Micheal Martinez回顧和反思JuiceBox Games的失敗

Micheal Martinez回顧和反思JuiceBox Games的失敗

在看原文前,先看看我早先寫的一篇小評論

JuiceBox Games:大夢想在大資源加持下的失敗

A,明星投資組合

Initial Capital、General Catalyst、Index Ventures、Mavron,以及Zynga 創始團隊成員Scott Dale 和前ElectronicArts首席執行官John Riccitiello

還有董事顧問Kristian Segerstrale(Playfish,EA,Supercell和Super Evil Megacorp)

Plutchik-emotion model(from gamasutra)

Plutchik-emotion model(from gamasutra)

B,明星團隊組合

有頂級產品經驗,且磨合多年的創始團隊組合

三個合夥人,創業前曾共事三年半

CEO,Michael Martinez

CTO,Jason McGuirk

CCO,Zak Pytlak

做出過成功作品

Zynga Poker(現在仍然是Zynga營收的第一支柱)

FarmVille(巔峯期MAU數以億計的超級產品)

FarmVille 2

C,超級產品夢想

專注Midcore遊戲

下一家10億美元級別的遊戲公司

…………………………………

當年,他們就是捨我其誰的那羣人

if there was a team that people should invest in or place a bet on it would be us

……………………………………

但這並不足以讓他們成功

A,資源很重要

B,團隊很重要

C,心態很重要

JuiceBox Games完全具備了以上三大特徵

但缺乏另外一塊

D,產品視野也很重要

沒有好的產品視野,有資源,也是用來做無用功的

never built a great game

纔是最致命的癥結,普通優秀的產品,在市場上已經沒有競爭力了

所以,JuiceBox Games倒閉了

……………………

一般優秀的產品是沒有競爭力的,不能探索到用戶稍微前瞻一點的需求,就會被格局絞殺,做盡無用功

以下爲正式的文章分析

本文原作者:Craig Chapple 譯者ciel chen

在開發出第二款遊戲的三年半後,由於沒有足夠的玩家給遊戲帶來收入,JuiceBox Games這家位於舊金山的手遊開發公司於2016年3月停止運營。

該遊戲工作室曾經的CEO Micheal Martinez(現EA遊戲公司旗下工作室的總經理)在Games First Helsinki 2017活動上發表了講話,他在演講中誠懇地聊了他和兩個聯合創始人是如何運營這家公司但終究還是沒能讓它繼續在遊戲市場存活下去的內容。

三位共同創始人在2012年JuiceBox Games成立之前都曾經在Zynga工作過三年半的時間,參與過熱門遊戲諸如《撲克(pocker)》、《農場小鎮(FarmVille)》和《農場小鎮2(FarmVille2)》的開發。

宏圖計劃

曾經工作室計劃致力開發以midcore遊戲玩家爲目標受衆的手機遊戲。爲此,工作室說服了包括Kristian Segerstrale在內等行業高手來支持他們的計劃宏圖,於是他們籌集到了多達250萬美金的資金。

“開口問別人要百萬美元感覺很怪,不過感覺更怪的是真的有人願意給。不過有人能願意出資真的是太棒了。”Martinez這樣說。

儘管JuiceBox在初創的前兩個季度就有規劃要做3款遊戲的發行,直到2014年2月份,他們發行了他們的第一款F2P RPG遊戲《榮譽之戰》。

這款遊戲風格獨特,是受到諸如《巴哈姆特之怒》以及《熱血兄弟》這類亞洲遊戲的啓發所開發出來的,希望西方玩家用戶能由此被帶到遊戲時代的“下一個階段”。

工作室在第一款遊戲中取得了一定的成績。《榮譽之戰》上升到美國熱門遊戲榜的第31名並帶來800萬美元的收入。這意味着工作室可以繼續開發遊戲並聘請新員工了——該工作室在舊金山有36名員工。

在2015年10月工作室發行了第二款遊戲《暴風之子》,Martinez說團隊在發行後三天就知道開發者這下麻煩了,工作室不得不叫停了。

JuiceBox把公司的命運投注在了第二款遊戲的成功上。然而儘管《風暴之子》有比《榮譽之戰》更好的KPIs,但卻只有它10%的安裝量,這表明這款遊戲不可能運行下去。

哪些方面是做得不錯的

Martinez表示他從在JuiceBox工作室的經歷中吸取了到的很多經驗,知道了它成於何處,敗於何處。

說到團隊哪些方面做的好的,他提到了團隊對成功的許諾。無論是開始那段時間從早上9點到下午5點都在CTO的餐廳趕工,直到後來很快地找到了可以辦公的辦公地,這都讓他們能更好更方便地和投資者交流。

不過另一方面他也認爲,開發者要有一種相信自己的工作室一定能成功的“某種瘋狂”。在他看來,沒有什麼問題是不能解決的——他想過更慘的是把團隊整個賣掉然後賺好幾百萬美元,對於他來說這始終“愚蠢的”想法。

另外他覺得不錯的方面是團隊會着眼於接下來的事。“你可能達成了很多公司想要達成的里程碑,”他說道,不過他補充說這對他們來說不一定是好事,因爲當這些里程碑變得不再有意義的時候會讓人感覺有一些“震撼”。

很明顯團隊當然會希望慶祝自己所獲的成功,但他提醒說開發者絕對不能在自己所獲的榮譽成就面前自我懈怠而停滯不前。

它還表明,儘管最後失敗了,但團隊還是做到了他們最開始所承諾過的要做的事——團隊秉承着“想做就做”的核心價值觀,在早期按時地達成了里程碑,這也是團隊能得到早期投資的原因。

哪些方面是做的不好的

儘管第一款遊戲賺了800萬美元,Martinez說他們的團隊“沒能做出真正的好遊戲”——只有真正的好遊戲才能變成公司的搖錢樹。在他看來,儘管《榮譽之戰》在各項指標表現得都不錯,但團隊仍舊無法在用戶獲取方面盈利。

其次,終究JuiceBox還是太晚進入市場了。它相信如果工作室在2012年就發行遊戲的話也許工作室能撐到今天。

也許最重要的是——他說了一個開發者會失敗的原因,就是大多數開發公司都把命運投注在每款遊戲上,“這個是非常可怕的心態”。

儘管他覺得團隊的把吸取的教訓應用在同類遊戲上這種策略是合理的,但是當第二款遊戲沒能成功,那這樣的策略以後也就派不上什麼用場了。

經驗教訓

對於Martinez來說,它在JuiceBox的成功和失敗裏學到的最重要的經驗之一就是定好遊戲的分銷策略。如果有人問你你的分銷策略是什麼,那你可不能回答說你要開發的遊戲要好到讓衆人皆愛,這樣的回答“是不充分的”。

他還補充說如果你打算把自己的遊戲推送到APP Store上那是沒問題的,“不過這並不足以讓你的遊戲成功——光推送是靠不住的。”

還有一個教訓就是要創辦領導一家工作室就要相信自己,因爲在辦一家公司時你會遇到很多艱難的決定需要由你做出抉擇。他說:你不得不面對並接受這些來讓公司能往前發展。

儘管工作室關閉了——Martinez說他仍將繼續秉持着“勇往直前”的生活理念,並且他爲那些想要開始創辦自己的公司的人送出了一些鼓勵的話語。

“如果你做這些類似的事,就放手做好了。”他如此說道。

“別老想着‘噢,兩三年後我會習慣面對這種風險的’,因爲這兩三年將眨眼即逝,而你也不會從此更舒服地面對風險。這行不通的。”

他引用了前美國總統“泰迪”西奧多羅斯福的話來作爲總結:

“那些評論者;那些對強壯之人的跌倒指指點點或對實幹者的不足挑三揀四之人一點都不重要。榮譽應該是屬於那些戰站在舞臺上的人,他們的臉覆蓋着塵土與血汗,他們勇於抗爭;他們勇於犯錯,一次又一次地露出短板,因爲沒有錯誤和缺點就不會有努力爭取;還有那些真正努力的人;那些擁有極大熱情與虔誠之心的人;那些想讓自己做一些偉大的事情的人;那些在最後知道高成就的勝利的最優秀的人;那些即使失敗了但至少真正勇敢的人——這些人是那些既不知道勝利也不知道失敗的膽怯的靈魂所永遠遙不可及的。”

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

San Francisco mobile games developer JuiceBox Games shut down in March 2016 after three and a half years following the failure to attract enough players to make money from its second game.

Speaking at Games First Helsinki 2017, the studio’s CEO Michael Martinez, who now works as studio GM at EA, offered a candid talk about how he and two co-founders grew the company but ultimately failed to keep it going.

Founded in 2012, the trio of founders had all worked together at Zynga for three and a half years prior on hit games such as Poker, FarmVille and FarmVille 2.

Big plans

The studio had plans to build mobile games targeting the midcore audience. To that end, after convincing investors like Kristian Segerstrale to back the team’s vision, the developer raised $2.5 million in funding, with Segerstrale also joining the board.

“It’s kind of weird to ask someone for a million dollars, and weirder when they say yes,” said Martinez. “But it’s awesome.”

Despite having startlingly ambitious plans to ship three games in its first two quarters, JuiceBox launched its first game in February 2014; the free-to-play RPG HonorBound.

The project was its own take on titles like Rage of Bahamut and Blood Brothers with the idea to take inspiration from games like these in Asia and take them “to the next level” for a Western audience.

It worked to a degree for the first game. HonorBound peaked as the number 31 grossing game in the US and brought in $8 million. This meant the studio could continue developing and hiring new employees – it worked with over 36 staff at its San Francisco base.

When it launched its second title StormBorn in October 2015 though, Martinez said the team knew after just three days that the developer was in trouble and would probably have to shut down. The called the speed of that realisation “terrifying”.

JuiceBox had bet the company on the second game’s success. Despite generally better KPIs, StormBorn had 10% of the installs of HonorBound, which proved unsustainable.

What went well

Martinez discussed the numerous lessons he learned from his time with JuiceBox, how it succeeded and where it failed.

When it came to what the team did well, he cited the team’s commitment to success. Whether it was working in the CTO’s dining room in the early days from nine to five, or quickly finding an office space and getting to work. This, he said, made it easier to speak with investors.

On the flipside however is he said you have to “be kind of crazy” to believe your studio is going to succeed. In his mind, there was no way things wouldn’t work out – his worse case scenario was selling the team down the line and making millions of dollars. A thought he labelled as “dumb”.

Another thing that went well was the team’s focus on what’s next. “There are a lot of company milestones you hit,” he said, but added that as soon as it would him them, it’s “kind of shocking” how they can become meaningless.

Obviously team’s want to celebrate success, he noted, but you can never rest on your laurels.
He also stated that he team, despite its ultimate closure, did what it said it would do in its early days. It met early milestones on time with a core value of “just do it”, which helped bring about the initial investment.

What went wrong

Despite generating $8 million from its first game, Martinez said the team “never built a great game” – one that could serve as a revenue engine for the company. He felt that while HonorBound had decent metrics, the team wasn’t able to unlock user acquisition spend profitably.

Secondly, JuiceBox was ultimately too late to market. He believes had the studio launched its games earlier in 2012 it would probably still be around toady.

Perhaps most importantly – he said a reason why the developer failed was because it bet the company on each game, “which is a terrifying place to be”.

While he felt the team’s strategy of applying its learnings in the same genre was sound, when it’s second game didn’t succeed, there wasn’t much it could do after.

The lessons

For Martinez, one of the key lessons from JuiceBox’s success and failures was figuring out distribution is key. If someone asks you what your distribution strategy is, you can’t say you’ll build a great product and everyone will know about it because it’s great, he said, “it’s not sufficient”.

He added that stating you’re going to have featuring on the App Stores is good, “but it’s not going to make your business a success. Don’t rely on that”.

Another lesson when founding and leading a studio was to trust yourself, as there will be lots of hard decisions to make when building a company. You have to embrace these to keep the company moving forward, he stated.

Despite the studio’s closure – Martinez said that he still holds the life philosophy to always jump in, and had some encouraging words for others thinking of starting their own company.

“If you’re thinking about doing something like this, do it,” he stated.

“Don’t think ‘oh I’ll be more comfortable with risk two years from now, three years from now’, because those three years will go by in the blink of an eye and you’re not going to be more comfortable with risk later on. That’s not how it works.

“In the future you won’t look back and think ‘I wish I didn’t take that risk’, you always say ‘I wish I did it’.”

He concluded with a quote from a speech by former President of the United States Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defe at.”(source:pocketgamer.biz