開發者談論出品一款價值遊戲的五個步驟

本文原作者:Peter Fodor 譯者ciel chen

在遊戲開發界有一點很奇怪的是——許多開發者會在相當淺顯的基礎構架上搭建遊戲或者app,投之以海量的時間、經歷與資源。有強大的產品願景是好的,不過如果開發者不瞭解市場境況、競爭、目標用戶羣、獲取用戶成本和表現評估標準,那就相當於閉眼航行。這樣很容易造成大麻煩最後浪費了大把金錢和時間。

如今開發一款遊戲的成本劇增,爲了遊戲能被曝光,花費的營銷成本也在急劇增加。像Kabam這樣的大型發行商擁有強大的IP可以使用——比如說“漫威遊戲”——並且每款遊戲都有大概1400萬美金的預算;同時他們還有強大的用戶基礎坐等他們出新遊戲。如果你想跟這些遊戲業巨頭競爭,那制勝關鍵就是你要在長征的一開始就選對方向。

RIGHT mobile game(from gamasutra.com)

RIGHT mobile game(from gamasutra.com)

以下是五個教你如何調查市場並且在着手開發項目之前評估其可行性的小貼士。

第一步:檢測自己遊戲的商業潛力

大概在一年前AppAgent曾經做過一個遊戲代號叫做‘Gods&Guilds’的遊戲。這是一個建築類策略遊戲,跟《部落戰爭》有點像,不過其故事背景是北歐神話。

如果你有了對新遊戲的想法,那第一件要做的事就是去谷歌趨勢(谷歌公司的一項搜索產品)看看,瞭解一下同類的遊戲都是如何展現的。你要做的這類遊戲在搜索中是呈衰退趨勢還是增長趨勢?除此之外AppAnnie的排名也可以提供類似的見解。

Google Trends(from gamasutra.com)

Google Trends(from gamasutra.com)

這些趨勢走向可以幫助你瞭解你的要開發的新遊戲對於市場來說是適時的還是已經晚了的。隨着時間的流逝,玩家的口味會變,而開發遊戲則需要一兩年的時間,所以你不會希望看到自己白白浪費時間開發了一款受衆玩家驟減的遊戲。在這種情況下,CoC的流行度在減退的時候,《皇室戰爭》站起來了,這表明了休閒新玩法的遊戲吸引了更多的觀衆。當然了,如果比起大衆休閒類遊戲,你更想做一款小衆或者“hard-core”類的遊戲那也完全取決於你自己,不過研究了這個趨勢之後你至少能瞭解一些市場動向。

接下來,你該評估一下各個遊戲平臺的商業潛力了。Priori Data或者其他收集市場情報的工具可以提供不同平臺之間下載量和收入的各個比較。對於“Gods&Guilds”我們確認:儘管蘋果系統佔了下載量的36%並且幾乎包攬了策略類型遊戲的一半收益,但安卓系統所產生的收益足以讓這款遊戲把安卓系統做爲第一平臺,這讓我們能以更低的每安裝成本更快地決策發展,這在多人競技遊戲中是一個很重要的因素。

接着,對遊戲收入排行榜榜首的第十名、第五十名、第一百名的平均收入進行分析也是一件很有趣的事。這幫助你瞭解其財政圖表曲線、瞭解自己是否能賺到足夠的錢(不管你能不能達到跟《部落戰爭》一樣的流行程度)。

Newzoo可以提供很全面並且完全免費的市場報告和幾個支付分析,這些數據主要針對個別行業、個別地域以及幾個比如參與度指標、市場指標、趨勢或者消費洞察力這些方面的。

第二步:清楚你競爭者的表現

一旦你感覺到選定的遊戲類型有潛力,這時候就該看看你的競爭對手了。你要檢查以下幾個方面:

數字統計:等級評定、下載量、收入估值(從Priori Data和AppAnnie調查)
主題:你產品的獨特賣點是什麼?(可以從App Stroe/Play Store瞭解,最理想是從AppAnnie那裏獲悉)
主要特色:產品的主要優點是什麼
回顧:優點、缺點以及實時的評級趨勢(AppAnnie)
視覺效果:app在電子商城的展示效果如何

爲了對Gods&Guilds有更深入的瞭解,我們編制了一個含幾個關鍵指標的簡單表格,然後在指標表格中觀察競爭者的幾個主要特徵。在這裏我們可以看出《部落戰爭》的遊戲運營情況根本無人可比。就連其他大型遊戲都沒有它那麼快的下載速率、ARPU也就3.5美元左右。再從視覺效果和概念上來看Gods&Guilds——作爲一個獨立遊戲,要想把掌握住那種真實的視覺效果還有比較大的距離。

Competition comparison grid(from gamasutra.com)

Competition comparison grid(from gamasutra.com)

所以這個步驟是可以幫你的遊戲找到一個獨特的定位讓它給市場帶來一些新內容。這在Gods&Guilds中的體現是——構建一支由北歐神話中的英雄所組成的軍隊,以多人競技的遊戲模式爲主,然而其現有的程序化的視覺效果跟很多其他市面上的遊戲相矛盾。

第三步:找到關鍵性的用戶見解

個人而言,分析用戶是我最喜歡的部分,因爲這讓我能夠形成一個很清晰的玩家檔案。用戶不僅僅是構建產品基礎的一部分,而且是遊戲的設計、商店清單、廣告付費的預算以及創作引人注目的廣告語時的信息提供方。

最佳的入手點就是從Facebook的Audience Insights,在這裏你可以選擇你所在領域中的頂級遊戲或apps,分析用戶的性別、年齡、地位還有甚至他們與該遊戲其他粉絲之間在頁面上(facebook)所存在的關聯。Facebook還做了玩家分類,這讓我們在用戶個性上能夠有所啓發。也許這個方法有點過時了把,不過它依舊是最有用的方法:

你得要“深入地挖掘”更多的細節,來了解喜歡特定遊戲或app的用戶想法,他們是屬於善於社交的還是競爭力強的,是否有客觀的收入。最後一個問題可以在一定程度上由市場情報收集工具來回答,通過它你可以將遊戲收益與下載量比值按照國家/平臺/遊戲類型來得到一個“購買指數”。這個指數值,結合一個估算出來的CPI和到達榜首的難度來考慮,可以幫助你遊戲全球發行後挑選出你要主攻的目標市場。

目標用戶羣調查的關鍵在於市場規模的估算。技巧就是利用Fcebook Ads Manager來搗鼓搗鼓不同用戶羣的重疊部分有什麼玩頭以及甚至要從國家的層面上去了解玩家規模和玩家概況。即使你使用了其他廣告網站(比如Adwords),或者視頻網站,這都是對市場規模做一個相對比較的很好入手點。不過開發者還要意識到的是有一些特定的城市Facebook跟一些當地巨頭公司比如俄羅斯的Vkontakte公司是存在競爭關係的。

第四步:計算利潤

在這個什麼都流行免費的世界裏,商業表現的或起或落大多取決於每安裝成本和生命週期價值的關係方程。如果遊戲的生命週期價值能超過獲取用戶成本,這款遊戲就能夠擴大用戶基礎規模並提高收入。

LTV的計算將會是另外一篇文章的主題,因爲在不遠的將來這種模式將會產生更多不同的方法、方法論以及其他內容。計算生命週期(LTV),首先要將預期的用戶留存指標乘上想達到的每日常活躍用戶平均收益。這裏不包括病毒式的或由於不同遊戲類型、不同平臺以及不同國家產生的有機提升,不過至少它讓你對LTV的組成有了基本瞭解。如果你想了解更多有關LTV的內容可以讀讀Yaniv Nizan發表的文章,講了很多不同的計算方法:

用戶獲取成本這一部分是比較容易估算的。我們可以使用AppAgent的兩個免費數據資源:

Chartboost CPI Index:從美國地區3.48美元的CPI和Gods&Guilds的多玩家經濟模式來看,大量活躍玩家的需求時非常明顯的,因此我們需要在用戶獲取上支付上有大量的預算。這裏爲了促進遊戲與“當地”的匹配程度,可以集中焦點在特定的時間區間來達到目的。

FB Ads Manager:現在開始進行CPI評估,首先要通過感興趣目標羣體選出你的競爭者清單,然後選出一個城市以及平臺來查看建議的每點擊成本。如果你把建議零售價除以電子商城中估算的轉化率(如果你沒有自己的歷史數據,付費傳播渠道IOS的平均轉化率大概是45%、Android大概是40%)你就可以得到很好的每安裝成本的估算了。如果你的開發者朋友中有人開發過你現在做的遊戲類型的遊戲,問問他們的在Google Play Console上用戶獲取費用報告中其轉化率指標如何。目前對於Gods&Guilds而言,使用WIFI連接遊戲的美國男性玩家CPI爲3.65美元,這無疑表示需要高價值的遊戲生命週期來經營可盈利的活動。然而優秀的遊戲用戶獲取經歷是能夠利用新的格式、原始的創造力和想好辦法確立指定目標讓CPI降低的。並且,與此同時 IP大大們的轉化率提升明顯,CPI降低顯著,這種情況Will Newell,前Space Ape Games的UA經理在《變形金剛:地球大戰》已經證實過了。

從這裏開始你就可以勇往直前去構建自己的增長模式了,該模式裏面包括了付費和自然的傳播渠道(交叉推廣、口碑、甚至你對遊戲自信的擔保)。一旦你在用戶留存量上和ARPDAU值上有所增加,你就很有可能在財政上有所收益。在Mobile Growth Stack web上William Gill描述了對手遊成長模式的基本定義:definition of a mobile growth model。

第五步:檢測出最有吸引力的遊戲主題

鮮少有開發者會意識到檢測遊戲的創意方面內容。Will Newell就在AppAgent上透露說在Space Ape Games的時候他們就曾經通過Facebook Ads和CPM招標來檢測變形金剛遊戲的名字標籤。因爲有三個粉絲頁面對這款遊戲分別貼上了三個不同的產品標籤。最後決定這款遊戲的名字就是今天耳熟能詳的“變形金剛:地球戰爭”。

在Geewa,我們最近提出了100個爲新遊戲想的名字。最後只有短短的四個名字進入了Facebook的檢測階段,廣告把遊戲品牌展現的像個藝術品,而主要的KPI就是這些廣告的點擊率。我最喜歡的‘Smashing Four’點擊率是2.6%,而其他幾個名字最低1.1%最高就1.6%。

Pixel Federation在這條路上走得更遠,他們從視覺主題上對三款遊戲進行了較量。“我們用了FB ads和Splitmetrics來測廣告點擊率和電子商城轉化率。獲勝的名字概念叫做BUTTON Blast,其點擊率比其他兩個多出1%。從轉化率上來看,它以25%的轉化率贏過了第二名17.5%的Music Match,Yummi Blocks以12%的轉化率墊底。”Pixel Federation的手遊市場經理Matej Lancaric這樣說道。

Screen Shot (from gamasutra.com)

Screen Shot (from gamasutra.com)

總結
隨着開發成本日益增高,越來越殘暴的用戶獲取價以及遊戲業越發激烈的競爭,做到儘可能降低失敗的風險,作出聰明的商業決策是非常有必要的。而且現在有這麼多免費數據和工具可以使用,你可以找到通往成功更直接的路。

以上說到的只是一些你可以做的事,似乎還有很多其他的技巧方法是能幫助分析市場驗證思路的。作爲想不斷進步的狂熱分子,我很樂意聽到這些技巧方法。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Surprisingly, many developers invest enormous amounts of time, effort and resources in developing games or apps that are built on very shallow foundations. It’s great to have a strong product vision, but without understanding the market situation, competition, target group, acquisition costs and performance benchmarks, you are navigating blindly. As a result, it’s highly likely that you will run into trouble – wasting your time and your money in the process.

The cost of producing a mobile game has increased dramatically, and so have the marketing costs associated with getting your game noticed. Big publishers like Kabam work with strong IPs – Marvel in this case – and budgets of around $14M per game. They also have a large user base waiting for new titles. If you’re looking to compete with these industry giants, it’s vital to start the journey by heading in the right direction.

Here are 5 tips on how to research the market and evaluate the viability of your business prior to commencing development.

Step 1: Check the business potential

About a year ago AppAgent worked on the marketing of the game code-named ‘Gods&Guilds’. It’s a building strategy game similar to Clash of Clans, but based on the Norse mythology.

The first thing to do if you have an idea for a new game is to check Google Trends to understand how similar games are performing. Are they fading in search popularity or still going strong? Rankings in AppAnnie can provide similar insights.

The trend will help you understand whether your new game will be timely or late to the market. Over time, players’ tastes evolve, and with product development taking between 1 to 2 years you don’t want to waste your time developing for an audience that is shrinking. In this case, the popularity of CoC has declined as Clash Royale has grown, demonstrating a shift to more casual and fresh format addressing a larger audience. Of course, it’s entirely up to you if you prefer a more niché or ‘hard-core’ game genre than a mass-market casual approach, but by studying the trends at least you will know.

Next, you should estimate the business potential of each platform. Priori Data or other market intelligence tools provide comparison of downloads and revenues per platform. For Gods & Guilds we identified that, while iOS accounts for 36% of downloads and nearly half of the revenue in strategy games category, Android generates large enough revenues for it to be used as the first platform, enabling us to scale faster and at a lower Cost Per Install, which is an important factor for a multiplayer game.

Also, it’s interesting to analyse the average revenue of games at the 10th rank, 50th rank and 100th rank in the top grossing charts. This helps you to understand the monetary chart curve and see if you can earn enough money, even if you aren’t able to reach the popularity of a game like Clash of Clans.

Newzoo provides great – and totally free – market reports and several paid analysis focusing at specific verticals, regions or aspects such as engagement metrics, monetization metrics, trends or consumer insights

I also recommend Eric Seufert’s presentation: “Using (Free!) App Annie data to optimize your next game”.

Step 2: Identify the performance of competitors

Once you feel that the selected genre has potential, it’s time to look at the competition. You should check:

Stats: rating, downloads and revenue estimate (Priori Data, AppAnnie)

Proposition: what’s the unique selling proposition of your product (App Store/Play Store, ideally using AppAnnie)

Key features: what are the main product benefits

Reviews: pros and cons, the trend of the rating in time (AppAnnie)

Visual style: how the app is presented in the store

For a better understanding of Gods & Guilds we compiled key metrics in a simple table and then visualised main characteristics of the game’s competitors on a matrix chart. Here we can see that Clash of Clans operates in a completely different league. Even other big games have much smaller download velocity and an average ARPU of around $3.50. In terms of visuals and concept there’s a big space for an isolated game play with realistic visuals.

The result of this step is to help you find a unique position and to bring something new to the market. In Gods&Guilds the approach was to build an army of heroes from Norse mythology and focus at multiple game modes, yet the existing stylized visuals conflicted with many other games on the market.

Step 3 – Find key audience insights

Personally, my favorite part is the analysis of the audience because it helps to form a clear player profile. It’s the foundation for the product but also informs the design, the store listing, creating targeted paid ads and creating a compelling advertising message.

The best starting point is Facebook Audience Insights where you can select top games or apps in your segment and analyse audience by gender, age, status and even affinity to other fan pages. Facebook also conducted a segmentation of gamers which can serve as an inspiration how to think about user personas. It’s a little outdated, but it’s still useful:

You should ‘dive deep’ into the details to understand what users like about specific games or apps, if they are social or competitive and if they have a disposable income. The last question can be partly answered using a market intelligence tool where you can divide the revenue by downloads per country/platform/category and get an “Purchase Index”. This value, combined with an estimated CPI and difficulty to reach top charts, helps you to pick markets which you can focus on after the global launch.

A critical part of target group research is an estimation of the market size. The trick is in using Facebook Ads Manager to play with overlaps of different groups and understand the audience size and profile, even on a country level. Even if you will use other ad networks such as Adwords or video networks, it’s a good starting point providing a relative comparison of market sizes. Just be aware of specific countries where Facebook competes with local giants such as VKontakte in Russia.

Step 4 – Count the profitability

In the freemium world, the business stands or falls on the equation of Cost Per Install and Lifetime Value. If the LTV exceeds acquisition costs, you’re able to scale the user base and grow revenues.

The LTV calculation is a topic for a separate article which will follow in a near future as there are different approaches, methodologies and other elements of the model. To begin with you should start by calculating lifetime from expected retention benchmarks and multiply the value by desired Average Revenue Per Daily Active user. This doesn’t include any virality or organic uplift which differs by game genre, platform and country, but at least it gives you a basic understanding of the LTV component. For more about LTV read post by Yaniv Nizan where are different calculators:
The part of acquisition costs is easier to estimate. We at AppAgent use two free data sources:

1) Chartboost CPI Index: With a CPI of $3.48 in the US and Gods&Guilds multiplayer modes requiring a critical mass of active players it’s clear, we will need a big budget for the paid acquisition. The solution could be a focus at specific time zones to improve a “local” matchmaking in the game.

2) FB Ads Manager: to start the CPI estimation, select a list of your competitors using Interest targeting, pick a country and platform and check the suggested Cost-Per-Click. If you divide the suggested price by an estimated conversion rate in the store (for paid traffic this could be in average about 45% for iOS and 40% for Android if you don’t have own historic data) you get quite good Cost-Per-Install estimate. If some of your fellow devs have a game within your category, ask for Conversion Ratio Benchmarks in the Google Play Consoles under the Acquisition Reports tab. For Gods&Guilds the current estimate for the US male audience using Wi-Fi connection is $3.65 which creates high demand on the user lifetime value to operate profitable campaigns. Yet great mobile acquisition managers can drive the price lower, leveraging new formats, original creatives and smart approach to targeting. Also, big IPs significantly increase the conversion rate and drive the CPI much lower, a situation confirmed by Will Newell, former UA manager at Space Ape Games on Transformers: Earth Wars.

From this point on you can move forward and build your own growth model where you include paid and organic traffic (cross-promotion, word-of-mouth, even featuring if you’re confident to secure it). Once you add retention numbers and ARPDAU values you will get a possible financial outcome. A basic definition of a mobile growth model is described by William Gill at the Mobile Growth Stack web.

Step 5: Test the most appealing theme

Not many developers are aware of testing creative aspects of the game. Will Newell revealed at the AppAgent Academy that at Space Ape Games they’ve tested the name tagline of the Transformers game using Facebook Ads with CPM bidding. With three fan pages the test used the same creatives but different product taglines. The winning name is well known today: “Transformers: Earth Wars”.

At Geewa, we recently proposed over 100 names for a new game. The final shortlist of four went to the Facebook test, where the main KPI was the Click Through Rate of a mobile ad showing the brand name as an artwork. My favorite ‘Smashing Four’ reached a CTR of 2.6% where others reached between 1.1% to 1.6%.

Pixel Federation went even further and tested the visual theme of an upcoming match 3 game. “We’ve used FB ads and Splitmetrics to measure both the ads CTR and the store conversion. The winning concept called Button Blast reached 1% better CTR. In terms of conversion rate it won with 25% by far ahead of the second concept Music Match with 17.5% and Yummi Blocks with remaining two below 12%,” said Matej Lancaric, mobile marketing manager.

CONCLUSION

With high development costs, brutal acquisition prices and fierce competition, it’s necessary to lower the risk of failure and be smart about your business decisions. With the free data and tools available you can find a much more direct route to the success.

These are just some of the things that you can do, and it’s likely that there are several other techniques out there that can help you to analyse the market and verify ideas. As a growth fanatic I would love to hear them. Don’t hesitate to reach me via Twitter or by email peter at appagent.co.(source:gamasutra.com