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Ep. 2: Why IP-based games are taking over the mobile charts w / Newzoo's Tianyi Gu


In this episode, Mitch and Rachit from the Layer have a chat with Tianyi from Newzoo who gives us an in depth analysis into the current state of the mobile IP market and what to expect from the future. In this episode we cover:

  • Hypercasual mobile IP games
  • Mobile IP licensing trends
  • Why mobile developers license IP more
  • How mobile game companies are succeeding with licensed IP
  • Examples of successful IP based mobile games

If you love this video and want more insights about licensing in games, subscribe to Layer’s Licensing in Games monthly newsletter. Layer is an IP licensing marketplace that makes it easy for developers to find and license hundreds of popular characters into their games. 


Read the episode transcript here

Mitch: 0:02

Welcome to the Licensing in Games Video series from Layer. My name is Mitch and today I’m very pleased to be joined, honored to be joined by our CEO and co-founder at Layer, Rachit Moti. Rachit, how’re you doing?

Rachit: 0:19

Yeah, very well. Thanks, Mitch. Good to be here. Hopefully, my appearance doesn’t completely eliminate the audience. And if that happens, I won’t be coming. So, thanks for making time. Thanks for organizing it.

Mitch: 0:31

Absolutely. And also very pleased to be joined by Tianyi Gu from NewZoo. Tianyi is the mobile market lead for NewZoo. Thanks for joining us, Tianyi.

Tianyi: 0:44

Hello, thank you. Thank you for having me here. I’m also very happy to be joining this podcast and recording and to talk about IP, games on mobile. So yeah, very pleased to be here and talk about mobile games.

Mitch: 1:01

We’re pleased to have you here as well, because we just kind of like two babbling idiots. And you know everything there is to know about IP and mobile games. So, you’ll bring some much needed balance. For those of you who don’t know, NewZoo is a market data and analytics tool for mobile games, for e-sports gaming. And today, we’re actually going to be talking about very topical, a report that Tianyi was involved in, which looks into IP based mobile games in 2021. So, really excited to talk about that. Why don’t we just start with a couple of quick intros, a bit of background about yourselves, if we could? Rachit, we’ll start with you.

Rachit: 1:44

Yeah. So, look, I’ll keep mine brief given that it’s the Layer podcast. But yeah, Rachit here, CEO and co-founder of Layer. I’m excited to be here. It’s been a really fun, I guess, now at a close to 12-18 months building Layer and the team around it. And one of the most exciting things is seeing this IP space grow and change and the rise of demand and the types of collaborations we’re seeing across mobile, across different platforms as well. So, I won’t go into my background too much apart from, I once licensed to [unclear] a video game, and that’s kind of how I fell into this space. But really excited to be chatting today. And thanks Tianyi for joining. I’ll hand to you for an intro.

Tianyi: 2:30

Thanks. So, hi everyone, my name is Tianyi, and I’m the mobile market lead at NewZoo. So, what I do is, actually, I write reports and insights about the mobile games market, like what Mitch just talked about the IP based mobile games reports that we released a couple of weeks ago. And then I am also leading many custom and consulting work at NewZoo. I’ve worked with lots of leading mobile companies like TikTok, Tencent, Google, and a bunch of mobile game publishers and developers in the world. And then yeah, I come from China. So, I do have a strong background and experience in the Asian games market, mobile particularly. So, that also really brings me a very global vision of the mobile games market, because we know there are lots of innovations and developments in Asia, like China and Japan, they’re like really leading the development in mobile gaming as well. So yeah, very glad to be here.

Mitch: 3:36

Awesome. Very impressive background. And Rachit forgot to mention that the song was into a NASCAR game. And so feel free to roast him in the comments to that. Let’s talk a little bit about the report now. So, one of the most striking insights I found into the report, Tianyi, was actually the first one, which was, of the top 10 most downloaded new non-hypercasual games got all of that out, only one of them was not IP based, which is just like, it’s crazy. I mean, it makes a lot of sense given that we’re all familiar with the licensing space, but still just thought that was crazy. So, I guess, I’m curious how does that compare to recent years or previous years in terms of the number of new IP base games in mobile.

Tianyi: 4:29

Yeah, I like the question a lot, actually. So, I didn’t really do that in the report myself. And I did some extra analysis to look at the performance of like previous years on iOS. So, actually, I want to correct the definition a little bit here, because I know it’s very confusing in the analysis we do. So, what we do is, actually, we looked at the top 100 downloaded mobile games on iOS in 2021. And then among the top 100 downloaded mobile games, we selected those non-hypercasual new mobile games that were released in the same year, so in 2021. And so, in total, there were like 10 games that fulfill the criteria in 2021. And then among them, only one is not IP based. So, in 2021, there is really... It does show that IP is playing a very, very important role in user acquisition and to generate organic installs, etc. And then I looked at the ranking from 2018 to 2020, so before 2021, and it’s actually very interesting to see two key findings. So, first of all, it’s not really that related to IP based mobile games. But I did notice there’s actually a lot less hypercasual games in the most downloaded charts in 2021 compared to previous years. So, in previous years, usually, they’re around like 90% of the new games that are among the top hundreds, are hypercasual games. But in 2021, the ratio actually went down quite a lot. So yeah, in the report, we also mentioned about ATT and all the privacy changes on iOS. And I think that’s actually also challenged the hypercasual genre pretty much. So, we are seeing like a significance slowdown in the performance of hypercasual games on iOS. So, this is one very interesting finding in the analysis. And then the other one — I’m coming back to the IP topic — there’s actually also an upward trend in 2021, that IP is playing a more important role in user acquisition. And I think that’s also pretty much related to what I just talked about ATT. So, like targeted ads and user acquisition have become more challenging on iOS. Like, IP is really a very powerful tool for organic installs.

Mitch: 7:12

Yeah, absolutely. That’s awesome. You’ve gone and done further research. So, I love it. Amazing! And why do you think that there’s been such an increase in success for IP based games in recent years?

Tianyi: 7:26

Yes. So, I think, like one thing I’ve already mentioned, I think ATT, the privacy changes on iOS, and Google is also following suit but in a little bit milder way than Apple, that is really kind of pushing developers to think about alternative ways for more effective ways on mobile for user acquisition and IP, because of its large fan base across the world. It naturally plays very effective way to recruit users for new games. So, I recently also spoke to a very big IP holders in the West, and then entertainments IP holder, and then they are also looking at bringing their IP to the gaming platform, mobile, PC and console as well. And then they also confirmed that they don’t really worry so much about user acquisition, because they know, naturally, their games will attract lots of users. So, they’re more looking at other aspects of game design, etc. So, I think all the privacy changes definitely play a role in boosting these trends. And the other thing, I think, it’s also related to user accusation but also monetization. So, we also really list out in the report as well. We did a mini-consumer insights survey in the US, China, Japan and Germany. And then we did find that, actually, IP plays a very important role on mobile to recruit a big spenders. So, big spenders are more likely to download and play a game that is based on their favorite IP. So, on the UA side, but on the monetization side as well, IP is driving revenues for mobile developers.

Mitch: 9:28

Okay, interesting!

Tianyi: 9:29

Yeah. I think, well, one more thing I would like to mention about IP games, in general, I think because IP against actually, especially franchises with very large character universe is very ideal for live server games. So, I think this trend is really coming to the industry. And then because they have such a large character pool, it’s really ideal for games to add a new content, new events, new maps, new characters, new skins, so just like a powerhouse for live [unclear 10:06] strategies. So, I think, if we look at recently successful live games, for instance, Fortnite in the west and Genshin Impact in the east, both games have around 40-60 characters after several years of development. Those are all original and requires lots of resources and investment. But if you look at, for instance, Marvel. Marvel has over 2,000 characters, and then there are also over 100 characters in their games. So, it’s just natural sources of characters and life ops for games.

Mitch: 10:47

Yeah, it’s like, if you space out 2,000 content integrations over a three month period for each, there’s a lot of runway there for really cool integrations that you can do into a game. Like, it’s not just one... It’s really cool how you can come back in multiple times. 

Tianyi: 11:05


Mitch: 11:07

Question for both of you. How much of the increase in interest and success in IP based games do you think has to do with ATT and IDFA? And how much of it do you think has to do with a natural evolution in the industry where, I guess, developers see what some of the bigger players are doing? Like, Jam City and Scopely come to mind. They’ve had some really successful IP based games. And do you think people are just kind of catching up to that now?

Rachit: 11:40

Yeah, I think, there’s probably part of that which is making it more attractive. I think IP is getting more and more attractive in the world of ATT and post IDFA, for sure. And I think that probably goes hand-in-hand with... IP is something that, generally, the big publishers have more access to, right? And so, if you look at this market right now, the ones that are succeeding are the ones that are often using or have access to that IP. So, I think that’s definitely part of it. And so it’s kind of self-fulfilling in that sense. But I think, also, maybe what we were just talking about earlier on live servers becoming so much of a thing and how that’s changed over the last 10-15 years, right, it’s like IP makes a lot of sense in live servers as well. Because yeah, you can spend the hours to make your own characters or your integrations, and they maybe really compelling as well, but the ones that are IP based that people already know add a lot of value, they standout for that position, they mean a lot. So, I think that’s probably interesting. And I think that also, probably... I’d have to look at the numbers here. But that’s probably correlates also with the fact that audience diversity in gaming is now really hard try. Like, if you step back 20 years, it was pretty kind of — for lack of a better word — like gamer was a type of person that people used to kind of stereotype. And now, you look at mobile, it’s kind of like only 50% [unclear 13:16], you’ve got different lifestyles, you’ve got different spending habits. So, you can actually bring in what IP you like. You can use IP that appeals to people. And I think that’s probably also something that’s really been a shift here, but Tianyi, I’m not sure if there’s anything else to add.

Tianyi: 13:33

Yeah, I agree with what was said. I think both kind of play a role in the increase of IP games in the industry. And I think, it’s just a very nice powerhouse to attract users and monetization as well. And in general, I do think that the trend will still continue, but then probably, the amount of games, [unclear 14:07], will be slowing down, because games are really moving towards live ops and long-term operations. So, yeah. 

Mitch: 14:18

Cool. I think the only other thing that I wanted to ask, I guess, is in relation to increase in interest, we’re seeing it IPs. Like, what are some of the factors that make IP work better in mobile? Why are we seeing more increase in mobile, like IP based games in mobile, as opposed to maybe in like PC or console? Even though like PC and console have these games that have live ops and have done, accessible content integrations, it seems as though that licensing into mobile games makes more sense and is happening more. So, I guess I’m curious Tianyi, Rachit, like what do you think some of the factors are that are involved in that?

Rachit: 15:07


Tianyi: 15:10

Yeah, thanks. So, I think... Also, some numbers first. I did look at the other IP based games we track internally at NewZoo from 2016 and 2021. And then actually, among all the games we track, around 70% are released on mobile. So, some are like mobile-only and some are also PC, console and mobile. So, it is true that mobile is like the biggest platform for IP licensing and games. And I think there are several reasons. One is, of course, it is the largest gaming market segments in the world. So, over 50% of the revenues of the global games market comes from mobile. And then also it is growing faster compared to a PC and console in recent years. So, they’re just like a bigger potential for IP holders and developers from that sense. And then also from a development point of view, it just more cost effectively to develop a mobile game compared to PC and console. So, the entry barriers are lower compared to other platforms.

Rachit: 16:30

Yeah, I was going to say it. I think that the size of the market, probably, is one thing. Then I think there’s more opportunity or more publishers that can afford to, or actually have the resources internally to look at licensing or have that ability to work with licenses. And then secondly, I guess there’s a new slight difference in Liftoff and other resources that are behind the game. I think, often in console or PC, you get more call games, which are generally often original IP and they’re building for a different reason. And I don’t think that’s... That’s not a bad thing. That’s a great thing. We need those games. And they kind of target building out an audience and craft that storytelling and that narrative as well. And so, I think that mainly... In some cases, there are places where IP makes less sense. And those creators are leaning away from that. Whereas in mobile, there’s definitely a lot of opportunities that are present right now in casual games and in that less call space, where IP is a great way to engage fans and an audience that already exists.

Mitch: 17:37

I wanted to dive in here, the second insight in the report, which kind of really reinforces the idea of an IP as a tool, not just for UA but for monetization. I think you speak about the highest spending players. And some of the highest spending players on mobile are those that are within IP based games. I think it was, I think you said, three times higher, maybe. What did you find there? Correct me if the number’s wrong. But what was the correlation? Or what were you able to dig up there between high spending players in IP based games?

Tianyi: 18:13

Yeah, so in the research, I just mentioned about the consumer insights in the four countries. We did find that spenders who in general spent more than $5 across mobile games are around three times more likely to download a game that is based on their favorite IPs or IP universes than no spenders or even non-spenders. So it just, from a statistic point of view, that we see that mobile games also are more likely to attract big spenders on mobile, so they download the games and they’re also more likely to actually pay for their favorite IPs and characters, etc. So yeah, we find that very interesting. So also from a quantitative point of view to support that IP games is really a direction to go to on mobile if you want to improve LTV.

Mitch: 19:21

Were there any kind of high spenders who spend three times more than the average player? Were there any other common trends in terms of the type of IP based games that they were playing? Anything like that?

Tianyi: 19:43

Yeah. Actually, we didn’t really cover that kind of in the research. But in general, big spenders are also more likely to... Just, in general, they like to play more hard-core or mid-core genres on mobile than casual genres. So, I think that’s also a chance we’ve seen in the past that a lot of these IP games are actually designed more for that kind of audiences. So, they have really high fidelity mobile games that would in-depth like game loops, and then, even soundtrack and images, everything is very well designed to fit the taste of those players.

Mitch: 20:31

So, it’s almost like moving away from a mastery kind of hypercasual game where you might just slap some IP in there to more of this kind of immersive world, which I guess is, where we see a lot of entertainment going, in general, right?

Tianyi: 20:49

Yeah, indeed. And I think, also it’s kind of related to live ops. That concept to build an IP game, of course, requires lots of investments to licensing and also development and promotion, etc. So, I think publishers definitely want to really keep the lifetime of an IP game as long as possible. So, this kind of in-depth game design, game loops, also creates more opportunities for content injection, events, and collaborations, etc. So, I think, even some IP games, of course, are also very successful in less core genres, like more on the puzzle, casual genres, but the games are also like designed to be room for like live ops, even with a very relatively simple game mechanics.

Mitch: 21:45

Yeah. Interesting that you mentioned like kind of lenient to the game design, often mid-core or core... Like, it’d be good to expand on that a little. I think, the report looked at a few criteria around what types of IP based games is successful. Could you kind of expand that a little bit? I think it was like market game design, and then a business model of the game as well. It would be interesting to explore that space.

Tianyi: 22:14

Yeah, sure. So, in the report itself, we define three angles to look at to evaluate whether an IP based game is successful on mobile. So, the first aspect we look at is market fit, and the second is game design fit, and the third is business fit. So under market fit, it really kind of asks you to look at how your game fits the audience’s [unclear 22:48] of the IP before you really get started to developing and designing the game itself. So, the developer should look at whether the target audience of your game is in line with the demographics, for instance, of the fan base of the IP itself. Like, Marvel. We know that Marvel’s audience will be probably more male focused. So, the games are also designed to fit that group of audiences’ data, like Marvel Strike Force is very [unclear 23:22] contest of champions like fighting elements. Those are more like male focused. But then, for instance, like Disney, it’s more like family and female friendly. So, the successful titles are also more towards the preferences of that group of audiences. And then, on the market shifts, one should also look at the sale of the IP is not only that... The IP is vague with a large content of a character pool like Marvel, but also how relevant is the IP to your target audience. Like, for instance, there are lots of western IPs that are super popular in the West. But if you want to bring that IP to, for instance, Japan and China, there might be an IP mismatch there. Like, for instance, Cartoon Network is very popular cartoon and IP in the West, but then very few people in China know about that IP. So, if you want to develop a game for the Chinese audience powering by this IP, it probably doesn’t work. And then, you should also look at market competition. Like, whether there are already a lot of Marvel games or Harry Potter games in this target market. And then maybe you should try to find a niche target or try to find a different IP to target that market.

Mitch: 24:47


Tianyi: 24:48


Mitch: 24:49

Sorry. No, go ahead Tianyi. Sorry, I cut you off there.

Tianyi: 24:52

No, not just like a lot to say. I just talked about market fit and if you have any questions, we can continue. Or I could also continue to talk about game design fit and business fit.

Mitch: 25:05

Game design fit, business fit, I think, would be great if we could dive into those as well.

Tianyi: 25:10

Yeah, sure. So, game design fi is really about how you design your game in terms of game mechanics, loop and theme, art style and how you tune, how the game is delivered to your target audience. And there are lots of small elements to look at. But I think all in all, the most important thing on the game design fit is, really the developer should understand the IP laws very, very well. And you should try to develop a game that is faithful to the original IP and should be faithful to the fan fantasy, because otherwise the game will feel off to the artifacts. And very good examples here could be like [unclear 26:01], AR GEO games, so Pokemon Go, and the Harry Potter game. Like Pokemon Go was designed to... It really fits the target audience, and also the game mechanics of walking around the catch Pokémon. It’s really like what’s the original IP is all about. But when the same mechanics was copied to Harry Potter, there was actually a very big IP mismatch, because Harry Potter is never about catch them all and collect. It’s more about progression and fighting, and these kinds of things. So, there is really an IP mismatch in terms of game design for the Harry Potter AR game. And then the artwork of the game also didn’t really fits the original Harry Potter game that well. So like, Harry Potter, the game was not a success at all. And I was already shut down this year.

Mitch: 27:03

Yeah, because I remember I played Pokemon Go quite a bit when it came out. I was doing my masters at university and have a lot of time on my hands. And I just remember how much it just brought me back to my childhood. And also the way it was done in that kind of... They did it in that way, it was like, “I would go to like the cemetery nearby place at night. And you would catch like the ghost Pokémon, or you would go through like the grass, go to the water.” And it all just made sense, right? So, I think that’s absolutely true. You need to make sure that you’re true to the [unclear 27:41] of the IP and what it’s really all about. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And then business fit, I think, was the third sort of criteria.

Tianyi: 27:52

Yeah. So on the business, we talk a lot about monetization design, launch strategy, marketing strategy, and then community management and retention, live ops, or these like things. And well, it’s very relevant for IP business... So, IP games is really the launch strategy, because a lot of these successful IP games are launched, or updated in line with the movie launch, for instance or events that are related to the original IP. So when these two events happen at the same time, it actually create a scene of a hype among the fans to download and engage with the games as well. So, I think that’s like a very unique strategy for IP base games when there are activities going around with the original IP.

Rachit: 28:45

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think you mentioned that at the start of that, Marvel Strike Force was a really great example of what perfect fit, I think. You [unclear 28:54] particularly articulated like the audience that’s there, the themes that makes sense in terms of like the game design and business as well. Like, could you expand on that a little bit to kind of let anyone know that doesn’t know about Marvel Strike Force and its success? Like what’s been really... What they’ve done there? Like, what’s been really key for their hand success that they’ve built there?

Tianyi: 29:17

Yeah, sure. So, Marvel Strike Force is a connection, tactical RPG game developed by FoxNext. What’s the name? Yes, Scopely as well. FoxNext and the Scopely. So I think if we talk about Marvel Strike Force to really tear down in those three fits I just mentioned — market fit, game design fit, business fit — I think the most outstanding one for me is the game design fit, because Marvel, as we all know, has a very large character universe. And then the main story of the original IP is about fighting and then these kinds of mechanics. And then the game itself actually integrates the original IP firewall into the game design. So, in this RPG based, meaning that [unclear 30:27] and progress their favorite characters, favorite superheroes, so it kind of really attracts the fans to play, engage, and expand on the game. And then this combating stat is also really fits with the original IP very well. And then what I like the most about the Marvel game is really the Alliance Ball. So, that’s like game modes. You need to select a combination of characters to find that the best combination to combat against each other. So, this really reminds me of avengers. For instance, you have a group of superheroes and then you accomplish your goals together. So, I think this game design is very attractive for a lot of core fans to really align the game with the original IP. So, I think the game design fits really stands out here. And then market fit as well, like, as I already talked about. It’s very [Unclear] towards the male audiences. That’s also in line with the fan base, like demographically, of the original IP. And so, it also really leverage the big IP universe, the character universe of the original Marvel IP firewall. And there’s also even game specific in original Marvel IP to deal the link even stronger between the original IP and the game itself.

Mitch: 32:06

Yeah, so it seems like the creative fit there is really important. Like, it makes sense for Marvel to like... you could probably do a sorry to pick on match three games. Anyone out there that makes a match three game, but you could probably do like a Marvel match three game. It still make sense, because there’s like a lot of characters involved in that. But just like the way they’ve done it in that kind of squat RPG, it makes a lot of sense. So, one question I wanted to ask Tianyi is, I know, we’ve talked a lot about kind of big games, big universes. One of the things you talked about in the report is kind of the importance of having these big character sets. We spoke about Marvel. It’s like 2,000 characters, right? But do you think there still seems to be opportunities out there for games, creating great IP based games, where you might not have huge universes, you might not have a huge budget? And a few of the examples that come to mind, for me, I think east-side games does some great things with IP based games, like the office, trailer POP boy, Rapport, drag racer game, they all stay very true to the IP. And I think they still managed to meet all of those three key criteria without having these huge universes. So, is that something that you see as well? Like, do you think it’s still possible to create a great IP based game without having this huge universe and huge budget?

Tianyi: 33:39

Yeah, I definitely agree with you on that point. And like the report itself looks more on the really top tier franchises and IP like Marvel. And even they’re also very expensive to really license. And yeah, some second tier or more niche of brands, I think, there’s definitely an opportunity for developers to leverage the advantage of an IP. And then so, again, like I mentioned, I think the game design is really important. And then you really need to understand your core fans and then the IP itself very well, and to find a very good combination of the original IP with your game and to really target the core fans of the IP.

Mitch: 34:32

Yeah, because to use the example of the office game, it works really well the way it’s been designed. Wouldn’t work so well probably is like a squat RPG, because there’s not enough like characters for Jim and Pam to go and fight, right? Like, you’ve got this very defined universe. I think, it’s like brilliant the way they’ve kind of starts with the creative and everything flows from that. So, yeah, it makes a lot of sense.

Tianyi: 35:01

Yeah. And I think also there’s a more casual type of IP game, Minion Rush. So, of course, it’s also very big IP. I think, it’s very cute game. I think this game is also very well designed. It’s actually more on the casual side. So, the development cost is actually lower compared to more core games like Marvel Strike Force, for instance. But then also, I don’t know how many Minions are there in total, but the game itself actually doesn’t really use all of the characters. It just features some of the most outstanding or most popular ones. And then like a very good selection of characters in the game, but then the game is designed in a way that there’s also room for live ops and the events and new maps that are created in line with movie launches, etc. So, I think that’s also a very well managed and designed IP game, more on the casual side.

Mitch: 36:04

Yeah, because it’s like they are kind of indistinguishable, like minions, they are not like very unique characters. So that an endless runner like a platformer makes a heap of sense, because it’s one guy. And it’s just all the different worlds and like you said, there is room there for full live ops and at events and that type of thing as well. So a great example, one of my favorites.

Rachit: 36:28

I just wanted to add in, like in terms of like thematic fit, I know we have discussed this, but I’m always a really big fan of Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm game. I think, it’s the strange example. And thematically, it’s amazing. But also I think the actual mechanical of game is actually really well aligned with the audience. And it wouldn’t be the most common example that people come up with, but I think if you look at it in that kind of game design, market fit and business, I think they’ve really nailed something. I haven’t looked at the number, so I could be wrong, but it’s been going for a while, it’s been live, and I’m assuming that the numbers do look good. So, just wanted to throw that on in there, because I think that’s always a funny one that stands up. But Tianyi, I want to ask, what we’ve seen in the report and the way that IPs changed in the last few years really, where do you think this is going? Do you think there’s any trends that will emerge or anything that will continue the way it is? What does the future look like?

Tianyi: 37:32

Yeah, I like this, because it’s a very good question. And one thing, actually, I’ve already mentioned a little bit is that I think the number of releases will probably slowing down in the coming years. So games, like IP based games, I think they’re more looking at live ops and live services. So, maybe, we’ll see a slowdown in the number of IP based games releases, but their longevity will really increase and publishers will really looking at how to improve or increase the content, integrations, etc. over time. And I think this could also happen on PC and console as well, because I think PC and console, they’re also moving more towards free to play and large services. So, I think there will also be... Like we said that mobile is the most popular platform for IP licensing. But I think PC and console will also catch up in the future. And then the other thing, I think that’s also happening in the market is really transmedia. Like, in the report itself, we looked more at entertainments, IPs coming to, gaming coming to, mobile games, but I think it is really like an integrated ecosystem now. Like, Netflix is developing. It’s like TV IP, movie IPs to games and also the other way around. A lot of game IPs are going to Netflix, like League of Legends, Cyberpunk, for instance. But then in the east, like Japan, China, like two eastern markets I’m relatively familiar with, this is also like a really big trend happening in China and Japan. So for instance, in China, Tencent is like creating its own original IP, but then at the beginning of the creation, Tencent is already looking at bringing this IP to mobile games, to TV, to movie, to novels, and even reality shows. So, it’s really like they have this transmedia concept in mind when they create their own original IPs. And I think that is also really one of the trends we are going to see in the coming years. And one last trend I was thinking about was actually, we also talked a little bit before the broadcast, I think, because IP games, like licensing into like a full-game development, is very expensive and takes a long time. I do think there will be an upward trend of IP injection and collaboration in games. I think, this is also where [unclear 40:25] professional at so. Yeah, I would also like to hear your thoughts on this.

Rachit: 40:33

Yeah, I think it’s really interesting. I think, I’m curious to see if that trend of live ops and IP usage, in general, will fall over to console and PC. I mean, I think, in mobile, we’ve definitely seen it happen. And it makes a lot of sense. And I think sometimes it takes the bigger players to kind of set some precedent on that and make it know. If you go back kind of 10 years ago, like every Call of Duty was a premium game, right? And then Fortnite and all these other life service games came out, and now you’ve got Warzone or anything else that’s out there, and they’ve adapted. And so, I wonder, as that changes, it makes more sense that there’ll be building more and more of these games to engage users to [unclear 41:20]. There’ll be [unclear 41:22] with IP integrations, which I think, as you said, like with Tencent and how they’re approaching it from a transmedia perspective, I think they’ll also be more external pressure from the IP creators themselves, as well to actually be in this space, because there’ll be seeing what’s happening in other markets, but also, what’s happening in mobile right now. So, if you own a brand and/or characters, how do you keep that relevant? You’ve got to keep that in front of the right audiences. And I think console and PC is part of that, and so is mobile. So, both of those forces together, I think, we’re gonna see IP making its way for us all getting more and more of that over the next few years. And live integrations and all kind of small injections, I guess, probably make a lot of sense where you’ve got these platforms with existing players that are engaged in that play and tapping into those fans of existing audiences, it just makes it a whole lot since the...

Mitch: 42:27

Very well said. The only thing I would add that I’m curious about is, I guess like how smaller developers and publishers kind of follow the lead of what some of the biggest studios have done so far? I’m curious to see whether we will get to a world where like there is a kind of a niche game for all these different niche IPs. I think it’s happening slowly. And I think there’s some kind of the mid-tiers studios that follow what the big tiers, like the top tier studios do, and kind of then sets the standard for the rest of the industry. And I’m just curious to see how much more accessible IP gets because of some of the trends. Rachit spoken about where like brands/consoles, like they do want to get in front of their audience in any way they can. So whereas, like five years ago, even a few years ago, they may not have considered working with a smaller studio, will them in a couple of years. So, I’m curious to see how the industry kind of like develops that muscle during this repeatedly as well. And we always need like original IP games, like I think Rachit said. And my favorite games are original IP games, but I think there’s definitely a world for more IP based games. It just makes so much sense. Entertainment just kind of overlaps in so many different ways now.

Rachit: 43:55

And I think you could like... We’re getting into that... Well, I picked crossovers, if that makes sense, let you have both, right? Like, we’ve seen Call of Duty. It’s own IP, right? But they’ve worked in [unclear 44:09], they work with so many other franchises. And like, again, if they’re thematically aligned, I think, you get the benefit of each side. Each audience kind of collaborated... You hit the same spot. So, I think we’re getting to this world where that it is more possible as well. I know it’s a top-tier example, but even in smaller original IP, I think there’s the law, the fantasy that you’ve got, and you’ve created the narrative, but there’s other IP events that’s relevant, and I feel [unclear 44:37]. Like, how do you work with that in a way that previously wouldn’t have been done? So, I think that’s really exciting.

Mitch: 44:44

I’m sure we could talk for hours, so probably that’s the end. To wrap that, Tianyi thank you so much for joining us. Amazing to get all your insights. I hope to have you back on sometime when there’s another report or some more nuggets that you can share with us. Thank you so much for joining us.

Tianyi: 45:04

Sure. Thank you for having me today.

Rachit: 45:07


Mitch: 45:08

Thanks for watching. Bye. Thanks for watching the Licensing in Games Video Series. For more content like this, subscribe to our channel or check us out at

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