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决定是否独立发行前需要考虑的三大元素

作者:Jukka Hilvonen

对于手机游戏开发者来说最基本的一个决定便是独立发行游戏还是与现有的发行商合作。

根据我的经验,对此的争论总是会因为双方的不同观点而愈演愈烈。通常情况下,比起更有建设性且基于逻辑的理由,人们在争论中更多的是基于自己的看法和感受。

我将通过本文去提供一些有关不同手机游戏开发者在决定要独立发行游戏还是使用外部发行商时应该考虑的内容。

你是否需要资金去完成项目?

你需要考虑的第一个变量便是最显著的一点。即如果你需要资金支持才能完成游戏,你便需要考虑发行商的经费资助。当然还有其它获取资金的方法,如贷款或股票基金。股票基金便是一种潜在的方法(游戏邦注:特别是当你拥有一个有钱的叔叔或父母的失衡),但在从朋友,傻瓜和家人之外的其它地方获取股票资金却是一件非常困难的事,特别是当你没有游戏开发经验的时候。

需要注意的是在今天的手机游戏开发领域,除了免费游戏外发行商通常都不会再对其它业务模式感兴趣。所以如果你正在面向手机平台开发一款付费游戏,你将很难获得来自发行商的资金支持。

你是否拥有市场营销和用户获取经验?

决定是否独立发行前需要考虑的三大元素

marketing(from bnapp)

你需要衡量的第二点便是你是否拥有市场营销或用户获取经验。随着越来越多人在想办法获取手机玩家的注意,每天大约有500款应用和游戏会出现在App Store中,所以想办法让你的游戏去吸引玩家的注意便与创造游戏一样重要。

对此你需要问自己如下问题:

1.我们是否拥有一个能够帮助游戏吸引玩家注意的可靠计划?(游戏邦注:希望获得平台推荐便不算是计划)

2.我们是否知道如何进行应用商店优化?

3.我们是否知道如何按照比例进行用户获取?我们是否了解像DSP,SSP,CTR,CVR等术语?我们是否知道如何进行创造性优化?

4.我们是否知道我们需要多少市场营销预算去进行软发行?我们是否知道何时该从软发行转向全球发行?

5.我们是否知道什么是归因分析?我们是否知道如何处理可能出现的骗局?

6.我们在私底下是否与App Store或Google Play的编辑团队有所接触?我们之前是否曾向苹果或谷歌的代表宣传过我们的任何游戏?我们是否知道他们对于出色游戏的追求是什么?

7.如果我们不具有任何用户获取或市场营销经验,我们是否能够雇佣一个了解这些事宜的人?我们是否知道雇佣这些人需要花多少钱?我们是否知道如何评估他们在这方面的技能?

虽然问题不多,但如果你能够可观地回答这些问题,你便能够快速明确与“市场营销”和“用户获取”相关的内容范围。

市场营销是一组大型的广告活动,对于技能,资源,经验和关系拥有很大的要求。如果你并未拥有帮助游戏吸引玩家注意的有效计划,那么我会建议你使用一个曾经帮过自己所发行的游戏获取大量下载量的外部发行商。

如果你拥有经验和动机去投身于市场营销和用户获取的活动中,那么独立发行可能更适合你。

我们是否知道如何进行有效操作?

Nexon的首席执行官Owen Mahoney说过:“在这一产业中关于成功的有效的竞争优势的唯一有效预测便是有效游戏操作。”

这一看法主要是针对于免费游戏,因为付费游戏算是独立游戏。

在这里有效操作指的是需要用于维持一款免费游戏发行后的所有活动,包括维护与部署后端服务,进行用户分析,消费者服务,设计并部署游戏内部活动,更新内容并完善游戏本身等等。从根本上来说,有效操作即表示游戏业务的服务面。

维护你的免费游戏的有效操作是保证你的游戏成功的最基本方面。

来自Machine Zone的Gabe Leydon说道:“我们是一家技术公司,我们并不算是真正的游戏公司。”

进行一次小型测试,着眼于美国App Store的畅销排行榜单并看看有多少排行前100的畅销游戏拥有有效操作要求。然后计算在这些游戏中有多少游戏拥有非常出色的游戏玩法,图像,营销,故事或技术。严格点!我想我单手都能算出最后剩下的游戏。

事实上,拥有真正优秀的游戏玩法,图像或声音的游戏并不多并非意味着没有这样的游戏。但更显著的是拥有一个有效操作过程能够帮助你提供突出的消费者服务。它也将为那些能够掌握这一技能的游戏发行商和开发者创造出巨大的收益。

所以在决定独立发行你的游戏前,请先问问自己游戏是否运行了有效操作,你需要什么技能去执行有效操作以及你需要使用什么样的资源去做到这点?基于出色的有效操作和少量的用户基础你便可以创造出不错的收益,但你首先需要做的还是了解如何为自己的游戏执行有效操作。

如果你一点都不了解有效操作的运行或者你并不想投入时间去执行有效操作,那么选择一家拥有有效操作运行经验的发行商将是一个绝佳选择。

结论

所以这便是我认为你们在决定是独立发行游戏还是与现有发行商合作的时候应该考虑的三点内容。希望我能够提供给你们一些你们之前未曾想到的新元素或新角度。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转发,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

Self-publishing? Evaluate these three factors before deciding

by Jukka Hilvonen

One of the most fundamental decisions for a mobile game developer is the decision between publishing the game yourself or to use an established publisher.

On the occurrences which I’ve been witnessing, this debate can get pretty heated with strong opinions on both sides. Often times, opinions and feelings tend to take place instead of a more constructive logic-based reasoning in the debate.

This article is my humble attempt to give some thoughts about which variables mobile game developers should take into account when making a decision on whether to publish their game by themselves or use an external publisher.

DO YOU NEED A FUNDING TO COMPLETE YOUR PROJECT?

The first variable which you should take into account is the most obvious one. If you need funding to complete your game, you should consider publishing funding. Sure, there are other methods of funding, such as loans and equity funding. Equity funding is also one potential method (especially, if you happen to have a rich uncle or parents) but raising equity funding from others aside from FFF (friends, fools and family) is very hard, especially if you don’t have considerable game development experience in your team.

It is also good to note that in today’s mobile gaming landscape, publishers are not very interested in other business models than free-to-play. So if you are developing a premium game to mobile platforms, I’m afraid that your chances of getting funding will be thin.

DO YOU HAVE MARKETING AND UA EXPERIENCE?

The second point to evaluate is whether you have any experience in marketing and/or user acquisition. As the competition is getting ever more fierce in mobile players’ attention, with around 500 apps and games submitted to the App Store each day, getting attention for your game is as equally an important piece of the puzzle as the art of making games.

To elaborate upon this question a little more, ask yourself these questions:

1.Do we have a reliable plan for getting attention to our game? (Sidenote: hoping for platform featuring is not a plan)

2.Do we know how to do App Store Optimization?

3.Do we know how to do user acquisition in scale? Do I know the terms DSP, SSP, CTR, CVR? Do we know how to do creative optimization?

4.Do we know how big a marketing budget we need for a soft launch? Do we know when we should transition from soft launch to global launch?

5.Do we know what attribution analytics is? Do we know how to handle possible frauds?

6.Do we have personal contacts with App Store or Google Play editorial teams? Have we ever pitched any of our games to Apple or Google representatives before? Do we know what they are looking for from awesome games?

7.If we don’t have any experience in UA or marketing – do we have any chances to hire a person who knows about these things? Do we know how much they cost? Do we know how to evaluate their skills in this matter?

These are just a few questions, but if you are able to stay objective when asking yourself these, you should pretty quickly find out the scope of things which are related under the term “marketing” and “user acquisition”.

Marketing is a HUGE set of activities and requires a lot of skills, resources, experience and connections. If you don’t have a solid plan for getting attention – and consequently – players for your game(s) then my recommendation is to use an external publisher with proven track record of getting downloads of the games they have published.

If you do have the experience and motivation to invest into marketing and user acquisition activities, then self publishing might be the best fit for you, given that you have evaluated the other factors in this article.

DO WE KNOW HOW TO DO LIVE OPERATIONS?

“The single greatest predictor of success and of sustainable competitive advantage in this business is live game operations” – Owen Mahoney, CEO Nexon

This question applies mainly to F2P games since premium games tend to be more or less standalone games.

Live operations in this context means all the activities that are required to maintain a F2P following launch, including maintaining and deploying back-end services, doing user analytics, customer service, designing and deploying in-game events and updating content of the game and improvements to the game itself. Essentially, Live Operations means the SERVICE side of game business.

And maintaining a great live operations for your F2P game is one of the most fundamental aspects which will either hold you back or guarantee success for your game.

“We’re a technology company. We’re not really a game company.” – Gabe Leydon, Machine Zone

Do a small test; take a look of the top grossing charts in the U.S. App Store and list how many of the top 100 grossing games have a live operations requirement in some form or another? Then, count in how many of these games would you consider there to be a considerable excellence either in gameplay, art, sound, narrative or in technology. Be strict! I can count the number of such games on one hand only.

Of course the fact that there aren’t that many games with truly excellent gameplay, art or sounds doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be. But what is more clear is the need for a great live operation which is able to offer outstanding customer service. In the end, that brings in great revenues for those game publishers and developers able to master it.

So before deciding on self-publishing your game, ask yourself whether your game needs running live ops, what kind of skills you need for your live operations and what kind of resources you need to achieve that? You can make decent revenue with small a user base and with great live ops, but you first need to know what makes a good live ops for YOUR game.

If you don’t know anything about running live operations, or don’t want to invest in building one, then an established publisher with a solid history in running live ops is a far better choice.

CONCLUSION

So these are three main factors, in my point of view, which you should consider before deciding on publishing your game by yourself or with an established publisher. Hopefully I’ve offered up some new factors or new perspective that you might not have thought of before.

Next up, I’ll be expressing my viewpoints on how to best choose an external mobile game publisher for your game project. That is an important step after deciding that you want to use an external publisher.( source:Gamasutra

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