当我和Photobucket创始人Alex Welch共同创建Slime Sandwich时，企鹅俱乐部（Club Penguin）据悉估值达到7亿美元，与此同时，我刚在Facebook收到一只可爱的小羊。我们打算发行一款在线游戏，我们清楚免费模式未来将占据主导位置，Facebook将是我们营销活动中的病毒式传播能量。我们有一点是对的——免费模式占据主导地位，但现在的Facebook不仅“燃料耗尽”，它还丧失了引擎。
* 你无法靠金钱确立自己的地位。在免费模式中，CAC（用户获取成本）非常高。若你无法跻身其中，像Pop Cap或Zynga那样，不妨直接放弃。你无法负担Facebook广告。
* Facebook几乎和移动领域毫无关系。移动平台才是趋势，没有用户通过Facebook或Facebook Connect购买应用和手机游戏。Facebook是个PC社交网络平台，它被移动平台大大蚕食，也许最终会变成过去式。在我们看来，就应用销量和推广效果来看，Facebook的移动策略鲜有成效。
不要误解我的意思。我并不是说Facebook完全毫无价值，或是我们没有将其视作社区创建战略的一部分。我们依然身处此平台。事实上，我们还给自己的手机游戏《Chuck the Chilla》创建了一个Facebook页面，你甚至还可以在Facebook玩《Chuck》。我的意思是，如今杰出独立游戏作品要在Facebook获得发展势头非常困难。
* 社交手段。我们能够明显看到，《Draw Something》或《Words with Friends》等游戏所采用的社交手段如何创造“燎原之势”。谈论此话题需耗费很长篇幅，但我要说的是，你能够通过将社交手段运用至智能手机和平板电脑平台而获得突出优势。
* 亚马逊。Amazon App store也许是小型独立游戏开发者推动游戏发展的最后也是最大希望。此平台竞争性更低，创收更丰厚，病毒式传播日益得到强化（游戏邦注：它会显示“购买此商品的用户还购买了如下商品”的信息）。
* 平板电脑。iPad、Kindle Fire及Android平板电脑的销量持续提升，日益分割大块PC平台的市场份额。国际数据资讯公司（The International Data Corporation）之前曾预测，平板电脑2012年的销量有望达到8770台，但最近，他们称此数据可能达到1.051亿台。现在跟进这一发展趋势还不会太晚。
* 推广。多年来，我们看到有许多游戏专门针对iPhone和iPad或是具体的Android设备。设计出同时搭载这些设备的作品的开发者将享有更多机会。在Slime Sandwich，我们开发出能够让我们一次性在所有平台发行作品的工具，这让我们能够获得尽可能多的用户。截止本文撰写时，我们的手机游戏《Chuck the Chilla》顺利运行于所有iOS 和Android平板电脑及智能手机，可通过iTunes、Amazon和Google Play进行下载。
* 不要让用户大费脑力。Steve Krug在他的著作《Don’t Make Me Think”中谈到，如今优秀产品应基于这样的设计方式：用户无需经历学习曲线就懂得如何使用。能够让用户轻松快速使用的产品将最终胜出。手机设备存若干优点：
Why we abandoned Facebook and went mobile: part 1 & 2
By Douglas Glover
When Alex Welch, founder of Photobucket, and I started Slime Sandwich, Club Penguin was reportedly worth $700M and I’d just received a cute little sheep on Facebook. Looking to launch an online game, we knew F2P would dominate and Facebook would be the viral distribution gas in our marketing machine. We were right about one thing – free to play did dominate, but Facebook didn’t just run out of gas, it lost its engine.
Armed with our graphic rich 3D multiplayer game, SCAPS Agent, filled with free virtual gifts and slick rewards for recruiting Facebook friends we prepared for our Facebook launch. But there were nagging concerns and doubts. The sheep weren’t so cute anymore. If fact, I’d wished people would stop sending me their damn sheep.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Nobody wanted the sheep, or cared if Alison on Frontierville had “huge taters,” and soon, the sheep and taters were just white noise relegated to a hardly noticeable globe at the top of my Facebook page where only those seeking sheep or taters would look.
Clearly, in an amazingly short period of time, Zynga and those who had already primed the Facebook pump had vanquished almost any chance a small indie company might have in using Facebook for viral distribution. It didn’t help that Facebook was a willing accomplice. Overnight, Facebook became almost irrelevant to our company’s failure or success, and here’s why:
* You can’t buy your way in. In free to play, the CAC is prohibitive. If you’re not in, like Pop Cap or Zynga, you might as well forget it. You can’t afford Facebook ads.
* Nobody cares about your virtual gifts. They are no longer seen as valuable and thus make as poor incentives for viral growth.
* Players can’t find you. Unless you have an external mechanism to push players in, indie games are very difficult, if not impossible to locate on Facebook.
* Facebookers are jaded. They know their friends have become marketing tools and so the much vaunted “word of mouth” is of almost no value.
* Facebook is almost irrelevant to the mobile market. Mobile is where it’s at and nobody is using Facebook, or Facebook Connect to shop for apps and mobile games. Facebook is a PC social networking platform which is being substantially cannibalized by the mobile market and may eventually become a dinosaur. We don’t see Facebook’s mobile efforts bringing anything to the table in regard to the sale and distribution of apps.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Facebook is entirely without value and that we don’t use it as part of our community building strategy. We’re still there. In fact we have a Facebook page for our mobile game, Chuck the Chilla, and you can even play Chuck on Facebook. I’m just saying it is now damn near impossible for a good indie game to gain traction on Facebook.
So what strategy is of value to an indie game developer? Facebook is dead to you. The PC market is saturated and being eaten every day by tablets and smartphones. Costs to develop for consuls and similar devices are prohibitive. Enter, the new frontier – mobile game development.
Clearly an indie developer needs a mobile strategy to survive or thrive. In my last article, I argued Facebook was dead to indie gamers and the new frontier is mobile games. We believe this so strongly at Slime Sandwich that we put our beautiful Facebook game on the back shelf in favor of quickly moving to mobile and here’s why:
* Market. There are approximately 5.6bn mobile phones worldwide. This is compared to 1.5 bn televisions, 2.2 bn internet users. Soon, the cost of smartphones will decrease to the point where everyone can afford one. (See Nicholas Lovell’s argument on Bertrand Competition). As a result, your game will have access to the largest market the world – virtually almost everyone on the planet. Further, the market for mobile phone apps is expected to grow from $7 billion to $35 billion by 2015. Half of these are expected to be games.
* Social Hook. One does not have to look far to see how social hooks such as those seen in Draw Something, or Words with Friends can cause a game to catch fire. This topic deserves its own article, but the advantage you have in game design and the use of social hooks for smartphones and tablets is tremendous.
* It’s Mobile. I hate to state the obvious, but you don’t carry your PC tower with you everywhere.
* Amazon. We believe the Amazon App store may be the last best hope for small indie game builders to gain traction on their games (ok, not really, but close). With drastically less competition, better earnings, increased viral distribution through, “Customers who bought this also bought that” and for other reasons I’m going to write in another article, Amazon is a good place to start and then springboard into other app stores.
* Tablets. iPads, Kindle Fire, and Android tablet sales are smoking hot and are taking a substantial bite out of the PC market. The International Data Corporation had previously predicted sales for 2012 of 87.7 million, but recently changed that forecast to predict shipments of 105.1 million tablets. It is not too late to ride the wave.
* Distribution. For years we’ve seen many games exclusively designed for the iPhone and iPad or specific Android devices (there are many). There is increased opportunity for developers willing to design games that will work simultaneously on all devices. At Slime Sandwich, we developed tools to allow us to publish on all platforms at once, giving us the best chance of gaining customers. At this writing, our mobile game, Chuck the Chilla, is playable on almost all iOS and Android tablets and Smartphones and can be downloaded from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.
* Design. If you compete with major game companies in any other arena, they have game MoJo down to a science; however, mobile games are a completely different animal. Game play and design has been turned on its head. If you can design mobile games that do not require a learning curve or thought, and can be played with one or at most two fingers, your company will have a significant advantage in the competitive mobile device market. Note: Our advice is to steal from the best – if the player can play Angry Birds, why not use Rovio’s basic GUI designs rather than reinvent the wheel.
* Don’t Make Me Think. Steve Krug, in his enlightened book, “Don’t Make Me Think” basically argues a successful product now has to be designed in such a way that a user can use it without a learning curve. Anything that makes it easier for a user to quickly and easily use a product is king. Mobile devices have a number of advantages:
—QR Codes. Smartphones make it easier not to think. 50% of smartphone users have scanned QR codes. The user does not have to think, look up a site, ect. He just has to scan. For our products, we make certain every advertisement has a QR Code.
—Instant Pay. How easy is it to buy an app on your phone or tablet? Usually by just pressing a button, or putting in a code if you want to be fully exhausted, but the point is, with mobile devices, most of the time there is no friction in the buying process.
I think that is mostly it. With a bit of understanding of the mobile market, a focus on your market and a design that makes life easy on your players, the mobile game market is wide open.（Source：gamesbrief part 1 & 2）