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Unity和HTML5等并非威胁 Flash未必消亡

发布时间:2011-10-25 18:23:14 Tags:,,,,

作者:Edge Staff

我们曾经同许多人交谈过,他们似乎都认为Flash正在逐渐消亡。有人认为Unity的出场对此类游戏开发平台造成很大的冲击,当苹果逐渐通过旗下许多设备改变游戏行业时,这个世界似乎已经不再需要Flash了。最近传言的Flash杀手是什么呢?那就是HTML5,这对Flash来说简直就是终结者。

我们之前的数据表明Flash网页游戏还很有可能获得成功。虽然如此,其成功的上限仍然无法同iPhone市场相比,精明的开发商可以在后者市场中一夜成为百万富翁。你可能会认为,苹果市场很容易让网页游戏黯然失色。

Flash Game License联合创始人Chris Hughes承认道:“通过赞助网页游戏赚取百万美元,这几乎是不可实现的。我讨厌这么说。或许会有出现极端例外的情况,但是我还是想说这很难实现。事实已经多次证明,这在iPhone市场上是可能实现的。”(请点击此处阅读本系列第一篇文章)

作品丰富的网页游戏开发商Nitrome总经理Matthew Annal进一步剖析:“当你谈论网页游戏时,你所讨论的就是吸引1000人玩游戏来赚取1美元。但是你只要是让1个用户在iPhone上购买你的应用,你就可以直接获得99美分的收入。因而,在iPhone上拥有巨作的盈利能力要比在浏览器上要强得多。”

但是,尽管Flash开发商显然对通过App Store这种方式来获得巨额财富很感兴趣,但是iPhone的出现并不预示着网页游戏的灭亡。智能手机领域的回报或许会较高,但是风险也同样较大,许多游戏瞬间便在市场中销声匿迹。

Flash game-owl spin(from next-gen)

Flash game-owl spin(from next-gen)

Dull Dude Games的Iain Lobb说道:“失败的iPhone游戏非常多,有些你甚至从未听说过。但是Flash游戏更容易从失败中赚得金钱,而且制作也更为迅速。我制作过一款称为《Owl Spin》的小网页游戏。它并没有让我获得很大的成就,但是我仍然能够将其出售给赞助商来获得盈利。而且我意识到自己可以有两周的时间来制作游戏,因而我应当更加认真地对待这款游戏。”

当然,开发商可以同时采用这两种方式,许多开发商使用Flash来测试游戏机制,随后再将它们移植到iPhone上。

Hughes说道:“这是个很不错的平台,可以测试出你的游戏能否在iPhone上获得成功。如果你的Flash版本游戏获得上亿玩家,这种情况我们已经见过多次,那么你就需要将其移植到其他平台和市场上。Berzerk Studio制作了一款名为《Homerun In Berzerk Land》的游戏,公司随后将游戏名改为《Berzerk Ball》。他们以Flash的形式发布游戏,游戏过去和现在都取得了令人惊叹的成功。因而他们将游戏移植到iOS上,同样也取得了成功。我肯定他们在iPhone上赚到的钱比Flash多,但是如果他们没有用网页版本的游戏进行测试,或许无法确定这是否是款流行游戏。他们本来可能会花1年的时间来制作某款iPhone游戏,然后眼睁睁地看着它就此失败。但你可以在1个月的时间内将突然闪现的灵感制作成Flash游戏,然后将其以2万美元的价格出售,看看游戏的流行程度,然后将其移植到其他平台上。如果游戏失败了,你仍然可以赚得2万美元。”

iOS游戏的开发或许不会对Flash直接构成威胁,但是后者在网页游戏领域中也有自己的竞争对手。Unity的浏览器内置3D已经威胁到Flash的地位,而HTML5也被谷歌、微软和苹果这三巨头大力推广。但是,无论这些技术中哪个成为网页标准,Flash都有自己的发展之路。Flash能够为浏览器普遍接受,因而它对那些外包开发者仍具有吸引力,另外这些新技术尚未普及也使得它们很难得到赞助商的认同。

Hughes说道:“赞助的目的就是为了营销。你在可移动的内容中放置条幅广告。如果使用Unity,游戏可以马上推向3个站点。游戏或许极为令人惊叹,但是结果呢?它并不具有Flash游戏病毒性传播的功能。据我看过的上次数据,当有人点击Unity游戏时,50%的人在看到‘安装Unity’页面后放弃。所以你在玩家看到游戏之前就已经失去了半数用户。假设你想要制作一款HTML5游戏。你要采取什么做法呢?你要从哪里获得盈利呢?而且,现在这项技术还并不成熟。我之前曾经做过网页开发者,HTML5让我感到很棘手,即便只是HTML也是如此!能否兼容火狐或IE浏览器?这些还只是网站而已。当你制作的是兼有物理引擎的复杂游戏时,你想要让游戏在如此多种类的浏览器中运行,有可能出现多种失败的情况。还有,你要如何保护你的代码呢?这些技术很容易让源代码现形!”

Aardman Digital技术总监Rich Davey说道:“你可以使用HTML5做出的确实令人惊叹的东西。但是这种产品只能在用户不多的浏览器中运行。使用较老版本IE的用户什么都看不到。Flash的绝妙之处就在于,所有的内容都可以打包到.swf文件中,你可以将它发送给任何人,任何人都可以使用文件,无需担心他们使用的是何种浏览器。”

Lobb也加入到这场讨论中,他说道:“每个浏览器都必须独自执行HTML5,而且所提供的每种支持都有着细微的差别,因而所有功能的加载需要花费较长的时间。但是即便是那些使用IE 6的用户都会使用最新版本的Flash。HTML5也还不支持音效。对音频标签的支持也很差,当谷歌制作HTML《吃豆人》作为Google Doodle时,他们使用单独的Flash影片来播放所有的音效。”

html_5_pac_man(from net-gen)

html_5_pac_man(from net-gen)

但是,这些问题并非不可解决。Facebook和Google+之类的站点有着自己的商业模式,它们无需依靠赞助商或者病毒性散播,可以直接通过微交易从游戏中获利。Unity和HTML5之类的技术在这些站点上使用并不会碰到很多问题,预示着Davey. FGL和Newground二者都期盼能够在市场变得清晰的时候支持这些技术。Unity表示其技术现在可以导出成为Flash的.swf文件格式,这会在将来为它赢取许多市场份额。

Hughes说道:“如果有人将来会采取做法的话,那么就是Unity。他们有着许多优秀的成员,而且他们采取了许多正确的措施,但是情况依然很复杂。”他甚至还发现了可以迅速解决HTML5问题的方法。“目前存在各种各样的问题,但是如果有人给开发者10万美元,那么这些问题的解决都不在话下。其次,谷歌、微软或苹果等所有推动HTML5的人都表示‘我们可以提供100万美元供开发者制作HTML5游戏’,这样我们便有了市场。有趣的是,在我们同微软频繁讨论相关问题时,他们总是尝试让我们推广HTML5并说服开发商。但是我们要他们提供某些资金让开发商可以进行下去时,他们的回答是‘不,我们并不想这么做。’。如果他们愿意投入某些资金,那么可以在数个月内得到数百款HTML5游戏。而所需的这笔资金其实并不多。”

Lobb说道:“无论外界是何看法,HTML5现在都还未成熟。将来可能会出来,但是到那时Flash是何状况呢?”是其消亡的预言得以实现,还是Adobe对游戏社区的关注又开创全新时代?(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: Trouble ahead?

Edge Staff

Listen to some and it would seem Flash dies every few years. The development platform was said to be on its last legs when Unity swaggered onto the scene, and not long for this world when Apple petulantly cast the technology from its many i-devices. Its latest killer? HTML5, so it has been reported. Terminator-like, Flash stalks on.

As we discovered on Tuesday, the figures are pretty healthy for a Flash webgame success. Nonetheless, the upper limits are modest in comparison to the iPhone market, in which the occasional canny developer can become a millionaire overnight. You’d think Apple’s market would easily eclipse the other.

“It’s going to be impossible to make a million on a [webgame] sponsorship,” admits Chris Hughes, co-founder of Flash Game License. “I hate to say that. Maybe there would be a weird, crazy circumstance – but I’m going to say it’s impossible. It’s been proven, multiple times, to be possible on the iPhone market.”

Matthew Annal, managing director of prolific webgame dev Nitrome, breaks it down further: “When you’re talking about the browser, you are talking about getting a thousand people to play your game to make a dollar. But if you got one person to buy your app on iPhone, you’ve made 69p straight away. So the potential if you have a big hit on the iPhone is much greater than on the browser.”

And yet, while there’s a clear interest among Flash developers in becoming disgustingly rich by way of the App Store, the iPhone hasn’t heralded a massive webgame diaspora. The rewards may be higher on smartphone, but the risks are too – with many a game disappearing without a trace.

“There are so many iPhone games that flop and you never hear about,” says Iain Lobb of Dull Dude Games. “But with Flash games it’s easier to make money on a flop, and it’s quicker to produce. I made a small webgame called Owl Spin. It wasn’t my greatest achievement, but I still made money by selling it to a sponsor. And I realised that if that’s what I can do in two weeks, I should take it more seriously.”

The choice isn’t either/or, of course, and many developers use Flash as a testbed for mechanics before porting them to the iPhone.

“It’s a great proving ground for whether your game is successful on iPhone,” says Hughes. “If your game gets 100 million views in Flash – and we’ve seen this several times – you need to port it. You need to put it somewhere else. It needs to be in a different market. Berzerk Studio made one particular game called Homerun In Berzerk Land, and later changed the name to Berzerk Ball. They released it in Flash. It did awesome, and still does awesome. So they ported it to iOS and it did great there too. I’m pretty sure they made more [money] on iPhone than in Flash, but they would never have known they had a popular game if they hadn’t put the browser game together in a month. They could have spent a year making an iPhone game and watch it flop. You can make a pretty fleshed out prototype in Flash in a month, sell it for $20,000, see the popularity of it, and then port it over. And if you see it fail, you’ve still made $20,000.”

Flash might not be threatened directly by iOS development, but it has competitors within the browser gaming field itself. Unity has pipped Flash to the mark with in-browser 3D, and HTML5 is being pushed by the weighty triumvirate of Google, Microsoft and Apple. Yet, if either of these is to become a web standard, there is some way to go. Neither has Flash’s near-ubiquity, and while they may still be attractive to developers working on contract, the lack of popular uptake for these technologies has so far made them a difficult sell to sponsors.

“The whole reason of a sponsorship is marketing, right?” says Hughes. “You’re putting a banner ad in a movable bit of content. With Unity, a game can go to three sites right now. The game might be awesome, but so what? It doesn’t have the viral spread of a Flash game. And the last statistic I saw, when a person hits a Unity game, there’s a 50 per cent drop off from the ‘install Unity’ screen. So you’re losing half your customers before they’ve seen the game. Maybe that’s improved some now, but with Flash you hit 98 per cent of your users straight away. Say, you want to make an HTML5 game. What are you going to do with that? Where are you going to make money? And the technology is so behind right now. I used to be a web developer and HTML5 is a pain in the ass. Or even just HTML! Does it work in Firefox? Does it work in Explorer? These are just websites. When you have a complex game with physics in it, you’re going to have to make it work in so many browsers, it’s going to break in so many different ways. And how are you going to protect your code? You can just view the source!”

“The stuff you can do with [HTML5 element] Canvas is quite incredible,” says Aardman Digital’s technical director Rich Davey. “But it’ll only work in cutting edge browsers. An old version of IE won’t see anything. The nice thing about Flash is that it all packs into one single .swf file and you can send it to someone and it just works. There’s no worry about what browser they’re running.”

Lobb joins the chorus of dissent: “Each browser has to implement HTML5 separately, and each support it slightly differently, so it takes a long time for all the features to come in. But even people who have Internet Explorer 6 still have the latest version of Flash. HTML5 doesn’t support sound yet! The support of the audio tag is really bad; when Google did HTML Pac-Man as their Google Doodle, they had a separate Flash movie playing all the sound effects.”

These problems are not insoluble, however. Sites like Facebook and Google Plus have their own economies and don’t rely on sponsorship or viral dissemination so much as direct monetisation of the game through microtransactions. Technologies like Unity and HTML5 would have little problem there, suggests Davey. FGL and Newgrounds are both eager to support these technologies the moment the market for them becomes apparent, and with Unity revealing its technology now exports to Flash’s .swf filetype, much of the struggle for marketshare will soon be behind it.

“If anyone’s going to do it, Unity will,” says Hughes. “They have awesome people working for them and they’re doing lots of things right, but it’s still tough.” He even sees a quick fix for HTML5′s woes. “There are all kinds of problems [but] a developer isn’t going to care about any of that crap if someone gives them $100,000. The second that Google, Microsoft, or Apple, or any of those guys pushing HTML5, say, ‘Fine. Here’s a million dollars to developers to make HTML5 games,’ we’ve got a market. It’s funny – we talk to Microsoft quite frequently about things, and they’re always trying to get us to push HTML5 and convince developers. But the second we ask for some money to give to developers they go, ‘Ah no, we don’t want to do that.’ They’re shooting themselves in the foot – it would be so easy! They could have hundreds if not thousands of HTML5 games in a matter of months if they just dumped some money into it. And not even a lot of money.”

“Whatever people say, HTML5 is not ready now,” says Lobb. “It will be in the future – but where will Flash be then?” It’s a good question, and one we investigate in our final part of the series, in which we look at what lies in Flash’s future – will the prophesies of its doom finally come true, or will Adobe’s renewed attentiveness to the gaming community herald in a new era of prosperity? (Source: next-gen)


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