如果你最近曾去过涩谷，可能就会注意到这个十字路口富有标志性的广告空间已经变了模样——Supercell手机游戏《Clash of Clans》的巨幅广告占领了十字路口和车站正面。人们一走出车站，迎面扑来的就是这个深色的海报。其中有4幅海报占据俯瞰十字路口的最大空间，第5幅海报则位于背面，也就是居于著名的涩谷109大厦正面。
第二张图也是在同一个位置拍摄，但旋转了180度，从车站建筑背后，你还是可以看到《Clash of Clans》两个显眼的广告。
我特别举出这个例子并不是因为它很罕见，相反，这其实是个司空见惯的现象。《Clash of Clans》占据涩谷十字路口不过是最近一系列手机游戏大型而昂贵的营销推广活动中的一例——这种营销活动已经成为日本手机游戏行业中的一道风景。现在推广手机游戏的巨型户外广告牌，或者火车每个广告空间（海报，橱窗陈列的新书样本，视频甚至是地板和天花板）被推广新款手机卡牌游戏/RPG的广告所占领，这些都已是极为常见的情况。而电视黄金时段插播的广告通常也包含一些新款手机游戏的华丽CG动画推广内容。《Puzzle & Dragons》去年推出的营销方式更是抢眼，除了推广游戏，还不遗余力地通过电视广告和火车上的视频展示游戏玩法，引导人们更有技巧地体验这款游戏。
日本从来不吝于为游戏推出大成本的广告营销活动，但现在传统主机游戏的营销推广在手机游戏广告面前已几乎黯然失色。瞄准成人用户的主机游戏电视广告相对罕见，最近数月只有PS Vita游戏《God Eater 2:Rage Burst》曾进行大手笔的晚间电视广告投入，而最近一款面向户外推出大型广告的主机游戏可能就只有《Mario Kart 8》了。总体上来说，如果你今天在日本看到一项大型营销广告活动，它推广的很可能就是一款智能手机游戏。
其次，这种广告方式成效显著。这里有两种截然不同的营销类型，一种是针对已经成名的游戏，另一种则用于推广尚未发布的游戏。已成名的游戏营销案例包括上图的《Clash of Clans》广告，或者《Puzzle & Dragons》以“游戏技巧”为主的广告，它们的目的就在于提升游戏的生命周期。这些巨头持续不断的成功也是开发者进入这一市场的另一重障碍。在独立游戏市场中，你只需要让自己发布当月最有趣的游戏之一就有可能成功，而在F2P手机游戏市场中，你却需要与已经获得丰收并且不吝砸下营销重金的巨头竞争。
日本传统主机游戏玩家可能会觉得《Clash of Clans》、《Puzzle & Dragons》、《GranBlue Fantasy》及其密集的广告令人沮丧，因为这似乎印证了主机游戏市场的没落，这种本能反应也许忽略了一个事实——日本手机游戏越来越像主机游戏。这些项目的运营模式或许有所不同（日本手机游戏在盈利手段上并不那么强势，很少陷入西方游戏常用的那种过于简化的能量机制，即让玩家掏钱才能继续玩游戏的手法），但随着预算增长及发布日下载量重要性不断增加，手机游戏的优化、深度和复杂度也必将随之增长。
Japan: Mobile game marketing reaches new heights
By Rob Fahey
Huge outdoor and TV campaigns have become essential for mobile game launches in Japan; success in this field has never been so expensive
The scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station is perhaps the most famous and instantly recognisable of Japan’s landmarks; a confluence of neon-lined ravines where stories-tall posters and screens beam out from all angles at a chaotic soup of pedestrians – young and old, tourist and local, but predominantly fashionable and youthful – who treat the crossing as their de facto meeting point and the hub from which to embark on shopping, socialising and drinking adventures in a district that endures as one of Tokyo’s most fashionable.
If you visited Shibuya this week, you might have noticed that the crossing and its iconic advertising spaces have also become something else – the latest high-profile marketing campaign for Supercell’s F2P mobile game Clash of Clans, whose gigantic posters presently dominate the crossing and the station-front. This is the view across the crossing, directly after walking out of the station; the dark-coloured posters featuring close-ups on people’s faces are the Clash of Clans ads. Four of them occupy the largest spaces overlooking the crossing; a fifth, in the background, is on the front of the famous Shibuya 109 building.
The second picture is taken from the same spot, but turned 180 degrees to look back at the station building itself; here, too, you can see two of the dominant ads are for Clash of Clans (the two above are an ongoing campaign for mobile network SoftBank, which is the parent company of Clash of Clans developer Supercell, and a promotion for the new single from inexplicably popular girl-group AKB48).
In short, one of the busiest intersections in Tokyo, with some of the most high-profile, famous and expensive advertising spaces in the world – second, I suspect, only to New York’s Times Square – is currently totally dominated by advertising for a three year old free-to-play mobile game. Moreover, this campaign is explicitly targeting women; the slogans under the delighted-looking women in the posters say “Looting Woman”, while the shocked-looking men (featured in just two of the five posters) are captioned as “Looted Man”.
The reason that I bring this particular campaign to your attention, however, is not because it is unusual; quite the contrary, in fact. The Clash of Clans takeover of Shibuya Crossing is merely the latest in a series of expensive, high-profile marketing campaigns for mobile games – campaigns that have become a fixture of the industry landscape in Japan. It’s now entirely commonplace to encounter enormous outdoor billboards promoting mobile games, or to step onto a train only to discover that every advertising space (posters, window stickers, video screens and even, in some cases, floors and ceilings) has been taken over with a campaign for an upcoming mobile card game or RPG. Ad breaks on prime-time television regularly include expensively-produced CG animated promotions for new mobile titles. Puzzle & Dragons, in particular, ran a fascinating campaign last year which used TV and outdoor media spaces not so much to promote the game as to give tips on how to play it better; TV commercials and video screens on trains showed clips of people playing the game skilfully and using specific tricks to chain more attacks together.
“Japan has never been shy about high-profile mainstream marketing for games, but marketing campaigns for traditional console games are now almost entirely eclipsed by those for mobile titles”
Japan has never been shy about high-profile mainstream marketing for games, but marketing campaigns for traditional console games are now almost entirely eclipsed by those for mobile titles. TV campaigns for console games aimed at adults are relatively rare; in recent months, only PS Vita title God Eater 2: Rage Burst has been heavily advertised on evening television, while the last console game to get a really significant outdoor advertising campaign was probably Mario Kart 8. Nintendo does maintain ongoing brand campaigns, perhaps most notably on the JR commuter train lines in Tokyo, and child-focused campaigns are another story entirely (that market remains heavily focused on the 3DS, and franchises like Yokai Watch and Pokemon are ubiquitous). By and large, though, if you see a huge marketing campaign for a game in Japan today, it’s probably a smartphone title.
While above the line marketing for mobile titles is no longer a rare thing in most western countries either, the scale and some planning features of these Japanese marketing campaigns reveals a number of interesting and important things about the mobile game market here – many of which may become increasingly pertinent in the western market in coming years. Firstly, the scale and cost of the campaigns speaks volumes about the difficulty and expense of breaking into this market. When companies resort to purchasing some of the world’s most expensive outdoor advertising space as a player acquisition strategy, it’s clear that the era in which a plucky upstart could make a killing in mobile gaming with minimal investment is all but over. Future “rags to riches” stories in this market will be black swans, at best; PR-managed falsehoods, at worst.
Secondly, the nature of those campaigns is equally telling. There are two distinct categories of campaign – those for established games, and perhaps more unusually, those for as-yet unreleased games. Established game campaigns are those like the Clash of Clans takeover pictured above, or the Puzzle & Dragons “game skills” focused ads, which are attempts to boost the lifespans of a very successful games that have been on the market for several years. The enduring success of these giants is another major barrier to entry in this market; whereas in the paid-for indie market, for instance, you merely need to be one of the most interesting games released that month, in the F2P mobile market you are competing from the outset with established giants whose enormous success has also given them enormous marketing budgets.
“one of the great advantages of advertising a mobile game outdoors is that the viewer can generally see the ad and act upon it immediately, downloading the game to their phone and beginning to play within a matter of a few minutes”
More unusual, at least from a western perspective, are the pre-launch campaigns for major upcoming mobile titles. These campaigns have been growing in prominence and expense in the past year, and focus on getting users to pre-register for games that have not yet launched. In the conventional wisdom of the mobile world, this is absolutely cart-before-horse; one of the great advantages of F2P mobile development is the ability to create a minimum viable product and soft-launch a game in order to test the market without enormous up-front investment. Moreover, one of the great advantages of advertising a mobile game in outdoors or above-the-line positions is that the viewer can generally see the ad and act upon it immediately, downloading the game to their phone and beginning to play within a matter of a few minutes. Pre-launch campaigns suggest that the latter consideration is being shelved in favour of establishing mindshare and getting a huge launch day, while the former aspect is being ignored entirely, with enormous development and marketing budgets being poured into highly speculative mobile titles – with echoes of exactly the problems with AAA development from which mobile was, in theory, meant to rescue the industry.
Indeed, while fans of traditional Japanese console games may be a bit dismayed to see Clash of Clans, Puzzle & Dragons, GranBlue Fantasy and their ilk advertised so intensively, seemingly at the expense of the console market, this gut reaction may miss the reality of the situation – that Japanese mobile games are looking more and more like console titles. The business model may differ (although as a rule, Japanese mobile games are a bit less aggressive in their monetisation, rarely falling into the common western pitfall of an over-simplistic energy mechanic that frustrates players by refusing to let them play the game much), but as budgets grow and launch-day downloads become increasingly important, the degree of polish, depth and complexity of leading mobile games has also increased greatly.
Whether the expensively developed titles doing so well in the Japanese market will ever translate their success to overseas territories is another question entirely – and Supercell’s remarkable titles aside, western mobile game developers also struggle to reach the upper echelons of the Japanese charts. Even if the games leading the charge are different, though, the effects will likely be the same; the Japanese experience strongly underscores the likelihood of an increase in complexity and quality for mobile titles, matched by an enormous development and marketing budgets. Along the way, no doubt, we’ll see mobile games plastered all over some other surprisingly iconic locations around the world.（source：gamesindustry）