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The purpose of this blog is for my personal use. It serves as my personal diary as I investigate Chinese internet/gaming companies for investment purpose. If you have any comments or disagreement, please give me feedbacks.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Netease - FF2 Info

Fly for Fun was a Netease game that failed.

Fly for Fun 2 will be Netease's answer to the free-to-play model. I think in the next year, Netease will come out with 3 free-to-play games (money will be made by selling in-game items).

FF2 will be Netease's first free-to-play game. On 1/27/2007, 19 selected guests will be invited for the announcement party.

Info. on the announcement party:

As expected, on 1/27/2007, NTES had an announcement party with 19 invited player guests. Many interesting information is being shared. The most interesting is this game can basically break into three different games.

I will give a summary of the three games as follows:

(I). The Current Fly for Fun:

I believe the current FF is still officially in open beta. That is NTES allows players play for free. NTES did not get any money at all.

At this point, the average concurrent users is about 10k. The number of users (not concurrent) is about 100k per day. After each patch, there are about 2000k unique downloads. That is, there is a sizeable users.

July, 2004 - Bought the game from a Korean company. NTES will build on top of the game to add play features, etc.

July/2004 to December/2004 – NTES adds playing features. But NTES found out that the underlining game engine is very limiting and has severe flaws.

December/2004 – FF goes into open beta.

December/2004 to Now – FF stays in open beta.

(II) Fly for Fun with major expansion pact:

December/2004 to June/2005 – NTES tries to fix the game engine.

June/2005 – It is determined that the game engine is not salvageable.

6/2005 to 7/2006 – NTES rewrite the game engine and build one from the ground up.

7/2006 – FF development team (20+ developers) breaks up into two teams. One will develop the expansion pact and another will develop FF2.

8/2006 to 2/2007 – The expansion pact will use the brand new game engine but will reuse all the graphics and the play features. The expansion pact will provides about 50% more playing features than the old FF.

3/2007 – Close Beta
4/2007 – Release to all players.

Again, this is complete free to the players. The fact that Netease is willing to do this for the players says much about Netease as a company.

As an investor, I don't know if I shall be laughing or crying. To an investor, this is just money down the drain. But to the ordinary players, Netease is doing something no just unheard of in China, but to the rest of the world also.

(III). Fly for Fun 2

NTES has not determined the name of the new game yet. I will call this new game FF2 for now.

8/2006 to 2/2007 – another team is working on this new game. In addition to the new game engine, the graphics, playing features, etc. will be written from the ground up. There are probably 2% reusable graphics from the old FF to keep some familiarity for the existing players. But this is basically a brand new game.

5/2007 – Closed beta

7/2007 or 8/2007 – open beta

To the investors, this is the game that really counts. This is going to be Netease's first foray into the play-for-free pay-for-items model.

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