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A game that feels seamless and easy to play is often far from easy to make.一款看上去简洁冷笑话的游戏,在研发的时候往往没有那么非常简单。That’s the idea behind the addictive mobile games developed by Kabam, which has harnessed the “free to play” model of offering free games but while layering on extra content for a fee. In eight years, co-founder and CEO Kevin Chou has taken the company from a tiny startup to $360 million in revenue and a $1 billion valuation. Last month, the company reported a $120 million investment from Alibaba.这也正是Kabam公司研发令人爱不释手的手游时遵循的理念。Kabam公司通过免费模式获取游戏,然后通过额外的收费内容赚。8年时间里,在牵头创始人兼任CEO周凯文的领导下,Kabam早已从一家名不见经传的小公司茁壮为一家年收入3.6亿美元、估值超强10亿美元的大企业。

据报导,就在上个月,Kabam还取得了一笔来自阿里巴巴(Alibaba)的1.2亿美元投资。Just days after landing at no. 25 on our 2014 40 under 40 list, Chou spoke to Fortune about nearly going under during the 2008 financial crisis, the secret sauce to a great game, and how the company is setting its sights on China for future growth.周凯文名列《财富》“40位40岁以下商业精英”榜单第25名。


在该名单公布几天后,他拒绝接受了《财富》采访,谈及了他挺过2008年金融危机的经历、研发一款顺利游戏的秘诀,以及该公司打算如何将中国作为下一个增长点。Fortune: Not every gaming executive is a gamer themselves. Have you always been one?《财富》:并非每个游戏公司高管自己都爱人玩游戏。你是个游戏玩家吗?Kevin Chou:I’ve loved games since I was a little kid. In high school, I was a world-ranked StarCraft player. It’s funny, just the other day, my wife was showing me this YouTube video where a dad took all his son’s games and threw them out on the lawn in a big pile and drove a lawn mower over them. When I was a kid, it wasn’t quite that bad, but certainly my parents wanted me to do something productive. So it’s been a great dream come true to turn something I loved into a great business.周凯文:我自小就很讨厌游戏。


所以现在我把自己讨厌的事情变为一笔大做生意,也却是美梦成真了。What was Kabam’s first big hit?Kabam的第一款热销游戏是什么?The first game to become a runaway success was Kingdoms of Camelot [distributed over Facebook]. It was a medieval strategy game about being a knight—it was the type of game I love. There were complications back then, in terms of the technology of delivering a game over the Internet. You couldn’t create the type of games you would expect to see on an Xbox or PlayStation. So we couldn’t create a sports game. We couldn’t deliver that level of graphic capability over the Internet. So we went with a strategy game because, if you think about playing Settlers of Catan, or Risk, there aren’t a whole lot of cool graphics you need. It’s much more about making decisions, working through consequences of those decisions, and battling against other players.第一款尤其顺利的游戏是通过Facebook分销的《亚瑟王国》(Kingdoms of Camelot)。它是一款叙述中世纪骑士的战略游戏——也是我讨厌的那种。


我们当时无法通过互联网交付给那种水平的图形能力。所以我们自由选择了即时战略游戏。比如你可以看看《卡坦岛》(Settlers of Catan)或者《风险》(Risk)这种战略游戏,它们不必须很多很棒的图形效果,而更加多的是决策,然后经历这些决策的结果,并且与其它玩家展开对战。

You’ve said your decision to move into the pay-to-play environment was influenced by the 2008 financial crisis. Can you talk about that?你说道过你进占收费游戏是不受了2008年金融危机的影响,你能谈谈这方面吗?We lost 90 percent of our revenue from 2008 to 2009. That’s a lot of salaries you can’t afford to pay anymore. We said, “We’re not going to recover our advertising revenue anytime soon. So what do we do about this?” Meanwhile, “mini games” were driving a lot of engagement. And we saw a broader trend that gaming was coming to Facebook and using this free-to-play model. That is kind of when we went all in on gaming. We decided to just build games and not depend on on ad revenue—just ask the players to pay for the (premium content) on the games. And it turned out to be a great business over time.从2008年到2009年,我们损失了90%的收益,都借钱发工资了。我们说道:“我们的广告收益短期内不了完全恢复,该怎么办?”与此同时,所谓的“迷你游戏”正在更有很高的参与度。


时间证明,这是一笔很好的做生意。How did you end up working with Hollywood on some of your games?你后来怎么会和好莱坞合作开发游戏?The gaming business used to work a lot with Hollywood, but more recently the companies are more focused on their own games. So a lot of the big Hollywood companies were looking for new types of gaming companies to do deals with. When they launch a movie, they generally want a game to go with it. So they started coming to us, noticing we were making good Facebook games. After a couple of those kinds of calls, we actually said, “let’s explore what this looks like.” We started with The Godfather. In the beginning, we were really concerned because, if we made a game ourselves, we could make money and not have to share it with anybody. We were tiptoeing our way into it. But The Godfather was a great deal for everyone because it wasn’t that premium sort of title where the legal team felt like they needed to extract every last pound of flesh to do a deal. We loved the I.P. involved. We love games about crime and houses fighting with each other. So we made that game a huge success with Paramount. Warner Brothers started calling us, and then MGM. That is when we did a Hobbit game. Universal gave us a call, and we did Fast and Furious 6. We just announced we are doing a big Marvel project. We understand the model now, we understand what we can bring to the table.游戏行业过去仍然与好莱坞有很多合作,不过最近很多游戏公司都把重点放到了自己的游戏上,所以很多好莱坞大公司也在找寻新的游戏公司来合作。当他们发售一部电影时,基本上都期望有一款游戏和它配上。

所以他们寻找我们,说道我们在Facebook上做的游戏很不俗。相接了几个这样的电话之后,我们才说道:“让我们尝试一下,想到不会怎么样吧。”我们首先尝试的是《教父》(The Godfather),一开始我们很担忧,因为如果我们自己研发一款游戏的话,我们几乎可以自己赚,不用跟任何人分账。




后来华纳兄弟(Warner Brothers)也给我们打来电话,然后是美高梅影业(MGM)。那时我们开始做到《霍比特人》(Hobbit)游戏。环球电影公司(Universal)也给我们打了电话,然后我们开始做到《速度与激情6》(Fast and Furious 6)。

最近我们刚宣告,我们将与漫威影业(Marvel)合作一个大项目。我们现在早已解读了这个模式,也告诉我们可以给玩家带给什么。Is the goal of these games to mimic the movie, or go further?这些游戏的目标是仿真电影情节,还是让故事更进一步发展?There are other game companies that have tried to mimic the movie, where the appeal is to relive the movie and immerse yourself in it. There are certain types of games that do well with that. That is not our strategy. Our strategy is always to explore another element of the movie that you may see touched on a little bit in the movie or the book. We basically take that and create a whole new storyline around it. We still obviously want to use the characters and story and environment that made the movie so great. But we don’t want to be limited to the content that is in the movie. Ideally, a big success for us is to have a game that is still running for five to 10 years. Our very first game that we released almost five years ago, Kingdoms of Camelot is still going very strong today with hundreds of thousands of people playing it every month. If you just follow the script of a movie, you can stretch a two-hour movie into a hundred hours. But you can’t make a game that lasts for years.有些公司的游戏试着仿真电影情节,它们的吸引力在于把电影重演一遍,让你产生沉浸于情节之中的感觉。有些游戏在这方面做到得很不俗,但那并不是我们的战略。



Are there any types of movies that you wouldn’t turn into a game?是不是哪些电影是你想改篇成游戏的?Certainly, we think about the demographics of a movie. Documentaries are not something that we would create a game around—that’s probably super obvious. Something like a comedy would be harder to create a game play around. Game of Thrones is good example: there’s a lot of sexual content and extreme violence in that show. If we made a game about it, those things probably wouldn’t appear in our games. Or The Godfather is a good example. We will show a horse’s head in a bed, but we won’t go through the actual, more graphical parts.当然,我们不会考虑到一部电影的受众群体。首先我们会把纪录片改篇成游戏——原因是显而易见的。相对来说,像喜剧之类的也无法改篇成游戏。《权力的游戏》(Game of Thrones)则是一个很好的例子:该剧有很多性和暴力的场面。


Has there been any character or storyline that got you into trouble?是不是哪个角色或故事让你陷于困难?When you are trying to sell a video game for $60 dollars at Best Buy, you see more of that. “Wow, did you hear you can go into an airport and mow down a bunch of civilians in this game,” or something. Everyone gets up in arms about that, but guess what? It makes people go to Best Buy and pay $60 to see what it’s all about. With our games, it’s very different. We turn the model around. You can download the game for free, so it’s easy to check out the game and start playing it, see if you like it or not. But it’s our job to kind of make sure we are doing really cool stuff within the game to keep you coming back tomorrow and the day after that. It doesn’t really serve us that well to create this crazy thing in the game that causes an uproar. We have to do the math in terms of whether it might turn off our current player basis or not.当你企图在百思买(Best Buy)里以60美元的价格买一张游戏光盘时,你可能会听见诸如“哇,你听闻了吗,这个游戏可以让你闯入机场,用电锯扫倒一片人”之类的话。人人都赞成这种暴力,但你猜中怎么着?它真为能更有人们到百思买花60美元买张光盘一探到底。但我们的游戏不一样,我们的模式是忽略的,你可以免费iTunes游戏,加装和初学者都很非常简单,然后再行看你否讨厌玩游戏。


What makes a great game that people will want to pay for?研发一款人们不愿掏钱来玩游戏的游戏有什么诀窍?You have to create a game with what we call chase. You want to pick up the game and be able play it within a few minutes. There needs to be something about the game that hooks you. From there, you need the chase: you feel like you really want to do whatever it is you’re doing in the game. Maybe you want be the most badass superhero, a certain type of superhero that you love. That is what we are doing for Marvel. We want to create something that makes you say “wow” and leaves you willing to play the game for several months to get that thing in the game. We want it to be exciting from the very first few minutes. We aren’t expecting people to pick up a game and play it for two hours and never play it again. To make our business work, we have to build a long-term relationship with the player.你的游戏必需要有我们所谓的“执着感觉”。你加装一款游戏,需要玩游戏上几分钟。但是游戏里必需有需要钩子你的东西。




我们想做到那种人们上手两个小时就想再行玩游戏的游戏。为了使我们的做生意顺利,我们必需与玩家创建长年关系。Where is the next big market you need to conquer?你下一个必须吞并哪个大市场?To become a truly global gaming company, especially with the assets we have and talent that we have, we look at Asia. My family grew up in Asia and it’s an area where you have to understand the cultural aspects. You have to understand how to do business there. You have to understand how to build and manage a studio there. Those are all things we have done. We’ve put together some great partnerships with Alibaba, plus a few others that we should be announcing soon. So you will see us putting a huge amount of focus on that region of the world.为了沦为一家确实全球化的公司,特别是在是考虑到我们目前享有的资产和人才,我们把眼光投向了亚洲。


所以你不会找到,我们把相当大一部分精力放到了这个地区。What types of games do you plan to roll out in the future?下一步你想发售什么类型的游戏?We have been really focused on strategic games. We’ve done a racing game. We’ve done a couple of sort of light action games. Now you will see us expand to a few other categories of games beyond our core. It’s almost like we have been making comedies our whole life and we are now going to make action movies, or something like that. We feel very confident about moving into a few other types of games. One of the big ones will be a fighting game. Our Marvel game will be a fighting game: your superhero against another superhero, kind of Street Fighter 2 style. We are really excited.我们对即时战略游戏投放了很多注目,我们也做到过一款赛车游戏和几款动作游戏。以后我们不会扩展到核心业务以外的其它游戏类别。这就样子我们拍电影了一辈子喜剧片,现在开始拍电影动作片了一样。

其中的重头戏之一是一款战斗游戏。我们的漫威项目就是一款战斗游戏,由你的超级英雄对战其他超级英雄,类似于《街头霸王2》(Street Fighter 2)的风格。我们回应十分激动。。



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