这种相对较新的电子游戏设计科学可以完全绕开创意这一理念吗？虽然这不是Taisei Yoshida（Gree媒体业务高级副总裁）所关心的问题——但他的成功已足以说明答案。他的第一款热作《Tsuri-Suta》（游戏邦注：其英文名为《Fishing Star》），在发布五年后仍位居日本手机游戏营收榜单之首。
随着Gree继续积极开拓美国与欧洲市场，此方法将适用于更多面向西方的游戏题材。Gree最近在Gamescom向大众展示了《Wacky Motors》、《Metal Slug F2P》、《Astro Pizza》以及《Moshi Monsters 》这些游戏，Taisei Yoshida在最近采访中谈到了他的游戏开发理念、背景，以及对掌机与手机相结合的看法。
Gree’s gaming lead on the new era of data-led development
By Neil Long
Videogames are no longer the passive end product of several years’ toil. MMOG subscriptions popularised the idea of games as services, and more recently companies like Zynga and Gree have taken that idea one step further. Data is king, and games can be tinkered with throughout their lifespan to suit player behaviour.
Does this relatively new science of videogame design bypass creativity altogether, though? It’s not a question that concerns Taisei Yoshida, senior vice president of Gree’s media business – his success speaks for itself. His breakout first title, Tsuri-Suta (Fishing Star), remains among the top grossing titles in Japan five years after release, a feat made all the more remarkable once you consider how rapidly the mobile space has evolved in that time. Yoshida-san makes no apology for giving players exactly what they want.
As Gree continues its aggressive pursuit of US and European markets, this approach will be applied to more and more western-focused genres. In the week it showcased Wacky Motors, Metal Slug F2P, Astro Pizza and Moshi Monsters to the masses at Gamescom, we spoke to Yoshida-san about his approach to game development, background and linking mobiles to consoles.
What kind of games did you grow up playing, and how have the influenced your outlook at Gree?
I have been playing games ever since I was young and yes they have influenced what I am doing right now, but instead of playing games on my own I used to play with my friends. It was more of a social thing and that’s what I find interesting. Right now the games that you can play by yourself has been increased, especially on the PC, but the integration between social networks and services and games is what I’m most interested in. That interest was like a trigger for me to create and develop more games like this.
Which parts of the data you collect are the most useful?
So we have three main topics that we are concentrating the most on. The first is user registration, and how much registration are we going to get. The second is retention and how long they can play the game with us. And the third is that we watch the daily active users very carefully, and the profit that we make. Those three are the most important points.
How often, and how significantly, do you change games after their release?
One example that we have is a game called Cerberus Age, a card battle game. When we released it the retention rate wasn’t so high, so we investigated why and found out that as you increase the number of friends in the game you would increase the retention rate. If we increase and develop more events where you can play with your friends, that would automatically retain the gamers playing the game itself. That would mean a rise in DAU as well.
Fishing Star, for example, has been updated ten times. Technical changes are one of the major differences but the events we have developed where you can play with your friends is another important area.
How does this style of development affect your developers’ creative freedom?
The games that developers want to create and the games that users we are trying to appeal to play actually match quite well. There is no difference between the developers who are creating games and the users who want to play. So we do watch the numbers to see which games attract more users, but that actually matches what we want to make as developers.
What is the balance at Gree between making games based on player data and the ‘old ‘way’ of making games based on your developers’ ideas?
The important thing is that we have both dimensions. The first one is the old way of releasing games and hope that the users like it. And then the second one is that we are actually using is that we release the game and we make some changes that users would like. Smartphone functions are increasing so much that developers can create games as we go, and see how users behave. That’s also important. The advantage for smartphone applications is that we can update each time if the users like it or don’t like it. By doing this we can retain users playing our games.
Are you seeing a lot of developers move to your company from the console business?
Yes, that’s definitely a trend, moving from console games to mobile games. But having said that we have tablet games and smart TV games that will to come in the future. However, the trend will be integration between console and mobile.
Have you had conversations with console manufacturers on how to link up mobile to consoles?
Yes, it will be interesting if it is possible to work with a console game manufacturer, but at the moment we aren’t. Having said that, it would be interesting to work with companies like Namco Bandai, Sega, Capcom or Konami where they have social games as well. If it’s possible we are trying to work with them to create more interesting games for the future.
What was your reaction when Microsoft revealed SmartGlass at E3?
Yes, that definitely appealed to us. What Microsoft and Nintendo are trying to do is to have mobile social functions too. Hardcore game makers and us are going toward the same field in the future – that’s what I find interesting.（source：edge-online）