这个新时代的开端或许当属去年秋季问世的《Vainglory》。它是一款出色的游戏，采用3D图像引擎，旨在将PC平台的多人模式在线战斗场景引进平板电脑。但该游戏并未跻身畅销榜单前列。最近还有其他次世代游戏问世，其中包括Big Huge Games和Nexon推出的《DomiNations》，Zynga的《Empires & Allies》，Space Ape的《Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruin》，以及Pocket Gems的《War Dragons》。每款游戏都是资深游戏开发者付出大量心血的劳动成果，它们都雄心勃勃试图取代榜单领先者。
乍一看，《Clash of Clans》、《Game of War:Fire Age》以及《Candy Crush Saga》等游戏的开发者还没有必要担心。因为根据App Annie报告显示，这几款游戏依然稳居应用商店畅销榜单前三名。
《Clash of Clans》每月收益至少达8000万美元，也是Supercell去年17亿收益美元的主要来源。据King财报显示，《Candy Crush Saga》月收益也许达到了7200万美元，一个季度收益达2.16亿美元。Machine Zone也因游戏获得巨大收益，并请超模Kate Upton代言广告，还推出了超级碗广告（这些广告成本极高）。
人人都想对其取而代之。Unity首席执行官John Riccitiello在GamesBeat峰会上提到，现在市场上有200多款《Clash of Clans》克隆游戏。其中有些产品注定会失败。但要创造一款略优于《Clash of Clans》的游戏并非难事，尤其是在已经有原版游戏作基础的时候。
Kabam首席运营官Kent Wakeford在上周的GamesBeat峰会上指出，你再也不能指望进入榜单前100名就能够获得成功。要创造足够的收益就必须瞄准榜单前10名。这也是Kabam旗下游戏《Marvel: Contest of Champions 》的目标，它有一个良好的开端，但要攀上榜单顶峰仍有一段漫漫长路，其中会涉及巨大的广告成本。
自从2013年11月份《Boom Beach》问世，我就一直在玩这款Supercell游戏了。我还玩过Kabam在2013年3月发布的《The Hobbit:Kingdoms of Middle-earth》。但它们并非特别有趣。我只是出于一种习惯或者因为没有其他更好的选择才玩这两款游戏。现在我觉得自己有更好的事情可做了，但也的确忠于自己在《The Hobbit》中的部族。这是我的第二个部族，我第一个部族因为我没有在游戏中投入足够的钱，没有跟上他人的步伐而将我驱逐。这第二个部族决定转向《DomiNations》，他们仍然在玩《The Hobbit》，但大家更喜欢《DomiNations》。
我在《DomiNations》还没有找到一个归属部族，我已经有很长时间没有去玩这款游戏了。我还试玩过《Empires & Allies》、《Rival Kingdoms》以及《War Dragons》。它们当然比《Clash of Clans》和《Game of War》更有趣，这些新游戏拥有更棒的画面，但仍然受到移动设备局限性的制约，但至少它们使用了3D图像，具有更为真实性的美术风格。
我对《Clash of Clans》之类的卡通图像美术风格，以及《Game of War》的战略视角一直不太感兴趣。具有真实感的美术风格会让我感觉自己在玩真正的游戏，而不是在捣鼓一些玩具兵士。我体验这些新游戏时，会感觉自己就是电影场景中的一员，或者自己就置身于故事情节中。而我所使用的移动设备虽然还是具有局限性，但已经足以为我提供类似于在主机或PC上玩游戏时的惊艳感。它们具有出色的特效和快速移动的操作。
在《Empires & Allies》中，你建设基地的方式与在旧版PC游戏《命令与征服》中极为相似。但你无法100%地控制单位。你可以松开对它们的控制，看它们在地图上四处扩散。游戏中有一些聪明的交互方式，当你攻击一个基地时，你可以在正确的地方点触屏幕来激活一个空袭。如果敌人正确地布置了一个防空顶，它们就可以射下你的战机。这意味着游戏可以让人感受到更多交互性，也意味着战斗中有更多意外情况。我喜欢这款游戏的美术风格，但它有点像我过去在PC上玩《命令与征服》的感觉。
《DomiNations》中的战斗与《Clash of Clans》非常相似，某些交互性与《Empires & Allies》很相似。但游戏感觉更像《文明》，支持玩家繁荣经济，跨时代并扩大自己的基地。这有点刷任务的感觉，如果你肯花钱，就可以提升自己的建设速度。
去年秋季发布的《Vainglory》具备一切冲榜的条件。它并非畅销榜单前100名的游戏，但其开发商Super Evil Megacorp首席运营官Kristian Segerstrale指出，该游戏如果是PC游戏，就只能算是处于beta阶段。他称《英雄联盟》也是经历了长时间才能成顶级的PC网游。Segerstrale提出数据显示用户对这款游戏的兴趣正在攀升，他认为单年畅销榜单排名并没有什么意义，总有一天会有一款游戏以迅雷不及掩耳之势突然成为榜单领袖。Segerstrale称我们需要新的参数，例如衡量硬核粉丝社区玩某款游戏的时间以及对该游戏的评价情况。
我也热切期望出现其他一些高端手机游戏，比如Zynga的《Dawn of Titans》。也希望有更多新游戏问世。可以肯定的一点就是，我们正处于一个由游戏质量而非游戏数量决定一切的时代。（本文由游戏邦编译，转载请注明来源，或咨询微信zhengjintiao）
The DeanBeat: Has the next generation of mobile games arrived?
A handful of ambitious new games have come out for mobile devices. Each of them is claiming that they’re they next generation of triple A-quality games, or the equivalent of console-quality games on mobile devices. We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. And the question is whether this new era has finally come. I’ve played some of these new games, and I’ve tried to apply some thinking that I learned at our recent GamesBeat Summit event.
The start of this new generation arguably began with Vainglory‘s launch last fall. It is a beautiful game, built with a proprietary 3D graphics engine, with the aim of taking the multiplayer online battle arena on the PC to the tablet. But that game hasn’t yet made a dent in the top-grossing charts. Other possible next-generation games have debuted more recently, including DomiNations from Big Huge Games and Nexon; Empires & Allies from Zynga; Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruin from Space Ape; and War Dragons from Pocket Gems. Each one of these titles represent an impressive amount of work from seasoned game developers. They’re very serious attempts to unseat the leaders.
On the surface, the makers of Clash of Clans, Game of War: Fire Age, and Candy Crush Saga don’t have much to worry about yet. They still occupy the top three ranks in the app stores on the top-grossing lists, according to market researcher App Annie.
Clash of Clans is making at least $80 million a month, and it was the biggest chunk of revenue for Supercell’s $1.7 billion in revenue last year. Candy Crush Saga is generating maybe $72 million a month, based on King’s earnings report. That adds up to $216 million a quarter or $864 million from a single casual game. Machine Zone is also making enough money to create a very expensive advertising campaign with supermodel Kate Upton, including a Super Bowl ad.
These games are generating so much money that they can each afford to buy up all of the mobile ad inventory at any given moment. That makes them very powerful. If they see another game rising in the charts, they can spend against that game, suck all of the air out of the ad market, and then watch that rival fall in the rankings.
They make very juicy targets, and everyone wants to knock them out. John Riccitiello, chief executive of Unity, estimated at our GamesBeat Summit that there are 200 Clash of Clans clones coming. Some of those are surely going to fail. But it won’t be hard to build slightly better Clash of Clans games, especially if you’re starting from the ground up.
The problem these clones will run into is switching costs. Players are addicted to the social aspects of these games. Their friends are playing with them, and they’re part of clans that have tight-knit loyalty. A game has to be really good just to get these people to leave their social group and try something new.
Kent Wakeford, chief operating officer of Kabam, said at our GamesBeat Summit last week that you can’t shoot for the top 100 ranks and hope to succeed anymore. To make it and generate enough revenue to get a real return on investment, you have to shoot for the top 10. His company is trying to do that with its Marvel: Contest of Champions title, and it may very well have a shot. But it’s a long slog to climb up the ranks, and advertising costs are huge.
I’ve been playing Supercell’s Boom Beach since it came out in November 2013, and I’ve played Kabam’s The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth since it debuted in March 2013. But they’re not especially fun. It’s more out of a habit or lack of anything better to do. Now I’m feeling like I’ve got some better things to do, but I do feel some measure of loyalty to my clan in The Hobbit. That is my second clan, since my first one kicked me out because I didn’t spend money and grow fast enough for them. This second clan recently decided to move over to play DomiNations as a group. They are still playing The Hobbit, but they’re more excited about DomiNations.
I haven’t yet found a home in a clan in DomiNations, but I haven’t played it for a ton of time yet either. I’ve also tried out Empires & Allies, Rival Kingdoms, and War Dragons. They are certainly more fun than Clash of Clans of Game of War. The new games have better graphics. They’re still constrained by the limitations of mobile devices, but they make use of 3D, and they use realistic art styles.
I never cared much for the cartoon art style of Clash of Clans or the distant, strategic view of Game of War. The realistic art style makes me feel like I’m playing a real game, rather than tinkering with toy soldiers. When I play these new games, I feel like I’m part of the cast in a movie or I’m engrossed in a story. And the mobile devices I’m using, while still fairly limited and mainstream, are good enough to give me that wow feeling I get when I play a great-looking game on a console or the PC. They have great sound effects and fast movement.
These new games are still not worthy of the console-like moniker. When you tap on a character, he or she spouts lines of text. They don’t, for the most part, talk and move in a way that reminds you of the best cinematic effects in console games. They’re not even close on that front. They are also asynchronous experiences, where you attack someone and watch it unfold, with a limited amount of interactivity. That interactivity is getting better, but you are not fighting an enemy in real-time where the enemy can make concurrent moves against you.
In Empires & Allies, you build up your base much like you did in the old Command & Conquer games on the PC. But you can’t control units 100 percent. You can set them loose and watch them flood over the map. There’s some clever interaction, though, in the Hellfire missiles or strafing runs you can send against the hardest enemy emplacements. So when you attack a base, you can make a real difference by tapping the screen in the right place to initiate an aerial attack. If the enemy has placed antiaircraft domes correctly, they may shoot down your aircraft. That makes the game feel more interactive, and it means there are more surprises in the battle. I really like the art work, but it does feel a bit like I’ve played this game before in the age of C&C on the PC.
In DomiNations, the combat is very similar to Clash of Clans, with some interaction that is similar to Empires & Allies. But the game feels a lot more like Civilization, where you progress through the ages and expand your base by carefully grooming the economy. It’s kind of a grind though. If you break down and spend money, you can speed up your progress in building.
Rival Kingdoms has pretty, realistic art as well. You fight other players in multiplayer battles, in an asynchronous fashion. The cool interactive part is you can unleash spells that bring down a meteor shower on your enemy. Those are attacks are quite spectacular and satisyfing.
War Dragons has some very cool battles where you guide your dragon to burn down an enemy’s fortress. Your finger is constantly busy in the game. And when you’re building up your forces, you can breed dragons and mix them to create new, more powerful creatures. The 3D graphics are spectacular for a mobile device, and this makes War Dragons stand out as the best-looking game of the bunch.
All of the new games are climbing up in the top 100 ranks, but will they make it to the top five? I don’t know if these features are going to be enough to knock out the oligopoly on top of the app stores. I’ve already stated the reasons why the status quo leading games, which grabbed the lead positions on the app stores and have cemented their hold, are going to be hard to dislodge.
Vainglory, which launched last fall, had everything going for it. It isn’t on the top-100 grossing games. Kristian Segerstrale, chief operating officer at Vainglory maker Super Evil Megacorp, said at our GamesBeat Summit that the game would only be in its beta stage if it were a PC game, and he noted League of Legends took a very long time to become the top PC online game. Segerstrale showed stats that show interest in the game is climbing, and Super Evil Megacorp is making headway in establishing the game in e-sports. He noted that just looking at the top-grossing charts doesn’t tell you everything, and one day, one of the big games will catch us unawares by how quickly it will knock out the leaders. Segerstrale argued we need new metrics, such as measuring how much play time and buzz a game is getting within a hardcore fan community.
“Great gaming franchises have always been built by the community,” Segerstrale said. “Nothing that is a big gaming franchise today has ever been built overnight. It takes weeks, months, years.”
He added, “Every time, we are measured through the metrics of the previous generation. If it’s not in the top 10 in the first two weeks, it should be killed. That’s true for the previous generation. With this generation, however, you cannot acquire your engaged community overnight.”
I’m open to being patient. And I also want to hear about other recommendations for AAA games on mobile. But these have gotten the most attention, and I think a lot of people are curious about them. I hope they take off, since the companies involved worked on the titles for a long time and spent a lot of money in development. But it won’t be easy for them to penetrate the top five and create some turnover on the static top-grossing games chart.
I’m eagerly awaiting some other high-end mobile games as well, like Zynga’s Dawn of Titans. And I hope there is more coming. But one thing is for sure. We are at a time when the quality of a mobile game makes the difference, not the quantity of games a company can launch.（source：venturebeat）