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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sohu – TL – Start charging money during open beta

My previous post on TL is here:

TL was a successful story in Sohu. Sohu gives TL’s chief designer (hired away from Kingsoft) plenty of time and resources to develop the game right. It is a game that will make a lot of money for Sohu investors.

But 2 things happened recently that might cast a dark cloud over it. I won’t talk about one because I need to investigate it more. But I will talk about the other now.

I think Sohu is starting to charge players now. First, its final stage of “close beta” is really an open beta. And now they are treating the open beta as commercial operations?

When in beta stages, players are not supposed to pay!

From the following official site:

TL had started to charge money for in game items. There are four places you can purchase the game card:
1. Internet Bar
2. UDPay
3. Convenient Stores, Supermarket, and Newspaper Stand
4. Through Sohu’s Online Store: http://esales.sohu.com/online/tlcost/index.jsp

To purchase in-games items, go to the online stores (where you can buy goodies).
Not a lot of stuff yet, but I am sure they will add a lot more goodies as time goes by. Also, players who killed too many other players can lessen the punishment by paying game currency.

Some players had already started buying the game card already.

At this point, the game is still growing like crazy (nothing I ever seen before). I am pretty certain this game is going to be a blockbuster.

In the just concluded 1Q earning conference, Sohu said that there won’t be any revenue from TL in the 2Q. Now, it looks like there might be some significant revenues in the 2Q from TL after all.

I am sure it will make short term investors very happy. But is it necessary for Sohu to do this? It is awefully short-sighted of Sohu.


intelligentinvesting said...

Once again, I am really impressed with your in-depth research on Sohu's TL. As a fellow Sohu investor, I have a couple of points to make.

Your concern about Sohu's TL start charging during Open Beta is unwarranted. TL is certainly not the first online game to start charging during open beta test.

Zheng Tu(ZT), another very successful free-to-play online game launched a year ago, started selling in-game items and made money during its open beta. Now ZT is consistently ranked top in its category and is one of the most profitable free-to-play online games.

Please explain why you are so certain that Sohu's TL is a blockbuster. I am still not very sure about that right now eventhough 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.

Let me know what you think in that regard. Thanks.

Keep up the great work!

HenryC said...

Thanks. I enjoy your insight as well.

I concened about the legitimacy of the server counts constantly.

At this point, I think these are legit. (Not absolutely certain, still observing).

I have many reasons and if I write them all down, it will be a long essay. I will probably do it if I have time.

But this is the earning season and it is taking me a long times to digest all the earning reports.

I am especially eager to hear what Netease has to say about their new direction.

Hopefully, I will have time to look into TL in the near furture.

Aion Power Leveling said...

Well written article, and I agree entirely. Thank you for your fresh point of view. Keep up the good work.


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