開發者談2018日本手機遊戲市場的5個發展趨勢

開發者談2018日本手機遊戲市場的5個發展趨勢

原作者:Johannes Heinze 譯者:Willow Wu

對於很多想進行全球擴張的遊戲開發者來說,日本通常是他們的首選目標之一,這是有原因的。

根據App Annie的研究,日本手遊市場收益在2017年增長了35%,超越美國成爲了手遊收益第一大市場。

主要原因之一就是日本玩家對手遊的投入程度相對高很多。

同一篇研究還發現了日本玩家打開手遊的頻率是美國玩家的兩倍之多。2016年6月至2017年6月,在日本手遊的總下載量中,RPG遊戲和休閒遊戲的比例超過了半數。

RPG遊戲的沉浸度高,內購商品多,自然也就成爲了盈利最多的遊戲類別。

然而,在2018這些趨勢或許會因爲多種因素而產生轉變,我們將在下文進行一一分析。如果你算進入日本市場,那麼以下就是你在2018年需要留心的趨勢。

1.App Store和Google Play收入幾乎平分

在日本,安卓和iOS的市場份額其實是不相上下的。截止2017年十月,安卓在日本的市場份額達到55%,iOS約爲44.8%。雖然iPhone X在日本十分暢銷,但iOS的市場份額卻下滑了6.9%。

在美國,安卓的市場份額達到了66.2%,而iOS是32.9%。雖然安卓佔得更多,但大部分遊戲公司還是把iOS看作是優先考慮的目標平臺。所以在日本,平臺選擇對收益的影響並沒有美國那麼明顯。

2.有越來越多來自中國、韓國手遊進入日本市場,但本土遊戲依然佔據優勢。

日本玩家歷來偏愛本地團隊製作的手遊,但這種情況可能會在將來發生改變。

自2016年7月至2018年6月,日本手遊市場有80%的收益都來自本土遊戲。相較之下,同一時期的美國僅有50%的收益是來自本土遊戲。

這是由於日本玩家的獨特性,比如說他們對RPG遊戲的偏愛以及高沉浸度。對於非本土遊戲開發者們來說,這就意味着優質的遊戲本地化是必不可少的。

舉個例子,《最終幻想:新帝國》是由MZ這個美國公司開發的,但是它在日本也十分火爆,這要歸功於遊戲的本土IP以及高質量翻譯。

ffxv a new empire(from pocketgamer.biz)

ffxv a new empire(from pocketgamer.biz)

但是,我們也發現在過去幾年有越來越多中國以及韓國開發的遊戲成功進入日本市場。

原因之一就是這兩個國家的遊戲公司在初期非常重視用戶獲取,通常會在這上面投入一大筆錢,這有助於他們實現迅速擴張。雖然廣告支出回報率(ROAS)在用戶獲取前期會比較低,但這些投入能夠將競爭對手的玩家轉化爲自己的玩家,長期來看是有益的。

另一個主要原因就是這兩個國家的開發者原先就考慮到了日本玩家的特性,有針對性地設計了遊戲,而不是到最後階段在國際版的基礎上進行微調。這就意味着開發者會在角色設計、關卡設計以及語言等方面花費更多精力。

儘管外國遊戲能在日本市場掙得份額是件好事,但它們之中的絕大部分還是RPG以及策略遊戲,表示着日本玩家對這類遊戲依然是熱情不減。

這就是爲什麼RPG以及策略遊戲能爲日本遊戲開發者帶來最多的收益。遊戲機制比如收集道具、武器、強化、gacha和其它可購買的物品爲開發者們帶來了豐厚的利潤。

3.休閒和超休閒遊戲崛起

長久以來,midcore和hardcore手遊在日本一直處於主導地位。但是現在這個風向要變了,休閒和超休閒遊戲開始受廣大到玩家的喜愛。

一般是迪士尼和LINE這樣的大公司會發行休閒遊戲,現在獨立開發者們也把目光轉向了它。比如說《一筆畫》(1LINE)和Human Tower都是出自小型工作室之手的熱門遊戲。

要說爲什麼休閒遊戲很難在日本佔據自己的一席之地,其中原因之一就是midcore、hardcore和RPG遊戲的盈利空間非常可觀,對於日本開發者來說,他們沒有什麼特別的理由要放棄這些搖錢樹而去做休閒遊戲。

然而,隨着視頻廣告被大衆所接受,而且事實也證明了它具備盈利能力,日本手遊開發者做休閒遊戲的前景也變得明朗起來。

4.主流IP地位依然不可撼動

主流IP遊戲依然是吸金能力最強的,很大程度上受是因爲日本的動漫文化的影響。日本人從小就看動畫、漫畫,瞭解他們喜愛的角色,而現在這些故事搬上了移動平臺,他們自然也會繼續消費下去。

任天堂就是一個非常典型例子。任天堂是近幾年才進入手遊領域的,但它憑藉旗下的熱門IP大獲成功——比如Pokémon Go、《火焰紋章:英雄》以及《動物之森:口袋露營》(《超級馬里奧酷跑》有爭議)。任天堂也宣佈了Mario Kart Tour將會在2019年登陸移動平臺。

5.日本開發者迎合女性玩家

另一個明顯的趨勢就是“浪漫類”遊戲依然很受歡迎,它們是針對女性玩家羣體。這些讓人上癮的遊戲需要隨着劇情一步一步深入,跟虛擬情人發展關係。

這些遊戲爲何如此成功?其中一個說法是它們能幫助玩家減輕壓力,緩解了在擁擠的城市環境中普遍存在的疏離感。這類戀愛遊戲目前在中國也十分受歡迎。

此外,“偶像養成”類遊戲也非常受日本女性玩家的青睞。玩家要在遊戲中挖掘、培養角色的才藝技能,把他培養成下一個國際巨星。在競爭如此激烈的日本遊戲市場中,這類遊戲給玩家提供以了一種更爲休閒的玩法。

而美國的情況則完全相反,面向女性玩家的遊戲非常少,熟爲人知的只有Kim Kardashian:Hollywood、High School Story和Covet Fashion。

總結

對於手遊開發者們來說,日本是一個盈利空間極大的市場。

儘管日本的人口只有美國的五分之二,但在過去的三年裏,它的手遊市場規模已經超過了美國。換句話說,日本玩家對手遊有很大的需求,而且他們的沉浸度高,願意花錢購買遊戲以及遊戲內的商品。

雖然日本對國外的手遊開發公司來說無疑是一個頗具吸引力的地方,但它也帶來了獨特的挑戰。在日本最受歡迎的遊戲通常是IP改編的RPG遊戲,如果獨立開發者們想在這個領域獲得突破,那將會非常難。

然而,這也意味着休閒遊戲和超休閒遊戲的機會還有很多,畢竟世界各地的玩家都很喜歡這類遊戲。除此之外,越來越多的中韓遊戲進入日本市場,這也是一個激勵人心的好現象。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

For many mobile games developers looking to expand globally, Japan is usually one of the first markets they seek out, and for good reason.

According to an App Annie study, Japan’s mobile game revenues rose 35 per cent in 2017, outpacing the United States, making the country the number one market for mobile game revenue.

One of the biggest reasons why Japan leads in mobile game revenues is because its players are far more engaged.

The same App Annie study found that Japanese players opened mobile games more than twice as much as those in the United States. This makes sense, as RPG and casual game categories made up over 55 per cent of mobile game downloads between June 2016 and June 2017.

Unsurprisingly, RPGs made the most mobile game revenue because of in-app purchases and high engagement.

However, these trends may change in 2018 due to a number of factors which we’ll go over in this article. If you’re looking to expand into Japan, these are the mobile game trends you need to watch in 2018.

App Store and Google Play revenues are nearly evenly split

App Store and Google Play revenues are evenly split in Japan, which is not the case in the US. In the US, iOS dominates mobile games revenues making it the “premium” platform for mobile game devs to target.

In Japan, however, Android and iOS market share is neck and neck. As of October 2017, Android made up 55 per cent of mobile market share in Japan compared to iOS’s 44.8 per cent. Although iPhone X sales were strong in Japan, iOS market share managed to slip 6.9 per cent.

Compared to the US, Android makes up 66.2 per cent of mobile market share while iOS holds 32.9 per cent. So it appears that in Japan, choosing a platform to maximize revenue doesn’t matter quite as much as in the United States.

More Chinese and Korean games are making it to Japan, but local games still perform better

Japan has historically preferred locally-produced mobile games, but that could be changing over the next year.

Between July 2016 and June 2018, 80 per cent of Japan’s mobile game revenues came from games which were produced in Japan. In comparison, only 50 per cent of mobile game revenues in the US came from US-made games during the same period.

This is because Japanese players have very specific tastes, like their love for RPGs and high engagement rates. For devs, this means quality localisation is a must for games developed outside of Japan.

For example, Final Fantasy: A New Empire was developed by Machine Zone, an American company, but has found success in Japan thanks to its Japanese IP and good translation.

This trend appears to be changing, as we’ve noticed that more Chinese and Korean-made games are entering the Japanese market over the past year.

One reason is that Chinese and Korean game studios are investing heavily in user acquisition from the very beginning. This allows them to scale their businesses quickly. Although ROAS can be low at the beginning of a user acquisition campaign, it can divert mobile gamers from competitors’ games and will pay off in the long run.

Another big reason we see Chinese and Korean games breaking into Japan is the fact that developers have begun creating games specifically for the Japanese market, instead of trying to localise a global version. This means more attention is paid to things like character design, level design, language and more.

While it’s nice to see games from outside of Japan gaining traction, they are still predominantly RPG and strategy games, meaning Japan’s predilection for these games remains strong.

This is why RPG and strategy games provide the most revenue for Japanese game developers. These games provide developers with a lucrative monetisation cycle that utilises gaming mechanics like collectibles, weapons, boosts, gacha and other in-game items available for purchase.

Casual and hyper-casual games are rising

For the longest time, midcore and hardcore mobile games have dominated in Japan. But now the tides are beginning to turn and casual and hyper-casual games are starting to become popularised.

In addition to big companies like Disney and LINE creating more casual games, indie devs are jumping on the trend as well. For example, 1LINE and Kumitaisou are very popular and made by small development studios.

One of the reasons why casual games have had trouble gaining traction in Japan is the fact that midcore, hardcore and RPG perform so well that there hasn’t been much incentive for Japanese developers to create casual games.

However, as video ads become more accepted and are proven to monetise well, Japanese mobile games developers are more able to scale their casual games globally.

Established IPs still rule

Established IPs bring in the most money, largely because there’s a huge culture of anime and manga in Japan. As kids grow up watching and reading stories about their favorite characters, it’s natural that they will continue consuming them as they transition to mobile.

One company that shows the success of strong IPs is Nintendo. The company only got into the mobile games space a couple of years ago, but is already seeing great success because of their strong IP. While some may argue that Super Mario Run was a failure, there was considerable hype surrounding the game.

Other Nintendo games like Pokémon Go, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp are all doing very well for the company. It also announced that Mario Kart Tour will be coming to mobile sometime in 2019.

Japanese developers actually cater to women’s tastes

Another trend in Japan that remains strong is the “romance” genre, which is targeted towards women. These addictive games let players progress through a story, letting them meet virtual lovers.

One speculation about why these games are so successful is that they provide stress relief and mitigate the sense of alienation that’s common in crowded urban environments. These romance games are so popular now that they’re gaining traction in China as well.

Alternatively, the “idol raising” genre is also quite popular among Japanese women. These games let you scout new talent to create the next big international superstar. In an exceedingly competitive games marketplace for Japanese men, these types of games offer more relaxed gameplay.

In contrast, the US only has few popular games targeted toward women, including games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, High School Story and Covet Fashion.

Wrap-up

For mobile games developers, Japan is an incredible country due to its voracious appetite for mobile games.

Although Japan’s population is two-fifths of the United States, its mobile games market has outgrown the US for the last three years running. This means Japanese players have a huge appetite for mobile games, have high engagement and spend tonnes of money on games and in-game items.

While Japan is undoubtedly an attractive place for mobiles developers outside of the country, it brings unique challenges. The fact that the most profitable mobile games are usually RGPs with established IPs will be difficult for indie developers creating games in the genre.

However, this also means that there’s ample opportunity for casual and hyper-casual games since these games provide global appeal. It’s heartening to see more competition from China and Korea break into the Japanese market and to see casual and hyper-casual games beginning to take hold.(source:pocketgamer.biz