Facebook上流行的多为模拟装饰类游戏，而App Store中的游戏类型更为丰富。诸如《无尽之剑》及其续作之类的硬核游戏经常出现于排行榜前列。手机设备上最为流行的游戏为平台和动作游戏。免费模拟类游戏和付费游戏都有其存在的空间。手机上流行的隐藏物品游戏不止两款，而是多达数百款。而且，市场中还有射击游戏、经典8位RPG游戏、卡牌游戏、解谜和文字游戏。以今天的情况来看，App Store排名位居前20的免费游戏有移植自其他平台的游戏（《镜之边缘》）、运动游戏（《Field Goal Frenzy》和《Archery World Cup》）、解谜游戏（《宝石迷阵闪电战》和《Words with Friends》）、无尽奔跑游戏（《翼飞冲天》和《Temple Runner》）和模拟类游戏（《Bakery Story》）等。
对于较大型的品牌来说，进军iOS是无需多虑的选择。现在，拥有顶级应用的大型盈利品牌包括：《The Price is Right》；《蝙蝠侠：阿甘之城》；《使命召唤》；《Scrabble》；《游戏人生》；《Uno》；《Risk》；《大富翁》；《NBA Jam》；《俄勒冈之旅》；《疯狂美式橄榄球》；《NBA 2012》；《汽车总动员2》；《Sonic the Hedgehog》；《FIFA》；《模拟人生3》；《战地》；《Boggle》；《吃豆人》。在Facebook上，大型品牌多半失败了。
但是，iOS平台的强大之处还不止如此。许多较小的公司也能够开发或发布某些非常出色的游戏。《Words With Friends》的开发商Newtoy是个只是个23人的小公司，Zynga花费5300万美元将其收购。Playforge（游戏邦注：本文作者工作的公司）完全靠《Zombie Farm》支撑，这款游戏是由单人（游戏邦注：Playforge首席执行官）开发完成。我们的游戏在2011年上升最快iOS游戏榜单上位列第3，在上升最快免费游戏中位列第2。研究过App Store，你就会发现位于榜单前列的付费和免费游戏中，有许多出自规模远小于Zynga、Playdom、EA、Wooga和RockYou的初创公司之手。App Store甚至创造了《愤怒的小鸟》等大型跨平台品牌。
iOS is a more sustainable business strategy (pt 2)
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how Facebook games are unsustainable as a sole business strategy. The article was picked up in various places including PocketGamer.biz and also Gamasutra. I’m glad that my message got out there because everyone was thinking it, although it wasn’t met without opposition. I received many emails from people who are in the business of making Facebook games who were not pleased at my dooming of their careers. Interestingly enough, the only opposition came from designers, creative directors, and people who work at the top companies (EA, Zynga mostly). No producers, execs, PMs, or business people in charge of financials. Unsurprising, really.
The latest string of layoffs in the Facebook game space lends more examples about the struggling nature of the platform right now. RockYou laid off 40% of staff last month after a string of Facebook flops. PlayFirst had a large layoff this month after their attempts to bring successful brands like Diner Dash failed. There are more unannounced layoffs incoming, and if I had to make predictions I’d guess that Disney’s Playdom is next.
I also mentioned at the end of my article that I feel that iOS is a better bet right now. I have to commit a blogging faux pas and revise my statement a bit. The main point of my post was not that social gaming on Facebook is dead and companies should pull out entirely. It was that a good business position in this volatile social gaming market requires cross platform strategy. So I don’t necessarily want to make a blanket statement about iOS being a better place to be, although I do believe that if you’re picking just one market you should head to iOS. I also believe Facebook has peaked as a gaming platform.
Whereas the most popular games on Facebook are isometric sim decorators, games in the App Store have a much wider variety. Hardcore games such as Infinity Blade and its sequel are not uncommon to see rising in the ranks. Some of the most popular games on the device are platformers and action games. There is room for free-to-play simulation games, and pay-to-play full games. There aren’t just two popular hidden object games, there are hundreds. There are shooter games, throwback classic 8bit RPGs, card games, puzzle and word games. Just today, looking at the top 20 Free Games in the App Store you’ll find games that are ports from other platforms (Mirror’s Edge), sports games (Field Goal Frenzy, Archery World Cup), puzzle games (Bejeweled Blitz, Words with Friends), endless runners (Tiny Wings, Temple Runner), isometric sims (Bakery Story) and more.
To add to my argument, Apple features robust categories and featuring for these games. They readily acknowledge that one of the strengths of their device and the platform is the large diverse audience and the variety in game genres. You can browse the market and find games that you might be interested in based on their star rating and when they came out. You can get recommendations. You can see all of the latest games that were added to the App Store. The transparency of the Top Grossing Games chart allows players to see where most people are spending money. You can sort by free or paid apps. Apple features games that they think are good, giving another channel of promotion for you. Meanwhile, Facebook removed their app directory entirely.
For larger brands, venturing into iOS is a no brainer. Just this week saw the launch of Chrono Trigger onto its 800th platform when it made its App Store debut. Other large and profitable brands with top apps right now include The Price is Right, Batman Arkham City, Call of Duty, Scrabble, The Game of Life, Uno, Risk, Monopoly, NBA Jam, The Oregon Trail, Madden NFL, NBA 2K12, Cars 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, FIFA Soccer, The Sims 3, Battlefield, Boggle, and Pac-Man. On Facebook, larger brands crash and fail more often than not.
This might sound intimidating. Why on earth would anyone want to get into this space when you’re competing with so many huge pocketbooks? The biggest reason is the legitimacy of the gaming platform. Gaming on the iPhone and iPad has proven to be casual enough to appeal to all of Facebook’s target demographic, yet hardcore enough to allow games like Call of Duty to succeed. The iPhone doesn’t just turn non-gamers into gamers, it also appeals to people who already identify as gamers. It appeals to people who don’t need to be coerced to make in-app purchases by putting buttons in a perfect place. It appeals to those who actively seek out new games to play.
But it’s not all that scary. There are plenty of smaller companies that are either developing or publishing some pretty fantastic titles. Words With Friends was developed by Newtoy, a 23 person company, and sold to Zynga for a $53m exit. The Playforge (the company I work at) has been fully funded and bootstrapped by Zombie Farm, a game that was developed by a single person (our CEO). And we had the #3 top grossing iOS game of 2011 (#2 free game). If you venture into the App Store and look at the top paid and free games, a significant chunk of them are from startups far smaller than Zynga, Playdom, EA, Wooga, RockYou, etc. The App Store has even created huge cross-platform brands such as Angry Birds.
However, I don’t believe that it’s a good idea to go into the iOS space as your only platform. I believe it’s more viable for indie developers than Facebook, and more flexible to experimentation and creative endeavors. However, it’s still very expensive to acquire users. Mobile game player acquisition is now at least double of what it was earlier this year. However, the quality bar has also been raised. Being viral on iOS either means making a great mass market game, which isn’t an easy feat, or paying a lot of money in CPC campaigns with other developers and ad platforms. However, I don’t think we’ve reached the height of mobile gaming yet. I believe that Facebook as a platform has already begun its downward trend and that the next year will be very telling. I also strongly believe that Facebook’s viral nature as a social network is the main reason people play games there. When Facebook begun to cripple the social gaming features one-by-one, we saw DAU dropping in the market over all. iOS gaming isn’t built on virality. It’s built on a variety of great and accessible games and a well-designed mass market device created by a company that doesn’t reposition its dedication to game developers on a monthly basis. (Source: Tami Baribeau)