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.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

TX2 – Commercial operation before Open Beta

My last post on TX2 can be found here:


In my last post, I mentioned that TX2 will start open beta on 6/6/2008. Well, it turns out it is not exactly right. According to the following announcement, it will still be closed beta on 6/6/2008:


Or, is it?

For a typical game, it starts out with game development. After the foundation is build and a lot of basic gameplays had been written, a game goes into internal beta. The beta testers are the workers of the game company itself.

After the internal beta, the game goes into a closed beta. During the closed beta, the beta testers are regular game players that don’t work for the company. The game characters of the closed beta won’t be saved after the game goes into commercial operation.

After one, two or three rounds of closed beta, the game goes into the final beta, the open beta. The difference between the close beta and open beta is that for the closed beta, the numbers of players are limited and are invited. But for the open beta, anybody can play. Therefore, closed beta is closed to the general public and are available only for the invited few (for example, the first 1000 players who applied). On the other hand, open beta is available for anybody. The game company has to make enough game servers available to accommodate any numbers of players who want to try.

During the beta testing, whether it is internal, closed, or open beta testing, players are supposed to play for free. The company only makes money after all the beta testing phases were completed and the game goes into formal commercial operation.

But there is an exception to the rule, for the free-to-play games, since the game is free, open beta is the same thing as formal commercial operation.

Of course, there are exceptions to the exceptions to the rules. For example, Sohu’s TLBB started to charge money for items right after open beta. But they have another formal commercial launch about 4 to 5 months after the open beta. In that case, the open beta for all practical purpose is really commercial launch and the formal commercial launch is really the first expansion pact. Sohu did it completely for marketing reason. Having two major milestones (open beta and commercial launch are two separate mile stones) rather than one (open beta and commercial launch is one combined milestone) allows Sohu two chances to put ads out there to attract game players.

For NTES’s TX2, we might have exception to the exceptions to the exceptions to the rules. From the above article, NTES proclaim TX2 will have another round of closed beta on 6/6/2008. But this closed beta has two major differences from other closed betas.

First, it is unlimited. Any players can play in this “closed” beta. You might be confused as how can this be a “closed” beta if this is open to everybody.

Second, the game characters players play during this closed beta won’t be erased. As I explained before, beta is for testing only. Everything shall start from the beginning after beta testing is finished so the game can start from the beginning. So how is this closed beta different than the official start of the game?

Actually, you can start to buy game items in amazon.cn already:


What do I think? I think 6/6/2008 is really the commercial launch of the game. If the game does not catch on at the beginning, NTES can have two more chances (open beta and commercial launch) for major marketing push to draw players to play TX2.

I think this is purely a marketing move by NTES.

Only in China will you see commercial launch before open beta!

By the way, there are more TX2 movie trailers to be downloaded:

The following is the official trailer. It is dated 05_04_08. Unlike other movie trailers, this one is completely cut from in-game graphics. Therefore, the computer graphic is not as impressive as specially made movie trailers for other games. But on the other hand, the quality of the in-game graphic is very impressive.


The following is the official trailer for weapons and skills for all eight disciplines. This is a kick-ass video. The top level skills (or special ability) for each discipline are absolutely gorgeous.


The following is the official trailer for costumes. Again, another very beautiful video.


The following is a player generated movie. It is 30 minutes long. Not much to say about its story line.


Also, a good article about what additional features TX2 will provide in the near future.


This article is a little to long for me to translate. But overall, TX2 is in good shape. There will be a lot of new playable features to be added after 6/6 to keep players busy for a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I noticed following news today.
I believe the "Game Business Department" is responsible for developing and programing TLBB. The
whole department is moving to Shijingshan district. I also found the following news which indicates that Shijingshan District will be a major center in comupter game industry.

By moving away from the Sohu HQ in the Haidian District (搜狐网络大厦10-15层), Sohu seems implementing its new strategy of expanding game at a fast pace. This also leaves office space for sohu other departments. Unlike NTES in moving game program development (from Guanzhou?) to Hangzhou (also home of Alibaba), it keeps investing in Beijing. I applaud Sohu's move locally rather than moving south.

Any thoughts?


A test for now