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目录

Big Fish Games董事长谈公司运营状况编辑本段回目录

Big Fish Games是世界上最专注于休闲游戏领域的公司之一,目前营收超过了1亿美元,利润一直在稳步增长。这家公司位于西雅图,其董事长杰里米·刘易斯(Jeremy Lewis)见证了社交游戏及Zynga等新晋游戏公司在整个游戏领域崛起的过程。

但他表示并不担心这些新兴社交游戏公司的大量涌现会让Big Fish Games沦为沧海一粟,Big Fish Games至今仍是休闲游戏网站中一个响亮的名字,自从2002年以来,其游戏下载量已超过10亿次,目前正进军智能手机及平板电脑平台。游戏邦获悉,该公司在2008年秋的金融危机之前融资了8300万美元,很有可能与其竞争对手Zynga一样,利用这笔钱掀起一轮收购潮。

不过Big Fish Games并不是通过收购获得发展(它实际上只进行了一桩小额收购交易),它并没有动用这笔资金,对于一家希望向前发展的公司来说,这种耐性实为罕见。虽然社交游戏的淘金热正铺天席卷而来,但刘易斯却耐心地以两位数的增长率,让公司业务自然发展。游戏邦了解道,该公司目前共有500名左右的员工,有100多名开发者在开发该公司自有品牌的游戏。

以下是游戏邦编译刘易斯在GDC大会中的相关访谈内容:

jeremy-lewis

jeremy-lewis

你们的发展愿景是什么?

在2011至2012年,我们计划将向新方向拓展Big Fish Games的业务,手机领域是休闲游戏的理想选择,我们已经在这一平台立足。另外,我们还会特别关注平板电脑游戏市场。

你们对具有重塑游戏行业格局的一些大事的看法是什么?例如迪士尼收购社交游戏开发商Playdom和手机游戏开发商Tapulous,随后就进行了业务调整,将重心转向了社交及手机游戏领域。这是游戏行业的重大事件之一,在过去几年中,这种现象不乏其数。

这一行一直都在变化对不?其中的潮来潮去也很正常。所以我们选择了静观其变的态度,我们是一家专注于PC和Mac平台的休闲游戏公司,现在正试水手机游戏领域,并向这一行投资,扩大业务规模。我们还会继续涉足并投资新兴领域,社交游戏就是其中之一,我们会从中汲取相关经验。但作为一家开发商和发行商,我们同时也重视Big Fish Games的项目运营和收益增长。

我们将继续从有利于开发商和用户的角度出发,对这些领域进行投入。这是我们公司自成立以来就奉行的信念。

是否认为手机及Facebook社交游戏领域拥有更多发展机遇?

因为我们已经活跃于手机游戏领域,所以可以细谈这一点,我们略微涉足了社交游戏领域。这个市场的运行平台和新型销售渠道正不断激增,随之而生的就是整个市场规模的扩大,以及总体用户数量的增长。而用户数量的增长,反过来又能使新兴和发达市场同时受益。在这种情况下,休闲、手机、社交等游戏领域的佼佼者都可以在各自的市场上占据优势。我们很相信这一点,这也正是我们现在所经历的情况。所以我们很乐见整个行业都在发展,因为我们的产品会从中获益。

Zynga已经成为影响力最大的Facebook社交游戏开发商,它引领了这个新兴市场的发展,这种现象是否正常?

我认为这与市场的演变过程有关。在一个市场成形的初期,它随后的发展变化往往有利于新兴公司建立自己的影响力,所以Zynga的领先优势并不让我意外。

它的发展速度让许多人很惊奇,因为它在短时间内就实现了极大的突破。

他们的发展得益于互联网和Facebook的发展。

手机游戏领域的飞速发展是否已备具成熟的条件?

是的,iPad就是一个很好的证明。它为手机游戏创造了与网页游戏极为相似的用户体验,如果没有这种移动设备,这个领域不会有这么多发展机遇。

big-fish-games

big-fish-games

所以你们转向手机游戏领域,并非观念转型,而是一种业务拓展?

这是一种自然的转变,我只能这么解释。我们通过自己的工作室,或者与其他独立开发者合作,推出极富可玩性的游戏。我们创建的游戏具有连贯的故事背景,玩法极有深度,游戏体验引人入胜。

有没有考虑推出新类型的游戏?Her Interactive公司开发的新游戏《Nancy Drew》一半是游戏,一半是电子书,它算是一种新型的游戏吗?

我认为游戏可以衍生出许多分枝。但对用户来说,故事背景具有连贯性的游戏总是有价值的。你开发了一款像书本一样具有述事性的游戏,又接着推出下一款游戏,后来就形成了一个系列的游戏。消费者购买的书本和情节连贯的游戏之间存在许多共性,而这种类型的游戏正好是Big Fish Games产品的特征。

所以说,假如你买了其中一款游戏,那就很可能把之后的五款游戏买下来?

没错。我们是苹果iPad的首航发行合作伙伴,为这个平台开发了《亚马逊探险:隐秘的征程》(Hidden Expedition: Amazon),它是这个系列的第三款游戏。

所以说你们非常专注于这个领域。看到这个行业正在发生变化,大家都开始迅速进行业务转型,你们有何想法?这个行业出现了新事物,人人都在调整运营方向,这就是所谓的“淘金热”。

确实如此。

你们的对策就是磨刀不误砍柴功,对吗?

是的,我们是一家善于分析的公司,我们很积极地试验和投资新领域,我们还没花掉自己的钱。

你们募集到了许多资金,这一点让你们很占优势。

对,就是我们在2008年融资所获得的资金。

但你们甚至还没有收购一家社交游戏公司,或者好几家小型公司,为什么要走这种与众不同的路线?

这是个好问题,这主要是因为我们是100%的自然发展,这在过去几年的游戏行业中确实不多见。我们自创业以来,就一直是以100%的自然发展向前行进,而且是持续的高速发展。对这个领域的专注,让我们受益无穷。PC和Mac都是很大的平台和潜力无限的市场。去年我们在这两个平台扩大了直接面向终端用户的业务规模,新增了5种语言和12种货币支付选项等服务,由此收获了3亿多新用户。这种发展成果很惊人。

比如,我们的日本门户网站发展极为迅速,用户付费转化率相当可观,与我们进行合作的独立开发者数量也在不断增长。这两者是Big Fish Games的市场份额健康并快速增长的最佳证明。这种良好局面保证了我们的有效投资,从而又为我们引来了大量才华横溢的开发者。这些开发者与我们进行独家合作的意愿不断上升,他们很关注我们的在线市场份额。我们推出的一半以上游戏,都是开发者在Big Fish Games独家发行的游戏。我们专注于自然发展模式,因为这是我们一贯的传统,也是目前行之有效的方法。我们也在不断尝试并投资新领域。经常会有人找上门来,开玩笑地讨论有关企业合并和收购的话题,当然我们也不排斥这种选择。

你们的营收已经超过1亿美元。

没错。

金融行业难道还没有注意到你们的营收情况吗?

我不清楚。

据称Zynga目前估值达到100亿美元,这已经成了业内热议的话题,听起来有点不可思议。

Zynga在社交游戏领域确实表现出色。但你很快会发现,我们和其他游戏领域的先锋也会抓住智能手机、平板电脑所带来的市场发展机遇。

jeremy

jeremy

是否已涉足iPad 2平台?

iPad 2是一个很棒的移动设备,我们会继续同开发合作伙伴,以及内部工作室向这些设备推出大量新游戏,相信用户也会乐见这种情况。苹果仍有办法取悦用户,你觉得呢?

如果iPad 2的画面效果提高了9倍,那么你们的游戏在视觉效果上的预算是不是也会随之上扬?

你可以开发一款视觉效果极其炫丽,但却没什么人要买的游戏,也可以选择开发一款画面简单,但玩法令人着迷的游戏。总之,用户的选择权才是关键所在。开发者可以借用iPad 2的高级功能来开发游戏,但并没有人强迫他们非如此不可。

但我猜测如果你得到了《愤怒的小鸟》之类的游戏,也会把它引进iPad 2对吗?

当然。

假如一家公司的运营需要依赖《愤怒的小鸟》下载量,似乎也还是个不错的选择。

只是要注意,它是轰动市场的游戏。我们也有不少出色的作品。我们每天至少发行一款支持10种语言的新游戏,这种成果让我们避免了发展过程中的波动性,波动幅度降低,曝光率就会增长。另外,我们很擅长与大众休闲游戏用户打交道,可以从大量的用户反馈数据中得知,他们在上网时最感兴趣的东西是什么,当他们开始了解和信赖一个品牌的时候,就会愿意为它多花钱,这一点推动了我们付费项目的发展。

除了iPad和iPhone平台之外,你们觉得还有哪些平台值得一试?

我们与谷歌形成了良好的合作关系,会尝试向Android手机游戏市场进行投入。与此同时,我们还会非常专注于苹果平台,并与苹果密切合作,将最好的付费休闲游戏推向iOS平台。最让我兴奋的是,iPhone平台的应用内置付费功能,与我们在网页平台的免费试玩模式非常相似。

是的,但比起花大价钱购买完整版的游戏,人们更乐意为微交易模式(以小额款项购买虚拟道具)付费。

我认为这两种模式会并驾齐驱,这两种模式我们都有采纳。

那么在你看来,微软、RIM的Playbook、WebOS等其他平台是否值得你们投资?

这是我们一贯的做法,我们将来会针对这些平台逐个进行试验和投资。

但还是有些人采用的是快进的发展模式。你认为试验和投资的速度多快才算合理?DeNA会出手4.03亿美元收购Ngmoco,这是因为他们急于获得发展。他们认为手机游戏市场会出现身价达数十亿美元的公司。如果你想成为其中之一,就必须加快投资的步伐,这就是他们的想法。

我认为用户发展趋势会对我们很有利。有不少知名开发者加入了Big Fish Games的阵营,这一趋势仍将持续下去。目前美国约有3亿人口,其中有8400万人的年龄在46至64岁之间,这是休闲游戏的理想用户群体。我们发现,最先接纳新型移动设备的用户一般都更年轻,更富有。在我们的目标市场上,女性用户比例超过70%,她们会购买这些平板电脑设备,让游戏传播更加迅速有效。她们在外出途中,会将平板电脑交给孩子,让他们玩安装在平板电脑上的休闲游戏。所以我们的游戏用户不会出现代沟,也就是说,那些玩硬核游戏的孩子,会受到父母的影响,开始接触休闲游戏,他们也将会玩《麻将》、《高尔夫纸牌》、《神秘视线》和《谜画之塔》等游戏。我们看到了这种趋势,所以才向新领域投入资源。

mystery-case-files

mystery-case-files

PC版本和手机版本的《谜画之塔》有何不同?

我们一直专注于制作高质量的游戏,并创建了一个优质品牌。对我们来说,根据运行平台的特点开发游戏,这一点非常重要。必须根据不同设备的情况,因地制宜地开发游戏。并非所有的强势品牌到哪一个平台都能所向披靡,所以我们精心挑选好游戏,并与最棒的独立开发者合作,将新游戏推向市场。我们会仔细考虑,用什么方法才能取悦用户。在为iPad开发游戏的过程中,我们将利用它的多人模式设置开发游戏。

Trip Hawkins(游戏邦注:他是Digital Chocolate的创始人)曾在最近的GDC大会上谈到了手机游戏发展的不利趋势。他表示iPhone手机应用已经超过了35万款,产生了20亿美元的营收,但平摊到每款应用上的收益就只有5000美元左右。如果从这组数据来看,iPhone平台可不是个乐观的市场。

他有推荐什么解决方案吗?

他当时并没有提到这一点。

我只能说,游戏质量最有说服力,至于游戏搜索的问题,最终也会因用户对各个平台的了解而得到解决,他们最终会很清楚自己喜欢哪种游戏,然后用钱包来投票表决。这是我们在PC平台的亲身体会,是我们在Mac平台总结出的经验,是我们目前在手机领域的经历,也是我们在各个地区运营所遇的情况。在未来24小时内,用户会下载大约200万款游戏。

所以说你们很乐意投身于手机游戏领域?

是的,每一种创新技术、每一个新平台和新渠道的出现,都是推动我们发展的催化剂。

在这种行业格局被打破,产业发展大变革的情况下,你们是如何招募开发者的呢?

用户是聪明的,开发者也不例外。作为一家公司,我们一开始就扎根于游戏开发领域,所以至今仍在运营自己的游戏开发工作室。我们的开发工作室成员已经超过了100人,此外还有许多独立的开发者。他们与尊重其劳动成果的开发商进行良好的合作。

有许多传统掌机游戏公司也正从实体游戏销售转向了数字游戏发行平台,这一行的竞争形势更加严峻了。

我想任何一个行业的情况都不免如此。但我认为这些公司应该从自己的实际情况出发,正确判断自己究竟是否有能力实现这种转型。我们会非常周密地考虑自己的资金及时间投入是否划算,因为我们身兼大型开发商和发行商的角色,所以我们富有创意和分析能力。

我们可以有效利用好这种创意和分析能力,每天都能了解用户的倾向。我们擅长与用户直接沟通,同时又能稳产高产地推出新游戏。除此之外,我们还与开发者分享自己的看法,以便他们设计出符合市场需求的好游戏。之前每推出一款游戏,我们基本上能以极高的准确率判断它的长期收益情况。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译)

Q&A: Big Fish Games chief sees more growth in mobile than social

Big Fish Games is one of the stalwarts of casual games, with more than $100 million in revenues and steadily growing profits. Jeremy Lewis, chief executive of the Seattle-based company, has watched a lot of disruption in the game business with the growth of social games on Facebook and the rise of companies such as Zynga.

But he isn’t worried that the new social game startups will send Big Fish to the bottom of the sea. Big Fish is still pretty big in casual game web sites — with well over 1 billion downloads of its games since 2002 — and it is making a big move into smartphone and tablet games. In the fall of 2008, Big Fish Games raised $83 million, just before the financial crisis hit. It seemed like Big Fish would start an acquisition spree, much like rival Zynga.

But none of Big Fish’s growth has come from acquisitions (it actually on made one small acquisition). In fact, it hasn’t touched that cash, in what may be an example of rare patience on the part of a leader who wants his company to grow. While the social gaming Gold Rush has gone on around him, Lewis has patiently expanded his business at double-digit rates in an organic way. And he has 500 employees, including more than 100 that develop the company’s own games.

We caught up with Lewis at the Game Developers Conference. Here is an edited transcript of the interview.

VB: What’s your outlook now?

JL: During 2011 and 2012, we plan to scale the franchise of Big Fish Games in new directions. Mobile is a very natural extension to the casual game market where we already are. In particular, we are going to be active in the tablet market.

VB: What is your reaction to all of the industry events that are shaping the game industry now? We’ve seen Disney acquire social game maker Playdom and mobile game maker Tapulous. Then it turned the management team inside out, putting the social game people in charge of the overall game division. That’s a very big event in the industry. In the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of change like that.

JL: There has always been change, right? And there have always been trends and currents and waves that have come and have gone, and some have stayed and some have not. So we tend to take a longer-term view, and we tend to be a company that is very focused as the category leader in casual games on the PC and the Mac platforms. We are now testing and investing and scaling up the business in mobile. We will continue to test and invest in areas as they surface. Social is one of those areas, and we will take what we learn from that. But we will continue to focus on ensuring that as a developer and as a publisher, both businesses in which Big Fish Games is already at scale in, we will focus on revenue growth. We will continue to invest in both those areas in a way that ensures we are continuing to build goodness for developers and goodness for consumers. That’s really a focus that’s been a hallmark of our company since its founding.

VB: Does it seem like there is more opportunity now in mobile and social purely on Facebook?

JL: I can speak more specifically about mobile because we are active there. We have a little presence in social. There is a proliferation of platforms and the introduction of new distribution channels. When that happens, the overall market usually expands and so does the overall audience. Both emerging and developed markets benefit as that audience expands. It is the category leaders in each of these segments — casual, mobile, social networking — that will earn the lion’s share of the revenues in each market where they participate. That’s our belief, and that is what we are experiencing today. So we are glad that the industry is growing and our franchise will benefit from that.

VB: Zynga has come to dominate social games on Facebook. It is an upstart that is leading a new market and it has stayed in the lead. Is that unusual?

JL: I think that is consistent with how these markets actually are formed. In the early stages of a market and then over the course of time, it seems to me that those markets more often change in ways that allow new entrants to establish themselves. So Zynga’s leadership is not a surprise to me.

VB: The speed with which it has grown has caught a lot of people by surprise. They got to large-scale growth in a very short time.

JL: They’ve got the benefit of the internet’s growth and Facebook’s growth.

VB: Are the conditions for speedy growth ripe in mobile?

JL: Yeah. I think that’s right. The iPad is a very good example of that. It has created the conditions to capitalize on games for mobile devices that are very similar to what we are already doing on the web. Without a device like this, the opportunity wouldn’t be there.

VB: So your shift into mobile is not a rethinking, but an extension?

JL: It’s a natural change. That’s the best way I can explain it. We make highly replayable games. We make them in our own studio and we are working with other independent game development partners. We build games that are linear in storytelling and are very deep and immersive experiences.

VB: What would you consider to be a new category? I wrote about Her Interactive’s new Nancy Drew game, which is part game and part eBook. Is that a new category?

JL: I think there are a variety of derivative structures of games. One thing that hasn’t changed from the consumer’s perspective is that linear story-based games are consumable. You make one book-like game and then you move on to the next one. Then you have a series of episodes. There are lots of parallels between consumer consumption of books and linear games that are episodic in nature. This kind of episodic game is a hallmark of our company.

VB: So if you buy one of these games and you get all the way through it, you are likely to buy the next five?

JL: Indeed. We were a launch partner with Apple on the iPad. We created Hidden Expedition: Amazon (pictured right), for that platform. That was the third Hidden Expedition game in that series.

VB: So you have said you are very focused. When the industry changed and everybody started acting very quickly to change their businesses, what did you think? How did you look at it when some of these new things came into the industry and everybody started acting very quickly to change their businesses and strategies. People call it the Gold Rush.

JL: Sure, sure.

VB: Go buy your picks and shovels, right?

JL: Right. We are an analytical company. We test and invest very actively. We haven’t spent our money.

VB: You raised a lot of money. That gave you a lot of advantages.

JL: In 2008, yeah.

VB: And yet you have not gone out and bought a big social game company or a bunch of little ones. Why are you on a different path?

JL: That is a good question because 100 percent of our growth has been organic, which is unique in the game industry when you look back over the course of time. 100 percent of our growth has been organic since inception, and we continue to experience hyper growth. So we certainly benefited from that focus. And this goes back to categories. The PC and the Mac platforms are very big categories and continue to be very substantial market opportunities. Last year, we made investments in expanding our direct-to-consumer footprint there. We expanded to five new languages and 12 new currency payment options so we could reach 300 million more users. The growth has been terrific.

Our Japanese portal, for example, continues to grow very rapidly with very attractive conversion rates (consumers moving from a trial to a purchase) and the pool of independent developers that we work with to address those markets has been growing. Those two things were our best indication that we have a healthy and fast-growing market. It sustains our investment and attracts the attention of an ever-growing population of very talented and creative developers. They increasingly work with us on an exclusive basis. They look at our presence online. More than 50 percent of the content we release is exclusive to Big Fish Games. We focus on growing organically because that is where the growth has been and where it is now. It’s as simple as that. We are constantly testing and investing. We are very regularly approached by folks to entertain dialogues around merger and acquisition activities. It is always an option.

VB: Your revenues are in excess of $100 million.

JL: Well in excess.

VB: Has the financial industry in some way sort of not paid attention to that? Has it not noticed that revenue is there?

JL: I don’t know.

VB: Zynga is reportedly valued at $10 billion. That’s all everybody seems to talk about. That may feel a little weird.

JL: Well, Zynga has done a nice job of scaling a franchise in games on social networks, which is the most recent evolution and expansion of the audience for games. You will find that we and other category leaders will begin to capitalize on the market expansion that is being created by both smartphones and tablets.

VB: Do you have a reaction to the iPad 2?

JL: It’s a great device, and we will continue to work with our development partners and internal studio to bring our catalog of games to these devices in a very native way, which will delight customers. Apple will continue to delight customers. What do you think?

VB: If the graphics on it are nine times better, then it seems like your budget for graphics has to go way up?

JL: As you know, you can develop a game with intergalactic graphics capabilities that nobody buys, or you can develop a game that is very simple and yet is very addictive. The consumers will vote for what makes sense. Developers can use the high-end features of the iPad 2, but by no means are they forced to do so.

VB: It seems like the game production values are rising in this category. Is it similar to the arms race that happened on the PC and the consoles in terms of graphics?

JL: We didn’t experience that arms race, and I don’t expect to experience it here. Again, you can make highly addictive games for low budgets and you can also make large-budget games that can be very successful. I think the key is to ensure that as we scale our business, we are very careful not to have a concentration of hits. So in 2010, the highest concentration of revenue for any one brand or intellectual property was 1.6 percent. If you contrast that with other companies, you will find that that’s attractive. With our subscription game business, that gives us a consistency and visibility for our financial performance.

VB: But I guess when you get something like Angry Birds, you run with it?

JL: Sure, sure.

VB: That would be a nice problem to have, to be dependent on Angry Birds sales.

JL: But again, it’s a hit. We have hits. But we have a portfolio approach to the business. We release at least one new game every day across 10 languages. When you do that, you don’t tend to have volatility in your growth patterns. You reduce volatility and you increase visibility. The other thing I would say is that we always address the mass casual audience with those games. We have terabytes of data to tell us what delights customers on the internet. When people come to know and trust a brand on the internet, they spend more time with it. That drives our subscription business.

VB: Besides the iPad and the iPhone, what else is appealing to you as far as platforms to go?

JL: It comes back to focus, we have a very good relationship with Google, and we will be testing and investing in the Android market together with them. At the same time we are going to remain very focused and work closely with Apple to ensure that we are bringing best of breed premium casual content to iOS. I am most excited how the in-app purchase business model on the iPhone is so similar to the model we use on the web. We have been using “try before you buy” since the day we were founded.

VB: Yes, but people are more excited about doing micro-transactions (purchasing virtual items for very small amounts) rather than buying an entire game for a larger amount of money.

JL: I think there will be both models and you will see that. We have games with both models in place.

VB: Do the other platforms have to prove themselves before you would start investing in them? There is Microsoft, RIM’s PlayBook, WebOS and others.

JL: You will find that consistent with what we’ve done in the past. We will test and invest with each.

VB: Again, some people are in a rush. What is the right pace for testing and investing? DeNA bought Ngmoco for $403 million because they are in a rush. They feel like we will see billion-dollar companies emerge in the mobile game market. If you want to be one of them, you have to invest faster. That is the thinking.

JL: I would say the demographic trends are providing such favorable winds at our backs. Established developers are coming to Big Fish Games, and we think that will continue. There are roughly 300 million people in the U.S. and roughly 84 million of those are between the ages of 46 and 64. That is the sweet spot of the mass casual market. We are finding that early adopters of new devices are typically younger and more affluent. More than 70 percent of our market is female. They are buying these tablet devices and the games are becoming more viral. They go on a road trip and pass the tablet back to the kids, who play the casual games that are installed on the devices. We have an inter-generational dynamic going. That means that the kids who are playing only hardcore games are getting exposed to casual games by their parents. They will play games like Mahjong, Fairway Solitaire, Mystery Case Files (pictured above) and Drawn. When we invest, we do it in recognition of these trends.

VB: If you look at a game like Drawn (pictured right) on the PC and on mobile, what do you notice that is different about the user?

JL: We always focus on doing the highest quality games. We are creating a premium brand. It is very important for us to do games that are native for a given platform. They must be designed for the device. Not all strong branded games lend themselves to every device. So we curate our catalog and work with the best independent developers to bring new content to the market. We think very carefully about what works in a way that will delight the user. In making games for the iPad, we will do something like take advantage of its ability to be a great multiplayer device.

VB: Trip Hawkins (chief executive at Digital Chocolate) talked about the downside of mobile in a rant session. There are 350,000 apps on the iPhone, and they’ve generated $2 billion in revenues. That means the average revenue for an app is $5,000 or so. When you look at it that way, the iPhone is a horrible market.

JL: What did he recommend as a solution?

VB: He didn’t get that far.

JL: I can’t speak directly to what he said, Dean, but what I will tell you is that, ultimately quality prevails, and ultimately discovery is solved by consumers who are increasingly sophisticated across each of these platforms and ultimately determined to find what they love and vote with their wallets. That’s been our experience on the PC, and that’s been our experience on the Mac. That’s been our experience on mobile so far and in every geography where we operate. In the next 24 hours, users will download roughly two million games.

VB: So you are happy to live with the market forces on mobile?

JL: Oh yeah. Each of these innovations and new platforms and new channels are catalysts for growth.

VB: How are you doing at recruiting developers in the context of all this transformation, change or disruption going on?

JL: Well, just as consumers are smart, so too are developers. We as a company have our roots in development from the very first year of our existence. So we continue to run a studio. We have more than 100 people in our development studio now, and we have a lot of independent developers. They work with publishers who over the course of time honor their work and treat them well.

VB: A lot of the traditional console game companies are shifting from physical sales to digital platforms now. That’s a lot of new competition.

JL: I think that is the case across any industry, not just this one. But I think companies need to honest with themselves and determine whether they have the ability to make these changes, given their intrinsic skills. Can they execute on a big transition? We are very analytical and very thoughtful about how we invest our capital and how we invest our time. Because we are both a large developer and because we are a large distributor, we have a lot of creativity and lot of analytics.

We are able to leverage that creativity and the analytics so we get a daily awareness of consumer preferences. We have direct-to-consumer relationships and a high velocity of game launches. We take our insight and share it with developers so they can design the right games for the market. Before we release a game, we can determine the likely long-term revenues of that game with a low error margin.(source:venturebeat)

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