About this Blog

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.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sohu – TL – Is its server counts for real?

My previous post on TL is here:

The author of the intelligentinvesting blog had the following comments:
“Please explain why you are so certain that Sohu's TL is a blockbuster. I am still not very sure about that right now even though I really wish TL will be a big hit. One concern I do have is whether Sohu's claim of TL operating 145 servers is credible. Yes, TL is ranked top on Baidu's most searched online games. But it is not ranked at all on Sogou's website(http://www.sogou.com/top/class19_1.html). It is also not ranked very high on its own 17173.com webiste or xunlei.com, another popular online game portal.”

As the matter of fact, the same concern bothers me a great deal until I looked more into it. In the next series of articles, I will dig deeper into it. By the end of this series, I will provide my estimate for TL’s PCU (Peak Concurrent User).

In today’s article, I will talk about one possible reason why TL’s server numbers are just marketing hype. In tomorrow’s article, I will provide many reasons why TL’s number is for real. In the third and concluding article, I will provide my calculation for TL’s PCU estimate.

The case for caution:

I can only see one symptom that might arouse caution. Why didn’t Sohu published its PCU number if TL is so hot? It makes no sense. Game companies want to hype its games to create momentum. They hype their games by announcing PCU numbers. Average gamers understand PCU numbers. They don’t really care about the number of servers.

One possible reason could be that they are holding the PCU number back until commercial operation to give maximum PR impact.

Or one could say since Sohu is a public company, they don’t want to give out false PCU numbers.

As of 5/26/2007, they have 159 servers. I believe these are 159 physical servers for TL. But each server might only have 500 players playing rather than 5000 players playing. This way, they are not lying about the number of servers, but they also accomplish the purpose of giving people a false impression that TL is extremely popular.

Well, there are major holes for arguing pro or con of why Sohu didn’t publish its PCU number. But either way, it is very unusual why a company won’t publish PCU number for a popular game.

Tomorrow, I will dispel the myths that TL is not popular. After that, I will provide 5 reasons that that indicates TL is popular. In part 4, I will provide the calculation of TL’s PCU.

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