MZ所代表的4X策略手遊在近期出現了集體性的瓶頸問題

MZ所代表的4X策略手遊在近期出現了集體性的瓶頸問題

原作者:Jon Jordan 譯者:Willow Wu

一個月前,我們在朋友圈提到了MZ可能遇到的問題,當時的表述:

我對MZ(Machine Zone)模式和歷史有特殊偏好,但不得不說2017年7月,是MZ自己作死的一月

2017年6月起,MZ爲了強推夢幻新作Final Fantasy XV:A New Empire進行了挖坑行動,資源大量傾斜給Final Fantasy XV:A New Empire

但很遺憾Final Fantasy XV:A New Empire不是頭部產品(沒有強勢崛起,反倒陷入口碑泥沼)

自2017年7月,Game of War-Fire Age自2013年上架以來,歷史上第一次出現下載和營收同步斷崖式下滑

自2017年7月,Mobile Strike自2015年上架以來,歷史上第一次出現下載和營收同步斷崖式下滑

Game of War-Fire Age和Mobile Strike的全球表現甚至要弱於Clash of kings

從穩固的頭部第一梯隊(Top3-5),縱深一躍到非常飄忽的第二梯隊(Top10-30)

Final Fantasy XV:A New Empire的失誤,將100億美元估值的超級公司,瞬間拉低好幾個身位

machine zone(from pocketgamer.biz)

machine zone(from pocketgamer.biz)

前幾天剛跟朋友聊到的:2017年除了全球性的新作乏力,最大的看點就是MZ遭遇了自己瓶頸(MZ的產業鏈裏,營銷是核心的競爭力之一)

參閱:對於相對依賴營銷驅動的Machine Zone而言,錯誤的資源傾向(資源大量傾斜給Final Fantasy XV:A New Empire),就有可能帶來災難,減少持續資源支撐的Game of War-Fire Age和Mobile Strike自架以來,歷史上第一次出現下載和營收同步斷崖式下滑

最近pocket gamer網站也出現了一篇類似的話題探討,如下:

我一直挺敬佩MZ的商業運營手段,但是我還是不得不向這家美國手遊開發商問一句:你們到底是哪裏出了毛病?

從2013年開始到2015年,MZ的4X策略手遊Game of War和Mobile Strike在全球各大應用商店相繼登頂,無論是Game of War還是Mobile Strike都能在一年內狂撈幾十億美金。

當然,這種成功並不是輕易得來的。

甚至連那些玩了很久的忠實玩家都無法否認MZ的這兩個遊戲在遊戲體驗上非常逼真,metagame面面俱到,依靠聯盟爲賣點的氪金手段十分強硬有效。

正因爲如此,不管是從絕對消費還是從創新的消費模式角度來說,MZ一直是手遊市場中的盈利先鋒。

但是現在粗略看一下應用商店的榜單,你會發現這兩個遊戲好像跌的有點厲害啊。

斷崖式下滑

下載榜的數據是最明顯的,我們看的是Google Play商店,比較清楚,但是在蘋果商店那邊情況也是一樣。

多虧了MZ沒有中斷營銷投入,Game of War和Mobile Strike的下載量在6月底之前都還保持在前50的位置,然後它們就跳水般地掉出了前100。到7月中旬的時候,這兩個遊戲被遠遠地甩到了500名之後。

考慮到MZ數量龐大的忠實玩家基礎,還有他們的收益冠軍寶座,就算不去挖掘新玩家,也不至於造成這種慘狀。但是,現實就是這樣。

從7月開始,這兩個遊戲在美國市場掉出穩固的前五位置,10月繼續下滑,告別前十的位置。如果按照這個速度繼續下去,它們可能在2018年年初就跌出前50。

換崗

從某種程度來說,這種突然下滑的原因是顯而易見的。六月末,MZ發行了《最終幻想15》,這是他們跟Square Enix聯手製作的手遊。

這遊戲跟MZ之前的4X手遊十分相似,但是考慮到《最終幻想》系列的龐大粉絲羣體,這種IP授權遊戲應該還可以做得更大,而且設定爲付費遊戲的話會更好。
但這並不是說MZ沒有投入大量資金去運營這個代理遊戲、吸引新玩家,他們還請了模特兼網紅Alexis Ren拍攝宣傳視頻呢。

正是因爲這個《最終幻想15》還在Google Play下載榜單的前50之中,但是顯然跟7月之前的Mobile Strike差遠了。

然而我們可以看到《最終幻想15》現在是Google Play美國地區盈利前十的遊戲之一,而且數據還在上升,朝着前五奔去,這說明MZ的營銷投入還是有些作用的。

接下來呢?

這就是爲什麼MZ要做出看似如此激進的決策。

Game of War和Mobile Strike都是非常成功的產品,但是隨着它們的壽命逐漸步入晚期,如果要讓它們繼續保持在盈利榜單靠前的位置,MZ所需的營銷投入可能會越來越多。

毫無疑問,MZ是個盈利巨頭公司,但是劃出30%的資金給營銷,跟劃出50%的資金相比還是有區別的,會對整體盈利產生顯著的影響。

相較之下,很容易就可以算出來花更少的錢在《最終幻想15》上,讓它成爲收益前五的遊戲之一,能得到更多的利潤。就算把付給Square Enix特許權費和公司整體的收益下滑算進去,也還是能收穫可觀的盈利。

因此,更值得期待的是MZ下一步會做什麼。

鑑於MZ所創造的成功,我想無論是哪個老牌遊戲公司都會很樂意跟Square Enix一樣,跟MZ簽署類似的授權協議。

也有可能他們不再借助別人的IP,自己創造新遊戲。根據他們以往的遊戲發行時間來看,從2013、2015再到2017,距離下一個計劃我們可能還得等上一段時間了。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Despite being a longstanding admirer of MZ’s business operations, the question that has to be asked is what the hell is going on at the US mobile game developer?

Since 2013 and 2015 respectively its 4X strategy games Game of War and Mobile Strike have sat atop the world’s app stores, each generating an estimated billion dollars annually.

Of course, that sort of success hasn’t come easy or cheaply.

Not even committed players of the games would dispute they are hardcore experiences, heavy on metagame, and aggressive in their alliance-focused monetisation.

For that reason, MZ has been in the vanguard of mobile game marketing, both in terms of absolute spending as well as creative innovation in terms of how and where it spends.

But as a cursory look at the app store charts shows, it looks like those two games have effectively been sunsetted.

Dropping like stones

The download chart is the most revealing; we’re using Google Play as it’s clearer, but the same is true for the Apple App Store.

Thanks to MZ’s continued marketing, both Game of War and Mobile Strike were top 50 games in terms of downloads until the end of June when they dropped like a stone out of the top 100. Indeed, by mid-July both games were outside the top 500.

Given their committed player base, cutting off the supply of new players hasn’t had such a dramatic impact in terms of their top grossing position, but it has had an impact.

From the start of July, the games dropped out of their usual top five position in the US, dropping out of the top 10 during October. If the current trajectory is maintained they could be outside the top 50 by the start of 2018.

Changing of the guards

On one level, the reason for this sudden reversal is obvious. At the end of June, MZ released Final Fantasy XV, its co-production with Square Enix.

The game is very similar to MZ’s previous 4X games, but the appeal of the licence should make a bigger game in terms of player numbers and more efficient on a dollar-to-download level to market.
Not that MZ isn’t spending big to push the game both in terms of in-game UA and wider campaigns, using model and influencer Alexis Ren.

For that reason it’s one of the top 50 most downloaded games on Google Play, but significantly not at the same high level that Mobile Strike experienced prior to the July switch-off.

Yet, on that basis, we can see the marketing spend has been more efficient as Final Fantasy XV is now within the top 10 top grossing games on Google Play in the US and continuing to rise towards the top five.

What’s next?

And this is the real reason MZ has taken what appears to be such a radical decision.

Both Game of War and Mobile Strike were very successful, but as they aged, the amount of marketing spend required to keep them at the top of the grossing charts was likely increasing.

No doubt, MZ is a highly profitable company but the difference of spending 30% of turnover on marketing compared to spending say 50% of turnover on marketing is stark in terms of overall profitability.

In that context, it’s a fairly simple calculation to work out how much more profitable it will be to spend less marketing Final Fantasy XV into a top five grossing position, even given the royalty fee paid to Square Enix and a decline in overall revenues.

So, perhaps, what will be more significant to see is what MZ does next.

Given its previous and current success, every traditional game company on the planet would happily sign a Square Enix-type licensing deal with MZ.

It likely has its own homegrown ideas about new games too, although given a chronological release sequence that reads 2013, 2015 and 2017, it may be some time before its intentions are clear.

(source: pocket gamer )