Just like Ntes comes out with a surprise Transformer game as their next major game, Sohu comes out with a completely new game as its next major game development. That development was completely secret.
The 4th quarter earning conference was just a couple of days ago, they definitely didn't talk about this game.
Now, the news is out. This is all over all the gaming portals in
This game is going to be called DJ2 (刀劍英雄Ⅱ). Its web site is as follows:
The game is just announced and the in-game graphics have been very few. The following is one of them:
It really shall be called BO2 because, in Chinese, its literal translation is Blade Online 2.
Sohu is still going to operate the original BO. There will still be a major expansion pact for BO in the 2nd quarter of 2009.
BO was a licensed game. But DJ2 (BO2) is not. It is completely developed in-house inside Sohu.
Let me do a recap on Sohu's game division. They currently have two games in operation. The major game is the self developed TLBB. It is being complemented by a licensed game BO (Blade Online). TLBB made $53.5 millions in 4th quarter 2008 while BO made $4.9 millions in 4th quarter 2008.
They have four games under development.
LDJ (The Duke of Mountain Deer) is going to be a self-developed major game. It is planned to be commercialized in 4th quarter 2009.
JianXian (Immortal Faith) is a licensed game. I don't think Sohu is going to spend a lot of resource on this game. It is scheduled to be out in the middle of 2009.
Legend of Ancient War is another licensed game. I doubt Sohu will spend a lot of resource on this game. It is scheduled to be commercialized in early 2010.
DJ2 (Blade Online 2) is another self-developed major game. Sohu claim this will be the first major game out in 2009.
If I have to guess, DJ2 will be commercialized in 3rd quarter 2009. It gives 6 or 7 months of closed beta time for Sohu to hash out all the bugs. If this becomes the case, then I will also predict Sohu will delay LDJ and LDJ won't be commercialized until 1st quarter 2010.
Sohu plans to have both DJ2 and LDJ as major hits and be as successful as TLBB. There shall be at least two quarters of time differences between releasing its two major titles.
A little more information about Netease's next major game development (BB) can be found in the following article:
From the above article, my prediction was correct, it is confirmed by Netease game developers that they hope to conduct a major marketing campaign as well as open beta to coincide with the opening of the movie 「Transformer 2」 in June 2009.
BB will start closed beta on 2/15/2009.
I noticed that Chinese game developers start to keep their major game development under great secrecy. I understand that they are doing that so as not to tip off their competitors. Nobody had absolutely any clues of the existence of Ntes's BB and Sohu's DJ2 until now, a few months before their commercial release. Thus, it gives no time for smaller game studios to develop cheap knockoffs to steal their thunders.
But this will definitely make it more difficult for people to keep track of their game development.