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芬兰从游戏行业初创资本到移动领域重量级企业的转型!|出海芬兰游戏岛群第1期

2019-08-28 20:53:15

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在西方游戏行业,芬兰或许是最能从蓬勃发展的移动领域获益的国家。

 

在应用程序商店的最初几年,芬兰——尤其是赫尔辛基——成了众多大牌初创企业的发源地。

 

在一个名为《Gunshine》的跨平台MMORPG失败后,这个国家的超级巨星Supercell将继续创造价值数十亿美元的热门游戏《卡通农场》、《Clash of Clash》、《海岛奇兵》和《部落冲突:皇室战争》。

 

但这并不是唯一的游戏。《登山赛车》开发公司 Fingersoft已经成长为一个非常成功的工作室和出版商(通过Round Zero)。2018年,它的销售额同比增长65%,达到6900万美元,Next Games从《行尸走肉:无主之地》获得成功,Futureplay出名的休闲游戏是最近《战地大逃杀》。

 

不要忘记像Rovio这样的公司——由于《愤怒的小鸟2》的成功,Rovio已经转型为一个免费游戏公司。

 

补救娱乐公司的团队也早已将自己定位为故事驱动冒险的专家,而Housemarque已经开发了许多热门的街机游戏,Colossal Order公司也在继续致力于成功的《城市:天际线》。

 

大型出版商也在中国设立了办事处,育碧RedLynx、赫尔辛基Wargaming、EA track20以及Zynga在赫尔辛基的工作室FarmVille 3都在中国设立了办事处(更不用说这家出版商收购了小大型游戏)。

 

然后还有Critical Force公司、Dodreams公司、Cornfox & Brothers公司、Bugbear Entertainment公司、Frozenbyte公司、Frogmind公司、Kopla Games公司、Kukouri Mobile Entertainment公司、MotionVolt Games公司、Nitro Games公司等等。

 

收入下降

 

2018年,芬兰游戏产业创造了约21亿欧元的收入。尽管这一数字令人印象深刻,但与2016年的25亿欧元相比,实际上已经有所下降。

 

“2015年,Supercell在总营业额中占据了88%,而在2018年,这一比例降至65%——仍占芬兰游戏市场的三分之二。”

 

行业协会Neogames在关于芬兰游戏行业状况的报告中表示,尽管销量下滑,但该国游戏行业对Supercell的依赖程度正在降低。

 

2015年,该工作室在总营业额中所占份额高达88%,而在2018年,这一比例降至65%——在芬兰游戏市场仍占三分之二的份额。

 

去年,Kuuhubb首席策略师Tero Kuittinen表示,销量下滑是芬兰手机游戏行业出现问题的一个迹象——这已成为手机游戏行业停滞的一个象征。他强调了《精灵宝可梦Go》(Pokemon Go)和《堡垒之夜》(Fortnite)的成功,它们提供了全新的体验。

 

可以说,最近有几家工作室陷入了困境,包括Next Games,《行尸走肉:我们的世界》(The Walking Dead: Our World)的发行遭遇了困难:Grand Cru在尝试了《Supernauts》和《Battlejack》之后不得不再次寻找新方向,Armada Interactive则在去年取消了首款策略游戏《量子围攻》(Quantum Siege)。

 

但有很多迹象表明,芬兰游戏产业正在复苏——而不是在特别艰难的时期下滑。

 

2018年12月《荒野乱斗》(Brawl Stars)的成功发行(截至2019年6月,该游戏预计已迅速创造了2.75亿美元的收入),再加上《部落冲突》本季挑战的成功实施,可能有助于再次推动Supercell的销售。不过这将取决于它的其他游戏的表现。

 

接下来是新的重量级Small Giant Games。2018年12月,Zynga以5.6亿美元的预付款收购了这家公司,根据未来的盈利能力,剩余20%的公司股份将在未来3年内获得盈利。工作室最初在《Oddwings Escape》中遭遇惨败,但就像芬兰游戏产业一样,他们凭借《game -three RPG empire & puzzle》获得了巨大的成功。

 

“Small Giant Games公司的《Oddwings Escape》一开始失败了,但随着《game -three RPG  RPG Empires & Puzzles》的回归,它又获得了巨大的成功。”

 

Zynga在赫尔辛基的另一个工作室也在开发软启动的《FarmVille 3 - Animals》。现在就断言它是否会在全球发行还为时过早,但知识产权的大规模回归可能会证明芬兰的另一个成功故事。

 

Rovio 2019年上半年收入增长7.8%,尽管这掩盖了第二季度下降3%的事实。尽管《愤怒的小鸟梦幻爆破》总预订量为1400万欧元,使其成为Rovio的第二大游戏,但其旗舰游戏《愤怒的小鸟2》第二季度的同比预订量从去年同期的2970万欧元下降至2650万欧元。

 

Povio指责UA在游戏中的投资“低得多”。不过,该公司刚刚发布了《愤怒的小鸟2》——这对该公司来说可能是一个巨大的利好。

 

成熟的行业

 

从上面提到的许多工作室中,您可能已经注意到一个事实,这些都不是令人兴奋的新初创公司。

 

新公司仍在芬兰寻找投资机会——以Shipyard Games为例,Supercell是其支持者之一——但芬兰已不再是过去那种令人兴奋的初创企业的温床。尽管2017年至2018年新工作室的数量有所增加(48家),而2015年至2016年只有45家。

 

相反,就像手机游戏产业一样,芬兰的游戏产业已经成熟。工作室的数量从2016年的250家减少到2018年的220家,但与此同时,该行业从业人员的数量增长了16%,达到3200人。

 

由于这些工作室专注于现场运营并耐心等待新游戏的发行,2018年本土公司只发行了100款新游戏,而之前平均每年发行150至200款游戏。

 

2018年,收入超过5000万欧元的公司数量比2016年增加了一倍,达到4家,而收入超过1000万欧元的新开发商数量从7家增至11家,收入超过100万欧元的公司数量从30家增至34家。

 

“它不再是西方游戏产业的初创资本,但有才华的芬兰人已经能够将其中的一些故事变成巨大的成功故事。”

 

近年来出现了一系列并购活动——腾讯收购Supercell, Wargaming收购Boomlagoon, Zynga收购Small Giant, Supercell收购Badland 、Rumble Stars和Frogmind开发商51%的股权。

 

一些公司也已经上市——Rovio、Next Games、Remedy Entertainment和Nitro Games(后者在瑞典)。其中,Next Games、Nitro Games和Rovio都遭遇了挫折,不过Rovio自今年初以来已经开始反弹。

 

补救措施越来越强,最近达到每股10.65欧元的高点。此前,该公司2019年上半年收入增长49.6%,至1379.9万欧元,营业利润增长10.6%,至146.1万欧元。

 

随着有关首次公开发行(ipo)、大型并购以及芬兰拥有越来越多中型工作室的讨论,芬兰游戏产业在过去几年确实发生了转变。它已不再是西方游戏产业的初创资本,但才华横溢的芬兰人已经能够将其中的一些故事变成巨大的成功故事。

 

英文:

Finland's transformation from games start-up capital to mobile heavyweight

 

In the Western games industry, the country that has perhaps capitalised most on the booming mobile space is Finland.

 

In the early years of the app stores, the country - and in particular Helsinki, though not exclusively - was home to an array of big-name start-ups.

 

The country’s superstar Supercell would, after a failed cross-platform MMORPG named Gunshine, go on to churn out billion-dollar hits Hay Day, Clash of Clash, Boom Beach and Clash Royale.

 

It wasn’t the only game in town though. Hill Climb Racing dev Fingersoft has since grown into a highly successful studio and publishing label (through Round Zero), Seriously sales grew 65 per cent year-on-year in 2018 to $69m, Next Games found success from The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, and Futureplay has made a name for itself with its idle games and most recently Battlelands Royale.

 

That’s not to forget the likes of Rovio - which has transformed itself into a free-to-play business thanks to the success of Angry Birds 2.

 

The team at Remedy Entertainment too have long established themselves as experts in story-driven adventures, while Housemarque has developed a number of hit arcade titles and Colossal Order continues to work on the successful Cities: Skylines.

 

Big publishers have set up shop in the country too, with Ubisoft RedLynx, Wargaming Helsinki, EA Tracktwenty and Zynga’s own Helsinki studio working on FarmVille 3 all set up in the country (not to mention that publisher's acquisition of Small Giant Games).

 

Then there are the likes of Critical Force, Dodreams, Cornfox & Brothers, Bugbear Entertainment, Frozenbyte, Frogmind, Kopla Games, Kukouri Mobile Entertainment, MotionVolt Games, Nitro Games… the list goes on.

 

Revenue decline

 

In 2018 the Finnish games industry generated around €2.1 billion in revenue. While impressive that’s actually a decline from the €2.5 billion it was valued at in 2016.

 

As we’ve previously reported, that decline has coincided with Supercell’s decreasing sales, which claimed $1.6 billion in revenue in 2018, down from roughly $2bn in 2017 and $2.3bn in 2016.

 

“In 2015 Supercell took a whopping 88 per cent share of total turnover, while in 2018 that fell to 65 per cent - still a two-thirds share of the Finnish games market.”

 

In its report on the state of Finland’s games sector, industry association Neogames said that despite the decline, the country’s games sector was becoming less reliant on Supercell to power sales.

In 2015 the studio took a whopping 88 per cent share of total turnover, while in 2018 that fell to 65 per cent - still a two-thirds share of the Finnish games market.

 

Last year, Kuuhubb chief strategist Tero Kuittinen said that the decline was a sign of something wrong with the Finnish industry - that it had become an emblem of mobile games industry stagnation. He highlighted the successes of Pokemon Go and Fortnite, providing entirely new experiences, something that, he argued, much of the industry has struggled to offer.

 

It’s fair to say a few studios have struggled in recent times, including Next Games, which had a difficult launch for The Walking Dead: Our World; Grand Cru, which is looking to a new future beyond Supernauts and Battlejack; and Armada Interactive, which cancelled its debut strategy title Quantum Siege last year.

 

But there are plenty of signs that the Finnish games industry is picking itself back up - not that it had fallen on particularly tough times.

 

The successful launch of Brawl Stars in December 2018 - which as of June 2019 was estimated to have quickly generated $275m, combined with the successful implementation of Season Challenges in Clash of Clans - could help push Supercell’s sales once more. Though that will depend on how its other titles are still performing.

 

Then there’s the new heavyweight Small Giant Games. The company was picked up by Zynga in December 2018 for $560m upfront, with the remaining 20 per cent of company shares to be acquired over three years as an earnout based on future profitability. The studio initially had a flop on its hands with Oddwings Escape, but - much like the Finnish industry - picked itself back up with match-three RPG Empires & Puzzles, a smash-hit success.

 

“Small Giant Games initially had a flop on its hands with Oddwings Escape, but it picked itself back up with match-three RPG Empires & Puzzles, a smash-hit success.”

 

Zynga’s other Helsinki studio is also at work on the soft-launched FarmVille 3 - Animals. It’s too early to tell whether it will see a global release, but a big comeback for the IP could prove another success story made in Finland.

 

Rovio grew its revenue in H1 2019 by 7.8 per cent, though that hides a decline of three per cent in Q2. While Angry Birds Dream Blast has gross bookings of €14 million, making it Rovio’s second-largest game, its flagship title Angry Birds 2 declined year-on-year in Q2 from €29.7 million the year prior to €26.5 million.

 

Rovio blamed “much lower” UA investments in the game. Still, the company has just released The Angry Birds Movie 2 - which could prove a big boon for the company.

 

Maturing industry

 

One thing you may have noticed from many of the studios mentioned above is the fact that none of these are exciting new start-ups.

 

New companies are still finding investment in Finland - take Shipyard Games for example, which can count Supercell as a backer - but it’s hardly the hotbed of exciting start-ups it once was. And that’s despite a rise in the number of new studios in 2017 to 2018 (48), compared to 45 in 2015 to 2016.

 

Instead, much like the mobile games industry at large, Finland’s games sector has matured. The number of studios in the country decreased from 250 in 2016 to 220 in 2018, but at the same time there was a 16 per cent rise in the number of people employed in the industry to 3,200.

 

And as these studios focus on live operations and wait patiently for new hits, only 100 new games were published by local companies in 2018, compared to an average of 150 to 200 games per year prior.

 

The number of companies making over €50m doubled to four in 2018 from 2016, while the new of developers generating more than €10m grew from seven to 11, and the number making over €1m was 34, up from 30.

 

“It’s no longer the start-up capital of the Western games industry, but the talented Finns have been able to turn a few of those into big success stories.”

 

There’s been a flurry of M&A activity in recent years - Tencent acquiring Supercell, Wargaming snapping up Boomlagoon, Zynga buying Small Giant and Supercell’s acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in Badland and Rumble Stars developer Frogmind.

 

A few companies have gone public too - Rovio, Next Games, Remedy Entertainment and Nitro Games (the latter in Sweden). Of those, Next Games, Nitro Games and Rovio all tanked, though the latter has picked itself up since the start of the year.

 

Remedy has gone from strength to strength - recently hitting a high of 10.65 euros per share. That came off the back of a 49.6 per cent growth in revenue to 13,799,000 euros for the first six months of 2019, while operating profit increased 10.6 per cent to 1,461,000.

 

With talk of IPOs, big M&A and a country with a growing number of mid-sized studios, Finland’s industry has certainly transformed over the last few years. It’s no longer the start-up capital of the Western games industry, but the talented Finns have been able to turn a few of those into big success stories.

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