立即打开
美国艺电一枝独秀的秘诀

美国艺电一枝独秀的秘诀

Don Reisinger 2012年09月18日
传统的视频游戏行业一片低迷。但这个行业的领头羊美国艺电却风景独好。尽管它目前仍然是一家传统的游戏开发商,但却已经找到了一个不断发展壮大的新的经营模式:数字化经营。
    
艺电开发的《模拟人生社交版》游戏(The Sims Social)

    自游戏产业发展初期以来,美国艺电(Electronic Arts,EA)已经把自己打造成为数不多的“主流”视频游戏发行商之一。该公司与《使命召唤》(Call of Duty)开发商动视暴雪(Activision Blizzard,ATVI)及《侠盗车手》(Grand Theft Auto)开发商Take-Two互动软件公司(Take-Two Interactive,TTWO)一起,在大量视频游戏公司中占据了市场的领先地位。一方面,喜欢它们游戏的玩家对它们死心塌地,但另一方面,所谓“铁杆”玩家阵营的许多人却对它们不屑一顾。这些铁杆玩家对这些公司庞大而沉闷的经营模式持怀疑态度。

    但艺电正缓慢而稳步地变得与以前不同了。它目前仍然是一家传统的游戏开发商——为各类台式游戏机及便携式游戏机推出各种游戏,但该公司已经找到了一个不断发展壮大的新的经营模式,那就是数字化经营。

    艺电游戏品牌总裁弗兰克•吉比奥7月份在接受游戏新闻网站GamesIndustry.biz的采访时表示,该公司将成为一家完全数字化的游戏供应商,而实现这个目标只是一个时间问题。

    “我们将成为100%数字化的游戏公司,就是这样,”吉比奥在采访时告诉GamesIndustry.biz说。“我们终有一天会达到这个目标,这是不可避免的。”

    这不仅是不可避免的,而且并不遥远。吉比奥在7月份发布的一份盈利声明中宣布,在截至6月30日的12个月期间,艺电在数字化业务方面获得了超过13亿美元的营收。该公司2012年第一财季实现的9.55亿美元营收中,有三分之二来自数字化业务。

    艺电在扩展数字化业务方面所做的努力跨越多个领域。该公司为游戏机游戏【比如其劲爆美式橄榄球系列(Madden NFL)游戏】提供数字化虚拟商品及附加商品。此外,艺电还提供y一个称为“Origin”的数字游戏下载服务平台,使消费者能够在互联网上直接购买、下载各款游戏。

    然而,事实证明,该公司的免费增值型(free-to-play)游戏最为成功。

    在7月份的财报电话会议期间,吉比奥报告称,该公司在社交网站、个人电脑(PC)、台式游戏机及移动设备等平台上运营的免费增值型游戏是其“增长最快的经营模式。”事实上,该季度艺电免费增值型游戏的营收与去年同期相比劲增了156%。

    免费增值模式在游戏行业已成为一个热门的趋势。就艺电的情况而言,免费增值型游戏的玩家们在不需要支付任何费用的情况下,可以玩一款游戏的大部分内容(有时甚至包括全部内容)。如果他们想增加更多游戏级数,获得更多游戏中的武器或物品,或者希望进行其他种类的玩法时,他们只需支付一笔象征性的费用就可如愿,结果如何呢?艺电的预收营收减少了,但有机会可以长期获得更多的现金。

    《模拟人生社交版》游戏(The Sims Social)或许是这方面最好的实例。据艺电透露,这款免费游戏每天有300万活跃用户,而且自去年夏季推出以来已获得了5,000万美元的营收。

    那么,像艺电这样多年来一直高度依赖于封装式视频游戏销售的一家游戏公司为什么可以这么勇敢地闯入一个新的领域呢?正如Wedbush证券公司分析师迈克尔•帕切特最近在给投资者撰写的一份研究报告中所指出的那样,一切要归结于不断变化的市场趋势。“视频游戏产业继续遭受不利影响,封装式游戏销售在过去41个月内有35个月出现下滑,而且预计在8月份会再次出现下滑,”帕切特如是写道。

    Since the early days of gaming, Electronic Arts (EA) has established itself as one of the few "major" video game publishers. The company sits alongside Call of Duty creator Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) at the top of the video game heap. Those companies are at once beloved by gamers who enjoy their titles and despised by many in the so-called "hardcore" segment of players that distrust their big, brooding business models.

    But EA is slowly but surely becoming, well, different. It's still a traditional game maker that pushes out titles for consoles and portables, but it has found a way to take advantage of a new, growing business model: digital.

    Speaking in July with game news site GamesIndustry.biz, EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said that it's only a matter of time before the company becomes a fully digital game provider.

    "We're going to be a 100% digital company, period," Gibeau told GamesIndustry.biz in the interview. "It's going to be there someday. It's inevitable."

    Not only is it inevitable, but it's not that far off. In an earnings statement in July, Gibeau announced that EA generated over $1.3 billion in digital revenue during the 12-month period ended June 30. During the company's first fiscal quarter, two-thirds of its $955 million in sales were in digital.

    EA's digital efforts span several areas. The company offers digital goods and add-ons for console titles, like its Madden NFL franchise. It also offers a digital-game delivery service, called Origin, that allows consumers to buy titles directly over the web.

    The company's free-to-play games, however, have proven most successful.

    During an earnings call in July, Gibeau reported that his company's free-to-play games, which run on social networks, PCs, consoles, and mobile devices, represent its "fastest-growing business model." Revenues during the quarter on free-to-play games, in fact, were up 156% year-over-year.

    Free-to-play has become a hot trend in the gaming industry. In EA's case, free-to-play gamers are allowed to work their way through a large chunk (if not all) of a game at no charge. If they want to add more levels, get more in-game weapons or goods, or want to engage in other kinds of play, they need to pay a nominal fee to do so. The result? Less upfront revenue, but an opportunity to generate more cash over the long term.

    The Sims Social is perhaps the best example of that. According to EA, the free game has 3 million daily active users and has generated $50 million in revenue since its launch last summer.

    So, why might a company like EA, which has relied so heavily on packaged video game sales over the years, jump so bravely into a new world? As Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter pointed out in a note to investors recently, it comes down to changing market trends.

    "The video game industry continues to suffer, with packaged goods sales declining in 35 of the last 41 months, and expected to have declined again in August," Pachter wrote.

  • 热读文章
  • 热门视频
活动
扫码打开财富Plus App