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[翻譯]遊戲市場潮流下,發行商會否發生質變?


As the game market floods, are publishers back in style?
遊戲市場潮流下,發行商會否發生質變?
原文網址:http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/234356/As_the_game_market_floods_are_publishers_back_in_style.php
作者:Kris Graft

Some data from a recent Game Developers Conference State of the Industry survey has got me thinking about trends in self-publishing.

The survey, which polled 2,000 North American GDC 2014 attendees, showed declines in the percentage of developers who self-published their games, and a rise in developers who used a publisher.

閱讀GDC研討會業界問卷的資料後,其實讓我看待思考自行發布遊戲的脈動。

這問卷調查了兩千位在北美參加GDC2014的與會人士,顯示越來越少比例的開發者自行發布遊戲,而轉向找發行商。

Comparing 2014 to 2013 results, there was a 6-point year-on-year hike (29 percent vs. 23 percent) in the percentage of developers who said they worked with a publisher (and didn’t actually work at a game publisher) on their last game project.

Meanwhile, there was a more modest 3-point year-on-year rise (31 percent vs. 28 percent) in the percentage of developers who said they planned on working with a publisher on their next project.

與2013年的結果比較,在開發者中認為在最近開發的專案中認為與發布商是夥伴關係(而非在發行商內開發遊戲)有六個百分比的提高(29比之23)

同時,認為自己下一個專案需要一個發行商的開發者的比例則有三個百分比的提升(31比之28)。

While this is in no way concrete evidence of some kind of trend, as there is just not enough time measured, and there are all kinds of caveats to this data, it does once again bring into question the evolving role — and perceived importance — of a game publisher.

雖然我們沒有趨勢的證據,也沒有統計的時間,這些數據仍然透露了警示,那就是發行商所扮演的角色正在轉變,這件事值得我們重視。

In the year between GDC surveys, the game market has flooded. As we reported last year, more games had released between January and May 2014 than in all of 2013. Meanwhile, mobile app stores continue to become intensely crowded, and a maturing, digital distribution-focused next-gen console market is heading in the same direction.

在這次問卷的這一年遊戲市場產生巨變,我們去年報告過,更多遊戲是在一月到五月發布,而非全年平均分布。同時行動遊戲變的過度壅擠,家機上朝向數位發布發展。

Developers have realized that they don’t necessarily need anyone to launch a game for them. But so many developers have realized that, that the market has become inundated with games.

開發者已經體認到他們也許不需要人來幫他們發行遊戲,其實自己就可以做到,但更多開發者也發覺這個市場的遊戲產品已經滿出來。

Enter (re-enter?) the publisher.

變成或變回發行商

Veteran game publisher Mike Wilson, whose company Devolver Digital has published indie games such as Hotline Miami, Luftrausers, and The Talos Principle, said game publishers have always been important — it’s just now they don’t have all the business leverage like in the old days.

資深發行商Devolver Digital的Mike Wilson他們發行過獨立遊戲Hotline Miami,Luftrausers,以及The Talos Principle。他說遊戲發行商一直都很重要,只是目前他們沒有能夠像過往般舉足輕重。

“Publishers have almost always brought value; the problem has always been that they were grossly overcharging and/or exerting control for that value," said Wilson. “Most of the developers we work with know they don’t need a publisher… But when you have a fair and balanced business relationship based on mutual respect and trust, it makes sense."

Wilson接著說:發行商一直都能賺錢,但問題點總是在於不正常的分潤或壟斷現象。大多數開發商現在知道他們已經不需要發行商了,但是若基於互信之下,維持一個公平平等的商業關係也無不可。

Devolver categorizes itself as an indie publisher, not just because it publishes games from indie developers, but because it operates with the same kind of low overhead as a small indie studio. It doesn’t have to sell millions upon millions of copies of every game to be successful.

Devolver Digital這間公司認為自己是獨立發行商,並不只因為他發行獨立遊戲,而是因為他自己營運的方式就像是獨立工作室。他不需要每個遊戲都大賣幾百萬份。

“It’s simply impossible to make sense of the model with a large, bloated company to feed on the publisher side, and the old world business idea that ‘he who has the gold makes the rules,'" Wilson said.

Wilson接著說:一間巨大公司嘗試餵飽發行商的模式已經不復再且沒有意義了,那種擁有一款強作的人說話的老規則已經不存在。

Cliff Harris, a veteran game developer and independent game publisher, is founder of one-man operation Positech. He’s developed and released his own games, including Democracy and Gratuitous Space Battles, but recently turned some of his time toward publishing indie games, starting with Tiniest Shark’s Redshirt.

Anecdotally, he said he’s seen an uptick in interest in Positech as a publisher, partly because he actively promotes his services. But in general, he said, “I do definitely see more developers considering going to an indie publisher than used to be the case a few years ago."

Harris noted that the role of a publisher like himself has evolved as the market has become so crowded. “I think discoverability has become much more of a concern for indies. Whereas previously it was more a matter of funding and business advice, now the primary concern seems to be how someone gets their game noticed and gets it to stand out," he said.

“Most starting developers have very little PR and marketing experience, and they are reading a lot of (true) horror stories about peoples’ games being released and then totally ignored by gamers."

Cliff Harris是一位資深遊戲開發者與遊戲發行商,

他同時擁有一人發行商Positech。他開發並發行自己的遊戲,包含Democracy與Gratuitous Space Battles,最近他卻把自己的時間用來發行另一個獨立遊戲也就是Tiniest Shark的Redshirt。

有趣的是,他說他看到自己的Positech這間公司作為一個發行商的潛力,部分是因為他主動提供服務。但一般來說:比起幾年前,我真的看到很多開發商開始找尋獨立發行商。

Harris說道:市場變得擁擠,才造成他身分轉變為發行商。我認為那是因為被發現這件事對獨立開發者來說變得很重要。在那之前這件事情是投資人或商務部門要煩惱的問題,而現在最重要需要顧慮的事情則變成如何讓遊戲被發現,而被凸顯出來。

很多起步的開發人員沒有公共關係的經驗,也沒有市場經驗,然而他們曾經聽過業界很多遊戲被發行但是卻沒玩家玩的恐怖傳說。

Rami Ismail’s studio Vlambeer self-published games such as Ridiculous Fishing, but also worked with Devolver to publish games including Luftrausers.

Ismail, a particularly business-savvy indie developer, said while there are more publisher options these days, he’s not convinced publishers are a necessity."Discoverability is an issue simply because there are more games being made than before," he said. Getting a publisher doesn’t “magically" shrink the vast pool of competing games. “While a publisher can mitigate for that, they effectively operate in the pretty much the same space we operate in as developers."

Going it alone or teaming up with a publisher ultimately boils down to what services a developer really needs to make a game successful in the marketplace. Weigh those needs with the publisher’s services, and determine if that’s worth sharing your revenue.

“I still believe that if you’re making something really unique and of high quality, doing marketing yourself is the best way of doing it," said Ismail.

But all this said, there’s no absolute “yes" or “no" answer to the question, “do I need a publisher?"

Rami Ismail的工作室Vlambeer自己發布如Ridiculous Fishing的遊戲,也跟Devolver合作發行遊戲Luftrausers。

Ismail是一位擅長業務的獨立開發者,題道最近出現了很多發行商時,他卻表達不認為發行商是必需的。

他說道:遊戲如何被發現變成一個問題是因為比起以前有太多遊戲生產,接上一個發行商並不會變魔術般的把競爭對手變少。發行商只能減輕競爭,他們只是跟開發者一樣,盡量以一個有效率的操作。

到底要自己做或是與發行商合作最終回歸到開發者讓遊戲在市場上脫穎而出到底需要甚麼樣的服務?權衡發行商能提供的服務,才能決定如何分享利潤。

Ismail說到:我仍相信,假如你正在做高品質的獨特產品,自己做行銷才是最正確的方式。

但說了這麼多,仍對於這個問題"我是否需要一個發行商"沒有一個絕對的對錯。

“I think it’s reasonable to say that it is more difficult self-publishing today than it was two years ago (and even more difficult than it was four years ago)," said David Edery, a seasoned game industry businessman and CEO of Road Not Taken developer Spry Fox. His studio has self-published, and also worked with a publisher.

“That said, whether you need a publisher or not is still a very context-sensitive question," he added. “For example: despite how competitive mobile has become, if you’re making something small, original and polished, if your financial expectations aren’t enormous, and if you have a decent relationship with Apple and Google, you may very well be just fine without a publisher."

For Edery, the need for a publisher is closely tied to the amount of risk associated with a project. “If we’re working on a project that feels high risk / high reward, a publisher seems like a good partner. They can help us mitigate the risk by helping with project funding, development advice and analytics, and maximize the reward by helping with user acquisition. If we’re working on a low risk / low reward project, a publisher doesn’t seem to make much sense."

David Edery,一位經驗老道的遊戲產業經理人及Spry Fox(發行Road Not Taken)的執行長,他們自己發行產品,同時也代理發行,他說道:我認為目前自我發行比起兩年前是更艱難了(甚至可以說比四年前還艱難)

那就是說,不管你是否需要一個發行商,都存在一個見仁見智的問題:儘管行動市場變的如此競爭,假如你正在做小成本,原創又出眾的產品,假如你的預期獲利並不太高,而你還與Apple或Google有不錯的關係,那麼你可能不需要一個發行商。

對Edery來說,對發行商的需求度是與專案的風險度緊密相關。假如我的案子是高風險高獲利,發行商就會是一個好夥伴,他們透過借助專案的投資,開發建議與分析可以幫助我們減輕風險,甚至從使用者回饋來最大化利潤。假如我們正在執行的案子是低風險,低毛利的專案,發行商並不有意義。

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