网易与漫威的 22 个月

文|唆麻

5月20日,网易游戏 520 互动文娱产品发布会现场,与漫威执行副总裁 Jay Ong 一同举起雷神之锤的丁磊笑得很开心。

丁磊的确是满载而归,发布会上网易游戏官宣以“两款游戏,一项合作”喜提宝可梦与漫威:

合作推出国服首款正版宝可梦手游《宝可梦大探险》;发行手游《漫威:超级争霸战》并与漫威达成了游戏与影视内容的战略合作。

对于多次缺席版号发放而压力倍增的网易游戏而言,两大 IP 到手当然是一波利好,网易股价的微微上扬也反映了资本市场的看好。

但另一边,各路社交网络对于网易拿下漫威游戏却出现了不同声音,有的漫威粉丝甚至刨出网易漫画的失败经历唱衰这次与漫威的合作。

22 个月前究竟发生了什么?

01

一切还要从网易漫画说起。

彼时,网易漫画只是网易云阅读下属的一个子部门。逐渐做大后,丁磊意识到漫画与云阅读的定位需求有所不同,不该归于一个产品,网易漫画才在 2015 年 8 月正式诞生。编辑部门在网易北京,市场部门则在网易杭院

彼时,国内正掀起一股泛娱乐浪潮。不只是“泛娱乐”一词被文化部、新闻出版广电总局等中央部委的行业报告收录并重点提及,一众互联网公司也纷纷以战略高度推进。

不过,成立两年多的时间里,网易漫画在网易的地位日渐尴尬。

纵观行业,漫画作为泛娱乐战略的其中一环,发挥着制造 IP 的链条发起点的角色。但网易漫画成立数年来,不仅未能成功输出 IP,反而需要仰仗网易游戏的《阴阳师》们拉一把。

网易漫画的诞生符合网易一贯的“慢节奏”,也注定按照网易的方式走下去。

02

网易与漫威的第一次结缘并不算美好。

在 2017 年 7 月的中国国际动漫游戏博览会上,网易宣布与漫威达成合作,一次性引入包括《银河护卫队》、《超能蜘蛛侠》、《美国队长》在内的 12 部漫画。

这次的合作规格并不低。当时的合作落地到网易漫画,后者放出风来:双方正以“漫威元素”为基础,共同开发“中国超极英雄”作品。

但网易亦有无奈。

漫画之争,在这一时期没有例外地升级为版权之争。腾讯已经先后拿下少年JUMP、DC漫画版权。为保竞争力,网易不得不接连拿下 DW变形金刚、漫威、集英社、讲谈社等版权。

疯狂的版权采购,却未能帮助网易漫画赢得 2017 年的漫画市场。算下来,网易漫画已经累计拥有超过 20000 部漫画、600 余位独家签约的国内外漫画家。但是同期网易漫画 DAU 仅为 150 万左右,快看漫画已达到 600 万左右。

不难看出,网易希望借电影热度为网易漫画吸引更多用户。

与前一年大热电影《美国队长3:内战》有相关剧情的漫画《内战》就占到了三部;除此以外,《奇异博士》《银河护卫队》都有漫改电影在数月前上映。

​漫画付费阅读无法盈利其实也是行业普遍情况,但腾讯动漫、有妖气等平台可以通过小说、动画、游戏等内容实现全方位变现,但这也是网易所不具备的。

在网易的操持下,网易漫画开启自救。

2017 年底,网易将网易漫画与亏损的网易蜗牛读书、网易云阅读、Lofter 的合并为文漫品牌,寻求 4 亿人民币元融资。尽管华策影视、芒果文创、上海文广SMG 等文创行业玩家一度有意,但交易最终未能达成。

可以说,网易漫画在 2017 年底已经走到了生命尽头。

03

网易漫画最终成为网易的弃子。

去年 12 月 12 日,B站宣布与网易达成收购协议,对后者旗下网易漫画的主要资产进行收购,其中包括APP、网站、部分漫画版权及其相关使用权益。B站的选择不难理解。上市后的 B站一度面对“变现能力与业务壁垒不足”的质疑,不断巩固其“二次元第一站”的定位势在必行。相对于番剧与游戏,B站的漫画、音频方面有所欠缺。

在 B站于去年 11 月宣布以 10 亿元全资收购二次元音频社区猫耳FM后,手握不少优质版权待价而沽的网易漫画自然是最佳选择。

生存的艰难与迟来的易主,也影响到了网易漫画与漫威的合作。

去年 5 月 9 日与 10 日,两部“漫威中国英雄”漫画《三皇斗战士》和《气旋》先后在网易漫画上线。但一年时间过去,两部作品仅仅分别了 10 话和 6 话,中体甚至一度数月停更。据相关人士表示,国内画师其实早已完成前期工作,漫威方面的审核耗费了太长时间。

​即使如此“ 精雕细琢”,但这两部作品不仅在国外受到众多读者质疑,甚至在国内也反响平平。大量读者认为两部作品无非是国漫加上了一块漫威的招牌。

说起来,这样不能怪网易。面对中国市场的消费力,美漫巨头们早有将中国元素融入漫画的尝试,但西方文化背景很难以美漫呈现中国的文化内核。

此前,DC 就以自有团队打造过中国正义联盟、十豪侠。前者不温不火,后者的剧情时不时游走在和谐的边缘;而漫威《异人》漫画中更有一位来自湖南名为“小一”的角色,顶着中国人都看不懂的名字,自然也不用奢望引起共鸣。

漫画的合作失败,倒是把一个难题摆上了台面:漫威这块招牌到底该怎么用。

04

一个无法回避的事实是:漫威在国内的辉煌其实依旧由“路人粉”撑起。

“漫威”二字如今在国内的舆论环境下已经被赋予了“社交货币”的价值,“漫威粉”似乎与“年轻”“时尚”“接的住梗”划上了等号。

《美国队长3:内战》上映的 2016 年 5 月,美国队长扮演者克里斯·埃文斯在推特发了一条“Hydra(九头蛇万岁)”,暗示美国队长的“黑化”。

这本不过是漫威的一次联手营销,目的是拉升当时发布的最新漫画《Captain America: Steve Rogers #1》销量。

但这次互动被国内营销号二次加工,并 PS 出“九头蛇版”美队后,借着《美队3》上映的热度被迅速引爆,众多不明所以的看客纷纷扬言要给漫威“寄刀片”

实际上,“漫画宇宙”与“电影宇宙”完全独立,国外的读者们也都保持冷静。

“漫威”在国内的每一次热度上升,其实都伴随着漫威电影宇宙相关电影的上映,一旦电影下档热度很快就回落到低位。

另一个更好的例子是,同为旗下漫画改编,与 FX有线网合作的《大群》哪怕是“大表哥”丹·史蒂文斯主演,也在第一季上映后关注度全面扑街;而与 ABC 电视台合作的美剧《斗篷与匕首》甚至在国内近乎毫无声量。

​所以,大家爱的真的是漫威吗?或许更多人只是爱着小罗伯特·唐尼、克里斯·埃文斯们饰演的那群英雄而已。《复联4》上映后,导演罗素兄弟在国内社交平台承受的连篇累牍的“咒骂”,也再次证明漫威已被国内“粉圈”入侵。

05

尽管票房已经证明了“漫威”二字的魔力,但其于游戏方面却是鲜有佳作。

同样是相较 DC 仰仗华纳互娱旗下游戏工作室的拿出的《不义联盟》、《阿卡姆》、《乐高DC》等人气系列作品,多年来漫威唯一的准 3A 大作仅有去年发售的 PS4 平台的《蜘蛛侠》。

除此以外,漫威游戏要不就是蹭电影热度的快餐游戏,要么就是与格斗游戏起家的卡普空大乱斗,以及《迪士尼无限》这类沙盒游戏。而在手游端,漫威更是“捞钱本性”暴露无遗,从消除、格斗到弹球一应俱全,荤素不忌。

简单来说,“漫威游戏”四个字在游戏圈里并没有多少含金量。

网易游戏在《复联4》走到档期末尾时拿下《漫威:超级争霸战》国内发行代理其目的不言而喻,无非是借着相对顺遂的市场环境迅速变现。

但《漫威:超级争霸战》不仅不是一款“电影周边”,还是更硬核的“漫画周边”。

不仅游戏细节与电影有不小差距,它还并不是一款全新手游,它已经在厂商 Kabam 的手上运营了近 5 年之久,无论是画面、还是游戏模式都罕有创新,不少真正的漫威粉丝甚至早已“弃坑”。

看上去,拿到手的成品依然前途未卜,更大的可能性或许在于双方合作新游戏。

06

有一种说法是“网易的游戏火得快凉得更快”。

以目前国内几乎仅剩腾讯网易两家游戏巨头的局面而言,参照标准自然是腾讯。比较起来,《阴阳师》《逆水寒》也的确如此,但《梦幻西游》也算是相当坚挺。

腾讯倒是从不避讳对“长寿”的追求,腾讯游戏业务负责人马晓佚,曾在 2017年10月在青腾大学聊起腾讯游戏的“精品战略三个标准”,其中一点就是“长寿”:

“一波进攻之后,你要打退他们,要毫不留情,让所有人对这个领域绝望,不能让他们随便试这个领域。当没有人试这个领域的时候,你可以很高质量的去尝试每一个可能和分杈的路径,这个时候其实你就可以慢慢把这个领域发展的时间很长,然后质量很高。”

腾讯的步步紧逼,反过来在近几年塑造起了网易游戏“打时间差”的习惯。

新游戏模式一旦出现,网易必须马上行动,抢在腾讯前推出市场并回本。一旦手握社交流量的腾讯入局,便意味着尘埃落定。比如“吃鸡”手游起势之初,网易先于腾讯拿出了的《荒野行动》一度人气高涨,但如今重点早已转向海外。

这也是网易将“游戏爱好者”定为其基本盘的原因。一来只有这样才能从腾讯强势的流量压制下,拉拢到一批玩家;二来算是为自研游戏的内测公测维持着一批有生力量。

一来二去,“氪金”成了网易游戏的无奈之举。

不过正如上文所说,网易为求救活网易漫画,蹭着电影热度的合作近乎失败,已经为“美漫中国化”打上了一个问号,连带着“漫威游戏本地化”也面临着未知;而网易游戏再一次的“蹭热度”,面临的不确定甚至进一步升级:

国内的“路人粉”们本就由电影而凝聚,但另一边漫威电影正面临元老角色们“退役”,新一代亟待建立人气的过渡期,反过来让网易的此次合作更像是为自己选择了一条“养成游戏之路”。

漫威已经老去,而网易游戏们依然年轻。

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