Market

[翻譯] Defenders Quest By the Numbers


本文轉錄自gamasutra

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/168303/defenders_quest_by_the_numbers.php?page=1

Defender’s Quest: By the Numbers

“防禦者的任務"從銷售數字來看

by Lars Doucet [Business, Social/Online]

Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the marketing strategy and sales results for Level Up Labs’ latest game, Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten. Though our game was only released this January, we have already received significant critical acclaim and brisk sales beyond our wildest expectations, and wish to offer any information from our experience which might help other independent game developers succeed.
今天我要說明有關於我們團隊Level Up Labs最新作品Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten的市場策略與銷售結果。雖然我們的遊戲今年一月才剛釋出,我們就已受到顯著的喝采,持續成長的銷售也超過我們最好的預期。因此我希望能提供我們的經驗給其他的獨立製作者參考。

But before we get started, let me introduce myself — my name’s Lars Doucet, and I’ve spent the last six years as a freelance game developer and writer. I’ve worked on serious games for the MacArthur Foundation, Texas A&M, Rice, and Wake Forest Universities, as well as a (so-far unreleased) Facebook game for a major publisher.
在開始之前,讓我先自我介紹我叫做Lars Doucet,最近六年自詡一位獨立遊戲開發者與作家的身份。我曾作過MacArthur Foundation,Texas A&M,Rice,and Wake Forest Universities的教育遊戲,以及一個才剛釋出的Facebook遊戲。

My game design articles also appear frequently among Gamasutra’s expert blogs. Our current team at Level Up Labs includes Anthony Pecorella, our lead designer and an employee of Kongregate, James Cavin, our writer and character artist, and Kevin Penkin, our musician.
我的遊戲設計文章也發表在Gamasutra上。目前我在Level Up Labs的團隊中還包含主企劃Anthony Pecorella,Kongregate的一個成員James Cavin,他擔任劇本與角色設定,以及我們的音樂Kevin Penkin。

Defender’s Quest is a departure from my previous work making educational games like Super Energy Apocalypse and CellCraft. For this game, our team has done its best to combine the storytelling, melodrama, party-building, and metagame elements of a tactical JRPG with a tower defense-style battle system.
Defender’s Quest是從我之前一個教育遊戲像Super Energy Apocalypse與CellCraft脫離出來的。這個遊戲整合很多敘事手法,音樂劇,團隊建立,以及一個日式RPG的塔防戰鬥系統的一些元素。

However, instead of ubiquitous “towers," players summon to battle individual characters from their party, each with their own personalized names, stats, equipment, and skill trees. Like a traditional RPG, characters level up between battles and gain strength. The player can also specialize each party member’s skills to fill different strategic niches.
除了蓋塔之外,玩家從他的團隊中招換有特定屬性,裝備,技能的角色。就像傳統RPG的夥伴一樣,角色會成長,並專精技能。讓玩家可以依此擬定特殊的防禦策略。

Plan A

We imagined a short, three to six month project, but after a few months, it became clear our ambitions for the project would take a lot longer. This was a big problem, due to the economy behind Flash games. Most revenue from Flash games comes from a primary sponsorship deal, where a sponsor (usually a games portal) pays to have their logo and a link to their site in all versions of the game, stripping all other outgoing links, in order to capture all the game’s traffic and attention for the sponsor’s benefit. Essentially, a sponsorship is an offer to buy your game’s audience.
我們預期一個短期三到六個月的開發,但是我們的野心明顯地超過於此。但導致預算不足的大問題。這類型遊戲的經濟模型:金主通常是一個入口網站,金主提供金援換得有Logo的遊戲並製造唯一的通路。

As the game spreads across the internet, it drives traffic to the sponsor — so the better the game, the higher the traffic, and the more the sponsor will pay. No matter how good the game, however, every sponsor’s payment has an upper limit. Practically, this means the longer you work, the less you earn per hour spent. Extra cash can be earned from ads, contests, secondary sponsorships, and microtransactions, but even with all these extras, the pay for this labor intensive work usually amounts to peanuts.
相反地遊戲製造熱潮來回饋入口網站。遊戲的價值來自於他可以創造多少人流,而不是遊戲好壞,但總有個上限。工作室花的時間越長,利潤就越少。當然還是有其他獲利來源,如廣告,比賽,其他金主,或是微創投,但都是杯水車薪。

It’s worth noting that microtransactions work best in multiplayer games, or Facebook games, but according to Anthony’s experience at Kongregate, they generally do poorly on single-player games on Flash portals.
值得一提的是微創投在多人連線遊戲,或Facebook遊戲表現的很好。但是單人遊戲或Flash遊戲就很差。

Andy Moore’s famous SteamBirds: By the Numbers article and others like it reveal that top-quality games can expect a sponsorship of around $25,000, with a theoretical (albeit virtually unattainable) maximum somewhere around $50,000 if the game is literally the best Flash game ever, AND you’re willing to accept draconian terms. And even if a team could expect these amounts, they would still be forced to cut corners to keep development time as short as possible.
Andy Moore有名的文章SteamBirds: By the Numbers說明了高品質的遊戲可以得到一個25000美金的贊助(折合台幣74萬),若是名列前矛的遊戲可以再提升到50000美金(折合台幣148萬)。即便是這樣的收入,團隊都必須縮衣節食,想辦法減少開發時間。

This was our original plan — create a high-quality game worthy of a top sponsorship in a short enough amount of time to make the effort worth it. But after sinking countless hours into the project, our only shot at this strategy was to slash features. Even then, we’d still have to be the best Flash game ever to nab a large enough sponsorship to provide a decent hourly wage for all four team members.
我們開始的計畫是在一個很短時間內做出一個高品質的遊戲並獲得最高且值得的金援。但經過無法計算的工時之後,我們唯一作到的只有特效相關的特色。即使如此我們仍期待做出最好的Flash遊戲,得到足夠團隊存活的最好金援。

Plan B

Instead of hoping to make minimum wage for our efforts, Anthony and I doubled down on Defender’s Quest. We decided to upgrade from a free Flash game to a full commercial release. This was risky — commercial games are obviously judged by a higher standard than free games. Furthermore, Flash has the stigma of an “amateur" platform. Among the larger independent game development scene, there is also the sentiment that success is difficult or impossible without the aid of gatekeepers like Steam or the Humble Indie Bundle.
不只希望能得到那些微薄的報酬,我與Anthony決定更進一步,擴大遊戲的規模,從一個Flash遊戲變為完整的獲利版本。這步很冒險,商業遊戲通常比起免費遊戲有更高的標準,而且Flash被視為是業餘在用的工具。如果不依賴Steam或Humble等平台的話,在商業遊戲的這塊領域獨立製作的發布將更加嚴峻。

After much toil and sweat, we released the game on January 19th, 2012. This was a full 20 months after we started, more than three times longer than our original worst-case estimate. We spent the extra time polishing the game’s story and battle mechanics, features particularly scrutinized by RPG fans.
在一切的甘苦之後,我們在2012年1月19日釋出了遊戲。最後開發的時程總共20個月,三倍長於我們原先的計畫。我們花了額外時間在琢磨故事,戰鬥的機制,特別是那些RPG玩家的檢視及特色修改。

We’ll go into greater detail about our marketing strategy later in the article, but the basic approach was to sell the game on http://www.defendersquest.com, post a free demo, and then upload the demo to all the free Flash game portals, driving traffic back to our site.
我們接下來會詳細說明我們市場策略,基本上是在www.defendersquest.com上發售我們的遊戲,將一個免費的展示版本丟到各大Flash入口網站上,並且統計人流。

The initial numbers have rolled in, and now I’m here to report on the results.
數據已經開始彙整,也就是我將說明的內容。

Results

Let’s start with sales numbers. We went on sale January 19th. As of this writing, we’ve been on sale for about two and a half months. All dollar values are in USD.
從銷售數字開始,統計自1月19日開賣到截稿,總共兩個半月,金額都是以美金統計。

獲利 銷售量
毛利         70716 13846
Defendersquest.com  52900 9973
FastSpring 抽走8%  -4232
Kongregate.com    17816 3873
Kongregate抽走30%  -5345
小計         61139
支出         14399
稅前盈餘       46741

*This does NOT represent a profit of 46.7K. Altogether, we put in several thousand hours of labor that still needs compensating.
46741並不代表獲利,這邊沒有計算我們花費的工時。

We sold the game on http://www.defendersquest.com by partnering with FastSpring, a popular online payment provider, which takes 8 percent of our gross revenues. At first, everyone who played the demo on any Flash portal was directed to our website to buy the full game.
我們透過線上付費公司FastSpring的協助,在我們網站www.defendersquest.com上販售遊戲。他們抽成是8%。每個玩展示版的玩家都會被導到完整版本的網站。

On February 7th, we started letting players on the portal Kongregate buy the full game with “kreds," the site’s virtual currency. Even though Kongregate takes 30 percent of kred revenue, we decided to try it because the system was easier for players, which would hopefully lead to more overall sales.
2月7日開始在Kongregate透過虛擬貨幣kreds販售遊戲,Kongregate抽走30%。這個付費方式對玩家而言更加簡單。

We started with the special introductory price of $6.99 on our site, and 50 “kreds" (about $5) on Kongregate.
我們的定價是6.99美金,或是50個kreds幣(約5美金)。

Why two different prices?
為什麼要定兩種價錢?

1. The Kongregate version is online-only, and has compressed graphics/audio. The download version has a few extra features, can be played anywhere, and has higher-quality assets.
Kongregate版本是只能上網,影音受到壓縮。而下載版有一些額外特色,可以不需要連線,圖像的品質較高。

2. 50 kreds is a better impulse purchase price than 70, since the smallest amount of kreds players can buy is 50.
50個kreds幣是一個技巧性的定價,比起70玩家更會容易接受。玩家能買的最小單位就是50個kreds幣。

Though the game is a complete, finished experience, we plan to add more content later in an upcoming Gold edition release. With the bonus material included, the final price for Gold edition will be $9.99. Everyone who has already bought the game will receive free upgrades for the additional content.
雖然遊戲已經很完整,我們想要增加更多額外的內容,最後的黃金版會定價在9.99美金。已經購買的玩家可以獲得免費升級取得這些新內容。

Next, let’s look at a chart of our sales over time:
接下來讓我們看一下隨著時間的銷售數字:

Blue represents gross revenue from our own site, and red is gross revenue from kreds purchases. I’ve also marked various points on the graph with the following press and other events:
藍色的曲線表示從我們網站得到的毛利,紅色的曲線表示從kreds幣購買。我把變化點的數字都標了出來。

Source    Event or Article    Date
新聞 Destructoid     Tower Defense meets RPG in ambitious Defender’s Quest     1/20
新聞 Joystiq     The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Defender’s Quest     1/21
新聞 Jay Is Games     Defender’s Quest     1/22
新聞 Rock, Paper, Shotgun     Hours Of Towers: Defender’s Quest     1/23
發售 Event     Launches on Kongregate     1/27
新聞 Destructoid     Review: Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten     1/28
發售 Event     Launches on Newgrounds     1/30
進入首頁 Event     Front page of Kongregate and Newgrounds     1/31
下架修改 Event     Newgrounds goes down for redesign     2/6
開始收Kreds幣 Event     Enabled kreds on Kongregate     2/7
進入排行榜 Event     Featured Game on Kongregate     2/8
新聞 Rock, Paper, Shotgun     Second Wave: Defender’s Quest Free Gold Update     3/22

Mentions in the gaming press (Rock, Paper, Shotgun, in particular) correlate to single-day sales spikes. The largest spikes, however, as well as sustained sales over time, correlate with launching on the major Flash game portals (particularly Kongregate and Newgrounds). So the question is, which made a bigger difference: Flash portals or good press? For further analysis, we turned to our coupon data.
隨著一些新聞的發布會有助小幅提昇銷售,隨著主要的入口開賣會有大幅的且持續的銷售數字。我們的疑問在於入口還是媒體比較有幫助?所以我們展開了折扣券的計畫。

We made several different coupon codes available, as one of our many metrics for tracking sales and virality. We gave people who had signed up for our newsletter prior to release a special coupon for $2 off. We gave reviewers coupon codes named after their sites, which were good for $1 off. Our first batch of coupons was good through the end of January, but we later added some that were good through February 14th, specifically the Kongregate and Newgrounds coupons.
我們製作了不同的折扣券來追蹤銷售變化。訂閱新聞有2元折扣,透過不同網站的評論家散布1元折扣,第一批折扣券是在一月底開始。二月中再追加,尤其是加在Kongregate與Newgrounds。

Here’s a chart of sales by coupon:
從折扣券得到的比例如下:

You’ll also see some other coupons on the chart. I gave the coupon code “ZEBOYD" to fellow indie RPG developer Robert Boyd, who sent it out to his followers over Twitter and posted it on various forums around the internet. The “MONA" code was posted by our lawyer, Mona Ibrahim, and I posted another in my previous Gamasutra blog post about our launch.) The “SPECIAL" code was the $2 coupon from our newsletter.
標定為ZEBOYD的折扣券是由獨立製作人Robert Boyd發出,他協助在推特跟其他網站發布遊戲的消息。
標定為MONA的折扣券是由我們的律師Mona Ibrahim發出。
標定為SPECIAL的折扣券是兩元的折扣從訂閱新聞而來。

When we released on Newgrounds and Kongregate, we were not sure if a demo with an up-sell would anger players, since those sites are free-to-play portals. Anticipating the worst reaction, we gave players on each site a $2 off coupon towards the game. After about a week on Kongregate, we replaced the link to our store with a link to buy the game for 50 kreds.
發布在Newgrounds與Kongregate前,我們並不知道這樣的展示版本是否會觸怒玩家。因為那些入口網站都是免費遊戲。收到那些糟糕的評論反應後,我們給予2元的折扣。發布在入口網站兩個禮拜後,我們把連結從我們的網站改為kreds幣的下載方式。

Coupon codes correlate fairly strongly to sales sources, but they’re not exact. For instance, many people from a referring site will not use the provided coupon. Coupons have a tendency to leak throughout the internet, so obviously people outside the original target group end up using them. Also, if the coupons differ in value, word eventually gets out and people start using the higher-value coupon more. In the above example, the newsletter coupon (SPECIAL), was worth $2 off and only advertised in our newsletter. Many newsletter subscribers bought the game at full price anyway, and a lot of people who used this coupon were not on the newsletter.
折扣券與銷售來源有關連,但是並非絕對。比如說很多人從一個網站連過來,但是並不使用折扣券。折扣券會打破網路社群的隔閡。因此顯然原本客群之外的人就會使用折扣券。如果折扣券有價值上的不同,消費者當然會使用價值高的。訂閱新聞的折扣券極少被真正訂閱的人使用。

Finally, all the coupons eventually expired, so sales from these sources after the expiration dates aren’t reflected in this chart.
最後,所有的折扣券最終都會過期,所以過期之後的銷售數字並沒有反應在折扣券的圖上。

But even with these caveats, I think it is fair to say that these sites were among our highest sources of revenue so far:
即使如此,我們從這些網站依然可以證實有獲利:

1. Kongregate.com
2. Newgrounds.com
3. Rockpapershotgun.com
4. Joystiq.com
5. Reddit.com

Based on coupon redemptions alone, the two flash portals, Kongregate and Newgrounds, represent over 75 percent of sales.
基於折扣券的圖表,我們從Flash入口Kongregate與Newgrounds取得百分之七十五的銷售。

Given that this chart only represents sales made with a coupon from our FastSpring store, and leaves out kreds sales altogether, the real number for Kongregate is surely signficantly higher.
組合折扣券的圖表與從FastSpring付費機制綜合的結果,Kongregate的銷售數字確實貢獻不少。

For now, we are only selling on our site with FastSpring and on Kongregate through kreds. We plan to expand onto other portals soon (Desura/Impulse/etc.), and of course, if Steam or the Humble Indie Bundle come calling, we’ll topple off our seats.
目前我們透過FastSpring在我們的網站上銷售,在Kongregate則透過kreds幣。我們計畫開拓其他入口的銷售。也準備好到Steam或Humble平台發布。

But here are some things we did to increase sales.
我們為了提高銷售數字還做了以下的事情。

Website
關於網頁

I don’t know that much about web development, so I whipped up something very simple from an old css template. It’s just static HTML with flat colors, images, text, links, and embedded videos.
我對網頁的製作並不熟稔,所以我只是很簡單的使用老式的css樣板,靜態的html加上顏色圖片文字連結跟影片。

The website was designed to achieve two things as quickly as possible:
我們的網頁設計有兩個目的

1. Give the visitor everything they need to make a decision
給予瀏覽者作決定所需要的資訊。

2. Make it very easy to buy the game
讓他們買遊戲盡量簡單。

The first thing you see when you go to http://www.defendersquest.com is this:
前者去看我們的網站就知道。

We do have a really nice quote from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, with a link to the review they did for us, but we didn’t launch with it — Adam Smith didn’t get his review copy until after launch, so his article came out a week later. Prior to this, we used a positive quote from Robert Boyd of ZeBoyd games.
在Rock, Paper, Shotgun我們確實有一些好的評論文章,但是事實上這篇評論並不在我們銷售計畫中,甚至比我們發布遊戲還晚了一週才出現。在此之前我們引述了Robert Boyd在網站ZeBoyd games的評論文章。

Right below the heading is our launch trailer. We put this together using free screen-recording tools and iMovie. Captioning the video is our elevator pitch, and our technical selling points — “cross platform and DRM Free." Finally, we have our BUY/TRY buttons, which are on every page of the website.
發售的影片我們用了免費的螢幕錄製軟體與iMovie來作。影片後的標題著重在快速展示我們的賣點:跨平台及跨區,我們還做了購買與試玩的按鈕,每頁都有。

We have the usual information pages: about, support, faq, etc. But the two most important links are FAQ and demo, so I made those stand out in the navigation bar.
也有一些常見的資訊頁面:關於我,技術支援,問與答等等。最常點擊的是問與答跟展示遊玩。所以我把這兩個選項特寫出來。

I’ve already written about our free demo strategy, but I’ll summarize here. We have a free, lengthy, web-based demo that visitors can play without downloading or installing anything. We also have downloadable demos for each platform, through direct link and BitTorrent.
先前已經說明過我們的展示版本,在這邊作個總結。我們有個免費,長度限制,網頁版的展示。瀏覽者可以不用下載安裝就可以遊玩。當然展示版也可以下載遊玩。透過直接下載或BitTorrent。

When the player finishes or exits, the demo directs them to an up-sell page that links to the store and tells them how to export their save file to the full version. We hoped the demo would answer most of the player’s questions. Those wanting a richer experience with uncompressed assets and fullscreen support can install the downloadable demos, which also demonstrate whether the full game will run on their system. If the demo works, the full version should work too.
當玩家結束展示時,會有一個連結導引他們到線上商店並且告訴他們存檔如何匯出到完整版。
下載的展示版本可以有高品質的素材,全螢幕選項。也可證明完整版也可以在他們機器上安裝。

We also considered the fact that some visitors might be parents, so we included a page for them. Standard ESRB ratings aren’t very helpful, and as low-budget independent developers, they weren’t really an option for us. So to address the ratings issue, this button accompanies every BUY/TRY pairing:
我們也考慮了某些瀏覽者可能是父母的身份。比起ESRB分級的不足,而且還需要額外預算,我們製作了一個頁面來說明遊戲的內容安全。每個購買的按鈕旁都擺著適合兒童遊玩頁面的按鈕。

I have observed several e-mails and forum postings from parents specifically mentioning this page as a reason for buying the game.
有幾封電子郵件和論壇提到父母因為這樣的作法而選擇購買。

Next, I’ll talk about our conventional marketing strategy.
接下來要說明我們一般的市場策略

Marketing

First, we created a press release. You can find the full text on our media page as part of our press kit, but I’ll share a snippet here:
首先我們創造主動式媒體發布,media頁面有一個媒體工具可供下載。
簡單來說裡面包含主旨,影片連結,媒體頁面連結,展示頁面連結。

Level Up Labs is proud to announce their new Tower Defense / RPG hybrid Defender’s Quest for Mac, Windows, and Linux!

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFkdCv7daTs
Media presskit: http://www.defendersquest.com/media.html
Playable demo: http://www.defendersquest.com/play_demo.html

The kit then goes on to give a brief game description, list of features, quotes from reviewers, links to reviews, along with additional pertinent information. However I felt the most important thing was the first five lines. I know reviewers are busy and appreciate us getting right to the point. In the first line, we give our company name and elevator pitch, and mention that the game is cross-platform.
裡面還有遊戲的說明,特色清單,其他評論者的評價,連結,其中有些中立的資訊。
但我覺得最重要的就是開始的主旨:有公司名稱,與提醒產品賣點:跨平台且跨區。這讓評論者可以減少很多工作。

This is followed by our “three magic links." These links contain absolutely everything a reviewer needs, even if that was the whole press release. The first is a video, as it’s easy to follow that link, sit back, and watch. If that catches their interest, they’ll want to know more about the game and perhaps give it a spin. The playable demo should give them hands-on experience instantly while the media press kit gives them all the material they need for an article. Below is all we included in our press kit:
跟著主旨的就是三個重要魔法連結。評論者最需要的資訊都能從這裡拿到。他們只需要點開連結,坐著看就行。假如真的有興趣,當然他們就會想知道遊戲的部份,甚至直接試玩。在媒體工具中有著大量他們寫文章會用到的素材:

The fact sheet contains the game’s basic info — price, technical settings, features, etc, and is included in three different formats to make it easy for the reviewer. “Box_art" contains, well, box art — which makes for pretty pictures to accompany an article.

“Icons_and_thumbnails" includes pictures of the game in all shapes, sizes, and image formats — these are mostly for Flash portals that want to host the demo, but can also be used for a reviewer, for example, to accompany a short news post link where space is limited. “Press_release" and “screenshots" are pretty self-explanatory.
基本遊戲資訊,價格,規格,特色。而且還包含三種排版。
遊戲的圖示,各種大小跟圖檔格式。
其他評論者的評論跟遊戲截圖,更是不言自喻。

We created a dedicated media page that has all this information, as well as links to all the press we’ve received. There’s a link to the press kit in big, obvious letters, and anchor links to the rest of the page’s content to minimize scrolling.
網頁上的媒體頁面就是包含這些資訊,媒體工具更是寫的又大又清楚。

We’ve been updating both the press kit and this page after launch to add new quotes and reviews as they come in. We also tried a few things to announce the game prior to launch, which I’ll touch briefly on now.
這個頁面會持續隨著評論與新聞的增加而更新。
在遊戲發售前我們甚至試著宣傳我們的遊戲。

Many developers use Games Press, a clearinghouse for video game press releases, to contact the press. We first used it to announce our public demo a few months prior to launch. Andrew Smee of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote a lovely preview of our game, and told me his editor probably discovered our game on Games Press. Using Games Press again after launch had less success — it seems to have resulted in many mostly blank, auto-generated profiles for the game on sites like GameFAQs and Metacritic, but no actual reviews.
很多開發者使用Games Press,一個影片發布的網站來與媒體溝通。一開始我們透過它來發布展示版本。Rock, Paper, Shotgun網站的Andrew Smee寫了我們遊戲的評論。他說他們編輯就是從這網站知道我們遊戲的。但是發布後在透過此網站就沒有什麼進展。有些自動產生的連結,但是沒有真正的評論文章。

Prior to release, we also sent emails to Joystiq and Jay Is Games. Joystiq accepted our query and ran an article just after the game’s launch, and Jay Is Games did the same, both correlating to sales spikes (see chart, above),
發布前,我們寄送了電子郵件給Joystiq與Jay Is Games。如前面折扣券的地方所說,他們都幫我們寫了評論。

Social Networking

I must confess a total lack of experience with social networking. Here’s a few things we tried.
我必須真正的懺悔,我真的沒有經營社群網路的經驗。我們試了以下的事情。

We put up Facebook and Google+ pages for our game which link to our site, and we put “like", “+1″ and “Reddit" buttons on our front and demo pages. The most attention we seem to have gotten is just from my friends, family, and followers by directly talking about the game and posting links to reviews on my own personal Facebook, Google+, and Twitter accounts.
我們建了facebook與google+的頁面,可以導引到我們網站。
我們網站也建了對應的like +1 reddit按鈕。大部分都是我們親朋好友來幫助我們透過Facebook, Google+,Twitter分享出去。

I’ve had the most success with Twitter, perhaps because it’s so simple. You tweet stuff and if people care, they follow you, etc. That’s pretty much it. It’s also a great way to connect with people that might otherwise be difficult to meet.
Twitter最成功,也許因為他最簡單,假如網民有興趣,就會推上去,聚集起來。連結不能見面人群的好工具。

We got a lot of attention from Reddit threads (particularly ones sharing our coupon codes). I posted a $1-off REDDIT coupon when I saw the activity, which generated a decent chunk of sales (see chart, above). I also started an “Ask Me Anything" thread, which generated a lot of interest.
我們從Raddit上吸引了很多目光,特別是分享我們的折扣券。從這裡得到很多銷售數字。我也開啟了隨便你問的討論串,吸引眾人的興趣。

Surprisingly, most of the attention our game has gotten through social networking has come from people sharing an blog I wrote, “Piracy and the Four Currencies." As soon as I saw this, I added prominent links to Defender’s Quest in the article.
令人驚訝的是從社群網路來的注意力很多是從網民分享我寫的部落格文章"盜版與四種貨幣"。當我發現這個現象,我馬上在文章中加上遊戲的連結。

Free-to-Play Flash Portals
免費Flash遊戲的入口

Front page of Kongregate! W00t!

Although most of our players never notice, Defender’s Quest is a Flash game. We compiled it with Adobe AIR, which let us employ some tricks to get the standard “desktop quality" game features, like fullscreen resolution switching, to work. We also used Flixel, which gave us great performance (for a Flash game) by circumventing Flash’s normal, unoptimized, display logic. Using Flash made it easy to develop a browser demo, which we could distribute through flash portals.
雖然玩家通常沒有注意到我們的遊戲是Flash做的。我們透過Adobe AIR來編譯它,讓我們使用一些可以呈現桌面品質的小技巧。像是全螢幕的解析度切換。我們也使用Flixel這個函式庫來提昇效能。使用Flash讓我們也很容易在這類Flash入口網站發布。

As I mentioned in my previous article, rather than paying to host the demo on our own servers, we uploaded it to Mochi Media, turned off advertisements, and embedded it on our site. Then, we enabled distribution, which means that Mochi would send the demo to lots of flash portals across the internet.
如同我先前的文章描述的,我們把展示版本上傳到Mochi Media,關閉廣告,然後嵌入到我們網站。然後開啟散布功能,Mochi就能協助我們把遊戲透過網路到Flash入口網站。

After seeing a truly astonishing number of visitors to our site from http://www.minijuegos.com of all places, we decided to go after the big boys — Newgrounds, Kongregate, and Armor Games. We launched on Newgrounds and Kongregate, but Armor Games is invitation-only and we weren’t able to reach an agreement with them.
當看到從www.minijuegos.com連過來數目驚人的瀏覽者,我們決定繼續發布在Newgrounds,Kongregate與Armor Games。不過由於Armor Games的遊戲是由該網站所主動邀請,所以我們一直未能通過該網站的審核。

Our plan was to create a special version of the browser demo for each major portal, implement each one’s achievement APIs, and create a unique demo landing page for each offering a $2-off coupon. Since I had gotten complaints that our store’s coupon field was hard to find, I made the “buy" button on each landing page pre-apply the coupon to the order. These coupons were worth more than our usual $1 off, but because we were afraid of “demo backlash" we figured the magic $5 impulse-buy price couldn’t hurt.
我們的計畫就是在不同的入口放上特製的版本,製作那些網站的成就系統。對那些會產生折扣券的版本創造特製的頁面。有人抱怨折扣券的欄位很難找到,我們讓產生折扣券的購買按鈕會預先折扣券套用到欄位上。(譯按:最後一句我不會翻Orz)

We started with Kongregate and immediately had our worst fears confirmed. The game’s page was quickly flooded with flames and one star reviews. Our score was around 3.4 and dropping steadily, which means our work would soon be consigned to video game oblivion. Many players complained they had been tricked, and that demos were unwelcome on free game sites.
Kongregate一開始就證實我們的憂慮,遊戲被潮水般的一顆星惡評淹沒。總分大致落在3.4而且持續下降。意思是我們很快就會成為被玩家遺忘的那一群。大部分玩家認為他們被愚弄,而且這樣的展示版本在免費遊戲網站不受歡迎。

We were also accused of being “greedy," “evil," and — my favorite — “illegal." Against my better judgment, I logged into my personal account and argued back, but my comments were swiftly down-rated by angry players, and my grumpy words (mercifully) disappeared in minutes.
我們也被指控邪惡又貪心,我最喜歡的形容詞是"犯法的"。我嘗試回應辯護,但是很快就被謾罵所擠出版面。

Anthony acted much more rationally than I did. He jumped onto our developer account and instantly started damage control. He changed the name of the entry from “Defender’s Quest Prelude" to “Defender’s Quest (lengthy!) DEMO". He updated the description fields to say “THIS IS A DEMO!" right at the top, rather than tucked away after the game’s feature list.
Anthony比較理性的多,並很快展開災後控制,他把展示版名稱改為Defender’s Quest(有限長度),描述也把展示的說明從最尾端拉到第一行。

If people aren’t expecting this, it makes them very angry!
如果玩家一點也不在意的話,這災後控管的行為可能使得玩家更生氣。

He started responded courteously to each negative comment and within a day our review score had started turning around. Fans started buying the game, and a lot of them went to bat for us in the comments. After a few days we cracked the four star barrier, and were featured on the front page.
Anthony持續親切地回應那些負面評論,然後一天之內分數就開始回升,玩家開始購買,很多鼓勵的回應在論壇上出現,幾天之後我們就突破四科星的屏障,榮登網站首頁。

We’re still getting the occasional one star hate comments (who doesn’t?) lambasting us for being a demo, but the score climbed steadily. All of the metrics suggest Kongregate is overwhelmingly responsible for the majority of our total sales.
當然我們仍偶爾收到一顆星的評價。咒罵這只是個demo。但是分數持續攀升。這現象導致Kongregate全力支持我們的銷售。

After things settled down, we got many comments like, “Glad you changed the description. I don’t mind demos, I just wanna know what I’m getting up front." as well as, “I never buy based on a demo, but I bought this." So although our demo will never get a top rating, changing the context to manage expectations seems to have helped the perception.
我們收到很多玩家評論:我並不討厭demo但是我要在玩之前知道這件事。而且我因為這個demo版本買了你們的產品。誠實的說明確實是有用的。

A vocal minority will likely continue to down-rate us, but that comes with the territory.
嫌貨人也是買貨人。

We later launched on Newgrounds, using the experience from Kong to guide us. We made it absolutely clear in the title and description that the game was a demo, and included links to the RPS and Destructoid reviews of the game. Newgrounds received a similar $2-off coupon, just like Kongregate.
我們遲些發布在Newgrounds上,運用先前Kongregate的經驗。明白標示展示版本。加上評論的連結。同樣加上折扣券。

I also created some medals (achievements) for the game. Kongregate badges are all hand-crafted by Kong employees (mostly Greg McClanahan), but on Newgrounds you can create them yourself and submit them to Newgrounds chief Tom Fulp for approval. I created some for the usual stuff like beating levels and gaining party members, as well as a set of easy ones just for visiting the various option menus.
我還加上一些成就。Kongregate的成就大部分是他們成員Greg McClanahan幫我們弄的。在Newgrounds上可以自己創造並上傳審核。我做的只是打破關,增加隊伍成員,以及按下我們的各種按鈕。

My hope was that players would spend the first five minutes of the game exploring the options menus to rack up some quick medals and discover all the options and customization in the game. Hopefully players likely to complain about “too much reading" would quickly see they can turn tutorials and dialogue off, and those demanding “more hotkeys" would discover that not only does the game have hotkeys, but they are all customizable. The entire game can be played with nothing but the keyboard should they so desire.
我希望玩家在前五分鐘就可以因為按下一些選項按鈕而得到成就,讓遊戲的品質可以客製化。希望那些回應"太多說明"的玩家可以發現可以把教學關掉的選項;回應"需要熱鍵"的玩家可以找到我們不只有熱鍵,還能自由修改,整個遊戲可以只透過鍵盤就進行。

Newgrounds’ feedback system is less noisy than Kong’s, and oriented towards reviews rather than comments, so the reviews are dominated by players who have bought the full game. Furthermore, Kongregate’s system only allows a user to vote once, but Newgrounds lets users vote every day, giving higher voting power to established users.
Newgrounds的回應系統比Kongregate乾淨,會導到評論頁面而不是回應頁面,所以那些回應都來自於已經購買的玩家。更甚者,Kongregate的分數系統只能投一次,Newgrounds讓玩家每天都投票,讓投票的動作建立死忠玩家。

The upshot is that on Kong, the score depends more on the first impressions of a large audience, trends downwards over time, and is more vulnerable to one star hate-reviews. On Newgrounds a devoted fanbase of site regulars can gradually raise the score and easily offset drive-by down-ratings. Shortly after launching, our score on both sites was around 4.11. It’s plateaued on Kong, but it’s up to an unbelievable 4.40 on Newgrounds!
Kongregate的分數多半來自玩家的第一印象,很容易往下走,而且不吝惜給一顆星。Newgrounds則是像粉絲基地可以持續攀升。很短的時間內前者的分數就到達4.11,後者更達到不可思議的4.44。

Shortly after I submitted my medals to Tom Fulp for approval, he responded to my message with great news. Not only had he approved the medals, he’d also placed the game on the front page! Unfortunately, Newgrounds went down for their long-delayed redesign on February 6, and when it came back up, we were just below the threshold for front page status.
當我們上傳成就到Newgrounds給Tom Fulp審核不久,他就通知我好消息,不只審核通過,他還把遊戲放到首頁。不幸地,Newgrounds維修改版面延遲到2月6日,我們的位置剛好落在首頁外面。

Even so, coupons suggest we’ve made a lot of sales from Newgrounds — even more than from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, making them our second-largest source of sales. Together, Newgrounds and Kongregate probably represent about 80 to 90 percent of our total revenue. This is a completely unexpected outcome; we thought a demo up-sell model was a long shot for Flash portals, and anticipated only modest sales.
折扣券顯示我們有很多銷售數字來自Newgrounds,比Rock, Paper, Shotgun還多,名列銷售來源第二名。Newgrounds與Kongregate可能包辦我們8成到9成的獲益,這是未預期的結果,我們本以為這方法在Flash入口不會管用,而且只會貢獻小部份銷售,

People playing games on free Flash portals don’t like spending money, and they also don’t like going to another website to do so. Given we were asking them to do both, our success took me by surprise. We estimate that our demo-to-sales conversion rate is somewhere between 1 to 5 percent. Moving to kreds on Kongregate seems to have helped — on-site currencies let players buy the game without going to another website or pulling out their credit cards.
在這些Flash入口的玩家只玩免費遊戲,而且也不喜歡跑到其他網頁花錢。很驚訝地我們在這兩個決策上影響他們。我們估計展示版轉付費的比例大約在百分之一到五。使用kreds幣很有幫助.入口的貨幣讓玩家不用再按一次信用卡。

Since we knew that many smaller flash portals “steal" game files from Kongregate and Newgrounds, we wanted the Kongregate version to work even on other sites. This is how Flash games spread virally. To be clear: we want portals to do this so that our demo gets more plays, and hopefully, more sales. The Kongregate version had special code that detected when it was running on a site other than kongregate.com, which would make it revert to the normal format, directing players to visit our website to buy the game.
我們知道很多Flash入口網站都偷Kongregate與Newgrounds的遊戲,我們並不在意,這是Flash高市佔率的原因。我們甚至希望那些入口這樣作散布我們的展示版本。希望能帶來更多銷售數字。Kongregate版的折扣券可以偵測程式不是跑在他們的平台上,折扣券就會失效。並直接導引到我們網站。

Final Thoughts

So, that’s everything we’ve done, and our sales numbers so far. I’m not prepared to draw broad conclusions as to what worked and what didn’t in terms of driving sales. It’s still a bit too early in the process for that. But I will say that I think there are some pretty clear spikes correlated with reviews and portal promotions. Our steady daily sales seem like they’re coming from Kongregate, Newgrounds, and small flash portals.
這就是我們做的一切,以及目前的銷售數字。畫下如何衝刺銷售數字的結論還言之過早。不過我可以說有些小技巧可以透過評論與入口來幫忙。

Our last and most important strategy has been to focus on customer service. Anthony, James, and I all try to keep the backlog from building up. We do our best to stay abreast of glitches and compatibility problems, and to surmount the limitations of our less-than-perfect storefront. So far customer feedback has been positive.
我們的最後且最重要的策略就是作客戶服務。我與Anthony,James持續運用資源,並監控平台通用性的問題,盡量克服網頁很簡陋的限制。至少目前反應都很正面。

We hope to move on to other stores like Desura and Impulse, etc, soon, but first we want to iron out the major bugs, solve compatibility glitches, and finish the bonus version so we can put our best foot forward on those platforms.
我們希望再拓展到其他遊戲商店。但在拓展到其他平台前,目前我們要解決一些主要的bug跟平台通用性,完成獎金的版本。

I hope all this information helps someone.
希望這些資訊對其他人有幫助。

廣告

3 thoughts on “[翻譯] Defenders Quest By the Numbers

  1. @GUX
    圖表麻煩就連到原網址去看嘍。用遊戲名稱去Google也可以找到他們的網站。就很清楚了。

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