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Douyin, the "shovel seller" of 60 billion small games

Zinc scale 2024/05/17 16:28

Zinc scale, Douyin, the "shovel seller" of the 60 billion mini-game

Small games become big business

Written by Chen Dengxin

Editor / Li Ji

Typography/ Annalee

Small game, out of the circle again.

In May 2024, "Catching the Big Goose" will become the most popular mini-game, and it is also another "dark horse" after "Jump", "Sheep is a Sheep" and "Synthetic Big Watermelon".

At the same time, mini games have become the "keyword" of listed game companies' 2023 annual reports and 2024 Q1 quarterly reports, and players with big faces in the industry are gearing up to do a big job.

Mining the "bonanza" of mini-games, it is still inconclusive who will make a lot of money in the future, but the "shovel seller" who provides the platform is undoubtedly the big winner.

After all, no mini-game can say no to Tik Tok.

A small game that turns into a big business

The connotation of mini-games has changed.

In the desktop era, mini-games refer to lightweight games such as "Minesweeper" and "Tetris"; The mobile era refers to mini-program games that rely on Internet platforms.

According to public information, on December 28, 2017, the first mini game "Jump" was launched on WeChat, becoming a national game with simple social gameplay, opening the prelude to a new era of games.

Douyin's first mini-game "Yinyue Qiuqiu" became an instant hit with its "short video + game" play, with 300 million views of short videos alone, marking the entry of mini games into the "iPhone moment".

More importantly, as the mini game continues to grow, it has become the "winner and loser" of the game-breaking stock market.

According to the "2023 China Game Industry Report", the revenue of China's game market in 2023 will be 302.964 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 13.95%; During the same period, the revenue of China's mini game market was 20 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 300%.

It is not difficult to see that in the context of the exhaustion of game dividends, the high growth attributes of the mini game are particularly eye-catching, and the extra size of the mini game is not a "multiple-choice question", but a "must-answer question".

Douyin, which has a keen sense of smell, is naturally no exception.

At the beginning of its birth, mini games were attached to the platform, and the ecology of the platform provided fertile soil for the blossoming and fruiting of mini games, and Douyin, which has 1 billion monthly active users, has always been the super traffic entrance of the Internet.

Yu Qing, the operator of Douyin Mini Game Manufacturer, said: "The user portraits of Douyin IM highly active users and Mini Games are highly matched, and many games have brought a plural proportion of new users through IM fission. ”

In this context, the Douyin mini game ecology continues to improve.

Regarding this, it can be seen from its answer sheet: the 2024 Giant Engine Douyin IAA Mini Game Ecological Conference revealed that from the second quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024, the daily active users of Douyin Mini Games increased by 150% year-on-year, the game duration of a single user increased by 54.3% year-on-year, and the number of monthly active users exceeded the 100 million mark.

Needless to say, small games have become big business.

The cost of buying volume is lower, and more users are reached

As can be seen from the above, the mini game is red and purple, and the industry has entered the golden period of "from 1 to 100", and there are three reasons behind this.

First of all, the threshold for development is lowered.

With the launch of the game production engine Unity, the tool for turning APP games into mini games, simplifying the porting process and shortening the adaptation time, the category boundaries of mini games have expanded to medium and heavy games such as tower defense, adventure, and action.

Puzzle leisure is no longer the only "label" of mini games.

Correspondingly, in order to adapt to the trend of mini games from light to heavy, Douyin has increased the local cache limit to meet the needs of high smoothness and high quality of games.

In addition, WebGL and Native Instant Game are adopted as the dual solution, the former consumes less resources and can support more users. The latter has a higher ceiling of game performance and is comparable to APP games, so as to meet different development needs.

More importantly, the efficiency improvement tool UBMax launched by Douyin can not only help game manufacturers cover all marketing scenarios, but also reduce the traffic cost of game marketing.

In this way, it is reasonable that the basic disk of the mini game will become larger.

A game practitioner told Zinc Scale: "Mini games are an important starting point for AI landing, and through AI tools such as ChatGPT, Sentis, and Stable Diffusion, the development threshold is lower, even for individual developers." ”

Secondly, the flame is high when everyone gathers firewood.

With lower thresholds, category expansion, and strong monetization, Mini Games have become the "second battlefield" for game manufacturers such as CMGE, Perfect World, Celadon Games, Junhai Games, Langang Interactive, Sanqi Mutual Entertainment, and Kaiying Network.

In this regard, CMGE said: "In 2023, the revenue of the mini game business will exceed 600 million yuan, and the main products include "The Legend of Kyushu Fairy Sword" and "The Gun God of the People: Border King", etc., and the mini game business has become a new business growth point for CMGE. ”

In addition to game manufacturers, Douyin is also increasing its weight.

In January 2024, the Douyin open platform announced that it would invest more than 5 billion yuan in resources to promote the development of mini games, including talent subsidies, project support, operation subsidies, advertising grants and other all-round support.

With the joint effort, mini games have naturally become the hottest game segment.

Again, "small hands at both ends" has become a new trend.

In fact, although mini games are faintly competing with APP games, the two are not "life and death" relationships, and there is a strong complementarity.

According to public information, the overlap between the users of Mini Games and APP games is only about 50%, and the rapid growth of Mini Games has not squeezed the user usage time and expenditure of APP games.

Zinc scale, Douyin, the "shovel seller" of the 60 billion mini-game

In this way, it becomes the best strategy for a game to land on both the mini game and the mobile game at the same time.

An industry insider told Zinc Scale: "The purchase cost of mini games is lower, more users are contacted, and high-quality users can also be channeled to the APP, which greatly reduces the cost of game development and marketing, and Douyin has virtually become the super entrance of mini games, which is a win-win situation." ”

The two heroes stand side by side and share the incremental market

It should be noted that as the track continues to crowd, the competition for mini-games is also heating up.

Whether it is the best-selling list or the popular list of mini games, new games continue to hit the list, so that the list is replaced frequently, and there are few games that have been solidified for a long time, this phenomenon is especially obvious in the waist and tail.

In this context, as a platform for "shovel sellers", its strategic position is particularly prominent.

As a result, Internet giants of all sizes have entered the game, eager to get a piece of the pie, but the ideal is very plump and the reality is very cruel, and the only platforms that have come out at the moment are Douyin and WeChat.

With the mutual empowerment of "short video + game" and the effectiveness of "1+1>2", Douyin has caught up in the mini game track, and the trend of "two heroes standing side by side" in the industry has become a trend.

At present, Douyin and WeChat are in misplaced competition: Douyin has abundant traffic and promotes advertising and monetization games, while WeChat has a deep gaming heritage and rich experience in promoting paid games for in-app purchases.

Of course, neither of them is satisfied with the status quo, and pursues both in-app purchase and advertising monetization mini games, so as to create a complete business closed loop, but the process is more harmonious.

For example, on April 1, 2024, Douyin lowered the commission ratio of paid mini games for in-app purchases, and mini games that meet the conditions can get 90% of the total Android consumption share, the key is that there is no requirement for the first release or exclusivity, following the general trend of mini games landing on dual platforms at the same time.

In fact, Douyin and WeChat have long had in-depth cooperation, and in June 2022, Douyin ads can jump to WeChat mini games with one click to meet the needs of WeChat mini games to attract new users.

As a result, Douyin and WeChat "you have me, I have you" is a benign competition and cooperation relationship, which can promote the long-term and healthy development of the industry.

The reason for this is that it is closely related to the fact that the mini game is an incremental market.

According to the data of Giant Engine, the scale of China's mini game market is expected to be 60 billion yuan ~ 65 billion yuan in 2024 and 80 billion yuan ~ 85 billion yuan in 2025.

This means that mini-games are an incremental market that is getting bigger and bigger, and there is no need to fight to the death.

All in all, although mini games are an emerging segment, they are still a traffic business, which is the most comfortable competitive posture for Douyin, which is well versed in the way of traffic.

Then, Douyin has a more promising future.

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