In an "east to west" marketing strategy, Tilting Point looks to help Korean developer JoyCity grow its footprint in the western mobile arena.
The mobile gaming sector is a fast-paced, competitive arena where publishers are often dealing with audiences in the millions. The saturation of smartphones and tablets means that more people in the world have access to games on mobile devices than any other platform. The result is a lucrative market, but a crowded one, where acquiring users is paramount to longevity.
To that end, Tilting Point, a leading publisher of free-to-play mobile games, has announced a new user acquisition (UA) campaign for Gunship Battle:Total Warfare from Korean developer JoyCity. Tilting Point will be investing upwards of $40 million into the effort, making it the company's largest UA funding partnership to date.
“The Gunship Battle franchise is already very well-known within the mobile community, with more than 100 million downloads,” Asi Burak, senior vice president of business development at Tilting Point, told GameDaily. “Gunship Battle: Total Warfare has been a flagship title in that successful franchise, earning the Google Play Store ‘Editor’s Choice’ award.”
Burak said that Titling Point’s ultimate goal is to power up existing games so that they reach new milestones in terms of downloads, revenue, and usership. Investment decisions are based on tangible performance data, and analysis of Gunship Battle: Total Warfare’s statistics demonstrated that the title had ample room to grow its audience, especially in the US.
“We believe that Gunship Battle: Total Warfare’s existing success, paired with our $40 million UA funding spend, will help the game cement its place as a top title in the mobile strategy genre,” Burak explained.
According to mobile analytics group Sensor Tower, at least part of what makes Gunship Battle: Total Warfare an attractive target for a UA campaign is the impressive year it’s had. Reportedly, the game has earned $35.7 million since its release in late 2018, but monthly revenue has risen consistently throughout 2020.
“So far in 2020, revenue has been on the increase every month, peaking at an estimated $3.4 million in November, nearly three times more than the title accumulated in November 2019,” mobile insights strategist Craig Chapple told GameDaily. “Judging by its consistent upwards trajectory, the title appears prime for some new UA investment.”
Burak explained that Tilting Point’s marketing campaign will target the US and Europe in an effort to expand the western audience for Gunship Battle: Total Warfare. It’s important to note that developer JoyCity is based in Korea, while Tilting Point’s main headquarters is in New York, making this an international deal. Such agreements, Chapple said, aren’t uncommon, but $40 million is a substantial sum even by regular standards.
“Deals between South Korea and North American firms have happened before, but mega deals are rare, with perhaps the most notable deal being Netmarble's acquisition of Kabam Vancouver and other parts of Kabam's North American operations back in 2016. Other deal examples include Big Huge Games' partnership with Nexon on DomiNations, while Com2uS previously partnered with Activision on Skylanders: Ring of Heroes.”
Burak calls Tilting Point’s investment an “east to west” strategy. Gunship Battle: Total Warfare is already extremely popular in the Asian market, and the goal is to replicate that popularity in the west. It’s a strategy that Tilting Point has employed before with its various Chinese and Korean development partners, but never on this scale.
“This requires a slightly different approach to marketing, and in some cases different creative campaigns,” Burak explained. “We know where we are good at, so we aim to compliment the overseas studio in opening or expanding new markets for them. This makes a partnership like this last for a long-term period, and leverages the strengths of both parties.”
For Chapple, Tilting Point’s investment into JoyCity is representative of some of the larger trends the games industry has seen in 2020. For example, international partnerships have become more prominent in recent years, and the mergers and acquisitions arena has gone into overdrive.
“Whether it’s Zynga buying Peak Games, the battle between Take-Two and EA for Codemasters, or big partnerships like Activision and Tencent on Call of Duty, or Blizzard and NetEase on Diablo Immortal, there are big deals to be done across the globe,” Chapple said. “Big publishers want to work with the best talent, and they're increasingly looking further afield for those opportunities.”
In all, Tilting Point’s substantial investment into JoyCity’s game speaks to the growing importance of the mobile market, particularly in Europe and North America. In November, analyst provider Newzoo estimated that in 2020, mobile would generate upwards of $86.3 billion of the industry’s $179.4 billion in revenue. It’s no surprise, then, that mobile has become perhaps the most attractive segment of the games market. It will be interesting to track Gunship Battle: Total Warfare’s progress in this regard, and see how western players take to the game.
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