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当前手游市场中独立游戏的最佳的盈利模式是什么?

发布时间:2019-09-11 08:46:58 Tags:,

当前手游市场中独立游戏的最佳的盈利模式是什么?

原作者:Matthew Forde 译者:Vivian Xue

应用内购买项目、广告还是买断制?对于手游开发商来说,选择正确的商业模式永远是个难题。

独立游戏通过买断制赚钱当然是可能的——要看你对收入的期待——但整个行业早已转向了F2P模式,这是一个被大型开发商和发行商占领的市场。持续的运营和高昂的用户获取成本正在不断抬高独立游戏的成功门槛。

那么,成功几率最大的选择是什么呢?

要得到答案,我们最好从源头寻找。为此,我们联系了一群独立游戏行家,听取了他们对这个难题的看法。

在当前手游市场上,哪种盈利模式对独立游戏工作室来说最有利?

Aaron Fothergill——Strange Flavour联合创始人

开门见山地说吧,我觉得是付费模式。许多独立开发商成功利用F2P模式获得了可观的利润,这当然很好。但长远来看,站在更大的格局上看,独立游戏要想让玩家付费,最终依靠的是玩家对其价值的判断,而不是其它东西。

对于玩家来说,F2P是一个零付出就能获得想要的一切的方式(至少他们这么想的)。然而,这也降低了游戏在玩家心中的价值,长期来看,这将使独立开发商和小型工作室越来越难赚到钱。

Airscape(from gamecareerguide)

Airscape(from gamecareerguide)

举个例子,最近Epic商城推出了满15美元减10美元活动,引发了独立游戏开发者的愤怒。如果游戏的价值不受重视,玩家就会等促销再购买它,或者转而投向它的山寨产品。

付费模式有很多种。买断制游戏如今确实比较少,并且赚钱很艰难。免费试玩+内购解锁内容对玩家来说更友好些,但是受到“一切内购都是邪恶的”观点影响,如今玩家们对这种模式同样嗤之以鼻。

订阅服务(如Apple Arcade,Xbox Game Pass,GameClub)似乎是未来的一种模式,如果这些服务的投资和回报对于开发者来说是值得的。

玩家通过订阅服务畅玩所有游戏,不需要一个个单独购买它们(甚至能在订阅服务之前免费体验它们),但事实上,他们通过订阅费用向所有游戏付费,因此这些玩家仍然是有价值的。

订阅服务模式的一个弊端是准入门槛高。要想进入Apple Arcade,你必须完全靠自己的资金制作一个游戏,他们才有可能考虑它。Xbox Game Pass大多针对已发行的游戏。

GameClub至少对于iOS游戏来说是一个不错的选择,尽管目前它只针对那些被苹果公司下架的老游戏。因此从本质上说,这些模式让玩家明白他们购买的东西是有价值的。

Simon Joslin——The Voxel Agents创意总监

Aaron对Epic商城活动的评价很到位,我之前也谈到过我对订阅模式的看法,但我不同意Aaron所说的“对于玩家来说,F2P是一个零付出就能获得想要的一切的方式(至少他们这么想的)。然而,这也降低了游戏在玩家心中的价值,长期来看,这将使独立开发商和小型工作室越来越难赚到钱。”

我认为F2P的设计目标正是为了增加游戏的价值,从而使玩家感到自己在游戏里消费是值得的。在我看来,F2P不会降低游戏的价值,只不过把购买选项搬到游戏里面,而付费游戏把这个选项放在外面。二者都具有各自的困境,但两种模式的处理方式不一样。很难说哪一种更适合开发者。

我们工作室最新发行的两款游戏——《花园之间》(付费游戏)和《列车调度员世界》(F2P游戏)——使我们直接认识了二者的区别,并且两种模式都很成功。两款游戏的大部分资源都用在解决棘手的设计和开发问题上。

它们的区别之处在于,对于付费游戏,我们的工作重心放在游戏的展示和营销上,包括花重金制作游戏宣传片,到世界各地参加游戏节。

然而,对于F2P游戏,我们完全不关注营销,我们重点关注的是如何同时让付费玩家和非付费玩家满意,以及如何将内购融入到游戏设计里。

在此之前我可能会说,F2P模式使我能够发挥自己的核心优势(游戏设计),不太需要运用到我的专长之外的技能,比如营销和宣传。但制作了《花园之间》后,我意识到与其它开发者相比,我在游戏设计方面的专长更适合制作F2P模式。

设计游戏系统是我最拿手的方面,而其他开发者可能更擅长剧情、角色和世界的设计,我认为这些技能对于付费游戏来说很宝贵,对于F2P游戏来说可能没那么重要。

我想我们暂时还没找到剧情驱动游戏的有效盈利模式?显然,由于《花园之间》不是F2P游戏,我们能够对游戏的艺术方面进行更多的打磨。也许随着商业模式的演化,情况将会有所改变?但至少当前我不认为存在对独立游戏来说更好的模式,每种模式都有各自的优势、弱点和机会。

我想补充一点,我们有意避免对F2P游戏使用任何用户获取手段,也不期待靠它维持游戏的良性运转,因为我们认为最大化每名用户的收入是一个极其艰难的过程,过度重视这方面将破坏游戏的玩家友好型设计。

因此为了在这个市场上生存下去,我们选择制作更简单的游戏,不期待赚太多钱,并依靠我们的玩家传播游戏。未来我们希望不依靠用户获取手段,通过更多的社交性功能,比方说多人游戏模式来促进游戏的传播。

Aaron Fothergill——Strange Flavour联合创始人

我想进一步解释我的观点,就是刚才Simon提到的。我同意Simon所说的F2P的设计目的是向玩家提供有价值的东西,从而使他们愿意为游戏花钱。

然而,无论F2P模式是什么样的,它们最初吸引玩家特征是 “免费”。我之所以要强调“免费”,因为这是站在玩家的角度看到的。玩家们看到的不是“这款游戏有价值,值得我为它付出”无论是通过内购还是观看广告。他们看到是“免费”。

因此,尽管F2P模式的短期和中期表现不错,我对于这个问题的回答是:长远来看,任何强化玩家心中“游戏都应该是免费的,游戏没有价值”观点的商业模式对于独立游戏工作室和玩家来说都是不利的。

Daniel Menard——Double Stallion首席执行官

我同意Aaron的观点,鉴于当下玩家认为“游戏应该是免费的”,付费模式对独立工作室来说更有利,但愿这种模式不会彻底消失。F2P游戏的门槛很高,你需要庞大的资金支持各种投入,包括游戏开发和后续的留存/营销策略。

过去十年来,我玩过的体验最佳游戏都是付费游戏,这些游戏的开发者专注于创造有意义的玩法,而不是暗藏玄机的商店/战利品宝箱机制。

“免费”降低了玩家准入门槛,这对于大型多人游戏(《堡垒之夜》、《英雄联盟》等)来说可能是有意义的,但我认为它拉低了大多数游戏在玩家心中的价值,长远来看这对于行业没有好处。

令人兴奋的是越来越多新的商业模型诞生,比如Game Pass。但愿这些模式能改变当前的局面。不可否认的是我的年纪大了,不太了解当今的年轻人,那些没多少零花钱,又希望获得娱乐体验的青少年和大学生。

我希望大多数玩家能重视游戏的价值,愿意付费尝试那些精心设计的玩法。如果这种现象消失了,我认为我们失去了某种宝贵的文化方面的东西。

Simon Joslin——The Voxel Agents创意总监

如果我们谈论的是当今市场,我认为两种模式都很艰难。我真诚地希望随着更多订阅服务挖掘这些高质量的付费内容,付费游戏的经营状况能够有所改善。

比如Apple Arcade,对于全家人来说显然是个好选择,并且如果它能够持续为创意性、独特的体验开发者提供资金——按我的想象——这对于游戏行业,行业创新性,以及想挣钱的个体开发者来说是件好事。

不幸的是,这些服务无法资助所有开发者,并且付费手游市场已经被污名化了,因此哪条路都不好走。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

From in-app purchases and advertising to premium, choosing the right business model can be a difficult choice for indies on mobile.

While it’s possible for indies to make money from premium – depending on the level of expectation – the market has long since moved to free-to-play, a space dominated by the big developers and publishers. The ability to run live ops and spend big on user acquisition are big factors in increasing the barriers for successful indies on the platform.

So, if there is a best route to take for indies to get the greatest possible chance of success, what is it?

Well, like any of these questions, it’s best to get the answers right from the source. We reached out to our Indie Mavens for their input on this crucial conundrum:

What monetisation models best benefit independent studios in the current mobile market?

Aaron Fothergill(Co-founder at Strange Flavour)

To be blunt, paid. There are indies (including some of the Mavens) who’ve done stellar jobs of turning free-to-play into something that’s profitable for them, which is always great. In the longer-term, bigger picture kind of thing, ultimately indie games rely on players valuing what they’re playing enough to spend money on it rather than on something else.

Free-to-play is a fun way for players to get everything they (think they) want for nothing. However, it also leads to them not really valuing what they’re playing and in the long run that makes it harder and harder for indie games and small studio games to make money.

See the recent furore about Epic doing their $10 off feature on its storefront and how that annoyed its indie game clients for instance. If it’s not valued, players will wait for it to be on sale or wait for the inevitable free-to-play knockoff.

Paid can take on a few forms. Premium (i.e. you pay for individual games) is definitely a niche and a struggle now. Free ‘demo’, as well as IAP unlock, is a little nicer on the players but is now permanently stained by the “IAP is evil” stigma.

Subscription services (Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, GameClub) are looking like the future if the investment by the service and returns to the developers are worthwhile.

Players are getting all their games without having to stop and pay for them individually (and possibly being able to play them for free on a trial basis before subscribing to the service), but they’re actually paying for the games as a whole with their subscription, so they still have value.

The downside of the subscription options though is the barrier to entry for indies. For Apple Arcade you’ve pretty much got to have written the game on your own funds before it can be considered and Xbox Game Pass is mostly for titles that have already been released.

GameClub looks like being a good one for iOS games at least, although the focus at the moment is on older games. So basically, the models where the players understand they’re paying for something that has value to them.

Simon Joslin(Creative Director at The Voxel Agents)

I think Aaron makes a good point about the Epic Store, and I have previously shared many thoughts on subscription models, but I disagree with Aaron’s comment: “Free-to-play is a fun way for players to get everything they (think they) want for nothing, but it also leads to them not really valuing what they’re playing and in the long run that makes it harder and harder for indie games and small studio games to make money”.

I think the goal of free-to-play design is to add enough value for players so they find it worth spending money inside the game. For me, free-to-play is not about devaluing games but moving the buying decision to be inside the game, whereas premium development leaves the purchasing decision outside the game. Both have purchasing decisions that we as developers must consider how to overcome, but the two models tackle it differently. Arguably neither is better suited to an indie.

With our two most recent titles – The Gardens Between (premium) and Train Conductor World (free-to-play) – we have seen the differences directly and had success with both. Most of the resources for each game were spent on solving very tricky game design and development problems.

But where they differ is that with our premium title we put vastly more effort into its presentation and marketing materials, including multiple major announcements with custom trailers and collateral, and travelling to more than 10 international festivals around the world at great expense.

Whereas with our free-to-play we put close to zero effort in marketing, and instead focused on how it can be fun for players both paying and not, and how purchasing inside the game affects and integrates with the game design.

I would have previously argued that it is free-to-play that allows me to focus more on my core strength (game design) and less emphasis on my tertiary skills of marketing and promotion. But after having made The Gardens Between, I’ve realised that my game design focus is simply more compatible with free-to-play than for some other designers.

My comfort zone in design is the more systematic aspects, whereas some designers are more skilled in the game design aspects of the story, characters and worlds, which I feel tends to not be as important in free-to-play, but works great for many types of premium games.

I suppose as a practice we simply haven’t found friendly ways to monetise story-driven games, yet? Obviously, we were able to give significantly more space to the artistic side of making The Gardens Between than if it was a free-to-play game. Perhaps as the model evolves that might change? Neither I believe to be a better model for indies at this time, but rather each has its own strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

One caveat I’d add is that we intentionally avoid any kind of user acquisition in free-to-play, nor expect to require it for a healthy game, because we presume it’s a steep slope towards having to maximise revenue per user so much that it overpowers our emphasis on good user-friendly game design.

So, in order to survive in this market, we make simpler games, expect not to make as much, and rely on our players to spread the game via word of mouth. In the future, I hope to use more social features and perhaps multiplayer to help spread the game without requiring UA.

Aaron Fothergill(Co-founder at Strange Flavour)

Sure, I’d like to clarify my point that Simon (rightly) takes issue with. I’d agree with Simon that the goal of free-to-play design is giving players something valuable so that they’d want to spend money in the game.

However, whatever the free-to-play model, the initial draw for players is that the game is “FREE”. I put that in all caps because that’s what the player sees. They don’t see “this game has value that is worth paying for” whether it’s IAP or ad-funded. They see “FREE”.

So, while short or medium-term an indie can do very well on free-to-play, to answer the main question: any sort of model that reinforces the idea in players’ minds that all content should be free and has no value is non-beneficial to both indie studios and players in the long run.

Daniel Menard(CEO at Double Stallion)

I agree with Aaron that the premium model is beneficial to indies and hopefully it won’t decline completely, with the expectation from players that games should be free. The barrier to entry for free-to-play is absolutely massive, as you need deep pockets to cover the massive upfront cost, the game and the time it takes to tune your retention/monetisation engine.

My top gaming experiences of the last decade all come from premium titles where the designers can focus on delivering gameplay that is meaningful instead of creating a cleverly disguised store/loot box machine.

Free lowers the barrier to entry for players and that can make sense for large multiplayer games (Fortnite, League of legends, etcetera), but I think it contributes to a devaluing of games in general for players and that’s not good for the industry in the long run.

There are new business models starting up that I’m excited about, like Game Pass. Hopefully, this will shake things up a bit. Admittedly I’m getting older now and slowly losing touch with the teenagers and college students with little money, hoping to score some entertainment.

I hope that the general population of players keeps valuing games enough to take a chance and pay upfront for an experience that focuses the designer on delivering gameplay. Without that, I think we’d be losing something culturally valuable.

Simon Joslin (Creative Director at The Voxel Agents)

If we’re talking about the current market today, I think they’re both very tough. I too sincerely hope that premium gets easier with more subscription packages searching for quality premium content.

For example, Apple Arcade is a no brainer for families and if it continues to fund creative, unique exploratory experiences – as I imagine it is – then this is good for our medium, creative community and individuals who want to get paid.

Unfortunately, those packages aren’t going to fund everyone, and the air has largely been sucked out the mobile premium market otherwise, so there’s not much room to move either way you go.(source:Pocketgamer.biz)

 


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