Chinas best game: why cant China make 3A?

 Chinas best game: why cant China make 3A?

On August 3, the exhibition hall of Shanghai New International Expo Center was filled with people on the closing day of the four-day China joy 2020. Picture / visual China

Original title: a good Chinese game

Reporter: Li Mingzi

On August 20, the first official trailer of the domestic game black Myth: Wukong exploded on social media within 24 hours. The 13 minute live demonstration of the video website Bili Bili and microblog quickly exceeded 10 million views. A player commented on the video: I was an assassin in Egypt, and I was a Warcraft man in a different world Now I finally see a glimmer of hope that I can go back to my own country and become a monkey brother. Some netizens said excitedly, buy it up. the game also attracted the attention and recommendation of David Jaffe, the developer of Sonys ares series.

But in fact, there is a long way to go between seeing the top of the mountain and actually climbing it. The original intention of this trailer is to recruit people. Large scale games of the same size in the world generally need hundreds of developers, while the development team of Wukong is only about 30 at present. At present, Wukong is far from complete the development and design of the whole game. According to the prediction of international famous game media IGN, it will be at least three years before the real launch of the game.

The last scene of the trailer of Wukong is fixed in the eight words after the white bone, go back to the west. It can be regarded as an official response to another game work fighting God ten years ago, which was almost closed to God but regretted to leave. Therefore, we have to mention Tencent, the old owner of the game development team.

In August 2003, Tencent began to set foot in the game business. Compared with the old-fashioned agents or companies with self-developed games, Tencent was still in a marginal position at that time. In the next few years, Tencent launched a series of online games starting with QQ, such as QQ fantasy, and issued several popular items such as crossing the line of fire. Tencent, which gradually dominates the domestic game market, needs a good game of its own to correct its name.

However, according to the words of one of the teams main creators, the God of war with high investment became a product with relatively low KPI benefit weight of Tencent games at that time. Feng Ji left in 2014 and established Game Science in Shenzhen (full name of Shenzhen Youke Interactive Technology Co., Ltd). The seven founding members of the team all come from the R & D team of God of war. The plot of God of war suddenly stops after goodbye madam in the third chapter, which leads to the saying that after the white bones, there is no journey to the west.

However, Feng Ji publicly said that he left Tencent because he took a fancy to the mobile game market at that time. One year after the game science was founded, it released its first work hundred generals, which is an action card game, which sets 100 characters of the three kingdoms into combat heroes according to their own characteristics. The game brought the team the first pot of gold, but within a year there was a loss of users. The team began to realize that blindly catering to the market can not make a good game to impress themselves and players.

Two years later, the art of War: red tide, launched by Game Science, swept the recommended list of app stores in 154 countries and regions around the world on its first day of release. Another name can be seen in the publicity materials at that time, hero entertainment. Game Science, which has operated independently for three years, accepted the investment of Tianjin hero Financial Holding Technology Co., Ltd. in 2017. Tianjin hero financial holding is a wholly-owned subsidiary of hero mutual Entertainment Technology Co., Ltd. the shareholders behind hero mutual entertainment include Sequoia Capital, Zhenge fund, Huayi Brothers, etc.

As early as 2016, after the release of baijiangxing, the co-founder of Game Science, Yang Qi, put forward the idea of making stand-alone games. Compared with rowdy online games and mobile games, stand-alone games can provide immersive experience. Players spend dozens or hundreds of hours on a complete adventure in a different world, just like watching a novel or movie.

According to the 2015 China Game Industry Report released by the annual meeting of Chinas game industry, the actual sales revenue of Chinas single player game market in 2015 has reached 140 million yuan, and the single player game has a certain market space. In 2018, in order to have a quiet and independent environment, the game science company let the mobile game team stay in Shenzhen, and moved the stand-alone team to Hangzhou for silent research and development. Until August this year, it bombed the whole network with a trailer.

Wukong has nothing to do with the fighting God in plot, but they are all the story archetypes derived from journey to the West. The reason why the enthusiasm of domestic players ignited instantly is the image quality. David Jaffe, the developer of Sonys God of war series, watched black Myth: Wukong on the Internet after being recommended by netizens. At first, he was not satisfied. When he saw the light effect of wolf demon Ling Xuzis hair, he could not sit still and began to analyze which pictures were rendered in real time. Im going to play this game, and Ill spend a lot of money to upgrade the host computer! Jaffe wrote in a text recommendation when he posted the live video on his personal tubing account on August 21 This game will take the one-time buyout system of the classic stand-alone payment mode, rather than the popular free registration - internal payment form.

What is flying with word-of-mouth is the development cost of the game. Feng Ji revealed that an hour of smooth experience in the game means tens of millions of yuan of research and development cost. However, due to the attraction of external capital, he also said, at least in the short term, there is no problem with capital.. In order to focus on research and development, after the release of the video, Game Science has set up a no admittance, please forgive me sign at the companys gate to refuse to sneak into the work area to watch the game lovers who jump out of the window to watch the game. The companys founder, Feng Ji, said on his micro blog that he will not receive any form of interview and door-to-door visit.

They are small and medium-sized companies. There are quite a lot of such companies in China. And they have some products that are in operation and have a stable source of capital flow. Zhu Jiayin, former executive editor of popular games and founder of mobile game media touch music network, told China News Weekly that if there are relatively successful products, they will indeed be sought after by investors and publishers, and content development is not subject to capital restrictions. Up to now, the Wukong development team has been successful in achieving a balance between ideal and survival. However, more game teams in China are either trapped in the trap of feelings and struggling to survive, or prostrate themselves to the knees of capital and money.

Black Myth: Wukong game screen.

The difficulty of independent games

Fan Pengs game company is one of the unfortunate demises. After more than seven years of struggle, the main game micro war has not yet come to an end. When he graduated from university in 2010, fan Peng made a game effect. This is a horizontal version of MoBa. The kings glory with the same concept was not officially released at that time. In 2012, micro war also won the best technology award of the fourth China independent game Festival. However, from the concept to the object, the workload is hundreds of times of the original idea, not only planning, art and program implementation, but also server stability and many other links, each work is burning money.

MoBa games need funds to constantly improve and polish. Otherwise, the online products are very rough, the player experience is not good, the score is low, and the expectation value will become low. If the flow is imported by the distribution platform in the later stage, it will be a big investment. Now, after the media has refused to invest in the game for several years, it has been changed for the investors to keep their own investment environment.

Fan Pengs other label is the independent gamer. The concept of independent game was originally put forward to distinguish commercial games. Independent game refers to the game with self-expression color, which is controlled by developers themselves and independent of investors Liu Mengfei, a game researcher and lecturer in the digital media system of the school of art and media, Beijing Normal University, defines it. But this kind of freedom is not infinite. When the developers self cant fit in with the ordinary players, this freedom of not compromising to the capital and market will also make the independent game secure.

Independent games are not only about interests, but they are also successful in business because of their innovative playing methods and unique aesthetics. Perhaps the most famous is the Finnish independent game angry birds, which was launched in Apple mall in December 2009 and became one of Apples top 10 paid apps the following year. Rovio, the company that developed the game, was founded in 2003 and had poor revenue. When the first edition of angry birds was developed, there were only four core members, which was the 52nd game they developed.

The biggest impetus of independent games to the whole game industry is that independent games undertake a lot of cutting-edge and exploratory work. Many new playing methods are verified on independent games, and then commercial companies follow up. Liang Tiexin, founder of the China Independent Games League, told China Newsweek.

Wang Miao, an independent game producer, left the game company six years ago in order to break away from the fate of game creativity and compromise with commercial operation. But when she began to play games, she still had to learn to deal with money. She joked that her game was saved by saving money. She chose word decryption adventure game as her first game, which was later called will: a better world (short for will), because of the small amount of art work and less money.

In less than a month, Wang Miaoyi made a sample. A peer review commented that the game is novel and the brain hole is big. The player plays the God of solving humans distress in the game. By disrupting the word order in the pouring letter, Wang Miaoyi changes the trajectory of human destiny and discovers the hidden story.

Soon, Wang Miaoyi set up a team of four people, all of whom were programmers. Three of them were Tsinghua Xueba. The cycle and cost of game research and development exceeded everyones expectations. It took two and a half years. The cost of more than two million yuan was totally paid by team members, which was burned in the game development. No money to do the distribution, Wang Miaoyi runs his own official account of the game, micro-blog, WeChat public number, updates the progress of the game in real time, and has the opportunity to participate in the internationally renowned game show, increasing exposure, accumulating the games reputation, and maintaining her fans community. Liang Tiexin recalled that two years ago, we needed volunteers to organize the weplay game culture exhibition, that is, the game fans found through Wang Miaoyi. It can be seen that the user community relationship is stable.

In June 2017, will was released on the game platform steam, with a price of 60 yuan and a high praise rate of 96%. It can be called the domestic independent game with the highest praise rate. This game finally let the team back to the original, make money, but did not change the fate of the team disbanded. Playing independent games is just like starting a business. Not many people think of financial freedom and time freedom. Trial and error are the norm. The risk of failure is still high. People have different demands. After all, survival is the primary goal. Wang Miaoyi recalled.

In northern Europe and the United States, the history of independent game development is not short. Many post-75s and post-80s game makers have experience in designing independent games. Independent game production takes time. The pace of life in foreign countries is relatively slow, and the welfare system is relatively perfect. It is not easy to starve to death. But if you stop paying wages for two months in Beijing, the rent will force you away. It is very difficult to work without income. Liang Tiexin said that he was also the producer of Chinas big independent game movie. Before the film was released in 2018, it had a name that was closer to the current situation of independent game production in China, called solo.

Due to the high cost of living and high rent in Beijing, many independent game teams have moved out of Beijing. Wang Miaoyi said that the rest of Beijings independent game circle is basically local aborigines, at least Beijing children who dont have to worry about food and housing.

For small teams, the last spring chill in the game industry has come too fast. At the end of 2015, steam, one of the worlds largest comprehensive digital distribution platform, unlocked the login and RMB purchase in China. By the beginning of January 2016, the number of legitimate steam players in China exceeded 6 million, exceeding the number of players in the UK. According to the in-depth analysis report of Anxin securities industry, according to the size of Chinas mobile game market of 81.9 billion yuan in 2016, the mobile terminal independent game market is predicted The space is about 18 billion yuan. . However, the tuyere is transient. On March 29, 2018, the former State Administration of press, publication, radio, film and television (SARFT) issued the notice on important matters concerning the approval of game application, saying that due to institutional reform, the issuance of all game version numbers was suspended. It was not until December 29, 2018 that the release of version number was restored. In addition, many gold owners withdrew from the game industry in the cold winter of that year, which also brought a great deal of damage to the game. According to CCTV, in 2018 alone, 9705 game companies were cancelled or revoked nationwide. However, according to the enterprise survey data, from 2015 to 2019, there are about 9247 newly established game companies in China, and about 18710 game companies have been cancelled or revoked.

The final of the 2020 Kings glory World Championship Cup was held in Beijing. Picture / visual China

As a post-85s, Wang Miaoyi witnessed the golden age of Chinese video games. One of the happiest things in her high school life was shopping for games from street vendors, from hero messenger, Lehman to fairy sword series, as well as the domestic game a cat and a dog which still thinks the concept is ahead of time. Therefore, after she was admitted to Tsinghua University, she did not hesitate to choose software college and double major After graduation, she worked as a program architect in a game company for two years. Making games was her dream.

In the 1990s, well-known game paper media, such as electronic game software, home computers and games, game base, came into being and took on the role of industry supervision to some extent. In 1997, a domestic strategy game named blood lion came out, which was comparable to command and Conquer: Red Alert. However, due to its shoddy style and loopholes, it was scolded as the shame of domestic games by a large number of game paper media. However, with the game losing in the Internet addiction war and the decline of paper media, the old-fashioned game media also fell by more than half around 2015.

Krypton gold online game has changed the pattern of the game industry. The so-called krypton gold is to recharge the game. For a long time, the charging mode of domestic online games is to buy a point card, which can be exchanged for a period of game time, just like buying an IC card by phone. In this mode, the level of players is directly linked to the duration of the game. Players with money and no time have given birth to agent training companies and equipment trading. Shi Yuzhu, chairman of giant network, once spent more than 50000 yuan to buy a yes Account number of top equipment.

This experience let Shi Yuzhu see the business opportunity of free game. Rich players will not care about the cost of buying equipment, and players who have no money and time will not miss the gimmick of playing games for free. Business magazine once wrote an article to conclude that the essence of free games is to let the people who have no money play for free, let the rich play happily, and make money for the rich. Therefore, we can even raise 100 people to play with one person. In 2006, giant network produced online game journey, which is one of the earliest free download built-in paid games in China.

Usually, there is a marked price in the game mall. Occasionally, limited time purchase and limited level purchase are introduced to stimulate players consumption. At present, the most controversial form of payment is draw card. A prop that normally sells for hundreds of yuan can be obtained by drawing card. Each time the card is drawn, it only costs one or two yuan, which is easy for players to accept, but the winning probability is only 1% or even lower. In some games, players will get small equipment to taste the sweetness, and then spend a lot of money for more rare resources. The specific methods are various, such as Collect 10 cards in exchange for a set of skin, and there are always a few cards more difficult to draw than winning the lottery.

Some heavy krypton gold games will specially open an online game server for individual whale class players with strong financial strength. The game circle divides paying players into three levels according to the level of investment, namely, fish level, dolphin level and whale level. Even if whale players account for only 10% of the total number of players, they can cover the cost of the entire game server. It is very common for them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the game. If there are several such servers, you cant worry about losing money. According to a game producer, some online card krypton gold games, offline may be gambling, the industry is very deep, very complex. In order to ensure the activity of whale players, some game companies will send undercover agents to play big man in the game to challenge and stimulate whale players to continue krypton gold in order to maintain their status in the game.

Liu Mengfei analyzed that the game of excessive krypton gold is very difficult for new players to start, and will also be abandoned by the market. Most of the built-in paid mobile games will be designed very skillfully. The games plot, character setting and combat system are the vassals of the payment system, which is to attract players into the game, and then create inconvenience as much as possible, and finally guide players to eliminate such inconvenience or pain through consumption u3002

Determined by the payment mode, most of the games with built-in payment are mobile games, while the games that can bring in-depth experience are more on the console, including handheld games and home computer games. Because the threshold for investment in the early stage of host games is higher than that of free games, it is necessary to purchase equipment and games in advance, which will screen out most speculative players. Surprisingly, many players with tens of thousands of krypton gold in mobile games will feel that it is expensive to spend dozens of yuan to buy a game.

Most of Chinas profitable game companies are also making paid mobile games, mainly because of the profit prospects of mobile games, which is also caused by the big environment of the game industry. Tian Feng, deputy director of the youth and Social Issues Research Office of the Institute of sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, analyzed and said. Chinas game ranking is a paid recommendation system. Whoever pays more will be ranked higher. Every link is pursuing profits, and the quality of the game is gradually ignored or even sacrificed.

On the other hand, for large-scale game distribution enterprises, it is nothing to sign hundreds of thousands of yuan for a certain game team. If the distribution agent has ten games at the same time, as long as one or two of them are profitable enough to cover the whole cost, the publisher will continue to promote these two popular games and give up the publicity of other games. For the game, no publicity, no exposure, no users and no revenue.

The main players who master the whole game industry are not developers, but distributors and channel providers. They know what platform the game is launched on and where it is on the list. Liu Mengfei said. Fan Peng said that every player who is diverted into the game is actually sold to game developers by channel vendors. The main cost of the later operation stage of the game is promotion and guidance.

The industry is breaking through. In April 2016, taptap, the interactive community of gamers known as Chinese version steam, released android app, which is a service platform integrating hand travel distribution and distribution, community and media. Parent company Heart Network Co., Ltd. has promised CEO Huang Yimeng that the platform is not intermodal and not divided, and only provides official channels and routes for downloading and purchasing major games around the world.

We hope that more developers will stand with us and bring more new users to developers. This is our long-term goal. On March 30 this year, Xinxin officially released its first annual financial report since it was listed in Hong Kong in December last year. In 2019, the number of registered developers on taptap increased from 7662 in 2018 to 11006. In the subsequent financial report conference call, Huang Yimeng said that taptap could not be divided into 100% when other channels were to share 30% or even 50% of their income.

Domestic excellent game works have been in short supply, there are their own reasons, but also external environmental factors. I wish you good news. The number of game versions approved in 2019 is less than 1 / 5 of that in 2017. A game producer who has been engaged in game development for 11 years said in an interview with China Newsweek that there were peers who had failed to apply for the version number for two years, and were finally told that they would not be accepted again.

According to industry insiders, in 2019, about 80% of the version numbers are given to paid mobile games, and many of the internationally awarded games have been taken off the shelves because of no edition number, which can be described as survival in the desert. Designing, investing, and publishing, with large investment and long cycle in the early stage of the game, small game companies are basically tarnished unless they are supported by large game companies or incubated internally. Tian Feng said to China News Weekly.

The most important thing about the game is to have fun

The birth of a 3A game requires the game company to spend time and hire professional teams to polish the details of the story, establish a good world outlook and artistic beauty, as well as the patience of investors and distributors. Finally, they will move the picky players to pay high prices to achieve win-win. However, there is no such mature game environment in China. According to public reports, the most expensive video game at present is Grand Theft Auto 5, which has been developed for five years at a cost of $266 million. However, sales on the first day of its launch in 2013 reached $800 million.

Feng Ji, the founder of game science company, does not repel or like the word 3A game. However, he believes that it is dangerous to be keen on talking about 3a. This kind of enthusiasm is easy to confuse the level of industrialization of the game and the quality of the game, and regard the means as an end. The most important thing about the game is to have fun, Feng Ji wrote on Zhihu trumpet

What is a good game? At least the harvest is greater than the effort. Chen Jiang, a professor at Peking Universitys School of information science and technology, said that his public elective course general theory of video games was very popular. Players pay money, time, and other things that could have been completed in this period of time. If the audio-visual enjoyment of personal gain and other things are greater than the payment, it is a good game.

Wang Miaoyi accidentally received a thank-you email from a British player last year. Just like the God who can solve human troubles in the game, the game will also helps the male player to stop suicide. He experienced abuse and bullying in his childhood. In his most depressed period of adulthood, he accidentally obtained a 15 pound e-ticket. He just bought this game, which is his favorite puzzle solving type. By changing the life trajectory of the characters in the game, he also changed The attitude to their own life.

It has been more than three years since the dissolution of Wang Miaoyis start-up team. After the original rented office was emptied, she moved the important objects back home, working alone in the study and living room, and continued to do the follow-up maintenance of will. At the suggestion of a Portuguese player, they are translating and proofreading the Portuguese version of will. Recently, she is trying to develop a new decryption + plot game. We all say that Chinese Games will get better and better. Someone has to do it, right? Wang Miaoyi said.

Liang Tiexin has a more well-known online name in the game circle play hard to play Saburo. In 2008, he created a website called play hard to play games. He recommended three small games every day. By 2013, he had personally recommended and tried more than 5000 games. He found an interesting phenomenon: Game teams all over China have obvious regional characteristics. Shenzhens game business elements are relatively complete and easy to sell, such as the knight of vitality; Shanghais independent games are highly artistic, such as Mr. pumpkins adventure; game makers in Beijing usually do things in a more organized way, and know the audience and the corresponding game type Market, and the promotion strategies needed, such as Wang Miaoyis will.

Game developer Li Yuanyang once played an anti war game brave heart: Great War. This small game produced by Ubisoft, a French game company, uses humorous plots to contrast the cruelty of war everywhere. The player also gives this game a name of what can save you my father-in-law. The final theme is serious, just like one of the protagonists wrote in the will War makes people crazy.

When the companys revenue is stable, I want to play this game too. Li Yuanyang said. His team is currently developing two new games, roguelike, a subclass of the popular role-playing class (RPG). Its main feature is that new scenes are generated randomly at the beginning of the game, while the characters have only one life. Roguelikes game concept originated in the 1970s and has been tested by the market for a long time. Weve spent our time paying our tuition fees. Were not going to be as ambitious as we used to be. What I need to think about now is how to keep the company alive and gradually do better. Li Yuanyang said.

Wukong trailer in the real demonstration of the checkpoint is called Heifeng mountain, as Feng Ji said in the afternoon of the release of the trailer, Heifeng mountain is the 11th difficulty on the way to learn classics, and there are 70 difficulties behind. In order to spread the same quality content in the preview over a dozen levels and dozens of hours of Wukong, the game science team has to overcome many difficulties.

Source: Zhang Zutao, editor in charge of China Newsweek_ NT5054