原文作者：Alex Wawro 译者：Megan Shieh
在像Steam、PSN、Xbox Live和Apple App Store这样的平台上游戏越来越多，在这些拥挤的游戏市场中，要想脱颖而出、吸引用户的注意力很不容易，而Switch的出现恰好给了开发者们一个展示自己游戏的机会。目前为止，至少有一款游戏（《神奇小子：龙之陷阱》）在Switch发布时的销量超出了其他所有平台(PC/PS4/Xbo xOne)的销量总和，而且据说许多开发者都在该平台上取得了巨大的成功。
目前还不清楚这种情况能持续多久。Switch平台上的游戏发布数量似乎每周都在增长，就连Square Enix和Bandai Namco这样的大型游戏公司也都越来越多地将焦点放在Switch身上。
（二）Steam Direct取代Steam Greenlight
Valve今年对Steam实施了一系列重大的改革，其中最具影响力的是用一种新的收费提交系统“Steam Direct”取代了由用户社区驱动的“Steam Greenlight（青睐之光/绿光）”。
Steam Direct已经运行了五个月了，而Valve似乎也已经实现了它的既定目标——让在Steam上发布游戏的过程变得更加简单。至于此前那些通过在绿光系统上灌水，从而得以上架的烂游戏，我们还不知道Steam Direct会不会针对它们进行整改。
这是一件大事，因为这一巨变很有可能会震荡整个独立游戏行业。此外，该公司的业务范围已经远远超出了最初的捆绑包业务，现在他们还开启了游戏发行业务、资助开发者为Humble Bundle的订阅用户制作游戏、运营在线游戏订阅服务Humble Trove，同时运营自己的在线游戏商店。
然而去年10月发布消息时，IGN高管Mitch Galbraith表示：“此次并购只是为了满足Humble Bundle的资源需求，我们愿意提供支持来让他们继续做现在在做的事情，该公司的人员和业务模式都不会因此有什么重大的变更。”与此同时Humble Bundle的联合创始人 John Graham表示，整个公司以及公司中的开发人员都能从ING的支持中获益。
Visceral Games的关闭可能也与这一决定有关，EA今年斥资4.55亿美元收购了《泰坦陨落》的开发商、EA的长期合作伙伴——Respawn Entertainment（重生娱乐）。
As the year winds down around us, it’s nice to pause for a moment, take a breath, and reflect on what we’ve come through.
So much happened in 2017 that many weeks felt like months, and some months felt like years. Within the game industry we saw grand openings, grand closings, big debuts and seismic shifts in the business of making games.
In looking back over Gamasutra’s coverage of 2017, we found five big events that seem likely to influence the shape of the game industry for years to come. Many were key parts of larger trends that defined the game industry in 2017, and so here we give them their due and reflect on what effect they’ve had on how people make and sell games.
Nintendo makes a big splash with the Switch
Nintendo’s Switch wasn’t the only new console to launch this year, but it was the only one most devs were talking about. This time last year a lot of industry analysts were cautiously optimistic about the Switch’s potential, and that was borne out in spades as Nintendo proceeded to sell out stock and ship over 10 million units worldwide to date.
The Switch’s popularity is a big deal for Nintendo, and it’s proven to be a boon (thanks in part to the relatively straightforward porting process) for developers looking to get their games in front of an audience.
As it grows ever more difficult to get noticed on overcrowded game markets like Steam, PSN/Xbox Live, and Apple’s App Store, the Switch’s barren storefront has given devs room to shine. At least one game sold more on Switch at launch than on all other platforms (PC/PS4/Xbox One) combined, and many devs report outsized success on the system.
It’s unclear how long this can continue. The number of Switch game releases seems to grow larger every week, even as big-budget game companies like Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and (presumably) Electronic Arts slowly turn to focus more heavily on Nintendo’s latest.
But in 2017, at least, the outstanding success of the Switch (which Grasshopper’s Goichi “Suda51″ Sudacalled “a punk console” made by someone who “must have something wrong with them”) seems to have been nothing but good news for the industry at large.
Goodbye Steam Greenlight, Hello Steam Direct
Valve made some significant changes to Steam this year, and one of the most impactful seems to have been replacing the community-powered Steam Greenlight with a new, fee-based submission system: Steam Direct.
The announcement alone provoked a lot of important discussion among devs about what a game distribution platform should be in 2017. Ought it cost a fee to put your game on the market? How much do you charge to dissuade the smallest share of devs and the largest number of asset-flippers and copycats? Should market submissions require approval by paid evaluators? By the public? By anyone at all?
For Valve, the respective answers seem to be: yes, $100 per game (recoupable), and a submissions processthat involves a bit of paperwork and a cursory review by Valve. The (relatively) modest submission fee seems to have mollified many devs who got spooked by talk the Steam Direct fee could be as high as $5,000, but it’s not clear that it’s had much effect on the “noise” in Steam’s submission pipeline.
Steam Direct has been live for five months, and while Valve seems to have achieved its stated goal of making the process of getting on Steam more straightforward, it’s hard to say whether Direct has done (or will do) much to quiet the cacophony of games screaming for attention and money on Steam’s storefront.
IGN buys Humble Bundle
The folks at Humble Bundle surprised many of us this year by announcing that, after seven years in business, the bundle company built by indies would be acquired by IGN for a (still) undisclosed sum.
This is a big deal because shake-ups at Humble are likely to reverberate through the indie game industry. The company has expanded well beyond its (still significant) bundling business to now publish games, pay devs to make games for its subscription-based monthly game club, operate asubscription-based online game trove, and run an online game marketplace.
However, when the deal was announced back in October IGN exec Mitch Galbraith told Gamasutra that “the idea is just to feed [Humble] with the resources they need to keep doing what they’re doing.” Meanwhile, Humble cofounder John Graham suggested the company — and perhaps, by extension, the devs it works with – would benefit from having the support of IGN.
We’ll see how that bears out in the year ahead. Regardless, editorial types at IGN now have more to worry about when it comes to disclosures — and a longstanding pillar of the indie game dev industry now has new owners.
After nearly 20 years, Visceral Games shuts down
Many good studios met their end this year, but Electronic Arts’ decision to close Visceral Games and overhaul its big Star Wars project was especially notable because of how it prompted the game industry to ask: are single-player games dying?
The answer, of course, is no. You can’t kill an idea. But you definitely can kill a project because you think it won’t work out the way you want it to, which is basically what EA seemed to do when it announced back in October that it was changing the Star Wars game Visceral had been working on from a “story-based, linear adventure game” to more of ”an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come.”
With that, a studio that had been in business of making games (Future Cop: LAPD, Dead Space, Battlefield Hardline) since 1998 was effectively shut down as its big project was handed over to a network of EA teams led by EA Vancouver.
Dead Space protagonist Isaac Clarke demonstrating the grim work of carving up an unfinished project
Only those involved know all the reasons why, but from outside it sure looks like one of the big ones was the rampant success of Destiny 2, Overwatch, and other $60 ”games-as-a-service” titles. These are games that keep players coming back, keep players paying, and as they (alongside other live game mainstays like Dota 2 and the newly ascendant PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) dominate headlines and earnings calls it’s hard not to see the death of Visceral Games and its planned big-budget single-player adventure as a portent of things to come.
Electronic Arts drops a cool half-billion on Titanfall dev Respawn
Electronic Arts’ decision to close Visceral Games may also have been influenced by the fact that it apparently put up as much as $455 million this year to acquire Titanfall creator (and longtime EA partner) Respawn Entertainment.
The game industry runs on money, and while EA’s decision to spend roughly half a billion to snap up Respawn isn’t quite as hefty as some big buys in previous years (Tencent spending ~$8.6 billion on Supercell last year, Activision buying King for ~$6 billion the year prior), it’s enough to make us sit up and take notice.
The fact that EA reportedly made the decision after Nexon first offered to buy Respawn is even more intriguing; what do these big companies, which seem ever more focused on games as a service, see in a studio whose latest game appears to have been critically acclaimed but commercially overlooked? A game that (unlike its predecessor and most triple-A games) shipped with a critically-lauded single-player campaign packed withinteresting, one-off mechanics?
The answer, at least for EA, may be as simple as Star Wars. Respawn has been working on a Star Wars project with EA for some time, and here at the end of the year it sure looks as though EA has moved heaven and earth (and budgets, and projects, and people) to make sure its Star Wars ducks are all in a row.
These shifts affected scores of developers across multiple studios this year. What effect they’ll have on the industry going forward remains to be seen. （Source：gamasutra.com ）