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人物专访:PopCap Games公司高管谈进军东方市场计划

发布时间:2011-04-08 17:26:11 Tags:,,

《宝石迷阵》和《幻幻球》两大力作的开发商PopCap Games在西方的休闲游戏市场可谓战绩雄厚,如今公司已将其业务拓展至东方市场。

PopCap

PopCap

游戏邦发现,早在2008年,PopCap就成立了上海工作室,目的是把公司热门游戏带入东方市场。公司还特别对其游戏进行调整,以便更好适应当地市场的商业趋势。

公司东方扩张的行动之一就是推出了PopCap World(游戏邦注:PopCap World是个游戏平台,囊括了PopCap众多热门游戏的修改版本,其中包括《植物大战僵尸》和《祖玛》)。

Gamasutra日前采访了PopCap亚太地区的副总裁詹姆士·格威特兹曼(James Gwertzman),主要谈论公司即将问世的项目及公司如何突破自我,朝海外市场迈进。以下是游戏邦就此所编译的内容。

James Gwertzman

James Gwertzman

可以为我们简要描述下公司工作室的概况吗?

在PopCap任职期间,我2005年首次拜访了中国。虽然这是我第一次来到中国,但中国的PopCap游戏玩家规模十分庞大,这着实让我颇为诧异。但是,当地用户体验的大多是盗版游戏,我们当时并没有在中国发展业务。但游戏受追捧的程度还是让我们十分震惊,我们既没有对游戏进行本土化,也没有在当地开展营销活动,完全没有对拓展该市场做出任何努力。

我们发现,在中国快速扩展业务的唯一途径就是采用在线游戏的免费模式,特别是在休闲游戏领域,这是唯一行得通的模式。我们发现,想要在亚洲市场有所成就,得成立自己的工作室,开发迎合市场需求的免费游戏。

所以我们2008年初就在中国成立了自己的工作室,我们可以算是白手起家。目前我们上海工作室大概有80名员工。我们在东京也设立了一个小型办公地点,而韩国有个更大的团队。这两个办公地点主要负责销售和营销业务,拓宽当地市场。

目前中国工作室有没有推出自己的游戏?

没有。目前上海工作室还主要负责简单的本土化项目,以及从美国引进游戏,对其进行调整,然后再以传统的商业模式投放市场,上海工作室新开发的项目都还没有投放市场。但2011年将会是意义非凡的一年,我们早几年投资的项目都将会在今年和大家见面。

几个月前,我们携手NCSoft(游戏邦注:其为韩国网络游戏公司)在韩国推出了PopCap World。PopCap World是我们在韩国的最大项目。我们借此尝试将现有单玩家游戏引入在线社区,进而将游戏调整为虚拟道具销售模式。

所以,当地用户可以首次体验到《植物大战僵尸》,但我们所有的游戏信息将会储藏在云端,而非当地的硬件设备。你可以把PopCap World当作是PopCap版的Steam或者Xbox Live Arcade,因为该平台将社区服务带入既有的传统单玩家游戏之中。

重要的是,我们目前正在制作既有PopCap游戏的多玩家版本,我们已经公开了之中的首款游戏《Super Zuma Online》,这是《祖玛》游戏的4人版本,游戏中玩家将会进行激烈的肉搏战。这是我们目前正在进行的项目。NCSoft是我们在韩国的合作伙伴。其将负责游戏在当地的运营工作,游戏将会在今年的第一季度发行。如果这款游戏在韩国的反响不错,我们会考虑将其拓展至亚洲其他市场。

此外,我们目前正在开发一款全新的社交游戏。我们已经和人人网达成合作协议,人人网是中国最大的社交网络。我们还没有公开这款游戏的相关内容,但这会是一款全新的社交游戏,是基于我们在中国另一款更受欢迎的游戏。这是我们在中国开展的新项目。

PopCap World未来会在亚洲以外的市场出现吗?

我们亚洲工作室的原则是,“身处亚洲,致力亚洲”。问题是,如果一开始就瞄准全球市场,我们将很难有所侧重,进而就会失去成功的机会。我们开发PopCap World等项目的时候,完全没有考虑将其推广至北美或欧洲市场。目前来说,我们只希望其在亚洲市场能够大获成功。

当然,如果PopCap World在亚洲表现很好,且我们对此也颇为满意,那么我们当然会考虑将其推广至北美等市场。但目前我们还是主要专注在亚洲市场。

PopCap向来都花大把时间在游戏开发上,以此来确保游戏的准确度和合理性。但是,就像你们所提到的那样,亚洲市场发展迅速的市场。你们要如何权衡二者呢?

这也是我们早期不断追问自己的一个问题。我们得通过比较竞争对手来判断产品质量在亚洲市场的重要性。我们发现,亚洲竞争对手脚步十分紧凑,但其对于质量并未加以重视。

我们发现我们在亚洲在线游戏市场最大的竞争对手并非其他游戏公司,而是如何满足玩过盗版PopCap单玩家PC游戏玩家的期望。

换句话说,如果我们想要推出《植物大战僵尸》的在线版本,我们就得满足玩过原始《植物大战僵尸》用户对于该游戏的期望。如果上海工作室推出的游戏版本在趣味、创意和质量方面都有所缩水,那么玩家定会十分失望。所以我们将会保持游戏原有的质量,在全球范围维持相同的质量水准。

我们不会投机取巧。事实上,我们之所以在工作室成立了很多年后才推出游戏是因为我们不希望过早发行游戏。在北美市场,我们只推出令我们引以为傲的游戏,而在上海,我们亦是如此。

你提到说,今年你们将会有多个项目同时成熟。你们有没有考虑过自己的下步发展方向?毕竟如今的市场形势已经和项目刚启动的时候大不相同。

是的,今年对我们来说,颇有不成则败的意味,因为如今我们所有的项目都迈入向市场,和用户见面。我们终于可以亲眼目睹早年决定的结果,当然我们每年都会自己的表现进行评估,今年也毫不例外。

我想今年底,我们会对自己的表现进行综合评估,如今成绩显著的话,我们将会着手考虑下个项目以及什么时候启动项目。当然,我们最初在此成立工作室,就是希望最终能够在上海开发新游戏;我们不会单单在既有游戏的基础上开发游戏。所以我们希望能够开展全新的项目,但是我们只有在确定项目是个好创意,并且对于项目的发展方向心中有数的情况下,才会推出新项目。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,转载请注明来源:游戏邦)

Interview: PopCap Games On Expanding To The East

Bejeweled and Peggle developer PopCap Games has seen massive success in the West across its line of casual titles, and the company has now set its sights on moving into Eastern markets.

In 2008, PopCap set up an office in Shanghai to bring its popular games into Asia, while adapting the games to best suit the business trends of the local regions.

Among the company’s efforts for Eastern expansion is PopCap World, a games platform that will include altered versions of a number of PopCap’s most popular titles, including Plants Vs. Zombies and Zuma.

Gamasutra spoke with PopCap’s vice president of Asia/Pacific James Gwertzman to discuss the company’s upcoming projects, and how the company needs to compete with itself if it hopes to succeed overseas.

Could you please give me a quick overview of what your studio represents to the company?

At PopCap, I made my first trip to China in 2005. Even on my very first trip, I was impressed by how many people in China were playing PopCap games. Granted, a lot of them were pirated, so we weren’t having any business at that point, but we were impressed with just how popular the brands were even then with no localization, no marketing, and no attempts to do anything to reach out to the market here.

We realized pretty quickly the only way to build a business here in China is to take advantage of free-to-play online game models. Especially in the casual game space, those are really the only models that make sense. We decided that to be successful here, we were going to have to open our own studio in Asia in order to build free-to-play versions to go after the Asia market.

So, starting in early 2008, we opened an office here. We began building a studio from scratch. Now we’ve got about 80 people here in Shanghai total. We also have a small office in Tokyo, some people at Tokyo, and we have a large team in Korea. Both of those are primarily sales and marketing offices, to reach out to those markets.

Have you launched a product that’s been under development in the China office?

No. With the exception of very simple localization projects, taking a game from the U.S., revising it and releasing it through kind of traditional business models like, you know, none of the projects in development in Shanghai have yet launched. However, 2011 is really our big year because all of the projects we’ve been working on the past couple of years are all kind of shifting into this year.

We announced a couple months ago a partnership with NCSoft to launch something called PopCap World in Korea. PopCap World is probably the biggest project that we’ve been working on here. It’s an attempt to bring a lot of our existing single-player games together into an online community that allows us to modify the games with virtual item sales models.

So, for the first time, you can play a game like Plants Vs. Zombies, but all of our saved game information is saved in a cloud as opposed to onto your local hard drive. You can almost think of PopCap World as kind of a PopCap version of Steam or Xbox Live Arcade in that they bring community services to our existing traditional single-player games.

On top of that, we’re now building multiplayer versions of existing PopCap games. We’ve announced the first of those. It’s called Super Zuma Online, which is a four-person multiplayer version of Zuma with very competitive head-to-head action. That’s the first project that we’re building out here now. Our partner in Korea is NCSoft. They will be operating that on our behalf, and that should be launching some time in first quarter of this year. And if that does well in Korea, we’ll look at bringing that to other markets in Asia as well.

The other thing we’re working on here is we’re doing a social game from scratch. So, it’s a new social game. We’ve already signed a partnership with RenRen, which is one of the largest social networks here in China. We have not yet announced what the title is, but it’s a new social game based on one of our more popular IP here in China. Those are really the two big kind of new projects that we’re building from scratch here in China.

Will PopCap World launch outside of Asia at some point?

Part of the charter for our office here is, “In Asia, for Asia.” The problem is if you start to think too much about the global market from the beginning, you can lose focus and distract yourself from being successful. So, we don’t think about markets like North America or Europe when building things like PopCap World. We’re just focused on making it successful here in Asia.

Of course, if it’s super successful and it does well and we’re happy with this performance in Asia, of course we’ll look at whether we can bring that to other markets like North America. For now, we’re kind of laser-focused on the markets here.

PopCap is well-known for taking its time to make sure its games are correct and proper before launching them. However, you and others have alluded to the fact that the Asian market moves very quickly. How do you balance those two forces?

That was one of the questions we asked ourselves early on. We needed to figure out how important quality would be here in Asia compared to a lot of our competitors, who move very quickly and for whom often quality is maybe not so important.

We decided that was our biggest competition coming into Asia with the online games was not going to be other companies. Our biggest competitors were going to be the expectations set by our single-player PC games that people already played via piracy channels.

In other words, if we were going to build online versions of Plants Vs. Zombies, our competition was going to be the expectations people had from playing the original Plants Vs. Zombies. If our game built here in Shanghai was not as much fun and as creative and as high quality, then players are going to be upset. So, we decided we were going to have to maintain the same quality bar here that we try to maintain globally.

We’re not cutting corners. In fact, one of the reasons it’s taken us a couple of years to launch a game since we first set up our office is because we weren’t willing to launch prematurely. In North America, we only ship games that we’re proud of, and we’re taking the same attitude here in Shanghai.

You said a number of your projects are coming to fruition and launching this year. Are you thinking about what you will do moving forward? Things have changed since you started those projects, I’m sure.

Well, yeah. It’s kind of our make-or-break year, because now all our stuff is finally coming to market. We have an opportunity to finally see the results from a lot of decisions we made a couple years ago, and for sure, we take stock where we are every year, and this year’s going to be no exception.

I think probably at the end of this year, we will start to look at how we’re doing and assuming we’re doing well start to consider what are we going to do for the next project and when are we going to start off. Certainly, when we set up the office here, we expected we would eventually create new IP here in Shanghai; we would not be exclusively developing projects based on existing IP. So, we would love start to work on new projects, but we’re not going to do that until we’re sure that the stuff we’re doing is already kind of off to a good start and we’ve really understood how it’s going.(Source:Gamasutra


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