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免费游戏真的“免费”吗? – 译学馆
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免费游戏真的“免费”吗?

Are "Free" Video Games Really Free?

我大学缺钱的时候
When I was in college and money was tight,
我卖掉了我《魔兽世界》的账号
I sold my <> character
我记得!
I remember that!
你当时赚了有350刀吧?
Didn’t you make like $350?
就应该这样钻系统的空子啊 亲!
Way to game the system, babe!
我也这么想来着
I thought so, too.
但如果把我当初为了升级花的钱加起来……
But if you add up what it cost me to get there…
买游戏用了50美元 买扩容包用了30美元
$50 to buy the game, $30 for the expansion pack,
每个月15美元会员费……
$15 a month subscription fee…
这样几年下来
after a few years of that,
我投入了大约500美元到那一个游戏里
I’d sunk around $500 into that one game.
更别提我练角色所耗费的大量时间了
Not to mention the countless hours I’d spent leveling up my character.
哎呀!
Yikes!
至少你能够挽回一点损失
Well, at least you were able to mitigate the loss a bit.
而且你真的很喜欢玩 对吧?
And you genuinely enjoyed playing it, right?
我想是吧……还是我只是上瘾了?
I think so… or was I just addicted?
[音乐]
[Music playing]
还记得以前买一个电子游戏意味着……你拥有它?
Remember when buying a video game meant…you owned it?
你可以不多费一毛钱就能玩转里面所有东西?
And you could play the whole thing without spending one more dime?
啊!那过去的好时光啊!
Ah, the good old days!
那种营销模式基本上
That sales model has been largely replaced
已经被在游戏过程中
by one that asks players to continuously pay
不断花钱的模式取代了
money throughout the course of the game.
而且这种经济转型对游戏行业来说相当赚钱
And that economic transition has been very lucrative for the games industry.
如果你让80后的玩家花500到1000美元在电子游戏上
If you asked an 80s gamer to spend $ 500- $ 1000
他们可能会被手中的夏威夷宾治呛到
on a video game, they’d probably choke on their Hawaiian Punch.
但如今 每年都有成千上万的玩家这么做
But today, millions of players do that every year,
可能连他们自己都没意识到
perhaps without even realizing it.
我们咋成这样了?
How did we get here?
1999年 韩国发布了世界第一个“免费游戏”
The first “free-to-play” game was released
在接下来的十年中
in South Korea in 1999 and over the next decade,
这个理念扩散至全球
the idea spread across the globe,
因为开发商意识到吸引大量客户
as developers realized that capturing a large audience
远比任何定价更有价值
could be more valuable than any purchase price —
有点类似于一些网站的运营模式 [脸书 推特 油管]
kind of how the rest of the internet works. [Facebook, Twitter, YouTube].
一旦你吸引到了顾客
Once you have their attention,
你就可以向他们打广告
then you can advertise to them,
或在游戏里向他们出售一些升级道具和装扮
or sell them little upgrades and cosmetic items in-game.
这些所谓的“微交易”一直都很赚钱
These so-called “microtransactions” have been incredibly profitable.
还记得农场小镇吗?
Remember Farmville?
在2010年 这个“免费”游戏
This “ free ” game was making
通过游戏里的增值服务
well over $ 1 million a day from in-game upgrades and
每天赚到的钱就超过了一百万美元
boosts back in 2010.
目前居于免费游戏榜首的堡垒之夜
The current free-to-play champ, Fortnite,
据说每天收入超过200万美元
reportedly brings in over $ 2 million a day.
记住:不同于实物商品
And remember: unlike material goods,
这些产品完全不花公司一分钱
these products cost the company nothing to manufacture.
只要除去设计成本 其余可都是利润了
Once the cost of design is offset, it’spure profit.
那这些公司
So how do these companies
是如何通过玩这个漂亮把戏
pull off this nifty trick of getting people to overspend
诱使人们在原本免费的东西上超额消费的呢
on something that’s technically free?
正如大部分营销一样
Like most marketing, the strategy is based
这个策略建立在利用消费者心理的基础上
on exploiting the customers’ psychology.
首先 如果你想要人们持续消费
First of all, if you want people to keep spending,
你要让他们会一直玩下去
you need them to keep playing,
也就是说 这些游戏必须是开放式结局 会使人上瘾
which means, these games have to be open-ended and addictive.
别再想着击败大魔王或者拯救公主殿下
Forget beating the final boss or rescuing the princess,
现在都是提高你的排位
now it’s all about climbing
游戏等级或者开拓你的疆土了——
raising your level, or expanding your kingdom —
理论上 这些目标可以让你永远玩下去
objectives that could theoretically go on forever.
当进行奖励分配时——
And the distribution of rewards —
比如解锁一个新武器或一座更大的城堡——
like unlocking a new weapon or a bigger castle —
其图像 声音和时机都是精心设计的
has been carefully crafted in look, sound, and timing,
传递着一种强烈的多巴胺冲动
to deliver a powerful dopamine rush
使玩家不断地再玩一局
that players will crave again and again.
开发者也知道 相比人们对胜利的喜欢
Developers also know that as much as people like winning,
失败更令人讨厌
they hate losing more.
在经济学上 这叫做“损失规避”
In economics, this is called “ loss aversion”,
这促使人们只是为了避免失败所带来的挫败感
and it leads people to spend more and more money
就花越来越多的钱
just to avoid that terrible feelingof being a loser.
在“糖果粉碎传奇”游戏里 一旦你用完了所有移动步数
In Candy Crush, once you run out of moves,
严格来说你已经输了
you’ve technically lost.
但是你能用一个“棒棒糖”增加三步
But you can use one “Lollypop” to get three extra turns.
而且你只有几秒时间做决定—
And you’ve only got a few seconds to decide –
快点 不然就来不及了!
hurry before it’s too late!
这也许和早期的电子游戏差不多
This might not seem that different from the earliest days of video games,
玩家可以
where players could
往游戏机里再投25分硬币继续玩
pump another quarter into the arcade cabinet to keep playing.
但至少在花完你所有的25分面额的硬币时
But at least you could run out of quarters,
在走向找零机器的路上 你有时间
and have time to rethink your life goals
重新思考你的人生目标
on the way to the change machine.
如今我们随身携带的那些小游戏机
Today, those little arcade cabinets we keep in our pockets
很多都绑定了我们的银行账户
are often linked to our bank accounts,
所以你能持续不停地打游戏
so you can keep continuing and continuing
直到账户余额变为零
until there’s nothing left.
硬币的优点在于
Quarters also have the advantage of
它们的正面标有自己确切的币值
saying exactly how much they’re worth right on the front.
现在的许多游戏都要求你
Many of today’s games require you
把你的钱兑换成一些你不熟悉的货币
to convert your money into unfamiliar currencies
例如堡垒之夜的V币或英雄联盟的暴动点
like Fortnite’s V-bucks or League of Legends’Riot Points.
他们清楚如果人们不知道具体花了多少钱
They know people are more likely to spend money
就更有可能去消费
if they don’t know exactly how much they’re spending.
微交易最新的创新
The newest innovation in microtransactions
似乎是受到了拉斯维加斯赌场的启发:
seems to be inspired from the casinos of Las Vegas:
战利箱
loot boxes.
[一款电脑游戏的视频]
[Video of a computer game]
有些游戏不会直接卖一些具体的东西
Instead of selling items outright,
而是会要你买一个神奇宝箱
some games ask you to buy a mystery box
可能开出一把珍稀的20级能量剑……
that might contain a super rare level 20 Energy Sword…
或者一根不值钱的棍子
or a worthless stick.
战利箱 卡包和其他随机物品
Loot Boxes, card-packs and other random-chance items
都是利用了经济学家所说的“变量激励”
exploit what economists call “variable rate enforcement”.
我们的大脑热爱未知的奖励
Our brains love unpredictable rewards.
就像吃角子老虎机那样
Just like with slot machines,
当奖励是一个惊喜时 多巴胺分泌会更强烈
the dopamine rush is more intense when the reward is a surprise.
所以当你打开一个战利箱
So opening a loot box and finding that
并看到那顶你一直很想要的粉色礼帽时
Hot Pink Top Hat you always wanted
会比直接购买更让你有成就感——
can feel more like a win than buying it outright —
尽管为了得到它你花了更多的钱
even if you spent more to get it.
这些策略对每个人都有效吗?
Do these strategies work on everyone?
并不
No.
但它们(策略)不需要(对每个人有效)
But they (the strategies) don’t have to (work on everyone).
2016年的一项研究发现
A study in 2016 found that
手游中的微交易几乎有一半的消费
almost half of all spending on mobile game microtransactions
来自于0.19%的玩家
came from 0.19% of players,
这些被业界称为“鲸鱼”的极少数人
with a very small number known in the industry as “whales”
在他们最爱的游戏上一掷千金
spending thousands on their favorite games.
所以 事实上
So, in fact,
只要这些公司能吸引少量极度上瘾的玩家
these companies are okay with most people enjoying their product for free,
它们不介意大部分人免费享用它们的产品
as long as they can soak a handful of super-addicted gamers.
不幸的是 很多这些“鲸鱼”还只是“幼崽”
Unfortunately, a lot of these “whales” turn out to be “calves.”
我们称之为“幼鲸”
That’s what you call a baby whale.
没错 特别是小孩容易受这些心理手段影响
Yes, children are uniquely susceptible to these psychological tricks,
可能是因为他们更易冲动
probably due to their impulsivity
而且对他们实际在做的事情缺乏认知
and lack of understandingof what they’re actually doing.
你应该听过这样的恐怖故事
You’ve probably heard the horror stories.
一个17岁的孩子用他父亲的信用卡
The 17-year-old who racked up $7,500
在FIFA ‘16游戏的微交易里
on his dad’s credit card
累计消费了7,500美元
for microtransactions in FIFA ‘16.
还有那个在iPad版侏罗纪世界里
Or the 7-year-old who spent $6,000
消费了6000美元的七岁孩子
on Jurassic World for iPad.
游戏开发商一般会拒绝退款
Game developers typically refuse to refund
而且在儿童保护方面
these charges and still have not done much
并没有太大作为
in the way of child protections.
但是家长 立法者和类似的玩家
However, there has been some push-back
开始有意见了
from parents, legislators and gamers alike.
EA 调整了它们旗下
EA tweaked its rewards system
以星球大战为主题的热门游戏《前线II》的奖励系统
for the popular Star Wars-themed game Battlefront II
来回应玩家们的批判
in response to player criticism.
该游戏重点宣传Darth Vader
The game heavily advertised Darth Vader
与Luke Skywalker为可选角色
and Luke Skywalker as playable characters,
但有一位玩家计算过了
but one gamer calculated that
除非你愿意花钱抄近路
unless you’re willing to pay for shortcuts,
否则就要你分别耗费40个小时
unlocking the characters would require
才能解锁这两个角色
40 hours of in-gamegrinding… each.
世界各国和各个州的立法者
And legislators in states and
都有考虑过把战利箱
countries across the world have considered
当成一种赌博形式来监管——
regulating loot boxes like a form of gambling —
尤其现在 随着次级市场的崛起
especially now that secondary markets have sprung up
人们可以以几百甚至上千美元的价格
where people can sell the rare contents of these loot boxes
卖出这些战利箱里的稀有物品
for hundreds or thousands of real dollars.
确实 研究表明
And indeed, research has pointed towards a link
一个人花在战利箱上的钱
between the amount one spends on loot boxes and
和他赌博成瘾的可能性有相关性
the likelihood of having a gamblingproblem.
如果你是一个家长
If you’re a parent,
你应该考虑只给你的孩子买那些
you might consider only buying games for your kids that are
“一次付费畅享全部”的游戏
“ Pay-Once-and-Play, ”
或者至少要避免
or at the very least avoid having
把任何信用卡账号和游戏装置绑定
any credit card accounts linked to gaming devices.
如果你自己是一名电子游戏消费者
If you are a consumer of video games yourself,
请记住 喜欢一个游戏
remember that enjoying a game
跟玩上瘾完全是两码事
is not the same thing as being addicted.
而且正如其他非必要的开销
And like most non-essential expenses,
你最好记录下来
you should keep track of
你每个月在游戏上具体花了多少钱
exactly how much you’re spending on it a month.
微交易里的消费设计旨在
Microtransaction purchases are designed to be
让人易冲动和不经过思考
impulsive and thoughtless,
所以意识到自己在干什么
so just being aware of
仍是一种最好的转变策略
what you’re doing is still the best meta.
最好的什么?
The best what?
真是个菜鸟
Such a noob.
好了 够了
Okay stop.
今天我们的分享就到这里了!
And that’s our two cents!
你可以在评论区发表你的看法——
If you’re willing to share in the comments —
你曾经最多在一个视频游戏里花了多少钱?
what’s the most you’ve ever spent in a video game?
[音乐播放中]
[Music playing]

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视频概述

游戏开发商设计出免费游戏背后的“阴谋”

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soVaufg4-QY

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