From the data point of view, there are a lot of people playing WeChat mini games.
In the previous WeChat Open Class PRO, it was officially announced that the number of monthly active users (MAU) of mini games has exceeded 500 million. This number is quite surprising. Compare with other game platforms: Steam platform monthly active users in 2020 is 1.204 100 million, Epic is 56 million, and TapTap is 25 million-the game platform that these players are familiar with, monthly life is much lower than WeChat mini games.
Although the starting point of a small game platform is much higher than others under a social software like WeChat, which has more than one billion users, it is not an easy task to achieve a monthly life of 500 million. But maybe many people have the same questions as me:
This large group of small game players, where are they? Who are they?
Maybe it’s because of the social circle. The people around me are not the hardcore players of the console, but the players of some popular mobile games and online games such as “League of Legends” and “King of Glory”. When it comes to WeChat mini-games, many people can think of it. “Jump” and “Catch the Nervous Cat” are “old” products. I haven’t even seen a person playing a mini game by my side.
The WeChat mini-game official also released some data describing this player group: the ratio of male to female users is 5:5, the user group over 30 years old accounts for 66%, and the user scale in third-tier and lower cities exceeds 60%. We can probably draw conclusions. It is “there are more female players, older age, and more people in the sinking city”, but these conclusions are very cold. Maybe you just use the user data of a casual mobile game to analyze these conclusions.
I tried to play WeChat mini-games, but at first I didn’t find where to play even after searching for a long time.
There is a place called “Games” in WeChat, but it is not a “mini game center”, but a platform that connects all Tencent games. After I clicked in, I directly showed “Glory of Kings” and “Call of Duty Mobile Games”. After searching for the performance and dynamics of these mobile games for a long time, I found a button called “creative game” in a less conspicuous place. I fumbled the rankings and tried a few. To be honest, I personally didn’t play it too much, it was too light and too casual, and there were no unexpected surprises.
What kind of people are behind the 500 million living this month? With great curiosity, I interviewed a few small game production teams, and lurked into the small game fan base, chatted with a few players, and explored some interesting stories, as well as some very unexpected things.
“It’s nice to have games to play.”
Before 2019, Iron King, the game producer at the 51st District Studio, couldn’t understand who would play mini games. At that time, the mini-game platform was relatively “barbaric”, the products were relatively rudimentary, and the quality was low. “This kind of game is played by people? What do you think?” Not only Iron King, but many game developers have this doubt.
It wasn’t until the Iron King first met the little game player, Xiao Ming.
About two years ago, the Iron King went to a friend’s house as a guest. The friend’s child, Xiao Ming, was in elementary school. When adults were busy chatting, they would give Xiao Ming their mobile phone to let him play for a while, so the Iron King saw him click on it. After using WeChat, I started to play a small game with extremely rough graphics. The Iron King was very curious, and asked him, “Why are you playing this game? There are many other better games, are you not interested?” Unexpectedly, Xiao Ming said an extremely impressive answer: “If you have a game, just play it. Not bad, but also pick and choose.”
The Iron King discovered that Xiao Ming has not played mobile games such as “Glory of the King” and “Peace Elite”, but most of the time, his parents will only allow him to use his mobile phone for a short period of time: for example, if an adult is busy with something else, let you stay for a while, such as Gang After finishing homework, take a break… In this short fragmented time, Xiao Ming will choose a mini game, which is very convenient to play. It can be turned on and off at any time. More importantly, there is no need to download it to the parents’ mobile phone. At this time, he had no time to care about the so-called game quality. He was very happy to be able to play the game.
Ads in mini games
Later, Iron King went to research and interview some people who play small games, and also met a typical player: Xiao Gang, who likes to watch small game advertisements.
Xiao Gang seldom stays in a mini game. Once other game ads pop up, he will click to jump to another mini game if he sees it interesting. If the game is fun, he will play it for a while. If it is not interesting, he will turn it off or try again. Jump to other games-just jump from game A to game B, then from B to C, and C to D. When Iron King saw him, he asked, “What little game are you playing lately?” He actually listed almost 20 products in one go, and said, “How good are the ads, so I don’t know where to find games to play.” “
Advertising is an extremely important existence in the WeChat mini game ecology.
The main revenue of most small games comes from in-game advertising. Based on “interest recommendation”, the advertisements that pop up in mini games are generally in other Amway mini games. Therefore, when a player enters a mini game, it is likely that he jumped in from other mini games, or he may jump away after a while. Just like Xiaogang.
This feature makes the user retention of small games much lower than that of mobile games, and it is difficult for players to have any loyalty. For developers, it is also a very contradictory thing: there are too many ads to affect the game experience. , Put less, afraid of not recovering the cost. At present, the common advertisements in mini games are set in the form of “post-viewing feedback benefits”. For example, if you have no energy or diamonds, you can watch a 30-second advertisement to supplement these energy or resources.
From the mentality of ordinary gamers, the constant display of advertisements in a game is a very disturbing experience. But what surprised Iron King is that as long as it is not malicious clicks or rough interruption of the game process, many small game players not only dislike advertisements, but like advertisements very much. Except for players like Xiaogang who think “advertising can recommend games to me”, more people think: “Just play this game and watch advertisements. It doesn’t cost much, how great!”
Mr. Li, a small shop owner in a third- and fourth-tier city, once asked Iron King to “complain” that there were too few advertisements for a small game in his studio. His daily routine is to sit and watch the store. Most of the time he is idle. There is a limit on the number of advertisements that can be displayed in a small game in a single day. Mr. Li will finish all the advertisements every day, and then complains: ” You can’t charge up money for this game, but I have finished watching all the ads I can watch. I still haven’t saved enough money for the items I want to buy. Can I put more ads?”
These people made Iron King realize that we cannot use common sense to infer the thoughts of small game players. As developers, we must completely abandon the inherent experience of developing mobile games or terminal games before and re-recognize this group of people.
“When you are thinking about who is playing a small game, don’t think about the male-to-female ratio of 5:5, 60% over the age of 30, just imagine the children of your relatives, or your old uncle, second aunt, cousin, they How do you play the game?” said the Iron King.
Unicorn Games is a company that specializes in WeChat mini-games. Their trump card product “One Disaster” is the representative work of mini-game platform female products.
In terms of gameplay, “Match One Love” can be said to put all the “things girls like” in this game: match three, dress up, fall in love, and antiquity. Roughly speaking, the background is set in ancient times, through match three to obtain resources to buy good-looking clothes, and then interact with male characters in the game.
I lurked into the fan base of “One Dispel Love” and watched for a few days. Although there are no specific statistics, judging from their names and avatars, almost all of the more than 100 people in this group are girls. They usually talk about this game in the group, such as when to update their clothes. How can I get there? There seems to be a bug in this place.
Occasionally, their topic will suddenly extend. For example, one day girl A said that her mobile phone is always black when playing games, girl B recommends using a Samsung mobile phone, and girl C said that she should support domestic use of Huawei… Thus, they began to discuss cultural confidence, Chinese traditions, etc… … During the period, some people also jumped out and said, “Don’t go far, let’s talk about the game”, trying to bring the topic back, but they pulled farther and farther and began to talk about the status of women in ancient times.
I added two very active girls in the group and chatted separately. Unexpectedly, they happened to be two completely different people.
One is Xiaoxia, 19 years old. She is already working, but is reluctant to reveal her occupation. A few months ago, Xiaoxia started playing “One Disaster” through the recommendation of a WeChat game. The theme of this game is the theme of “Gufeng Xianxia”, which is why she likes this game. She likes Xianxia-themed games very much, but she has never played products such as “End of the World” and “Swordsman Love”. “I have heard of them, but the phone memory is too small to play those games.”
When communicating with Xiaoxia, we must avoid game terminology as much as possible, even if it is the simplest and most common word we think, otherwise she will be a little bit unreasonable. For example, she seems to be unable to distinguish between mini games and mobile games, which are collectively referred to as “mobile games”, so she can’t ask “Do you play mobile games?”, she has to ask “Can you play king and eat chicken?” Asked what other games she likes to play besides “One Disaster”, she kept repeating “a lot”, but she couldn’t list the name of a game, saying “too many names to write.” In addition to games, Xiaoxia said that she usually likes pets, watching Douyin, and taking photos and cutting videos.
Xiaoxia may be what most of us imagine as female players in small and medium games. She is casual and has hardly been exposed to heavy games. However, another girl, Xiao Lan, surprised me, and was even shocked.
Xiaolan is a native of Shanghai, 25 years old, a Japanese second-generation housemaid, and Japanese is at the level of simultaneous interpretation. She opened her own translation studio and managed people 7-8. She has played single-player games since elementary school. From the “Sword” and “Ancient Sword” series, she plays more Japanese games. The “Wu Shuang” series and “Machine Warfare” series all play the original Japanese version directly. She hardly plays other online or mobile games-except for the little game “One Dispel Love”.
“I saw the advertisement of this game in Moments. I have seen a lot of dress-up games, but it was the first time I saw the match-three dress-up. I just tried it casually. I didn’t expect it to be very good.” Xiaolan said, “There are handsome guys, good-looking clothes, and the match-3 effect is also good. The most important thing is that you don’t need krypton gold!”
Xiaolan’s work rhythm is not stable. When there is a translation order, she will be busy for several days in a row, and she will be very idle when she has no work. In her free time, she will give all the game time to those large single machines, soaking in them for 10+ hours a day; but when she is busy, she will play “One Dispel Love” in fragmented time. “You need to turn on a computer or plug in a PS4. I can’t play anytime and anywhere.” Xiaolan said, “Ordinary mobile games and online games require me to do tasks regularly. Playing is more tiring than working. It is really for me as a standalone party It’s too unfriendly.”
Before I met Xiaolan, it was difficult for me to imagine that people in first-tier cities who had been playing a single host computer would play a WeChat mini game so seriously. But it makes sense to think about it carefully. The console is played during a long break while the mini games are played in fragmented time. Why can’t the two coexist?
Before the deadline, the last topic in the “One Dispel Love” group was complaining about “too little physical strength”, saying: “Some people will play all day long. This little physical strength is simply not enough.”
Of course, the people who play WeChat mini-games are not limited to those just mentioned.
During the interview, the development teams of “Survival Survival 3D” and “Desperate Love” all mentioned one conclusion: WeChat mini-game players and mobile game players do not overlap very much. Since WeChat mini-games have further lowered the entry barrier of the game, some people in the era of mobile games did not have “pit games”, and they were only covered at this time. Therefore, the game design for this group of people must be simpler and more rude. Feedback and The rewards should also be clearer, “Don’t challenge their patience.”
Among the current types of mini-games, some are native mini-games; some are mobile games transplanted mini-games; and some first make mini-games, and develop a mobile game version with good results. The portraits of players behind all kinds of different types of mini games can be very different. But an observable fact is that compared to one or two years ago, the quality of mini games is improving, and the number of people playing mini games is also increasing.
“The mini game platform is not yet fully mature. It is our opportunity. Mobile games are now too competitive. It is difficult for a small team like ours to enter the game.” Mentioned why we want to make a mini game, the two teams gave me the answer Also basically the same.
Of course, there are also game teams that do not plan to make small games for the time being. A mobile game company that makes casual games told me like this: The current mini-game ecosystem is not mature enough, which means that it is unpredictable. Good-quality products may not be able to obtain matching income, and the product iteration speed is too fast. Soon, our team felt painful after trying it, so we gave up.
But I asked, “Many people are optimistic about mini-games. They think that the more convenient playing experience and the strong social attributes of WeChat itself are the advantages of this platform. Do you agree with it?” He also said without hesitation, “I agree. “
*The names of characters in the text are all pseudonyms.
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Source: IGN China