游戏邦在:
杂志专栏:
gamerboom.com订阅到鲜果订阅到抓虾google reader订阅到有道订阅到QQ邮箱订阅到帮看

浅谈《智龙迷城》开发商Gungho多年来的财政状况

发布时间:2018-04-23 10:34:42 Tags:,

浅谈《智龙迷城》开发商Gungho多年来的财政状况

原文作者:Jon Jordan 译者:Megan Shieh

说来也怪,日本是所有发达国家中智能手机普及率最低的国家之一。

据估计,大概只有50-60%的日本居民拥有智能手机,而在西欧和美国,70%以上的人口都拥有智能手机。

(游戏邦注:这是因为日本的功能手机相对而言比较先进,比起智能手机,许多退休的日本人更原意继续使用功能手机。)

在这样的背景下,《智龙迷城》的成功就显得更不可思议了。

Puzzle & Dragons(from pocket gamer.biz)

Puzzle & Dragons(from pocket gamer.biz)

《智龙迷城》是Gungho Oline旗下的一款三消宠物养成RPG,推出至今已有6年之久,该作在日本的下载量突破了4700万次,这意味着75%以上的日本智能手机用户都玩过这款游戏。

作为全球第一款收入突破10亿美元的手游,自推出以来,它已经创造了超过6000亿日元(约合60亿美元)的收入。其中约有90%来自日本;另有7%和3%分别来自亚洲和北美地区。

更有意思的是,尽管《智能迷城》这些年来的财务状况起起落落,但Gungho自身的财务状况却没有出现明显变化。

“一夜致富”

多年前,一个四人团队用Unity引擎开发出了这款游戏。

该游戏于2012年2月20日在日本iOS商店中首次亮相,并在短时间内创造了惊人的成绩。

安卓版本于同年9月18日在日本推出,正是在这一阶段,Gungho开始在日本电视上大力宣传这款游戏。

结果,《智龙迷城》的下载量和Gungho的销售额出现了爆炸式增长。在接下来的三个财季里,Gungho的销售额分别增长了210%、129%和41%,致使该公司在2013财年的总销售额达到了1630亿日元(约合17亿美元)之多。

2014财年,Gungho的销售总额达到了巅峰(1730亿日元), 其中92%(约合15亿美元)来自《智龙迷城》业务。

到了这个阶段,《智龙迷城》的业务范围已经超越了原作本身,包含了各种相关的手机应用,包括《智龙迷城Z》和《智龙迷城:超级马里奥兄弟版》在内的多款3DS游戏、街机游戏、手办、漫画、动漫,还有一个非常成功的年度大会。

惊人利润率

不过在这之后的三年里,《智龙迷城》的销售额一直在下降。在2015年间下降了14%,占Gungho年度销售总额的89%;在2016年间进一步下降了27%,占公司年度销售总额的84%。

在这之后,Gungho就不再计算《智能迷城》业务在公司年度销售总额中的占比了。2017年,Gungho公司的总体销售额下降了18%。

然而,这一趋势的重点并不在于销售额下降。

由于日本手游市场相对较小,因此随着《智龙迷城》业务的爆发式增长,该国的同类市场已经达到了饱和状态。销售额激增,接着是缓慢而稳定的下滑,这种情况总是意料之中的。

虽然利润率的下降得比销售额快,但Gungho仍是一家非常赚钱的游戏公司。

2013年,Gungho的利润率达到了惊人的55%,而在2017年,该利润率下降到了37%。作为对比,动视暴雪的利润率为22%,EA的利润率为25%,就连其主要竞争对手、目前日本营收最高手游《怪物弹珠》的发行商Mixi,也仅在两个高峰季度中实现过略高于30%的利润率。
正是这种持续高水平的盈利能力,凸显出了一个意料之外的信息,那就是《智龙迷城》这些年来创造的收入对Gungho业务的影响似乎很小。

韩国开发商蓝洞工作室近期决定将其最成功的游戏《绝地求生》发展成为一家品牌独立的公司(PUBG Corp.),以巩固其价值。

而Gungho的做法则与之相反,该公司继续像以往那样零敲碎打,在移动设备和主机平台上发布游戏,而这些游戏之间似乎没有什么协同作用,这种运营方式从外部看来甚至有些杂乱无章。

那么,钱都花哪了?

问题是,《智龙迷城》在过去六年里为该公司创造了大笔财富,Gungho到底把这些钱拿去做什么了?

其中一部分以红利的形式支付给了股东,而剩余的很大一部分则在2015和2016年间,用来从投资商“软银集团(Softbank)”手中分两批回购股票。

此外该公司还完成了一系列收购,被收购的公司包括Grasshopper(2013)和PlayPhone(2014);另外,Gungho还投资了一款名为《Kamcord》的游戏共享应用;正在进行的发行业务包括Gameloft的《迪士尼魔法王国》、Turbo的《Super Senso》以及Signal工作室即将推出的一款游戏。

然而,这些业务中并没有特别成功的例子。目前Gungho仅持有5亿美元左右的现金和等价物。

或许,这一现象突显了日本手游市场所存在的最大优势和劣势:

在日本,拥有一款高收入游戏意味着公司将会获得大笔资金,但这些游戏在海外市场似乎很少会获得成功,因此公司业务也会跟着止步不前。这就不难解释为什么有些日本游戏利润一向很高,可最终总会不可避免地走下坡路。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

It’s a technological quirk but the Japanese mobile market has one of lowest levels of smartphone penetration of any developed nation.

Estimates range from as low as 50 per cent up to around 60 per cent, whereas in western Europe and the US, well over 70 per cent of the population have a smartphone.

(The reason is Japanese feature phones are relatively advanced and the large number of retired Japanese prefer to stick with them.)

Given this context, the success of Gungho Online’s match-three monster RPG Puzzle & Dragons, which is about to celebrate its sixth birthday, is even more stark. It’s been downloaded over 47 million times in Japan, which means up to 75 per cent of Japanese smartphone owners have played it.

Small wonder it’s become a national phenomenon.

As well as being the first mobile game in the world to do $1 billion of revenue, it’s since gone on to generate over ¥600 billion (around $6 billion give-or-take the vagaries of exchange rates) in revenue in the years since it was released.

Around 90 per cent of this total has come from Japan, with Asia and North America the game’s other territories, albeit with around seven and three per cent of lifetime sales respectively,
What’s more interesting to consider, though, is how the game’s financials have changed over over the years and how little Gungho itself has changed.

Riding the rocketship

Famously developed by a team of four using Unity, Puzzle & Dragons was released for iOS in Japan on February 20th 2012 and quickly proved successful. The Android version followed on September 18th and it was at this stage Gungho started aggressively advertising the game on Japanese TV.

The result was an explosion in downloads and Gungho’s sales, which grew 210, 129 and 41 per cent respectively over the next three financial quarters, rising to a total of ¥163 billion (around $1.7 billion) in 2013.

The company’s sales peaked in 2014 at ¥173 billion, of which Gungho reported 92 percent (around $1.5 billion) came from its Puzzle & Dragons business.

By this stage this had expanded beyond the original mobile game to include various related mobile apps, a 3DS game (Puzzle & Dragons Z) and the usual array of merchandising and ancillary revenues.

More 3DS games, including Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition, arcade games, merchandising, toys, manga, anime and a very successful annual convention have followed since.

Down and down

In the three years since those peak revenues, Puzzle & Dragons’ sales have declined.

They were down 14 per cent in 2015, when they accounted for 89 per cent of Gungho’s total annual sales.

They dropped a further 27 per cent in 2016 (84 per cent of Gungho’s sales), which is when the company stopped breaking out the percentage of its sales generated by Puzzle & Dragons. In 2017, Gungho’s sales were down 18 per cent

Yet, what’s significant about this trend isn’t the decline.

With Puzzle & Dragons’ sales dominated by the relatively small Japanese market, which has reached saturation, this trajectory of explosive growth followed by a slow and steady decline was always to be expected.

And although its profit margin is falling faster than sales, Gungho remains an incredibly profitable games company.

Down from an insane peak of 55 percent in 2013, Gungho’s operational profit margin in 2017 was 37 per cent, which compares with 22 per cent for Activision Blizzard and 25 per cent for EA.

Even arch-rival Mixi, which publishes the current number one top grossing mobile game Monster Strike in Japan, has only managed a gross profit margin of just over 30 per cent for a couple of peak quarters.

Printing money

It’s this continuing high level of profitability that highlights the biggest surprise arising from Puzzle & Dragons, which is how little impact the riches generated by the game have had on Gungho’s business.

It’s remained an odd collection of disparate Japanese games development businesses, including quirky studios such as Grasshopper Manufacture, Gravity, Acquire and Game Arts.

Not for Gungho the recent decision of South Korean developer Bluehole Inc to spin out its most successful game (Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds) into a branded standalone company (PUBG Corp.) to consolidate value.

Instead, Gungho has continued to operate pretty much as it always has, piecemeal and – from the outside – somewhat haphazardly, releasing games across mobile and console platforms with few apparent synergies.

Under the mattress?

In that context, the key question is, given how much profit Puzzle & Dragons has generated for the company over the past six years, what’s Gungho done with it all?

Some has been paid out to shareholders in the form of dividends, while a big chunk was spent buying back shares from investor Softbank in two tranches in 2015 and 2016.

Acquisitions included Grasshopper (2013) and mobile gaming network PlayPhone (2014) and there were also investments such as gameplay sharing app Kamcord (since acquired by Lyft), and ongoing publishing deals including Gameloft’s Disney Magic Kingdoms in Japan, Turbo’s Super Senso and the forthcoming game from Signal Studios.

None of these could be called particularly successful, however, and at present, Gungho only holds around $500 million in cash and equivalents.

And perhaps this highlights the biggest strength and weakness of the incredibly lucrative Japanese mobile games market.

Having a top grossing game in Japan means a company will generate a lot of money but find it almost impossible to expand its game, and by default its business, outside the domestic market.

And this leaves it hostage to the arc of a long and highly profitable – but ultimately unavoidable – decline. (Source: pocketgamer.biz )


上一篇:

下一篇: