Tencent Tech, 2/14/11
Wu Jun, VP of Shanghai-based online game developer and operator 9You, has responded to rumors the company has suspended more than 10 ongoing R&D projects, saying that restructuring was carried out but was completed before the Chinese New Year holidays.
Wu pointed out that since casual games began taking market share away from MMOs last year, 9You's strategy has been to divide its focus equally between licensing and developing competitive products.
According to Wu, one of 9You's major projects this year will be its self-developed 3D martial arts MMORPG Butterfly Sword Online, alongside a number of licensed games. In the wake of the failure of 9You's self-developed 3D martial arts MMORPG Weapons of the Gods, Wu believes placing equal emphasis on licensing and R&D is the best strategy. Since in-house development is time-consuming and high-risk, 9You has already downsized its R&D team accordingly.
According to one employee responsible for the Butterfly Sword Online team, the game will begin closed beta testing this summer and launch online some time later this year.
Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "Rumor: 9You Begins New Round of Layoffs" MD 1/10/11 issue.