Chapter 405: A minor piece’s meritorious services
The original owner of the flat had given it a four room, one living room layout. Xu Tingsheng had arranged a bedroom for himself and one for Xiang Ning as well, in case she decided to come over for an afternoon nap once in a while. At least, he rather hoped that she would do that.
As for the two remaining rooms, one became the study while the other was the guest room.
After finishing the remaining red wine along with Huang Yaming and arranging for him to go sleep in the guest room, Xu Tingsheng returned to his own bedroom and slept all the way till daylight.
10th September 2005, Teacher’s Day in China and World Anti-Suicide Day too. These two put together really seemed to rather imply something.
It looked like something happy was necessary to uplift the mood.
At 11am, Happy Farm was officially launched on Weibo. The relevant download link appeared on the left side of the page that maintained Weibo’s functionalities and the layout of the entire page even as it allowed Weibo’s users to decide whether to download and play on their own.
Xingchen Technologies’ advertisement had a very self-assured tone: New era leisure game, number one for all citizens.
Subheading: Games are for leisure.
Of course, whether this subheading was accurate and the game really was leisure would necessarily depend on the attitude of the players themselves.
In order to keep his cool, Xu Tingsheng asked He Yutan to report on the data to him hourly.
In the first hour after the game went online, those who downloaded Happy Farm on Weibo numbered 120000. Amongst them, there were 70000 who had started planting their crops, amounting to just a little over half their number.
Considering Weibo’s user base and the kind of game this was, this result was far from what could be considered satisfactory. One might even call it disastrous.
Weibo itself possessed a young user base. At this point in time, most people were playing big online games or battle games as it was only natural that a childish leisure game like Weibo did not catch their eye at first.
Them aside, there might also be those who had launched the game but found it childish like Xu Tingsheng in his previous life, thus setting it aside and not playing it.
Xu Tingsheng calmed He Yutan down over the phone, asking him to remain patient and have faith. He was actually boosting his own morale too. While he was very familiar with the game’s crazy popularity in his previous life, at a different time, on a different platform, would things still go the same way?
Xu Tingsheng was feeling rather on tenterhooks too.
The foundation of a game’s high popularity was its high, collective influence. Xu Tingsheng was waiting for this effect which had still yet to be exhibited now.
With every hourly report, whether or not He Yutan was getting more and more excited or if the number of people playing the game was rapidly increasing, Xu Tingsheng only looked at the data, sending no reply. He was refreshing Weibo, refreshing it till nighttime, when he finally found that the hottest trending topic on Weibo had become: Follow me, will be reciprocated, let’s steal cabbages together…
As the VIP who had been on Weibo longest and also possessed the most fans there, Apple also posted a new message at the top of her Weibo page, “Follow me, let’s steal cabbages together.”
This was even Apple’s first time requesting followers.
When everyone was calling their friends, when the players had taken the initiative to refer to Happy Farm by the most fitting term of ‘stealing cabbages’, only then did Xu Tingsheng exhale in relief. He gave He Yutan a call, notifying everyone to go home to sleep besides those on duty.
The desired high, collective influence had finally been achieved. The drama from their internal test played out once more but on a greater scale. Without any obstruction whatsoever, Happy Farm led to an influx of new users that was like a tsunami. It was out of boredom that some tried it out yet ended up unable to stop themselves from playing, while for others it was curiosity...and then there were those who had been dragged in directly by their family and friends...
With the ‘half-year nationwide childishness phase’ unavoidable and destined, Xu Tingsheng fell into a restful sleep.
When he woke up the next day, the number of downloads for the game had shot to a whopping 2.7 million with over 80 percent of them having begun planting their crops.
One day, 2.7 million players. In this era, what did this entail?
Even though they had benefited from Weibo’s vast user base, with the game also being for leisure and not having an independent game client, this was still an incomparably shocking number.
Xu Tingsheng knew that it would soon be even more shocking.
After telling He Yutan who was constantly howling over the phone that there was no further need for his hourly reports, Xu Tingsheng went out and bought some groceries. After cooking and eating lunch, he began packing his things in preparation for his return to university the next day.
Hu Shengming called several times that day, urging Xu Tingsheng to hurry and release those fertiliser items into the game.
Still, Xu Tingsheng was adamant, “I’ll only do it when the number of active users has reached ten million. I want to make it such that even if I lose a third of the user base as a result, things will still be unaffected overall. Only then would I dare execute this move.”
“Huh, you’re actually waiting for more people to get addicted first,” Hu Shengming saw through what Xu Tingsheng was really thinking right away.
The next night, those of Room 602 all gathered back in their dorm. Having been away over the summer holidays, some of them had not yet heard about Xu Tingsheng’s accident as they now surrounded him and peppered him with questions, requesting that he take off his shirt for them to have a look at the scars on his back…
“You say you were in a coma for several days? But it doesn’t look that serious?” Lu Xu asked, looking at the scars that had undergone plastic surgery.
“This has been treated, through plastic surgery. He went to America specially to do it. It was horrendous then, all completely burnt up and dead…” Tan Yao lit a cigarette as he explained.
Regarding the matter of Little Xiang Ning, perhaps because they feared that a certain ‘beast’ might be unable to withstand it, he and Old Wai were temporarily withholding their knowledge.
A worried Zhang Ninglang earnestly told Xu Tingsheng to take note of his safety in the future.
Across from them, Li Xingming suddenly yelled, “The heck, this old man’s crops have ripened!”
Dashing back to his laptop, he groaned tragically, “Old Wai, you ***** stole my cabbages! Why didn’t you remind me to harvest them even after stealing them?!”
Old Wai smiled, replying, “You’d better hurry up then.”
Holding onto his mouse, Li Xingming hesitated for a moment before saying, “Hold on, I should notify Yangyang to steal it first before I harvest it.”
Xu Tingsheng found that in doing his ‘notification’, it was still QQ that he used. It was indeed a very difficult thing to change a habit like this.
Over the next five days, Xu Tingsheng attended lessons in school. There, from his classmates, teachers and schoolmates, he experienced the widespread popularity of Happy Farm firsthand, whether it was in the form of verbal disdain, enthusiastic discussions or requesting mutual support…
The atmosphere of the nationwide cabbage-stealing movement had really emerged.
At 11am on Saturday, He Yutan consolidated the week’s worth of data for Happy Farm and sent it to Xu Tingsheng.
23 million downloads, active user base over 70%, continually trending at the top of Weibo…
Screenshots of Happy Farm and requesting followers became the most prevalent Weibo content.
Weibo’s fans and usage rate shot up as the average number of followers per account skyrocketed too.
In a simple search of the internet, Xu Tingsheng found various tales and photoshopped images regarding the stealing of cabbages. News regarding public servants stealing cabbages while working began appearing on the media as well. There was much praise; there was much reproval. Some began trying to benefit from this craze, and some professionals started providing their ‘valuable’ opinions in criticising Happy Farm’s effects on ordinary life…
Everything was just as it had been in his previous life.
“Start adding in the fertiliser items,” Xu Tingsheng called He Yutan, saying calmly.
“Don’t you think this might be a little hasty?” He Yutan sounded rather hesitant.
“We’ll definitely lose some of them no matter what anyway. Also, these items of ours have low prices and those who launch Weibo will be gifted free ones everyday. There’s a fixed chance to randomly obtain some and a daily upper limit too. Having diminished the gap caused by utilising these items, I believe that the overall impact won’t be too great…” Xu Tingsheng explained.
Xu Tingsheng remembered that in the Happy Farm of his previous life, there had existed dogs that had anti-theft functionalities, capturing thieves and acquiring money...should he have that? Just a slight hesitation had been enough before he had decisively decided against it...this was something which severely impacted the enjoyment of the players, being a complete perversion and ruination of the game itself.
Only nearing the end of Happy Farm’s lifespan when he sought to profit off the ailing game for the last time would he consider this.
As for items like automatic pest-removers and crop-waterers, Xu Tingsheng similarly decided against them.
An increasing number of items to just to earn a little more wrecking the longevity of the game and their reputation-this was a lesson Xu Tingsheng had learnt from QQ’s Happy Farm in his previous life...
In fact, from what Xu Tingsheng remembered, a great many people had given up on the game due to the appearance of the dogs. With the enjoyment of stealing cabbages turned into worry and stress, the pleasure they had once gained from playing the game had declined drastically…
It was only inevitable that they would abandon the game with that.
Xu Tingsheng had completely given up on the game at this stage in his previous life. Before that, however he had felt disinterested in the game, he would still plant some crops and then harvest them for leisure when he was bored, this being a habit that had still been maintained.
“Right, Bro Tan, sort out and send me the data on Weibo’s new user base, categorised by age group...yes, I know that some people may have given false information. Just an approximate is fine. I’ll be troubling you then.”
One hour later, Happy Farm’s item shop went online.
Much dissatisfaction could be seen. And then, much money came in...the accumulation of all those miniscule amounts of money made it such that one hour later, their income had already surpassed a hundred thousand yuan…
After his initial excitement, Xu Tingsheng set the issue of money aside for the time being. What he was really most concerned about, the data on Weibo’s new, expanded user base, had finally been sorted out and sent over to him.
In the one week since the launch of Happy Farm, the number of people using Weibo itself had risen. Adding on those who had been drawn over by Happy Farm, they had gained over 20 million users over the past week as Xingchen Technologies had finally hit the grand one hundred million in their registered user base.
More than half the new users were eighteen and under, while the number of people over 45 years of age who had newly registered unexpectedly comprised 18 percent of them too...
This entailed that the brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, classmates...boyfriends, girlfriends, ‘spare tyres’, exes...father, mother, uncles, aunties, grandfathers, grandmothers, cousin x-removed, random relative Y...they had all entered together.
“Closely knit communities...finally, here you are.”
Xu Tingsheng pumped his fist in triumph, laughing heartily all alone in his room.
Whether or not these people were participating on their own accord or had been dragged into it, the crucial next step was to wait for more of such people to enter while thinking of a way to get them to stay. If they were able to retain these people, making them used to and reliant on this Weibo which was already gradually becoming different from that in his previous life…
In the future, just like the QQ of his previous life, Xu Tingsheng would be boosted greatly in whatever he did based upon this foundation…
Along with that, he would be able to completely grasp the preemptive and initiative when the turning point that was the era of wireless internet came.
At the same time, there were many others who were also paying attention to these underlying levels of meaning in front of their computers, such as those of Tianyi, such as Tencent and the other internet platforms, such as web portals and companies with similar upcoming projects..Lu Zhixin too was inevitably paying attention…
While they were unable to get precise data, they were able to perform a prediction through their teams on the sales situation, how they were profiting, how their user base and activity levels were increasing, even the composition of their new user base and the changes to Weibo’s biosphere...
Whatever these industry insiders deduced left them all feeling very amazed indeed.
“He wouldn’t have invested more than 200k in developing this game, right?”
“I think it should have been more like 150k.”
As they discussed this, these industry insiders began feeling very emotional and rueful indeed.
“So you could do it this way too...we invested some tens of millions on our user bases, yet the effects were probably less than half of his…”
“A minor piece’s meritorious service, this is already the second time...it was takeaway last time, and now it’s stealing cabbages. This Xu Tingsheng is skilled at the unorthodox and forging out alternate paths, yet somehow he is always able to succeed...really, it’s like there’s nothing that can stand in his way.”
“Do you think he will sell that copyright?”
“Only a fool would sell it! I think that whoever tries to imitate it even a little, he’ll lunge over and put up staunch, vehement resistance...don’t you remember? That Hucheng he first established was a company that dished out lawyer’s letters like they were poker cards. Nicknamed ‘number one lawsuit demons’ in the country’s field of commerce…”
Intellectual property was not very well protected within China at the current time. Still, what this meant was that the weaker were basically helpless against stronger, domineering opponents. If this involved a battle between enterprises who possessed similar high levels of influence, things might not be so straightforward then.
Adding up all Xu Tingsheng’s companies, who would dare say he wasn’t heavyweight enough?
Someone considered it for a bit before saying rather helplessly, “Even if someone doesn’t mind that hassle, with Weibo’s current user base and the time needed to produce a similar game, it would be at least three to four weeks before it could go online. It doesn’t look optimistic at all…”
In truth, this was how things were right now. The state of affairs now was already completely different from how the Tencent of Xu Tingsheng’s previous life could simply do whatever it wanted without a care for the consequences.
After answering call after call, having received virtually an entire virtual mailbox’s full of congratulatory texts, Xu Tingsheng grew fatigued.
“The crucial upcoming step is how to retain these people and tie them down to us.”
That previous scene of Li Xingming using QQ to notify someone about stealing cabbages had impacted Xu Tingsheng greatly.
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