Gaming is quickly becoming the socialisation and community platform of choice, and countries like China, Japan, South Korea and India are leading the way in the market. In China, BBH capitalises on the fandom built by Goat Games to create a launch activation that draws gamers in with an interactive component.
The lucrative gaming industry in Asia Pacific rises in tandem with that of smartphone users in the region, representing a market value of US$64.7 billion for the mobile gaming segment, according to Statista. Of the 11.48 billion gamers in Asia, 1.04 billion are mobile gamers. The number of smartphone users is projected to go from 2,953 million in 2022 to 3,339 million in 2025, further adding to the momentum of gaming as a hobby and in e-sports. As a result, many of the top developers and agencies that specialise in gaming campaigns are emerging in Asia.
BBH China’s CCO Kelly Pon, head of business development Siying Goh, and planning director Andrea Chen talk about their experience.
LBB> What was the brief and key messages and goals for this campaign?
Siying> Bloodline is a new game title. The challenge in launching a new game IP is to ensure that we can secure its long-term potential by maximising its impact at launch. If it fails to show any resonance with the players, that may limit the development of the game.
So the challenge was daunting, but the brief itself was straightforward: Bring “New Legends will be Born” to life and clearly convey this proposition to the gamers.
LBB> How did the idea for New Legends Are Born come about? Do share more on the brainstorming process.
Kelly> We were really inspired by the game concept, the ability to match heroes to create little baby hybrids with unexpected inherited traits… There are many angles we could have approached this from – a diversity angle for instance, of different races coming together. Or seeing these characters as a human family, which was what we eventually landed on. Once we started seeing these characters through a human family lens, a rich territory opened. What would their lives look like? The journey of courtship, setting up their family and the birth of their new baby… we started to fill in the gaps and give the characters relevance to the real world and to our gamers. It was fun.
LBB> Creatively, Bloodline offers the perfect canvas with its realm of romance, fantasy and action. How did BBH intensify the storytelling with new layers of intrigue?
Siying> In the game, the journey of creating the legend is truncated. But within that idea lies a whole story that can be amplified, romanticised, and dramatised. And that’s exactly what we did. The journey of the birth of this new legend is what you don’t get in-game, which provided us with an opportunity to talk about it, out-of-game.
LBB> What were the highlights and challenges of shooting the launch commercial? Do talk us through the technical production, techniques, and special effects.
Kelly> The shoot was done in Uruguay remotely due to Covid travel restrictions. The challenge mainly revolved around the attempt to build a crossover world, between the human and rich fantasy world, for a limited budget. Should it be a human world with ogres in it, or a fantasy world with humans in it? So, a lot of thought went into making sure that the world and set are fitting to the story and are credible.
LBB> BBH brought together fantasy character artist Jonah Lobe and gaming video creator Daniel for a livestream session together with gamers to create the new legend. What was the strategy behind it?
Andrea> In gaming, the buy-in of the game community is crucial. Gamers are an extremely vocal community, often offering their views to game developers on the gaming experience. We leveraged their need for participation and ownership and gave them a part to play.
LBB> Close to 4,800 ideas were contributed by gamers during the livestream. How was the new legend selected?
Kelly> It was a co-creation exercise with the gaming community. Suggestions and ideas around what the new legend would look like, the colour, the shape, the marks of its traits, all came from gamers. Some ideas were building on others, so the result culminated from rolling these ideas into one.
LBB> What were the takeaways of the livestream and what kind of numbers did that generate?
Siying> We learnt that the players were very invested in the world-building process, they were able to identify and suggest the traits, accessories and skill sets unique to each breed and co-create with us and the influencer. This has inspired us and the developer to invite the players in future into this world-building process.
LBB> How significant was it in terms of brand building for Bloodline?
Kelly> Brand building is an interesting challenge when it comes to launching a new game brand. More than driving initial downloads and engaging players within the game loop – it’s also about creating an intriguing narrative that invites fans to participate in the game universe and build it together. In that respect, we’re very heartened by the participation in the launch activations and how invested players already are in the narrative and world-building.
LBB> How did other elements of this integrated campaign intensify and amplify the brand’s market reach and penetration?
Siying> Within the first week of launch, the campaign has helped the game title clinch a spot in the iOS Top10 most downloaded games billboard. It was also identified as a “Rising Challenger” within the mid-core game titles by The Game Refinery, an industry mobile game database. This success gave the developer confidence to continue expanding into European markets.
LBB> Looking forward, how will the learning points of this campaign’s success generate momentum for campaigns in other markets?
Siying> They have helped us put more focus on community building and social seeding for campaigns in other markets.
LBB> What are the key considerations in approaching campaign work for the gaming industry?
Andrea> Understanding where the game is at in terms of its development and publishing is crucial in defining the challenge and the objective of the campaign. For example, these would vary between a game that has already done a beta launch and has some users compared to a game that has not.
We also need to understand the product roadmap. Unlike say a soft drink from the FMCG world, the product in the gaming industry is constantly iterating and evolving, and sometimes in real-time, therefore, there’s a demand for the communications to be synced up and to play an active role in overcoming the lag between the ideal and the actual product.
Player engagement is extremely key in driving momentum for a successful launch because engaging and activating the game’s “1000 true superfans” will help drive higher commercial value and provide a more meaningful feedback loop for the developer, especially in the beginning stages.