超休閒遊戲的崛起(二):如何確定分類(以paper.io爲例)

原作者:Guest Author 譯者:Willow Wu

本文是系列文章的第二篇,共有三篇。你可以點這裏閱讀第一篇

App Store問世的八年以來,手遊行業經歷了一場卓越的變革,正如我上一篇文章所說的。

這期間涌現出的一些潮流重新定義了手遊的種類,而且這些遊戲類型在收益榜上已經佔據好幾年的領先位置。

開發者們從龐大的國際玩家羣體中獲利,讓他們學會了怎麼通過IAP購買虛擬物品。可預測、可擴大的移動銷售渠道保證了他們擁有源源不斷的新玩家,還有可持續發展的事業。

在過去幾年,我注意到行業內有個趨勢:一些遊戲公司利用這段發展期把注意力放在那些簡單,但是每天都有上百萬人在玩的趣味遊戲上——其實這就是“少即是多(遊戲邦注:less is more)”的方法。

這些我稱作“超休閒(hyper-casual)”類型的遊戲隨處可見,從一定程度來說這也表達了人們對早年優秀街機遊戲的懷舊之情,在70、80年代它們可是無處不在。但是直到最近超休閒遊戲纔得到了業內的聚焦。

你總是能看到它們在免費榜上登頂而不是收益榜(收益榜上只有這一類app:它們的大部分盈利來自IAP)。而這些超休閒遊戲主要是通過廣告盈利。

其實他們的盈利狀況還是很可觀的,我認爲是時候來研究研究這些“超休閒”遊戲,着重探討一下它們的共同特色。

快餐式內容,即下即玩

通常來說,超休閒遊戲就是字面上意思的馬上玩。這類應用的體積一般很小,如果用戶在商店或者在廣告上看到,他們馬上就能玩起來,因爲下載安裝只需要幾秒鐘。體積小也意味着儘管不發達國家的移動通信基礎設施還不完善,但是也不影響那邊的龐大玩家羣體玩遊戲。

他們打開遊戲,然後就可以玩了:沒有加載,沒有關卡選擇,也沒有繼續上次遊戲的選項。用戶們想玩多少次就玩多少次,而且遊戲流程都很短。這些遊戲都極易容易上癮,因爲操作都非常簡單,只用點擊就可以。而且玩家可以隨時開始,隨時停止。

簡單但是能讓玩家上癮的玩法,這就是簡約風潮。

即使你從沒玩過這些超休閒遊戲,也不會對這種類型和玩法感到陌生,它們跟俄羅斯方塊或者縱橫填字遊戲並沒有很大的不同。

它們能夠吸引一大批用戶,利用一些社交功能甚至是多人同步在線模式提高知名度。這類遊戲非常休閒,不需要玩家投入什麼東西。

從遊戲畫面來說,超休閒遊戲的一貫風格就是簡潔,通常連UI都精簡了,明亮的顏色加上簡單的幾何形狀,搭配復古風格,或者乾脆就用極簡設計。

超休閒遊戲的簡易性也給它們帶來了額外的好處:由於遊戲玩法十分簡單,可以直接用截圖或者廣告就表達清楚,可以讓遊戲更快地傳播開。只需要看一下,用戶就能明白這個遊戲的玩法,不必下載後還要玩一段時間才能搞清楚,這樣就移除了遊戲的和用戶之間的潛在屏障。

搖錢樹

超休閒遊戲通常不會渴求玩家爲他們的遊戲內容付錢。與其費力盼着把小部分玩家的IAP轉化爲收益(別的遊戲類型IAP佔總收益的比例至少是70%),他們選擇換種方式,從整個玩家羣體中盈利:通過觀看有獎廣告視頻或者無獎廣告視頻,無獎廣告會給玩家提供IAP選項,購買一些不錯的額外功能道具,例如強化或者是私人訂製。

雖然每個玩家身上的利潤相對比較少,但是可以靠玩家數量、對遊戲的依賴程度、以及遊戲逐漸提升的知名度來彌補。

而且,由於這類遊戲的經濟比較淺顯,開發者們可以反覆利用有獎廣告視頻呈現內容,增加玩家對遊戲的迷戀程度。

關於這種“買一送一”盈利策略,有個不錯的例子就是通過有獎廣告視頻,既能用獎品取悅玩家,也能通過廣告盈利,《天天過馬路》就是這樣。

現如今,超休閒遊戲的收益喜人,開發者們也不需要過多的投資。

這類遊戲發展之後自成一家,就類似之前說的的midcore遊戲從core類中獨立出來——看看我之前的文章,如何區別midcore遊戲和core類遊戲,還有要感謝這篇文章幫助我進一步塑造想法。

在手遊業內領跑的遊戲類型一定不會缺少龐大的玩家羣體和玩家投入。

案例分析Voodoo公司的Paper.io

Start screen of paper.io(from pocketgamer.biz)

Start screen of paper.io(from pocketgamer.biz)

這家位於巴黎的遊戲開發公司Voodoo,之前已經有好多遊戲獲得成功,例如Quiz Run和Bool,但是Paper.io的成功可謂是突破天際。在美國免費遊戲排行榜中攀至第二位 (App Annie)。

發佈兩個月後,Paper.io就成爲了App Store中下載量最高的遊戲,並且成功保持遊戲類榜單前五的位置長達一個多月。

其實Paper.io跟我上面列出的一些超休閒遊戲標準是符合的。

即玩

從點擊遊戲圖標到開始玩不用5秒鐘。Paper.io的“play”鍵在開始界面上設計得非常顯眼,玩家只要輕輕一點就能馬上進入遊戲。

玩法

遊戲本身是非常簡單的,就像多人遊戲agar.io一樣,它也是對貪吃蛇的致敬。這遊戲是經典中的經典,它的成功是整個遊戲史上的濃墨重彩的一筆,甚至連現代藝術博物館都想把它納入館藏。

遊戲畫面是對比色強烈的8位風格,始於一個2D的格子。貪吃蛇的目的是越吃越長,Paper.io的目的是佔據地盤,擴大面積,比比看誰的地盤面積大。

遊戲的流程一般都在10秒到180秒左右,取決於玩家的技巧和運氣。輸了以後可以在10秒內就重新開始新一輪遊戲。

Paper.io的玩法

盈利

Paper.io對於玩家有三種不同的盈利方式:

觀看有獎廣告視頻,可以在重玩遊戲前獲得額外的生命。

可跳過的廣告視頻,每2輪或者3輪遊戲就會播放一次。

通過IAP去除廣告,並且可以爲遊戲中玩家的角色獲得定製道具。

有獎廣告整合

Paper.io是個非常典型的超休閒遊戲,但是其他公司也有類似的遊戲,例如Miniclip的agar.io,Bitmango的Block!,Gram Games的1010!Merged!和Six!,Ketchapp的Stack,還有最初的連點遊戲,等等等等。

在這個系列的下一篇,我們會把焦點轉移到數字上,解釋生態系統如何促成超休閒遊戲的成功,並且詳述超休閒遊戲商業模式的內部結構。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

This article is part two of a three-part series. You can read part one here.

In the past eight years since the App Store was first announced, mobile gaming has undergone a remarkable evolution, as I covered in my last post.

A couple of mobile gaming sensations have emerged that defined particular genres for mobile devices; these titles have dominated the top grossing charts for years now.

Their developers cashed in on a massive international audience that was educated to pay for virtual items through in-app purchases. Predictable and scalable mobile marketing channels helped them to have a steady influx of new users and build sustainable businesses.

In the past few years or so though, I’ve noticed a tendency of some gaming companies to leverage this history but also focus on simple but very enjoyable games that are played by millions on a daily basis — it’s a “less is more” approach.

These games, which I think of as “hyper-casual,” have always been around, and to some extent they are a nostalgic revival of the good old arcade games that were everywhere during the 70s and 80s. But only recently have these games turned into serious business.

You tend to find them on the top of the free charts instead of top grossing (where there are only apps that make the majority of their money through IAPs). Instead they monetise primarily through ads.

They’re making so much money, in fact, that I think the time is right to take a closer look at these “hyper-casual” games and highlight a couple of characteristics they have in common.

Snackable content, instantly available

Typically, hyper-casual games are played literally instantly. The apps tend to be lightweight (small file size), therefore if users discover them in the store or through an ad, they can play them within seconds. The small file size also means they are suitable for massive audiences in underdeveloped countries which are lacking in mobile infrastructure.

They open the app and are in the middle of gameplay: no loading, no level select, and no resume. Users can play as much and as often as they want, and the sessions tend to be short. The games are addictive largely because they’re always just a tap away and players can start and stop at any time.

Simple but addictive gameplay presented in a minimalistic fashion

Even if you’ve never played one of these hyper-casual games, you are probably familiar with the genre and gameplay — they’re not unlike Tetris or crosswords.

They tend to appeal to a broad audience, and some social hooks or even synchronous multiplayer modes help them to go viral quickly. These games are as casual as it gets and require no commitment from the user.

From a visual standpoint hyper-casual games keep it simple, generally having a stripped down UI, bright colors and simple shapes with a retro or even minimalist design.

The simplicity of hyper-casual games has an added bonus: it’s easier for them to go viral because the gameplay is so easily conveyed through screenshots and ads. At a glance, users understand the game, and reduction of that barrier goes a long way toward getting them to download and play it.

“Cas” cows

Hyper-casual games usually don’t urge the user to pay for content. Instead of making most of their revenue via converting a small percentage of their user base with IAPs (usually about >70% of the revenue in other genres), they monetise their whole user base through rewarded and non-rewarded video ads with the option to pay for some nice add-ons like boosts or customisation via IAPs.

The relatively low revenue per active user is compensated through stickiness, scale and viral appeal.

Moreover, because the economies of these games lack depth, their developers can continuously pump out content that is delivered via rewarded videos and contributes to their stickiness.

A great example of this “two-for-one” strategy-income through rewarded videos, coupled with rewards that please users, can be found in Crossy Road.

Since hyper-casual games can make a lot of money nowadays and require lower investment for developers.

They have developed into a genre of their own, in a similar fashion to what midcore became for core games – see my previous post for how I define the difference between core and midcore, and hat tip to this post for helping to shape my thinking.
The dominant mobile gaming genres clustered by audience size and user commitment
Case Study: Voodoo’s Paper.io

The Paris-based developer Voodoo had already seen a lot of success with its previous titles such as Quiz Run and Bool, but its title Paper.io went through the roof: It climbed to second place (App Annie) in the US Top Free overall charts.

It was the most downloaded game in the App Store two months after its initial release and managed to stay in the Top five in ‘games’ for over a month.
Download rankings for Paper.io on iOS (source: App Annie)
Paper.io in fact meets many of the criteria I listed above for hyper-casual games.

Instant

It takes less than five seconds from tapping the app logo to playing the game. Paper.io’s “play” button is very prominent on the start screen, and users jump right into the game upon tapping it.

Start screen of paper.io

Gameplay

The game itself is extremely simple, and like multiplayer agar.io, it pays homage to Snake, a game so successful and iconic that the Museum of Modern Art intends to add it to its collection.

The game sports a contrast-rich 8-bit style, and instead of a snake that gets longer and longer, players build a 2-dimensional grid; the goal is to capture more area than the other players.

Depending on how skilled and lucky the player is, sessions usually last between 10 and 180 seconds. When a player loses, they can start a new session within 10 seconds.

Gameplay of paper.io

Graphic 4:

Monetisation

Paper.io has three different ways to monetise the user:

Rewarded video to get a bonus life before starting a new game

Skippable video and interstitials after every second or third game

IAP purchases for getting rid of ads and customisation of the player’s “avatar”

Rewarded ad integration

Paper.io is a great example for a hyper-casual game, but there are more companies that follow similar patterns, e.g. Miniclip with agar.io, Bitmango with Block!, Gram Games with 1010!, Merged! and Six!, Stack by Ketchapp, and the original dots, to name a few.

In the next part of this series, we will focus on the numbers, explain how the ecosystem enables the success of hyper-casual games, and describe the inner workings of the hyper-casual business model.(source:pocketgamer.biz