. It is the best of both worlds.
Complementary advantages of China and Japan
The current model of cooperation is a typical complementary advantage for China and Japan, which can give play to their respective strengths.
The first key is that Japanese game companies have more urgent needs for adapting their IPs into mobile games, but they are often powerless.
Take falcom as an example. The company’s two largest IPs are the Ys series and the track series, but because falcom has a very limited number of employees, and for many years this company has maintained a small-scale operation. Form, just creating the sequel of the track series and the Ys series is too busy, so we can only let interested Chinese game companies take charge of research and development through the form of IP authorization, and falcom only needs to send a few people to supervise the details. That’s it.
Therefore, we can see that Falcom’s “Ys 6,” “Ys 8”, and “Sensor Trail 3” are currently authorized to domestic game companies to develop related mobile games.
The more complicated situation is capcom. Unlike falcom, which does not have the ability and resources to develop mobile games, capcom has also launched many mobile games through self-research, but most of them failed. Later, capcom had to change its strategy. , Almost no longer conduct independent research and development, but license IP to external companies for development, and Chinese game companies have obtained many of these authorizations, such as “Street Fighter: Duel” and “Devil May Cry: Battle of the Peak”. The product of ideas.
This is because Japanese game companies hope to use these IP-authorized mobile games to expand the greater influence of the IP itself and achieve an ideal situation for user conversion.
In addition to expanding IP influence, Japanese games can also obtain a lot of profit from IP licensing. For example, SNK licensed the King of Fighters IP to China’s Palm Fun and the “King of Fighters 98OL Ultimate Battle” created after playing the crab. The huge success has made SNK’s own market value several times higher. The “Three Kingdoms: Strategic Edition” authorized by Guangrong Tecmo to Lingxi Interactive has also caused a great increase in the market value and income of the two years ago.
For Japanese game companies, licensing IP to Chinese companies has so many benefits, and one IP can also be licensed to multiple companies, no matter from which level it is a good thing, naturally it is becoming more and more enthusiastic.
The second key is that Chinese game companies have excellent R&D capabilities and market experience, but currently lack more powerful original IP.
Chinese game companies have ushered in a big explosion in the mobile game era. In the increasingly fierce competition, both user behavior analysis and profitability design are in the forefront of the world. Now the world’s most profitable mobile game Many of them are made in China.
However, China’s game industry started late. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were actually not many IPs accumulated. Among them, the famous ones were only a few such as Xianjian. Later, some famous IPs were accumulated in the end game era, but most of them have been Adapted to a mobile game, such as the “Perfect World” mobile game.
In the era of mobile games, since it takes a lot of time to create an original IP and cannot be done overnight, many game companies prefer to purchase the authorization of an existing IP.
Of course, domestic game companies also used a lot of domestic novel IP and TV series IP before, but there were not too many successful works in the end, and this requires a perfect match between the game and TV series release time, which involves many technical issues, so now this type of The works are rare.
As for European and American IP, many famous IPs appeared and became famous more after entering this century. For example, the Uncharted series only appeared in the PS3 era. The Gears of War series are also contemporary, as are the Mass Effect series and the Metro series. .
This is because the European and American console game industry started to explode in the era of PS3 and XBOX360 in this century, so the time for IP accumulation is often many years less than that of Japan’s IP.
And globally, the European and American host users are the most. The GTA series and Uncharted Seas series can easily sell for tens of millions or even tens of millions, and most of them are paid by host users in developed countries in Europe and the United States.
Therefore, for these European and American game companies, these console games have already made a lot of money, and it seems that there is not much need to authorize the launch of mobile games. Of course, “Call of Duty” mobile game is a special case, but such special cases are really rare.
South Korea’s IP is similar to the domestic situation. Most of them are well-known IPs in the era of mobile games, and the number of well-known IPs accumulated is not enough, and South Korea’s own mobile game research and development strength is actually not weak, so there is no such urgent need for IP authorization. Demand.
Therefore, looking at IP in various fields around the world, only Japanese IP is the one that best meets the needs of domestic companies and is the one that can best complement each other’s advantages.
And there is a mystery here. Large companies can choose big IPs, and small companies can choose some niche IPs. In the end, as long as there are hundreds of thousands of active users, although they can’t make big money like big companies, they can’t lose money anyway. And there is a small profit. For example, the developer of the aforementioned “Yes 6” mobile game is produced by an unknown small company in China, which may be the product of such an idea.
In addition, there is another key worth mentioning that these mobile games developed by Chinese game companies after purchasing Japanese IP authorization can not only achieve certain good results in China, but some of them can also be popular in South Korea and Japan. After all, China, Japan and South Korea Both belong to the East Asian cultural circle, so choosing Japanese IP is also of great significance in terms of going overseas.
More and more successful works
In fact, in the early years, there were not so many successful works created after obtaining the authorization of Japanese game IP in China, but in recent years, it can be said that more and more, which have inspired latecomers.
Of course, because there are too many successful cases, this article cannot enumerate and analyze them one by one. Here we mainly analyze a few more representative cases.
The first and most representative one is undoubtedly “The King of Fighters 98OL Ultimate Battle”. This game was launched very early, and it has entered the top ten of the iOS best-selling list many times since its launch in 2015, and it was also in China in 2015. One of the top ten games with the highest revenue for iOS, and the only Japanese IP product among the ten games.
More than that, this game has also achieved very good results in the Japanese market, and it has also achieved good results on the iOS bestseller list in Japan for a long time.
What’s even more amazing is that this game has not only been in operation in China until now, it has also entered the top 100 iOS best-selling list not long ago. Considering that this is a game that has been launched for five or six years, there is actually such a result. It is incredible.
The success of this game has a great motivational effect for other domestic game companies.
Because at that time, there were actually some Japanese IP-authorized domestically developed products from mobile games to mobile games, but none of them were particularly successful, but the result of “The King of Fighters 98OL Ultimate Battle” proved that this road works.
In addition, this game also answers a question. Back then, there has been a lot of controversy about whether the classic IP of the King of Fighters and Street Fighter should be adapted into a horizontal action theme, a card theme, or some other theme. At that time, many media and Players think that the IP of this fighting game will lose its original charm after being adapted into a card theme.
However, there are also many problems with directly applying fighting game play to mobile games. After all, it is difficult to restore the realism and depth of joystick or button operation by rubbing the glass on a mobile phone.
“The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Battle OL” as an action card game, the solution given is to add the so-called “innovative QTE combo combat gameplay” on the basis of the character stand-and-stake round battle. Simply put, when each character in the game attacks, there will be a rapidly shrinking circle. If the player clicks before the circle shrinks and disappears, they can cooperate with other characters to play a Combo. The more the player shrinks in the circle to the smallest When you click, the higher the combo’s evaluation, the higher the damage. This kind of QTE combo gameplay actually comes from some music games, but in a game where fighting is the selling point, there is no sense of contradiction, on the contrary, it increases the fun of some operations other than numerical values.
Therefore, this game integrates action into the card game, and has won the recognition of many original players. It is also the success of this game that later adapted some fighting game IP into a mobile game, dare to boldly choose card types instead of entangled in Restrictions on fighting types.
The second typical case is the mobile game version of “Dream Simulated Warfare”. This game was often ranked in the top ten of the iOS best-selling list. It may be the most successful work since the creation of the Zilong game.
This work provides new ideas and proves this success. That is, the seemingly niche IP of “Dream Simulator” can attract a large number of players after being mobile, which was unthinkable before.
Because in the previous years, many game companies mainly focused on some famous big IPs in Japan, such as One Piece and Naruto.
The IP of “Dream Simulator” seems to be a niche, but the mass base in China is actually very deep. I believe that Zilong Games must have discovered this after a lot of research. Zilong Games CEO Wang Yi has also been receiving media In the interview, it was mentioned that the post-80s veteran players accounted for a large part of the users of this game.
As far as my personal experience is concerned, from junior high school to university, I can always meet a few players who have played “Dream Simulator 2” on MD, and this game is the most classic game in the series, quite a lot of post-80s They have a lot of affection for this game, and even after they get married, they will use the simulator to nostalgia from time to time. Once there is a mobile game that can meet their emotional needs, they are definitely willing to spend money on the game. .
The producer and even the production team of the mobile game “Dream Simulated Warfare” must be thoroughly familiar with this series. The game is a great tribute to the original painting from the drawing to the battle, and it has restored the essence of the original, and made a lot of improvements based on the characteristics of the mobile game. Also joined the full story dubbing and classic levels of the past.
So after the game came out, many veteran players born in the 80s were deeply moved. After all, this series has not been a sequel for many years. It can be said that it is a lifetime and a grandfather to play such a work that inherits the essence of the original in all aspects. .
So this case shows that some seemingly niche Japanese IPs actually have huge potential, and as long as the producers can really know what the players need, they can achieve considerable success in the end.
The third typical case is “Three Kingdoms: Strategic Edition”.
This is the most successful game created by Alibaba Games’ Lingxi Interactive Entertainment, and is an authorized work of the Three Kingdoms IP under Koei Tecmo’s in Japan.
And this game has been in the top ten of the iOS best-selling list for a long time, and can even enter the top three frequently.
One of the inspirations of this game is that strategy games can also reach such a popular level. In the past few years, there have been some very good strategy mobile games in China, but “Three Kingdoms: Strategy Edition” can actually occupy the best-selling domestic iOS for a long time. The top three in the list, even if there is an occasional decline, it can remain in the top 10 or so. This is a result that almost no strategy mobile game can achieve in the past.
In addition, this game may also be Japan’s authorized Sino-Japanese cooperative research and development model so far, which can be said to be the best result, so what successful experience does this game have, such as the substitution of a sense of history, the design of real terrain and marching, water The design of the battle, the terrain elements from “Three Kingdoms 11”, etc., in short, for many developers, there are many things worth pondering and studying for this work.
Looking to the future, we can see that there will be more products under this model, and for domestic game developers, we need to focus on these two issues.
One is the specific choice of IP. As mentioned earlier, Japan actually still has a lot of IP to be developed. For example, can IPs such as Heavy Air Force and Fenglai Xilin also be developed into mobile games?
Another problem is that only by respecting the IP itself, cherishing great enthusiasm for IP, and treating IP-adapted mobile games as if they were their own children, in order to be invincible in the end, as mentioned in the “Three Kingdoms:” Several typical success stories such as “Strategy Edition” have achieved this before they have been recognized by the players.