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Licensed IPs in mobile games – 3 Things You Need To Know

Licensed IPs in mobile games – 3 Things You Need To Know

Editor’s Notice: this publish was originally revealed by Joel Julkunen, Head of Recreation Evaluation at GameRefinery. In his position, he leads GameRefinery’s analytics department and has a serious position in creating algorithms and statistical fashions used in the company. 

Third-party brands and IPs have solidified their place within the cellular games business, typically offering (or at the least promising) that essential additional increase in your title. In the US, a whopping 30% of prime 100 grossing games are presently based mostly on a 3rd social gathering IP, and when zooming out to the top 200, the figure holds at virtually 25%. In different words, IPs play a big position in cellular recreation income era and based mostly on the variety of IP varieties utilized, there are license house owners all across the board becoming a member of the get together.

US prime 200 grossing IP utilization from the GameRefinery Market Explorer

Taking a look at these figures, you may be tempted to assume that slapping an IP on to your recreation would instantly shoot it to the starts and depart the competition in the dust. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that straightforward. Squeezing probably the most out of a licensed IP is an artwork of its own with a number of elements affecting the result. Most importantly, mastering this art will significantly have an effect on the ROI of your IP-licensing funding.

To keep this publish targeted and not turn it into a e-book, GameRefinery’s Head of Analysis, Joel Julkunen, has hand-picked three key things that you might want to remember when planning your next IP-based super hit. These factors are based mostly on GameRefinery’s knowledge and analysis that they’ve carried out within the business through the previous years.

1. Some genres combine higher with IPs than others

Not all recreation varieties are created equal on the subject of “IP-synergies.” In other words, the constructive effect brought on by an IP is enormously depending on the sport’s style. For example, there have been (and are) numerous casual Match3 video games driving well-known IPs of animated films and pop icons. Nevertheless, none of them have hit it massive – even if the IP has matched the sport’s target demographic audience completely. Then again, none of the prime 10 grossing casual Match3 video games are using any 3rd celebration IP, and clearly, they’re doing simply effective.

Homescapes, House Design Makeover, and Matchington Mansion maintain characters and storytelling on the sidelines – this reduces the necessity (and then again, the benefit) of an external IPs.

For comparison’s sake, there are plenty of mid-core RPG video games based mostly on third get together IPs which might be raking in tons of money. And extra importantly, the ratio of successful RPGs with IPs to these with out is far larger than in different genres. This is sensible as a result of IPs often include robust characters, tales, and/or lore parts that RPGs are naturally capable of combine as part of the gaming expertise.

Countless grinding turns into more rewarding if you’re beefing up Luke Skywalker or pulling your favorite Marvel character from a gacha.

One other style benefiting exponentially from IPs is Location Based mostly games, which often revolve round strolling round (in actual life) looking for encounters or finishing duties. When taking this core recreation expertise under consideration, it’s straightforward to see how a well known IP with established lore could make wandering around your neighborhood an addictive expertise. Subsequently, it’s no surprise that the highest three Location Based mostly video games within the US are all based mostly on a massively widespread IP.

Pokémon GO is a superb case example of how an IP might be fused seamlessly with a recreation’s core mechanics

The point right here isn’t that some genres gained’t profit from 3rd get together IPs at all. However slightly that when interested by licensing, ask yourself whether or not or not that IP will deliver the benefits it’s purported to in case you’re engaged on, for instance, a hyper-casual recreation.

2. IP should help recreation’s feature-set & mechanics

As cellular video games business income has skyrocketed, giant IP-owners from “conventional” industries have swooped down for the spoils. In consequence, licensing opportunities are quite plentiful. With this ample provide of IPs to make use of (a minimum of for the larger publishers), it’s not all the time straightforward to seek out the best one in your recreation design. GameRefinery have already mentioned how different genres are more fitted to IP integration, however even with these “IP-synergetic” genres, the fit isn’t all the time guaranteed. What that you must ask yourself is how nicely the IP you’re licensing helps your recreation’s feature-set.

For instance, RPGs with heavy concentrate on character assortment & improvement options are a lot better off with an IP that comes with a wide range of distinguishable heroes and villains. Even better if they’re tied together by rich background lore. This manner, your meta and core layer options are aligned with and supported tremendously by the IP. In case you determine to go together with an IP that lacks the things talked about above, it gained’t reinforce your recreation’s feature-set in a meaningful approach. In all probability, it will result in sub-optimal outcomes.

Blade Runner is a superb film, however it doesn’t boast dozens of memorable characters. In consequence, Blade Runner Nexus is more likely to face challenges build up a diverse enough character roster for an RPG title.

Evaluating Pokemon GO and Harry Potter Wizards Unite in this method is fascinating. At first glance, the similarities are clear: both these Location Based mostly video games are backed by big IPs packing plenty of lore, characters with wealthy backgrounds and recognizable monsters of all sizes and shapes. Nevertheless, there’s one key distinction between these two titles: Pokemon GO has a lot of characters to gather, develop and even battle with, whereas Wizard Unite doesn’t. As an alternative, you’re looking for inanimate gadgets (“Foundables”) to refill your assortment album. The game’s setting does its greatest to elucidate this, as you’re enjoying a wizard looking for magical objects scattered round our “muggle” world.

The strategy is sensible from the attitude of the Harry Potter IP. In any case, It’s not like Harry was on the lookout for dementors and other monsters, making an attempt to “catch ’em all .” But this recreation design determination doesn’t really help a personality assortment & improvement oriented feature-set, which might arguably create a more strong basis for a Location Based mostly recreation.

three. Demographic fit of IP and recreation mechanics makes all of the difference

This third and remaining level touches in all probability the most obvious effect of brands and IPs in video games. Whenever you determine to go down the path of licensing, you’re just about locking down main points referring to story and artwork parts. This displays on your title’s demographic attraction, which in turn is something to remember when designing your feature-set (and choosing the sport’s genre).

If the IP you’re sticking with doesn’t fit the demographic attraction of your recreation mechanics & style, the result in all probability gained’t shoot via the charts. In different words, it’s not enough that you’ve an “IP-synergetic” style like RPG or Strategy. Not even if the IP supports your feature-set with, for instance, numerous characters backed by wealthy lore and story parts. The IP also needs to attraction to individuals who take pleasure in your title from a purely game-play perspective. This is not to say that a Harry Potter 4X strategy recreation will fail with 100% certainty. Nevertheless, it’s not straightforward to seek out players who love all things Hogwarts AND can’t get sufficient of extremely aggressive & complicated 4X gaming. So even when the IP integrates properly together with your recreation design and features, make certain it also appeals to the identical individuals who enjoy the game-play.

MyLittle Pony is a critical enforcer of happiness, love and dashing pink. Nevertheless, not all video games or players might inhale this a lot cuteness with out breaking right down to shambles.

IP vs recreation mechanic mismatch is particularly harmful if the IP clearly appeals to informal viewers but the recreation design is all about midcore, i.e. heavy meta recreation parts and sophisticated UI/UX. This leads to a state of affairs the place your casual player base has exhausting time getting its head around the precise recreation while the midcore viewers will get turned off by the IP. Consequently, your KPIs will face some critical ache.

One instance of this challenging combine is Disney Sorcerer’s Area (tactical battler by GLU games), which combines casual Disney IP with midcore game-play & meta parts. Here’s the issue: regardless that DSO has an enormous roster of well-known characters to collect/play with, the midcore tactical battler audiences aren’t more likely to find Mickey Mouse or Ariel as appealing as Iron Man or Black Widow of the Marvel Universe. In different words, for these individuals the IP is more likely to act as a deterrent – not a retention driver. Then again, the individuals who’d love to gather Disney characters would in all probability interact extra with a bit easier game-play mechanics.

The character rosters of Disney Sorcerer’s Area and Marvel Contest of Champions attraction to fairly totally different demographic teams

To sum up

Over the past years third get together IPs and brands have established themselves as an essential (and visible) a part of cellular gaming markets. Subsequently it’s now extra necessary than ever to know easy methods to use them effectively for optimal outcomes.  On this submit, GameRefiney has coated three key points value considering when utilizing a third get together IP to boost your recreation’s efficiency.

They are:

1. IP vs. genre match => when considering should you should make investments for a 3rd social gathering IP, understand that certain genres work higher with (and get more out of) IPs than others

2. IP vs. feature-set match => In case you determine to make the most of an IP to boost your recreation, be sure the IP helps your recreation’s feature-set

three. Demographic match of IP vs. recreation mechanics =>As IP significantly affects the fashion and “soul” of your recreation, it’s essential that the IP’s demographic attraction matches your audience’s preferences from a game-play perspective.

As lots of you’ve already observed, these three dimensions are related, so maintaining a tally of the entire mix is essential. Only when all of the pieces of this puzzle are matched and help each other, you possibly can anticipate good outcomes. If, however, the IP vs. product integration shouldn’t be completely thought out and executed, the result is more likely to be far from optimal.

To study more concerning the cellular gaming market, ensure that to check out the free layer of GameRefinery’s service right here.

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