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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, March 16, 2007

NTES – NCTY – TX2 – WOW – Guilds War – Shootout (Part 2)

3 Games Shootout (Part 2) – My Prediction


WOW is really the standard bear that all future 3d games in China shall copy. It has everything. Its quest systems (PvE) introduce the new players to the game and keeps players involved in the game. After players becomes high level players and become tired of that particular aspect of the game, it keeps them busy by its PvP features.

But when it comes down to it, I am not sure play features are the real reason it is the number 1 3d game in China. I think they are so popular in China because they are the number 1 game in the world and all the fashion chasing Chinese want to look cool by playing the game.

The rich play features makes WOW the number 1 game of the world. The title of world’s number 1 makes it a cool thing for Chinese youth to play. The rich playing features of WOW keeps the Chinese players in the game once they started it.

This probably is the reason why so many good western games bomb out in China. They failed in China not because they don’t have great playing feature (they do), but because they don’t have that lofty title of “world’s best”.

WOW is a little weak right now according to the server tracking. But it is just temporary. When the new expansion pact arrives, it will no doubt starting to grow again.

But since NCTY is not able to get the contract term nailed until very late, it gives TX2 a chance to shine. I am not sure about whose fault is it. I am surprised that expansion pact is not included in the original contract. I am also sure that Blizzard wants to squeeze as much money out of NCTY as possible.

When it comes down to it, it is the life of junior partner. Companies like NCTY and SNDA who doesn’t add much value are in a very weak position. As people realize there are money to be made here, more and more competition will come up and bid to run the game. Even if they out-bid the competition, and the game becomes successful, they get screwed by the game developer.

Guilds War –

I personally think Guilds War is a great game. But how is NCTY going to market the game?

Is this going to be marketed as a traditional MMORPG? It is not and market it as so will doom any chance of Guilds War.

When it comes down to it, it is a LAN that shall compete with games like Counter Strike. Except Counter Strike is “free” in China.

How about charge each player a set fee per match? After the match, the winner gets a reward while loser gets nothing.

Yes, tournament games. Maybe that is what NCTY shall do. Make this a tournament game with NCTY getting a cut of the entry fee.

TX2 -

The advantage of hundreds of (or even thousands of) players battle is players really feel like they are part of something greater than they are. They will feel like they are writing the story.

But since it is basically a strategic game, the impact of each individual players is going to be very small. Will the players still play after the initial novelty wear off? This is where the dedication of the gang gets involved. This is why TX2 is going all out to entice existing gangs and encourage players themselves to form gangs.

The fun is not just the battle themselves, but the strategic session before the battle and the alliance between the gangs.

(By the way, is this a good thing? I am sure some members of the “gang” will probably be out on the street and be a real gang-banger if not for TX2. How will the old Mandarin in Beijing look at this? Anyway, this is out of scope for this article.)

But still, I wish TX2 will have tactical game (much like the battleground in WOW or Guilds in Guilds war) where the skill of the players mean a lot.

In addition, is it possible for TX2 to incorporate both strategic and tactical together?

But the above is just my speculation. But a unique feature of all Netease games are their adaptation as times goes by. As long as the game has a good foundation (game engine), Netease would eventually add so much features that the game in operation after 3 years bear little resemblance to the game just starts operating.

Combines with all the special activities that NTES always arranges, this game shall be a mini-block-buster (maybe with a PCU = 300k).

Continue to part 3

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