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游戏分析师谈赛季通行证成为手游变现的主流特色

发布时间:2020-01-13 09:00:13 Tags:,

游戏分析师谈赛季通行证成为手游变现的主流特色

原作者:Erno Kiiski 译者:Willow Wu

(本文作者是手游数据平台GameRefinery的美区首席游戏分析师)

在GameRefinery HQ,我们的分析师一直在密切关注不同国家的畅销游戏的特色,试图了解它们的秘密武器。

毫无疑问,其中最受欢迎的一种就是赛季通行证(battle pass)。

以防有人还不了解它是什么,让我们先来看下定义:根据维基百科,赛季通行证是一种盈利手段,一般是通过练级系统提供额外的游戏内容。参与游戏、完成特定挑战的玩家将会获得道具奖励。

这种盈利模式对主机和PC玩家来说已经是非常熟悉了。《堡垒之夜》是玩转赛季通行证的高手,作为一个F2P游戏,它利用限时装备和物品来吸引玩家,让他们一直玩下去。

赛季通行证成为了手游常见特色之一,这并不让人感到意外。

在本篇文章中,我们会观察分析一些已经运用了赛季通行证的热门手游。

我们主要关注的是美国地区——但是在那之前,我们不妨也分析下英国和中国的情况,看些有意思的东西。

我们能看到美国最畅销的100个游戏中,赛季通行证的运用从去年的2%增加到了20%。

英国的情况也是类似,因为这两个英语国家之间存在大量交叉。

最引人注目的还是中国,从3%增长到30%。很明显,这个盈利模式特别受中国玩家的待见。

你可以发现这个机制并不是单一类游戏的专属,体育、策略、FPS游戏都有用到。

这是一种多用途的盈利机制,可以跨类型使用,将来会如何发展也很值得期待。

Building in Fortnite(from gamasutra.com)

Building in Fortnite(from gamasutra.com)

虽然赛季通行证出现在了多个类型的游戏中,但这并不意味着所有游戏搭配它都能更加出彩。正如你在下文看到的,赛季通行证有多种应用方式,并不是一个模式就能适用于所有游戏。

成功的应用靠的是合适的价格点以及合理的进阶曲线。

来看看这些游戏是如何使用赛季通行证的——进阶是怎么设计的?奖励是什么?成本多少?

《部落冲突》: 2019年4月引入了赛季通行证系统,名为黄金令牌,成为第一个运用此系统的非Battle Royale游戏。

·价格:4.99美元

·赛季时长:1个月

·进阶方式:玩家完成每日/每周挑战获得积分。

·奖励:玩家可以得到各种各样的奖励,包括成堆的金币、消耗品、装饰品、特定赛季的福利和一个装满战利品的月度挑战资源箱(相当于储蓄罐),赛季结束后就可取出。

·值得吗?《部落冲突》的赛季通行证对游戏的市场表现、盈利方面都产生了明显的积极作用。进阶系统可以有效鼓励玩家每天完成挑战并参与游戏。它似乎没有对游戏经济造成冲击,4.99美元的价格可以为玩家提供很好的价值。

《皇室战争》:Supercell看到《部落冲突》赛季通行证的成效喜人,于是在《皇室战争》中也引入了同样的机制——皇室令牌。

·价格:4.99美元

·赛季时长:1个月

·进阶方式:玩家在对战中取胜赢得皇冠,升级令牌,逐渐解锁更多奖励。可以无限重置特殊挑战模式、可以提前设定下一个要开启的箱子,用特权排队开箱。

·奖励:含有卡牌、金币、专属装饰的宝箱以及“皇家金库”。这个赛季通行证只有35级,解锁第35级后,每收集10个皇冠,皇室金库将存入250金币,主题赛季结束后即可领取这些金币(跟《部落冲突》类似)。

·值得吗?与《部落冲突》一样,《皇室战争》的赛季通行证可以用4.99美元购买。但它没有每日/每周任务来鼓励用户坚持玩下去。就只是单纯地获胜、收集奖励。玩家无法与赛季通行证有什么真正意义上的直接互动,只是间歇性地获得奖励。

《采矿大亨:掘金之旅》

·价格:9.99美元

·赛季时长:1个月

·进阶方式:《采矿大亨:掘金之旅》中经常会开启特别活动,在特殊的矿场进行,跟游戏主线进阶是分开的。实际上就是把特殊矿场的活动跟赛季通行证捆绑在一起了。到了赛季,游戏会推出好几个不一样的活动供玩家参与。

·奖励:有不同种类的物品可以增加他们的收入以及积分——后者通常用来购买永久性的强化道具。赛季通行证还能提供角色碎片以及特殊的角色图标。

·值得吗?一年前,有谁会料到放置类游戏会加入赛季通行证?看到不同类型游戏的开发者们对特色或机制进行尝试,这还是挺令人兴奋的。《采矿大亨:掘金之旅》赛季通行证或许会让人觉得这只是在现有活动系统上外加一层奖励机制,它确实不如其它游戏的赛季活动有吸引力。玩家只能通过参与活动而获得进阶,然而从这些活动中获得的奖励并没有那么令人欣喜,尤其是考虑到接近10美元的这个价格。另外,主打限时装饰品奖励的赛季通行证,营销的关键点之一就是要让玩家产生“怕错过”的感觉,这个游戏也缺少这一点。

《马里奥赛车巡回赛》:游戏在发行时就已经有了赛季通行证机制。

·价格:4.99美元/月,定期自动扣费

·进阶方式:黄金通行证为玩家打开付费奖励的通道。根据玩家的表现,每场比赛会获得1~5颗星星。星星数量累计够了,你就能解锁下一阶段的比赛。但有一个与众不同的地方是黄金通行证采用的是每月自动续费的方式,而其它绝大多数游戏都是每一赛季付一次费。任天堂的另一个不寻常决策是封锁速度最快的比赛,只对金牌玩家开放。《马里奥赛车巡回赛》是仅有的几个将整个游戏模式藏在付费墙之后的游戏之一,此举也引来了不少负面反馈。

·奖励:除了能玩到200cc游戏模式,还能获得硬货币、经验提升券和装饰物品。

·值得吗?给200cc比赛增加付费墙,这是一个很大胆的举动。除上文所说的,付费玩家能获得的专属奖励还剩黄金徽章。额外的内容,也就是抽卡解锁角色是面向所有玩家群体的,不管你是不是拥有黄金通行证。至于这个通行证会不会对多人模式造成影响,那还有待观察。

总结

有些赛季通行证的应用方式获得了相对显著的成果。我们能清楚地看到行业中的这种趋势:无论是什么游戏,都会尝试去应用某种形式的赛季通行证。

部分公司转向自动续费订阅模式,这也是一个值得关注的趋势。这可能是审查机构对战利品宝箱和赌博机制关注日益增加所引发的对策。

找到适合的方式,赛季通行证能对游戏的留存、盈利方面产生积极的影响——无论是直接还是间接。

无论是哪种应用方式,有一点是非常明确的——赛季通行证很有可能会在未来继续活跃下去,有更多游戏会采用这种模式。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Erno Kiiski is Chief Game Analyst – US at leading mobile game feature data provider GameRefinery.

Here at GameRefinery HQ, our analysts are constantly monitoring features in the top-grossing games across multiple countries to try and understand their secret sauce.

Without doubt one of the most popular features we’ve seen implemented has been the battle pass.

Just in case that you’re not clear what a battle pass is, according to Wikipedia it’s defined as ‘a type of monetization approach that provides additional content for a game usually through a tiered system, rewarding the player with in-game items by playing the game and completing specific challenges.’

This monetization model is well known to console and PC Gamers. Fortnite is the apex of battle pass implementation as a free-to-play game by getting gamers to sign up to exclusive gear and goodies to keep them playing.

So it makes total sense that the battle pass system has now made its way to mobile.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at how some of the top-grossing mobile games have been implementing this increasingly popular feature.

We’ll be focusing largely on the US – but before we begin, it’s interesting to also take a look at the UK and China.

The US has seen a rise of the battle pass in the top 100 grossing games from around 2% a year ago to about 20%.

Likewise the UK, due to a large amount of crossover between the two English-speaking markets.

Most striking of all is China, which has gone from 3% to over 30% in just 12 months. Clearly, it’s a model that has worked especially well with Chinese consumers.

The above chart shows some of the top-grossing games in the US that have implemented a battle pass.

It’s clear to see that this is no longer a ‘one-genre only’ feature, with a spread of sports, strategy and FPS games all using it.

It’s a monetization mechanism versatile enough to be used across genres, and it’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

Just because the battle pass is appearing across multiple genres, it doesn’t mean everyone is going a great job of it. As you can see below, there are multiple ways that the battle pass is being implemented and it’s certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ mechanism.

Successful usage relies upon the correct price points and a robust progression curve.

Here are some examples of how various titles have implemented their battle pass, how progression is built, what rewards are on offer, and how much it costs.
Clash of Clans:

Clash of Clans implemented its battle pass system (knows as a ‘Gold Pass’) in April 2019, becoming one of the first non-Battle Royale games to do so.
Price: $4.99
Season length: One month
Progression: Players clear daily and weekly challenges, which reward players with challenge points.
Rewards: Players can get their hands on a wide variety of rewards, including heaps of gold, consumables, cosmetics, season-specific perks and a Season Bank, which fills with loot that can be claimed after the season ends.
Is it worth it?: Clash of Clan’s battle pass had a considerable impact on the game’s performance and financial success. The progression system incentivizes player retention daily to complete the challenges and engage with the game. It doesn’t appear to cannibalize the game’s economy and provides good value at $4.99.

Clash Royale

Supercell saw the excellent results of a battle pass in CoC and implemented one in Clash Royale.
Price: $4.99
Season length: One month
Progression: Unlimited entries to Special Challenges and the possibility to queue chest openings. A simple progression curve; players earn crowns from winning matches, progressing the battle pass further and unlocking more rewards tier after tier.
Rewards: Chests with cards, gold, tokens, exclusive cosmetics, and “bonus bank.” This battle pass only has 35 tiers. Once completed, every ten crowns add gold to the “Bonus Bank,” claimed after the season ends (similar to Clash of Clans).
Is it worth it? Like Clash of CLans, Clash Royale’s battle pass brings value for $4.99. There are no daily/weekly quests encouraging players to return to the game and engage. It’s tied simply to winning and earning. Players don’t get to ”interact directly” with the Battle Pass, only intermittently claiming the unlocked rewards.

Idle Miner Tycoon

Price: $9.99
Season length: One month
Progression: In Idle Miner Tycoon, there are always live events running within “event mines” – special locations separate from the main game progression. Players earn battle pass season points from progressing in these, essentially tying event and battle pass progression together. During a single battle pass season, there are multiple different events to participate in.
Rewards: There are different kinds of items that boost their income along with research points that players can use to buy permanent boosts. Character shards and some event-specific avatar icons are available through the Battle Pass.
Is it worth it? Who would’ve thought a year ago that we would have Idler games with a Battle Pass? It’s always exciting to see developers experimenting on how to implement a feature or mechanic across different genres. Idle Miner Tycoon’s battle pass does run the risk of feeling more like a tacked-on “extra reward layer” for the existing event system. It doesn’t feel as captivating and engaging as other games. Since progression is earned merely by event participation, rewards earned from these events are not as compelling, especially with this high price point. Also, items lack one of the most significant selling points for cosmetic-driven battle passes – a ‘fear of missing out’ for those without a pass.

Mario Kart Tour:

Mario Kart had its version of the battle pass implemented straight from launch.
Price: $4.99/month. Recurring subscription
Progression: The Gold Pass unlocks the “premium” reward track for players. Players acquire 1-5 stars per race based on their performance. Once enough stars are obtained, the next races and reward thresholds are unlocked. One interesting difference from the norm, however, is that the Gold Pass uses a continuing monthly-based subscription, whereas with other battle passes you pay a single transaction for every season you want access to premium content. Another significant difference to the usual battle pass stems from Nintendo’s decision to close off the fastest racing mode, open only for Gold Pass subscribers. Mario Kart Tour is one of the only games to put an entire game mode behind a battle pass paywall, a move that has led to negative feedback.
Rewards: Other than the aforementioned 200cc game mode, there is a premium currency, experience tickets and cosmetics.
Is it worth it?: A bold move to block the 200cc races behind a paywall, the only other exclusive rewards players get is golden profile badges. The additional content, namely the gacha-system of unlockable characters, is available to everyone – Gold Pass or not. It remains to be seen if Gold Pass will affect multiplayer modes
.
Summary

Some of these implementations have worked better than others, but we can see that the trend is clearly to implement some kind of battle pass system whatever the game.

The move to an auto-renewing subscription model is one trend to keep an eye on, perhaps in reaction to the increasing scrutiny around loot boxes and gambling mechanics.

When done right, battle pass systems can have a tremendously positive effect on a game’s retention and monetization – both directly and indirectly.

Whatever the implementation one thing is clear- the battle pass is very likely here to stay for the immediate future, and we’ll be seeing many more games adopting its model in the near future.

(source: pocket gamer


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