According to AppGrowing, NetEase's new battle royale mobile FPS game Blood Strike has surged to No. 2 on Google Play's pre-registered games list in the last 30 days and has taken the No. 5 spot on the App Store's list with an expanded ad campaign.
When it comes to NetEase's mobile FPS, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely Knives Out, which is still the most profitable self-developed game of theirs. Now that the "PUBG-like" gameplay is fading, NetEase is still exploring opportunities in the battle royale genre and has come up with a new game this year, Blood Strike, which has shown promising growth in some markets.
Blood Strike launched in Southeast Asia on October 28th, following a soft launch in Latin America. From App store lists, it has made it into the Top 5 free games in Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, and other markets, and has so far remained in the Top 10 free games on Google Play in Malaysia. In SensorTower's November 2023 Top Global Mobile Games, the game was airborne at 10th by download, with downloads rising 90% MoM.
Unlike Knives Out, which focuses on Japan, Blood Strike seems to carry NetEase's ambition of being a "globalized battle royale game." AppGrowing monitored the game's transition from pre-registration to launch on March 24, 2024 for North America, Europe, and the Middle East, guessing that's when Blood Strike will officially launch in global markets.
In AppGrowing's opinion, the distribution idea of "Latin America→Southeast Asia→Global" is worth considering.
Throughout the current global battle royale mobile game, the hegemony is undoubtedly Tencent PUBG Mobile. The difficulty for similar games to directly fight with it can be imagined. But looking at the source of users, PUBG Mobile focuses on mature markets such as Europe and the USA, where user equipment is mainly medium and high-end. Therefore, relatively speaking, in Southeast Asia and Latin America, markets that are mainly composed of low-end and medium-end equipment, the dominance of PUBG Mobile is not that strong, which is an opportunity for new games. What's more, Garena's Free Fire is a successful case of counterattacking mature markets from emerging markets.
A brief word about the gameplay. Officially, Blood Strike is a Roguelike battle royale FPS mobile game. Under the framework of battle royale gameplay, the game adds "heroes" and corresponding skill mechanisms, which improves strategy and tests teamwork. A similar gameplay design has already been proven (the discontinued Apex Legends Mobile).
In addition to the main battle royale gameplay, Blood Strike offers fast-paced, light "squad competition" and "hotspot battles", clearly NetEase also wants to capture groups other than hardcore players.
Back to the marketing strategy analysis, Blood Strike started small advertising in late September in line with the Latin American launch. Until the official launch in Southeast Asia, NetEase has increased its scale. According to AppGrowing data monitoring, entering November, the game's daily Ad Volume in both App stores stayed above 300, with the Top 3 regions being Mexico, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Ad formats are dominated by in-feeds, which account for more than 70% of ads, followed by rewarded videos. Creative is dominated by video at 90%, with horizontal and square videos making up the majority.
Using the AppGrowing Creative Strategy Dashboard, we see that the Top 1 impressive ad of Blood Strike in the last 30 days is a display of game content. The first 3 seconds of the video show a quick switch of common firearms and weapons to pique users' interest. Afterward, the scene shifts back to in-game, with a high density of kill/counter-kill action to get people excited. The ad targets the core audience of the battle royale FPS game.
On the other hand, out of the consideration that Latin American and Southeast Asian users prefer live-action elements, the game has produced lots of trial play and recommendation creatives with local KOL appearances. For example, the main part of the video screen is the game, with a small window on the left showing the streamer, which enhances the fun of the ad through the streamer's reaction. At the end of the video, it switches to the streamer introducing the game's selling points and calling for downloads.
In addition, the sitcoms performed by KOLs embedded gameplay into daily scenes. This creative idea shows from the first point of view that the actor who rescues the "hunted" actress is counter-killed, utilizing live-action elements and reversed plots to attract users to keep watching.
Aiming at the general situation of user devices in Southeast Asia and Latin America, Blood Strike emphasizes the features of "small game package and fast loading" in the text or voiceover to enhance users' willingness to download.
In addition to digital marketing, Blood Strike launched a new season with new characters and skins at the same time as its launch in Southeast Asia. The game invited Myrtle Sarrosa, a famous Filipino cosplay model, to participate in the promotion, leveraging the influence of KOLs to quickly increase the game's impact in Southeast Asia.
Reviewing NetEase's global game business since H2 2023, it can be clearly sensed that its pace has accelerated significantly, with the emergence of several potential new games.
In September, Eggy Party was launched in Southeast Asia and has so far stayed at the TOP 30 of the global monthly mobile game download list, giving NetEase a good start for its global game business this year. In October, For All Time and Racing Master were launched globally, with the former targeting Japan and the latter for Hong Kong and Taiwan of China. And then, there's the new battle royale game Blood Strike.
Among them, Racing Master is probably the best-performing new global game from NetEase this year. It has topped Taiwan's iOS Top Grossing several times since launching in Hong Kong & Taiwan of China in October. According to Sensortower, the game grew nearly 170% MoM in November, making it the mobile game with the most revenue growth in Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan of China markets for the month.
At the NetEase MC Talk Game Global Practice Salon in May this year, NetEase said that it would increase the proportion of global revenue from 10% to 50%. Now, with the performance of Eggy Party, Racing Master, Blood Strike, and many other new games, NetEase's global map extends to Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan of China, and more regions. Together with the strategy of accelerating investment and establishing global studios in recent years, perhaps NetEase is not far from the goal.