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商业 - 科技

视频游戏公司盯上东南亚市场增长潜力

John Gaudiosi 2015年02月12日

在分享了中国视频游戏市场迅速增长的果实之后,如饥似渴的电游出版商正在将目光投向印尼、马来西亚、菲律宾、新加坡、泰国和越南这些东南亚市场。

    2013年5月,中国太原的学生在网吧打游戏。

    对于视频游戏出版商来说,中国已经发展成为一个规模巨大的市场。在中国政府解除长达14年的游戏机禁令(据说主要是担心暴力游戏对青少年造成伤害)之后,中国玩家又可以玩游戏机了。市场研究公司Niko Partners表示,这个市场2013年的市值是120亿美元,2018年将翻一番,达到234亿美元。

    这项禁令将游戏巨头任天堂、索尼和微软长期隔离在中国市场之外。禁令解除后,这些公司开始长驱直入。今年1月,索尼电脑娱乐公司(请不要和前索尼在线娱乐公司混淆)携手70家致力于为中国玩家开发游戏的出版商,推出了PlayStation 4游戏机和手持PS Vita。专门为中国市场推出的游戏包括《武术之王》(苏州蜗牛公司)、《南瓜先生大冒险》(上海友聚公司)和《啪啪英雄》(上海基纳公司),这些都是中国本土开发商的力作。

    Niko Partners公司表示,中国市场的迅猛增长意味着游戏出版商的下一个重大机遇是东南亚其他国家。今年,印度尼西亚、马来西亚、菲律宾、新加坡、泰国和越南的网络游戏销售额有望达到7.844亿美元,手游销售额预计将达到2.31亿美元——和潜力巨大,不断递增的中国市场相比,这个数字的确微不足道。

    Niko Partners公司主理合伙人丽萨•汉森表示:“人们常常将东南亚游戏市场与中国市场放在一起作比较,可以看出,前者其实比后者落后好几年。东南亚玩家很喜欢在线战斗类游戏、射击类游戏和手游,中国玩家也一样。但是,年龄稍长的中国玩家还喜欢能产生更多收入的大型多人在线角色扮演游戏(MMORPG),这是很多东南亚玩家不太接触的领域。所以,开发商的挑战在于如何推动东南亚玩家在他们热衷的游戏上多花钱。”

    对于游戏出版商来说,印度尼西亚、泰国和越南已经成为三个最重要的收入来源国,但推动或阻碍增长的因素却各有不同。Niko公司预计,未来五年间,印度尼西亚的游戏收入增速最快,越南在线玩家的人数增长最快。如今东南亚的手游玩家(1.19亿人)比PC端在线玩家(9700万人)更多,但有相当部分是重叠的。汉森称:“只要收费合理,美国手游和PC端游戏都能在东南亚地区大获成功。这一地区很多人都能说英语,除越南外,东南亚这些国家的内容监管环境还是相当可控的。”

    汉森称,尽管中国手游收入增幅开始放缓,东南亚地区的手游市场却在过去两年急速增长。不过她表示,中国市场的年均增幅仍很惊人。未来五年间中国手游销售预计每年增长37%,东南亚地区的手游销售同期增幅略低,每年约为34%。但就新手游玩家人数而言,增速更快的却是东南亚地区:从目前到2018年,东南亚新手游玩家人数每年将增长25%,而中国的增速则为22%。

    东南亚国家也没有中国那么多条条框框。开发商可以更容易通过苹果应用商店或谷歌市场接触东南亚玩家。而中国玩家根本无法进入谷歌市场,国内的安卓游戏市场超过500个(尽管绝大多数收入都集中在20家手中)。汉森称:“在韩国和中国,微信和KakaoTalk等手机聊天应用为手游推广提供了一个绝佳的新渠道。在东南亚地区,这些工具才刚刚对手游的推广产生影响,我们认为这方面的增长空间还很大。”

    从规模看,中国在线PC玩家已超过2.4亿,大约相当于美国总人口的78%。东南亚在线PC玩家有9700万人。随着住宅宽带的普及,这两个市场都正在远离一度风靡的网吧游戏,转向家庭游戏。

    唯一的例外是什么?那就是“多人联机在线竞技游戏”(MOBA),以及《英雄联盟》或《魔兽争霸2》这类竞技性游戏。汉森称:“正如韩国、台湾和中国曾经历的那样,竞技性游戏现在也是东南亚市场增长的驱动因素。现在每年都会举办很多锦标赛,普通玩家对职业玩家崇拜得五体投地。在这些国家,没有‘好莱坞’来打造影视巨星,于是职业玩家就有更多机会成为大众英雄。随后,那些对他们顶礼膜拜的年轻玩家,也会努力增长技艺,力争成为像他们那样的人物。”

    但只有说服东南亚玩家打开钱包,这幕大戏才会开场。汉森称:“这个市场的消费并不高,所以开发者的挑战是如何才能让这些玩家每个月为自己钟爱的游戏多花点钱。”(财富中文网)

    译者:清远

    审校:任文科

    China has grown into an enormous market for video game publishers. A market worth about $12 billion in 2013 will double to $23.4 billion by 2018, according to Niko Partners, as Chinese gamers are formally reintroduced to console games after a 14-year ban by the government. (Why? Concerns about the harmful effects of violent games on youth. Paging: Tipper Gore.)

    The lengthy ban kept gaming giants Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft at bay. Now that it’s been lifted, they’re diving in. Sony Computer Entertainment (not to be confused with the former Sony Online Entertainment) launched its PlayStation 4 console and hand-held PS Vita in January with 70 publishers committed to working on games for China. Titles exclusive to the country include King of Wushu (Suzhou Snail), Mr. Pumpkin Adventure (Shanghai Youju) and One Tap Hero (Shanghai Kena). All were created by Chinese game developers.

    The momentum in China means the next big opportunity for game publishers is the rest of Southeast Asia, according to Niko Partners. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected to generate $784.4 million this year in online game sales and $231 million in mobile game sales—a paltry sum compared to China’s potential, but incremental growth fueled by that country.

    “The Southeast Asian games market is often compared to that of China, and we can see that it is following behind China by a few years,” says Lisa Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. “Gamers in Southeast Asia embrace massively online battle arena games, shooters, and mobile games just as they do in China. However, older Chinese gamers still embrace higher revenue generating MMORPGs [massively multiplayer online role-playing games], a segment that many Southeast Asian gamers shy away from. Therefore, the challenge to developers is to compel an increase in the level of spending on the type of games for which Southeast Asians have shown enthusiasm.”

    Within the region, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have become the three most important countries for games revenue, yet each has its own drivers and inhibitors for growth. Niko forecasts that, over the next five years, Indonesia will see the fastest growth in revenue and Vietnam will see the fastest growth in the number of online gamers. Today, there are more mobile gamers (at 119 million) than PC online gamers (97 million) in Southeast Asia, with considerable overlap.

    “U.S. mobile and PC games have a good chance of success in Southeast Asia, as long as the game economics are affordable,” Hanson says. “Many people speak English, and with the exception of Vietnam, the content regulatory landscape in the countries of Southeast Asia is quite manageable.”

    Mobile gaming has grown sharply over the past two years in the region, Hanson says, as revenue growth in China for mobile gaming has begun to slow. Still, the annual increase in China is impressive, she says. Mobile game sales in China are expected to grow 37% each year for the next five years; mobile game sales in Southeast Asia are expected to grow slightly slower during the same period, at 34% each year. Measure by the number of new mobile gamers and the lead swaps: Southeast Asia will see 25% growth each year through 2018, compared to China’s 22%.

    Southeast Asia also lacks some hurdles present in China. Developers can access Southeast Asian gamers more easily through Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play marketplace. In China, Google Play is nonexistent and there are more than 500 app markets for Android games (though the majority of revenue is consolidated among 20). “In Korea and China, mobile chat apps such as WeChat and KakaoTalk have provided a great new channel for distribution of mobile games with a social twist,” Hanson says. “In Southeast Asia these tools have just begun to make an impact on mobile games distribution, and we think there is room for growth as a result of that.”

    For a sense of scale, China has more than 24 million online PC gamers—about 78% of the total population of the United States. Southeast Asia has 97 million online PC gamers. Both markets are moving away from gaming in Internet cafés, which is popular, and toward gaming at home as residential broadband connectivity spreads.

    The one exception? Multiplayer online battle arena games, or MOBAs, and other competitive games such as League of Legends or Dota 2. “Competitive gaming is a growth driver in Southeast Asia, as it has been in Korea, Taiwan and China,” Hanson said. “There are many tournaments every year, and everyday gamers are fascinated with the professional gamers. In the absence of a ‘Hollywood’ to build movie and TV star personas, professional gamers are given more opportunity to become cult heroes in these countries, which then leads the younger gamers to idolize them and want to play to become like them.”

    But it all starts by convincing Southeast Asian gamers to open their wallets as they never have before. “It’s not a very high-spending market,” Hanson says, “so the challenge to developers is to get the gamers to spend more per month on the games that they embrace.”

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