My last update on the new game of XYW can be found here:
My last update on TX2 can be found here:
My last update on FF2 can be found here:
NTES had been very slow in releasing games in the last 3 to 4 years. It only release two major titles in the last 3 years, DT two years ago and XY3 last year. DT was a complete failure while XY3 is growing at a very slow pace. The verdict is still not out on the XY3 yet.
But for some reason, the second half of 2008 and first half of next year will promise to be somewhat of a watershed period for NTES. It will have four major titles all coming out at about the same time.
First, on 6/6/2008, TX2 went “unlimited and open closed beta”. It start to charge players money for items. It is about a month now and all indication had shown that the game itself is a great game. Players love it and it is very sticky. Unfortunately, NTES resorts to its old psychotic aversion to marketing its games so the growth had not been exponential. It had its sales team going to many internet café to push for TX2. But NTES’s ground sales team is no where close to the effectiveness of the ground sales team of Giant Online (for example). In addition, there are no advertising on buses, subways, LCDs, street signs, internet gaming sites, or TV programming, etc.
As a result, the growth of TX2 had been slow so far. But still, it is still on a solid growth path.
Another game, FF2, had been in closed beta since 2/1/2008. FF2’s development team had been very secretive about its progress. But I got the feeling that, if NTES wants, it could get it out in the next couple of months. I suspect the only reason it is being hold back is not to get every major title out at the same time.
From the following two articles:
Another major title, XYW, will go into closed beta (with several thousand players) on 7/5/2008. XYW is somewhat of a composite of XY2, XY3, and XYQ. It is build on the same game engine of XY3. It will have a graphic style of XY2 (cartoonish but not too cute) and many playable features of XYQ. Of course, it will be free to play and therefore will emphasize player combat more while the other three existing games emphasize community features more.
From the above two articles, another major title, DT2, will go into closed beta in July 2008. DT2 is another free-to-play title. For a while, I had thought that DT2 would be NTES’s first free-to-play title (either DT2 or FF2), but it turned out not to be the case. It took NTES two years for DT2 to come out. I don’t know why it took so long. I had thought that DT2 is just a minor re-write of DT and just a straight conversion from paying game to free-to-play game.
Obviously, that is not the case. This speak volumes about NTES the company. There is no cookie cutter for any of its games. Every games is a major undertaking. They strives for excellence for every projects.
It is just too bad the senior managers are not willing to spend the marketing dollars to push its new games.
TX2 had been under development for about 5 years now. It still have an open beta to go. FF2 had been under development since June of 2005. By the time it comes out, probably later this year, it would be 3.5 years of development.
DT2 had been under development for two years. If it comes out later this year, it would be 2.5 years of development.
The speed of XYW’s development surprised me a little. It had only been 6 to 9 months of development. I think the reason XYW can be out so fast is because NTES doesn’t have to re-develop the underlining game engine from the ground up.
TX2 had to go through two stages of engine development work with its Australian game engine developer to optimize its game engine. FF2’s game engine is complete re-wrote from the ground up. The original DT’s game engine is in-house developed. I am certain they did a lot of game engine upgrade for DT2 also.
But for XYW, it is different. NTES spent a lot of money and effort to develop a brand new game engine for XY3. But XY3, though a somewhat successful game, didn’t become a blockbuster. Therefore, NTES decided to use its brand new game engine to develop another game. That game is XYW. The analogy will be that the foundation is build and only the floor plan is changed.
Perfect World had been doing this for all its games. They use the same game engine and spitting out new games like automobiles from an assembly line.
Going back to NTES. If one purely based on development schedules, I am certain all 4 games could go into commercial this year. But for factors such as no competition with its own games, NTES might want to stagger the release date so that one or two of the major titles could come out early next year.
Anyway, it is exciting time for NTES. I only hope NTES’s senior managers can provide more marketing help to its games.