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Valve:在Steam平台发行游戏的五个建议

发布时间:2020-08-14 09:15:19 Tags:,

Valve:在Steam平台发行游戏的五个建议

原作者:Matthew Handrahan 译者:Willow Wu

如果你是一名独立游戏开发者,倾向于使用付费商业模式,那么Steam很有可能就是你的主要阵地。目前来说,在PC游戏市场占据主导地位的商店平台还是Steam,而且它能为产品开发提供一个非常有利的环境,因为你可以直接在Steam上建立、发展社区。

我们来看看Valve官方给的一些建议。在去年的墨尔本国际游戏周上,这家坐落于西雅图的游戏公司派出了两名代表在大会上发表演讲,告诉人们怎么样才能更好的地利用Steam工具,提高自己的成功几率。第一场演讲由Molly Carroll负责,重点介绍了游戏发行前的可以采取的一些措施——我们将在本周发布的另一篇文章中谈到游戏发行后的建议。

“我们认为一个优秀的平台是能够用一种双赢的方式在开发者和玩家之间建立连接,”Carroll说。“我们一直以来都在思考如何才能精准呈现玩家最想买、最对他们胃口的游戏,并且向开发者们提供所需的工具和机会,让他们触及到那些目标用户。”

1.提早建立Steam商店页面

游戏开发是个相当漫长的过程,发展社区也是需要时间的。根据Carroll的说法,商店页面可以在产品开发期间帮助你积累用户基础。也就是说,创建Steam商店页面应该是你优先考虑的事项之一。

march of the living(from steampowered)

march of the living(from steampowered)

“如果你的游戏已经公布了、或者你打算公开谈论它,或者你打算在展会上演示demo,那么你应该确保那些对游戏消息感兴趣的人能够记得继续关注它,”Carrol说。“就比如说能够把它们收藏在愿望单中。”

以前,开发者在Steam上创立商店页面,预告是必须有的。但现在Valve放松了要求,因为他们意识到其实很多游戏一直到开发的后期阶段才能制作出预告。Carroll表示,如今,提早创建商店页面没有以往那么困难了。

她还提到了Steam的一个新推广概念,能够为那些在PAX、EGX、Day of the Devs、The Game Awards等活动上展出的游戏增加些关注。独立游戏营销专家Michael Napora近期在他的文章中分析了这个概念的价值,你可以点击这里阅读。

“我们最近开始为那些有新闻要宣布的游戏做推广页面,还有在那些即将在行业大型活动中展示的游戏,”她说。“如果你的游戏也符合这个条件,就算你的游戏还没发行,我们也会在那个页面上宣传你的游戏,这就更有理由让你的游戏早点上架Steam。”

2.不要忽视你的开发者资料页

Carroll强调了商店页面可以成为交流的重要媒介,开发者使用的所有社交媒体都可以跟商店关联在一起。她也强调了Valve在开发者资料页上所做的工作,对于在Steam上拥有多个作品的工作室来说,这是一个非常重要的工具。

以前,在Steam上点击某个开发者的名字,就会出现他们的作品搜索结果,毫无新意。Carroll承认,这并不是最吸引人或最直观的展示方式,有不少人要求Valve解决这个问题。

“于是我们就设计了开发者资料页面。玩家现在可以关注开发者页面,这就表示他们对开发者以及他们所有的作品都很感兴趣——不仅仅是当下吸引他们关注的这个游戏。”

就比如说Klei Entertainment,在Carroll发表演讲时,他们的主页已经有87000人关注。现在116000多人了,所以当工作室发行新游戏时,这么多人都会收到提醒。

“另外,Steam也会根据用户所关注的开发者,有针对性地在主页展示推荐游戏,”Carroll补充道。“让玩家有机会关注你这个开发者,就意味着互动率高的粉丝会在Steam的各个板块看到更多由你创作的游戏。”

3.愿望单是提高销量的重要工具

Carroll强调了愿望单的重要性,很多独立开发者都是围绕着这个功能来设计营销策略的。她还提到了开发人员的一个普遍观点——加入愿望单的数量是Steam算法中最重要的一个因素,与产品的曝光度有很大关系。

“并不是这样的,但是愿望单仍是非常重要的工具,”她说。“它的价值,其实就是提供一份知道你游戏的人的名单,当你的游戏正式发行后,他们就会收到游戏上架的通知。

“我们无法确定有多少人将游戏加入愿望单才算OK,但当然是越多越好了……重点在于愿望单告诉了你有谁对你的游戏很感兴趣,正在关注相关的消息,并且最终还会为它掏钱。”

4.设置精确的标签

在为个人用户呈现游戏时,“标签”也是一个关键因素——描述单个游戏的关键词,帮助系统将它们分类。据Carroll说,大多数开发者在打标签的时候都太死板了,缺乏想象力。

“很多开发者只打上‘RPG’‘冒险’‘独立’这样的标签,然后就不管了。这么打标签确实没有问题……它们确实能将游戏与其它类型区别开,但是这些标签的范围也真的很广,在这个限定区域中有太多游戏在争夺用户的关注了。

“我敢打赌,不管你的玩法是什么样的,除了这些涵盖面很广的分类标签,一定还有更具体的描述词可以使用。这对Steam,还有玩家会更有帮助——对游戏有更清楚的定位,了解它的特点是什么。”

Steam会推荐热门标签,但是Carroll建议先把游戏中的重要特色列出来,然后依据它们来打标签。Carroll个人很喜欢包含角色定制的游戏,这种细化的描述词对潜在消费者来说更具有说服力。

Carroll继续补充说游戏的前15个标签将会影响搜索结果和推荐。

5.谨慎选择游戏支持的语言

Carroll在演讲开始时重点讨论了Steam在全球范围内的扩张,不再像是以前那样依赖西欧和北美市场。Valve在支持新货币、新支付方式方面投入了很多,收获的是亚洲市场的巨大增长。

这就给开发者们创造了一个机会,之前只有少数人能够真正抓住。每个Steam账户都可以设置语言偏好,设置首选语言,还可以选择第二语言。Steam给用户推荐的游戏至少要支持其中一种语言。

“本地化可能要费很大一番功夫,也需要不少资金投入,但是这样做你的潜在用户也会大规模地增加,”Carroll说。

Carroll表示,不到三分之一的Steam用户将英语作为首选语言,而大多数在Steam上架的游戏一开始都支持英语、法语、意大利语、德语和西班牙语。尽管发行时所支持的语言看起来很多,但这其中并没有Steam用户最常用的某些语言。

Carroll继续说道,选择不同的支持语言,你的成功几率也许就大了很多,具体要看游戏本身。在意大利,体育和赛车类游戏销量最高。在日本,RPG游戏完全占据着主导地位。

2018年,Valve做了一项研究,在游戏发行后,加入哪些语言会对游戏销量有十分显著的影响。在那时英语是最主要的,但是韩语、日语、繁体中文、简体中文这些语言对销量的刺激远超欧洲大部分语言。

此后,Steam在亚洲地区的影响力逐渐扩大,到今年,简体中文已经超过了英文,成为平台上最常用的语言。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

If you’re an independent developer who prefers a premium business model, there’s an excellent chance that your business is built around Steam. Valve’s platform is by far the dominant marketplace for PC games, and also perhaps the best environment for developing a product as you build a community.

In the coming weeks, the GamesIndustry.biz Academy will be speaking to independent developers about the many facets of selling games through Steam, from designing a store page and gathering wishlists, to navigating price-points and discounts. The result will be a comprehensive network of guides to doing business on this ubiquitous platform.

First, though, some advice direct from Valve. At Melbourne International Games Week late last year, two representatives from the Seattle-based company gave talks on making use of Steam’s many tools to increase your chances of success. The first talk, delivered by Valve’s Molly Carroll, focused on steps you can take in the period leading up to launch — we’ll be covering post-launch advice in a separate article, to be published this week.

“We believe that a good platform connects developers and players in a way that benefits both,” Carroll said. “We’re constantly thinking about how to show players the games they’re most likely to buy and enjoy, and giving developers the tools and opportunities they need to reach those customers.”

Set up a Steam page early

Game development is a long process, and nurturing a community can take time. According to Carroll, a store page on Steam can be a useful hub for building an audience as you work on your product. As such, creating a Steam store page should be high on your list of priorities, as we highlighted in this dedicated guide.

“If your game has been announced, if you’re talking about it publicly, if you’re demoing it at shows, you should make sure that the folks who are hearing about your game and are interested in it, have a place to register that interest,” Carrol said. “Like adding it to their Steam wishlist.”

A trailer used to be a necessary requirement for creating a store page on Steam, but Valve relaxed that rule when it became clear that many games didn’t have trailers until later in development. Setting up a store page early, Carroll said, “is a lot more possible now than it used to be.”

Carroll also mentioned a new promotion concept on Steam, which draws attention to games exhibited at major events like PAX, EGX, Day of the Devs, and The Game Awards. Indie marketing specialist Michael Napora explored the value of that concept in a recent article for the GamesIndustry.biz Academy, which you can read here.

“We recently started promotion pages on Steam for games that are announcing something, or even just games that will be on the showfloor of big industry events,” she said. “If that’s you, we’ll promote your game on that page even if it’s not out yet, which is all the more reason to have it on Steam early.”

Don’t sleep on your developer profile

Carroll stressed the role that a store page can play as a hub for communications, with links running between it and posts on every social media platform a developer might be using. However, she also highlighted the work Valve has put into developer profile pages, which are a vital tool for studios with portfolios spanning multiple Steam releases.

Previously, clicking on a developer’s name on Steam led to an “uninspiring list of search results for their games.” It wasn’t the most attractive or intuitive way to present their work, Carrol admitted, and Valve received frequent requests to address the problem.

“We built developer [profile] pages to do just that. Players can now follow your developer page, and that signals their interest in you and all of the games you make — not just the one that you might be interested in right now.”

Klei Entertainment, for example, had 87,000 followers on its developer page when Carroll gave her talk. It now has almost 112,000 followers, and each one will be notified when the studio releases a new product.

“Plus, games show up on the Steam homepage [for individual users] based on the developers they follow,” Carroll added. “Giving players an opportunity to follow you as a developer means the most engaged fans are going to be seeing more of your games around the store.”

Wishlists are vital to boosting sales

We explored wishlists in more depth in this guide, but Carroll emphasised the importance of a feature that many independent developers build their entire marketing strategies around. She also addressed the common belief among developers that wishlist numbers are the most important factor in the way products are surfaced by Steam’s algorithm.

“That isn’t the case, but wishlists are still a really important tool,” she said. “The value of them is really in building up a list of people who are aware of your game… and will be notified of your game’s release when it goes on sale.

“There is really no magical number of wishlists that you should shoot for, but as always, the more the merrier… What’s important is that your wishlists represent people who are really interested in your game, in hearing about it, and in eventually buying it.”

Be specific with your game tags

One important factor in the way games are surfaced for individual users are “tags” — descriptors that can be applied to each game to help place them into categories. According to Carroll, most developers lack imagination when applying tags to their products.

“A lot of devs just set tags like RPG, Adventure, and Indie, and just leave it there. Those are really good to start with… They do offer some distinction from the rest of Steam’s catalogue, but they’re really broad, and lots of other games are competing for attention in those same spaces.

“I’m going to bet that, no matter what your game is, there will be more specific, narrower tags that you can use in addition to those broad ones. These will help Steam — and also players — understand what it is and why it’s unique.”

Steam suggests the most popular tags, but Carroll recommended making a list of important features and using those as a basis. She personally enjoys games with character customisation, she said, and that kind of granular description could be more persuasive to a potential customer.

The first 15 tags you apply to your game will “drive search and recommendations throughout the store,” she added. You can read a bit more about tags in our Academy guide about how to get the most out of your game’s Steam page.

Choose the languages you support carefully

The start of Carroll’s talk featured discussion about the global expansion of Steam, beyond its previous reliance on markets in Western Europe and North America. Valve has invested heavily in supporting new currencies and payment options, resulting in huge growth in Asian territories.

This has created an opportunity for developers that only a minority have fully grasped. Each Steam account has a primary language, with the option to select multiple secondary languages; a user is only shown games that offer at least their user interface in one of those languages.

“Localisation can be difficult to plan and budget for, but it can also massively increase the size of your potential audience on Steam,” Carroll said.

Less than a third of Steam users select English as their primary, Carroll said, and most games published on Steam start with support for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. However, despite being the default for so many, this mix does not include many of the most popular languages among Steam users.

Depending on your game, Carroll continued, you might have a higher chance of success by making a different choice. A slide of the best-selling games on Steam showed the dominance of the sports and racing genres in Italy, for example, while RPGs occupied the entirety of the same chart in Japan.

In 2018, Valve ran a study to find which languages made the most difference to sales when added after a game’s launch. English was the most important at that point, but Korean, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese were ahead of the majority of European languages.

Steam’s presence in Asia has only grown since then, to the point where, this year, Simplified Chinese was shown to have surpassed English as the most commonly used language on the platform.

(source: gamesindustyr.biz )


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