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阐述Flash游戏领域的授权和盈利模式

发布时间:2011-10-25 16:07:08 Tags:,,,

作者:Edge Staff

网页游戏开发如今不再是属于业余爱好。该领域过去主要靠业余爱好者支撑,他们借制作Flash内容的名义筹集资金,试验新技术。如今这片领域已进一步发展,独立开发者摇身变成专业人士,但依然享有巨大创造自由。本文主要谈论该行业转变过程及赞助交易模式和金额。

flash money from next-gen.biz

flash money from next-gen.biz

网页游戏门户网站Newgrounds创始人及独立工作室The BehemothTom合伙人Fulp表示,“整个发展过程循序渐进。随着Flash游戏日渐风靡,企业开始尝试赞助游戏,将自己的商标放入游戏。”游戏呈病毒式传播,间接提高赞助者的网站流量。同时Newgrounds之类的门户网站向搭载网站的游戏提供广告收入分成(游戏邦注:游戏扩大网站用户)。但Flash市场最大的改变是Flash Game License的问世。

FGL被称作Flash游戏领域的易趣平台,网站提供竞价机制,促使5000家赞助商能够同2万家开发公司展开谈判。开发者上传几近成品状态的内容,而赞助商则以各种交易吸引他们的眼球,FGL在这其中分成10%。有些公司通过赞助换取在游戏中嵌入公司商标或链接,有些则以此获得专有权,能够将游戏绑定在某网站一定时间,而其他人则可以以较少资金获得非独家授权。

重要交易

他表示,“其中波幅很大。优秀内容的交易值通常在5000美元以上。而杰出作品则在1.5万美元以上。每月通常会出现2-3款‘杰出’型作品,有时有的作品能够获得高达8万美元的交易值,但这无疑属于例外情况。这些其实都能提前预见;很多交易都有运作情况奖励和广告分成。所以这些只是它们的最低收益。它们还有次级市场。Kongregate也许会向你提供2万美元的初级授权费——这意味着你无需出让专有权(在特定时间后,通常是2个星期),你随后可以继续瞄准其他门户网站,出售内容获得额外收入,通常在1000-2000美元不等,或和微软、雅虎等公司达成收入分成协议,这块收益完全能够达到上万水平,若游戏足够受欢迎。”

Fulp表示,“有时我们会求助Flash Game License人员,但也有很多开发者直接同我们联系。他们会联系我们,联系Armor Games,及其他他们看好的网站,我们会反复通过邮件沟通,直到他们接受我们的某个方案。我锁定我个人喜欢的游戏,我希望它能够激发网站其他开发者的灵感。我们很难量化结果,因为这有点像营销成本。这部分支撑社区工作,部分在网页中宣传自己。你很难找到获得足够资金回报的完美模式。但只要你的网站继续受欢迎,你大可尽情投入。”

但若你自己运作网站,不妨效仿网页游戏开发商Nitrome的做法,授权第三方门户网站,作为收入来源之一。Nitrome总经理Matthew Annal表示,“我们主要通过网站广告创收。我们在其他地方获得更多流量,但自身网站的创收潜力很大。当广告商知晓其广告将在何处,以何种方式呈现时,嵌入游戏的广告就会获得更高的印象成本。”

预先付款

但对多数开发商而言(游戏邦注:特别是那些运作小型团队,只能勉强度日的开发者),FGL前景相当光明,不仅仅因为其削减大量繁琐程序。

Hughes表示,“诸如微软之类的大买家要求游戏购买300万美元的责任险,这是笔昂贵的年保险金。显然很多独立开发者都无法支付这笔费用。若出现网络负债及错漏情况,你可从300万美元险金(最低水平)中获得1-2万美元的年补偿金。所以我们还采用Easy License模式——买家同我们签署合同,我们同开发商达成协议,我们负责所有险金和税金。”

Hughes表示,这对买家也有利。诸如微软或雅虎之类的大型门户网站希望批量购买内容——设置销售点对他们而言是个有效渠道。

Hughes表示,“这其中还有报酬。愿意支付费用的大公司合作有时要60或90天后才支付费用。若你算计着过日子,说明你无法喂饱自己!但我们知道我们最终会得到报酬,所以我们第一天就向开发商支付费用,然后等待微软之类的公司支付费用。这些开发者大多是小团队,他们的主要目标是制作游戏。而我们的目标是:帮助开发者专注于他们喜欢的工作,这样他们就无需操心商业、营销或法律事务。”

gold miner flash game from flash-screen.com

gold miner flash game from flash-screen.com

轻松创收?

轻松创收?Aardman Digital技术总监及网页游戏公司Photonstorm主管Rich Davey客观看待其在Flash游戏领域所获成就。他发现,在每周涌现的众多游戏中,纸牌类型颇受赞助商青睐。

他表示,“赞助商有个重要选择。若你订阅FGL新游戏公告,你周一会看到30或40款新游戏,一周内平均每天看到20款新游戏。赞助商间的竞争性并不高。但赞助商对游戏内容的要求日益提高,因为他们有许多优质作品可以选择,但赞助资金并未得到相应提高。独立领域的很多开发者都承接外包工作,旨在获得额外收益。但若你的作品足够优秀,准确定位,就一定能够获得丰厚收入。”

但定位是个棘手的问题。当被问及哪些游戏获得丰厚收益时,FGL Hughes表示没有任何类型或风格占据绝对优势。

他表示,“我们的多数赞助商都是爱好战斗内容的年轻男士。他们喜欢僵尸、RPG和射击题材。但这并不代表整个市场;这只是代表活跃于网站的用户群体。开发者推出相当有趣的麻将游戏,游戏非常畅销。但只有2个而非10个赞助商对游戏内容感兴趣。获得丰厚收益的是游戏续集。对赞助商来说这是非常保险的投资方式。”

即便如此,Hughes表示,我们很难获得上百万美元的赞助协议。这片市场有自己的上限标准,令开发商难以获得类似iPhone平台的那般丰厚资金。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

Flash gaming: Show us the money

By Edge Staff

In the second part of our week-long series on Flash gaming, we find out what makes it so financially alluring to indie devs.

Web games are now far from an amateur concern. Once the scene was fuelled by dabblers, collecting under the banner of Flash to tease out the capabilities of a new technology. Now a fulsome economy has grown, allowing indie talent to blossom into professional concerns, while maintaining a good deal of creative freedom. In this second instalment of our weeklong series on Flash, we examine just how this unique arrangement came to be, detail the deals being cut, and discover what sort of sums are exchanging hands.

Read part one – Meet the developers

“It grew organically,” says Tom Fulp, founder of long-running webgame portal Newgrounds and co-owner of indie developer The Behemoth. “As Flash games got more popular, companies had the idea that they could sponsor games, and have their logo on it.” The games spread virally, driving traffic back to the sponsor’s site. Portals like Newgrounds, meanwhile, offered a share of ad revenue for the site-locked games that drew people in. But the biggest change to the Flash economy has been the arrival of Flash Game License.

Crudely described as an eBay for Flash games, FGL offers a bidding system by which its pool of 5000 or so sponsors can negotiate with some 20,000 developers. The devs upload their game in a state of near completion and sponsors tempt them with a variety of deals, of which FGL takes a ten per cent cut. Some may be sponsorship with an embedded logo or link, others may bind that game to a single site exclusively for a period of time, while others may hoover up the non-exclusive licences for lesser sums. But what sort of figures are we talking about? We ask FGL’s co-founder, Chris Hughes (you’ll find a full interview with him tomorrow).

Big deals

“We see a huge range,” he says. “A good game will get anywhere from $5000 and up. A great game will get $15,000 and up. We typically see two to three games a month that are in that ‘great’ range. Occasionally we get a game come through that gets $80,000, but that’s definitely the exception. And, I should note, this is all up-front; a lot of the deals have performance bonuses or ad-share revenue. So these numbers are the bare minimum they’re getting. And then there’s the secondary market. Kongregate may offer you $20,000 for a primary licence – which means you can sell non-exclusives as well [after a set period of time has elapsed, often two weeks] so you can go to the other portals and sell it for additional money, in the $1000 to $2000 range, or get a revenue share deal with someone like Microsoft or Yahoo, which can be tens of thousands down the line, if not hundreds if the game is popular long enough.”

“Sometimes we’ll find someone on Flash Game License, but we also have a lot of developers who come directly to us,” says Fulp. “They’ll contact us and Armor Games and a few other sites they like, and we’ll email back and forth until they accept one of the offers. I look for games I like personally, that I want to be an inspiration for other developers on the site. It’s hard to quantify the results of it because it’s sort of a marketing cost. It’s one part supporting the community, and one part promoting yourself across the web. You never really get a perfect model for what you get back out of it financially. But as long as your site stays popular you spend what you can on it.”

But if you own a site yourself, as webgame developer Nitrome does, licensing to thirdparty portals is just one part of a diverse income stream. “We personally make most of our money through advertising on our own site,” says Matthew Annal, Nitrome’s managing director. “We get more traffic elsewhere, but the difference you can make in revenue on your own site is vast. When the advertisers know where and how their adverts are going to be displayed, the adverts you imbed in your own content command a much higher Cost Per Milestone – the cost per thousand impressions.”

Cash up front

But for the majority of developers, particularly those running small teams and living hand-to-mouth, FGL is an extremely attractive prospect, and not simply because it trims the red tape.

“[A big buyer like] Microsoft requires a three million dollar insurance coverage for games – it’s an expensive annual premium,” says Hughes. “Obviously a lot of independent developers can’t afford that. The cheapest three million dollar coverage you can get for cyber-liability and errors and omissions and so forth is probably ten or twenty thousand dollars a year. So we have Easy License – the buyer will sign a contract with us, and we’ll do the deal with the developers, and we have all this insurance coverage and do all the taxes.”

It works out in the buyer’s favour too, Hughes says. Mega-portals like Microsoft or Yahoo want to bulk-buy content – having one point of sale is extremely efficient for them.

“And then there’s the payment,” Hughes says. “If we work with a big company who we know is going to pay us, sometimes they’ll take 60 or 90 days. If you’re living paycheque to paycheque, that might mean you can’t feed yourself! But we know we’re going to be paid, so we pay the developer on day one and wait to get that money back from Microsoft, or whoever. Most of these developers are small teams – their main goal is to make games. And really that’s been our goal: to help devs focus on what they love to do, so they don’t have to wear their business hat, marketing hat or their legal hat.”

Easy money?

Easy money, then? Rich Davey, technical director at Aardman Digital and the man behind webgaming outfit Photonstorm, is a little more measured in his adulation of the Flash game market. With so many games per week, he observes, the cards are very much in the sponsors hands.

“Sponsors have a phenomenal choice,” he says. “If you’re subscribed to FGL’s new games bulletin you’ll be hit with 30 or 40 new games on a Monday and 20 new games a day throughout the week. Competition among the sponsors isn’t as high. The specifications on the sponsor side of it has gone up, because there are so many good games out there, but the sponsorship money hasn’t risen to match that. The majority of developers mix in the indie side of it with contract work and use that to supplement their income. But the money is there if your games are good and you target it correctly.”

Targeting is a tricky issue, however. When we ask what sorts of games command the big money, FGL’s Hughes is clear that no one genre or aesthetic dominates the scene.

“Most of our active sponsors are part of the youngish male action audience,” he admits. “They like zombie games and RPGs and shooters. But that’s not indicative of the market; that’s indicative of the people who are really active on our site. When a developer releases a really kick-ass Mahjong game, that thing sells for a crazy amount of money. It’s just you’ve got two sponsors interested in it instead of ten. The games that are getting a tonne of money are sequels. It’s a guaranteed home run for the sponsor.”

Even so, Hughes admits that it’s extremely unlikely to see a million dollar sponsorship deal being made. There’s a ceiling to the market which limits devs from making the kind of colossal sums fabled on iPhone. Just why the Flash gaming scene remains attractive despite this is the subject of Thursday’s instalment, in which we look at Flash’s threats and competitors and discover why it still comes out on top.(Source:next-gen


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