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.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New TX2 Status Update

I was thinking about doing an update on the progress of games by Sohu and Netease after March, or after the 1st quarter, but a lot of people had asked for it. So I am going to go through them in the next week or so. (Note, it is kind of strange that people want to know the status of these games now rather than after the 1st quarter is over, is there anything going on in the next two weeks?)

I will start out with Netease’s TX2. My last post on TX2 is as follows:


During the 4th quarter earning conference call, Ntes said that TX2 will be going into closed beta during the 1st Q 2008.

On 2/29/2008, TX2 went into very small scale closed beta testing. At this point, not much can be said of the game. But information about its graphical quality had dribbled out.

On 3/24/2008, TX2 will start the large scale closed beta testing.

The following are some in-game images captured by close-beta testers. It originally comes from this link:


I will give a brief description on the images.

The first image is about the female character played by a closed beta tester. She went to a little village and get an assignment.

The assignment is to kill a millipede. The blue scaled horse thing next to her is a mythical Chinese creature called “chi-lin”. It is a very powerful animal. It is also her companion or pet.

Next, she is killing this fish monster.

More fight with the fish monster.

Now, she is talking to some in-game characters.

This is a picture with some interesting looking Chinese mythical beasts

Now, the above give a pretty good indication of how pretty the game is. But since they are still pictures, one can’t get any sense of fluidity and motion of the game.

The following is a video on a boss fight in a TX2 side quest. Don’t pay attention to the graphical quality of the video. There will be a lot of quality loss whenever it needs to be compressed on a youtube-like video.


Nothing much can be say about this video. A team of 5 players went to this TX2 quest. It has two bosses. They killed the first boss. They had trouble with the second boss (a big spider). They were defeated by this spider boss twice. Eventually, they gave up.

By observing the still image quality of the captured images and observing the motion quality in the above video, one can get an idea about the overall video quality of TX2 game.

First of all, it is a very beautiful game. Probably even more beautiful than World of Warcraft (or at least on par). The style of the game is definitely Chinese. But less Chinese than the older TX2. The backgrounds are more detailed now. The background on the old TX2 game is more like a traditional Chinese drawing.

Actually, this is one of the main arguments on Netease users forum. The old TX2 players hated while the new TX2 players think it is great.

One of the main objective for the game designers is to make this game novice friendly. I honestly don’t see any closed beta players complaining about the difficulty in picking up the game play. That is a good sign. But hardly convincing because most closed beta players are pretty experienced (not novice).

At this point, it is impossible to know about the game play features. The closed beta just get started and Ntes has just started slowing releasing features.

So we know this game have eye-candies. But will this be a blockbuster game? I don’t know. I am pretty sure this will be a very successful game.

I think there are four factors that will determine whether this game will be a blockbuster game. First, the old TX2 is more like a global domination game where gangs (countries, or tribes) of hundreds of players fight castle siege battle.

It sounds great, but that also make it into a niche game. A game more like World of Warcraft has much broader appeal.

Second, the old TX2 is very much technology limited. Only players with newer PCs can play without much stutter. The newer TX2 has to have a much more forgiving game engine that allows much broader players (players with older computers) to play.

From my previous write up, TX2’s programmers use the updated game engine (the Australian game engine) and completely rework all the computer code to make the game more forgiving. We won’t know until more information is out. But a few posts mentioned in the users forum seem to suggest Ntes had done a pretty good job about this.

The third reason that might trip up TX2 is that it is Ntes's first attempt at free-paying game. It is probably less a worry. Other companies had been converting paying game to non-paying game in much more efficiency and under much stringent conditions. Ntes had so much time to work on it, they ought to get it right.

The final possible reason that may hold TX2 back is the lack of marketing sophistication of Ntes. Ntes haven’t marketing its games for the last few months. That is just absolutely unforgivable. It will probably make wall street analysts happen in the short term (less spending), but I care much more about the long term success of TX2. There are so many quality games out now, Ntes is still thinking like an ancient dinosaur.

I am very confident that this game will be very successful (at least a success game with a PCU of 200k). But whether it will be a blockbuster that will have PCU of 1 million or just a successful game with a PCU of 200k, I will have to wait another couple of months to make any prediction.

No comments:


A test for now