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腾讯收购芬兰游戏公司引发玩家担忧

更新时间:2016-6-23 11:06:11 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Tencent Bids for Gaming Empire in Deal for Developer of Clash of Clans
腾讯收购芬兰游戏公司引发玩家担忧

HONG KONG — In the world of Clash of Clans, Hou Dai has played — and paid — enough that he now leads his own clan of 50 online players.

香港——在《部落冲突》(Clash of Clans)的世界里,候棣(音)投入的时间——以及金钱——足够多,所以现在能领导一个由50名在线玩家组成的部落。

At one time, Mr. Hou, a 22-year-old recent college graduate from Shenyang, played the smartphone game as much as six hours a day. He estimates that he has spent 40,000 renminbi, about $6,000, on the game over the last three years.

22岁的候棣是沈阳人,前不久刚大学毕业。有一段时间,他每天打这款手游的时间长达六个小时。他估计自己过去三年里在这款游戏上花了4万元人民币。

Mr. Hou’s spending habits show why the Chinese internet giant Tencent just paid $8.6 billion for a controlling stake in Supercell, the Finnish creator of Clash of Clans, from the SoftBank Group Corporation of Japan.

候棣的消费习惯揭示了中国互联网巨头腾讯刚刚出资86亿美元(约合565亿元人民币),从日本软银集团股份有限公司(SoftBank Group Corporation)手中购得《部落冲突》的芬兰开发商Supercell控股权的理由。

The deal will most likely help Tencent bolster its reputation — rare among global technology companies — for having figured out how to make money from mobile devices. The company has already successfully integrated functions like shopping and money transfers into its popular Chinese chat apps.

这笔交易极有可能帮助腾讯巩固其掌握移动设备赚钱诀窍的声誉,而这在全球科技公司中实属罕见。腾讯已经成功地将购物和转账等功能融合进了旗下用户众多的中文聊天应用。

It also adds to Tencent’s collection of video games so that it can become a truly global player — in contrast to most Chinese digital and media companies, which have often struggled to acquire and run valuable foreign products and services. The deal gives Tencent a particularly strong presence in mobile games, adding a global angle to a mobile menu that already includes the most popular smartphone chat app in China.

交易也会让腾讯旗下的视频游戏家族再添新成员,使该公司能够成为一个真正全球化的竞争主体。相比之下,中国大部分数字和媒体公司往往无力收购和经营有价值的外国产品及服务。这笔交易让腾讯成为了移动游戏领域一支特别强大的力量,为其移动业务增添了全球视角。中国用户最多的智能手机聊天应用便是腾讯的移动业务之一。

But it raises a question for the Chinese company: Can it retain the people that turned Supercell’s games into hits?

但它也给这家中国公司带来了一个问题:能否留住让Supercell的多款游戏大获成功的那些人?

Many devotees of Clash of Clans and other Supercell games spend real money on fake currency and other resources to build their in-game power and heft. With the help of dedicated players like Mr. Hou, the small in-game fees, known as micropayments, have turned into a huge revenue stream that makes Supercell a major player in mobile gaming.

很多《部落冲突》和Supercell其他游戏的忠实玩家用真金白银购买虚拟货币和其他资源,来打造他们在游戏中的力量和影响力。在候棣这种专注的玩家的帮助下,游戏中的小额费用,又叫微支付,演变成了一笔巨大的收入,让Supercell成为了移动游戏领域的巨擘。

Supercell, in filings with the Finnish government, posted $2.4 billion in revenue last year. In April, the company was making just under $4 million a day in revenue from Clash of Clans, according to a SuperData Research estimate.

在提交给芬兰政府的文件中,Supercell称去年的收入为24亿美元。据超级数据研究公司(SuperData Research)估计,今年4月,《部落冲突》每天给Supercell带来的收入接近400万美元。

“Tencent makes about $1 billion from its gaming operations outside of China,” said Peter Warman, chief executive of Newzoo, a gaming analytics company based in Amsterdam. “With Supercell, they will more than double that. It’s a very strategic move for them.”

“境外游戏业务给腾讯带来了大约10亿美元的盈利,”设在阿姆斯特丹的游戏分析公司Newzoo的首席执行官彼得·沃曼(Peter Warman)说。“有了Supercell,这个数字会翻一番有余。对他们来说,这是非常具有战略意义的一步。”

The Supercell takeover is Tencent’s largest to date. Over the last five years, the Chinese company — which has a market value of $210 billion — has made strategic investments and acquisitions of games across the world. The company controls Riot Games, which created the hugely popular League of Legends, and the European mobile game maker Miniclip. It also has a stake in CJ Games of South Korea.

对Supercell的收购是腾讯迄今为止最大的一笔交易。过去五年里,这家市值2100亿美元的中国公司在全球游戏领域进行了多笔战略投资和收购。它掌握着热门游戏《英雄联盟》(League of Legends)的开发商Riot Games和欧洲移动游戏开发商Miniclip的控股权,并持有韩国CJ Games的股份。

“Tencent has been aggressively out buying overseas developers,” said Mark Natkin, managing director of the technology research firm Marbridge Consulting, “not only with an eye to leveraging those companies’ games in China but also for expanding Tencent’s footprint globally.”

“腾讯一直在大力出击,收购海外开发商,”科技调研公司迈博瑞咨询有限公司(Marbridge Consulting)的执行董事马克·纳特金(Mark Natkin)说。“不仅着眼于在中国利用那些公司的游戏,还希望在全球扩大腾讯的影响力。”

A sort of internet conglomerate, Tencent has no real analogue in the United States. Because internet advertising has had slow growth in China, the company has used games to make money from its hugely successful messaging and social media products. With its messaging app WeChat, which has more than 700 million monthly active users, Tencent can easily connect a huge number of new players to Supercell’s games.

美国没有真正与腾讯类似的这种互联网集团公司。因为中国互联网广告增长缓慢,该公司便利用游戏从旗下大获成功的即时通讯和社交媒体产品中赚钱。通过月活跃用户超七亿的即时通讯应用微信,腾讯可以轻而易举地将大量新玩家同Supercell的游戏连接起来。

Tencent is hoping to retain the huge number of players as well as the engineers behind the games. Supercell has been able to chalk up a string of gaming successes, mostly by giving top talent a greater amount of independence to develop projects, experts say. But the Finnish gaming giant’s engineers could choose to leave if they are not given the same independence they enjoyed under SoftBank.

腾讯希望留住大量玩家和那些游戏背后的工程师。专家称,Supercell能够在游戏领域取得一连串的胜利主要是因为它允许顶尖人才在项目开发中享有更多的独立自主权。但如果享受不到软银控股时的那种独立性,这家芬兰游戏巨头的工程师可能会选择离开。

To that end, executives at Tencent and Supercell emphasized in a conference call that Supercell would keep its autonomy.

为了达到留人的目的,腾讯和Supercell在一次电话会议上强调,Supercell将保留自主权。

“We would say it makes a lot of sense for them to stay independent,” Martin Lau, president of Tencent, said on the call. “What is making them great, we want to preserve.”

“我们想说的是,让他们保持独立非常明智,”腾讯总裁刘炽平在会议上说。“对于那些让他们取得成功的特色,我们希望保留。”

Ilkka Paananen, the chief executive of Supercell, said Tencent’s track record of allowing Riot to build out League of Legends on its own was reassuring.

Supercell首席执行官伊尔卡·帕纳宁(Ilkka Paananen)表示,腾讯允许Riot独立发展《英雄联盟》(League of Legends)的过往记录消除了这方面的担忧。

Tencent said that Supercell employees would receive long-term incentive plans. Such an offer, analysts said, would signal that Tencent realizes that it owes the value of the company’s games to the large number of players and to Supercell’s game design prowess.

腾讯表示,Supercell的员工会收到长期激励计划。分析人士称,这类待遇表明腾讯意识到,Supercell的游戏的价值有赖于规模庞大的玩家群体和该公司在游戏设计方面的高超才智。

The acquisition also represents the latest push by large internet companies into the fast-growing mobile gaming industry, which had a combined revenue of almost $35 billion last year, according to Newzoo.

这笔收购交易也代表着大型互联网公司进军快速增长的移动游戏行业的最新案例。据Newzoo称,去年移动游戏行业收入总额接近350亿美元。

Companies like Supercell and Rovio, a Finnish counterpart that is behind the Angry Birds franchise, were once able to create hit after hit with smartphone games. But the increased competition for consumers’ attention, analysts say, has made it more difficult to break through with new games.

像Supercell和芬兰另一家游戏公司、《愤怒的小鸟》(Angry Birds)系列背后的开发商Rovio这种公司,曾经能够凭借智能手机游戏创造一个又一个成功。但分析人士称,争夺消费者的竞争加剧,导致新游戏取得成功的难度加大。

Faced with such cutthroat rivalries, independent gaming studios are being taken over by larger companies that can outspend the competition. Mobile gaming has become such a big business that even established players like Supercell need flush financial backers to fund their expansion.

面对这种残酷的竞争,独立游戏公司纷纷被更大的公司收购。这些大公司拥有足够财力,可以压倒对手。移动游戏这个市场变得如此之大,以至于连Supercell这样的老牌竞争主体都需要财力雄厚的后台为自己的扩张提供资金。

“You need very deep pockets to play in this field,” said Mr. Warman, of Newzoo. “So if Tencent wants to play in this area, it has to be willing to pay top dollar.”

“财力得非常雄厚,才能在这个领域参与竞争,”Newzoo的沃曼说。“所以腾讯如果想在这个行业参与竞争,就得愿意大手笔花钱。”

King Digital, the British-Swedish gaming company behind the Candy Crush franchise, for example, was bought by Activision Blizzard last year for $5.9 billion, in part to help the larger gaming company expand its global reach.

比如,开发出了糖果粉碎传奇(Candy Crush)系列的英国和瑞典合资公司国王数码(King Digital),去年被规模比它大的游戏公司动视暴雪(Activision Blizzard)以59亿美元的价格收购。这笔交易在一定程度上是为了帮助后者扩展自己的全球影响力。

Mr. Hou said he was excited about the prospect of new Chinese features, but he warned that players were also worried because Tencent has a reputation for wringing money out of games.

候棣说,他对可能会出现中国元素兴奋不已,但他告诫称玩家也很担心,因为腾讯有从游戏上大肆捞钱的名声。

Julianna Wu, a Hong Kong college student who plays Clash Royale, another popular Supercell title, with her boyfriend for about two hours a day, echoed those worries.

香港大学生朱莉安娜·吴每天会和男朋友打两个小时的《皇室战争》(Clash Royale)。这是Supercell推出的另一款备受欢迎的游戏。她也表达了这种担心。

“Tencent buying the company may not be good for poor users like me who don’t have money to spend,” she said. “I’m worried it will become a game that only rich users are good at.”

“腾讯收购这家公司可能会对我这种没钱的穷用户不利,”她说。“我担心它会变成一款只适合有钱人的游戏。”

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