開發者探討手遊IAP盈利模式的未來

本文原作者:William Grosso 譯者ciel chen

移動手遊是一個大市場行業

你之前一定聽過手遊行業現在市場龐大——是的沒錯,而且這有必要在這裏再強調一遍:手機遊戲,更普遍地來說是F2P(免費)手遊現在已經是一個巨大並且競爭激烈的市場了。例如你可以考慮到以下:

現在移動手遊有着比無論是電腦遊戲還是主機遊戲都要大的市場。

現在App Store中有250萬款app,和超過60萬的遊戲。

現在那些能幫助手機遊戲盈利的中間件公司價值越來越高了,它們都能賣到幾十億美元。

Power Rangers: Legacy Wars(from gamasutra.com)

Power Rangers: Legacy Wars(from gamasutra.com)

最大型的手機遊戲每年能盈利數億美元。

所以當你處在一個巨大的市場之中,而這個市場的消費者相當熱情、但卻有無數大量的競爭者來跟你爭奪這個行業市場份額時,會發生什麼?

有一點始終是公司之間競爭市場份額最看重的——那就是產品質量。我們來看看手遊市場裏的遊戲產品質量——大部分遊戲都很棒並且時刻都在進步,其整體發展速度快到令人驚歎。

這樣所造成的另一個結果就是商業成熟化的巨大趨勢——隨着市場的成熟,要想出如何使產品接近消費者以及如何獲得他們的業務就變成了各個公司的最主要的關注點了。

在2014年到2016年期間,舉個例子,領頭的遊戲公司在他們的市場營銷和用戶獲取方式上日益複雜化(並且越發自動化)了。比如說我們會看到:

Google Play開始支持新手遊發行的預先登記註冊。

手機遊戲在電視上的廣告日益增多

高級的用戶目標鎖定,比如Facebook的定製觀衆以及用戶目標的重新鎖定都是用來提高用戶獲取以及用戶留存效率的。

遊戲商業複雜性增加

在Scientific Revenue,我們看到了商業複雜性日益增加的趨勢,這種趨勢已經延伸到了遊戲本身——這點在那些把IAP作爲主要盈利方式的遊戲中尤爲顯著。

爲了能更加了解這個趨勢,可以從一個稍微不同的方法來思考一下F2P模式:F2P模式實際上意味着銷售點位於遊戲內部(不是在Amazon或Gamestop)並且由遊戲控制着銷售點內容。

以下的主要趨勢都是有這個觀點引發的所有簡單邏輯結果:

LiveOps成爲了服務平臺。像Playfab這樣的公司越來越多地啓用了特殊的遊戲內行爲、限時事件、行爲動機,以及針對個別玩家或者各段玩家提供某些內容。我們可以把這些公司提供的服務看做遊戲內的管理平臺,這類服務不但有助於提升體驗而且可以有針對性地降價或提供商品供應來增加收入。

動態定價服務和收益最優化服務。像Scientific Revenue這樣的公司利用數據和機器學習(能力)來調整和優化盈利模式從而增加收益。

收益調整和控制服務。廣告和中介類公司已經存在了相當長一段時間了,並且他們一直在利用預測性分析和機器學習能力來進行定位目標的。這其中日益複雜化的廣告控制是新內容——這些公司現在正在根據“是否有可能進行IAP購買的”對遊戲進行細分,從而由此作出決定要不要在這裏(遊戲)展示廣告。

即將到來的熱潮:不同的(遊戲)商品供應及其類型

考慮到F2P遊戲模式的真正意義在於其銷售點位置,也就是說這種模式會是用來思考手遊盈利模式的一種非常有用的方法。手遊工作室現在越發地能把握住他們自己新角色(運行付費通道),與此同時他們還會採用零售的最佳實踐方法。

這條趨勢線的下一個浪潮將會是IAP多樣化產品的供應。五年前的大部分IAP向遊戲都在下列商品的銷售上出現了變化:

有一到兩種虛擬貨幣。通常會有一種“硬”貨幣(需要玩家購買的貨幣),有時還會有“軟”貨幣或者“可賺取”貨幣(玩家可以在遊戲中賺取的貨幣)。

一些DLC或者內容包。

少量可通過真實貨幣購買,跟遊戲玩法有關的商品。“廣告屏蔽”和“獲取雙倍金幣”是最常見的該類商品。

還有一些遊戲有更加成熟的商業模式,不過上面列表的內容是是跟定義的公認最佳實踐內容最接近的。

如今,大部分新發行遊戲都有以下內容:

在遊戲中起到不同作用的兩種或兩種以上的虛擬貨幣

有包括硬幣店、載入遊戲時的啓動畫面以及彈出廣告等在內的多個銷售點。

由遊戲內容決定的帶有特殊目的的購買流(比如,當遊戲處於“需要更多流通貨幣”流時,遊戲就會提供更簡便的購買體驗而對用戶對可用的金幣包加以限制)。

用真實貨幣進行道具包和貨幣包的購買交易。

特價商品是爲部分用戶精心設計的。

舉個例子,如果你看過我最近安裝在手機上的遊戲(nWay的《Power Rangers: Legacy Wars》),遊戲裏的IAP內容如下:

兩種貨幣:能量水晶和能量金幣

主頁上永不下架的特價商品——即有角色類商品(可以用能量金幣或者水晶購買)也 有道具包商品,都需要用真錢來交易。

金幣商城裏“特價放送”的標籤,並且總帶有常綠的“馬上到期”字樣(所以特別有購買號召力)。

爲“新玩家”特別提供的僅留存24小時的商品。

等等……

總而言之,現在的遊戲比過去幾代遊戲有了更多可以出售的商品、商品種類更加豐富、有更多遊戲內容方面的商品和道具包。

(當然了,要能做好IAP管理,向合適的玩家呈上合適的商品,這需要有大量的服務端機器與專業知識。所以很慶幸我們正在進入一個“機器學習”的年代)。

年金化收費(遊戲中的年卡/月卡/周卡):與衆不同的收費類型

年金化收費(遊戲中的年卡/月卡/周卡)是一種越來越流行、越來越重要的付費方式,它完全符合了高度細分、爲用戶特別制定商品的思路。

年金化收費(遊戲中的年卡/月卡/周卡)就是以極低的折扣價購買後隨時間推移交付購買內容的形式(“年金給付”)對遊戲貨幣或者物品進行的購買。實際上的購買方式是一次性付款,付清款項後該年金(年卡/月卡/周卡)開始生效。
這個禮包將持續28天每天給玩家1000個Iso-8以及100個英雄點數(也就是說在年金週期裏總共給玩家28000個Iso-8和2800個英雄點數)。相比之下,最小的Iso-8包也要1.99美元1200個。所以,年金的付費方式代表了划算得叫人吃驚的一筆交易,不過它需要一定的時間才能把其全部價值交付給支付用戶。

你不難猜測,年金化的付費方式將玩家分成了兩類——一種是較衝動型消費的玩家類型,另一種是認爲售賣的商品值得花時間等待來獲取(以低折扣價格作爲交換條件)的玩家類型。簡而言之,年金化付費方式對那些兜裏有錢且有較好的衝動控制力的“喜歡計劃的人”來說,是有吸引力的【這些人通常會成爲“磨工”(有耐心的人),因爲他們有抵制購買衝動決定的能力】

這裏有一點要注意的就是,年金化的付費方式有非常強有力的用戶留存能力。這跟每日登陸獎勵的作用很像,年金(年卡/周卡/月卡)的存在會鼓勵玩家定期登錄遊戲。於是當然了,一旦用戶形成了日常登錄遊戲的習慣,他們就有更大的可能成爲長期玩家。

結束語

在這篇文章中,我們討論了IAP的盈利模式趨勢以及現代手遊在遊戲內爲玩家制定的,日益複雜化的商品供應。玩家也得到了越來越多樣化的遊戲內商品內容,並且有了更多的付費方式可選。

如果能合理制定IAP的盈利模式,不僅能顯著提高盈利,還能增加玩家的愉悅感(如果你是個“喜歡計劃的人”,你會想要遊戲提供的年卡/月卡/周卡禮包的)。

不過相應地這也將增加遊戲設計和執行的工作量:設計者必須設計出遊戲所提供的商品內容,然後他們還得在對的時間裏把合適的商品推送給合適的玩家——你一定最不希望看到玩家在遊戲的每一個階段都要面對超大量可供選擇購買的商品。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源。或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Mobile Gaming is Big Business

You’ve heard it before. Mobile games are now big business. But it’s true, and it’s worth mentioning once again: Mobile gaming, and free-to-play gaming more generally, is now a huge and highly competitive market. Consider, for example:

Mobile games are now a bigger market than either desktop or console games.

There are now 2.5 million apps in the appstores, and over 600 thousand games.

Middleware companies that help mobile games monetize are increasingly valuable and are being sold for billions of dollars.

The biggest mobile games make hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

What happens when you have a huge market of enthusiastic consumers, with an enormous number of companies competing for their business?

Well, for one thing product quality goes through the roof as companies compete for business. And we see this in mobile gaming – the games are generally awesome and they’re getting better all the time. The overall rate of improvement is astounding.

Another consequence is that there’s a huge trend towards commercial sophistication—as the market matures, figuring out how to reach consumers and how to get their business becomes a major focus point for companies.

In 2014 to 2016, for example, leading gaming companies became increasingly sophisticated (and increasingly automated) in how they marketing and user acquisition. For example, we saw:

Google Play start to support pre-registering for mobile games.

Mobile games increasingly advertising on television.

Advanced user targeting, such as Facebook custom audiences and retargeting are being used to make user acquisition and retention more effective.

Commercial Sophistication Increases

At Scientific Revenue, we see this trend towards commercial sophistication increasing, and extending far into the game itself. This is especially true for games that leverage in-app purchases for a significant percentage of their revenue.

To understand this a little better, think of the free-to-play model in a slightly different way: free-to-play really means that the point of sale is located inside the game (not at Amazon or Gamestop) and the game controls what happens at the point of sale.

The following major trends are all simple logical consequences of this point of view:

LiveOps as a Service. Companies such as Playfab are increasingly enabling special in-game behaviors, limited time events, behavioral incentives, and offers targeted at individual players or segments of players. Think of them as in-game concierge platforms, helping to enable better experiences but also targeting specials and offers for increased revenue.

Dynamic pricing services and revenue optimization services. Companies like Scientific Revenue leverage data and machine learning to tune and optimize monetization models and thereby increase revenue.

Revenue tuning and control services. Advertising and mediation layers have been around for a long-time, and have been leveraging predictive analytics and machine learning for targeting.

What’s new is the increasing sophistication around ad control – companies are now segmenting based on “likely to buy in-app purchases” and then making a decision about whether to show ads at all.

The Coming Wave: Different Offers and Types of Offers

Thinking of free-to-play as really being about the location of the point of sale is, it turns out, a very helpful way to think about monetization trends in mobile gaming. Mobile game studios are gradually coming to grips with their new role (running the checkout aisle), and are adopting best practices from retail as they do so.

The next wave in this trendline is offering increasingly differentiated products for in-app purchases. Five years ago, most IAP oriented games had some variation on the following items for sale:

One or two virtual currencies. Usually there was a “hard” currency (that players bought) and sometimes there was a “soft” or “earned” currency that players earned in game.

Some DLC or content packs

A few items related to gameplay that were sold for real-money. “Ad blockers” and “Coin Doublers” were the most common.

Some games were more commercially sophisticated, but the above list came close to defining generally accepted best practices.

Nowadays, most new games come with:

Two or more virtual currencies with different roles in the game.

Multiple points of sale, including a coin store, a splash-screen while the game is loading, and interstitial ads.

Special purpose purchase flows depending on game context (for example, a “more currency needed” flow that offers a simpler purchase experience and restricts the user to a subset of the available coin bundles).

Bundled merchandise and currency packs sold in real-money transactions.

Special offers carefully designed for segments of the population

For example, if you look at the most recently installed game on my phone (nWay’s Power Rangers: Legacy Wars), it has:

Two currencies: Power Crystals and Power Coins

An always-populated special on the main page, which has either characters (available for power coins or crystals) or bundled merchandise deals for real-money transactions.

A “Special Offers” tab in the coinstore, with evergreening specials that go away (and so have a special call to action)

“New player” offers that are only available for the first 24 hours.

And so on …

Figure 1. nWay’s Power Rangers: Legacy Wars is a well-designed example of current in-game merchandising trends.

Generally speaking, more things are for sale than in previous generations of games, there’s a greater variety of merchandise, and there’s more awareness of contextual offers and bundles.

(and, of course, managing this properly, presenting the right offers to the right players, requires a substantial amount of server-side machinery and expertise. It’s a good thing we’re entering the era of machine learning).

Annuities: A Different Type of Offer

Annuities are an increasingly popular, and important, type of highly segmented and user-specific offer that fits perfectly into this line of thinking.

An annuity is a purchase of currencies or goods that is offered at a steep discount and delivered over time (the “annuity payments”). The actual purchase is a lump sum, paid at the beginning of the annuity.

An annuity is just a sequence of payments that a person receives in exchange for an initial investment. Interest payments by a bank into a savings account are a common kind of annuity.

Insurance companies usually offer another type of annuity where you pay a large sum now (say $100,000), and then receive a guaranteed amount – say $5,000 a year – for the rest of your life.

Here, for example, is an annuity from Marvel Puzzle Quest.

Figure 2 The VIP Pack from Marvel Puzzle Quest is an Annuity

It delivers 1000 Iso-8 and 100 Hero Points every day for 28 days (so, 28,000 Iso-8, and 2,800 Hero Points, over the lifetime of the annuity)For comparison, the smallest Iso-8 bundle is for 1,200 units of Iso-8, and costs $1.99. So, the annuity represents an AMAZING deal, but one that delivers its value over time.

As you might guess, annuities tend to split the population between more impulsive players and those players who value the items being sold, but can wait to receive them (in exchange for a discounted price). In short, annuities appeal to “planners” who are affluent and have good impulse control (these people often become “grinders” otherwise due to their ability to suppress their impulsive buying decisions).

Note that annuities also have a very strong retention component. Much like daily login rewards, the presence of an annuity tends to encourage users to log in on a regular basis. And, of course, once the user is in the habit of playing daily, the user is much more likely to be a long-term player.

In Conclusion

In this article, we talked about IAP monetization trends, and about the increasing sophistication of the offers being made to players inside modern mobile games. Players are increasingly being offered a wider variety of options, and offered a wider variety of offer types, inside games.

Done properly, this increases monetization significantly while also increasing player happiness (if you’re a “planner”, you want to be offered an annuity).

But it also increases the amount of work involved in game design and implementation: someone has to design the offers, and then they need to be displayed to the right players at the right time — the last thing you want is to present every player with an overwhelming set of alternative purchases to make at every step of the game. (source:gamasutra.com