Half of your game players are Chinese… Although you don’t even have a proper translation yet?
That’s exactly the situation Crytivo and Square Glade Games faced with Above Snakes - relaxing Wild West-inspired worldbuilder, allowing you to freely build and explore your world. After releasing the prologue, they were surprised with over 60% of their traffic coming from China.
Chinese players generated a huge amount of wishlists - that’s why Tobi, founder of Square Glade Games, contacted us in April. Existing organic interest from the market was the best sign the game will do well in the market - and that active outreach can increase them even further.
As the release date - 25th of May - was coming soon, there was no time to lose.
Our cooperation started at the beginning of May 2023. The main goal was to support the publisher before the official launch, focusing strictly on increasing sales from the Chinese market. In order to use the momentum and create hype, the wave of videos was set on 24th of May - one day before the release.
The person responsible for the project was Aleksander Ptak, our Junior Chinese Marketing Specialist.
- OUR SOLUTION
The most effective solution to quickly boost sales is influencer outreach. In this case, as there was little time left, we decided on a burst support - one time service including contacting at least 50 content creators.
There are three requirements before starting:
- It has to be at least one month before the release, so we will have enough time to map out and contact the influencers.
- The playable build has to be ready, so they can actually play the game.
- And the last thing is localisation - as not many people in China speak English, it can greatly increase the chances of success.
We had 3 weeks for influencer outreach and during that time we managed to confirm 20 influencers who were eager to create videos about Above Snakes. What did it look like?
- We started out with mapping out all the influencers that created content about similar titles (like Timberborn or Dinkum) and putting them into a custom database created for Above Snakes. We focused on games that were relaxing and forgiving.
- Then we reached out directly from the publisher’s Bilibili account, which made the contact more personal. Each influencer received a game key as value.
- We also helped influencers with accessing the right version of the game to avoid any mistakes.
Then, we agreed on 24th of May as the release date for the videos.
In just two days after the embargo ended, we noticed that the amount of wishlists on Heybox jumped by 4 thousand.
Out of 62 Chinese influencers in our database, 49 videos were released in just 7 days after the premiere. As of 31st of May we surpassed 300k views.
This in turn led to over 4k copies sold just on Heybox after a month.
What’s more, 27% of reviews on Steam were in Chinese, and Above Snakes was #1 trending on Steam Spy.
4. INFLUENCER CONTENT
Apart from sales, it’s also important to mention how influencers reacted to the game. Content creators contacted by Olek had very positive feedback for the developer - with comments like “good games should get a lot of attention” and “the game is great and fun”.
Out of videos published as a direct result of our outreach, the most popular one was created by 疯不觉Cool, an influencer with 55k followers. At this moment, his gameplay has reached 101k views and 2387 likes.
Another example is a series of videos by 狗哥yo, another Bilibili influencer with 218k followers, which gathered 74k views.
Not only these videos created a lot of hype during launch, but also have long-term value - as they will continue to attract potential gamers long after the premiere.
5. COMMUNITY PERCEPTION
Just before the release, the most popular thing searched about Above Snakes on Bilibili was “什么时候上” - “When is the premiere”. What was the source of its popularity in China?
In general, casual, cozy games are very sought after in the Chinese market. Many people there deal with stress and pressure on a daily basis, and relaxing games are a popular way of relieving it. Above Snakes is a forgiving game without any time pressure, allowing the players to experience a high degree of freedom and beautiful art style. It’s no wonder that it attracted a lot of attention.
But the popularity didn’t come without challenges. As more people became interested in the title, the amount of negative comments increased. While on Steam, 75% of reviews were positive, Heybox rating equaled 6.5.
Chinese players are often more critical in their opinions. The first thing they judge is the price - as they are used to F2P games, their demands are high when it comes to content and quality of the game. Frequently addressed aspects were also in-game mechanics, for example long respawn times and short story.
That’s why comment moderation and quick response to their feedback is vital during hot periods like the game launch.
Influencer outreach is a proven way to bring sales - the results above are a sure proof of that. Not only is it cost effective, but it’s able to generate results on a small time-window, which can be crucial before any major update.
Influencers can also support you in the later stages, for example by creating more content about the game every time there is a new patch or change - or organising key giveaways for their followers. As they gather an entire community of like minded people around themselves, they are your window to reaching your target audience in a huge market of 660 million Chinese gamers.
Last but not least, a few words from Olek:
“After I saw the game for the first time I thought "I see potential for tens of thousands sold copies - let's make it real".
Setting up over 30 influencers and making sure that they will stick to the embargo wasn't an easy task, but I wanted to deliver the best possible results for the client.
I have set a goal for myself as a specialist - over 200k of views under the videos.
And guess what happened next ;)”
We are definitely proud of the results we were able to achieve! It was a huge pleasure to work with you Tobi and Sasha 🙂
Kind regards from our entire team ~