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[翻譯] 對免費遊玩的不滿正在嚴重傷害這個產業


Free-to-play hate threatens health of the industry at large
對免費遊玩的不滿正在嚴重傷害這個產業

原文網址:http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-02-27-free-to-play-hate-threatens-the-health-of-the-industry-at-large
作者:Rob Fahey

(感謝Johnson勘誤)

Increasing negativity around F2P tars both good and bad games with the same brush
對免費遊玩的負面想法變的齊頭式地打擊各類遊戲

Free to play has an image problem. It’s the most influential and arguably important development in the business of games in decades, a stratospherically successful innovation which has enabled the opening up of games to a wider audience than ever before. Implemented well, with clear understanding of its principles and proper respect afforded to players and creativity alike, it’s more fair and even, in a sense, democratic than old-fashioned models of up-front payment; in theory, players pay in proportion to their enjoyment, handing over money in small transactions for a continued or deepened relationship with a game they already love, rather than giving a large amount of cash up-front for a game they’ve only ever seen in (possibly doctored) screenshots and videos.
免費遊玩的願景開始逐漸變成一個重要的問題。免費遊玩在這二十年間對遊戲的商業模式有著巨大卻值得討論地的影響力,這種模式極度成功地演化且在市場上開啟了一片藍海。這模式實實在在地成功,並且對玩家能負擔的消費及創意有著清楚的平衡,這在某種角度來看其實是更為公平,比起舊時代單方向訂價的商業模型更加民主;理論上,玩家依照遊戲能帶給他的樂趣而付費,以小額付款的方式來交換更進一步遊戲體驗或對於遊戲的認同感。比起一開始就因為可能被誤導的圖片與影片來付一大筆錢來的合理。

While that is a fair description, I think, of the potential of free-to-play, it’s quite clearly not the image that the business model bears right now. You probably scoffed about half a dozen times reading the above paragraph – it may be a fair description of free-to-play at its hypothetical best, but it’s almost certainly at odds with your perceptions.

我認為,雖然這麼說(指前段的正面內容)對免費遊玩的潛力還蠻公道的,但是現在這個商業模式給人的印象很明顯不是如此。你一面看前段描述時,大概對著它嗤之以鼻了好多次──它可能算得上免費遊玩能達到的最好狀態,但它幾乎與你現實上的認知相衝突。

How, then, might we describe the perception of F2P? Greedy, exploitative, unfair, cheating… Once these adjectives start rolling, it’s hard to get them to stop. The negative view of F2P is that it’s a series of cheap psychological tricks designed to get people to spend money compulsively without ever realising quite how much cash they’re wasting on what is ultimately a very shallow and cynical game experience.
然而我們有另一種評估免費遊玩的角度,貪婪的,剝削的,不公平的,作弊的等等,這些擋不住的評語肯定開始出現。從負面角度來看免費遊玩透過一個廉價的心理學設計方式來驅使玩家豪爽地付出金錢,同時沒注意到自己所購買的是一個非常膚淺且病態遊戲體驗。

“Unfortunately, the negative image that has been built up by free-to-play threatens not just the nasty, exploitative games, but all the perfectly decent ones as well – from billion-grossing phenomena like Puzzle & Dragons to indie wunderkind like Crossy Road"
不幸地,這些對免費遊玩的負面看法不只傷害那些下流的或剝削的遊戲,同時也傷害那些像樣的遊戲,像獲利百億的龍族拼圖或獨立遊戲天天過馬路。

I don’t think it’s entirely unsurprising or unexpected that this perception should be held by “core" gamers or those enamoured of existing styles of game. Although F2P has proven very successful for games like MMOs and MOBAs, it’s by no means universally applicable, either across game types or across audience types; some blundering attempts by publishers to add micro-transactions to premium console and PC titles, combined with deep misgivings over the complete domination of F2P in the mobile game market, have left plenty of more traditional gamers with a very negative and extremely defensive attitude regarding the new business model. That’s fine, though; F2P isn’t for that audience (though it’s a little more complex than that in reality; many players will happily tap away at an F2P mobile game while waiting for matchmaking in a premium console game).
對於核心高端玩家會有這樣的負面看法,我認為那一點也不令人驚訝。儘管在線上多人遊戲或線上對陣遊戲中,免費的方式也被證明很成功,但它當然不是可以適用到所有遊戲類型或玩家群的。但有些發行商在家機與桌機上的產品粗魯地加上遊戲內購,同時加上行動市場上免費遊玩的模式橫掃市場的憂慮,讓傳統的玩家對這樣的新商業模式留下了非常負面且極度保守的看法。這倒還好,畢竟這些遊戲就不是給這些玩家玩得。(當然實務上沒這麼簡單,很多玩家還是很願意在排隊的時候按個幾下免費遊戲)

What’s increasingly clear, however, is that there’s an image problem for F2P right in the midst of the audience at whom it’s actually aimed. The negative perception of F2P is becoming increasingly mainstream. It gets mass-media coverage on occasion; recently, it spurred Apple to create a promotion specifically pointing App Store customers to games with no in-app purchases. I happen to think that’s a great idea personally, but what does it say about the feedback from Apple’s customers regarding F2P games, that promotion of non-F2P titles was even a consideration?
然而很明確地,免費遊戲模式正正在他所瞄準的目標客群中,也有形象上的問題,對免費遊戲的負面態度逐漸變為主流意見。媒體偶爾會大量關注這個現象,甚至促使蘋果公司去舉辦針對無內購遊戲的推廣。我個人當然認為這個是件好事,但是 Apple 竟然會須要去特別推廣非免費遊玩遊戲,這對 Apple 用戶群針對免費遊玩遊戲的反應意味著什麼呢?(顯然他們面臨必須做些甚麼來扭轉局面)

Even some of the most successful F2P developers now seem to want to distance themselves from the business model; this week’s interview with Crossy Road developers Hipster Whale saw the team performing linguistic somersaults to avoid labelling their free-to-play game as being free-to-play. Crossy Road is a brilliant, fun, interesting F2P game that hits pretty much all of the positive notes I laid out up in the first paragraph; that even its own developers seem to view “free-to-play" as an overtly negative phrase is deeply concerning.
很多成功的免費遊戲開發者甚至開始與這種商業模式撇開關係,天天過馬路本周的訪談中,開發者Hipster Whale使用了一個模糊的說法去避開被定位為免費遊戲,但實際上他們是真的免費遊戲。天天過馬路是一個傑出,有趣的免費遊戲,幾乎包含了我一開始提到的各種優點。但他的開發者卻也認為免費遊戲對它們的產品來說是一個負面的修辭。

The problem is that the negativity has a fair basis; there’s a lot of absolute guff out there, with the App Store utterly teeming with F2P games that genuinely are exploitative and unfair; worst of all, the bad games tend to be stupid, mean-spirited and grasping, attempting to suck money out of easily tricked customers (and let’s be blunt here: we’re talking, in no small measure, about kids) rather than undertaking the harder but vastly more rewarding task of actually entertaining and enthralling people until they feel perfectly happy with parting with a little cash to see more, do more or just to deepen their connection to the game.
問題是,這些負面評論有一定程度的根據;App Store 上確實充斥著那些真的非常不公平、剝削的免費遊玩遊戲。最慘是,糟糕的遊戲還往更墮落的方向前進,更加愚蠢,更加無腦及貪婪地想要從輕度顧客口袋中掏錢(就直說是孩童好了),而不是從困難的挑戰中讓玩家付出一點費用來取得回饋,享樂,及精彩內容,讓玩家與遊戲產生連接。

Such awfulness, though, is not universal by any measure. There are tons of good F2P games out there; games that are creative and interesting (albeit often within a template of sorts; F2P was quick to split off into slowly evolving genre-types, though nobody who’s played PC or console games for very long can reasonably criticise that particular development), games that give you weeks or months of enjoyment without ever forcing a penny from your pocket unless you’re actually deeply engaged enough to want to pay up to get something more. Most of F2P’s bone fide hits fit into this category, in fact; games like Supercell’s Clash of Clans or Hay Day, GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragons and, yes, even King’s Candy Crush Saga, which is held aloft unfairly as an example of F2P scurrilousness, yet has never extracted a penny from 70 percent of the people who have finished (finished!) the game. That’s an absolutely enormous amount of shiny candy-matching enjoyment (while I don’t like the game personally, I don’t question that it’s enjoyment for those who play it so devotedly) for free.
這樣糟糕的情況並非一體適用。有很多很優秀的免費遊戲,不僅充滿創意又有趣。即使有種可能性是免費遊戲就是給那些沒玩過桌機與家機的玩家玩,所以他們也無從挑剔起。那些遊戲依然能給予數周到數個月的歡樂,特別還是免費的。除非你真的熱愛這款遊戲願意得到更多的體驗。大部分的免費遊戲都是這樣的框架。事實上Suptercell的Clash of Clans與Hay Day,GungHo的龍族拼圖,King的Candy Crush Saga是免費遊戲的經典模式,但是還是有很多沒花一毛錢的玩家能破關。難怪這糖果配對的免費熱潮無法擋(當然我本身並不喜歡這款遊戲,但我並不質疑它所帶來的樂趣)

Unfortunately, the negative image that has been built up by free-to-play threatens not just the nasty, exploitative games, but all the perfectly decent ones as well – from billion-grossing phenomena like Puzzle & Dragons to indie wunderkind like Crossy Road. If free-to-play as a “brand" becomes irreparably damaged, the consequences may be far-reaching.
不幸地,這些對免費遊玩的負面看法不只傷害那些下流的或剝削的遊戲,同時也傷害那些像樣的遊戲,像獲利百億的龍族拼圖或獨立遊戲天天過馬路。假如免費遊玩這樣的品牌形象的負面印象無法回復,所造成的影響將很深遠。

A year ago, I’d have envisaged that the most dangerous consequence on the horizon was heavy-handed legislation – with the EU, or perhaps the USA, clamping down on F2P mechanisms in a half-understood way that ended up damaging perfectly honest developers along with two-bit scam merchants. I still think that’s possible; companies have ducked and dived around small bits of legislation (or the threat of small bits of legislation) in territories including Japan and the EU, but the hammer could still fall in this regard. However, I no longer consider that the largest threat. No, the largest threat is Apple; the company which did more than any other to establish F2P as a viable market remains the company that could pull the carpet out from underneath it entirely, and while I doubt that’s on the cards right now, the wind is certainly turning in that direction.
一年前,我就已經預見最慘的情形就是在對應重度手持遊戲的立法,在歐盟或美國,由於對免費遊玩機制的一知半解而造成的非黑即白分類會對誠實的開發者造成傷害,同時會造成極端的兩種商業行為。我現在仍認為這結局很有可能降臨;在日本或歐洲有些公司已經開始規避或遊走一些法律地帶(或是逃避被罰款),但終究會有公司會被懲罰。但我認為前者已經並非最嚴重的發展。我所謂最嚴重的發展就是助長免費遊玩遊戲的蘋果, 他們完全有能力來個釜底抽薪(意指完全砍掉 F2P 遊戲),當然我並不認為這個已經迫在眉睫,不過風向確定開始往那方向吹。

Apple’s decision to promote non-F2P titles on its store may simply be an editor’s preference; but given the growing negativity around F2P, it may also be a sign that customer anger over F2P titles on iOS is reaching receptive ears at Apple. Apple originally permitted free apps (with IAP or otherwise) for the simple reason that having a huge library of free software available to customers was a brilliant selling point for the iPhone and iPad. At present, that remains the case; but if the negativity around the perception of F2P games were ever to start to outweigh the positive benefits of all that free software, do not doubt that Apple would reverse course fast enough to make your head spin. Reckon that its 30 percent share of all those Puzzle & Dragons and Candy Crush Saga revenues would be enough to make it think twice? Reckon again; App Store revenue is a drop in the ocean for Apple, and if abusive F2P ever starts to significantly damage the public perception of Apple’s devices, it will ban the model (in part, at least) without a second thought to revenue.
蘋果的決定是推廣非免費遊玩的遊戲,這只是用偏好來推廣;但從對免費遊玩逐漸提升的負面印象來看,這也許只是因為蘋果想要安福客戶對於免費遊戲的怒潮。一開始蘋果允許免費應用程式的原因是希望商城上有一堆免費的函式庫,這樣對產品的銷售有幫助。現在仍是如此;但當對免費遊玩遊戲的負面評價持續提高,超過正面帶來的利潤,我絕不懷疑蘋果會迅速翻臉。龍族拼圖與Candy Crush Saga百分之三十的回收能繼續讓蘋果默不作聲嗎?若進一步看,當商城的回收開始降低,免費遊玩遊戲開始打擊蘋果的名聲時。它鐵定會為了利潤開始清除這種模式(當然只有一部份)

Some of you, those who fully buy into the negative image of F2P, might think that would be a thing to celebrate; ding, dong, the witch is dead! That’s a remarkably short-sighted view, however. In truth, F2P has been the saviour of a huge number of game development jobs and studios that would otherwise have been lost entirely in the implosion of smaller publishers and developers over the past five years; it’s provided a path into the industry for a great many talented creative people, grown the audience for games unimaginably and has provided a boost not only to mobile and casual titles, but to core games as well – especially in territories like East Asia. Wishing harm on F2P is wishing harm on many thousands of industry jobs; so don’t wish F2P harm. Wish that it would be better; that way, everyone wins.
已經認定免費遊戲是負面的那些人,也許會認為這種殺巫的祭典是好事!但其實是短視的看法。事實上,免費遊玩已經拯救了非常大量的遊戲產業員工與工作室,免於在這五年來小型遊戲商的內部塌陷中全軍覆沒。對很多有天份的開發者這已經是一條新闢的道路,不只行動及休閒類,甚至高端遊戲都開展了大量的玩家市場,特別是東亞的區域。希望免費遊戲滅絕就是這些員工得開始改行;所以我們並不希望免費遊戲真的受到傷害,我們是希望它變得更好,這樣才能造成多贏的局面。

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