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开发者谈制作F2P游戏时需要避开的5个错误

发布时间:2020-07-08 10:33:24 Tags:,

开发者谈制作F2P游戏时需要避开的5个错误

原作者:Priyank Badkul 译者:Willow Wu

在2019年10月举办的赫尔辛基PGC大会上,我们有幸观看了一些十分有趣的演讲,其中有一个特别值得关注——来自Huuuge Games的Priyank Badkul分享了手游开发者在实现F2P游戏创意时应该注意的5个关键错误。

Priyank是Huuuge Games旗下Coffee Break Games的产品负责人,该部门专注于象棋、跳棋、多米诺骨牌等经典游戏。过去14年来,Priyank一直在开发游戏。他制作了第一个正式的F1赛车手游,还有Bingo Bash——一直以来吸金能力最强的宾果游戏。

如果你当时并不在赫尔辛基,那么就由Priyank为你简单介绍一下吧:

我曾开发过一些非常热门的手游产品。还有一些游戏一开始是很惊艳,但最后成为了失败品。我回顾了这些年里自己所犯的错误,并学会了避免重蹈覆辙。

但如今,我仍看到不少开发者依然在犯这些错误。所以,我想和大家分享一下识别和规避这些雷区的最佳方法,这样你就可以确保它们不会让你所重视的项目脱离轨道。

Choices: Stories You Play(from pocketgamer.biz)

Choices: Stories You Play(from pocketgamer.biz)

让我们先来理清一些概念。

当我说有一个很棒的想法,我的意思是:你已经想出了一些好点子,已经做了市场调查,挑出了非常有前景的那个点子,已经迫不及待地想要着手开发了。

我所说的失败产品,只要符合以下其一的就算:

-你无法完成游戏的开发,所以它从未进入市场。

-游戏发行了,但是它在最初几天、几个星期或几个月的表现非常低迷,你不得不下架。

你一开始非常乐观,最后却以失败而告终,作为开发者,这无疑是很让人崩溃的。以下是如何避免悲剧发生的方法。

错误1:没有在一开始就进行艰难但十分重要的创新讨论

创新是十分令人兴奋的,它是游戏大获成功的原因所在。但是创新是有代价的,需要投入时间、金钱,还要承担不小的风险。

如果你有庞大的预算,那么你就可以大胆探索各种各样的创新点子,就算失败了也扛得起打击。但如果你的预算很紧张,你需要在项目开始时进行一次非常诚实的对话,正视所面临的风险。

我的建议是将创新点子只用在游戏的其中一个部分。确定你创意中最有潜力的那一部分,然后从这一块下手,创造出令人眼前一亮的东西。剩下的80%(大概),还是按照已有的成功模式来设计。

比如这个例子:2014年,Huuuge Games决定进军博彩游戏市场,向大型连锁赌博娱乐公司发起冲击。通过一些巧妙的创新,我们制作出了一个非常成功的游戏——Huuuge Casino。它的机制、画面、盈利模式都跟市面上的热门游戏差不多,但是我们增加了一些社交元素。单是这一个改变就足以让Huuuge Casino在这个拥挤的市场脱颖而出。

关于平衡创新和风险,这是一场不太容易展开的对话,因为它可能会让人感觉很扫兴。抑制自己的雄心壮志并不是什么让人感到有动力的事。但如果你没有展开这样的对话,你的开发过程将充满风险和未知。

错误2:尝试让所有人都满意

智能手机用户涵盖了所有年龄段、性别和文化背景。要让一个游戏同时吸引所有的用户群体是不可能的。

数据分析公司Quantic Foundry曾对超过25万人进行了调查,询问它们最喜欢的游戏特色。他们发现男性玩家对 “竞争 ”和 “破坏”最感兴趣,而女性玩家对 “完成”和 “设计”最感兴趣。当他们从年龄段来看时,他们发现年轻玩家的喜好跟男性玩家相似,而年纪较大的玩家跟女性群体的喜好相似。

你不可能两边都讨好,总是有一方会更喜欢,一方更不感兴趣。

所以,我的建议是谨慎选择目标用户,然后尽可能让你的游戏吸引住他们。如果你哪个群体都想吸引,最可能的结果是谁都看不上你的游戏。

错误3:等到游戏发行后才测试用户获取(UA)成本

UA成本是游戏商业模式中必须考虑的一环。如果平均安装成本(CPI)太高,你的游戏可能都无法在市场上生存下去,你应该及时意识到这种情况。

如果你等到你的游戏发行后才去确定这些决定游戏成败的关键数字,你可能会发现你已经浪费了很多时间和金钱。

我建议创建一个最低限度的可行产品,并尽快让用户进行测试。在如今的市场,你可能需要花一些钱来获得最初的玩家群体,帮助你测试游戏,但这钱是值得花的。

就比如说你要设计一个简单的解谜游戏,用的是基于广告的盈利模式。你开发了一个非常基础的可玩版本,然后投放测试。你想说CPI应该要低于4美元才能让这种商业模式顺利运作起来,但是从测试中你得知,你的CPI可能要超过8美元。那么接下来你有什么选择?

你可以对游戏做些小调整,然后再次进行测试;你可以重做游戏,改变游戏的基础设定;或者你可以直接抛弃整个项目。在这个初期阶段,你可以走这其中的任何一条路线,而且不会损失太多时间和金钱。

早期的测试也能给你提供其它不少有价值的信息:

-游戏能不能吸引到你的目标用户?

-所有的游戏机制都呈现出了预想中的效果吗?

-当下的视觉风格效果怎样?

这个过程就是要确保你的商业模式和UA成本相互契合。如果你等到游戏已经发行了,倾注了所有必要的时间和金钱后才发现这两者无法匹配,你的游戏很可能会以失败告终。如果是在早期的话,你可能很容易就发现并解决了。

错误4:易受短期成果的影响

短期成果具有误导性,要注意避免过早下结论。

重点在于你要设定一些可持续的、长期的关键绩效指标(KPIs)。

我通常过几年就会调整一次,跟随市场的变化。想知道一个游戏是否具有长期健康发展的潜质,我建议从以下方面入手:

如果你的D1留存率低于或高于30%,别太过担心或者太过兴奋。你的D1甚至可能低到20%,而这并不是什么预警。

我建议你仔细分析D1~D7和D7~D30留存率之间的比例关系。如果是在40%或者以上,你的长期留存率就在往好的方向发展。

如果你必须要花点钱来获取用户,你就要关注一下你的目标广告支出回报率(ROAS)。但是你的基准很大程度上要取决于你所发行的游戏类型。

对于一款休闲游戏来说,七天内收回10%到20%的投入,这对商业模式的可持续发展来说是一个好迹象。比较需要投入的游戏,5%~10%的收益是比较切实的。但如果低于这些数字,你可能就需要重新设计某些地方了。

如果你在开发早期就得到了这些数字,并加以仔细分析,你就会对游戏的发展可持续性有更确切的认识。

错误5:不考虑长期的规模增长计划

即使从KPI来看,你对游戏的长期发展潜力抱着非常乐观的态度,但如果你没有制定好规模增长计划,它也可能会变得十分平庸。

所以游戏的可扩展性应该是设计过程中必须考虑到的,而不是事后才来考虑。游戏的内容、机制和经济在后期会怎么发展,你应该一清二楚。

大多数F2P游戏的生命周期都是5年甚至更长。而收入的很大一部分都来自于多年来经常玩游戏(并经常为游戏消费)的那一小部分用户。

我建议你早早就思考这个问题:我的游戏的可扩展性是否能够吸引玩家长期留在这里,甚至好几年?

要获得这个问题的答案并没有什么捷径。你需要仔细分析你的游戏特色、机制和经济的灵活性。你能否能对游戏定期做些改变、扩展规模,让它保持新鲜感、让玩家有成就感?

避免这些错误虽然不能保证你会获得成功,但至少在面临开发问题时,你会更加从容一些,多少有点对策。

游戏失败总是令人失望的。等你意识到这些致命缺陷是可以修复的时候,失望会更加深一层——要是从一开始就计划好了,或者在开发早期就注意到这个问题,就不至于走到当下这个局面。

希望我的建议能帮助你避免这种情况的发生,并确保你那些令人兴奋的创意能够获得更好的成绩。

如果你认为我们能帮到你,请联系Huuge Games。我们有一个发行部门,能够帮助那些有很好想法但缺乏营销和产品管理经验的小开发团队实现梦想。

一同合作,我们可以让你的游戏成为热门爆款。

本文由游戏邦编译,转注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Back at PGC Helsinki 2019 in October, we had the pleasure of seeing quite a few interesting talks. But among all the sessions we attended, there was one that particularly stood out – where Priyank Badkul from Huuuge Games shared the five key mistakes mobile game developers should avoid after deciding to pursue their F2P game idea.

Priyank is a Product Owner of Coffee Break Games at Huuuge Games – a division that focuses on Classic Games such as Chess, Checkers, Dominoes and many more. He has been making games for the last 14 years. He produced the first official Formula One mobile game and Bingo Bash – the all-time highest-grossing bingo game.

If you weren’t there in Helsinki for the conference, here’s Priyank to bring you up to speed:

I’ve worked on some very successful mobile games. But I’ve also worked on games that started out as an awesome idea and ended up as a failed product. From these experiences, I looked back on the mistakes I made and learned to avoid them.

I still see plenty of developers making these mistakes today. So I want to share with you the best ways to identify and sidestep these flaws in development, so you can make sure they don’t derail the projects you’re most excited about.

Let’s sort out some definitions first.

When I talk about having an awesome idea, this is what I mean: You’ve come up with some good ideas, you’ve done your market research, and you’ve settled on one idea that really stands out, really excites you, and you can’t wait to start developing it.

By failed product, I mean one of these two things:

-You couldn’t finish developing the game and so it never entered the market
-You launched the game, but its performance in the first few days, weeks or months was so low that you had to shut it down

When you start out with such optimism and end up with a failed product, it’s a crushing feeling as a developer. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Mistake 1: Not having a difficult but crucial conversation about innovation at the start

Innovation is exciting. Innovation is what makes for hugely successful games. But innovation comes with a cost. It’s a big investment of time, money and risk.

If you have a huge budget, you can afford to explore wildly innovative ideas and take the hits when they fail. But if you’re working to a tight budget, you need to start out by having a very honest conversation about the risks you’re taking.

My advice is to focus your innovation on one part of your game. Decide on the strongest aspect of your idea and make that the part where you do something new and radical. For the other (roughly) 80%, go with the tried and tested methods you know are successful.

Here’s a good example: In 2014, Huuuge Games decided to take on the massive casino chains by entering the casino games market. With some clever innovation, we made a very successful game – Huuuge Casino. The mechanics, visuals, and monetization of this game were no different from what was already popular. But we added social features. This one innovation alone was enough to bring us success in a crowded market.

Balancing innovation and risk is a difficult conversation to have because it can feel like a buzz-kill. It’s not very motivating to talk about scaling back your ambition. But if you don’t have that conversation, your development process will be fraught with risks and unknowns.

Mistake 2: Trying to satisfy everyone

Smartphone users cover all age groups, genders, and cultures. It’s impossible to make a game that’ll appeal to every demographic at once.

Quantic Foundry, the analytics company, asked over 250,000 people what kinds of game features appeal to them most. They found that male gamers were most interested in ‘competition’ and ‘destruction’, while female gamers were most interested in ‘completion’ and ‘design’. When they looked at age groups, they found that young gamers of both genders had interests quite similar to the males – whereas the older gamers’ preferences were more similar to the females.

The lesson here is that you can’t increase your game’s appeal to one demographic without lessening its appeal to another.

So my advice is to pick your audience carefully and make your game appeal as much as possible to that audience. If you try to appeal to everyone equally, the most likely outcome is that your game will appeal to no one.

Mistake 3: Waiting until you’ve released the game to test user acquisition (UA) cost

Your UA cost is integral to your game’s business model. So if the cost per install (CPI) is too high to make your game commercially viable, you need to know this information as soon as possible.

If you wait until you’ve released your game to find out the key numbers that’ll decide on its success or failure, you could find out you’ve wasted a lot of time and money.

I recommend creating a minimum viable product and getting users to test it as soon as you can. In today’s market, you’ll probably need to spend some money to get the initial player base to test your game, but it’s money well spent.

Let’s say you design a simple puzzle game with an ad-based monetization model. You develop a basic playable version of the game and put it out for testing. You think you’ll need a CPI of under $4 to make your business model work. But from testing, you learn that your CPI is likely to be $8 or more. What are your options?

You can make small changes to the game and re-test it. You can redo the game from scratch with fundamental changes. Or you can shut down the project entirely. At this early stage of development, you can probably go down any of these routes without having lost too much time and money.

This early testing will give you plenty of other good information too:

-Is your game appealing to your target audience?
-Are all the mechanics working as they should?
-Does the visual style work well in its current form?

This whole process is about making sure your business model and UA cost complement each other. If you wait until you’ve already released your game, having poured all the necessary time and money into it, only to find out these two things aren’t compatible, your game will probably end up a failed product. And it could be for reasons you easily could’ve identified and fixed early on.

Mistake 4: Giving up or getting excited based on short term results

Short term results can be misleading, so it’s best to avoid jumping to conclusions.

The key to this is setting sustainable, long term key performance indicators (KPIs).

I tend to adjust my KPIs every couple of years, as the market evolves. At the moment, these are the trends I recommend looking for as a sign of a game having healthy long term prospects:

If your D1 retention rate is lower or higher than 30%, don’t get too worried or too excited. Your D1 can be as low as 20% without being any cause for alarm.

I recommend looking closest at your ratio between D1-D7 and D7-D30 retention rates. If these are around 40% or higher, you’re in good shape for player retention in the long term.

If you have to spend some money to get users, you’ll want to look at your return on advertising spend (ROAS). But your benchmarks should differ greatly depending on what kind of game you’re releasing.

For a casual game, recouping 10% to 20% of your investment within seven days would be a good sign for your long term business model. For more serious games, 5% to 10% is more realistic. But if you fall below these numbers, you might want to do some redesigning.

If you get these numbers early on in the development process and watch them closely, you’ll have a much better idea of your game’s long term sustainability.

Mistake 5: Not thinking about long term scaling plans

Even if your game’s long term potential looks good, based on your KPIs, it can still fall flat if you don’t have a plan for scaling it.

So your game’s scalability should be an integral part of its design – not just an afterthought. You need to know exactly how your content, mechanics, and economy will evolve in the long term.

Most F2P games are built for a life cycle of five years or longer. And most of the monetization comes from the small percentage of the user base who play the game regularly (and spend money on the game regularly) for many years.

The question I recommend asking early on is: does my game have the scalability to keep players engaged, year after year?

There’s no shortcut to answering this question. You’ll need to look closely at the flexibility of your features, mechanics, and economy. Can you introduce variations and expansions to keep them feeling fresh and rewarding?

Avoiding these mistakes won’t guarantee you success, but it’ll make your development problems more fixable.

It’s always disappointing when your game fails. But it’s even more disappointing when you realize that its fatal flaw was fixable – if only you’d planned for it from the outset, or spotted the issue earlier on in the development cycle.

Hopefully, my advice will help you avoid that eventuality and make sure your most exciting ideas become as successful as possible.

If you think we can help, please reach out to us at Huuuge Games. We have a publishing unit where we help small developers who have great ideas but little marketing and product management experience.

Together, we can make your game a hit.

(source: gameanalytics )


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