付費手機遊戲是否真的能夠迴歸?

有一些公司對維持付費手機遊戲市場的活力充滿興趣。而這對於獨立開發者來說是有益的。

就像我們所瞭解的那樣,早在幾年前手機市場便開始向免費遊戲轉變。

在《憤怒的小鳥》時期,人們很樂於在手機上花費0.99美元並投入好幾個小時去享受遊戲樂趣。

在那之後幾年,幾乎所有人都意識到僅僅爲了娛樂而支付高額的費用是不合理的—-至少是在他們測試完遊戲是否有趣併爲其掏出錢包前。

在2012年和2013年間,市場快速發生了轉變,到2013年年末,90%的iOS收益和98%的Google Play收益都是來自免費遊戲了。

反彈

從那時以來,我們偶爾也會談到付費遊戲的迴歸。但不幸的是,所有數據都未能支持這一點。

在着眼於排行榜時,我們能夠更清楚地看到免費遊戲的主導優勢。

monetisation-strategy(from pocketgamer)

monetisation-strategy(from pocketgamer)

現在在iOS平臺上的前100名暢銷遊戲中有99款遊戲屬於免費遊戲,唯一的付費遊戲則是《我的世界》。而這種情況已經維持了2年。

有些熱門遊戲是因爲擁有一個手機領域以外的品牌(遊戲邦注:如主機遊戲,Steam遊戲等)而成功擠進前100名榜單中,如《玩具熊的午夜紅宮》或《俠盜獵車手》。

而在Google Play上這種情況更加明顯。

如今,作爲沒有IAP的暢銷遊戲《這是我的戰爭》排在了第269名。而《俠盜獵車手:聖安迪斯》排在第363名,《幾何衝刺》在第416名,《星球大戰:舊共和國戰士》在第431名。

而在這4款前500名以內的遊戲中,只有《幾何衝刺》是從手機遊戲發展起來的。

而其它出現在這一榜單上但卻未使用IAP的遊戲都是擁有手機領域外部的品牌。

成功上限

在今天,最優秀的付費遊戲能夠賺到數百萬美元的收益。

這是指那些被蘋果選爲年度遊戲的遊戲,如《紀念碑谷》和《罪惡之地》。

但是這些遊戲同時也需要許多優秀人才的參與。舉個例子來說吧,根據報告,《紀念碑谷》的開發成本高達140萬美元,併爲開發者創造了590萬美元的收益。

如此看來其呈現的回報是投入的4倍多。所以你可以期望着使用這樣的模式。

實際上,這也意味着你創造的每4款遊戲中便有一款需要被蘋果評選爲年度最佳遊戲。

付費應用

沒有一個精明的投資者會將錢投資在這樣的業務上。

這意味着如果你的公司擁有VC資金,你們便是在創造免費遊戲。這是毫無疑問的。而這也將爲獨立公司創造一些機遇。

但是你看,還是有些人想要看到付費遊戲獲得成功的。例如蘋果。他們便是一家主張付費的公司,所以事先一次性付費模式總是能夠吸引他們的注意。

付費應用同樣也擁有自己的優勢,如它們能夠提高iOS和Android手機之間的轉換成本。

app-store-pay-once-play-page(from pocketgamer)

app-store-pay-once-play-page(from pocketgamer)

你也可以在其它平臺上免費下載你的免費遊戲,而如果沒有特別情況的話你通常都能繼續遊戲。而關於付費遊戲,你則需要重新付費購買—-如此便提高了轉換門檻。

遊戲媒體便與蘋果展開緊密合作去拯救手機平臺上的付費遊戲。那些爲遊戲媒體編寫內容的人往往都是硬核遊戲玩家。

而這些硬核玩家往往都不會對免費遊戲盈利感興趣。

此外,這也只是因爲他們單純地想要推廣付費遊戲。畢竟如果我需要事先花錢才能玩一款遊戲,那麼我就希望至少能在付錢前閱讀下游戲評價。這也因此爲遊戲媒體招來了用戶和收益流。

另一方面,如果我對一款免費遊戲感興趣,那麼比起瀏覽評價,我會直接去嘗試遊戲。

這也將解釋爲什麼像TouchArcade.com等網站會完全無視許多最暢銷的免費遊戲。這同時也解釋了爲什麼TouchArcade面臨財政危機是因爲免費遊戲的發展。

立基羣體

對於一家大型遊戲公司來說,他們面對的策略非常明顯:只開發免費遊戲。

而對於一家小型公司來說,他們還需要面對付費遊戲的立基用戶。他們知道自己不能與那些擁有大量預算的公司相抗衡,他們同樣也清楚如果選擇了付費遊戲,他們便能夠獲得一些不錯的“同盟”。

較少的最佳收益與較少的競爭間的權衡方式仍然是有價值的。

你必須始終牢記確保你的預算分配是合理的。如果你不能得到蘋果的推薦,你最終的結果可能就像《Zombie Match Defence》那樣。

或者你會取得像《The Room》那樣的成功。不過它也是一款受推薦的年度遊戲。

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

Can premium mobile games make a comeback?

By Guest Author

There are a few companies with an interest in keeping the premium mobile game market alive. That might be good for indie developers.

As everyone knows, the mobile market shifted to free-to-play (F2P) games a few years ago.

Back in the Angry Birds era, people seemed happy to pay $0.99 for hours upon hours of entertainment in their phone.

Then, a few years later, everyone collectively realised that paying such princely sums for mere entertainment is clearly unreasonable – at least before they thoroughly get to test play the game before being asked to pay.

During 2011-2013, the market shifted so quickly that by the end of 2013 between 90% (iOS) and 98% (Google Play) of the revenue was from F2P games.

Rebound

Since then, there have at times been talk about the comeback of premium. But, unfortunately, the data does not support that claim.

When looking at the top charts, things have moved even more clearly in the direction of F2P dominance.

The current top 100 grossing chart on iOS is 99 F2P games, and Minecraft. It has been pretty consistently like that for the past 2 years.

Some hit games that have an existing brand outside of mobile (console titles, Steam titles, etc.) can briefly make it to the top 100 list – think Five Nights at Freddy’s or Grand Theft Auto. But the only one that has stayed there is Minecraft.

On Google Play, it’s even more clear.

The top grossing game without IAPs today is This War of Mine at position 269. The next is GTA San Andreas at position 363, Geometry Dash at 416 and Star Wars: KOTOR at 431.

Of these 4 that are in the top 500, only Geometry Dash was a mobile-first game. That is, one single pure premium mobile first game in the entire top 500 grossing list.

The others who got there without using IAPs all had brands from outside mobile.

Capped success

The best premium games today can make revenue of some millions of dollars.

This is for games that get selected by Apple as Game of the Year, such as Monument Valley and Badland.

While that is by no means bad, these games also required a lot of talented people to develop. For instance, it was reported that Monument Valley cost $1.4 million to develop, and generated $5.9 million.

That’s a bit more than 4x return on investment. And that’s the best that you can hope for with this model.

In practise, it means that every 4th game that you make needs to be Apple’s Game of the Year.

Doesn’t work

No investor who can count is going to put their money on such a business.

Which means that if your company has VC money, you make F2P games. No discussion! Which in turn might open up some opportunity for indie companies.

You see, there are some companies who would still like to see premium succeed. Apple for one. They are a very premium company and the pay-once-up-front model appeals to them.

Premium apps also have the upside that they increase the cost of switching between iOS and Android phones.

Your F2P game can be downloaded for free on the other platform, and often you can just keep on playing as if nothing happened. With a premium game, you have to pay again – thus raising the barrier to switching.

Closely allied with Apple in the quest to rescue premium on mobile is the games media. The people who write for games media are often hardcore gamers themselves (otherwise, how would they have ended up in that job?).

And hardcore gamers usually don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings about F2P monetization.

In addition, it’s just in their self interest to promote premium games. After all, if I’m required to pay up-front with real money for a game, I want to at least read a review before paying. Which gives games media an audience and a revenue stream.

If, on the other hand, I am curious about a F2P game, I will just try out the game instead of reading a review.

This goes a long way towards explaining why lots of the top grossing F2P games are completely ignored by the likes of TouchArcade.com. And also why TouchArcade is in financial difficulties as a result of the rise of F2P.

Niche to exploit?

For a large game company, the strategy is clear: develop only F2P games.

For a small indie, there might still be a niche for premium. You know you won’t be competing with the big budget companies, and you also know that you have a few good allies if you do premium.

A tradeoff of a way smaller best case revenue (by a factor of almost a thousand) versus much less competition could still make it worthwhile.

Just remember to keep your budget reasonable. And you might still end up like Zombie Match Defence, if you don’t get a good featuring by Apple.

Or, you might have tremendous success, like the guys who did The Room. They’re another game of the year, though.(source:pocketgamer)