日本游戏公司Marvelous AQL的欧洲部执行总裁Harry Holmwood便阐述了一开始未能得到西方玩家认可的日本游戏是如何占领欧洲和美国市场。
他还分析了《I’m a Celebrity》以及《Get Me Out of Here!》在英国市场的成功。在日本，让人们在电视直播中进行某些奇特的表演已经不是什么新鲜事了——这种电视节目已经在这个国家流行好几十年了，这也是以前的英国人所不能理解的。
An ode to CSR Racing: Why Boss Alien’s debut is the darling of the free-to-play scene
by Keith Andrew
One particular game came up over and over during the presentations at London’s first Social Gaming & Gambling Summit last week: CSR Racing.
So prevalent was it in the minds of speakers, that when they cited NaturalMotion’s chart-topper for the second or third time, they did so apologetically.
“Sorry for bringing CSR up again,” each one said, before going on to explain why it genuinely was the best example for the particular point they were trying to make.
The fact it’s top of mind for those working within the free-to-play scene shouldn’t be all too surprising, however.
CSR Racing is free-to-play’s poster child, serving as has both a commercial and critical success – the latter an accolade one even some of the biggest mobile games can’t boast.
Indeed, CSR was the obvious choice for all every tip, trick or trend it was used to illustrate.
Why? Because it offers answers to some of the industry’s biggest questions.
How can you monetise a free game without annoying your audience? How can in-app purchases be best woven into gameplay? How can you make money without bricking up play with paywalls at every stage?
Harry Holmwood – the European CEO of Japanese gaming specialist Marvelous AQL – arguably gave the talk of the event, focusing on how and why Japanese trends westerners initially see as alien or ‘out there’ eventually go on to dominate European and US culture.
Most pertinent was his analysis of the success of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! in the UK. Getting people to perform bizarre trials on live television is nothing new in Japan – it’s exactly the kind of show that’s been popular in the country for decades, and one Brits previously would have scoffed at.
So, if the Japanese and western markets aren’t so different after all, what lessons can be learned for free-to-play studios trying to make money in Europe and the US? Holmwood’s answer was to follow the example set by CSR Racing.
“We don’t really like collecting cards in the west, so CSR Racing dresses itself up as this beautifully presented racing game,” offered Holmwood.
“But it’s not – it’s a game where you collect cars, because over here we like collecting cars.”
Therefore, the trick – if ‘trick’ is the right word’ – CSR Racing pulls off is to reward those who pay out in play with something they love.
Chances are anyone who downloads CSR is going to have an appreciation for cars.
The game is built around the concept of collecting and upgrading an array of prized vehicles.
As a result, charging players to amass an arsenal of cars is an entirely reasonable strategy, and one most would take over simply locking off whole portions of play behind paywalls.
All about emotion
It’s a point Martin Williams of Brazilian social gaming publisher Mentez added to when he took the stand, arguing that the most successful games build some kind of emotional attachment between their content and the player.
“If you want to convince people to spend, them make an emotional connection – don’t charge them to carry on playing, but rather to get hold of something they love,” said Mentez.
“If you can fit purchases into the context of the game – like in CSR Racing, where players can pay to speed up import only upgrades to their cars, which mimics real life – then it is far more compelling.
“Just make sure there’s a clear value to the player for everything you sell.”
It’s the ‘clear value’ point that stood out from Mentez’s talk. Lazy developers often end up dragging players into an ‘anxiety loop’, where the only way to get gamers to spend money is to ensure they’re never quite satisfied.
It’s an approach that uses in-app purchases as a carrot-on-a-stick: charging players for an upgrade that should make the game more to their liking, but never quite fulfilling that promise.
While that will work for a portion of time, the play that results is not enjoyable and gamers tend to carry on more out of habit than love for the game.
“It’s them tempting to build in synthetic game elements to keep them playing, which leads to passive play – they’re not really playing,” he clarified.
Indeed, it sounds obvious, but the best way to keep people engaged in play – a long tail crucial for free-to-play releases – is not to restrict them from playing.
It’s perfectly possible to play CSR Racing successfully without ever parting with cash. Boss Alien’s debut operates using a purist approach, in truth: people will only pay out if they’re enjoying the game.
In the years to come, the way games monetise will inevitably get more and more complex, but the rule any Social Gaming & Gambling Summit attendee will have taken away is the idea that in-app purchases should never act as a blocker.
Early free-to-play games on mobile used the in-app purchase to stagger the impact of the initial paywall paid releases had previously been built around – charging players almost routinely to play on.
CSR Racing is universally being held up as a better way of doing things because, instead, it lets people pay out if they want foster a deeper relationship with the game.
Just like consumers who buy merchandise covered in the logo of their favourite band, or who proudly wear the kit of their local football team, using in-app purchases in this way allows people to feel closer to the game.
That’s a strategy that both delivers better gameplay, and builds stronger ties between a title and its audience, which may well pay dividends when it comes to future games in the series.
In short, however intricate monetisation becomes in the future, CSR Racing’s legacy has been to prove that there’s much success to be had when it doesn’t impinge on gameplay.(source:pocketgamer)