手遊的成功之道(一):F2P遊戲設計

手遊的成功之道(一):F2P遊戲設計

原作者:Will Freeman 譯者:Willow Wu

本系列文章將會分享一些Unity用戶的建議,這些用戶同樣也是成功手遊產品的開發者。第一篇我們要從設計的基本概念入手,談一談F2P遊戲要如何實現成功。

就算你不是手遊專家,不瞭解最新的用戶獲取方法是什麼,你也知道F2P遊戲的世界很複雜。

從免費遊戲到成功的免費遊戲需要花費很多心血,還要涉及到一堆類似“重定位”、“廣告招標網絡”以及“每付費用戶的有效成本”等等令人眼花繚亂的短語,同樣也令人恐懼。

Pokemon Go(from news.qq)

Pokemon Go(from news.qq)

但是你如果把遊戲設定成免費也可以增加遊戲的曝光率,有可能會爲你帶來上百萬的潛在玩家。

如果你還在猶豫下一步該怎麼走,可以繼續往下看——本文提出了一些實用有效的建議來幫助開發者們提升免費遊戲的成功機率,無論是遊戲本身還是收益方面。

縱觀那些榜單成績優異、盈利可觀的Unity F2P遊戲,它們的創作團隊對於如何才能讓遊戲獲得收益有很多不同的看法,但是有一點是一致的——在你設計任何東西之前就要確定好這是個免費遊戲,把F2P設定嵌入到遊戲的最核心部分,還有最重要的就是你能做出一個好遊戲。

當然,說起來容易做起來難。但是很多工作室都遵循這種方法在移動市場上獲得了巨大成功,也能在一定程度上幫助失敗的產品起死回生。

“你必須在所有開發工作開始之前就確定要不要做免費遊戲,因爲之後的所有東西都要以F2P爲中心,”Pocket PlayLabs的合作創始人&CEO Jakob Lykkegaard說。他們的熱門遊戲《果汁方塊》(Juice Cubes)是由Rovio團隊發行的,收穫了2500萬的下載量以及相當可觀的200萬日活躍用戶。

“在《果汁方塊》之前,我們在Lost Cubes上犯了很大的錯誤,我們在開發中途想把付費遊戲做成免費遊戲,最後我們做出的是一個帶有F2P特點的付費遊戲,玩家完全不買賬。”

F2P設計究竟應該是什麼樣的?在某些名利雙收的遊戲工作室看來,這就跟廣大Unity用戶的設計偏好有關。

Madfinger的合作創始人&CEO Marek Rabas說:“我們把精力集中在hardcore玩法上,但是依然保持高質量的畫面。” 他們的產品《死亡扳機2》(Dead Trigger 2)目前在市場上表現極好,下載量已經超過8000萬次。

在Rabas看來,F2P成功設計源於“出色的核心玩法、驚豔的環境畫面、高質量的模型以及動作捕捉,這些都要圍繞F2P機制構建。”

Mad Finger和《死亡扳機》IP傳達出的信息就是如果傳統遊戲設計理念跟F2P機制適配,它仍然可以脫穎而出,在市場中佔據自己的一席之位。人們對F2P模式有種誤解,認爲它們的成功必須依靠微型核心循環和類似輪盤賭這樣考驗運氣的設計機制。的確,這些設計會有效果,但重點是隻要你從第一天就開始思考如何才能將玩法和F2P結合到一起,思考要選擇那種盈利模式,可以說無論是哪種類型的遊戲都不會以失敗告終。

盈利方式當然不是唯一的,在如今,限時付費機制依然有很多人用,除此之外還有遊戲內廣告、角色個性化IAP、app外交叉推廣以及可解鎖性內容可以利用。

但不管你採用哪種盈利方式,有一件事情必須明白:你不能故意刁難玩家讓他們不得不花錢,這可能會對你的收益產生反效果。

除了惹惱玩家之外還有很多事情可以做。

Jelly Button的合作創始人&創意總監Moti Novo解釋說:“我們儘量避免使用收費門檻(需要付費才能看到指定的內容),取而代之的是我們會設計一些場景,促使玩家自發地想要爲遊戲花錢,雖說他們不是非得要這樣做。”儘管Jelly Button的成立時間並不長,但他們最近發行的Unity遊戲《海島冒險》已經達到了日活躍用戶93萬。

“我們希望付費玩家和非付費玩家能得到一樣的遊戲體驗,在進階方式上也不會有失公允,”Novo繼續說,“我們相信賞心悅目的遊戲環境和有趣的社交互動能夠留住玩家,不管他們願不願意氪金。”

就如Jelly Button所示,沒有花錢取勝(pay-to-win)或者是付費門檻設定的遊戲也能獲得成功。但事實上,對於這個以色列開發團隊和許多同時代的人來說,情況恰恰相反。

類似地,如果你的免費遊戲是依靠廣告獲得收益,那麼關鍵就在於如何才能把它們自然地融入到設計中,不會讓玩家產生厭煩情緒。

Magma Mobile的CEO Nicolas Sorel說:“我們的商業模式就是‘免費+廣告’,”Magma Mobile把旗下的所有遊戲都換成了Unity引擎,比如說大受歡迎的《漢堡》(Burger),達到了3.8億次下載。“有時候我們會在遊戲中加入一些IAP物品,但是主要還是靠廣告盈利。在製作遊戲的時候,我們嘗試把這些廣告投放在適合的地方、適合的時間。儘量達到平衡狀態,避免讓玩家反感、破壞他們的遊戲體驗。

“有一點我要說明,”Sorel繼續說,“我們不用侵入性廣告,而是用條幅廣告(banners),比較不會打擾到玩家。當我們向玩家推薦IAP商品的時候,廣告會自動移除。如果玩家通過IAP購買了東西,我們表達感謝的方式就是移除遊戲廣告。”

在免費遊戲中,放置合適的廣告能很好地發揮作用——就比如用Unity開發的手遊《天天過馬路》,當時僅有兩人的遊戲工作室Hipster Whale讓它風靡全球。《天天過馬路》在不強迫玩家觀看廣告的前提下,利用Unity的廣告生態系統將廣告植入到遊戲中,並且內容都是推廣其它遊戲,這樣對Hipster Whale和玩家都有好處。

就算你沒有七位數的用戶獲取預算也可以投放廣告,而且這跟工作室規模大小沒有關係,廣告的使用方式非常多。

Lonely Few的合作創始人&開發人員Rod Green說:“我們選擇將《彩獨》(Blendoku)設定爲免費遊戲,所有關卡都是不用花錢的,我們管這種叫‘無盡測驗(unlimited trial)’。遊戲包含廣告,在開發的過程中我們也添加了一些可供購買的擴展內容。” Lonely Few是由兩人組成的團隊,他們的極簡風格遊戲受到了廣大玩家的喜愛。

“對我們而言,最關鍵的一點就是讓玩家可以付費移除廣告。如果玩家想要購買一些額外的內容,我們會把這些額外的內容當作一款付費產品來看待。此外,遊戲中不賣任何道具,因爲我們覺得這種做法和‘無盡測驗’的理念相悖。”

Lonely Few選擇這種模式是因爲他們知道自己沒辦法得到高額的營銷預算,但他們的設計理念很獨特,希望能從普通玩家羣體中獲得收益。

Green總結說:“如果《彩獨》是付費遊戲,那麼在一開始就會導致我們損失很多玩家,”這就讓我們回到了最初的建議——無論你是預算資金充足的巨頭公司還是創意十足的雛鳥公司,免費遊戲都可以爲你開闢出一條路,吸引大批玩家涌入(其中還有付費用戶)。

如果你處理得當,從第一天開始就把它融入到遊戲設計中,免費設定可能就會成爲移動產品成功的關鍵因素。

那些想要利用F2P機制讓遊戲吸引更多玩家、獲得更多受益的開發者們就可以按照這個方法,而且不需要犧牲玩法或者是創意向F2P妥協。仔細思考什麼樣的盈利模式纔是最適合你的產品,另外還要避免廣告、IAP以及付費門檻的不恰當使用引起玩家反感,想要像某些Unity遊戲那樣掙大錢不是什麼不可能的事。

當然,除此之外還有其它地方需要下功夫,本文僅僅只是系列文章的第一部分。如何才能做出一個成功的手遊產品,讓Unity用戶給你一些歷經實踐考驗的建議。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

In the first of a series of pieces sharing advice from Unity users that have that found success in the mobile space, we look at the basic concepts of designing for the free-to-play realm.

You don’t need to be an expert in the latest form of the user acquisition funnel to know that the world of free-to-play games is a complex one.

There exists a vast industry built around turning free games into successful ones, and a host of bewildering phrasing around the likes of retargeting, ad bidding networks and effective cost per paying user.

It can feel as intimidating as it can be bewildering, but making your game free can also serve as a gateway of discoverability, and potentially bring millions of customers to see your creation.

And for those unsure about the best way forward, fortunately there are some realistic, practical things you can do to give your free game the best chance of success, both critically and commercially.

Speak to the various studios that have seen their Unity-authored F2P games enjoy both healthy chart position and revenues, and while they all have a lot of different ideas about how to monetize, one concept is universal.

Make the decision to go with free before you design a single thing, build it into your game’s very core, and be sure that, above all else, you have a good playable game.

That is all easier said than done, of course, but it’s a lesson that has led to many studios meeting with remarkable mobile success, and brought some back from a point where games were not making anything like enough money.

“Free-to-play can only be decided on before you start any development, as it includes every single thing in the game that follows,” offers Jakob Lykkegaard, Co-Founder and CEO of Pocket PlayLabs, which saw its puzzle hit Juice Cubes picked up and published under Rovio’s own Rovio Stars banner, before it went on to secure over 25 million downloads and a still sizable 2 million daily active users.

“We had – before Juice Cubes – made a big mistake with Lost Cubes, as we tried to make a premium game free-to-play in the middle of the production,” continues a reassuringly frank Lykkegaard. “We ended up with a ‘free premium game’ that didn’t monetize at all.”

But what exactly is designing for free-to-play? For some of the most successful studios, it about the kind of design a number of Unity users will likely warm to.

“We concentrate on hardcore gameplay and our visual quality still remains top-notch,” says Marek Rabas, CEO and Co-Founder of Madfinger, which continues to enjoy much success with its Dead Trigger 2 title, now downloaded 80-million-plus times.

And according to Rabas, designing for F2P success stems from delivering “great core gameplay and visually stunning environments, high quality models, motion capture animation, all built around F2P mechanics.”

What Mad Finger and the Dead Trigger IP have shown is that, if paired with workable freemium mechanisms, traditional game design values and concepts can still make for a significant mobile success story. There’s a misconception that free-to-play success demands designing a game built from the likes of microscopic core loops and roulette-style spinners. Those concepts can work too, but the point is this; as long as you are thinking how to apply your gameplay to free from day one, and what monetization model you choose, almost any genre or form can thrive.

The monetization methods can vary wildly, of course, and today while pay wall timers continue to remain popular, in-game ads, character customization IAP, cross-promotion for external apps and the established unlockable content remain viable options.

But however you monetize your mobile game, one thing is clear; pestering your player to spend – or making obstacles to progressing for free too aggressive – is not the way forward, and can ultimately be financially counterproductive.

Yet there is much you can do without disgruntling your player base.

“We tried avoid using pay walls, but instead try to create scenarios where the player would want to spend money in our game, even though he doesn’t have to,” explains Moti Novo, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Jelly Button; a studio seeing its recent Unity-authored release Pirate Kings enjoy some 930,000 daily active users, despite the team being a relatively new entity.

“We wanted to make a place where payers and non-payers would have identical experiences and a balanced progression,” continues Novo. “We trusted that a beautiful environment, and a fun enough interaction with friends we would keep people involved in the game regardless of whether they want to pay or not.”

As Jelly Button demonstrates, you needn’t commit to pay-to-win and aggressive pay-walling to meet with success. In fact, for the Israeli team and many of their contemporaries, quite the opposite is true.

Similarly – the experts agree – if you are relying on ads for revenue in your free game, it’s about integrating them into the design if the game in a way that feels natural, and won’t aggravate the player.

“Our business model is ‘free plus ads’,” states Nicolas Sorel, CEO of Magma Mobile, which has turned to Unity for all of their games such as the wildly popular Burger, and enjoyed 380 million downloads across its catalogue. “Sometimes we implement some in-app purchases, but majority of our model is ads monetization. When we build a game, we try to put ads at a good place and at the right moment. We try to find the right balance not to annoy our users and so we don’t ruin their Magma Mobile experience.

“But I want to be clear,” continues a clearly passionate Sorel. “We avoid intrusive ads; we try to make a clean integration of banners that don’t annoy our users. When we integrate in-app purchase in a game to buy something, we automatically remove ads. If a user buys something in-app, our way of thanking the user is to remove advertising in the game.”

Well-placed ads can certainly work well in free games – as case in point being the Unity-authored hit Crossy Road, which made two-man studio Hipster Whale a global success story. Harnessing the Unity Ads ecosystem, Crossy Road integrated commercials into its gameplay without ever forcing them on players, and only ever promoted other games: something that worked for both Hipster Whale and its players.

Ads, it is clear, offer an option available to studios of every size, even if they don’t have a seven-figure user acquisition budget. And they can be used in myriad different ways.

“We chose to release Blendoku for free with the core of the game – so all levels are free,” offers Rod Green, Co-Founder and Developer of Lonely Few, a team of two that saw a mobile hit with their minimalist puzzler. “You could call it ‘unlimited trial’. It’s ad supported and […] we added purchasable expansions over the course of development.

“A key thing for us was to make any purchase remove ads. We figured if you want to pay for some extra content then we’ll treat it like it’s a premium paid product. We also don’t have any consumable purchases as we feel they don’t fit the ‘unlimited trial’ concept.”

Lonely Few selected the model as they didn’t expect to have access to a big marketing budget; they were developing a distinct concept and thus wanted to be able to capitalize on grassroots support.

“The initial paid barrier to entry would have seriously hindered Blendoku’s ability to be shared and enjoyed by so many people,” concludes Green, taking us back to the opening point. Whether you’re a big-budget powerhouse or a small, creatively bold start-up, free can offer a gateway to you’re game that can bring players – some of them paying – pouring in.

If you handle it right and design it into your game from day one, free can be an important part of making your game a mobile success story.

Those that want to harness the potential of free-to-play to make their creation reach more people – or make them more money – can design it into the game from the start, without sacrificing gameplay standards or ideas. Consider the monetization model that best matches your design, and avoid irritating your users with your ads, IAP or pay-walls, and matching the success of some of the most bankable Unity-authored projects is far from impossible.

There’s rather more to it than that, of course, which is why this is just the first in a series of blog posts looking at how to make your mobile game a success, with advice from Unity users that have done it themselves.(source:unity