《天堂2:重生》開發商談影響者營銷和公司規模

《天堂2:重生》開發商談影響者營銷和公司規模

原文作者: Dean Takahashi 譯者:Megan Shieh

去年,韓國最大手遊公司Netmarble推出了一款大型多人在線手遊《天堂2:重生(Lineage 2: Revolution)》,該作在韓國市場取得了巨大的成功。不久後,Netmarble宣佈將在西方市場投放這款遊戲。

爲此,該公司組織了各種廣告活動,聯合了遊戲媒體和Youtube、Twitch等平臺上的影響力人士爲將在2017年11月推出的這款遊戲做宣傳。Netmarble甚至與Conan O‘Brien簽約,請他在Twitch嘉年華活動上推廣這款遊戲。(遊戲邦注:Conan O‘Brien是美國著名脫口秀主持人、喜劇演員、作家、製作人。)

在全球發佈後的短短兩個月裏,《天堂2》的累積註冊用戶突破了500萬人次。

本週,在2018年國際消費電子產品展(CES)上,GamesBeat記者採訪了Netmarble美國分公司的總經理Simon Sim。

問:能否聊聊公司近況?

Sim:我們在17年11月份全球發行了《天堂2》。迄今爲止,它在西方地區獲得了很多有機下載,特別是在歐洲和俄羅斯。我們對此感到十分高興。此外,我們還收到了很多來自玩家的反饋和建議。

問:西方玩家對這款遊戲的熱情是否會像韓國玩家一樣高漲?

Sim:在西方市場推出《天堂2》對我們而言非常有挑戰性。因爲無論你玩的是哪款MMORPG,玩家都每天都至少需要投入一個多小時的時間,這一點與大多數西方手遊不同,而且西方玩家對這款遊戲中的很多機制也比較不熟悉。但根據我們目前收集到的用戶行爲數據來看,西方用戶挺喜歡也正在適應遊戲中的“自動打怪接任務”機制。此外,我們重新調整了遊戲的難度,因此《天堂2》的西方版本玩起來會比亞洲版本更容易些。

我認爲我們的優勢在於RPG領域。我們已經將MMORPG推動成爲了亞洲和西方遊戲產業的主流類型之一,未來我們將繼續製作MMORPG,也會試着將RPG元素應用到其他類型的遊戲中。

問:你用了什麼方法來說服西方玩家去玩你的遊戲?

Sim:我們利用了很多影響者的影響力。雖說我們帶來的這些新機制都很容易學會,但西方玩家始終對它們不太瞭解,畢竟我們是在要求他們嘗試全新的東西。正因如此,所以我們邀請了許多已經擁有大量粉絲的影響者來幫我們做宣傳並說服他們的粉絲來玩這款遊戲。Conan O’Brien就是這些影響者之一,他也是一個愛玩遊戲的人。這是我們營銷戰略中的一個很重要的部分,雖然這種做法比較新穎,但它已經起作用了。

問:通過與這些影響者合作,你學到了什麼?怎麼做才能讓這一策略達到最好的效果?

Lineage 2: Revolution(from pocket gamer.biz)

Lineage 2: Revolution(from pocket gamer.biz)

Sim:每位影響者都有他們自己的粉絲羣,儘管這些粉絲喜歡的可能是相似類型的遊戲,但他們感興趣的東西往往不同,因此這些影響者的直播風格和與粉絲交流的方式就可能會存在差異。我們認爲開發商在選定目標的時候要格外小心,因爲影響者不同,他們的粉絲羣也會不一樣。

問:那傳統的媒體和廣告還重要嗎?

Sim:雖然這是一款手遊,但它的核心粉絲還是來自電腦MMORPG的市場。我們試圖通過媒體和社區網站以及影響者營銷來爲遊戲做宣傳,這種做法達到了病毒式傳播的效果,同時也爲《天堂2》創造了廣泛的認知度。

問:能否透露一些相關數據?

Sim:《天堂2》在西方地區(北美、歐洲、澳大利亞)的累積用戶剛剛突破了500萬。一切都已經走上正軌了,自遊戲發行至今還不到兩個月,它已經躋身到了美國、俄羅斯和歐洲營收榜上的前10名,我們相信它有能力維持這種狀態。在觀察用戶反饋和社區動態的同時,我們也在對蒐集到的遊戲內數據進行分析。我們一致認爲《天堂2》的業績可以更上一層樓,因此開發團隊會繼續加倍努力。

問:有些人認爲市場上已經有太多漫威遊戲了,你覺得呢?

Sim:沒錯,市場上的確有很多漫威遊戲,但每款遊戲都屬於不同的遊戲類型,而且它們也擁都有不同的特點。比如,《漫威:未來之戰(Marvel Future Fight)》是一款動作RPG,以動作爲主;Kabam工作室有他們自己的格鬥類遊戲;Jam City也有屬於他們自己的漫威遊戲。漫威家族中的所有遊戲都擁有不同的特色和目標粉絲羣。

問:你認爲在目前的西方市場上,哪些IP會比較有吸引力? Jam City的主席Josh Yguado說他很喜歡《哈利波特》,因爲近期還沒有人用這個IP做過手遊。雖然已經有《哈利波特GO(Harry Potter Go)》了,但他認爲這兩款遊戲會同時受到粉絲的喜愛。

Sim:我同意這個觀點。作爲一家公司,雖然我們試圖吸引的是西方玩家,但我們帶來的也的確是亞洲風格的遊戲。我們是一家亞洲工作室,即便你的遊戲再好,人們還是會感到猶豫。因此IP就變得非常重要(特別是在未來的一年裏)。目前我們有漫威、DC、星球大戰和迪士尼的IP,但我們也在考慮其他的電影和電視劇IP。一直以來,我們都在不斷尋找可以利用的IP。

問:你是否考慮過將業務拓展到手遊以外的領域?

Sim:我們總部正在爲任天堂的Switch開發遊戲,試圖開發出一款最適合這個平臺的遊戲。不過手遊業務是始終是我們公司的核心,因此我們會持續開發手機遊戲。隨着機遇和市場趨勢的出現,有時你會看到人們將PC遊戲移植到主機上,或者將主機遊戲的IP移植到手機上。我們對這類銜接挺感興趣的,如果有好機會的話可能會嘗試。我們工作室也有幾個部門專門在開發PC遊戲,儘管我們是一家以手遊業務爲主的公司,但我們對其他平臺也保持着開放的心態,甚至主機遊戲也是有可能的。

問:你們公司好像有很多員工喔?4000人?

Sim:是的,我們公司有4000名員工,但這個數字不包含Kabam或Jam City的工作人員。我們一直致力於圍繞旗下的開發工作室培養優秀人才,所以在工作室的投資方面,我們不會吝嗇。這是一個很大的原因。我們過去從事的是發行業務,然而只靠發行業務很難在手遊領域獲得成功,因此在業務擴張的過程中,員工人數也多了起來。此外,每當有工作室取得成功的時候,我們都會把這些知識與旗下的其他工作室分享,這樣才能使它們發展壯大,於是我們就需要招更多的人來填補出現的空缺。

第二個原因是,隨着開發規模的增長,遊戲內容也越來越複雜,我們需要更多的人才和團隊。製作《天堂2》的時候,我們在韓國、日本和亞洲的其他地方,還有西方都有開發團隊駐紮。因爲你很難在只有一個團隊的情況下製作出一款能夠吸引全球受衆的MMORPG,所以我們纔將開發團隊按照這種方式分開。

問:你是否需要建立/投資更多團隊來幫助Netmarble在西方開發遊戲?

Sim:我們對此持開放態度,其實這也是我們投資Kabam和Jam City的原因之一。2018年,我們可能會對更多西方工作室或與人工智能相關的公司進行投資。

問:人工智能(AI)是一個重要的人才獲取領域?

Sim:我們已經在自己的遊戲中引入了人工智能工程,公司總部也已經在建立他們專用的人工智能團隊了。但除此之外,人工智能還適用於遊戲產業中的許多其他領域,比如與玩家的個性化互動,市場營銷優化等。我們正在積極主動地擴展內部的人工智能團隊,同時也仍在尋找更多的投資機會。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Netmarble scored a huge hit in South Korea with its launch last year of Lineage 2: Revolution, a massively multiplayer online game on Android and iOS. But it was never clear if the beautiful medieval fantasy game would be a hit in the West.

So, the company lined up press, advertising campaigns, and influencers on platforms like YouTube and Twitch to promote the game for its November 2017 launch. It even signed up Conan O’Brien to help promote the game at TwitchCon.

And it paid off. The game that features 30-versus-30 matches got more than 5 million registered users in the past two months since the global launch.

I spoke with Simon Sim, general manager of Netmarble US, this week at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the big tech trade show in Las Vegas. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview. Sim will be speaking at the Casual Connect USA Disneyland event in Anaheim, California this week.

Simon Sim: At Casual Connect, I’ll have a 15-minute presentation about our strategy, how we bring Asian games to the Western market — especially more about Lineage 2: Revolution and how that relates to our strategy.

GamesBeat: Did you have a good holiday season at the company?

Sim: We launched Lineage 2 in November. The launch was quite successful. It had a lot of organic downloads from Western gamers, especially in Europe and Russia. We’re excited about that. We’re still getting a lot of user feedback and contributions to improve the game more.

GamesBeat: Was there some question in your mind as to whether Western gamers would be as interested in Lineage as Korean players have been?

Sim: Lineage 2 was quite challenging for us. For any MMORPG, people need to play it for a long time, more than an hour a day. That’s pretty different behavior from a lot of Western mobile games. A lot of the mechanics are unfamiliar. But from what we’ve seen as far as user behavior after launch, people are [adapting to] and enjoying the auto-questing mechanics. We’ve rebalanced the difficulty level to make the game a bit easier than the Asian version. From what we’ve observed, Western players are adapting to our game.

We think our strengths are in the RPG genre. We’ve made the MMORPG genre into one of the mainstream areas of the mobile gaming industry in Asia and the West as well. We’ll keep working on this in the future, both making MMORPG games and adapting RPG features into hybrid genres.

GamesBeat: You have a lot of fans of Japanese RPGs over here. Nier was on a lot of best-of-the-year lists. Sometimes, that Western interest in Asian games is enough to create a big audience.
Sim: We made a lot of use of influencers. It’s one thing to say that we have these new mechanics, and they’re very convenient. But Western gamers still aren’t familiar with these mechanics, and they don’t fully understand what we’re talking about. That’s why we contacted a lot of influencers who already have trust from their fans. We used them to communicate about our game and convince their audiences. Conan O’Brien was one. He’s obviously a gamer. That was a big part of our strategy to overcome those challenges. It’s a new approach, but it’s working.

GamesBeat: What did you learn from working with influencers as far as how to get good results from that strategy?

Sim: Each influencer has their own fan base, and those fans have different interests, even though they may follow similar genres. Their ways of communicating with their fans, their styles of streaming, can be different. We learned that we need to be careful about targeting, about what kinds of genres and what [kinds] of fans different influencers reach.

GamesBeat: Do the press and traditional advertising still matter?

Sim: This is a mobile MMORPG, but the core fans of this game still come from the PC MMORPG market. We tried to reach press sites and community sites together with influencer marketing to make sure that was all aligned. It’s worked very well. We’ve created a lot of virality and awareness.

GamesBeat: What numbers have you released about Lineage 2 so far?

Sim: We just passed five million accumulated users in the West — North America, Europe, Australia. It’s on track. In the U.S., we’re sustaining our rankings — and in Russia and Europe as well. We’re making the top 10 grossing charts. We believe this has a strong potential to sustain its performance. It’s only been two months so far, not even two months. We’re observing user feedback, watching the community, and analyzing our in-game data. We think we can do better, and we’re continuing to work on the game.

GamesBeat: Some people wonder if there are too many Marvel games out there. How do you feel about the strength of that franchise across so many games?

Sim: It’s true. There are a lot of Marvel games. But each game has a different genre, different characteristics. Marvel Future Fight is very much an action RPG, a more action-based game.

Kabam has their fighting-based game. Jam City has their own game. Among the Marvel family, everything has different characteristics and a different target fanbase. If the game genre is different, it still has an opportunity to do something with the IP. Between Netmarble and Kabam, we have a lot of synergy, working with the same IP and the same fanbase.

GamesBeat: What kind of brands still look appealing to you for games in the Western market? I talked to [Jam City president Josh Yguado] recently, and he said they liked Harry Potter because it hadn’t been done recently in mobile. They have Harry Potter Go to compete with, but he felt that fans would welcome both games.

Sim: I share that opinion. As a company, we believe that even though we’re trying to appeal to Western gamers, we still bring an Asian style of games. We’re an Asian studio. Even if our games are great, people might hesitate to play our games. So IP is very important, especially in the coming year. Currently, we have Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Disney, and there are other TV shows and movies we’re looking at. We’re continually searching for IP we can use.

GamesBeat: For you, it seems like mobile games are still a good business to be in. You don’t need to branch out to other platforms.

Sim: On the headquarters side, we’re starting to develop games for the Nintendo Switch. We’re looking at what kind of games would fit that platform best. But we’re a mobile-first company.

We’ll keep working on mobile games. As opportunities and market trends present themselves — sometimes, you see PC games coming to console or console IP coming to mobile. We see opportunities around that kind of convergence, and we’ll keep looking for them. Parts of our studio are developing PC games. We’re mobile-centric, but we’re open to other platforms as well, even console.
GamesBeat: Your company has an awful lot of people. What is it, 4,000?

Sim: 4,000, yes. But that excludes Kabam or Jam City.

GamesBeat: It’s kind of staggering when you consider that Jam City is only 500 people. I guess that’s the nature of MMOs?

Sim: Building good talent around our development studios is very important. We proactively invest in studios. That’s the number one reason. We used to be in the publishing business, but in mobile, publishing alone isn’t that easy. Building up studios, building that internal capability, is very important. And as our studios are successful, we need to share that knowledge together so other studios can grow. That’s the number one reason why we’ve grown.

The second reason is, scale is getting bigger and bigger. Content is getting more sophisticated. We need more talented people and more teams. For Lineage 2: Revolution, we have teams in Korea, in Japan, elsewhere in Asia, and in the West. It’s hard to make an MMORPG with just one team that builds everything to meet the needs of a global audience. That’s why we’re separated this way.

GamesBeat: Do you need more teams developing games in the West?

Sim: We’re open to that. That’s why we’ve invested in Kabam and Jam City. In 2018, we’ll keep searching for opportunities to invest in new studios here, as well as AI-related companies.
GamesBeat: AI is an important area of talent to acquire?

Sim: We already have AI engineering in our games, but beyond that, there’s more personalized interaction with gamers, marketing optimization, a lot of areas where we can [adapt AI technology for the] gaming business. As a company, we’re trying to extend our internal AI team proactively, and we’re still searching for more investment opportunities. Headquarters is already building up their dedicated AI team. (Source: venturebeat.com