Twitter Helps Chinese Game Companies to Enter Overseas Markets

According to Sensor Tower data, in August 2021, a total of 39 Chinese companies were listed in the TOP 100 global mobile game publishers' revenue list, with a combined total of nearly $2.43 billion, accounting for 39.4% of the TOP 100 mobile game publishers' revenue. "Going global" has become an irreversible trend for Chinese game company’s development strategy.

Recently, Twitter took the opportunity of Tokyo Game Show 2021 to invite the marketing heads of leading game companies in China and Japan, the heads of game companies' overseas agencies and experts from Asia-Pacific (APAC) Twitter, to conduct three online seminars on the following topics: insights and analysis of the game industry in the Japanese market, building game brands and game communities, and new ideas of advertising for game promotion. Through a series of in-depth discussions, they provided new marketing solutions for Chinese game companies to enter the Japanese market.

As the third-largest gaming market in the world, Japan has always been a battleground for game companies. However, the unique user culture in Japan and the changing situation in recent years have led to new challenges for Chinese companies to operate in the Japanese market. Although the Japanese gaming market has a large number of loyal users, their motivation and willingness to try new products are declining. Developing localized and refined marketing strategies might do the trick to open the Japanese market on the user level.

 

Game Topics are most discussed in Japan on Twitter

In 2020, there were more than 2 billion tweets about gaming on Twitter, and in the first half of 2021, the number of related tweets grew by 18% year-over-year, with Japan contributed the most tweets. Through research and analysis of massive user conversations, Zhang Tian, senior research analyst of APAC Twitter, pointed out that the needs of Japanese gamers in 2020 are mainly socializing and killing time due to the pandemic. As a result, games with social attributes are in great demand. In contrast, in 2021, with the global pandemic taking a favorable turn, getting a sense of achievement from games becomes the major motivation for Japanese gamers. Game companies who can tap into this trend in game development and design, as well as branding and marketing, will probably succeed in undertaking the initiative.

 Knowing clearly about the local market and designing products to meet the needs of gamers, is the first step of game companies’ overseas strategy. The long-term active and effective operation of a gaming community can enhance the social aspect of the game to retain players and create a closed environment for the marketing of spin-off products. So, how do you create a good community environment? How do you keep the game topic hot within the community? And how do you use Twitter tools to attract players to interact?

 Taking Shining Nikki as an example, as a game with weak social interaction, the game must maintain a high DAU (Daily Active Users) in order to generate revenue. Therefore, Papergames released the "Self-Introduction Card" and "Find Shining Nikki Friends" hashtag through Twitter at the launch of the game in order for players to interact with each other through the hashtag on Twitter. In addition, since Japanese players have always been negative about the game official's attitude and ability to operate, in order to maintain a high level of participation in the game, Papergames would regularly hold “Fashion Show” events on Twitter to stimulate players' enthusiasm for creation. Players can choose clothes to match according to the theme, and once their works are picked, the game official will make exquisite posters or wallpapers based on the selected outfit as a benefit to all players.

 

Focusing on the theme of a “movie heroine”, the left side is an outfit created by a player; the right side is the official poster based on concepts and works from a player

 In order to better promote the game, Papergames also keeps trying to use tools such as “application cards”, “interactive cards” and “conversation cards” in the process of operating Twitter to show the charm of Shining Nikki to players and attract them to actively participate in the interaction.

 It is no coincidence that many of the leading Chinese game companies are also mindful of this trend overseas. Dragon Raja targeted the gaming community on Twitter six months before its launch, and rhythmically built up the emotional resonance with players through IP cooperation, content marketing and community interaction, etc., and successfully made it to the top of Twitter trending topics in Japan. The game is also back to the fourth place in the iOS free application download list.

After the game release date has ignited players' enthusiasm, maintaining players' excitements and vitality in the long run becomes the next challenge faced by game companies. With the significant decline in organic installs in recent years and the corresponding significant rise in non-organic installs in the market, it is especially important to plan relating content and work with opinion leaders or media that are highly compatible with the target players, especially in a mature market with a high degree of localization like Japan.

 Kunisada Kii, Content Sponsorship Business Manager at Twitter Japan, believes that the breadth and credibility of ongoing communication is equally important after the game's release. To maintain the buzz, companies need to apply flexibly a combination of top resources, internet celebrity resources, and core users in the communication cycle, and design a creative strategy that fits the game's setting.

For example, in the four years since its arrival in the Japanese market, Knives Out has continued to refresh players' enthusiasm by collaborating with 14 IPs that are well-loved in Japan, including Gintama and EVA, etc. Before its Japanese release, Lilith Games' Rise of Kingdoms invited opinion leaders and celebrity spokespersons to produce video content on different themes and to reach out to core players, moderate players and pan-users through official Twitter accounts and the Tweet engagement tool. At the same time, on the day of the game's release, First View and Promoted Trend (both are Twitter marketing tools) were used to generate buzz and successfully capture users. Another game operated by Keizo Maji, a key account manager from Twitter's Japan team, chose to work with a famous voice actor without any incentives and generated 40,000 unique visitors through co-created Twitter voice tweets.

Rise of Kingdoms invites opinion leaders to spread the game's instructional videos on Twitter, as well as TV commercials shot by celebrities

Although Chinese game companies have taken a huge leap in their overseas business, they still face challenges in terms of overseas region and culture, both for brands and new products. As Chinese game companies gain clear insight into overseas markets, they are gradually able to develop and design products that cater to local players' preferences and develop targeted marketing strategies to secure a place in overseas markets. By providing valuable overseas market insights and continuously optimized tools, Twitter will become an important partner for Chinese gaming brands in the process of expanding overseas markets.

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