The co-founder of 37Games, Zeng Kaitian, offers some insight about the success of 37Games IP strategy and on how to fine tune game operations to generate extra revenue. This past year, 37Games has ventured into unfamiliar territory for a Chinese company. They’re purchasing IP rights. China isn’t quite known as the champion of intellectual property rights by any measure. Mr. Zeng reasoned that utilizing IP rights in games gives publishers a powerful catalyst to gain the initial user base that is crucial to the game’s success. He added that it is easier to ride the name recognition and branding associated with the intellectual property used to make the game well-known to the masses.
Adding to the benefits of a familiar brand, games using IP rights from movies, previous games, and novels have almost 250% higher conversion rate than those games starting completely from scratch. In terms of income, games using IP also generate twice as much revenue as those without it. Asian consumers also thirst for popular movies, TV shows, and stars from the West. For these reasons, 37Games plans to acquire more IP rights from familiar stories, movies, and games to publish across their platforms from Asia to North America.
By the end of 2014, 37Games had entered the markets of South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, North America, France, and Turkey. Their overseas platforms have opened well over 3,000 servers to date and boast a user base exceeding 30 million players.
During his trip to Taipei, Mr. Zeng was also asked to expand a bit on his company’s success in the niche markets of Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea. With 37Games being the market leader in those countries and areas, Zeng Kaitian offered a glimpse into what he saw was the reason for his company’s success. He remarked that the translations of their games were handled in-house by local Taiwanese and Thais. Outsourcing translations can lead to discrepancies in the overall theme and linguistic style. Keeping all of the localization work in-house means that the fell of the game and language styles will flow coherently.
By bringing foreign talent in-house, he added, 37Games is able to better absorb and understand foreign player’s cultural preferences, payment habits, as well as their overall attitudes towards gaming. Zeng Kaitian also revealed that future English titles would also be fully localized by an in-house team as well.
Going Old School to Build a Brand
37Games has decided to revisit the classic avenues of marketing and promotion. Since the arrival of the casual and social gaming revolutions, 37Games has redefined what their typical target user should be. In order to reach a wider demographic base, 37Games loves to experiment with both new and old methods of promotion in an effort to turn their products into household names.
The overwhelming success of The Sword of Arch Angel, which has smashed most existing records set by current browser games, owes part of its success to 37Games all-encompassing media strategy. Not unlike household brands like Apple or McDonald’s, audiences can feel the presence of this game on the internet, while taking a bus, riding the subway, as well as other far more traditional marketing landscapes such as the billboard or poster.
Since concluding that games aren‘t just for “gamers“, Mr. Zeng concluded that 37Games will continue to expand upon its existing media strategy in its goal to become a household name. In the way that McDonald’s delivers a consistent product despite differences of place and time, 37Games intends to be the household name for a consistent, top-notch gaming product to players around the globe.
From it’s origins in a small, unassuming office in Guangzhou, China, 37Games has quickly grown to become the browser game market leader in Eastern and Southeastern Asia. 37Games currently has over 1,500 staff in its Guangzhou office, along with international offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Min, Seoul, and Taipei. 37Games plans to take its publishing and marketing prowess from Mainland China to help expand its business while publishing games across the globe.
37.com allows players to not only game, but to become part of a global gaming community — all from the convenience of their computer or smartphone.
Publishing micro-transaction-based, free to play games, 37Games taps into demographics previously unreached by the gaming sector. Free to play means anyone, from any part of the world, can partake in the fun! 37Games is redefining the way games are developed, localized, and published to create amazing, novel experiences for all kinds of gamers all over the globe.