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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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NTES's New Games – part 3 – Progress of the New FF

In part 2, I describe this game in detail. One can find it here:

Now, I want to talk about the progress of this game. New FF went into Open Beta on 5/15/2009. Because it is an item-based free-to-play game, Open Beta means commercialization.

In keeping with NTES’s curious tradition, there is virtually no marketing effort for this game at all. About one week before the Open Beta, NTES began put some advertisement on 5 or 6 2nd tier game portals. As a result, new FF had an extremely underwhelming Open Beta. On the date of Open Beta, new FF only opened 4 new servers.

In comparison, SNDA started advertising for AION almost a year before the game went into commercialization. It had a terrific marketing campaign. On the date of its commercialization, it opened 80 new servers!

An example of how little marketing NTES is willing to spend for new FF, it won’t even put big banner ad on its own portal (www.163.com). What is even more interesting is that after the Open Beta, when it is clear that new FF is going to be a hit, NTES starts to put big banner ads in prominent locations on its portal.

This is got to be some kind of record. Maybe ABC should start marketing for NBA Finals after the games have finished, or maybe Toyota should market its 2010 Prius car in 2011.

One can find the promotional video for the new FF below:
, and the game is being advertised as the game for the 90’s new women.

I consider that as a brilliant marketing strategy. This game is pushed as a game for young women. It will have a lot of 18 to 25 years old young women. That will in turn attracts loads of 20 to 30 years old young men spending money like mad to please these young women.

At this point, there are three major in-game tournaments. The first is the fashion show tournament. The second is a tournament to find the best in-game photo/graphics. The third is the group warfare tournament. As one can see, two is catered to young women and one is catered to young men.

The following table provides the number of servers with respect to the date:


Number of Servers


















Open Beta







From my previous articles, players had been playing the old FF for free for almost 4 years. The 20 servers are there to support the legacy players. On 4/26/2009, NTES announced that new FF will have Open Beta on 5/15/2009.

Due to the lack of marketing, only 4 servers are added on the date of Open Beta. But the game is adding players extremely quickly. Barely three weeks into the Open Beta, new FF had already required the use of 50 game servers. If won’t surprise me if it had already achieved a PCU of 120k to 140k.

From the above table, this is a game that gathers popularity not based on marketing or hype, but based on words of mouth. This is what a game with extremely long run time looks like.

In comparison, NTES’s TX2 had been in unlimited Closed Beta for 1 year, it has 37 servers. NTES’s XYW had been in unlimited Closed Beta for 9 months, it has 31 servers. Both are reasonably successful mid-level games. But new FF will eventually be many times more popular than these two.

While SNDA’s AION exploded right off the gate, new FF is like a wild fire that is burning stronger and stronger. Its growth is limitless. While I have great expectation for AION, I predict new FF will be even more successful in the long run.

Now, a few pictures of the new FF’s development team members (not all of the members are in the following photos):

Notice how many women are on the team.

Finally, more in-game pictures:


A test for now