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目录

阐述“游戏即服务”的未来发展趋势编辑本段回目录

如今,所有的游戏都是一种服务。带有预定机制,可下载内容,订阅模式,持久的配置和付费升级,让玩家能够定制自己的体验。

免费游戏将变得更受欢迎,而游戏作为一种服务也将变得更加普遍。Proletariat的开发团队在2000年代中期始终致力于面向网页制作免费游戏,即在2009年先进入了Facebook,然后在2010年加入Zynga,并于2012年最终成立了Proletariat。在这一过程中,该团队学会了如何设计并创造免费游戏体验。

本篇文章将着重讨论当前以及过去游戏中一些经过认证的机制以及成功的趋势。如果采取适当的做法,免费游戏不仅能给开发者带来好处,同时也能让玩家从中受益。

免责声明:并不是所有规则都能应用于你的游戏,公司,平台或产品中。这是过去所适用的一些理念,但这也不是我们创造免费游戏的唯一方法。

让玩家付钱

作为游戏服务的第一个规则便是让玩家能够轻松地付费并与付费内容进行互动。这便意味着游戏必须提供给玩家商店和货币,呈献给他们付费内容的乐趣,让他们清楚策略道具的价值并确保购买体验的零阻力。

一个典型的例子便是iOS上的《部落战争》。在游戏的HUD上方呈现出升水货币,并且明确告诉玩家他们可以无需打开商店而支出货币获得升级。

clash of clans(from gamasutra)

clash of clans(from gamasutra)

提供持久的价值和即时满足感

所有的游戏都是不同的,而免费玩家将基于不同原因进行消费。有些玩家想要购买新的齿轮,地图,内容或角色而永久强化自己在游戏中的表现,也有些玩家想要逃开计时器或获得更多能量而感受即时的乐趣。不管是哪种策略都拥有其自身的价值,如果你能够创造一款同时包含这些策略的游戏,它便能迎合更多玩家和付费者的需求了。

说到即时满足感,让我们着眼于大多数社交游戏中能量的使用。这是一种可消费的道具,但是玩家不能从中获得永久的利益。这对于长久运转的服务型游戏来说非常重要,因为它能让开发者无需花费高额的制作成本便能提供给玩家无限的道具。有些玩家从来都不会去购买这些道具,因为他们认为这是“骗人的”,或者他们有能力通过刷任务去获得这些道具。

还有一些道具属于仅需一次付费的商品。使用上面的能量例子来说的话便是,这种道具将提高能量的上限值。这种特殊的购买将让玩家变得永远强大。但是这种道具很难创造,因为它们总是包含现实内容或新功能的创造。

真正的秘密武器还是游戏经济的建造,既让玩家可以购买一次付费商品,同时也让开发者拥有足够空间去规划玩家的购买行为,确保他们总是拥有购买的对象。《Rage of Bahamut》,《CSR赛车》以及《暗黑破坏神3》的现金拍卖屋便都是基于这一理念。

游戏的改变

让玩家感到快乐的方法便是控制他们对于游戏和服务的期望。大多数玩家都具有足够的悟性,能够理解游戏的改变,并期待游戏能够变得更加简单,而不是越来越困难。MMO便是一大典例:当游戏中出现新内容时,早前的内容便不再适用,新道具和技能也会取代之前的道具和技能,推动着玩家变得越来越强大。

开发者并不想要创造一些更复杂的内容。像这种改变将带来一些负面的结果,即降低游戏的用户粘性或社区反弹。如果设计师让游戏内容变得更加复杂,他们就需要在之后适当降低难度,从而成为游戏社区中的英雄。从价格改变来看,这是一把双刃剑,因为支付了较高费用的玩家将会觉得自己遭到不公平的待遇。

创造一种有趣的免费体验

也许这听起来很简单,但却需要我们花费大量的时间。即确保玩家可以免费,或基于最初购买价格(游戏邦注:无需添加额外费用)而享受游戏乐趣。如果一款游戏让玩家以付费为前提去享受乐趣,它便很难引导玩家投资足够的钱去获得乐趣。当我们在思考如何确保免费内容与数量的平衡时,我们需要参考玩家在游戏中的整体投资。

对于一款免费游戏,开发者必须从头开始规划投资,因为玩家在游戏初始阶段并不会花钱。我们有多少次是购买了一款60美元的游戏后想停止游玩,但却觉得不值而继续游戏下去?这便是一种投资。游戏必须在玩家索取前向他们证实自己的价值。确保你能提供给玩家有价值的游戏体验。

如果玩家已经支付了游戏中的某个版本,那么游戏便需要提供给他们对得起购买价格的内容。如果游戏不能让玩家感到价值性,它便难以说服玩家购买更多内容。提供额外的内容和明确的扩展便能有效地呈献给玩家游戏的价值。

利用限时供应和促销

这是一个经常出现的话题,但是我们不得不再次强调:促销和限时供应非常重要。创造合理的交易能够推动更多促销,但是开发者也必须注意,太过频繁的促销会让玩家产生期望,即养成消费之前等待促销的习惯。

《CSR赛车》在这方面便做得很好。就像我们在如下截图中所看到的,游戏提供了非常诱人的报价。

csr racing(from gamasutra)

csr racing(from gamasutra)

csr racing(from gamasutra)

csr racing(from gamasutra)

当你创造了一种服务时,你也创建了一个世界。你希望玩家能够频繁回到这个世界中,而最有效的方式便是设置定时事件。就像在现实世界中,玩家希望看到游戏能够随着时间的变化而变化。我们可以参考文化对假日的影响。

人们总是会期待并庆祝假日。这也是好友间常出现的一个话题,例如“你在阵亡将士纪念日周末要做些什么?”我们总是喜欢与好友一起规划各种事件;这与实际事件一样有趣。例如有些MMO或Facebook游戏便会让玩家为每一周做规划,并庆祝各种假日。

结论

免费游戏将出现在下一代主机上,并且它现在已经成为了网页,手机和平板电脑上的主流游戏了。尊重玩家并提供给他们高质量的产品便能帮助我们创造出有爱且持久的服务。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Seth Sivak)

The Future of Games as a Service

by Seth Sivak

Every game is now a service. With pre-orders, DLC, subscriptions, persistent profiles, and premium upgrades, the ability to let players customize their experience has never been more widely available.

Free-to-play games are going to continue to become more popular and games as a service will become commonplace–if not the standard–industry very soon. The team at Proletariat was there at the start, making free-to-play games on the web in the mid-2000s, graduating to Facebook in 2009, and then on to Zynga in 2010, finally ending up founding Proletariat in 2012. Along the way, the team learned a thing or two about designing and building these experiences.

This post covers proven mechanics and successful trends in current and past games. Free-to-play is great for developers and it can be great for players too, it just takes some work. Whether you are a developer hoping to try your hand at free-to-play or a gamer trying to grab a view of the future, please read on.

Disclaimer: All games are different, not all of these rules may apply to your game, company, platform, or product. These are ideas that have worked in the past, but they are not the only way to do free-to-play.

Let Them Pay

The first rule of games as a service is to make it easy for your players to pay and interact with the premium content. This means surfacing the store and premium currency to users, showing the player how fun premium content can be, giving them clear value propositions at strategic times and generally making the purchase experience frictionless and awesome.

A great example of this is Clash of Clans on iOS. The premium currency is surfaced at the top level of the HUD and it is made clear how you can spend them to get boosts without even opening up the store.

Give Lasting Value and Instant Gratification

All games are different and free-to-play gamers will pay for different reasons. Some will want to buy new gear, maps, content, or characters to permanently enhance their game, while other players will want to circumvent timers or get more energy to give them a quick burst of fun right now. Both of these strategies have value, and if you can build a game to leverage both, it has options for all manner of player and payer.

For an example of instant gratification, look at the way energy works in most social games. This is a consumable item from which the player does not gain a permanent benefit. These are essential to a long running service-based game because they provide a near unlimited amount of items to purchase without a heavy cost to produce the content. Some players, however, will never purchase these because they feel it is “cheating” or that they have the will power to grind it out.

The other item type is non-consumable. Using the energy example above, this would be an increase to the energy cap. This particular purchase permanently makes the player more powerful. These items are more difficult to create because they often involve making real content or creating new features.

The real secret sauce comes from structuring the game economy so that the player can make non-consumable purchases that they feel good about while having room to scale these purchases up so there is always something more to buy. This is what drives games like Rage of Bahamut, CSR Racing, and the real-money auction house in Diablo 3.

Make it Harder

Keeping players happy is about controlling players’ expectations for the game and the service as it evolves over time. Most users are savvy enough to understand that the game will change and will expect it to always get easier, not harder, for them. MMOs are the classic examples of this: when new content is released, older content is often deprecated, with new items and skills taking the place of the previous, making the player more powerful (take this story for example: WoW Patch 5.2).

Developers never want to be in the position where they need to make something harder. A change like this will almost always result in a negative outcome, be it reduced engagement or community backlash. If designers make the content difficult, it allows them to reduce the difficulty later, and be seen as heroes within the community. This is a double-edged sword in regard to changing prices, since players that paid at the higher price will feel that they were unfairly charged. Always make the content harder than you are comfortable with to start, and be ready to tune it aggressively as soon as it goes live.

Build A Fun Free (or Vanilla) Experience

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it comes up all the time. The game should be fun to play for free or initial purchase price without any additional add-ons. If it is not fun to play without paying, it becomes very hard to get a player invested enough in the game to pay for it. When thinking about the balance between how much you give away for free, consider the player’s overall investment in the game.

For a free game, developers need to build investment from scratch since the player did not pay any money up front. How many times have you bought a $60 game and wanted to stop playing but didn’t until you felt you got your $60 worth? That is investment. Games need to prove their worth to players before you can ask them to pay. Make sure you are providing a worthy experience.

If a player already paid to play the vanilla version of the game, there needs to be value commensurate with the purchase price. If the game does not feel like a good deal to players, it will be a challenge to convince them they should pay more (see the backlash to EA’s announcement). Additional content and clear expansions are a good option to show obvious value to a player that is a fan of the vanilla game.

Leverage Limited Time Offers and Sales

This is a heavily-discussed topic, but it cannot be stressed enough: sales and limited-time offers work. Creating deals that feel too good to be true will push more sales, but be careful about how often these come up to a player. If a player always sees the currency on sale, they will start to habitually wait for a sale before purchasing.

A game that does this well is CSR Racing. As you can see in the screenshots below, this is a tempting offer for anyone that is even considering spending money in the game.

Prepare For and Celebrate Holidays

When you build a service, you are building a world. You want players to come back often, and one of the best ways to do that is to have timed events. Much like the real world, players want to see the game change over time. One way to think about this is how our culture treats holidays.

People are always preparing for or celebrating a holiday. It is a common topic of conversation amongst friends, for example, “What are you doing for Memorial Day weekend?” We love planning events with our friends; it is almost as much fun as the actual event. For examples, look at MMOs or Facebook games, but find ways to give your players something to prepare for or celebrate every week.

Conclusion

The writing is on the wall: we will see free-to-play coming to the next generation of consoles and it has already become mainstream on the web, mobile, and tablet. There are ways to do it well and create a loved, lasting service by respecting players and giving them high-quality products for their money. The team at Proletariat is excited to see a new age of free-to-play games on the horizon.

About Proletariat Inc.:

Proletariat is a Boston-based startup founded by five game-industry veterans from Zynga, Harmonix, Turbine, and Insomniac. Proletariat lovingly handcrafts engaging mobile-first experiences, the first being Letter Rush, blending a love of building and playing games with a critical eye towards business and metrics. Like the original revolution, Proletariat rises up to wrest game development from big industry and return it to the people.(source:gamasutra


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