The Power of Branding In Mobile Games | Pocket


Collaboration between intellectual property (IP) holders and game developers to integrate the best brands into existing games or create new ones has been around for a long time.

In the early ’90s, Battletoads / Double Dragon was an early example of the power of brand injections into games and the success they can bring.

It received excellent reviews at the time and in retrospect won Best Overall Game at the Nintendo Power Awards in 1993.

Since then, gaming has obviously evolved and the advent of the mobile phone has made this segment of the gaming industry a growing and exciting field, allowing IP owners and game developers to increase their audience. and their income, a real win-win.

The brands embedded in the games range from iconic characters in movies, TV shows and cartoons to fashion, to sports teams and gamers or to artists and music influencers. These types of integrations facilitate increased engagement with the brands of gamers who can enjoy fresh and exciting content using the brands they love in the games they play.

Yodo1 is a leading company in this field of gaming, illustrated by its partnership with Hasbro.

By licensing Hasbro’s world-class IPs such as Transformers, Yodo1 has been able to help its partner studios amplify, enhance or create new games in cooperation with these IPs. A prime example is the Mobile Legends x TRANSFORMERS collaboration that took place in August 2021.

How games and IP owners benefit from branded injections

Brand injections offer both intellectual property owners and game developers great opportunities and benefits:

The owner of the IP can:

  1. Grow their brand exposure by reaching new audiences in the most engaging entertainment format.
  2. Generate a new revenue stream or additional revenue stream for their brand.
  3. Provide another marketing channel for the brand as a whole.
  4. Reclaim outdated brand audiences / fans by giving them something new and exciting.

The game developer can:

  1. Reach a new and wider audience with the popularity of the IP owner’s mark.
  2. Increase their revenue stream through increased engagement and monetization in their game with a wider audience.
  3. Keep the game fresh and exciting by using branded campaigns to highlight new game features, thus building player loyalty.

A recent collaboration from Yodo1, Hasbro’s Transformers and the strategy game Top War highlights the realization of these benefits and opportunities. The two-week in-game event that took place in August 2021 saw the Transformers IP injected into the game.

Over 13 million players worldwide participated in the event, which saw 50% of the game’s daily revenue come from Transformers-related sales.

How big is the brand and what is its potential

To make sure the right brand is selected for the right game and genre, a developer needs to research the IP to reach full potential. Across all areas of consumption, the stronger the brand’s intellectual property or connection with its audience, the stronger its ability to deliver return on investment (ROI). This is because excellent intellectual property boosts awareness and creates instant emotional attachment with the audience.

For mobile games, this is exemplified by Apple’s IOS stores and Google Play regularly featuring IP-based titles in their flagship banners, and people often searching for the IP itself.

Three of the top five titles in the top section of Google Play (in the Game category, September 20, 2021) are strong IP brand games

This is great when marketing the title, as consumers instantly recognize the brand and associate with the game, while still having the opportunity to participate in the intrigues and traditions that IP already offers. All of this can dramatically reduce customer acquisition costs and foster long-term engagement in the game.

Therefore, a developer should do extensive brand research and identify:

  1. How popular is it in its local market as well as globally?
  2. How strong is the brand in the game?
  3. How long has IP been around and when was it most popular?
  4. Which demographic group is the PI aimed at the most?
  5. Are there any non-gaming events, content and / or new products that need to be released in relation to intellectual property?
  6. What is the IP management history of the IP owner (how many of their brands are held in high regard)?

Associate the brand with the right kind of game

In theory, these collaborations seem simple enough, but they can quickly go wrong if the brand doesn’t match the game. For example, a zombie game would almost certainly not work with an IP like the Teletubbies (and the owner of the IP probably wouldn’t allow it).

When selecting an IP address, a developer will need to consider the theme of the game, its audience, and how the IP address may be aligned with these as well as the mechanics of the game. For example, some Hyper-casual games that have short lifecycles may not work well with IP injections, as they rely more on monetization of ads than on in-app purchases, which is a more common and efficient way to capitalize on the. brand injection.

On the other hand, The My Little Pony IP has turned out to be a great example of a branded injection for the Mini World sandbox game. Through Yodo1’s Hasbro partnership, developer Miniwan Technology has injected the brand into the game and achieved great results.

Sales increased with 180,000 Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia skins sold in the first week and exceptionally high engagement in the two weeks following launch, with 10 million views and 750,000 comments on My Little Pony topics. in online communities.

The brand should improve the game

Once the appropriate brand is selected, a developer will also need to think about how IP can present the game, generate engagement, and bring joy to fans through its gameplay. If they don’t, they won’t win over the audience.

For example, the game Tom and Jerry created by NetEase was designed to be fun and original, just like the characters, as the IP is aimed at a casual audience. It wouldn’t have made sense to implement hardcore gameplay mechanics, as it would have only put off the show’s biggest fans.

An alternate example would be an RPG like Marvel Future Fight (by NetMarble). Role-playing games (RPGs) often focus on character growth, specialized weapons, and rich storytelling. Therefore, such intellectual property would enhance the player’s gaming experience as it features beloved heroes and notorious villains whose personal stories and characteristics can be immersed in the game to enhance the plot.

IP owners wishing to collaborate, large publishers and game developers who take the advice above into account can easily find the right IP to give their titles even more weight.

Over the years, third-party IP licenses have yielded notable results, which are growing rapidly in the mobile gaming market. So, if large publishers and developers can find the right IP that best matches their game’s characteristics, approach IP rights holders, and embed the brand in their game (theme, products, and game mechanics), they can be on a win-win path.

So whether you are a developer or an IP owner looking to take advantage of IP licensing, contact Yodo1 to get started.

With their Brands in Games (BiG) team, years of experience and expertise, they are able to help you acquire the right intellectual property for the right game, helping you on your way to a real win-win.


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