手遊的成功之道(三):用戶獲取

手遊的成功之道(三):用戶獲取

原作者:Will Freeman 譯者:Willow Wu

在本篇中,業內數一數二的開發者將會和我們分享他們在用戶獲取方面的經驗。(前文回顧12

要做一個成功的手遊,你最不能缺的就是玩家。

它需要忠實玩家——願意爲F2P機制氪金的玩家,願意成爲遊戲傳播者的玩家,願意成爲社區活躍成員的玩家,他們對遊戲留存率是至關重要的。你的遊戲需要用戶來玩,而且還要傾盡全力讓他們留下來甚至是帶動小夥伴一起來。

如何吸引這批玩家,這就是用戶獲取問題了。提到它,很多人都會想到其中的複雜性以及所需的高昂成本,不禁讓人眉頭一皺,至少大部分人都是這麼覺得的。資金像流水一樣地投進用戶獲取平臺、廣告推廣以及其它各種的渠道,動輒就上百萬。

Dead Trigger 2(from unity3d.com)

Dead Trigger 2(from unity3d.com)

但是有越來越多使用Unity的遊戲工作室在不用花費這麼一大筆錢的情況下依然收穫了成功的果實。投錢的人也有,而且回報翻了好幾番。

當然大多數人的預算還是比較緊張的,第一要考慮的還是付員工的錢讓他們繼續做遊戲。但這並沒有影響Unity遊戲散發它的魅力。

來自捷克的遊戲開發團隊Madfinger,他們的熱門IP《暗影之槍》(Shadowgun)和《死亡扳機》都用了Unity引擎。據Madfinger的合作創始人&CEO Marek Rabas說,雖然運氣成分也有,但遊戲能夠得到這麼多玩家的青睞主要還是因爲團隊的合理規劃以及辛勤工作。

提到《死亡扳機2》,Rabas說:“我們從來就沒有營銷預算,我們也沒借助過任何平臺來提高用戶獲取量。我們所擁有的8000萬玩家都是實打實地衝着遊戲來的,我很高興可以這麼跟你說。”

其實這並不是什麼遙不可及的事情,這是廣大Unity遊戲開發者們也可以學到的經驗。“在過去的四年中,我們的重點就是擴大團隊知名度,建立遊戲社區,”Rabas繼續說道,“我們認爲如果玩家玩完我們的一款遊戲之後感到開心而且滿足,那麼他們就會想要去嘗試我們的其它遊戲。當然,你要滿足每個人是不可能的,但覺得好玩的玩家比覺得不好玩的玩家多的話,你的社區就會壯大起來。我們也犯過錯誤,但犯錯是學習過程的一個重要部分。”

對Madfinger來說,能有這麼多玩家回來玩續作還要歸功於Unity平臺的強大實力。遊戲引擎的選擇對製作出一款熱門遊戲有多大的影響?對此,Rabas說:“在剛開始的時候,如何選擇合適的平臺對我們來說是個大問題,我們並不想開發自己的引擎、工具等等。我們選擇Unity是因爲它能讓我們專心於遊戲本身。你不用重複開發,只要開發一次就能適用於所有主流平臺和設備,這就能省下很多時間讓我們進一步提升遊戲質量。與此同時,Unity還能在遊戲的畫面以及音效上提供一定的辨識度。”

至於如何才能吸引玩家來嘗試新遊戲,Madfinger的用戶獲取策略還算是相當傳統的:做好遊戲,擴大知名度,引導玩家逐步接觸他們的其它遊戲,加快開發速度的同時也要保持遊戲質量達標,讓玩家玩得開心。一次大受歡迎的發行活動可以當作是推廣下一個項目的好機會,由此就可以形成一個用於用戶獲取的良性循環系統,它的影響力是和團隊的名聲以及地位成正比的。

這種策略能爲遊戲帶來8000萬的下載量,但前提是你有紮實的同類產品或者是一定的忠實玩家基礎。但如果你之前都沒有產品,無法利用社區呢?

來自以色列的Jelly Button是一家正處於快速發展狀態的新興公司,他們發行的第一款手遊在短時間內就獲得了非凡的成績。《海島冒險》是一款簡單但是精緻的Unity遊戲,最開始是在Facebook平臺上發行。遊戲採用的是“一鍵式”玩法,通過轉動輪盤來決定你是能得到財寶或者是去進攻其他玩家的私人島嶼。僅僅過了幾個月,遊戲的日活躍用戶就達到了170多萬人。每天還有大概4萬~8萬新玩家來下載這個遊戲,安裝《海島冒險》的玩家已經有近500萬人。

開發團隊只有20個人左右,這就註定了他們不會做大項目。所以他們是如何吸引到這麼多玩家呢?Jelly Button的合作創始人&產品設計師Mor Shani說“首先當然是從一個好遊戲開始,投入大量的時間還有對完美的追求。但我們在viral loops的設計上十分謹慎,也就是遊戲中鼓勵玩家把遊戲分享給朋友的部分。

“它非常重要,發揮作用時可能會完全超出你的想象。我們的團隊規模比較小,現在我們一天能看到9000萬左右的邀請通知,玩家想要和其他人一起玩遊戲。”

日活躍用戶數量達到170萬,一天內發出9000萬的邀請通知,這顯然就是F2P手遊走向成功的堅實基礎。他們做的只是設計一個巧妙的遊戲機制,獎勵向其他人發出邀請的玩家。

Shani的同事,Jelly Button CTO Ron Rejwan說“說到Unity在用戶獲取以及增長方面的具體作用,我想起一件很有意思的事——當時我們的遊戲只有iOS版本,但是現在的這批玩家我們早就接觸到了。在那個時候,玩家可以通過各種渠道發出邀請,包括Facebook。這就意味着安卓玩家也知道我們的遊戲了,但我們還沒推出安卓版本。”

Jelly Button明白了當時的狀況——他們的遊戲吸引了一大批玩不了遊戲的人。當時的日活躍用戶穩定在3萬人左右,以F2P遊戲的標準來看,真的是一個相當小的數字。他們得做出一個安卓版本的遊戲,而且要抓緊時間,不能讓這麼一大批用戶從自己手中流失。

Jelly Button的創意總監Moti Novo補充說:“用Unity大概只花了我們1個半月就做出安卓版本了。這種快速移植的能力對小型開發團隊來說真的是很重要,能讓我們及時抓住這些安卓用戶。後來的安卓版本遊戲讓我們的日活躍用戶從3萬一躍至12萬,甚至是13萬。這就是漲勢的起點,所以說快速平臺移植能力對我們的成功有着非常關鍵的作用。

Jelly Button的故事令人印象深刻,隨着日子一天天過去,他們也逐漸向手遊主流公司靠近。但對於有些工作室來說,即使是20人團隊也是一個很遙遠的目標。幸運的是,即使你的團隊人數用一隻手就能數完,你還是有辦法吸引大量玩家。

Lonely Few是一個只有兩個人的團隊——合作創始人&開發者 Yeong-Hao Han和Rod Green。人數雖少,但是玩家不少。他們在2013年發行的解謎遊戲《彩獨》甚至成爲了iOS以及安卓平臺上的大熱門遊戲。他們的動力來源是遊戲上架初期的第一波好評。

但是在Lonely Few看來,他們差點就和這一切錯過了。Green說:“一開始我們只是靜悄悄地發遊戲,沒有發佈什麼公告或者是請媒體推廣,我們有發幾封郵件,但是沒抱太大希望。過了差不多一個月之後,我們開始着手下一個遊戲,以爲《彩獨》就到此爲止了。”

所幸的是,Green注意到App Store中的五星評價出人意料地多,受此啓發,他決定給這個遊戲第二次機會。

Green繼續說:“從那些玩家評價中我們得知雖然下載量不高,但是玩過遊戲的人們真的很喜歡《彩獨》,好評越來越多。對於這個遊戲,我們或許還能有更多期待。”

兩位搭檔很快就回到遊戲中去,並且靠他們自己推廣。“我們就是自己的公關,給任何我們覺得可能感興趣的人發郵件、發推特。我們給平臺商店發郵件(蘋果、谷歌、亞馬遜),按照我們的工作方式撒網,直到找到能給《彩獨》一個機會發光的人。”

在他們的堅持努力下,Lonely Few成功把遊戲送到了平臺編輯手中,證明了遊戲確實具有不小的潛力,這些編輯看出了遊戲的亮點。很快它就成爲全球各大手機應用商店的編輯推薦之作——這就是用戶獲取的黃金渠道。這個兩人團隊在堅持不懈的努力下做到了其他人砸重金可能都做不到的事情。

Green說:“我們成功了,掙到了那麼多用戶。我們的玩家遍佈全球,目前大概有450萬。”Lonely Few的故事證明了兩個開發者+一個郵箱賬號+一個推特賬號是可以做出熱門遊戲的,而不僅僅只是讓工作室維持下去。

至於那些準備在用戶獲取上投資的人,確實,你們也可以得到豐厚的回報,而且還有一種相對傳統的用戶獲取媒介值得考慮——廣告,這比起直接付費給相關平臺要便宜多了。

就在不久之前,Pocket PlayLabs還在頭痛資金問題。而現在他們手上有着Rovio代理髮行的大熱門遊戲《果汁方塊》。這款F2P遊戲的下載量已經達到2500萬次,目前的日活躍用戶大概是200萬人,而且很多都是付費玩家。

Pocket PlayLab的合作創始人&CEO Jakob Lykkegaard說:“我們之前一直都是自籌資金,但是過了一年多之後,我們還要付20個人的工資,這就是個比較棘手的問題了。”

他們通過各種不同的渠道做廣告,前前後後就投入了幾百萬美元,但是結果依然是未知的。

“我們在澳大利亞進行測試發行,這就是一切的轉折點,” Lykkegaard繼續說道,“玩家數量終於達到了一個令人喜悅的數字,我們花在廣告上的錢也真的通過IAP收回來了。《果汁方塊》甚至都還沒正式發行,收入就已經高出開發成本了。與此同時,Rovio Stars還有其他發行商也開始也和我們取得聯繫。”

作爲最傳統、最可靠的用戶獲取渠道,廣告對Pocket PlayLabs顯然是有益的。雖說幾百萬的投入聽起來是有些嚇人,但如果你能找到合適的方法確保收益,那麼回報將會是極其豐厚的。

但是就像其他同時期的工作室一樣,Pocket PlayLab也會告訴你首先你要有個好遊戲。他們能得到《憤怒的小鳥》背後團隊的支持,這也要歸功於Unity。

“Unity幫我們省了很多事,突然之間我們的關注點只剩下‘遊戲怎麼做纔會好玩’了,其它的事情我們都不用擔心。而且我們的大多數開發人員在製作《果汁方塊》時是邊學Unity邊做遊戲的。這樣一來我們就能製作原型,從而快速發行遊戲。還有就是我們不用計劃要在哪個平臺發行,因爲我們現在有辦法在所有平臺發行,包括移動端和網頁端。”

《果汁方塊》《彩獨》《海島冒險》《死亡扳機2》都是不同的遊戲,由不同的工作室開發,採用不同的方法贏得用戶。但是它們有兩點是相同的——它們都是成功的移動產品,還有它們都用了Unity。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

In the latest in our series of blog posts bringing you insights from Unity users that have thrived in the mobile space, top developers share their experiences of attracting users.

Making a mobile game a success needs one thing more than most. It needs players.

And it needs devoted players; ones that will spend money on free-to-play game mechanics, fuel the virality that attracts new users, and be proactive in the communities that can be so vital to retention. Your game will need players that play, stay, and share your game.

Getting those players, of course, is a matter of user acquisition. And acquiring users for mobile games is infamously complex and costly. At least, that’s what many will tell you. Millions of dollars can be funneled into user acquisition platforms, ad revenue networks and other systems that can be as bewildering as they are expensive.

But increasing numbers of Unity using studios are making successful mobile games without necessarily spending a fortune. And there are also many that have invested their cash in attracting users, only to see that money come back many times over.

For most, of course, budgets are tight, and paying staff and making the game have to come first. But that hasn’t stopped Unity users attracting impressive user numbers.

One such team is Madfinger, the Czech Republic-based team behind the popular Shadowgun and Dead Trigger IPs, which have both use Unity. And by CEO and Co-founder Marek Rabas’ own confession, while a little luck played a part, a lot of hard work in the right places helped the team acquire significant user numbers.

“We never had money for marketing and we never used user acquisition [services],” confirms Rabas, considering the development of Dead Trigger 2. “I’m happy to say, that all of the 80 million people who downloaded our games were organic.”

But where those users came from isn’t an utter mystery; rather its something other Unity users can apply to their own games. “During the last four years we focused on building our name and the community around us,” continues Rabas. “We believe that players should finish our game feeling happy and satisfied, and in that way, they will be more eager to try our next game. Of course you can’t satisfy everybody, but if more players are happy than not happy, your community will grow. Sure we made some mistakes, but it’s part of the learning process.”

And for Madfinger, it was the quality Unity allowed the team to hit that saw them attracting their players back to subsequent games. “Selecting the right platform was a big question at the beginning,” states Rabas on the matter of how their engine choice helped them build games that would be a success with players. “We didn’t want to develop our own engine, tools, etcetera. We went for Unity because it allows us to focus on the game itself. The fact that you only develop the game once and can use it on all key platforms and devices saves a lot of time that we can then dedicate to game quality. At the same time, Unity allows us to bring a level of graphics and sound into our games that makes us instantly recognizable from many other developers.”

In terms of bringing customers to a new game, then, Madfinger’s story is one of a relatively traditional user acquisition strategy. Make good games, build a reputation, and focus on taking players from one game to the next, developing quickly and at quality to meet demand and keep players happy. One popular release can be simply used as a place to promote you next, building a virtuous cycle of acquisition that grows with studio status and reputation.

It’s reassuring that such a strategy can attract 80 million downloads of decidedly core games, but it is one that favors those with a catalogue of games under their belt, or time to evolve organically. But what about if you haven’t got a previous mobile title from which to harness community?

Jelly Button hail from Israel, home of a burgeoning tech start-up scene, and have with their first mobile game rapidly secured some impressive stats. Their debut on iOS and Android Pirate Kings is a simple and polished Unity creation that began life on Facebook. Effectively a ‘one-button’ game of spinning a wheel to gain loot and abilities with which to attack other players’ own pirate-flavored islands, in a handful of months it has reached daily active users numbers of over 1.7 million. 40,000-to-80,000 new players are downloading the game every day, with close to 5 million installs already reached.

The team is made of around 20 staff, making it a decidedly small operation. So just how are they attracting such vast numbers? “Of course it starts with a good game, and a sense of perfection and a lot of time working on the game,” offers Mor Shani, Co-Founder and Product Designer at Jelly Button. “But we are careful to design in viral loops that encourage our players to share the game and bring their friends to our game.

“That is very important,” continues Shani. “The viral loops can get crazy as they grow. We are a smaller team, and we’re now seeing 90 million invites a day sent from our users encouraging other players to try the game.”

Even with that DAU of 1.7 million players, 90 million invites in 24 hours is hugely impressive, and clearly a robust foundation for a free-to-play success on mobile. And all it took was some elegant design around rewarding existing players for getting other users on board.

“Regarding Unity specifically in terms of our growth and user acquisition, one of the things that was really interesting to see was that, as we started on iOS only, we reached this plateau of users early on,” says Shani’s colleague Jelly Button CTO Ron Rejwan. “At that point the invites were going out in various ways, including over Facebook. That meant reaching Android users, and at that point we didn’t have an Android version.”

The Jelly Button team could see what was happening. A powerful user acquisition drive was meeting players who couldn’t play their game. The outfit saw player numbers where level out at around 30,000 daily active users; a fairly small number by free-to-play mobile game standards. They needed to get the game to Android, and fast, before the critical mass was lost. Which is where Unity’s strengths mattered most to the team.

“Using Unity it took us maybe a month-and-a-half to move the game to Android,” adds Jelly Button Creative Director Moti Novo. “That ability for a smaller studio to quickly move to another platform when it mattered was really important, and it allowed us to get to those Android users. Then we launched the Android version, and in matter of days we leapt from 30,000 to about 120,000 or 130,000 daily active users. That was the start of the growth we’re seeing now, and so really moving to a new platform fast was very important to our success.”

Jelly Button’s story is an impressive one, and with everyday that passes they are inching closer and closer to joining the mobile gaming space’s big league.
But for some, even a team of 20 can feel like a distant dream. Fortunately, even Unity-using teams with headcounts you can register on one hand are finding ways to attract impressive players.

Lonely Few is a two-man team, comprising of developers and co-founders Yeong-Hao Han and Rod Green. Yet despite their slender size, they’ve seen their puzzle game rub shoulders with the mobile goliaths on iOS and Android since its release back in 2013. It has continued to attract players, and succeed, buoyed up by an initial wave of critical praise.

But for Lonely Few, it almost didn’t happen. “Initially we just released the game, we didn’t do any real announcement or press push,” admits Green. “We emailed a few places but weren’t expecting much. After a month or so we started working on our next project assuming Blendoku was done.

Fortunately for Green, he noticed the unusually high number if five-star reviews Blendoku was getting across the app stores, and was inspired to give his creation a second chance.
“What [those reviews] said to us is that even though there wasn’t a huge amount of downloads, people who found the game really liked it, since the reviews were all glowingly positive,” continues Green. “So we figured that maybe there’s more to this game than we expected.”

The Lonely Few duo quickly returned to the game, and began to promote it off their own backs. “We went into PR mode; we emailed, tweeted, anyone and everyone who we thought might be interested. We emailed the stores – Apple, Google, Amazon – and worked our way through the chain till we found someone who could give Blendoku a chance to shine.”

With that persistence, Green and co-founding colleague Yeong-Hao Han made it through to the store holder’s editors; proving it can be done. And those editors saw something in Blendoku. Soon it was featured across the world. Being featured, of course, is the Holy Grail of user acquisition, and through persistence and determination, a two man studio had done with their Unity game what many spend a fortune failing to achieve.

“Something clicked,” offers Green. “We hit a critical mass. Currently we’re at about 4.5 million downloads worldwide.” Lonely Few’s story proves that two developers armed with an email account and a twitter profile can attract numbers that, when there are only two staff wages to pay, can do more than keep the studio alive.

For those prepared to invest, however, the user acquisition rewards can be ample, and one route worth considering is that of another traditional medium; advertising, which can work out relatively cheaper that straight up paid for UA platforms.

Not so long ago Pocket PlayLabs was struggling financially. Today it has its most successful mobile game published by the mighty Rovio under the Rovio Stars initiative. Free-to-play tile-puzzler Juice Cubes has been downloaded 25 million times, and presently courts around 2 million daily active users, many of whom are paying to get the most from the game.

“We have always been a fully self-funded studio, but after over a year with 20 guys on the payroll, we were also struggling financially,” confirms Pocket PlayLab Co-founder and CEO Jakob Lykkegaard.

The team had invested “a few million” in advertising their game across various channels, and the future was uncertain.

“A small soft launch in Australia changed all that,” adds Lykkegaard. “We could finally see that the game hit the right numbers and that the money spend on advertising actually came back in in-app purchases. That meant that Juice Cubes more than sustained our development costs even before it was launched. That was also about the time Rovio Stars among other publishers started contacting us.”

That oldest, most established form of user acquisition – namely advertising – can clearly work, then. And while a ‘few million’ might seem an intimidating amount to some, if you can find a way to secure the cash then the rewards can be bountiful.

But just like all their contemporaries, the Pocket PlayLab team will tell you it all starts with a good game. And for the studio able to attract support from the outfit behind Angry Birds, that all starts with Unity.

“[Adopting] Unity was a huge relief for us as we suddenly only had to focus on making the game entertaining, and most of our developers actually learned Unity while building Juice Cubes. It also enabled us to build prototypes and make rapid releases. Plus, we suddenly didn’t have to plan for what platforms we should release on, as we could just release on them all, including mobile and web.”

Ultimately, Juice Cubes, Blendoku, Pirate Kings and the Dead Trigger titles are all very different games, from distinct studios that took their own route to acquiring users. But they also share two things in common. They all wrote their own mobile success stories, and they all did so using Unity.(source:unity3d