Marketing is one of the hardest tasks game developers and publishers face, especially on the oversaturated mobile scene.
There are 2.2 billion mobile gamers out there. What’s the best way to set your product apart?
One standard marketing trope is to give away free samples to get people hooked.
What if you’re able to give free samples to tens of millions of people at once simultaneously, though?
That’s exactly what China’s Tencent is doing through its new partnership with Amazon Prime and Twitch Prime.
Giving it away
The three have recently struck a deal which will see Tencent’s PUBG Mobile become the first game on Amazon and Twitch-Prime service to give away exclusive in-game content to subscribers, all the way through to mid-December.
In a recent Twitch post, the company talked about how members could claim an exclusive Infiltrator set (jacket, pants and shoes for their avatar), which isn’t normally available in PUBG Mobile.
Why is this important?
- Twitch Prime is free with Amazon Prime.
- Amazon Prime has more than 100 million subscribers in the US alone.
- Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users.
All of a sudden, if they download PUBG Mobile, they can access free exclusive content or watch it on Twitch to see what it looks like and how it works.
This isn’t just a massive marketing opportunity for Tencent to reach out to the Western market. It’s significant for developers and publishers across the APAC region.
Effectively, a new freemium marketing channel has appeared that could be an extremely powerful way for Eastern brands to get their game on more devices and in front of more players through Amazon and Twitch.
This deal also gives Tencent and PUBG Mobile leverage against its strongest rival, Epic Games’ Fortnite - in different ways.
Both games have microtransaction elements for in-game items. Gamers seeing that they can get exclusive in-game content for free as part of their existing Amazon Prime subscription could be tempted to switch from Fortnite to PUBG Mobile.
Similarly, it could encourage streamers on Twitch to switch sides, giving more exposure to PUBG Mobile thanks to the benefits on offer through Amazon Prime.
A study by Newzoo highlights why this could be a potentially lucrative channel for APAC’s developers and publishers looking to enter new markets.
While games are amongst the top three app types, they’re the second-most-popular category amongst 18-20-year-old mobile app users, with 66% ‘opening a mobile gaming app in the last seven days’.
Crucially, 67% of mobile gamers “will splurge every now and then” and 82% “look for promotions, deals, or discounts”.
What could be more attractive to them than free, exclusive in-game items, allowing them to save money to purchase other things?
Also, with more than 15 million daily active users, 44 billion minutes of content watched per month and 63% of activity occurring in English according to Influencer Marketing Hub, Twitch can present a phenomenal opportunity to attract new western mobile-first gamers willing to try their products.
There’s a large market for China’s mobile games developers and publishers to attract abroad, and Tencent is closing in on it in a unique way by partnering with Amazon and Twitch.
The next question to ask is Is there something similar for Westerners in APAC?
Overall, Amazon’s partnership with Twitch to launch the combined service has become as viable an advertising channel like any other for developers to showcase their mobile games and attract installs with strategies such as free and exclusive content, streaming events, influencer partnerships and more.
EA, Moonton, Netmarble and Wargaming Mobile are set to offer free content through Amazon in the future.
There’s an issue when it comes to opportunities on the other side though; Twitch isn’t available in China and free PUBG Mobile content isn’t available for the country’s mobile gamers to access because of embargoes.
Though Prime and services like it are great for Chinese developers like Tencent to advertise their games, Western developers wanting to enter the Chinese market face a tougher task because of regulations surrounding online content.
All is not lost, though. The closest services China has to Twitch are Huya and DouYu – the latter owned by Tencent, who also invest heavily in the former.
Both are listed companies on the New York Stock Exchange and provide advertising opportunities (DouYu more-so than Huya).
Both services mainly focus on broadcasting the country’s massive esports market, the second-largest in the world.
Before thinking about possible or potential opportunities on platforms such as those, though, you first need to get your game into the Chinese market, which can be a tough task.
You need to consider, as part of your strategy, what you’re offering Chinese mobile gamers who have different tastes compared against others across the APAC region.
The deal Tencent has struck with Amazon and Twitch to make PUBG Mobile the first game of an entirely new free, exclusive content offering is significant on many different levels.
- It gives them a new selling point (albeit for a couple of months) against the game’s main competitors in the mobile gaming space.
- It opens the game up to Amazon subscribers in new western territories.
- It also shows Tencent’s impressive business nous and approach to the Western mobile gaming market.
Perhaps most importantly in the context of APAC, Tencent could very well be the first of many other Chinese mobile game developers and publishers partnering with Amazon and Twitch to boost their presence and build a relationship with mobile gamers in new global markets.
Western developers and publishers can take advantage of a deal, too, but when it comes to finding a similar platform or entering the Chinese mobile market, things start to look a lot more difficult for them.
With 400 Android stores available for Chinese mobile gamers to choose from as opposed to a single store in the west in the guise of Google Play, choosing where to distribute your game can prove to be a challenge if you don’t have access to knowledge of the market and partner with a local publisher willing to back you and your product.
Though Eastern developers and publishers such as Tencent may be able to leverage the benefits of relationships such as those offered by Amazon and Twitch, it isn’t all one-way traffic.
There are similar opportunities open to you to enter the world’s most lucrative mobile market. You just need to partner with the right people.