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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.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Ntes – TX2 – Progress 1 - Status

My previous articles on TX2 can be found here:







On April 30, 2007, NTES provides the following news: see link:


NetEase said its Tianxia II research and development team will work on making the game easier for beginners and improving group play and hardware functionality. They are going to add another phase of open beta.

It sounds somewhat minor. Adding another phase of open beta usually mean another 1 to 2 months of open beta.

But I think it is going to be a lot worse than that! For one, you probably had heard by now the lead designer had been reassigned. Many of the group leads had changed.

But before I talk about it, I would give some background first. Today, I will talk about the progress of the game to this date.

So far in this stage of open beta, TX2 is still losing players, although at a very slow pace.

The marketing is starting, although at a very slow pace. From 4/1/2007, they put commercials on the bus in six cities (not 1st tier cities, only six second tier cities) , see the following:


From 4/6/2007, they put ads in the subway in a southern city. They planned to expand it to all other cities and in bus stations, subways, and convenient stores. See the following:


During the last week of April, they started to put ads on some internet sites and applications such as Xunlei. But there is still no ads on 17173.com yet.

Of course, given what happens now, the current marketing program probably won’t be expanded.

In some sense, Netease had never given its young chief designer a chance. With so little marketing, TX2 is not going to get too many game players.

Ntes has so much money, they would spend 200m to buy their own stock, why are they pinching pennies in marketing their flagship game?

On the other hand, from the way Netease changes course in DaTang and TX2, it is clear that Netease has certain internal control. Its games probably have to pass certain performance criteria before the game can go to the next stage. Maybe Netease checks the percentage of the number of player (who started the day of open beta) remaining after 1 month over the number of players the day of open beta.

Regarless of what performance criteria Netease uses, it allows Netease to do mid-course correction to salvage the game.

In the end, I think it is fault of both Netease and TX2’s chief designer. Netease didn’t provide its young chief designer enough marketing support. On the other hand, TX2’s chief designer designed an innovative game that game designers (but not game players) like.

The game is so far capped at level 60. Therefore, with virtually no marketing, there is little new users. As the players get to level 60, they don’t have much to do (except those who are in a gang and is involved in gang battles), older players start to leave.

The game developers were adding a lot of contents every week. But it is also clear that the game is far from a finished product. Compare to another recent game, Sohu’s TL, TX2 has much less playable features.

Tomorrow, I will talk about which direction TX2’s development team had gone so far in the open beta.

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