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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。

    这种趋势与数字化销售形成鲜明的对比。市场研究公司NPD今年8月份宣布,消费者在数字化游戏内容方面的消费总额在今年第二季度达到了14.7亿美元,较去年同期增长了17%。而消费者在新的实物视频游戏和电脑游戏软件方面仅花费了10亿美元。

    但这并不是艺电在这方面拥有的唯一合理解释。艺电销售某款游戏(可能是花费数百万美元开发出来的)的一张实物拷贝时,该公司需要印制光盘、购买包装材料,并且让销售该款游戏的零售商分享其中一部分营收。更糟糕的是,当这些游戏作为二手游戏在二级市场上销售时,艺电从中得不到一毛钱。

    数字化发行模式就解决了这个问题。艺电可以按照较低的成本发行旗下的各种游戏,而不用担心包装游戏实物拷贝所需要的高昂成本,而且还避免了与二手游戏市场相关的所有麻烦。这是一种直接面向消费者的经营模式。而且能够从中获得丰厚的盈利。

    在截至3月31日的上一财年期间,艺电实现了41亿美元的营收,并且获得了7,600万美元相对微薄的利润。数字化经营模式使该公司的营收相比上一财年的36亿美元有显著提升。此外,该公司还提高了利润率,从而帮助其从2011财年亏损2.76亿美元的困境中走了出来。

    在其最近发布财报的那个季度中,艺电在数字化销售的带动下,实现了2.01亿美元的利润。

    尽管最近其一些竞争对手的业绩表现令人失望,但艺电仍然获得了如此抢眼的成功。游戏开发商THQ(THQI)上一财年实现营收8.31亿美元,但巨亏2.43亿美元。Take-Two互动软件公司上一财年实现营8.26亿美元,但亏损1.09亿美元。即便任天堂目前也无法独善其身,面临着困境。

    只有动视暴雪紧跟在艺电的后面——该公司去年实现利润11亿美元。但这是因为该公司发行了世界上最流行的两款游戏系列:《使命召唤》及《魔兽世界》(World of Warcraft)。

    那么,艺电到底哪里做对了——而它的竞争对手却做错了呢?据帕切特分析,答案归结为一个简单的答案:艺电目前正全面接受数字化世界。

    “艺电目前在其各种数字化产品与服务方面获得了很大的进展,在移动游戏、社交游戏及大型多人在线网络游戏方面占据强大的市场份额,”他最近在一份研究报告中如是写道。

    因此,或许艺电现在真的找到了窍门。虽然游戏产业目前正处于衰退之中,但艺电却呈现出增长的趋势。虽然客户已不再关注包装式游戏,但他们正涌向数字化游戏服务平台。而艺电已经做好了准备,而且愿意满足他们的需求。

    翻译:iDo98

    That stands in stark contrast to digital sales. In August, research firm NPD announced that consumer spending on digital gaming content during the second quarter hit $1.47 billion, representing a 17% gain over the same period last year. Consumers spent just $1 billion on new physical video and PC game software.

    But that's not the only justification EA has. When EA sells a physical copy of a game that might cost millions to make, it needs to print discs, acquire packaging, and share a piece of the revenue with retailers selling the title. What's worse, when those games are then sold on the secondary market as used titles, EA doesn't get a dime.

    The digital space fixes that problem. EA can offer its games for less, not worry about the high cost of physical packaging, and escape any troubles with the used-game market. It's a direct-to-consumer model. And it's profitable.

    During its last fiscal year ended March 31, EA generated $4.1 billion in revenue and scored a slight $76 million profit. Digital propped the company's revenue up from the $3.6 billion it generated in the prior fiscal year. It also improved margins to help it emerge from the $276 million loss it posted in 2011.

    During its last-reported quarter, EA, led by digital sales, posted a $201 million profit.

    EA's success has come despite rather disappointing recent performance from competitors. Game maker THQ (THQI) lost a whopping $243 million during its last fiscal year on $831 million in revenue. Take-Two Interactive lost $109 million on $826 million in revenue during the same period. Even Nintendo is having its fair share of troubles.

    Only Activision Blizzard has followed EA's lead -- it posted a profit of $1.1 billion last year. But that's because it offers the two most popular game franchises in the world, Call of Duty and World of WarCraft.

    So, what is EA doing right that its competitors are doing wrong? According to Pachter, it comes down to one, simple answer: EA is fully embracing the digital world.

    "EA is far along with its diverse digital offering, with a strong mobile, social and MMO presence," he wrote recently in a research note.

    So, perhaps EA is on to something. While the industry is on the decline, EA is on the rise. While customers ignore packaged games, they're flocking to digital. And all the while, it's EA that's ready and willing to accommodate them.

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