萬字長文,關於遊戲中鯨魚玩家的不同維度解構分析,下篇

篇目1,專注於鯨魚玩家是否會給開發者帶來風險

作者:Zoya Street

問題

最近,我們在ARPPU頁面上添加了有關鯨魚玩家,海豚玩家以及小魚玩家的新標準:

根據Superdata Research,鯨魚玩家爲最頂端的15%的消費用戶,而海豚玩家則爲接下來25%至40%的消費用戶。鯨魚玩家能夠生成50%的收益,而通常只會投入1至5美元的小魚玩家則只能生成15%的遊戲收益。

Teut Weidemann批評了我們的設定,他說道:

“這種數據說明鯨魚玩家非常重要。但是當這15%的玩家的投入不足5美元時,我們便很難想象其餘的收益是由剩下的玩家所生成的。所以更準確的說法應該是,50%的收益是來自鯨魚玩家,而另外50%的收益則是來自於其餘玩家,其中有15%的玩家投入不到5美元。那麼鯨魚玩家的存在有何意義?對於那些專注於鯨魚玩家的公司來說,它們將面臨極具風險的挑戰。如Zynga。”

專注於鯨魚玩家是否會帶來巨大的風險?免費遊戲開發者應該如何制定鯨魚玩家策略?

whales(from sfoxstudio)

whales(from sfoxstudio)

答案:

Minimonos創始人Melissa Clark-Reynolds

我們專注於提高付費用戶的比例,每活躍用戶的c/p比例以及用戶留存。

這就意味着我們既需要重視鯨魚玩家,同時也需要創造出更多具有吸引力的內容,從而提高願意掏錢的玩家比例。每個月付費玩家數量的微小轉變累計起來就會對我們的整體收益帶來巨大的影響。

如果經驗法則沒錯的話——也就是50%的收益是來自鯨魚玩家,我們又怎能忽視剩下50%的收益羣體呢?

Applifier的Oscar Clark

我開始覺得專注於少數玩家的消費習慣將阻礙我們做出正確的設計選擇以及有效的盈利選擇。

對於我來說,我更重視玩家的用戶粘性以及如何構建遊戲的終身價值。我一直在思考如何將遊戲的用戶生命週期映射在技術採用模型上(我將其呈現在產品的市場營銷文本上)。這就像是一面清晰的透視鏡,推動着我去思考如何讓用戶從發現遊戲轉變爲學習遊戲。我們需要先讓用戶感到舒適,並慢慢將玩遊戲當成是一種習慣;這類似於Nocholas所提出的“Get to $1”規則。而當用戶進入收益階段時他們的需求也將發生改變,同時他們花錢的意願也將隨之提高(假設最初的體驗很棒),所以這時候我們便可以開始延伸產品和事件,力圖最大限度地挽留住他們的注意力。

讓我們將鯨魚玩家,海豚玩家,小魚玩家以及龍蝦玩家當成一些靜態的對象,我認爲他們分別標誌着遊戲生命週期的不同階段,所以我們就需要想辦法推動着他們不斷進化。

Bigpoint總經理Philip Reisberger

我總是將收益當成是一種結果,即作爲各種重要元素的結果。優秀的服務(遊戲邦注:也就是一款好遊戲)將包含最有趣的遊戲玩法以及良好的基礎設施(規格,軌跡和技術等)。如果能夠掌握所有元素,我們便能夠獲得最有效的收益流。

HeldHand顧問Harry Holmwood

在日本,最高性能遊戲的存在已經有段時間了(2年多前)。隨着時間的發展,這些遊戲也在不斷完善,並添加了更多新內容,與此同時,他們的用戶留存率,特別是ARPPU一直都在穩定增長着。當然了,如果你一開始不能提供給玩傢俱有吸引力的遊戲體驗,他們便不會繼續遊戲;同時你還需要保持足夠的耐心,不斷完善你的遊戲,從而推動着鯨魚玩家變成真正熱愛遊戲而不只是一時興起投入大量金錢的玩家。

nDreams首席執行官Patrick O’Luanaigh

並不是所有玩家都會變成鯨魚玩家;開發者應該專注於爲每個玩家呈現出最棒的遊戲體驗,並牢記,那些從未爲遊戲投入一分錢的玩家也有可能成爲遊戲世界中最重要的玩家(通過添加聲音,推廣遊戲,壯大社區,運行粉絲網站等幫助遊戲到達一個臨界點)。

What Games Are的顧問Tadhg Kelly Consultant

儘管基於一般原理去劃分玩家非常棒,但是開發者是否能夠面對一個更有抱負的目標而不只是專注於實際的劃分。因爲我們總是很難去平衡位居兩個極端的元素。

大多數多人遊戲都曾遇到過這一問題。就像在《魔獸世界》中,面向高投入玩家制作遊戲與爲新玩家制作一款優秀的遊戲是兩種完全不同的任務,而前者也總是能夠推動着後者的發展。同樣地,高風險的撲克遊戲(涉及上百萬美元)與一般的桌面遊戲(或免費撲克遊戲)也完全不同。

Spilt Milk Studio開發者Andrew Smith

讓玩家根據自己的想法決定投入額度纔是最安全的做法。

基於這一理念去設計遊戲系統非常困難,我們不能在一個高端的遊戲玩法中強行冠上一些人爲元素。

最有效的方法便是創造一款非常優秀的遊戲,並確保在設置盈利元素的同時不會放棄遊戲樂趣。

樂趣能夠吸引所有玩家的注意,讓那些不願意花錢的玩家也能夠愉快地玩遊戲,與此同時鯨魚玩家也能夠得到滿足,因爲你並未添加無意義的系統去阻止他們花錢。

篇目2,闡述如何讓遊戲營銷符合付費玩家預期

作者:Ryan Creighton

你曾遇到過營銷不當的電子遊戲或電影嗎?不少玩家在體驗新晉獨立遊戲《Dear Esther》與《Proteus》後表示出失望,因爲它們不具備遊戲性,此外,無數影迷到電影院觀看Kevin James或Adam Sandler的電影,是因爲其預告片令他們信服該影片十分有趣。

在測試《Spellirium》這款即將問世的指向點擊圖畫冒險與字謎結合的遊戲時,我又重複之前犯下的過錯:過度依賴那些始終並不喜愛這類題材的遊戲開發好友的建議,並不斷告訴自己只要找到欣賞它的用戶即可。因此,我決定改正《Spellirium》測試時犯下的錯誤。以下是我的計劃。

瞭解喜好

幾年前,我在測試《Interrupting Cow Trivia》(遊戲邦注:以下簡稱《ICT》)時面臨過不少挑戰,雖然在此過程中吸取了不少重大教訓,但其中有些至今仍是個謎團。最重要的是,《ICT》測試令我明白應根據測試員的喜好衡量他們提交的反饋。如果你邀請一個休閒益智遊戲玩家(比如我)測試《戰爭機器》,你不一定會獲得完善該作的有益反饋……最終可能是有點迎合休閒益智遊戲用戶的不當作品。

因此,我重新修改爲《ICT》測試者準備的反饋調查,設置首個問題爲“你喜愛益智問答遊戲嗎?”如果答案爲“否定”,那麼其剩餘反饋只需粗粗略過即可。

spellirium(from gamasutra)

spellirium(from gamasutra)

文字遊戲

我曾讓非文字遊戲粉絲的測試員測試了《Spellirium》。我是怎麼知道的?答案是通過大量“暗示”。最顯眼的是在玩家難以組合出一個單詞的時候。《Spellirium》中設置了49個字母網格,你可以從中抽選出3-8個字母,以任意順序組合單詞。當某個玩家掙扎於構造3個字母的單詞時,我便知曉一二分。

如果玩家能夠輕輕鬆鬆組合單詞,那也“透露”出他並不是文字遊戲玩家:通常這些玩家會利用“普通”字母創造6-7個字母長的單詞,失望的是,他並沒有因此獲得《Peggle》類型的煙花獎勵。曾有不少測試員抱怨說(或表示驚訝),諸如“TESTERS”單詞的分數竟然比“POX”還要低。當然,所有《Scrabble》玩家都知道,同比常用字母RSTLNE,使用諸如P或X這種高價值字母構造單詞更是罕見/獨特/困難。

而玩家的這種困惑顯然體現在去年同期發行的《Puzzlejuice》與《Spelltower》這兩款iOS文字遊戲。前者作者Asher Vollmer透露,實際上他被迫於玩家壓力,將該作的得分機制改爲獎勵長單詞,而不是包含高價值字母的單詞。與此同時,後者的玩法更具難度,因爲網格中填滿X、Z、Q、K字母,意在強調利用它們構造單詞更加棘手。

two different approaches(from gamasutra)

two different approaches(from gamasutra)

(《Puzzlejuice》與《Spelltower》:兩種解決字母價值問題的不同方法)

因此在測試《Spellirium》期間,我不斷告訴自己只要獲得“正確的”玩家類型即可——即那些非常喜愛該作的用戶。不幸的是,推廣工作並未取得這般結果。

遊戲營銷

事實上,通過好友或網站了解遊戲便是一種遊戲推廣模式,最終會在Steam或Good Old Games這類電子發行網站上發現銷售頁面。接着觀看預告片,瀏覽畫面截屏,可能會通過閱讀Metacritic網站的評論再次確認其品質(或是看下它在此網站上那該死的評分)……你會設想遊戲的可能玩法,確定自己是否喜愛。你會在腦海中構想自己從中獲得的趣味,然後據此詢問價格。如果價格吻合你所預測的樂趣(每個人的衡量標準各不相同),而且正好有購買娛樂的打算,那便完成購買行爲。

Spellirium(from gamasutra)

Spellirium(from gamasutra)

也就是說,如果那是遊戲的真正銷售模式,我覺得有必要模擬這種環境,測量潛在用戶的價值標準,而後根據他們的測試反饋確定該作是否吻合其預想。因此,我決定爲《Spellirium》模擬這種銷售頁面,如同它正在Steam上出售(事實並非如此)。

Spellirium(from gamasutra)

Spellirium(from gamasutra)

我打算向潛在測試者展示該頁面,並詢問幾個問題:

*你對該遊戲有多大的興趣?

*你認爲哪部分性能最吸引你?而哪部分最不吸引你?

*你認爲該遊戲值多少錢?或者說你願意爲它掏多少錢?

*列舉另一款類似該作的遊戲。如果你曾玩過它請在框框中打勾。如果你喜愛它請在框框中打勾。

我可能會採用A/B測試模式,即其中一種結果是會看到遊戲價格。而後針對看到價格的潛在測試員詢問如下問題:

*你是打算在該遊戲推出後,按此價格購買呢?還是在幾個月後購買?

*你期望支付此價格能獲得幾個小時的遊戲呢?

*同比內容描述、預告片與畫面截屏,你認爲該價格是偏低?偏高?還是剛剛好?

*(如果被調查者的答案是“剛剛好”)你會給該遊戲定個什麼價位?

假如我進行此測試只是爲了謀取私利,我可能會繼續更改並完善此頁面,直到被調查者有望完全轉化爲該遊戲的玩家,那我便會在無任何改動的情況下推出《Spellirium》。因爲,諷刺地講,該作是否出色已不是重點,最重要的是玩家是否樂意付費。但這並不是Untold Entertainment的運作模式!

當然,我熱切希望製作出優秀作品。因此我會模擬Steam頁面,通過調查篩選測試者。那些對該作表現出高度興趣,極其樂意爲它付費的被調查者將會測試這款遊戲。此時,他們是否爲“正當的”文字遊戲玩家已不是重點:重要的是我應對那些喜愛並樂意爲其付費的用戶負責。如果他們掙扎於構造3個字母的單詞,且希望長單詞能獲得獎勵,那我便會爲他們做出調整。因爲他們是我的付費用戶,而不是那些經過精選,喜愛《Spellirium》特殊玩法的神祕“完美”玩家。

是銷售頁面與營銷手段吸引了這些玩家。我應保證他們對遊戲感到滿意

篇目3,手機F2P遊戲的5種付費貨幣定價技巧

作者:Wolfgang Graebner

移動平臺的多數F2P遊戲會出售數種付費貨幣:例如《Clash of Clans》中的寶石,《Simpsons Tapped Out》中的炸面圈,《Game of War》中的金子等。我花了點時間分析App Store上的32款遊戲如何出售它們的付費貨幣,並從中找到了一些有趣的趨勢和技巧。

遊戲

在我們切入正題之前,先看看我們所分析的32款遊戲:

8 Ball Pool, Angry Birds Go!, Boom Beach, CastleVille Legends, Clash of Clans, Clumsy Ninja, CSR Racing, Disco Zoo, Dungeon Keeper, Empire, Farm Heroes Saga, Game of War, Hay Day, Hobbit: KoM, Jelly Splash, Juice Cubes, Kingdoms at War, Kingdoms of Camelot, Knights & Dragons, Modern War, Monster World, Moshi Monsters Village, Papa Pear Saga, Pocket Village, Puzzle & Dragons, Real Racing, Royal Revolt 2, Samurai Siege, Simpsons Tapped Out, Smurf’s Village, Subway Surfers, Top Eleven.

我挑選遊戲的方法非常不科學……只是抽取了我自己玩過,想玩,或者位於App Store暢銷榜單前列的遊戲。

趨勢&技巧

1)定價並沒有什麼多樣性

這個圖表最能說明問題:

pricing_trends(from gamasutra)

pricing_trends(from gamasutra)

許多遊戲提供相同的5種定價點:2.99英磅、6.99英磅、13.98英磅,34.99英磅、69.99英磅。這就是以上圖表所顯示的5個泡泡。(遊戲邦注:換算成美元分別是4.99美元、9.99美元,19.99美元,49.99美元,99.99美元)

這其中最典型的當屬Supercell遊戲《Boom Beach》,毫無變化地提供了這5種定價點。

boom beach prices(from gamasutra)

boom beach prices(from gamasutra)

這是我所調查的五分之一遊戲中最有代表性的定價點。

有44%的遊戲含有其中一種定價,有22%的遊戲含有其中兩種定價。

price_progression_similarity(from gamasutra)

price_progression_similarity(from gamasutra)

甚少遊戲能夠脫離這一法則……《Moshi Monsters Village》和《Empire》並列成爲最具獨特價格點的遊戲,它們分別都提供了4種不同於其他遊戲的定價。看到有人嘗試與衆不同的定價是件頗爲有趣的事情,它們的定價能否奏效值得期待。

2)玩家認同最小定價,發行商則不然。

這些遊戲唯一不統一的地方在於最小定價。

cheapest_price(from gamasutra)

cheapest_price(from gamasutra)

我想知道:提供低於2.99英磅的最小定價究竟是否划算?App Store最爲熱門的交易排名顯示了一些有趣的信息:

1)在100%情況下,2.99英磅是最便宜的價格,也是最受歡迎的交易。

2)有17款遊戲的起始定價都低於2.99英磅,以及一個2.99英磅的選項。

3)在這17款遊戲中,2.99英磅定價仍是大多數(70%)遊戲最受歡迎的選項。

以下圖表顯示了相同的信息:

popular purchases(from gamasutra)

popular purchases(from gamasutra)

從中可以看出,即便你爲玩家提供了低於2.99英磅的最小定價點,他們也有可能仍然更喜歡2.99英磅選項。但這裏仍然存在一些問題……

a)當2.99英磅就是最廉價的選項時,遊戲會流失多少來自只願意爲低於2.99英磅付費的玩家的銷售額?

b)遊戲可以從那些更青睞低於2.99英磅選項,但是別無選擇只能支付2.99英磅的玩家中獲得多少收益?

c)最重要的是,a和b選項應該優先考慮哪一者?

不幸的是,我並沒有足夠的數據來回答這些問題。但這令我想起之前同一名發行商的談話,對方聲稱“有許多願意爲某物支付1美元,也同樣可能願意爲其支付5美元”。他很後悔將定價設置得過低了。

如果換成是我,我可能會將起始價設爲2.99英磅,然後再推出促銷活動降低價格,降價總比擡價更容易操作!

3)對玩家來說購買更多並不總是更好的交易

我假設通過購買一個更大的貨幣包,我就能獲得每一美元可買到的更多貨幣量。但事實並非如此。這方面最顯著的例子就是《Angry Birds Go》:

angry birds price per gem(from gamasutra)

angry birds price per gem(from gamasutra)

你花2.5倍的價錢,但僅得到2.1倍的寶石。如果我想得到2500枚寶石,你可以購買2*1200寶石+1*100寶石,總價也不過29.97英磅,這比花34.99英磅購買2500枚寶石節省了5英磅。你還可以用這些省下來的錢再購買300枚寶石呢。

這並非個例。我所調查的70%遊戲存在這種現象。

有時候,你會看到美國商店也出現了相同的情況。

angry birds go_us_price(from gamasutra)

angry birds go_us_price(from gamasutra)

我想其他時候這可能與定價本土化有關。如果在美國標價4.99美元的東西,在英國通常售價爲2.99英磅。但9.99美元(4.99的兩倍)卻成了6.99英磅(超過了2.99美元的兩倍),它實際上售價應該是5.99英磅。以《Hay Day》爲例:

hay day_us uk_price comparison(from gamaustra)

hay day_us uk_price comparison(from gamaustra)

我不確定這種做法起源於何處,但我並沒有看到有任何遊戲調整了這種付費貨幣,以致於我們不時可以看到你每1英磅可買到的貨幣遠少於你1美元可買到的東西。

4)“最受歡迎”並不一定意味着最受歡迎

作爲玩家,你不會相信發行商所告訴你的一切。在8款遊戲中,僅有一者爲某一貨幣包添加了“最受歡迎”標籤,它同時也是App Store榜單最熱門的選項。

《Angry Birds Go》是目前唯一標註了“最受歡迎”貨幣包的遊戲:

angry birds go most popular(from gamasutra)

angry birds go most popular(from gamasutra)

這是否意味着其他人都在撒謊?我猜如果是在過去某個時候,或者某個不同的地區,所謂的“最受歡迎”標籤的確是最受歡迎的,那麼你可以說它只是過期標籤。

在任何情況下,這都不符合發行商的最大利益,因爲在這7款錯誤標註“最受歡迎”的遊戲中,實際上其最受歡迎的選項是價格更低者,而誰會去鼓勵玩家去購買更廉價的選項呢?很顯然只有Rovio在這方面足夠坦誠。

5)不只一種計算獎勵的方法

有些遊戲想告訴玩家更大的貨幣包究竟有多優惠。這裏有不同的計算方法可以讓這種折扣舉措聽起來更具吸引力。

bonus calculation_hobbit(from gamasutra)

bonus calculation_hobbit(from gamasutra)

第一個例子來自Kabam的《Hobbit》遊戲。

6.99英磅貨幣包中每英磅可購得的最大寶石數量:100/6.99=每英磅可購得14.3個貨幣。

以這種交換率,13.99英磅的貨幣包本該讓你獲得13.99*14.3=200個貨幣。

但他們給你提供的是13.99美元購買240而非200個貨幣。

240/200=1.2,也就是說你獲得了120%的貨幣,比實際上可得到的多20%。

它這樣安熱電廠數據可以最大化其所提供獎勵的印象,同時又能保證100%的真實性。但並非人人都會這麼計算。

以下是來自Flare的《Royal Revolt 2》例子:

bonus calculation(from gamasutra)

bonus calculation(from gamasutra)

像《Hobbit》一樣,他們使用了最低的轉換率,也同樣是從6.99英磅的貨幣包開始。

在這種轉換率下,你本該用34.99美元購得5256個貨幣,但他們實際上給你7500個貨幣。

這正是源自《Hobbit》的方法。

你多得到的貨幣數量就是7500-5256=2244。

2244/7500=0.299,所以我們可以說在這7500個貨幣中,你免費得到了29%的貨幣。

首先,他們可以將29.9%擡高到30%。更重要的是,使用《Hobbit》的方法,你可以說7500/5256=1.43,因爲也可以說你額外得到了43%的貨幣。

另一個有趣的例子就是《Monster World》:

bonus calculation_monster world(from gamasutra)

bonus calculation_monster world(from gamasutra)

如果你想使用相同的方法計算獎勵,就沒有什麼意義了。這有點讓我困惑。之後我查看了美國App Store定價才找到要領:

如果你使用美國定價,那就非常適合使用與《Hobbit》相同的方法。實際上,在英國App Store中,該遊戲遠沒有美國版本那麼慷慨(例如100個potion在英國版中只能得到7%,而在美國版中可得到25%,4000個potion在英國僅能得到70%,在美國可得到100%)。

總結

我希望這一信息有助於大家瞭解F2P遊戲付費貨幣的定價。定價的背後當然還有更多考慮因素,我越深入研究,就可以得到越多發現。

篇目4,玩家不願在遊戲中花錢的10大原因

我該如何完善遊戲從而讓它能夠賺到更多錢呢?

在免費遊戲產業中,這是一個非常重要的問題,並且是我經常被問到的一個問題。雖然並不存在唯一的遊戲成功準則,但是那些獲得盈利的遊戲往往是因爲發行商或開發者採納了以玩家爲中心的方法(遊戲邦注:即專注於提高遊戲的用戶粘性)。

總之:如果玩家未能沉浸於遊戲中,他們便不會爲遊戲花錢。

在每一款獲得商業成功的遊戲核心都擁有一個突出的創造性理念,並伴隨着優秀的遊戲設計和專業的開發過程。如果你做到了這些,你就算獲得90%的成功了。而最後的10%是關於如何平衡遊戲中的經濟,即你如何構建獎勵機制,並且在什麼時候觸發盈利機制。如果在這些內容中的任何一環出現錯誤,你的遊戲很有可能前功盡棄。

免費遊戲中出色的盈利並不是強迫玩家去消費——其實恰恰相反。這是關於提供給他們機會往自己的遊戲體驗中添加價值。在免費遊戲設計中,嚴酷的盈利方式仍然很常見,因爲產業是獨自發展起來,但卻不是一定要這樣。

DeltaDNA通過研究100多款免費遊戲的遊戲設計和盈利機制而去理解爲什麼玩家不會在遊戲中花錢的10大理由。

1.試圖儘快實現盈利

如果在免費遊戲中擁有較低的留存率,那麼最常見的問題便是發行商和開發者在玩家真正沉浸於遊戲前就急着向他們要錢了。

實際上,我們所分析的62%的遊戲都伴隨着這一問題。

只提供給玩家花錢這一選擇只會得到一種結果。你需要設計出能讓玩家無需花半分錢便看到結局的遊戲;這不僅能夠提高遊戲的用戶粘性,同時還能夠推動玩家在遊戲中的長期消費。

2.缺少博彩或“百寶箱”機制

隨機的獲勝機會便是推動玩家免費或以較少的遊戲內部貨幣獲取一個非常昂貴的道具的一種簡單的方法。不想花錢的玩家將會樂於接受這樣的機會。而對於那些願意花錢的玩家,這也能夠鼓勵他們爲了獲得稀有的道具而回到遊戲中或購買額外的百寶箱。

這是一種未被充分利用的機制,至少有93%的遊戲未能提供這樣的機制。

3.缺少指明方向

從我們所研究的遊戲中可以發現,大多數遊戲在指明方向上都表現得很糟糕(63%的遊戲)。雖然這看似很明顯,但如果玩家不能輕鬆地找到遊戲中的商店,他們便不可能從中購買任何內容。

4.糟糕的商店佈局

就像在購物商場中一樣,如果你的商店佈局太糟糕,玩家便會在尋找一款特殊道具的時候受挫。商店必須突出一些簡單的類別,最好還可以單獨設立一欄能夠使用現金購買的內容。

5.極小的庫存範圍

如果只提供少量的一些道具將導致只有少部分玩家願意花錢購買,但是新奇的東西將能夠吸引更多玩家,並推動收益的飆升。大約有2/3的遊戲缺少一個適當的庫存範圍。要知道更多道具才能帶來更多收益!

6.缺少昂貴的道具

如果玩家很喜歡一款遊戲,他們便會想要花錢去完善自己的體驗,特別是這麼做能夠讓自己與其他玩家區別開來時。對於具有較高用戶粘性的玩家來說,付費道具必須是特別的且值得做出投資的內容;即那些能讓他們脫穎而出的道具。在這裏我們並不是說那些價值50美元的寶石。

7.糟糕的鯨魚玩家管理

於是便出現了一款遊戲最忠實的玩家便是遊戲最大的粉絲和贊助者的情況。所以你應該提供給他們獎勵,否則他們會選擇離開,將自己的錢投在其它地方。

8.漫長的購買過程

沒有人會喜歡排長隊去買東西,如果這個過程需要花費很長時間,玩家便會失去購買慾望。這真的是一個很容易解決的問題,但是我們卻發現48%的遊戲在這一過程的設置中表現得很糟糕。

9.不提供捆綁銷售

提供給玩家捆綁銷售能夠呈現給玩家真正的價值。例如在購買一包資源時提供一個免費角色或者以折扣價同時出售一個武器和汽車等都能讓玩家開心不已,並因此使其變成忠實的玩家——也許他們就會變成你的鯨魚玩家。

10.缺少定製選擇

付費裝飾道具是同時推動用戶粘性和盈利的最佳方法——現在只有52%的遊戲注重突出這一機制。你應該提高給玩家許多不同的方法去定製自己的遊戲玩法,這能夠立即提升遊戲的價值和玩家的忠誠度。

篇目5,遊戲設計應掌握玩家的微妙消費心理

作者:Patrick Miller

“用我的錢玩遊戲,就像用我的感情玩遊戲。”—-Big Worm

這是出自《Friday》的一句話,竟然成爲這篇關於遊戲微交易設計的文章的開頭?

聲明:如果你覺得你在閱讀本文後將失去玩免費遊戲的樂趣,那麼請不要往下讀了。反正,銷售遊戲和製作遊戲的方法還有很多,並且沒有唯一正確的方法。

許多免費遊戲非常膚淺,非常花錢,這是事實。除了錯誤的期待,我認爲部分是因爲設計師對玩家購買物品的情緒反應理解得不夠深入。他們掌握了大量刺激玩家消費的心理工具,但那不一定就能讓消費者覺得自己的錢花得值。

我想,這就是爲什麼那麼多手機遊戲和社交遊戲都以開發大額玩家(和爲了尋找這些大額玩家而提高病毒性傳播力)爲目標。免費PC遊戲如《星球邊緣2》和《機甲戰士OL》必須更“誠實”一點,因爲他們面對的受衆更加了解遊戲對自己的心理操縱(並且如果他們討厭一款免費遊戲了,隨時可以轉向其他目標)。

注:“錯誤的期待”,我指的是,遊戲中公然出現與錢直接相關的設計,讓有些人非常震驚。這些人要麼是非常非常天真的玩家,要麼是非常反感免費遊戲、共享軟件、街機遊戲等的玩家。不要指望用語言贏得這些人的心(相反地,要設計一款他們願意付費的遊戲)。

事實上,花錢的行爲與微妙的心理活動有關。是的,所有人都討厭看到存款數目減小、帳單數目上升,但那可能只是我們對消費行爲最淺層的情緒反應,並沒有讓我們更加了解如何讓玩家爲我們的遊戲心甘情願地花錢。所以,爲了辨別導致我們設計出讓玩家不斷覺得自己受騙了的遊戲的誤區,我認爲我應該討論一些讓我樂意花錢的東西和我不喜歡購買的東西。

我喜歡消費的東西:升級/強化道具。我喜歡給我的小車或電腦購買新配件,以便提高它們的性能、實用度或便利性。我喜歡測試升級後的機器發現它的表現更好了的感覺,以及頭幾次使用安裝了新部件的機器的新鮮感。我喜歡留下舊的、低級的部件,借給朋友或作爲備用。購買新東西的部分樂趣就是,可以隨心所欲地處置舊東西。

在這一方面,《機甲戰士OL》做得尤其到位。因爲玩家有一個放滿機器的倉庫。玩家有充分的理由留住這些東西:當你用更好的部件替換掉默認部件時,你可以把默認部件使用在其他機器上。考慮到大多數免費遊戲都不允許道具在玩家之間直接交易(遊戲邦注:可能是因爲當玩家直接從另一名玩家處購買道具時,遊戲會損失收益),這是一種對虛擬商品保持“所有權”的錯覺的好辦法。

這種做法也適用於消耗品。我喜歡購買健康的食品,因爲對身體好,而且讓我覺得自己“更新”了(就像使用升級或強化道具,其效果體現在我的身體的“用戶體驗”的品質上)。健康食品吃完了,效果仍然會維持,所以我覺得值得購買。

我不喜歡消費的東西:通過付費得到優勢。說《機甲戰士OL》做得好的原因之一是,遊戲中更花錢的部分通常提供更好的效果,但代價也更高;改進後的激光槍可能重量減輕了,但產生的傷害不變,而且更佔空間、修理費用更高。正是升級和副作用的平衡,使這種武器一方面能吸引玩家購買,另一方面又不會讓玩家的購買行爲變成“花錢買贏”。

另外,不花真錢購買這些昂貴的部件是完全可行的,即使有些部件的成本相當於全新的機器。我沒有算過多少,但我始終討厭不能用虛擬貨幣購買的任何東西。除非是我確實非常想要的東西,如果我不花真錢或更多時間玩法,我就很難得到我想要的東西,這確實讓我覺得是我自己選擇花錢而不是“刷遊戲”,是我自己選擇加快進度而不是慢慢玩。

如果我爲一種刷90年遊戲才能得到的東西花錢,我認爲也是一樣的。但知道沒有誰會真正爲了那東西刷遊戲並不太管用。你應該讓玩家在花真錢購買道具時可以理直氣壯地告訴別人,“我非常喜歡這款遊戲,所以我願意花錢,”而不是“我想贏,所以我要花錢贏。”與前一種消費觀相比,後者貶低了我的遊戲成就感。

我喜歡消費的東西:優惠出售的東西。所有人都愛大減價,因爲我們覺得購買優惠價的東西使我們辛苦掙來的錢換來更多價值。當然,這一行爲的副作用是,我們往往比實際情況花掉更多血汗錢。贏利策略的制定者對此再熟悉不過了,所以有那麼多免費遊戲使用大減價或打折引誘玩家購買道具。

我覺得有些設計師對經常性打折考慮得太拘謹了,他們害怕這會導致玩家等到大減價才肯購買某種虛擬產品。在我看來,這個想法太愚蠢了!對於現實世界的產品,我們向那些按原價購買的人收稅,然後補貼給那些打折購買的人。我們這麼做是因爲庫存商品太多,除非賣掉否則就掙不了錢;爲了給新商品騰出存放空間和預算,必須把舊商品優惠出售——即使利潤更低或甚至倒貼。

遊戲世界也是類似的,即使沒有優惠,有些玩家也樂意在自己需要時就購買某種道具;而有些人只有等到打折時才肯購買——要麼因爲他們喜歡佔便宜的感覺,要麼因爲折扣後的價格纔是他們能接受的,要麼二者兼有。優惠減價的目的基本上就是,用更低的價格刺激那些想要遊戲道具但不可能按原價消費的玩家購買(多虧了限時促銷作用下的消費衝動),同時不影響該商品的長期感知價值。既然你出售虛擬產品不需要再生產的成本,並且其價值不會隨時間而減少,我就真心不理解爲什麼不能經常性大減價了。

我不喜歡消費的東西:確實不想要的東西。我得說,除非那種商品是我確實想要的,但因爲各種原因而不得的,它打折時纔會刺激我購買。也就是說,如果促銷的商品是我確實不想要的,那麼即使大減價也不會吸引我。如果我認爲你的買賣帶有欺騙性或操縱性,那麼我就更不會上鉤了(即使商品大減價)。我會繼續作爲不消費的玩家玩遊戲,直到我遇到克服不了的障礙,那麼我就退出遊戲。

我喜歡消費的東西:捆綁銷售的東西。我喜歡購買打包出售的東西,因爲平均單價更便宜,總價更低。比如,簡陋包裝的商品通常把上等品與次等品打包在一起,大部分人購買這種成捆的商品是爲了得到上等品,而其他次等品反正不需要多費錢,一起買了也無所謂。

基本上,我購買成捆銷售商品是因爲裏面有一兩種我確實想要的東西,而附帶的其他東西雖然還不至於讓我想要到另外花錢購買的程度,但其價格對我來說基本上也不虧。購買這種打包商品讓我感覺良好,再加上我同時體驗到揮霍和節儉的感覺:買到我不想用全價購買的東西(揮霍)和得到優惠(節儉)。

我不喜歡消費的東西:數量不合適的東西。我很討厭的一種情況是:我想要的東西不能按任意數量定價,所以我必須多花錢。更讓我生氣的是,不僅買到的數量讓我覺得惱火,還留下花不掉的散錢;或者現金與虛擬貨幣的比不是1:1(別讓我計算我花了多少真錢)。打個現實的比方,不要賣給我6條一包的熱狗和8個一捆的麪包。

我喜歡消費的東西:有衍生價值的東西。我喜歡打賭遊戲的結果,無論是我自己在玩的遊戲還是我在觀看的遊戲。甚至下一塊錢的賭注也會讓情況變得格外有趣。在街機上玩格鬥遊戲需要用少量的錢作賭——花50美分繼續玩這款遊戲或不花錢玩另一款遊戲。

當然,你希望玩家把錢放進你的遊戲,而不是拿出來——所以不要讓他們拿出來。玩家可以用真錢在你的虛擬貨幣上下注,然後使用這種遊戲中的錢購買遊戲中的其他東西(或購買更多虛擬貨幣)。他們是不是用他們自己的錢支付並不重要,只要有人支付就行了吧?

我不喜歡消費的東西:彩票、抽獎或任何看運氣的賭博。如果我想花真錢在遊戲上碰運氣,那麼我會玩在線撲克。我討厭要求我花錢賭一個運氣贏大錢大獎。

這也適用於看運氣的卡片包(說你呢,《Tekken Card Tournament》);我討厭花更多錢購買隨機數量的卡片包。

我喜歡消費的東西:在對我來說重要的人(或動物)上花錢。只要經濟上承擔得起,我總是樂意爲人們做點好事——請朋友吃飯或喝茶、給我的貓買玩具、給我的女朋友買她想要的東西等。

當某人做了對我做了好事,我一般也會有所回報(比如,長輩請我吃飯,我再請晚輩吃飯),所以只是因爲想成爲對別人好的人,我就比實際情況更樂意花更多錢。換句話說,我是建議你通過讓玩家在彼此身上花錢來增加他們的總體消費。

我認爲這對在線遊戲來說是個矛盾的難題,因爲它不允許玩家之間交易道具。一方面,它要求所有交易行爲都必須讓遊戲賺錢。另一方面,對玩家來說,擁有某物的一個好處是,當你不再需要它時,它仍然有價值——把它送給或賣給其他人。另外,如果我可以購買/出售/交易/捐贈東西給某個社區的人,我就會對那個社區更有感情。也就是,如果我看它當作一種可以提取價值的東西。

我不喜歡花錢的東西:稅、費、過路費、停車費(也就是,對我來說沒有直接重要性的人/動物/事物)。我討厭付停車費,因爲我已經在買車、車險、汽油上花錢了,所以我不想在爲某時把車放在某地因爲它在某時把我送到某地的特權而花錢了。

與此類似,我不想爲遊戲時間、使用權、精力或任何愚蠢的設檻的系統付錢。我玩你的遊戲是因爲我想玩你的遊戲;如果你要因爲我玩你的遊戲這一權利而向我收費(玩多長時間就收多少錢),那麼不如一次性讓我付清費用。

街機遊戲是例外,那主要是因爲我擅長你的遊戲後就會得到獎勵——我比那些不熟悉遊戲的人每分鐘花錢相對少。這讓我擅長你的遊戲有了金錢上的動機,可能是相當強大的動機。

當然,“爲了精通遊戲而花錢的玩家”比“因爲喜歡玩遊戲而花錢的一般玩家”更少,所以技能動機其實會縮小你的整體贏利市場。所以,你的設檻系統其實很愚蠢,只是懲罰那些喜歡玩你的遊戲的一般玩家罷了。更怪異的是,這幾乎抑制了玩家掌握遊戲,因爲要求玩家更經常地玩遊戲(自然就要花更多錢)。

我喜歡消費的東西:事件/娛樂活動的參與許可。我喜歡在能給我留下美好回憶的體驗上花錢——比如旅行、去動物園和公園、聽音樂會、看電影等。基本上,如果我夠喜歡你的遊戲,我就會樂意花錢玩它,所以你可能不必把它做成免費模式的。

我不喜歡花錢的東西:允許參與後又要求我花錢的活動。我不喜歡在讓我進入某建築後購買更多東西的事物上花錢。如果我可以得到大折扣(比如超市會員卡)的東西那也值了,但這之後只會成爲整體成本-收益分析的一部分,而不是消費者對你的遊戲產生的感情基礎。

我想這(好長的終於!)就到了本文的重點。給遊戲設計贏利策略可能是一種心理操縱實驗(遊戲邦注:從那些具有上癮傾向、衝動消費傾向、容易被唆使的人身上賺錢),也可能是一個機會:把人們對錢的真實情感聯繫利用作額外的遊戲內容——雖然是“情緒內容”而不是設計好的遊戲內容。

讓玩家心甘情願地花錢

花錢是觸發所有潛在的真實情緒反應的捷徑(花一塊錢跟你的朋友打賭一件事,看看你自己會有什麼反應)。單純地依靠遊戲設計或敘述可能很難激發這些反應。問題是,如果你不利用一點對人類心理的共感和理解來設計你的贏利策略,你做出來的遊戲可能會非常粗魯、錯亂,玩家對遊戲的反應也會很消極(“不,我不想給你錢了,別再向我開口了”)。你應該利用人類對錢的積極情緒。事實上,如果你能讓微交易對遊戲產生積極作用、使遊戲變得更有趣,對所有與遊戲相關的人來說都是好事。

篇目1篇目2篇目3篇目4篇目5(本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao)

篇目1,Is it dangerous to focus on whales?

Zoya Street

Question:

On our ARPPU page, we recently added a new benchmark for the whales-dolphins-minnows split:

Superdata research has whales as the top 15% of spending users and dolphins as the next 25-40%. Whales generate 50% of the revenue, while minnows – users who spend between $1 and $5 – generate 15% of a game’s revenue.

Teut Weidemann has criticised the way that we present the data, saying:

“This suggests whales is everything. But you simply don’t tell that 50% of the revenue is done by the rest of the users, no you even LOWER expectations by telling that 15% of users spend less than $5. Correctly you could have said 50% is from whales, and 50% is from the rest of the users while 15% spend less than $5. Whats the purpose on this whale thing? Its VERY dangerous for business to focus on whales. Check Zynga.”

Is a focus on whales misleading? Dangerous? How do you recommend F2P devs develop their whale strategy?

Answers:

Melissa Clark-Reynolds Founder of Minimonos

We focus on getting the % paying increasing, along with the c/p per active user. Plus increasing retention.

That means putting some emphasis on the whales – but also on getting enough compelling content so that a higher percentage of ALL players/users want to pay anything at all. Small shifts in the number paying every month can make big differences to the total revenue.

If the rule of thumb is accurate – that 50% of revenue comes form the whales, why would we ignore the other 50% of our revenue base?

Oscar Clark Evangelist at Applifier

I’m starting to feel that the focus on just the spending habits of the few could well distract us from making good design choices as well as good monetisation choices.

For me I’d rather focus on the engagement level of the player and from that build lifetime value. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can map game user lifecycle to the technology adoption model outlined in my favourite product marketing text (Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey A. Moore). This to me provides a better lens to apply because it requires us to consider how to move users from Discovering our game to Learning how to play it. Then once they are comfortable and have made it a habit how we transition them to start paying; similar to Nicholas’ rule ‘Get to $1′. Once users are in this Earning stage their needs change, but also their willingness to spend increases (provided the first experience was good) and from there we look for product extension and events to maintain their interest before they start Churning.

Looking at Whales, Dolphins, Minnows and Lobsters (I made that last one up!) assumes that these are static people, when instead I believe they are just markers of different stages of the lifecycle of different players and we should focus on helping them all evolve.

Philip Reisberger Managing Director at Bigpoint

I always imagine revenue as a consequence. A consequence of many eqally important factor. A good service offering (which a good game is) includes foremost a fun gameplay. Plus a well executed infrastructure (cm, loca, tech, …). If all that is mastered, the ‘optimized revenue streams can be a focus…

Harry Holmwood Consultant at Heldhand

Certainly in Japan the best performing games we have are now very mature (2 years+). Over time they’ve been tweaked and added to continuously, and their retention rate and, particularly, ARPPU has increased steadily throughout. Of course, if you don’t start with compelling experience then people won’t play, but it’s important to be patient, and keep on refining and improving the game so that whales emerge as those who love the game the most, rather than the people you can get to spend large amounts quickly on a whim.

Patrick O’Luanaigh CEO of nDreams

Just don’t forget that not everyone can evolve upwards and become a whale; focus on delivering a fantastic experience for everyone and remember that players who never spend a cent can be some of the most important players in your game world (in terms of being vocal, promoting your game, rallying the community, running fan sites and helping your game reach a tipping point).

Tadhg Kelly Consultant at What Games Are

While the general principle of addressing all your customers is a good one, I wonder whether that’s more of an aspirational position for many developers rather than a real one. My reason is that it’s incredibly difficult to balance for both ends of any spectrum.

In massive multiplayer games they’ve had this problem for years. Making a good game for the high rollers (by which I mean high level players) in World of Warcraft is not necessarily the same task as making a great game for neophytes, and the presence of the former often pushes out the latter over time. In the same vein, high stakes Poker (million dollar events) is a completely different game to dollar-tables (or even free-to-play Poker).

Andrew Smith Developer at Spilt Milk Studio

Allowing players who want to spend as much as they can is the safest way.

Designing systems that support this is not hard, you just don’t put artificial caps on the high-end play.

The safest thing to do is make a great game, and make sure the monetisation aspect doesn’t compromise the fun (or player’s perceptions thereof).

The fun caters for all players, makes sure the non-spenders just plain enjoy themselves, and the ‘whales’ can entertain their whims because you’ve not introduced any pointless systems that prevent them spending lots.

篇目2,Truth in Advertising: Matching Your Game to Your Paying Players

by Ryan Creighton

[This article by Ryan Henson Creighton is re-posted from the Untold Entertainment blog, which is awesome.]

Have you ever run across a video game or movie that was wildly mis-marketed? Many players expressed their frustration after playing recent indie game releases Dear Esther and Proteus because they weren’t gamey enough, and countless moviegoers have been lured into theatres to see Kevin James or Adam Sandler movies that the trailers would have them believe are actually funny.

While testing Spellirium, our upcoming point n’ click graphic adventure / word puzzle mash-up, i started to make many of the same mistakes i made with past games: relying too much on the advice of my game dev friends who weren’t interested in the genre to begin with, and telling myself that the game just needs to find its audience to be appreciated. i’m determined to correct those mistakes with Spellirium. This is the story of how i plan to do it.

List Your Turn-Ons

i faced many challenges testing Interrupting Cow Trivia a few years back, and while i learned a few important lessons, a number of things remain a mystery to me. The most important thing that ICT testing taught me was to weigh testers’ feedback according to how “into” the game they are. If you asked a casual puzzle game fan like me to playtest Gears of War, you wouldn’t necessarily get the kind of feedback to make a better Gears of War game … you’d only end up making an unsuitable game slightly more palatable to a casual puzzle audience.

i revised my feedback survey for ICT testers to begin with the question “Do you like trivia games?” If the tester answered “no”, the rest of his feedback would get shuffled to the bottom of the stack.

A 5-Letter Word for DERP

i’ve been testing Spellirium with people who aren’t word game fans. How do i know? There are a number of “tells”. The most obvious is when it takes a player forever to build a word. Spellirium gives you a 49-letter grid, and you can make words from 3-8 letters in length using any of those 49 letters, in any order. When a player struggles to make a 3-letter word, i know something’s up.

If the player has no trouble making words, there’s another “tell” that outs the player as somewhat of a non-wordgamer: the player makes a long 6- or 7-letter word using “common” letters, and is disappointed he’s not supremely rewarded with Peggle-style fireworks. i’ve had a few testers complain (or express surprise) that a word like “TESTERS” scores lower than a word like “POX”. Of course, any Scrabble player will tell you that it’s more rare/unique/difficult to use high-value letters like P and X in a word, than with common final-round Wheel of Fortune letters like RSTLNE.

The issue of players’ reactions to high-value letters was apparent with two iOS word games that were released around the same time last year: Puzzlejuice and Spelltower. Puzzlejuice creator Asher Vollmer told me he actually bowed to player pressure and changed the game’s scoring mechanism to reward longer words instead of words containing high-value letters. Spelltower, meanwhile, becomes more difficult as the grid fills up with X’s, Z’s, Q’s and K’s, implicitly reinforcing the idea that these letters are tougher to squeeze into a word.

So through Spellirium playtesting, i kept telling myself that i just needed to get the game in front of the “right” type of player – that those who would like it, would like it a lot. Unfortunately, that’s not at all how the market works.

To Market, To Market, to Buy a Fat Game

The way the market actually works is that you catch wind of a game through a friend or a website, and you eventually stumble upon its page on a digital distribution site like Steam or Good Old Games. You watch the trailer, look at the screenshots, maybe double-check its purported quality by reading Metacritic reviews (or just glancing at the game’s damnable Metacritic score) … and you imagine what the game might be like to play, and whether you’ll enjoy it. You create a mental picture of that enjoyment you’ll get from the game, and then you compare that to the asking price. If the asking price is aligned with the enjoyment you predict you’ll get from the game (and everyone’s equation for this is different), AND you have that money to fart away on entertainment, THEN you may just complete the purchase.

So if that’s how game sales actually work, it makes more sense to me to simulate that environment, gauge potential customers’ value equations, and then determine from their testing feedback whether the game delivered on their expectations. So the approach i’m taking now is to mock up the sales page for Spellirium as if it were currently for sale on Steam (to be absolutely clear: it isn’t. Yet.).

i’m going to show potential testers this page, and then ask them a few questions:

What’s your level of interest in this game?

Which aspect(s) or features of the game interest you the most? The least?

How much do you think this game costs / what would you pay for this game?

List another game that is like this game. Tick this box if you’ve played it. Tick this box if you’ve enjoyed it.

i may A|B test this with an image that shows a price for the game, and one does not. For the potential testers who see the price, i’ll ask:

Would you buy the game at this price when it was released, or would you wait a few months for a sale?

How many hours of gameplay would you expect to get from this game at that price?

How do you feel about the price of the game compared to its description, trailer and screenshots? Too low/too high/just right?

(if respondent answers anything but “just right”) How would you price the game?

If i were to approach this exercise completely cynically, i would continue to tweak and refine the page until i got the best potential conversion from my respondents, and then release Spellirium without making any changes to it. Because, speaking absolutely cynically, it doesn’t actually matter if the game is good or bad – it only matters that people buy it. But that’s not how Untold Entertainment rolls!

Of course, i desperately do want to make a good game. So i’ll use the Steam page mock-up and survey as a funnel to decide on my testers. Those respondents who report the highest interest in playing the game, and the highest likelihood of buying it, will test the game. At that point, it doesn’t matter who is a “proper” word gamer and who isn’t: what matters is that i have an obligation to the people who are excited about my game and who want to buy it. If those players struggle to make 3-letters words, and if those players expect long words to be rewarded over tricky words, then i will adjust the game for the sake of those players. Because those players are my paying audience – not some mythical “perfect” players that i’ve hand-picked to enjoy Spellirium the specific way i’ve configured it. The players choose my game – not the other way around.

It’s the sale page and my surrounding marketing efforts that attract the player. i need to make sure that the player i attract is happy with the object of that attraction.

篇目3,5 Premium Currency Pricing Trends and Tricks used by Mobile Free-To-Play Games

by Wolfgang Graebner

Most free-to-play games on mobile sell some sort of premium currency: gems in Clash of Clans, donuts in Simpsons Tapped Out, gold in Game of War and so on. I spent some time analysing how 32 games on the App Store sell their premium currency, and some interesting trends and tricks emerged.

If you like the kind of stuff I write about, you can follow me on my blog allworkallplay.org or twitter @awapblog.

The Games

Before we proceed, meet my data set. The 32 games analyzed are:

8 Ball Pool, Angry Birds Go!, Boom Beach, CastleVille Legends, Clash of Clans, Clumsy Ninja, CSR Racing, Disco Zoo, Dungeon Keeper, Empire, Farm Heroes Saga, Game of War, Hay Day, Hobbit: KoM, Jelly Splash, Juice Cubes, Kingdoms at War, Kingdoms of Camelot, Knights & Dragons, Modern War, Monster World, Moshi Monsters Village, Papa Pear Saga, Pocket Village, Puzzle & Dragons, Real Racing, Royal Revolt 2, Samurai Siege, Simpsons Tapped Out, Smurf’s Village, Subway Surfers, Top Eleven.

My method for selecting games was pretty unscientific… just a mix of games I had played, wanted to play, or were in the AppStore top grossing. Perhaps I’ll expand on the list some day.

Fancy a deeper look? Click to download my full spreadsheet with all recorded data and graphs.

Trends & Tricks

1) There is not much variety in pricing

This diagram says it best:

A lot of games offer the same 5 price points: £2.99, £6.99, £13.99, £34.99, £69.99. Those are the 5 big bubbles you see in the diagram above.

(That’s $4.99, $9.99, $19.99, $49.99, $99.99 for American readers).

The most popular thing to do is to offer those 5 price points exactly with no changes, as is done in Supercell’s Boom Beach for example.

Boom Beach Pricing

This exact price progression accounts for 1/5th of all games surveyed.

If you also count price progressions that are within 1 price of the most popular (meaning they can be reached by either adding, modifying or subtracting just 1 price from the progression), you’ve got over 3/5ths covered.

Extend it again to count price progressions within 2 prices and almost all games are accounted for.

Price Progression Similarities

Very few games deviate from this formula… Moshi Monsters Village and Empire are tied for the most unique price points award, with each offering 4 unique prices that no other game does. It’s nice to see someone trying something a little different, it will be interesting to see if their pricing catches on.

2) Players agree on a minimum price, publishers don’t

The only price that games seem to disagree on is the minimum to charge.

Popular Price Progressions

I wanted to know: is it worth offering a minimum price cheaper than £2.99? The App Store most popular purchase ranking reveals some interesting information.

1) In 100% of cases where £2.99 is the cheapest price, it is also the most popular purchase.

2) 17 games had both a starting price cheaper than £2.99, as well as a price point at £2.99.

3) For the majority (70%) of those 17 games, £2.99 was still the most popular price point.

The same information visualized:

Most Popular Cheap Purchase

It appears that even if you offer players a minimum price point cheaper than £2.99, chances are they will probably still prefer to buy the £2.99 option. But some questions remain…

a) When £2.99 is the cheapest option, how many sales are lost from players only willing to pay less than £2.99?

b) And how much revenue is gained from players that would have preferred a cheaper option but paid £2.99 anyways because there was no cheaper option?

c) And most importantly, which is greater? A or B?

Unfortunately I don’t have enough data to answer it. But it did make me think back to a talk I watched long ago in which a publisher claimed “you’d be surprised how many people who are willing to pay a dollar for something, will also be willing to pay 5 dollars”. He goes on to express regret for setting the price too low.

If it was up to me, I would probably start pricing at £2.99 and then lower the price later through special starter pack offers if need be. It’s always easier to lower a price than it is to raise it!

3) Buying more is not always a better deal for the player

I assumed that by buying a larger currency pack, I would always get more currency per dollar spent. This is not always the case. The most significant example of this I came across was in Angry Birds Go:

Angry Birds Go UK Prices

Pay 2.5 times as much, but only get 2.1 times as many gems. If you want 2,500 gems, you can save money by buying 2 x 1,200 gems + 1 x 100 gems for a total cost of £29.97 – a whole £5 cheaper than the 2,500 gems priced at £34.99. Those are savings you could use to buy another 300 gems ;)
It’s hardly an isolated incident. 70% of the games surveyed do this kind of thing.

Sometimes, you see the same thing happening in the US store.

Angry Birds Go US Prices

Other times I think it has to do with price localization. When something is priced at $4.99 in the US it is typically sold for £2.99 in the UK. But for some reason $9.99 (double 4.99) becomes £6.99 (more than double £2.99) whereas it really should be £5.99. Take Hay Day for example.

Hay Day US vs UK Price Comparison

Not sure how or why this practice originated, but I didn’t see any games adjust the premium currency given as a result so sometimes we end up getting less currency per £1 than you would get per $1. :(
4) ‘Most popular’ doesn’t have to mean most popular

As a player, don’t trust everything publishers tell you. In only 1 out of 8 games that prominently displayed a “Most Popular” badge next to a currency pack, was that also the actual most popular purchase in the App Store ranking.

Angry Birds Go, the only one to correctly label the “Most Popular” offer:

Angry Birds Go Most Popular Purchase

Does this mean everybody else is lying? I guess if at some point in the past or in a different territory the offer tagged as “Most Popular” was actually most popular, then you could say it’s just out of date.

In any case, it wouldn’t be in any publisher’s best interest because in all 7 cases where the “Most Popular” was mislabeled, a cheaper offer was the most popular and who would want to encourage players to buy a cheaper pack? Apparently only Rovio is honest enough.

5) There’s more than 1 way to calculate a bonus

A few games like to tell players exactly how much of a better deal the larger currency packs are. There are different ways of calculating this which can make the discount sound more or less impressive.

Hobbit Bonuses

This first example is from Kabam’s Hobbit game.

The lowest amount of gems per £1 is found in the £6.99 pack: 100 / 6.99 = 14.3 currency per £1.

At this exchange rate, for £13.99 you should get 13.99 x 14.3 = 200 currency.

But they give you 240 for £13.99 instead of 200.

240 / 200 = 1.2, thus you are getting 120%, ie 20% more than you should get.

The numbers have been arranged so as to maximize how impressive the bonus sounds while remaining 100% truthful. Not everybody calculates it the same way.

Here’s a different example from flare’s Royal Revolt 2.

Royal Revolt 2 Bonuses

Like Hobbit, they use the lowest exchange rate which again is from the £6.99 pack.

At that rate, you should get 5,256 currency for £34.99 but instead they give you 7,500.

This is where the method diverges from Hobbit.

The extra amount of currency being given is 7,500 – 5,256 = 2,244.

2,244 / 7,500 = 0.299, so we can say that of the 7,500 currency you are being given 29% for free.

First off, they could easily have rounded 29.9% up to 30%. More significantly, using Hobbit’s method you could say that 7,500 / 5,256 = 1.43, therefore it is equally honest to say that you are getting 43% extra.

Another interesting example is Monster World.

Monster World Bonuses

If you try to calculate the bonus using any sane method, it just doesn’t make sense. It had me stumped for a little while. Then I checked the US AppStore pricing and it all fell into place.

Monster World US Prices

If you use the US prices, the bonuses make perfect sense using the same method as Hobbit. So it appears that when the prices were localized, the bonuses were not. In reality, the bonuses in the UK AppStore are far less generous than their US counterparts (eg 7% UK instead of 25% US for 100 potions and 70% UK instead of 100% US for 4,000 potions).

Final Words

I hope this information helps anyone working on (or simply curious about) f2p game premium currency pricing. There’s certainly a lot more going on with the prices than is obvious at first glance. The more I looked, the more I found.

篇目4,10 reasons why players do not spend money

by deltaDNA

How can I change my game so that it makes more money?

That’s the million-dollar question in the free-to-play game industry, and one that I’ve been asked nearly as often. And while no single formula for success exists, games that monetize best are where the publisher or developer has adopted a player-centric approach focused on engagement.

Bottom line: If a player isn’t engaged, they won’t spend.

At the core of every commercially successful game, you must have an outstanding creative idea, with great game design and expert development. If you’ve got those things in place, you’re 90 percent there. The final 10 percent is about how well you have balanced the in-game economy, how you’ve structured rewards and at what point the monetization triggers kick in. Get any of these things wrong and your game won’t reach its full potential.

Good monetization in F2P games is not about forcing your players to spend — quite the opposite. It’s about giving them the opportunity to add value to their playing experience. Harsh monetization is still commonplace in F2P game design as the industry learns on its feet, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

DeltaDNA has studied the games design and monetization mechanics of over 100 F2P games to understand the top 10 reasons why players do not spend in-game.

1. Trying to monetize too early
With retention rates typically low in F2P, the classic mistake that publishers and developers make is hitting players up for cash before they’ve had a chance to become engaged.

If fact, 62 percent of the games we analyzed had this problem.

Putting players in a situation where their only option is to pay money will only have one outcome. You need to design games so that players can reach the end without spending a single dollar; this will foster better engagement and ultimately increase spending in the long term.

2. No gambling or ‘magic box’ mechanics
The random chance to win is an easy way for players to potentially get a very expensive item for free or for a much smaller amount of in-game currency. Players who don’t want to spend will be happy with the free chance. For those that do spend, this will encourage them to return or purchase additional magic boxes in order to win the rare items.

It’s a vastly underutilized mechanic, one which 93 percent of games fail to offer.

3. Lack of signposting
From the games we studied, poor signposting was evident in the large majority (63 percent). While it may seem obvious, if players can’t easily find the in-game store, they won’t buy anything from it.

4. Poor store layout
Just as in the mall, if your store isn’t laid out well, players will get frustrated when trying to find a particular item. Stores need to feature simple categories, ideally with a separate one for real-money purchases.

5. Poor inventory range
Having just a handful items available may result in a few players making purchases, but the novelty will soon wear off with players, sending revenues south. Well over two-thirds of games lack a good ranger of inventory. More is more!

6. Lack of expensive items
If players are enjoying a game, they’ll want to spend money to augment their experience, especially if it sets them apart from other players. Premium items for highly engaged players need to be really special and worth the investment; something that will make the player stand out from the crowd. We’re not talking about a $50 worth of gems here.

7. Poor whale management
It follows that a game’s most engaged players are going to be its biggest fans and spenders. So reward them, or they’ll leave and take their money elsewhere.

8. Lengthy purchase process
Nobody likes waiting in line to make a purchase, and if the process takes too long, it can result in an abandoned cart. This is a really easy one to address, yet we found in 48 percent of games analyzed the process was poor.

9. No bundle offers
Offering players bundle deals presents real value to players. For example, promotions such as a free character when buying a pack of resources or offering a weapon and vehicle together for a discounted price keeps players happy, and happy players are loyal players — and maybe your next whales.

10. Lack of customization options
Status is everything. Paid cosmetic items are a great way to drive both engagement and monetization, something 52 percent of games now feature. Give players as many different ways to customize their gameplay — it adds immediate value and loyalty.

篇目5,Playing with money = playing with emotions

by Patrick Miller

“Playing with my money, is like playing with my emotions.”
-Big Worm

Who knew that a quote from Friday would turn out to be a great starting point for a post on microtransactions in game design? (For that matter, do people who like video games even watch Friday?)

First off: if you are reading this and you genuinely think that you will never ever have fun playing a free to play game, go away. There are many ways to sell games and many ways to build them, and there is no One Right Way to do either one. So stuff it.

Now: It’s true that lots of f2p feels soulless and exploitative. Some of this is due to mismanaged expectations, and some of this is due to designers that, at least from my perspective, seem to have a poor understanding of a person’s emotional reaction to buying stuff. They may have mastered an impressive set of psychological tools designed to extract money out of people, but that won’t necessarily make said people feel good about spending that money.

This is, I think, why so many mobile and social games are about monetizing the “whales” (and encouraging high virality in order to better find those whales) and f2p PC games like Planetside 2and MechWarrior Online have to be a little more “honest” because they’re dealing with an audience that is slightly more savvy to psychological manipulation within games (and have plenty of other games to go to if they find the f2p aspects distasteful).

A quick note: By “mismanaged expectations,” I mean that some people are simply appalled by the idea of having a game that explicitly includes money in the design. These people are either very, very naive, or they are ideologically opposed to f2p, and shareware, and subscriptions, and arcade games—and bowling, mini golf, etc. Don’t expect to win these people over with words. (Instead, design a game they want to pay for.)

The fact is, spending money is an emotionally nuanced activity. Yes, everyone hates seeing their account numbers go down and their bill numbers go up, but that is possibly the most superficial emotion we could possible evoke from a transaction, and really, it gets us no closer to learning how to make people feel good for spending money on our games. So I thought I’d discuss some of the things I enjoy spending money on, and the things I don’t enjoy spending money on, in order to perhaps discern potential design hooks that would enable us to design microtransaction-based games that don’t constantly make us feel like we’re getting fucked. (Avid readers may recall that I touched upon this earlier in a column for Game Developer, but I didn’t really get to go in detail.)

I like spending money on: Upgrades. I like buying new stuff for my car, or my computer; new parts to improve performance, accessories to make them more useful or convenient, and so forth. I like the feeling of testing my upgraded machine to see how much better it performed, or the novelty of using a new toy with an older tool for the first few times. I like having an older, inferior part left over to use in something else, if I want to, like lend it to a friend in need or use it on a spare rig. Part of the fun of buying a new thing is being freed up to reuse the old thing.

MechWarrior Online was particularly good with this because you maintain a hangar full of ‘Mechs, and there were plenty of good reasons to own and maintain a full stable—different variants of a chassis to grind masteries, different combat roles, and so on. So when you replaced a default part with a better part, you could choose to use that default part in a different ‘Mech. Considering most f2p games won’t let you trade items directly with another player (because, presumably, any time a player gets a part from someone other that you, you potentially lost money), this is a pretty good way to still maintain an illusion of “ownership” with virtual goods.

This can apply to consumables, within reason; I like buying healthy food because it’s good for me and is basically an “upgrade” for myself (one which is, like a good upgrade, actually reflected in my body’s quality-of-user-experience) and once it’s gone, its advantage still lasts, which makes me feel good about buying it.

I don’t like spending money on: Paid advantages. One of the reasons MechWarrior Online did it well was because the more-expensive parts often offered higher performance but at higher costs; an upgraded laser might do the same damage and weigh less, but take up more physical space than its default counterpart and cost more to repair if damaged. It strikes the right balance between upgrade and side-grade that makes it a compelling, but balanced purchase instead of pay-to-win.

Also, it’s totally viable to buy these expensive parts without using real money currency, even though some of them cost as much as an entirely new ‘Mech. I didn’t crunch the numbers, but I never felt like any single piece equipment was out of reach with just in-game earned currency alone—just that everything that I wanted, in total, would be too much work to earn without spending a few bucks or spending more time playing the game than I’d like. This really makes it feel like I am electing to spend money instead of grinding, that I’m choosing to expedite my progress instead of do work.

This is, I suppose, is also true if I spend money for a thing that would take 90 years to grind, but knowing that no one would realistically grind for that makes not work so well. Make it so that the things I can only buy with real money simply say to other people, “I liked this game enough to spend money on something,” not “I want to win enough to spend money to win.” Evoking the former feeling builds my sense of investment in a game; the latter cheapens my sense of accomplishment from doing well at a game.

I like spending money on: A good deal. Everyone loves a sale, because it makes us feel like just by virtue of the fact that we are in this store or on this website at a particular time, we have performed a magic trick that makes our hard-earned dollars stretch further. Of course, the flip side of this magic trick is that we end up spending more of those hard-earned dollars than we otherwise would have. This is nothing new to monetization designers; plenty of f2p games use rotating sales and discounts as a way of convincing us to buy stuff.

I imagine that some monetization designers get a bit wary at the thought of discounting too often, for fear that it’ll cause players to wait to purchase a particular virtual good until it’s on sale. This seems silly to me! With real-world goods, we exact a certain tax on people who want the convenience of having exactly what they want, when they want it, and reward people who are willing to wait with a discount. We do this because vendors that have a lot of inventory basically have their money tied up in products that aren’t making them money until their sold, which is no good for them, so they’ll discount the old stock in order to make space and free up budget for the new stuff—even if it means lower profits (or even a loss) on the old stuff.

Likewise, there are some players who are willing to buy your stuff at its normal price in order to have it when they want it, and some who will only buy when they get a deal—because they like the feeling of getting a deal, or because it’s now in their price range, or perhaps a little bit of both. Sales basically give you a chance to engage people who value your in-game stuff at different price points without affecting the long-term perceived value of the product, netting you buyers you might not have otherwise attracted (especially thanks to the impulse buy appeal of a time-limited sale, like a daily deal). And since you’re selling virtual goods that cost you nothing to reproduce and don’t decrease in value over time, I really don’t see any reason not to regularly put things on sale.

I don’t like spending money on: Manufactured inconveniences. I am inclined to point out is that putting something on sale will help persuade me to buy something only if I already want to buy it but cannot (for whatever reason). That is to say, if you try to sell me something that I already don’t want, you won’t have any more luck by cutting the price. And if I think your microtransactions are exploitative or manipulative, I won’t bite. (Even if it’s on sale.) I’ll probably play as a free rider until I run into a squeeze that’s just too painful, and then I’ll quit.

I like spending money on: Bundles.From Extra Value Meals to Humble Indie Bundles, I like buying me a group of things that are each cheaper because my total spend overall is higher than it would have otherwise been. I think the Humble Bundles are a particularly good example because they typically feature a few flagship items that are, for most people, the reason to buy the bundle, and then extra stuff which could be nice to have but that you wouldn’t necessarily go out of your way to buy.

Essentially, the trick to getting me to buy a bundle is to include one or two things that I really want, a few other things which would be nice to have, and a price that basically convinces me to spend a few extra bucks on something I don’t want enough to buy on its own. And it makes me feel good because it’s a sale, plus I get to feel both indulgent and thrifty, because I’m buying stuff I don’t feel like I need enough to purchase at full price (indulgence) and getting a good deal (thrifty).

I don’t like spending money on: Stuff I want in inconvenient amounts. Don’t make me spend more money than I want to simply because what I want is not priced in some arbitrary quantity. Subtract even more points if I will always end up with an annoying amount of leftover money after any given transaction, or if the dollars-to-game-currency isn’t 1:1 (if I have to do math to figure out how much real money I’m spending, then fuck you). Don’t sell me hot dogs in packs of six and buns in packs of eight.

I like spending money on: Side bets. I like betting on the outcome of games, whether it’s a game I’m playing on or a game I’m watching. Even putting a dollar on the line makes things disproportionately more entertaining and engaging. Heck, playing fighting games in the arcade has a minor amount of money at stake—the 50c required to continue vs. not having to pay money to play your next game—and that was enough to make people get All Kinds Of Real over it.

Of course, you want people to put money into your game, not pull it out—so don’t let them take it out. People can bet with your real-money in-game currency, and then use that currency to buy other things in-game (or make more bets). They may not be paying with their money, but they’re paying with someone’s, and that’s what matters to you, right?

I don’t like spending money on: Lotteries, raffles, or any kind of luck-based gambling, really. If I wanted to bet real money on a game of chance, I’d play online poker. I hate things that require me to pay money for a chance to win big money big prizes. This applies to luck-of-the-draw card packs (I’m looking at you, Tekken Card Tournament); I hate that I can buy a more favorable random number generator for packs of cards by spending more money.

I like spending money on: People (or animals) that are important to me. Whenever it’s financially feasible, I like to do nice things for people—paying for a meal or a drink for a friend, buying toys for my cats, whatever my girlfriend wants, etc.

It’s worth pointing out that when someone does something nice for me, I am inclined to pay that back or forward (say, someone senior buys me lunch, so I buy lunch for someone junior to me), so I end up personally spending more money than I otherwise would, due solely to the feeling of being a Nice Person Who Does Nice Things For People. In other words, I suspect this might let you increase each player’s overall spend just by letting them be nice to each other.

This is a problem, I think, with online games that don’t allow players to trade items with each other. On one hand, yes, it means every transaction should be one that made you money. On the other hand, one of the nice things of owning something is being able to still extract value when you don’t want it any more—by giving it or selling it to someone else, for example. What’s more, I’ll be more engaged with the community if I am buying/selling/trading/donating stuff to people in that community—in other words, if I see it as something I can extract value from.

I don’t like spending money on: Taxes, fees, tolls, parking. (In other words, people/animals/things that are not directly important to me.) I hate having to pay for parking, because I pay for a car, and insurance for the car, and gas to make that car go—I don’t want to pay for the privilege of putting it in a certain place for some time because the entire damn point of a car is that it puts me in a certain place for some time.

Likewise, I don’t want to pay for game time, access, stamina, or any other stupid gating systems. I am playing your game because I want to play your game; if you’re going to charge me for the privilege of playing your game whenever I want and for as long as I want, might as well just make it a one-time-payment game and call it a day.

The one exception to this is arcade games, and that is specifically because I am rewarded for being good at your game by being allowed to play the game at a cheaper dollars-per-minute rate than people who suck at your game. This gives me a financial incentive to get good at your game, which can be pretty powerful.

Of course, the hard part is that the set of “people who care about getting good at video games enough to spend significant amounts of money on them” is much smaller than the set of “people who like playing video games enough to spend money on them in general,” so skill incentives end up shrinking your overall viable market. So you end up with stupid time gates that penalize players who like playing your game. In a weird sense, it’s almost a disincentive to get good at the game, since that would require me to play more often (and thus spend more money).

I like spending money on: Admission to events/entertainment. I like spending money that leads to good experiences which build memories—traveling to new places, admission to zoos and parks, concerts, films, etc. Basically, if I like your game enough, I’ll be willing to pay to play it, so you might not have to make it free to play to begin with!

I don’t like spending money on: Admission to events that then demand I spend money. I don’t like spending money on things that simply get me into the building to buy more things—like bougie food events, for example. It might be worth it if whatever I can buy is then priced at a significant discount (see Costco memberships), but then this becomes part of an overall cost-benefit analysis with little additional emotional content to further sell your game.

Which is (at long last!) the point of this post, I suppose. Designing monetization into games can be simply an exercise in psychological manipulation (banking on people with addictive tendencies who are easily manipulated and compelled to over-spend), or it can be a chance to take advantage of people’s real-world emotional connection to money as, essentially, bonus game content—albeit “emotional content” instead of designed game content.

Putting our money where our hearts are

Asking people to spend money is a shortcut to all kinds of potential real-world emotional reactions—reactions that can be challenging to evoke simply with game design or narrative alone. (Bet a dollar with a friend on something competitive and see for yourself.) The thing is that if you don’t design your monetization hooks with a little bit of empathy and human understanding in mind, you’re going to end up creating a weirdly crass, almost psychopathic game which evokes mostly negative emotions (“No, I don’t want to give you money, stop asking”) when you could be taking advantage of certain positive emotional associations people have with money, instead. Microtransactions could actually be something which makes your game more fun, not less, which is good for everyone involved.