The game genre with 400 million fans is somewhat “cold” in China in 2020

Today’s Theme: Sports Games

Compared with the hot sports market, the sports game market might not be so hot.

According to some official data, in 2020 Chinese sports market is going to reach 1.5 trillion yuan and the number of sports practitioner is over 440 million. Until 2025 the number will be over 500 million.

From the data of Nielsen Sports and Tencent Sport, the core sports fans including  143 million basketball fans and 187 million football fans.

If we only see the number of fans, the sports games must have more of that than ACG fans. However in recent years the sports games is much less popular in Chinese game market than ACG games.

Among the best-selling list of App Store, only 3 games can stay in Top100 in a long time: “FIFA Mobile”, “PES Mobile” and “Slamdunk”. Among them “FIFA Mobile” has the highest rank at No.42 and it almost is the best ranking in this year.

In overall, the players of sports games have the features like: hardcore, direct and huge player number. From these it seems that sports games should be well-performed in the game market, but it’s not true this year.

All the sports games from big companies are not doing well this year with a good beginning and not-so-good ending.

In 2020, several big companies like Bytedance and Giant Network and Zqgame all launched their games. In the first week of their release, the games rank is quite good within Top5 of the free list, but later the ranking declined like waterfall and the Taptap scores are all under 6.0.

From the good beginning of these new games we can tell that the market potential is huge but players’ need is not met. As a matter of fact, the strategy of these big companies has changed, all three sports games launched this year are all “street-themed”: “Hotblood Street Basketball”from Bytedance, “Freestyle 2”from Giant Network and “Street Soccer”from Zqgames. The common feature of these mobile games is multiplayer mode and strong social characters.

However these games can capture huge number of players at first, the long-time performance is no good—-They can not stay in Top100, even Top200.

The drawback that being complained most are the match system and in-game-spending balance problem.

 Then why the long-time games like FIFA and 2K series can achieve a stable good performance?

A new gameplay of sports games—-Stock Trading Gameplay

In the communication with core gamers, BloomGameR found that the interest of sports games is slowly being diverted. For example: the newly Stock Trading Gameplay.

The so-called Stock Trading Gameplay is actually a luck problem that if the player them bought in game can maintain their value.

Due to the special commune-transfer mechanism of sports games, the in-game purchasing of players are influenced by the reality. If the real player has a strong season in real life, his in-game version will also got a raise on the purchasing price in game.

Also every major update the official would change some key statistics of in-game players, like strengthening one player’s long-range shooting ability in the football games or increasing the difficulty of three-pointers so that the cost-effectiveness of players who play three-pointers will be greatly reduced.

It’s just like stock market, some players may be the hot “bull” player in the last version and then became a “bear” play in new version. Under this occasion those who paid much money buying them would suffer a great loss.

According to the reader’s feedback of BGR, not matter the loyal players or those who has quit, they all keep noticing the “market trend” of the in-game players. The Stock Trading Gameplay is becoming one of the core attraction of sports games.

Of course, not all of the current top sports games take “stock trading” as fun. From the readers’ discussion about “PES Mobile” is more about the operation feeling and AI performance.

To maintain their leadership in the market, “PES Mobile” also changed the engine to Unreal 4, becoming the first soccer game with Unreal 4. It encouraged some players’ in-game spending to some degree.

From the development of Top sports mobile games we can see that although the in-game spending mechanism is often complained by players, with the high game quality and CTOC trading system, sports mobile games still can stay in the head part of game market.

Xianyu Game’s COO Pan Mo once told BGR, no matter is the technique of time cost, the traditional realistic sports games have extremely high development thresholds. The first is the acquisition of IP resources, such as the FIFA World Cup, the five major leagues, and the image authorization of players, all require a certain amount of money and time costs. After the authorization, it is necessary to collect the motion capture of real players. Even if authorization is not required, the development of the event engine is a process that needs to be polished.

 However for most game developing team, they just can’t afford these cost.