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InnoGames: 扩散风险也意味着把能量扩散出去(不能聚焦做事)

发布时间:2017-10-27 13:49:39 Tags:,

原作者:Matthew Handrahan 译者:Willow Wu

InnoGames的CEO Hendrik Klindworth在Devcom发表演讲之前,他认真思考了从网页端转移到移动端的过程中,专注于少数游戏给了他们多大的帮助。

2011年的时候我去拜访了InnoGames,那时德国的游戏产业正处于蓬勃发展时期。这家位于汉堡的游戏工作室正要发布一款被众人看好的新游戏,Forge of Empires,后来也成为该工作室最成功的作品。

在那一年我还拜访了其他几家德国工作室,包括Gamigo, Bigpoint和Goodgame Studios,这时的网游市场还处于繁荣时期,他们同样也在浏览器平台收获成功,并且期盼着在未来能够收获更多。虽然并不是每个公司都能称心如意,但是InnoGames却做到了。

innogames (from gamer boom.com)

innogames (from gamer boom.com)

鉴于InnoGames热门游戏都发展得非常好,收益也是逐年稳步上升,今年,Modern Times Group把他们在InnoGames股份增加到了51%。Devcom下周将会在科隆举行,CEO Hendrik Klindworth将会详细说明公司把目标转向移动市场对于他们的成功历程有怎样的意义。

“不仅仅是成功,”他补充,“伴随而来的还有挑战。”

2011年的时候,你们在网页端下了很多功夫。那段时间,还有几个非常成功的本地公司也致力于这个领域:比如Bigpoint, Goodgame Studios, Gamigo。对于德国游戏产业来说,那真是一段黄金期,但是InnoGames的势头一直都很好,愈变愈强。

Klindworth: 2011年,那时候好像人们都不用担心你的游戏会不会卖得好,一路飞涨。虽说现在要盈利也还是挺容易的,但是从2011年开始,这个行业的竞争也开始激烈起来了。为了获取用户争得头破血流,市场变得更具有挑战性,但这段时期也是InnoGames发展渐入佳境的起点。

尤其是和处于同一阶段的其他公司比较,市场条件越不好,对我们来说越有利。在制作游戏的过程中,一定要确保我们做好了数据分析工作,营销工作,在各个方面都保证效率。市场竞争越来越激烈,但是这种做法对我们来说非常有效。

这次我们成功地把其中一些对手远远甩开。但我认为有个很重要的原因是我们并不想招募很多人进来,把公司规模扩得很大,这对于现在的我们来说也是一样重要。如果发展速度过快,就很难维持本来的公司文化,也很难找到适合的做事方法。

你们的其中一些对手采取的是完全不同的策略,公司发展迅速,规模也非常大。而你们选择放缓脚步?

Klindworth: 当一切都进展顺利的时候,最好的办法看似就是去招募更多人,做更多的事,但是尤为重要的是要在这段时期要坚持贯彻你的发展策略。要小心,不要发展过快,员工人数不需要那么多。保持后见之明对我们来说真的非常重要。

另外,我们也非常注重招纳适合的人才。不是人多就是好,而是在于人才的能力。

InnoGames在2003年发布了首款网页游戏,Tribal Wars,到今天它仍然还在屹立不倒。

当我去拜访InnoGames的时候,那时你们大概有200人左右。现在你们有多少人了?

Klindworth: 大概420人。

鉴于InnoGames的成功经历,在6年内人数翻一倍还算是比较保守了。Forge of Empires是InnoGames成功路上的功臣之一,网页版本的游戏计划在2011年发布,截止今年五月的终生收益(lifetime revenue)已经达到了2.5亿欧元。

Klindworth: 它已经在市场上有些年头了,而且还呈现增长趋势。移动版本真的是帮了我们大忙,也为Forge of Empires带来了新一波的收益。

距离我们上次全身心投入移动平台已经有好几年了,我们还可以继续增加玩家人数,增加收益。能够经营一个游戏这么多年,这非常令人欣慰,这也成为了InnoGames的优势之一。我们早些年的第一款游戏Tribal Wars,它已经14岁了,现在仍然活跃于市场中。

我在2011年采访了好几家公司,不是所有公司都可以达到现在这种繁荣的局面。原因在于InnoGames转移重心到移动平台的这个过程处理得比其他公司好。仅仅是这么简单的原因吗?

Klindworth: 结果也证明了这么做确实有效,但是对我们来说其中包含了很多困难的工作……我们真正的突破要算是2014年Forge of Empires的手游版本。有至少三年的时间我们全公司的精力都放在了移动平台,但是并不是所有的东西在一开始就能获得完美的成果。有时候我们需要反复尝试,但这也是对我们有帮助的。

我们从经验中吸取教训,尝试新方法,2014年的平板版本的Forge of Empires成为了我们的真正突破。这是头一次,我们有了“终于啊,所有的努力都没有白费,在移动平台也能行得通。”这样的感觉。

网页端对于现在的InnoGames来说定位是怎样的?从现在开始每个新游戏都会有移动版本的吗?

Klindworth: 我们网页端的盈利还在持续增长,作为一个公司看到这些当然是很高兴。当然它的涨势是比不上移动端的,因此我们的新游戏只会发行移动版本。我们预计未来的收益增长主要就是靠这一块了,虽然我们的网页游戏还会继续运营下去。

你们现在在多个平台发展,但是你们的作品还是挺少的。比起2011年的时候是多了一些,但是也没多少。

Klindworth: 这个值得说一说。人们有时想要在同一时间做好几件事。作为一个公司来说,即使是一个400人的公司,你必须集中精力制作出非常棒的游戏。当你有了一些成功的作品之后,你可以继续把它提升到一个新的高度,可以去发展更多玩家。重点并不在于数量。就算你手头上有12个游戏,质量都不怎么样,这对你没有任何帮助。

如今看来,这适用于所有公司。你的游戏成为行业中的佼佼者,你对这些游戏增加投入,如此重复,一切都会变得越来越好。

从网页端转移到移动端,发布平板版本的Forge of Empires对InnoGames来说具有重大意义。

游戏数量增加,风险也随之增加,你的看法是什么?

Klindworth: 扩散风险的同时也意味着把你的能量扩散出去。任何公司的资源都是有限的,精力也是。这就是为什么你需要专注。

2016年,你们的收益是1.3亿欧元,比前一年还高25%。你们有过低谷期吗?

Klindworth: 迄今为止,我们每年都是这样,成绩一年比一年好。这是我们过去的成就,现在成为了我们对未来的期望。

关于未来发展,全球市场对你们来说有多重要?你们有打算把市场从欧美延伸到亚洲和南美地区吗?

Klindworth: 南美市场有在我们的计划之内,它是一个颇具潜力的市场。但是我们决定停止在韩国后续计划。韩国玩家对游戏的期待和欧美地区玩家是相当不同的。在韩国,各种不同类型的游戏都可以获得成功,本地的开发者们非常厉害,十分了解当地市场。我们的重点就是西方市场,不打算进入韩国、中国或是日本市场。

你们现在聚焦的是移动市场,人们普遍认为这是一个一直都不太稳定的市场。

Klindworth: 但是鉴于我们所累积的经验,我们有能力预测接下来的几个月甚至几年将会发生的事情。我们对所建的项目了如指掌,我们知道要怎么营销,怎么投资,怎么扩大玩家基数。尤其是当游戏投放到市场中后,我们真的能预测到之后会如何发展。

新游戏?对我们来说,观察反馈一直都是件很有趣的事情。新游戏都可以算是挑战。

对你们来说,一年可以发行多少个新游戏而同时又保持专注?

Klindworth: 每年就那么几个吧。这就是我们的上限了。即使只有两个或三个游戏,对我们来说也是艰难的挑战,质量是我们一直都是我们的重点。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Ahead of his talk at Devcom, CEO Hendrik Klindworth reflects on how a focused portfolio aided the transition from browser to mobile

Matthew Handrahan

When I last visited InnoGames in 2011, the German industry was in a boom period. The Hamburg-based studio was just about to release a promising new title called Forge of Empires, one that went on to be its greatest success.

The other German companies I visited that year – including Gamigo, Bigpoint and Goodgame Studios – had also found success in the still robust browser market, and were looking toward a future that would bring plenty more. It didn’t work out for all of them, but it did for InnoGames.

This year, the Modern Times Group upped its stake in the company to 51%, recognition of InnoGames’ track record for sustaining hit games and growing revenue year after year. At Devcom in Cologne next week, CEO Hendrik Klindworth will detail the role the company’s transition to mobile played in that story of success.

“Not only the success,” he adds, “but also the challenges along the way.”

In 2011, you were very much focused on the browser. At that time, there were some really successful German companies in that space: Bigpoint, Goodgame Studios, Gamigo; it was a vibrant period for the German games industry, but InnoGames is the one that has really gone from strength to strength.

Klindworth: In 2011, it was a time when it really seemed like there was unlimited growth. Growth was very easy still, but 2011 was also the time when it started to get much more competitive. User acquisition went through the roof, markets got more challenging, but this was a time when – especially on a relative level – things for InnoGames were getting better and better.

The harder the market got, the better it worked for us. Really making sure we had good analytics in place, good marketing, and also being efficient in all of our activities when we scaled a game. It worked very well for us when the market was getting hotter and more competitive.

At this time we managed to really outgrow some of our competitors. But I think one aspect that was always very important for us – and is still important – is that we didn’t want to grow too much in terms of company size, employees and people. It becomes too hard to keep a consistent culture and find the right processes when you grow too fast.

Some of your competitors took a different strategy, growing very big relatively quickly. You wanted to take a more measured approach then?

Klindworth: When things are running very well the best idea seems to be to hire more people and do more of everything, but it is especially important to stay true to your growth strategy in those times. Be careful not to over-spend, over-hire; in hindsight that was really important for us.

Also, we focused on hiring the right people. It wasn’t about the mass of people, it was really about the quality.

InnoGames launched its first browser game, Tribal Wars, in 2003 – and it’s still running today

When I visited InnoGames had around 200 people. How many are you now?

Klindworth: Around 420.

Given how successful InnoGames has been, doubling headcount in six years is fairly conservative. One of the main contributors to that success is Forge of Empires, the browser version of which was about to launch in 2011, and reached €250 million lifetime revenue in May this year.

Klindworth: It’s been on the market for a few years already, and it’s still growing. It was very helpful to have the mobile version out there, which started a new growth phase for Forge of Empires.

It’s also been a couple of years since we went full-force into mobile, and we can continue to grow player base and revenues. It’s really nice to see, and also a strength of InnoGames; that we are able to run games for many, many years. Our very first game, Tribal Wars, is 14 years old and still active.

Not every company I talked to in 2011 has been so prosperous. The temptation is to put it down to InnoGames handling the transition to mobile better than the others. Is it that simple?

Klindworth: I would say that, in the end, it worked out, but it was a lot of hard work for us… Our real breakthrough was Forge of Empires [on mobile] in 2014. There was at least three years where we had to make sure the whole company was focused on mobile, and not everything went perfectly immediately. Sometimes we had to re-try things, but that helped us.

We learned from that experience, tried a new approach, and then the real breakthrough was 2014 with the tablet version of Forge of Empires. That was the first time we thought, ‘finally, now all of the hard work pays off. Mobile really works.’

What part does browser play for InnoGames today? Will every new product be mobile from now on?

Klindworth: As a company, we still continue to grow our browser revenues, which is quite nice to see. The growth is not as big as mobile, of course, so we focus our new games on mobile-only. That’s where we see the future growth of the company, even though we continue to run our browser games.

You’re on more platforms now, but you still have quite a lean portfolio. It’s bigger than it was in 2011, but not dramatically so.

Klindworth: That’s important. There is the temptation to do many things at the same time. As a company – even as a 400-person company – you have to focus your energy on your making really great games. Then when you have a couple of successful games you can focus on making this super successful, you can develop your players there. It’s not really about a mass of games. It doesn’t help if you have 12 mediocre games.

Nowadays this is relevant for all companies. You have strong games, you invest more in these strong games, and everything gets better iteration by iteration.

The launch of Forge of Empires for tablet devices was a key moment in InnoGames’ transition from browser to mobile
Is there anything to be said for a larger portfolio, and spreading risk across more games?

Klindworth: Spreading risk also means you’re spreading your energy. Any company has a limited amount of resources, a limited amount of energy that you can use to be successful. That’s why you have to focus.

You earned €130 million revenue in 2016, 25% higher than the year before. Have there been many down years?

Klindworth: Every year until now [has been higher than the last]. It’s what we’ve achieved in the past, and it’s what we hope will follow in the future.

When you think about growing in the future, how important is global expansion? Are you looking beyond Europe and the US, to Asia and South America?

Klindworth: South America is a relevant market for us, and a growing market. But we decided against further activities in Korea. The player expectations there are quite different to what you see in the US and Europe. Different kinds of games are successful there; the local developers are very strong and really understand the market. Our focus is on Western markets, and not so much South Korea, China or Japan.

You’re now focused on the mobile market, which is widely seen as becoming more volatile all the time.

Klindworth: But with the experience we’ve gathered, we also gain the ability to predict what will happen over the next months and years to come. When we build an experience we know what’s going on behind it; we know how to do the marketing, the investments, how to grow our player base. For us, especially when a game is out there and live, it’s really a predictable part of our business.

New games? It’s always interesting to see how they work out. They’re more of a challenge.

How many new games can you release in a year and still retain the focus that has proved so valuable?

Klindworth: A few launches per year. That’s the upper limit of what we can achieve. Even two or three games is a big challenge, and we will always focus on quality.(source:gamesindustry.biz


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