My previous post on DT can be found here:
DaTang was a big disappointment for Netease. It is still in operation. But there is very little players playing this game. There is hardly any new content being developed and Netease is not marketing the game to attract new players. Netease is busying developing DaTang 2 as the first major free-to-play game from Netease. The original thinking is to make DT undergoing a slow and graceful death so that DT2 will replace it when it is ready.
But interestingly, I think there is a complete change of thinking on DaTang within the management of Netease.
The developer of DaTang announced the new direction of development for DaTang. It is very short but has tremendous amount of information. The link is as follows:
The developer of DT had been hinting of new direction in several postings in the last two months. Together with the above posting, I am starting to get a more complete picture.
My translation and my though is as follows:
- There will be no new contents announced until Chinese Spring Festival (Feb 7th, 2008).
- During November and December, 2007, Netease hired a lot of new programmers and developers to DT’s development team.
- Major contents will be released around Spring Festival.
- Netease will start major marketing push for DaTang after the Spring Festival.
- A big area of the new content is to provide more material for the new players.
- More activities.
- More features.
I am starting to get a full picture now.
Based on my server count, it is clear now that XY2 and XY3 had been successful. Originally, Netease planned to use XY3 to replace XY2. But now, both XY2 and XY3 are doing great and are two stand alone games.
XY3 is used to attract new users and XY2 is used to keep the old players. It is clear based on the server count that the combination of both games had exceeded the old XY2 by itself.
It is interesting to observe the Chinese market. Unlike other market, Chinese don't seem to mind playing the prequel and sequel at the same time.
I believe Netease is going to do similar thing with DaTang. Rather than using DT2 to replace DT, I believe Netease is going to make these two games separate (though related) games. DT will be a paying game while DT2 will be a free-to-play game.
Like XY2 and XY3, both DT and DT2 will be developed by two separate and distinct teams. DT2 is probably not going to be ready until 3Q or 4Q. But Netease is going to do some major push for DT after February 2008.
2008 is going to an important year for Netease. XYQ is still growing (last PCU record occurred on 12/2/2007), though slowly. XY2 is starting to grow again. XY3 is also growing. They are going to do a major push for DT in the 1Q and 2Q. After that, TX2 is going into commercial operation. FF2 will probably go commercial some times in the first half of 2008. Finally, DT2 will probably be out in the 2nd half of 2008.
And let’s not forget about the Olympics and all the advertising dollars that will go to Netease (as the number 3 portal in
2008 is going to be an interesting and profitable year for Netease.