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Rhythm Gamers

Rhythm Gamers

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OMD China has launched the fourth edition of its ongoing research series, Rhythm, with the latest report entitled Gamers. The study provides marketers with an in-depth understanding of online gamers in the People’s Republic of China, as well as examines the effectiveness of in-game advertising.
In recent years, online games have become a mainstream form of entertainment across all ages, especially those played on mobile phones. Research reveals that there are 626 million online gamers in China, resulting in an increasing number of brands exploring the potential of this medium. While most brand promotion is currently either through in-game advertising or content sponsorships, there is still much to uncover about gamer behaviours and the effectiveness of advertising to this audience.

OMD China has launched the fourth edition of its ongoing research series, Rhythm, with the latest report entitled Gamers. The study provides marketers with an in-depth understanding of online gamers in the People’s Republic of China, as well as examines the effectiveness of in-game advertising.
In recent years, online games have become a mainstream form of entertainment across all ages, especially those played on mobile phones. Research reveals that there are 626 million online gamers in China, resulting in an increasing number of brands exploring the potential of this medium. While most brand promotion is currently either through in-game advertising or content sponsorships, there is still much to uncover about gamer behaviours and the effectiveness of advertising to this audience.

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Rhythm Gamers

  1. 1. GAMERS
  2. 2. The gaming world has experienced exponential growth in China
  3. 3. There are now 626 milliononline gamers nation wide Data source: GPC & CNG
  4. 4. The gaming world is very complicated to outsiders Adventure 5% Music 5% Strategy 7% Action 7% Role-playing 8% Racing 8% Puzzle 11% Sports 4% MOBA(E.g Dota, LOL) 16% Shooting 16% 1 Card 16%
  5. 5. This doesn’t prevent brands from cooperating with popular games 2
  6. 6. 3 For how long dotheyplaygames every day? What’s their gaming frequency? Why do gamers play games? With what type of games to cooperate? Are gamers all young people? Which ad format is more effective? Many questions still prevail
  7. 7. 4 What’s the truth about gamers? Undo the myths and discover the truth Deep dive into the motivation behind gaming behavior Analyze the effectiveness of different ad formats in games What are their gaming habits? Which ad formats are effective for gamers? To understand the landscape, we need to dive further into games and in-game advertising
  8. 8. 5 OMD proprietary research Qualitative 50 samples Age 15-45 SH,BJ,GZ,CD,WH Virtual Lab 600 samples Age 15-60 City cover tier 1-4 Online survey Quantitative with Other data sources We conducted an exclusive research and leveraged data sources to undo the myths
  9. 9. Undo the myths and discover the truth Deep dive into the motivation behind gaming behavior What are their gaming habits? What’s the truth about gamers? Analyze the effectiveness of different ad formats in games Which ad formats are effective for gamers? 6
  10. 10. 7 Gamers are mostly young men with a low income Gamers are addicted to games Gamers invest a lot on games Gamersseclude themselvesathome andspendmostof theirtimeplaying Playing games has no real benefits Stereotypes have shaped people’s perceptions, but are they true?
  11. 11. 8 FACT MYTH Gaming is a universal phenomenon Gamers are mostly young men with a low income
  12. 12. 45-54 12% 35-44 18% 25-34 25% 15-24 41% 55+ 4% 9 The average age of gamers is 31-years-old Data source: CNRS 2017: Gamer: played online games in last 7 days
  13. 13. 10 Female 41% Male 59% Females form 41% of the gaming population Data source: CNRS 2017: Gamer: played online games in last 7 days
  14. 14. Gamers are financially better off than the average population 11 Monthly Income Gamer Non-gamer 14,490 Avg.HHI Data source: CNRS 2017: Gamer: played online games in last 7 days Avg.PI 13,567 6,679 6,559
  15. 15. 12Data source: https://www.esportsearnings.com/players China top ten E-sports Players overall prize money Lu Yao 15,398,279 Xu Linsen 14,691,421 Li Peng 13,692,958 Zhang Yiping 13,523,565 Zhang Ruida 13,523,164 Chu Zeyu 13,403,792 Zhou Yang 13,394,648 Zhang Ning 12,498,065 Chen Zhihao 12,067,281 Zeng Hongda 11,923,980 Some E-sports players have very high incomes
  16. 16. 13 FACT MYTH Most gamers have a balanced lifestyle Gamers are addicted to playing games
  17. 17. 14 Traveling and sports are also among their favorite activities Gaming Travel Sports OTV Reading Watch TV Go shopping Meet with friends Go to the cinema Watch short videos KTV Live show/Music concert Go to exhibition 2%3% 3% 5% 5% 5% 5% 6% 10% 16% 38% 1% 0% Only 38% of gamers consider gaming a primary choice of entertainment
  18. 18. 15 1-2 times per week 10% 5-6 times per week 17% once per day 20% More than once per day 36% 3-4 times per week 17% 44% of gamers play less than once a day
  19. 19. 16 Average time spent per day in gaming 100 minutes 30% Less than 1 hour 1-2 hours 2-3 hours 3-4 hours 4-5 hours 5+ hours 36% 19% 8% 4% 2% 105 minutes Data source: OTV time spent is from iResearch Average daily time spent on gaming is similar to that of watching videos
  20. 20. 17 FACT MYTH Gamers play games everywhere Gamers seclude themselves at home and spend most of their time playing
  21. 21. 18 Occasions of playing games93% 80% 70% 58% 56% 53% 51% 50% 49% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Weekend at home After work /class at home /dorm After meal Lunch break Waiting for bus/taxi /metro Friends gathering Waiting for meal /dishes During work On the way to office/school Gaming transcends occasions and locations to fill every possible free time
  22. 22. 19 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% After work /class at home /dorm After meal On the way to office/school Waiting for bus/taxi/metro Lunch break Friends gathering Waiting for meal/dishes During work OthersWeekend at home Portable devices play a role in allowing gamers to play everywhere VR Mobile Tablet Hand-heldPC TV
  23. 23. 20 Over 354thousand gamers attended 2018 China Joy Offline gatherings and events further extend the gaming experience Data source: http://wenhua.youth.cn/whdj/201808/t20180808_11692157.htm
  24. 24. 21 FACT MYTH Gamers are prudent when spending Gamers invest a lot on games
  25. 25. 22 Even though 65% of them invest in games
  26. 26. 23 Monthly Average 129 rmb Paid games In-game purchase Monthly Average 119 rmb 0-100 10% 5000+ 5% 2000-5000 15% 1000-2000 18% 500-1000 17% 101-500 35% 2000-5000 10% 5000+ 5% 101-500 35% 101-500 37% 500-1000 18% 1000-2000 16% The amount invested was only 2% of their monthly income
  27. 27. Budget for gaming is low Trade time for strength Equipment is not practical to enhance game experience The game is not good enough to pay Other same type of free games Low odds of winning Ugly game skin Others 41% 32% 24% 22% 19% 14% 5% 3% 24 Reasons for not making in-game purchases They are prudent in their gaming spends
  28. 28. 25 FACT MYTH Games benefit gamers’ life Playing games has no real benefits
  29. 29. 26 To kill time To relax Have fun To release pressure Get sense of achievement Interesting to interact with other people Easy operation Feel excited Enjoy teamwork Delicate picture Wake me up Daily socialization Empathy Like uncertainty Learn with fun 51% 49% 44% 43% 38% 29% 24% 24% 23% 23% 22% 21% 21% 14% 11% Why do you play games? The motivations for gaming are not limited to having fun
  30. 30. Gamers play for a sense of achievement 38% of gamers play for sense of achievement I only play the leader position in Dota 2. Because that makes me feel like I am the super hero to save the world. —— Guangzhou, 20-year-old female SSR Card Penta kill World’s first down 27
  31. 31. 28 Online games are dynamic and keep updating. The interaction among players are strong. Playing together is fun! —— Chengdu, 17-year-old male From off-line PC game to online games, My roommates and I teamed up and played together. —— Wuhan, 20-year-old female I played with classmates and relatives. We had a lot fun together. —— Wuhan, 26-year-old male And to broaden their social network through games Enjoy teamwork 23% Have topic for daily social contact 22%
  32. 32. 29 Game is a complete and virtual world to me. It extends the real world, allowing me to experience those legends and characters which are not existing in the real world. ——Wuhan, 33-year-old male Game is my best friend, the place I make new friends, and the way I release pressure. In gaming world, I can do whatever I want. No one controls me. It gives a whole new view to the world and unlimited imagination. I feel like I’m part of the world in game, a powerful and confident new me, who is totally different from the little and week me in the real world. ——Wuhan,34-year-old female Furthermore, gaming offers experiences unavailable in real life
  33. 33. Deep dive into the motivation behind gaming behavior Undo the myths and discover the truth What’s the truth about gamers? What are their gaming habits? Analyze the effectiveness of different ad formats in games Which ad formats are effective for gamers? 30
  34. 34. 31 Device priorities Gaming life-cycle In-game purchases Relationship with games 01 03 04 02 We will explore the following gaming behaviors
  35. 35. 32 01 Device priorities Smartphones have accelerated the popularization of gaming
  36. 36. Family Computer Personal Computer Online PC Mobile Multiple Devices 33 Continuous device upgrades have revolutionized gaming experiences
  37. 37. 34 Mobile PC Tablet Handheld TV MOBA 64% 24% 7% 3% 1% 0% Shooting 61% 27% 6% 2% 3% 0% Cards 66% 27% 4% 1% 2% 0% Puzzle 76% 20% 3% 1% 1% 0% Racing 62% 25% 6% 5% 2% 0% RolePlay 54% 38% 3% 3% 3% 1% Action 45% 40% 3% 5% 5% 2% Strategy 57% 31% 4% 3% 4% 0% Music 79% 15% 3% 4% 0% 0% Adventure 63% 25% 8% 3% 3% 0% Sports 52% 36% 8% 3% 0% 2%VR Among all available devices, mobile still dominates all gaming categories
  38. 38. 35 Mobile PC Tablet Mobile is favored for its convenience, while PC and tablet are favored for viewability
  39. 39. 36 Handheld Device TV Games VR Other devices take the lead because of their easier operation and richer experience
  40. 40. 37 02 Gaming life-cycle Gamers switch swiftly between games
  41. 41. 38 Average gaming stickiness is around 5.8 months The penetration of stickiness 20% 1-3 month 9% Above 2 years 9% Within 1 week 9% 1-2 years 13% 2wks to 1 month 16% 3-6 month 12% 1-2 week 12% half year to 1 year
  42. 42. 39 Reasons for losing interest Reasons for long time stickiness Boring and repetitive Completed the final stage 45% Noneedforlongtermtimeinvestment40% High quality of production38% People around me are playing38% 28% The game is not popular21% They look for diversity and innovation in new games
  43. 43. 40 03 In-game purchases Gamers pay for enhanced experiences
  44. 44. Play paid games (within or without in-game purchase) 99% of them made an in-game purchase Play free games (within or without in-game purchase) 41 Gamers who play paid games are more likely to make an in-game purchase 49% 87% of them made an in-game purchase 78%
  45. 45. 42 Paid games Monthly spending ⁽Yuan⁾ Total Male Female In-game purchase 129 119 171 166 93 73 I spent 30 rmb to buy a character on Strike of the Kings. The money was a reward from my team. I’m happy to spend money on the games I like. I hope its company can run well and keep developing games. The money spent was worthy. I pay for my attitude. ——Beijing, 34-years-old male I don’t like spending money in general. But if the money was paid for the game quality, I’m happy with that. ——Guangzhou, 32-years-old male Males spend double than females
  46. 46. What do you purchase in games? Male female Equipment/tool Character skins Characters Membership Unlock tricks Pets E-tickets 80% 78% 56% 56% 53% 50% 47% 53% 40% 55% 37% 43% 16% 27% 43 Both males and females buy for better visibility and skills in games
  47. 47. Male female Why do you buy character skins? A good skin can attract other players to play with me 26% 24% 45% 32% 46% 52% 51% 44% 56% 61% 64% 33% 76% 60% I can show off when the skin is limited or good looking Skins with functions make gaming experiences more fun I feel special when my charater looks different from others' Collecting all of the skins of my favorite character brings me a sense of achievement The skins give my character a different look, maintaining my character fresh The skin is visually attractive, and the effect is exciting 44 Males are more attracted to visual appearances
  48. 48. 45 04 Relationship with games Gaming has a significant impact in their lives
  49. 49. 46 Gaming makes me happy 87% Gaming is a friend to me, it keeps me company 77% It shelters me from reality 67% Gaming is my soul mate, we grow together 65% Gaming is intelligent and it's my mentor 63% Gaming is family to me, we are always together 57% To play is to win 47% I feel lonely if I stop playing 40% Benefits extend beyond entertainment
  50. 50. Fanart showcasing the leader of the IG team, Wang Sicong, eating a hot dog after the team won the S8 championship Strike of Kings punch line “hold on, we can win” is popular among non-gamers “XXX, let’s go” is originally a joke among LOL live-streaming hosts. It quickly became popular among all youth on social media 47 Gaming jargon expands to the broader society
  51. 51. Data source: iResearch 2018 China Game Live Streaming Market Report 48 Online game live-streaming market size Unit: Billion RMB 20 0 5 15 10 25 2014 0.43 1.17 3.21 8.7 14.1 19.2 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019e Hosting live-streaming is a new career choice for them
  52. 52. 49 Victory also gives them a strong sense of pride In 2018, the news of Chinese esports team IG winning the LPL world championship without losing one game broke through on social media, firing up a riotous celebration among the younger generation. It was the 8th year of Chinese pro players attending the world’s top esports competition, and their first time winning the championship.
  53. 53. A profound relationship can be found between gamers and games A memorial statue named Wu Hongyu was permanently set up to honor Wu's bravery and love for the shooting game Overwatch. Wu lost his life fighting a motorcycle thief the day before the official launch of Overwatch. His post “anyone waiting for the release of Overwatch tomorrow?” on WeChat became his last words to the world. 50
  54. 54. Analyze the effectiveness of different ad formats in games Undo the myths and discover the truth What’s the truth about gamers? Which ad formats are effective for gamers? Deep dive into the motivation behind gaming behavior What are their gaming habits? 51
  55. 55. 52 Completed Agree Somewhat agree Neutral Somewhat disagree Completed Disagree 0% 100%90%80%70%60%50%40%30%20%10% It’s a good idea for brands to launch ads in games Ads allow me to know more about the brand/product Ads make me feel curious about the brand The ads are memorable Ads provide me with the opportunity to make friends The ads are references for when I purchase The ads are interesting Ads provide the information I need Gamers accept brand association and cooperation
  56. 56. 53 TVC including game element Offline store cooperation Product placement BTL events placement E-sports sponsorship Placement in games Reward Ad Live Streaming Host cooperation Pop up / Banner ad Awareness Interest Like Purchase TVC with game characters is the best format, followed by offline store and packaging cooperation 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
  57. 57. 54 0% 100%80%60%40%20% T1 T2 T3 T4 Awareness Interest Like Purchase Tier 1 gamers are more influenced by offline store cooperation
  58. 58. 55 0% 100%80%60%40%20% less than 5000 5000-9999 10000-14999 15000-19999 20000 or more Awareness Interest Like Purchase E-sports sponsorship appeals to high value groups
  59. 59. 56 0% 100%80%60%40%20% Student Non-student Awareness Interest Like Purchase In-game placement has strong influence on student gamers
  60. 60. Implications
  61. 61. Although the gaming market reveals high potential for advertisers, gamers are quick to switch between games, rendering even the most popular game outdated in a matter of months. Brands face great challenges in considering what games to choose. There are no doubts that mobile games are the first choice. Sponsoring a renowned game will drive massive reach but it will be accompanied by a high price. Brands will need to define both the roles of gaming cooperation and ROI expectations in their media strategies before making a decision. Considering ROI and the role of gaming cooperation before making a choice 58
  62. 62. Compared to the sole sponsorship of popular games, formats focused on high reach media out of games such as TVC or packaging with game elements and offline flash stores prove to be more effective. Brands will need to consider integrating game elements with advertising and products to amplify media effectiveness. Different target groups have different preferences: -Tier 1 gamers are more influenced by offline store cooperation. -E-sports sponsorship appeals to high value groups. -In-game placement has strong influence on student gamers. Integration of game elements within advertising and products is the most effective approach 59
  63. 63. 60 Gamers are willing to make in-game purchases when it comes to experience enhance- ment, especially in visibility and valuable items. This presents an opportunity for brands to engage with gamers. When considering placements in games, brands can integrate with weapons, tools and skins by infusing them with brand elements or run campaigns by linking sales with rare in-game gains to drive conversion. Integrating brand elements with in-game purchases to drive conversion
  64. 64. Gaming is a universal phenomenon transcending gender and age. The benefits of gaming go well beyond entertainment and leisure. Professional gamers fulfill their dreams by playing games and earning a steady income. Victory in a competition is not only about prizes either. To a larger extent, it is a reflection of their passion for gaming and the glory of their country. Brands can win gamers’ hearts and strengthen the emotional connection by infusing the creatives and key messages with elements that portray respect and recognition for the energy and enthusiasm gamers receive from games. Convey respect and recognition for gamers within brand communication 61
  65. 65. 62 Family Computer Home video game console. E-sports A form of competition using video games, particularly between professional players and teams. S8 The eighth season of professional League of Legends world championship tournament. China Joy Asia's largest digital entertainment expo & conference held annually in Shanghai. IG A multi-game esports organization founded in 2011 in China, Their League of Legends team won the 2018 League of Legends World Championship. Fanart An artwork created by fans of a work of fiction and derived from a series character or other aspect of that work. Gaming glossary
  66. 66. 63 MOBA (Multiplayeronline battlearena) Real-time strategy game where a player controls a single character in a team who compete versus another team of players. SSR Card Super super rare card with exordinary benefits, usually the winning rate of SSR card is below 1%. Strike of Kings A popular MOBA mobile game developed and owned by Tencent. Penta kill A situation in video game to describe five champion kills in short succession, leaving the enemy nexus exposed to shredding. World’s first down When the mission character, usually the big boss, is killed for the first time in the game worldwide. Character Skin A graphic to change the appearance of game characters. Gaming glossary
  67. 67. CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION Bhasker.Jaiswal@omd.com Elena.Hu@omd.com Maggie.Lin@omd.com

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