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从案例解析游戏在加拿大的测试发行价值

发布时间:2015-01-22 14:04:06 Tags:,,,,

作者:Jeremy Born

我知道从一开始这就是一场冒险。你是为了实现创建一家独立游戏软件公司的梦想而放弃了原本更加安全且传统的职业。每一天我都会看到一些有关《Candy Crush》和《部落战争》的经济成功的故事,并且这些故事也不断推动着我迈进属于自己的产业。

虽然知道在这个未知的产业中我会面对越来越多复杂的挑战,但我仍然决定在佩伯代因大学修行政工商管理硕士的同时开发一款属于自己的手机游戏。我可以从朋友和家人那边筹集到3万美元的经费(包括自己的储蓄)并以此创建JABB Interactive,LLC。我的目标是创造自己的第一款免费手机应用—-《篮球战争》。

basketwars(from gamesbrief)

basketwars(from gamesbrief)

在手机游戏这个充满竞争的领域,你必须努力突显自己。就像我想要结合不同的游戏元素与不同的类型并将其整合到一款游戏中。我喜欢篮球,经常在学校与同学比赛。而大多数游戏玩家都喜欢炸毁一些东西。所以我干嘛不尝试着将篮球变成真正的角色并将其整合到战争场景中呢?据我所知很少有游戏能够将两个吸引人的主题整合到一款手机游戏的玩法中。

我联系了一家位于洛杉矶的应用开发公司,他们对我的理念非常感兴趣并同意帮助我实现它。我选择了第二次世界大战作为游戏背景,因为它能够创造很棒的设计机遇和有趣的角色。

很快地我便遇到了第一块挡路石。我低估了完成游戏所需要的时间。我大概花了2年的时间才完成《篮球战争》。而现在我需要纠结《篮球战争》该做成免费游戏还是付费游戏。

因为没有游戏应用盈利经验,我意识到创造免费游戏会太冒险。我同样也遇到了一些描述投入巨大的用户获取成本但却因为用户未在购买应用内部内容时找到价值而未能生成利润的案例研究。我最终决定创造免费版本的游戏,不过还会提供一个售价1.99美元的付费版本。

我需要更多资金将《篮球战争》带到市场上。所以我转向了Kickstarter,并筹集到了额外的1万美元。在我开始分配更多资金去推广与营销游戏的时候,我收到了来自App-promo的CEO兼创始人Gary Yentin的最佳建议。

比起其它国家,包括美国,到达加拿大游戏子类排行的顶端简单得多也便宜得多。

我们可以测试游戏的受欢迎度以及我们所执行的盈利技巧是否有效

如果我们在加拿大市场得到消极的评价,我们便可以在任何消极评价出现在iTunes或Google Play前解决那些问题

我们可以继续修改漏洞并完善游戏玩法

Gary的公司同样也是在加拿大并与许多优秀的游戏评论者维持着很好的关系。

经过证明加拿大的软发行是不可估量的

我们在2014年5月面向加拿大发行游戏。我们的团队选择了与一家名为Appsee的手机应用分析公司合作。Appsee让我们能够使用热感技术观看录制的电子游戏玩法。我们能够从中学到什么呢?

《篮球战争》还没准备好面对黄金时间

我们获得了关于用户在哪里受挫或感到厌烦的及时反馈

无效性—-我们需要在设计,核心游戏玩法,登录特别是教程方面做出完善

用户转变成付费用户需要花费多长时间

之前未明确的漏洞/崩溃部分

我们的广告设置是否有效

加拿大App Store的结果

我们的免费/精简版:3220次下载

付费版本(1.99美元):2次下载

应用内部购买:!

总收益:3.39美元

我们在体育类的排名是8

我们在行动类的排名是51

我们在游戏类的排名是157

我们在整体应用的排名是517

这是一次发人深思的经历。尽管从数字看来不是很理想,但是我们却从加拿大用户中获取了具有建设性的意见。我们学到了:

我们的教程太长,玩家很容易感到焦虑,并会因此离开游戏。(游戏邦注:我们并未设置略过按键)

许多加拿大用户并不是说英语。他们大多数人是法籍加拿大人,不仅不理解教程本身,同时也不知道如何得分。玩家并不理解何时去按哪个特定的按键。如此玩家将会不断受挫。

经过证实用户反馈是非常有价值的。我们被迫重新开始并彻底检修UI,包括改变游戏玩法。

重新设计游戏玩法

我最初设计的《篮球战争》是每个关卡射球一次,并且每个新关卡都会变得更加复杂。如此玩家便会因为不能在最初关卡射球而受挫。我们了解到玩家在一开始都会带有满腔的热情,而这意味着我们需要在游戏玩法变得更加复杂前让他们能够在前几个关卡轻松得分。于是我们改变了原先“愤怒的小鸟”式的射击机制,变成了拖曳与发射这种加单的方式。

我们同样也将射一球通过一个关卡改成玩家可以在有限的时间内射入尽可能多的球。在我们的测试群组中,单单这两个改变便带来了玩家满意度的提升。之前尝试过旧版本的玩家也表示他们觉得现在的游戏玩法更好的,并且愿意继续游戏。

在审查Appsee的视频时,我们看到那些看不懂英语的玩家总是会非常受挫。他们不能完成那些用英语解释的简单任务。我们意识到在游戏一开始所提供的教程应该跨越任何语言的障碍。于是我们便通过动画和指标去取代那些文字。

我们的盈利策略

在我们的加拿大软发行中,我们同时提供了免费版本与付费版本。付费版本只获得1次下载。而在我们的免费版本中,在超过3000名测试者中只有一人进行了应用内部购买。在研究一些成功的游戏的盈利策略时,我们了解到推动应用内部购买或付费下载的最重要因素便是“乐趣因素”,并且是让用户在一开始游戏时便获得这一因素。我们做出了一个策略决定,即只坚持免费模式,因为我们相信这将能够帮助我们在不断变化的游戏市场中渠道成功。

准备面向美国和全球市场发行

勇敢走进手机游戏应用开发这片变幻莫测的水域最终告诉我们这是一条崎岖的学习曲线。我自己始终都坚信今天的《篮球战争》与最初构想的时候一样有趣。JABB Interactive团队也从《篮球战争》在加拿大的发行中学到了许多。

自从在加拿大进行软发行以来,我们继续在美国使用一群测试人员(包括我们的朋友和家人)对《篮球战争》进行测试。现在我们未使用任何市场营销和推广资金而面向美国市场发行游戏。

我们的策略包括使用当前感兴趣的用户列表同时通过社交媒体渠道去推广游戏,推动足够的下载量并鉴定用户是否真的喜欢游戏。实际上,我们将面向美国的发行称为第二次软发行,以此进一步测试我们基于加拿大软发行所学到的新UI/游戏玩法。

因为我们是一家独立游戏开发公司,所以我们不能花太多钱于用户获取中。我们的策略是通过社交媒体渠道,游戏博客,策略合作以及小型推广活动去推动下载。

我们觉得现在的《篮球战争》拥有最棒的设计并整合了我们两年里里外外的学习经验,包括构成一款有趣且让人喜好的手机游戏的元素等等。获得我们的MBA学位也是有价值的,这能够帮助我想出JABB Interactive的市场营销和整体业务策略并为我们之后的《篮球战争》发行做好准备。我们相信这款游戏一定能够得到美国用户的追捧与喜欢。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转功,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

What I learned from soft-launching in Canada

By Jeremy Born

I knew it was a gamble right from the start. Forfeiting your relatively safe, more traditional corporate career for the sake of a dream, in this case, building an independent gaming software company. Every day I kept reading about the financial success stories behind Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, and it kept whetting my appetite to get into the industry itself.

Knowing the uphill challenge I faced in this precarious industry, I still made the decision to develop a mobile game while pursuing my executive MBA from Pepperdine University. I was able to raise $30,000 from friends and family (including exhausting my savings) to start JABB Interactive, LLC. My goal was to build my first freemium mobile app, BasketWars.

In such a competitive space as mobile gaming, you obviously must differentiate yourself. I wanted to combine different aspects of gameplay with different genres and mash it up into one game. I enjoyed Basketball, having played it competitively at college. Most game players enjoy blowing things up. Why not turn basketballs into actual characters and integrate them into a warfare scenario? To my knowledge, there were few if any mobile games that offered the marriage of such two compelling topics in mobile gameplay.

I reached out to a Los Angeles-based app development company who were excited by my concept and agreed to help me build it. I selected World War II as the game’s backdrop because it lent itself to terrific design opportunities and fun characters.

It didn’t take long for me to hit my first major bump in the road. I underestimated the amount of time it would require to finish the game. It took two years to complete BasketWars. Now I had to wrestle over how BasketWars should be made available. Freemium? Paid?

Having no experience with previous game app monetization, I rationalized that making the game free was just too risky a business proposition. I also came across a number of free game case studies that illustrated huge acquisition of users but generated no profit because users did not find value in purchasing in–app content. I settled on a free, “lite-version” of the game, in addition to offering a paid version for $1.99.

I needed still more funds to bring BasketWars to market. Turning to Kickstarter, I was able to raise an additional $10K. While I began allocating more funds for promotion and marketing, the best advice I ever received was from speaking to Gary Yentin, CEO & Founder of App-promo.

After reviewing BasketWars and my plans for U.S. launch, Gary bluntly told me I did not have sufficient budget to acquire new customers in the U.S. that would enable me to get sufficient downloads and drive chart popularity. Instead, he recommended launching into the Canadian marketplace first and for the following reasons:

Getting to the top of subcategories in Canada is much easier and cheaper to accomplish when compared to other countries, including the U.S.

We could affordably test how popular the game was, and if the monetization techniques we implemented were effective or not

If we got negative reviews in Canada, we could fix those issues before seeing any negative comments appear in stores like iTunes or Google Play

We could continue to fix bugs and refine gameplay

Gary’s company was also based in Canada and had relationships with many of the top game reviewers.

Canadian soft launch proves invaluable

We launched in Canada in May of 2014. My team partnered with a mobile app analytics company called Appsee. Appsee allowed us to watch recorded video gameplay using heat sense technology. What did we learn?

BasketWars was not ready for prime time

We got immediate feedback on where users got frustrated or annoyed

Inefficiencies – improvements were needed in design, core gameplay, login, and in particular, tutorials

How long it took for users to convert to paying customers

Previous unidentified bugs/crashes

How effective our ad placements were

Canadian App Store Results

Our free/lite version: 3,220 downloads

Paid version ($1.99): 2 downloads

In-app purchases: 1

Total Revenue: $3.39

We reached #8 on the Sports subcategory under games.

We reached level 51 in the Action subcategory.

157th in Games category

517th in Overall apps

It was a sobering experience. While the numbers were less than stellar, we also received constructive feedback from our Canadian pool of users. In particular, we learned:

Our tutorials were overly long and players got antsy, deciding to leave the game. (We didn’t include a skip button)

Many of our Canadian users did not speak English. Most were French Canadian and they not only misunderstood the tutorial itself but couldn’t figure out how to score a shot.
The game’s flow was not uniform. Players did not understand when to push certain buttons. Players grew frustrated.

The user feedback proved invaluable. We were forced to go back to the drawing board and implement a complete UI overhaul, including a core change in gameplay.

Gameplay redesign

We originally designed BasketWars for players to make one shot per level, which would get progressively harder with each new level attained. Players got frustrated right off the bat because of their inability to make a shot on the first level. We learned that gamers must be pumped up with enthusiasm right from the start and that meant making it much easier to score on the first few levels before making gameplay more challenging. We accomplished this by changing the shooting mechanism from an “Angry Birds” style pullback, to a point, drag, and release.

We also changed gameplay from making one shot to pass a level to making as many shots as players can in a limited time frame. In our testing groups, these two changes alone brought with it a tremendous improvement in the level of player satisfaction. Gamers who previously experienced the older version of gameplay remarked that they now felt much better about the gameplay and wanted to continue playing.

In reviewing the Appsee videos, we saw those players who couldn’t read English get extremely frustrated. Simple tasks could not be completed that were explained in English. We realized that any tutorial provided at the start of the game needed to transcend any language barrier. We accomplished this through animation and pointers.

Our monetization strategy

In our Canadian soft launch, we made both a free and paid version of BasketWars. The paid version received only one download. In our free version, of the more than 3,000 beta testers, we documented only one in-app purchase. In studying monetization strategies from some of the more successful games, we knew that the most important factor in driving in-app or paid downloads was the “fun factor” and that users “got it” as soon as they started playing the game. We made the strategic decision to stick with a freemium model only and in our minds, believe it will give us the best chance to succeed in an increasing fickle gaming market.

Preparation for U.S. and global launch

Braving the treacherous waters of mobile gaming app development proved a steep learning curve. I myself never waivered in my belief that BasketWars is as fun a game today as the day it was conceived. The JABB Interactive team learned a tremendous amount from BasketWars Canadian debut.

Since soft launching in Canada, we’ve continued to test BasketWars with small groups of beta testers here in the U.S., including friends and family. We are launching in the U.S with no marketing dollars and no paid promotion.

Our strategy includes using current lists of interested users while organically promoting BasketWars via social media channels to drive sufficient downloads to evaluate how well users are participating and enjoying the game. In effect, we are treating our U.S. launch as a second soft launch to further test the new UI/gameplay based on what we learned in our Canada soft launch.

Because we are an indie game development company, we are unable to spend vast sums of money on customer acquisition. Our strategy is to drive downloads through social media outreach, gaming blogger outreach, strategic partnerships and small promotional campaigns.

We feel BasketWars currently boasts a superlative design and incorporates two years’ worth of learning the ins and outs of studying what constitutes a fun and enjoyable mobile game. Earning my MBA has proven its value, helping me develop JABB Interactive’s marketing and overall business strategies and preparing me for the launch of BasketWars in October. We feel confident that BasketWars will receive a warm reception by game fans in the U.S.(source:gamesbrief)

 


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