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Tencent’s “Yuanmeng Star” Shake Up the Party Game Market or Will NetEase’s “Egg Boy Party” Hold Its Ground?

The party game market, which has been bustling for a year, is once again making ripples at the end of the year.

On December 15, the new game “Yuanmeng Star” by Tianmei Studio under Tencent Games was officially launched on all platforms without deletion. On the morning of that day, Tencent once rose 2.44% during the session, and the game sector has been rising for many consecutive days. As of press time, “Yuanmeng Star” has topped the iOS free list for many consecutive days.

The high-profile arrival of “Yuanmeng Star” is not difficult to remind people of another popular party mobile game this year – “Egg Boy Party” owned by NetEase. Since its launch, it has announced results such as monthly active users and UGC maps exceeding 100 million. It is regarded by the outside world as another important cash cow for NetEase.

“This may be another ‘chicken fight,'” a game industry insider told the “City Circle.” In 2017, after Tencent obtained the official authorization from PUBG Company, it resolutely entered the tactical competitive shooting track to compete with other manufacturers such as NetEase and Xishanju.

Almost at the same time, NetEase invested heavily in launching “Decisive Battle!” on the MOBA track. “Ping An Jing” set off another category competition, but it did not shake the national status of Tencent’s “Honor of Kings”.

The competition for resources on the platform and the large-scale carnival of users have already made the competition on the party game track a grand reenactment of the “Chicken Fight”. But this time, will success or failure lead to the same outcome?

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New entry into the game Yuanmeng Star
As the year draws to a close, the party game circuit welcomes a new player.

The on-screen recommendations you can see when you open the APP, the “rain of red envelopes” chat effect that can be dropped by entering keywords on WeChat, and the “Xingbao” figure can also be tracked in the star-studded Tencent Video Starlight Awards , “Yuanmeng Star” quickly captured the attention of the public players as soon as it was launched.

How popular is “Yuanmeng Star”? Just 90 minutes after it went online on the first day, it ranked first in the free download list on iOS. After the game launched the red envelope rain event that night, the server became too popular and briefly went down.

It is not an exaggeration to say that “Yuanmeng Star” is the favorite of Tencent games. For example, at the beginning, many of TiMi’s games took action to support the launch of this new game, and “Honor of Kings” became the strongest “teammate” of “Yuanmeng Star”. In the first week of launch, after players reach level 10 in “Yuanmeng Star”, they can receive the star skin of the popular hero Da Qiao for free. Players of “Yuanmeng Star” can also own popular kings such as Sun Shangxiang, Meng Qi, and Lu Ban. Linked appearance of the hero.

“I wanted to get the skin, so I downloaded Yuanmeng and played it. After playing it, I thought it was pretty good.” A star-level “Honor of Kings” player told “City”.

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It holds genuine licenses for many well-known party games such as “Jelly Beans: Ultimate Knockout” and “Humanity Fall Flat”, and has reached cooperation with well-known brands and IPs such as The Paper and “Crayon Shin-chan”. The famous game anchor Zhang Daxian’s Douyin The premiere and subsequent live broadcasts and daily content continued to support “Yuanmeng Star”. It cooperated with nine major content platforms such as Bilibili and Douyin and jointly released the “Xingmeng Partner” with a total of 300 million yuan in the first quarter. “The content ecological incentive plan is also proof that “Yuanmeng Star” is “well-loved”.

After a set of combo punches, “Yuanmeng Star” attracted the attention of all kinds of players and gained a lot of discussion: “Yuanmeng Star” became a top-notch game after its debut. In just one day, #元梦之星 The total number of views on Weibo of Star# has reached nearly 700 million, and the number of interactions has reached nearly 10 million. As of press time, the number of views of this topic has risen to 1.33 billion.

“The biggest highlight is that the finished product has a very thick game mode.” A person in the game industry who has experienced “Yuanmeng Star” analyzed “City”, “There are many ways to play. In addition to the classic pass-through mode, the entertainment mode has many ways to play. It is relatively new, and gun battle gameplay such as biochemical pursuit and charge competition are all types that Tencent is good at. The granularity of the gameplay will be more fine-grained, and the social interaction will be smooth, making it easy to get together with friends to play.”

In addition, as a party game that values the spread of social links in the public and private domains, its deep integration with the two major social platforms WeChat and QQ has undoubtedly brought “Yuanmeng Star” back to the dominance of Tencent Games, just like “The King” “Glory” and “Peace Elite”, games with a broad user base, high daily activity, and low ARPU (average revenue per user) have always been areas in which Tencent Games excels.

Different from traditional mid-to-severe MMO products, party games rely more on continuous updates of gameplay content through PGC+UGC. The long-tail effect is obvious, with long cycles, and the peak sales are not in the first month. This also means that as soon as it is launched, it will The popular “Yuanmeng Star” may continue to rise and rise.

“”Yuanmeng Star” has a high possibility of becoming the next national-level game,” an industry insider pointed out.

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Tencent’s thinking behind new products
Party games, as a new category that has only become popular in China in recent years, have multiple functions such as simple operation, easy to understand, and meeting social needs. From the popular “Goose and Duck” in the past few years to today’s “Egg Party” and “Yuanmeng Star”, party games have experienced a round of “end-to-end transfer” transformation, and are also growing at a rate of more than 150%. Speed (data source: “2023 Game Industry Hot Trends Report”) leads the market and becomes the leader in the opportunity category in 2023.

In addition to “Yuanmeng Star”, a number of game manufacturers are also entering this category: Eagle Point Network’s party game “Paom Paom” has released a trailer in September; Lilith’s “Life Party” is also being prepared internally It was so taken seriously that some media claimed that CEO Wang Xinwen even wrote the plan himself.

The fierce “melee” between Tencent and NetEase has made many people see the shadow of the “chicken fight” of the year.

In March 2017, a game called “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” suddenly became popular, bringing tactical competitive games into the horizons of domestic manufacturers. In the second half of the year, a secret war soon began. At the beginning of November, Xishanju’s “Xiaomi Shootout” took the lead, and almost immediately, NetEase launched “Knives Out”, which attracted more than 100 million registered users on both PC and mobile phones.

In just three months, Tencent quickly followed up and gathered the strength of its multiple studio groups to catch up. With the genuine authorization of PUBG, it restored the feel of PC games and the huge advantages of its own traffic, it fought a beautiful game. anti-super war.

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Tencent has consistently impacted the market with a complete and multi-dimensional category layout: In this battle, Tencent’s multiple self-research studios launched two authentic authorized mobile games of “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”. At the same time, the Northern Lights Studio Group also developed The tactical competitive PC game “Infinite Rules”.

When opportunities arise, Tencent Games, a company with a big business, never hesitates to invest. Ma Xiaoyi, senior vice president of Tencent, once told the media, “This (tactical competition) is a major breakthrough in the game category that can be compared to previous MOBA games, so we hope to do our best to use our resources to do it.”

Almost at the same time, Tencent and NetEase also “met on a narrow road” in the MOBA field. NetEase wants to use the “Onmyoji” style that it is good at to use “Decisive Battle!” “Ping An Jing” challenges “Honor of Kings”, but multi-dimensional and continuous R&D investment such as the expansion of IP value, the construction of player anchor ecology, and investment in e-sports events have jointly built a very wide moat for “Honor of Kings”, which is easy to defend but difficult to attack.

Judging from the two cases of seizing category opportunities in history, Tencent’s three key points of “category layout thinking” are: finding the right opportunities, coming up with high-quality products, and operating systems.

First of all, Tencent will predict all the right opportunities, choose the right time to enter the market, and invest without hesitation.

When category opportunities arise, Tencent is good at “concentrating its efforts on big things”, allocating all available resources, and launching a fierce attack to launch better quality games. According to industry insiders, even though Tencent was not the first to end up in the “Chicken War”, as long as it looks in the right direction, All In products can quickly counterattack.

This time, the same is true for the emergence of “Yuanmeng Star”. It received a version number opportunity in early 2023, devoted all its efforts to polishing it, and increased investment towards the goal of expanding the category ceiling.

In addition, Tencent’s long-term investment in the gaming field can ensure that the quality of games is excellent, thereby providing opportunities for longer-term growth.

The same goes for the system’s combat capabilities. Not only is it linked to self-developed IPs such as TiMi’s “Honor of Kings”, but Tencent products such as WeChat, QQ, Tencent Video, and QQ Music all support “Yuanmeng Star”.

“Obviously, it is the product that Tencent attaches most importance to this year. Other products within Tianmei will try their best to support “Yuanmeng Star”.” A Tencent game person commented to “City”. A person close to Tencent said that Tencent is “spending no effort to win” this time.

Who will dominate the party game circuit?
With the launch of “Yuanmeng Star”, the party game track has become even more lively. It has not yet been decided which manufacturer will sound the horn of victory.

NetEase has a first-mover advantage. “Danzi Party” has been online for more than a year, and its monthly active users and UGC maps have both exceeded 100 million. However, “Yuanmeng Star” not only has to start from scratch, but also finds ways to expand its user base. It’s not that difficult.

The UGC (user-generated content) that brought “Egg Party” back to life has always been one of the barriers that NetEase talks about. At the beginning of 2023, interesting UGC such as “Lao Liu Map” and “Spoof Map” made “Egg Boy Party” frequently appear in the circle, and also brought this game that had been on the decline back to the public’s attention and became a hot product during the Spring Festival.

Allowing users to make their own maps can not only increase user stickiness, but also bring a continuous source of inspiration, so that the proportion of user time spent on UGC once exceeded that of mainstream gameplay. In the previous financial report meeting, NetEase CEO Ding Lei showed full confidence in “Egg Boy Party” and made a “ten-year agreement.”

However, in China, except for Tencent, other game manufacturers have relatively little experience in long-term operation of large DAU games. According to Sensor Tower, after ranking fifth in China’s App Store mobile game revenue list at the beginning of this year, “Eggman Party” dropped to tenth in November.

It can also be seen from the recent series of actions that NetEase is not willing to give up the party game category market to others easily. In the past few days since the launch of “Yuanmeng Star”, “Egg Boy Party” has been heavily promoted and released, which can be said to be unprecedented. “Yuanmeng Star” officially announced the endorsement of Times Youth League, and “Egg Boy Party” made its own spokesperson Wu Lei a hot search. Douyin opened the screen, KOL recommended it, and even WeChat Moments were included.

At the same time as “Yuanmeng Star” was launched, “Egg Party” also launched a month-long “Egg Festival”, and successively launched benefits such as “Log in to get 10 consecutive draws” and “Pleasant Goat Linked Skin for Free” , the mentality of retaining users is really urgent, but this does not prevent old users from grabbing the wool while trying new games.

What “Egg Boy Party” is not good at is opening up social links, and this is precisely Tencent’s strong point. In terms of publicity resources, scale of cooperation, KOL promotion, and the distribution of benefits in conjunction with IPs such as “Honor of Kings”, Tencent has taken strong medicine this time.

Judging from the design of the game itself, the ambition of “Yuanmeng Star” goes far beyond just targeting the existing party game market. The label they reinforce externally is “family fun”, and what they want to do is the “link” that they have always been good at.

It is not difficult to see that Tencent is using a platform-based construction idea to make games. It wants to “package” Goose Factory’s pan-entertainment resources into this game with strong links and build a social entertainment “metaverse”: In “Yuanmeng Star”, players can watch TV series and animations on Tencent Video, listen to songs on QQ Music, and experience various party games such as “virtual skiing” with friends in “Yuanmeng Star”.

Special developments such as the creation of a national e-sports competition system, incentives for content ecology creators, and incentives for UGC map creators… With a large investment in ecological construction, Tencent has “rolled” party games, a category that originally seemed to have a low threshold and a younger age group. In front of the public with a wider age and circle, more adults can discover the unique experience of party games, with the intention of “expanding” the entire party game track, doing what it is best at “category evolution”, and attracting more atypical party games Players’ potential users enter.

Another Spring Festival is approaching. For the party game track where the situation is still unclear, it is undoubtedly a critical period for success. Presumably manufacturers such as Tencent and NetEase will take advantage of this opportunity to work hard and make a big splash. For the party circuit, the performance of several products during the Spring Festival will also determine whether they can continue to become an opportunity category in 2024.

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