万兴娱乐对开发者谈:懂得经营是游戏开发环境

 万兴娱乐新闻资讯     |      2018-10-19 02:31

万兴娱乐对开发者谈:懂得经营是游戏开发环境的基本技能属性

作者:万兴娱乐小编

电子游戏是一个创新型的产业,随着各个市场的新产品层出不穷,对“商业”方面深刻理解比以往任何时候都显得更重要。

Jason Della在运营Execution Labs期间,他非常在意来做推广的这些开发者是否具有商业头脑。去年五月,万兴娱乐团队宣布关闭扶持初创游戏公司的投资项目,至此已有19个游戏工作室获得了他们的资金。在每个案例中,核心团队是否拥有一个专注于商业的成员对Execution Labs投资决策至关重要。

“大多数的游戏工作室都是由游戏制作者创立的,这本身不是什么坏事,”万兴平台主管说。“在Execution Labs,我们想看到的是某个核心团队成员是具有商业头脑的,懂得怎么经营一个公司。这是我们的投资要求之一。”

明白如何经营好一个公司似乎是创业者的必备技能,但是从Della Rocca的的经历来看,这个现象在游戏行业并不常见。他表示初创的开发团队通常是由程序员、策划和艺术设计师组成,然后其中的一位技术人员就会成为公司的领导人——在这个职位,你要关注的不仅仅是公司的产品,还有就是公司本身的良好运营。

“有的公司是程序员当CEO,但是程序员专注于游戏编程,不会管公司能不能顺利存活下去,”他说。“事实上,CEO或者是总裁就是要确保公司的顺利、可持续发展,而不是设计游戏的所有关卡。”

“但游戏行业很少出现这样的情况,尤其是处于起步阶段的公司。”你所拥有的就一群没有商务管理背景的程序员和设计师,在筹资、推广方面没有任何经验。这就是为什么我认为游戏开发者在推广能力上总体都很差,在寻求投资的时候也会比较迷茫。他们就是对这方面不了解。”

在很大程度上,这种不知该如何寻找、保障投资来源的陌生感是由某些积极因素所导致的。Della Rocca提到了谦逊、创意专注,以及完成一个项目的决心,这些是许多独立开发者的坚持下去的原因。然而,这些优秀品质也让大部分开发者认为筹资是解决问题的一个有效办法,而不是发展机会。

“很多人都会意识到他们有资金问题,觉得最好的解决办法就是到外面去寻求投资,因为他们缺的就是钱。如何做到这一点,取决于你是想从风投那里获得资金,还是想从出版商那里获得资金。”

Della Rocca表示他遇到过很多不懂这两个选项差别所在的人,他们也不明白自己的项目到底最适合哪种方式。特别是在股权融资方面,如果开发者将融资视为解决问题的一种方式,这种心态是无法让风投投资者满怀信心地开出支票的。

monkey_island._special_edition(from gamebuy)

monkey_island._special_edition(from gamebuy)

Della Rocca说 “事实是股权投资者们根本不会管你缺不缺钱。他们要的是机会。”

“开发者们并不一定会把他们的项目看作是有潜力的东西,可以建立一个庞大的粉丝基础,并且能赚很多钱。他们并没有把项目想成是一个绝佳的投资机会,而是‘上帝啊,我有五个程序员要养,我缺钱啊’这样的。完全不会想到经营公司那一面,还有如何发展等等。”

虽说凡事都免不了例外,但Della Rocca提供了一个可以通用的“经验法则”,让开发者们在寻求资金时有个大致的思考方向。对于付费游戏来说,机会就是产品,最合适的选择就是发行商或Kickstarter这样的平台。你很难凭借任何非基于服务、非在线运营产品来吸引风投投资者。

“服务式的游戏,”Della Rocca详细解释道,“一般就意味着公司会随着时间的推移,也就是随着玩家基数的增长而不断发展。这个机会侧重的是公司本身。”

对于风投投资者来说,付费游戏的“成功曲线”相对于服务式游戏来说过于“无趣”了,后者一年能带来上亿美元的收入。作为一名付费游戏开发人员,资金翻倍可能就是一个理想的结果,相对于投资,能得到三或四倍的回报就是美梦成真了。但这是出版商建立的成功曲线,股权投资者对此不感兴趣。

“如果你要做的事是拿到双倍的资金、获得巨大的成功,让收入达到投入资金的10倍,那就不要去找风投。他们才不在乎10倍不10倍的,”Della Rocca说。“他们不在乎线性式的成功。多数情况并不是由于开发者们无法清楚地表达他们所做的事,而是因为他们没有意识到自己产品的曲线是哪一种,他们不应该去找风投。”

在今年的Nordic游戏大会上,Della Rocca在策划The Games Capital Summit时就牢记了这一点。这个环节是NGC的新增活动,意在解决推广活动中的常会出现的模糊、错误匹配问题,不管是风投还是众筹,不管你的你们是独立游戏团队还是目标为年收入过十亿的初创手游团队。

“你在这里聚集了各种各样的人,”Della Rocca说,这样“大杂烩”的结果就是大家都得不到一个非常满意的结果。“我在来NGC的主要目的就是让大家意识到活动要有针对性,比如聚焦于风投或者股权融资。”

“在Games Capital Summit,我们会在开发者上台做推广之前进行预筛选,不能谁都能上去。提交申请,然后我们会查看你所提供的机会是不是呈现指数增长的,你的产品是不是基于服务的游戏,适不适合股权投资。”

“我的猜测是,我们会收集到大量的材料,就实际提交的内容而言,它们会更侧重于项目融资。比如‘我的游戏很酷,所以我打算提交申请,在那些有钱人面前进行推广’……这就是我们要做预筛选的原因,这样就能选出符合标准的人。”

“并不是说这种做法就一定比另一种好。所有的方法都可行。只是你要确保你能把合适的机会跟合适的资金来源匹配上。”

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Video games are a creative business, and as the industry’s various marketplaces swell with more and more product, a nuanced understanding of the “business” aspect is more important than ever before.

When Jason Della Rocca was running Execution Labs, evidence of business acumen was hugely attractive when listening to developer pitches. The startup accelerator wrapped up in May last year, with all of its funding deployed across 19 studios, and in each case the presence of a business focused person in the core team was vital in the decision to invest.

“The vast majority of game studios are started by game makers, which is not a bad thing in and of itself,” Della Rocca said, when we spoke this week. “But when we were doing Execution Labs, we always wanted to see someone on the core team with some business sense, with some understanding of managing a company. It was one of the requirements of us investing.”

Knowledge of running a company may seem like an essential strength for any new business, but Della Rocca has worked with enough startups to know that it is rare in the games industry. New developers are founded by groups of programmers and designers and artists, he says, and very often it is one of these skilled craftspeople that ends up at the head of the company – a position that is supposed to be focused as much on the health of the business as the product itself.

“It’s the programmer that’s the CEO, and they’re focused on programming the game. They’re not focused on the viability of the company,” he said. “Realistically, the CEO or the president, their role is to ensure the viability and sustainability of the business, and not to design all of the game’s levels.

“But it’s super rare to have that, certainly in early stage game studios. You end up having programmers and artists with no background in business or management, zero experience with fundraising and pitching… That’s why, I think, game developers in general are poor at pitching, and also are kind of lost when it comes to pursuing investors. They just don’t know.”

For the most part, this lack of familiarity with how to find and secure investment comes from a positive place. Della Rocca mentioned the humility, creative focus, and determination to get a project finished that drives so many independent developers. However, these qualities also lead most developers to think about funding as a way of fixing a problem, rather than building on an opportunity.

“A lot of developers realise they have a money problem, and they’d better go out into the world and get some money because they need money. How you do that really depends on whether you’re trying to get that money from VCs, or you’re trying to get that from publishers.”

Time and again in his time in the industry, Della Rocca has encountered a lack of understanding of the difference between these two options, and the kind of projects that are best suited to each. With equity funding, in particular, the mindset that frames funding as a way to fix problems is incompatible with what VC investors need to hear to be confident in writing a cheque.

“Most developers think of funding as fixing their problem,” Della Rocca said. “And the reality is that nobody [equity investors] gives a crap about your lack of money problem. They want opportunities.

“Developers don’t necessarily think about their project as a thing that has the potential to grow, to build a big fanbase, and to make lots of money. They’re not framing it as an amazing opportunity. They’re framing it as, ‘Holy crap, I have five programmers to pay, and I have a money problem.’ Never mind the extra layer of building a business, growing a studio, and so on.”

There are always exceptions, of course, but Della Rocca offered a general “rule of thumb” for all developers to consider when looking for funding. With premium games the opportunity is the product, and “project funding” from sources like a publisher or Kickstarter are the best fit. With equity funding, it will be difficult to tempt a VC investor with anything that isn’t a live, service-based product.

“Games as a service,” Della Rocca elaborated. “Usually that implies a company that will grow over time as all these games accumulate a big audience. The opportunity is more company oriented.”

For a VC investor, the “success curve” of a premium game is simply too linear in a world where games operated as services can bring in hundreds of millions in revenue each year. As a premium developer, doubling your money might be a desirable outcome, and a three- or four-fold return on investment the stuff of dreams. But that is the success curve on which publishers build their businesses, and of little interest to equity investors.

“If what you’re working on is double your money, and a big, amazing success is 10x, don’t go talk to VCs. They don’t care about your 10x,” Della Rocca said. “They don’t care about linear success. It’s often not so much that developers don’t articulate what they’re doing effectively. It’s that they don’t even realise that they’re on the wrong curve, and they should not even be talking to VCs.”

At this year’s Nordic Game Conference, Della Rocca has designed an event format with this contradiction firmly in mind. The Games Capital Summit, a new addition to NGC, will address an issue often found in pitching events, which generally contain an “ambiguous” mismatch of every kind of investment for every kind of project – from VCs to crowdfunding, and from indie passion projects to mobile startups with plans for billion-dollar revenues.

“You have this really strange mix of people in the room,” Della Rocca said, and it’s a mix that results in nobody leaving fully satisfied. “My main point to Nordic Game Conference is that we should focus an event specifically on venture or equity investing.”

“At the Games Capital Summit, we’ll be doing a pre-filter before anyone gets on stage to pitch, It’s not a come one, come all approach. You submit, and we’re going to review to make sure the opportunity your building is an exponential opportunity, its games as a service, it’s suitable for equity investing.

“My guess is that we’ll get a ton of stuff, in terms of the actual submissions, that’s still more focused on project funding. ‘My game is cool, so I’m just going to submit and get in front of those people with money.’… That’s why we’re doing the pre-filter, so we can pick the ones that meet the criteria.

“It’s not to say that one form is better than the other. All of it is valid. You just need to make sure you’re matching the right opportunity to the right source of funds.”