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Supercell首席执行官谈公司运营理念

发布时间:2013-03-15 15:04:15 Tags:,,,

作者:Lee Bradley

2012年11月份,芬兰公司Supercell超越EA成为App Store收益最高的游戏发行商。

鉴于Supercell仅凭《Hay Day》和《Clash of Clans》这两款游戏就能晋升榜单之首,再加上该公司蹒跚起步时的情况,这种成就着实不容小觑。

该公司最初开发社交网页游戏时遭遇挫折,共抛弃了4个失败的项目,其首席执行官Ilkka Paananen在最近访谈中讲述了公司运营哲学以及失败经验。

“无官僚主义”

Paananen于2010年与Mikko Kodisoja、Niko Derome、Visa Forsten、Lassi Leppinen、Petri Styrman联合成立了Supercell。

他们都是行业元老,拥有Digital Chocolate、Remedy等工作室背景,Paananen表示,“在为大型公司面向12个平台开发了165款游戏之后,我们都想创建一家有点不同的游戏公司,创建我们自己梦想中的公司。”

Ilkka及创意总监Mikko Kodisoja(from pocketgamer)

Ilkka及创意总监Mikko Kodisoja(from pocketgamer)

“很简单,我们认为让最棒的人应该制作最好的游戏,我们的主要目标就是让这些人为自己创造一个无官僚主义的环境,这就是我们的灵感来源。”

除此之外,Supercell还将指出了围绕一系列小型自治团队组建公司的优势:“我们公司内部有个说法‘小即是大’,我们组建‘细胞’式的独立运营小团队”。

“由团队来决定自己的项目进展,我们只是根据结果来评估他们的表现。管理层不会主宰项目进程,我们为加快速度而优化这种组织方式。”

“我们的管理也非常透明和开放,我们每天都与大家共享所有数据。我们对自己人也非常信任,这也正是采用这种工作方式的需要。”

首次失败

公司成型之后,Supercell最初向网页社交游戏进军,于2011年发布了一款网页Facebook MMORPG《Gunshine》,但当时已经临近Facebook游戏热潮的尾声,《Gunshine》并没有吸引足够的玩家,并在18个月后悄然下线。

Paananen称“我们从这次经历中汲取了许多教训”。

“最重要的是,我们认识到创造一款兼具大众吸引力、较高粘性和留存率的免费增值游戏非常之难。《Gunshine》显然不属于这种游戏,但之后我们开始时来运转,推出了数款成功作品。”

这次转机起源于苹果发布的一款新产品。

“在2011年我们开始对iPad深深着迷。我们觉得从技能性能、处理能力、触屏UI、屏幕大小,以及移动性、易用性来看,它会成为终极游戏平台。另外,看看市场上的平板电脑,我们意识到自己能够向这一平台提供真正独一无二的游戏。”

于是,“我们采用了‘平板优先’策略,这意味着我们的游戏要针对平板电脑进行优化,我们不会针对其他平台进行妥协。只有当我们的游戏为平板电脑准备就绪之后,我们才会着眼于智能手机平台优化游戏。”

supercell office(from pocketgamer)

supercell office(from pocketgamer)

汲取教训

第一款能够体现Supercell公司新运营理念的游戏是《Battle Buddies》,这款多彩的战略游戏支持Android和iOS跨平台体验。

但这款游戏却并没有熬过在加拿大和芬兰的试发布阶段。

除了《Gunshine》和《Battle Buddies》之外,Supercell在2012年经历的一次重大挫折中还取消了另外两个项目,但Paananen却以积极心态面对这一情况:

“这正是我们确保自己为玩家提供最佳体验的方式,我们希望玩家信任Supercell,相信我们只会为他们提供出色的游戏。”

“这四款游戏是在产品开发周期中的不同阶段被取消,《Gunshime》上线了一段时间才关闭,有两款游戏是在公开测试阶段取消,还有一款游戏是在开发早期夭折。”

“在每个项目中,我们都收集了宝贵的学习经验,这让公司和游戏得以继续前向发展。”

“我们认为失败主,或者更准确地说应该是从失败中汲取经验,是创造成功游戏的一个重要组成部分。因此我们尝试创造一种宽容失败,甚至是为失败而庆祝的环境。”

“我们每一次需要取消一个产品时,都会买几瓶香槟给该产品的开发团队。这并不是说我们喜欢失败——有谁喜欢呢?而是因为我们觉得很有必要为通过失败而学到的经验干杯。”

Supercell在短短几个月内,Supercell就发布了两款相隔仅数周,并且都攀向排行榜前列的游戏。

胜利开端

第一款是《Hay Day》,它发展了《FarmVille》的理念,并根据iPad调整了游戏体验,使之能够获得玩家共鸣。

hay day(from pocketgamer)

hay day(from pocketgamer)

Paananen指出“我们将平板电视视为一个扩大这种游戏题材用户规模,并引进新用户的巨大机遇。”

“通过多点触控和划动控制方式,复制农场操作可以让这一游戏题材更具粘性和趣味性,平板电脑屏幕也让我们得以将农场游戏的外观设计得更为精致和美观。”

“我们希望让社交游戏体验更上一层楼,其中一个做法就是《Hay Day》中的实时交易系统,它在玩家群体中大受欢迎。”

它现在依然人气极旺,并凭借友好而有效的IAP系统稳居营收榜前列。

Supercell另一款城建PvP游戏《Clash of Clans》表现则更为强劲。

“对于《Clash of Clans》,我们希望创建一款含有PvP战斗模式,并拥有大众吸引力的资源管理游戏;我们希望为这个题材注入新鲜元素,创造一款一开始就瞄准平板电脑和移动平台的游戏。”

clash of clans(from pocketgamer)

clash of clans(from pocketgamer)

“我们的目标一直就是围绕一种通常较受核心玩家青睐的题材,创造能够受到大众欢迎的游戏,为这类游戏引进新用户群体。”

这种策略卓有成效。

超越EA

Supercell目前每天收益介于70万至100万美元,堪称移动游戏领域的先锋。

该公司在App Store仅有两款游戏,而EA却有将近上千款游戏。

据Paananen所言,“我们更关注粘性和留存率,而不是收益或排名。我们相信如果你真的创造了拥有极高粘性的出众体验,名利等其他结果自然会接踵而至。我们还相信锁定数量有限的好游戏,要比推出大量作品更重要。”

supercell team(from pocketgamer)

supercell team(from pocketgamer)

谈到未来的计划,他表示“我们已经开始制作一些新游戏,我们将继续追求自己的目标,创造一家与众不同的公司,即以人为本,持续长存的公司。”(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

The developer that fell in love with iPad: Supercell, a studio profile

by Lee Bradley

In November 2012, Finnish company Supercell overtook Electronic Arts to become the highest grossing games publisher on the App Store.

Catapulted to the top by just two games, Hay Day and Clash of Clans, Supercell’s success is remarkable in its own right, but even more so when you consider the company’s faltering beginnings.

With a troubled spell developing social browser games and four abandoned projects under its belt, the company’s stratospheric rise hasn’t been without its difficulties.

In our latest company profile, we speak to CEO Ilkka Paananen about those early days, Supercell’s philosophy and why failure should be celebrated.

‘Zero-bureaucracy’

Paananen co-founded Supercell in 2010 with Mikko Kodisoja, Niko Derome, Visa Forsten, Lassi Leppinen and Petri Styrman.

All industry veterans, with experience at studios as diverse as Digital Chocolate and Remedy, the founders created Supercell partly in reaction to their backgrounds.

“After working for big companies and shipping over 165 games across 12 platforms, we all wanted to build a different kind of game company, the one we’d always dreamed of,” says Paananen.

“Quite simply, we thought that the best people make the best games and our main goal should be to get those people and create create a zero-bureaucracy type of environment for them. That was our inspiration.”

Ilkka with creative director Mikko Kodisoja

Beyond this, Supercell also identified the advantages of building the company around a number of small, autonomous teams.

“Internally, we have a saying, ‘small is the new big,’” says Paananen. “We’re organised into ‘cells,’ small teams that operate very independently.

“The teams decide what they work on, and we only measure them based on the results. There really are no processes dictated by the management, and our organisation is optimised for speed.

“We’re also very transparent and open, we share all data with everyone, every single day. And we have a very high degree of trust in our people, which is really what is required to make this type of approach work.”

Gunned down

With a company structure in place, Supercell originally set out to create browser-based social games, releasing the free-to-play web and Facebook MMORPG Gunshine in 2011 with the help of $12 in funding.

However, launched towards the tail end of the Facebook game boom, Gunshine failed to generate enough player interest and was shut down after just 18 months.

“We learned quite a few lessons from that experience,” says Paananen.

“Most importantly, how incredibly hard it is to create a free-to-play game that has both a wide appeal and high engagement and retention. Gunshine definitely was not one, but since then we’ve been lucky enough to get a few games right.”

This shift in fortunes began with the release of a new product from Apple.

“In 2011 we simply fell in love with the iPad,” says Paananen. “We felt that its technical capabilities, from its processing power to multitouch UI to screen size, combined with its mobility and accessibility made it the ultimate games platform.

“Also, looking at the market for tablet games, we realised we could offer some truly unique games for this platform, something that no one was doing yet.

As a result, Supercell went all in.

“We adopted a ‘tablet-first’ strategy,” says Paananen. “What that means is our games are handcrafted for the tablet. We make no compromises for other platforms. Only after our games are fully baked and ready for the tablet, do we then look to optimise them for smartphones.”

Best buddies

The first game revealed as part of Supercell’s new philosophy was Battle Buddies, a colourful strategy title that promised cross-platform play across iOS and Android.

Yet it didn’t progress beyond a soft launch in Canada and Finland.

Indeed, in addition to Gunshine and Battle Buddies, Supercell cancelled two further projects during a massively disappointing 2012. Paananen, however, is keen to put a positive spin on it.

“It’s how we make sure that we are providing players with only the best experiences,” he says. “We want players to know they can trust the Supercell name for giving them nothing but great games.

“All four games were retired at different stages in the product development lifecycle. Gunshine had been live in the market for some time, two games were in public beta and one game was still early in development.

“In each of those cases, we gathered invaluable learning that has helped the company and our other games move forward.”

“We also think failure, or to be more specific, learning from failures, is a very integral part of creating successful games. Therefore we’ve tried to create an environment where failing is not only okay, it is actually celebrated.

“Every single time we need to cancel a product we buy bottles of champagne for the team that was behind that product. That is not because we love failing – who would? – but because we feel that it’s important to celebrate what you learn when you fail.”

Within just a few months Supercell would have something far more tangible to celebrate, as the company launched two titles a few weeks apart that would rocket to the top of the charts.

Making hay

The first of these, Hay Day, evolved the concepts of Farmville and tailored the experience to iPad in a way that immediately resonated with players.

“We saw the tablet as a huge opportunity to broaden the appeal of an already popular game genre and bring it to new audiences.” says Paananen.

“Using multi-touch and swiping controls to replicate the activities of a farm make the genre more engaging and fun, and the tablet screen gave us the power to make a farm game more beautiful than ever before.

“And, we wanted to take the level of social game play to the next level. One of the ways we do this in Hay Day is the real time trading system that has been incredibly popular among our players.”

Hay Day

It remains popular too, taking up a seemingly permanent position in the upper reaches of the top grossing charts, thanks to a fiendishly effective in-app purchasing system.

Supercell’s next game, the city-building PVP title Clash of Clans, performed even more strongly.

“For Clash of Clans, we wanted to build a resource management game with player-vs-player combat that would have a mass appeal,” says Paananen. “We wanted to take a fresh take on this genre, and create a game that was built for the tablet and mobile platform from the ground-up.

“It was always our goal to take a genre that typically veers toward the core gamer, and make a game that would have wider appeal, bringing new audiences to this type of game.”

The plan paid off.

Toppling EA

With estimated monthly revenue varying from $700,000 to $1,000,000 per day, it’s fair to say that Supercell is currently the powerhouse in mobile gaming.

It’s vindication for Supercell’s methods, which have seen the company trading blows with EA in terms of mobile revenue despite markedly different approaches.

Supercell has two games on the App Store, while EA has almost a thousand.

Clash of Clans

“Our primary focus is on engagement and retention, not revenue or charts,” says Paananen.

“We believe if you create very compelling experiences with high engagement everything else will fall into place. We also believe in focusing on only a limited number of great games instead of a large portfolio.

And as for the future?

“We’ve started work on some new titles,” says Paananen, “and we will continue to pursue our vision for creating a different kind of company, one that is all about the people, and one that is around for a very long time.”(source:pocketgamer


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