Recently, Huang Yimeng issued an open letter to shareholders, which reminds me of the first interview with Huang Yimeng in 2014. At that time, the label on his body was still the heartbeat of the web game “Shenxian Dao” that he started acting as an agent in 2011. This game was once the banner of China’s web game industry and has become the target of imitation by almost all competitors for a long time. Later, they released the iOS version of “Shenxiandao”, which was equally popular.
For a newly established company, relying on several successful products to bring stable cash flow is a very lucky thing, but Huang Yimeng’s goal is more than that. When funds ceased to be a problem in the short term, the most important issue became “choice”: Although he had a successful web game product in his hand, he soon realized that the development of the domestic web game industry was not healthy-in this In the industry, the most talked about is always short-term data, and he hopes to explore some “long-term performance” games. He believes that the mobile game market has broad prospects. “Users of mobile games will have higher requirements for game quality. In the era of mobile games, more products will be successful because of excellent quality.”
As for the future development path of the heartbeat? In the 2014 interview, Huang Yimeng stated quite firmly that the heartbeat will make developers do what they want to do and pursue the fun of the game. “I can even say that that is the future,” he said.
For the writer, it is interesting to look back at the reports written in the past. In those reports, we have collected and written some characters, discussed some issues, and expressed some expectations about the future. These words were written as words and preserved, and over a long period of time they became an interesting test: in our hypothesis about the future, some became true, others failed; some problems ceased to be problems, and new ones Things bring us new problems. Some people made their debut on the stage, gave people hope, and then disappeared; others just walked on the path they thought was right.
The question of opportunity
In that interview 7 years ago, Huang Yimeng mentioned the term “opportunity” most often. In the beginning, he and several founders founded XinDong because he played many web games at the time and thought he “definitely had a chance.” After a few years in the industry and after the release of the legendary “Shenxian Dao”, he realized that he “has a chance to go in another direction” and “has a chance to get rid of the shackles of channels on mobile phones.” In considering the transition from web games to mobile games, he said that “all types of games have a chance to succeed,” and even “a lot of small independent games have a chance.” Finally, when we talked about the beloved developers who are trying to make games from different directions, Huang Yimeng said happily, “You give them this opportunity to create, and they can create a lot of great things.”
Seven years later, Xindong has become a listed company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. After a full fiscal year, Huang Yimeng, the CEO, wrote a long shareholder letter. In the first half of this letter, I saw that he still focused on the word “opportunity”. He believes that the current game industry has opportunities for “generational leapfrogging”: single-platform games shift to full-platform games, stand-alone games shift to online games, and one-time consumer products shift to continuous paid services.
Specifically, he believes that the opportunity lies in the “intersection”: high-quality games that are consumed at one time on PCs and consoles and online games that provide continuous services will intersect, resulting in the emergence of some outstanding players with both attributes. works. While the “convergence” occurs, these products will have higher and higher requirements for the network, and more and more content and data will also be stored in the cloud, and will no longer die with the replacement of hardware-in the future, People’s game form, game content, and even their perception of games may change. For the gaming industry, this is a huge opportunity.
In Huang Yimeng’s view, the Chinese game industry and Chinese developers have their own opportunities. Regardless of the number of players, game output value or the scale of employees, China is the world’s largest local game market, which also gives domestic developers “the highest R&D budget in the mobile game field.” The so-called maximum budget does not mean that we will be able to make the highest quality products, but this “scale advantage” allows us to make large-scale cross-platform works that overseas counterparts dare not invest in. This may have been unimaginable a few years ago, but some domestic developers are turning this into reality-and good works will surely be unanimously recognized by players at home and abroad. This is an unbreakable iron law in the market.
Seven years ago, Huang Yimeng felt that he was “forced away by operations and revenue.” At that time, he was busy with the work of “Shen Xian Dao” and “Xian Xia Dao”. At that time, everyone generally adjusted the game based on income data, until he looked back and realized that “this game is not the same as what he wanted to do in the past. “. In the subsequent game development and operation, he tried his best to avoid going back to the old path of the year, and he also seized several important opportunities for this. Among them, it is very important to establish the TapTap platform and completely innovate the traditional channel model. A link.
In these years, I have discussed the channel issue with Huang Yimeng several times. In the era of web games, distributors have huge user resources. They evaluate and screen games according to their own standards, and label them with quality labels ranging from “S” to “B”-these labels often determine the success of a certain game. The promotion position and promotion strategy on the channel also determine its income and even its destiny. Such a market environment once made Huang Yimeng “a bit desperate.” On the one hand, he can understand the income pressure of channel providers. On the other hand, this kind of market logic undoubtedly makes many game developers have to move towards traffic and data-oriented roads.
At that time, Huang Yimeng told me that he believes that the future will change-although mobile games still inherited the operating strategy of web games at the initial stage, although the vast majority of people in the entire industry still focus on retention, payment rates and liquidity ——But he believes that it will change in the future. Talking about what a healthy market should look like, Huang Yimeng excitedly mentioned the App Store and its editor recommendations. He believes that “every game in it is really fun.”
I don’t know if Huang Yimeng at the time was already preparing to create a platform similar to the App Store. Two years later, in April 2016, TapTap was born. In a sense, the original TapTap is a bit like an Android game store that inherits the spirit of Apple: users can download a variety of games from TapTap, and TapTap editors will also provide users with high-quality games like the App Store. recommend. At the same time, TapTap tried to do something that Apple did not do: provide developers with comprehensive support services, do not extract any channel share, and build an active, high-quality, and close user community.
At the beginning of TapTap’s birth, domestic developers held a relatively conservative view of this platform. Some developers believe that before TapTap’s volume is built, its symbolic meaning is greater than its actual meaning. Another part of developers compares it with other intermodal platforms, Steam and App Store repeatedly: Is the so-called game store that focuses on the game itself rather than profit, too ideal in the domestic market environment?
As of today, I believe that TapTap’s performance is enough to dispel the worries of most developers. According to the promise made at the beginning of its establishment, TapTap became the first platform in the industry with “no intermodal transportation and zero revenue share for developers”, attracting a large number of developers and players to settle in, and gradually formed a unique “platform + research and development”. system. “Through exclusive content to bring users to TapTap and settle down, the exciting games will have a lot of extra benefits, allowing us to invest more boldly and confidently in game development; more self-developed exclusive games can give TapTap Bring more and more stable new users, and at the same time strengthen the product value of TapTap itself, the user precipitation and income brought by this can also feed back the game development and distribution.” Huang Yimeng said in the shareholder letter that the distribution and distribution of TapTap Community attributes, coupled with heartbeat self-research and development, this system will eventually form a unique business cycle.
To be honest, I am quite optimistic about the future development of TapTap-because it is special enough and there are almost no competitors in the same category. Huang Yimeng wrote in the shareholder letter: “Our goal is to make TapTap a full-cycle platform for serving players: From discovering games to playing and discussing games, TapTap will provide a complete set of high-quality services.” Interestingly, Huang Yimeng talks most often The target of the benchmark is not the major domestic manufacturers, nor the established Internet companies such as Apple and Google, but Netflix.
The question of efficiency
Huang Yimeng has compared the development model of his heart with Netflix more than once. To a certain extent, what Xindong is doing is similar to Netflix-Netflix provides users with streaming media services and also independently produces a large number of film and television programs. The two feed back each other.
Compared with the business model, Netflix may inspire Huang Yimeng more in corporate culture. He apparently read the book on Netflix’s corporate culture, and to a large extent promoted the principles in that book to his company. Huang Yimeng talked about ways to improve production efficiency in the shareholder letter. There are three points: one is to increase the density of talents, the other is to be honest and transparent, and the third is to reduce control and fully authorize. These methods are embodied in a series of specific measures in practice, such as providing employees with the highest salary standards in the market, opening almost all work documents and knowledge bases to all employees, using more efficient and convenient collaboration tools and communication tools, and adjusting Some cumbersome management policies and so on.
This reminds me of that interview in 2014. In addition to Huang Yimeng, I also interviewed other practitioners in the game industry at that time and asked them their views on Huang Yimeng and Xindong. When talking about Huang Yimeng’s holding a small “Game Jam” in the company and actively reflecting on whether the company suppressed the creativity of employees, one of the interviewees said: “It is very extravagant for him to reflect on this matter. This belongs to The kind of superstructure reflection without the pressure of survival… But someone in the entire industry must reflect on these things, otherwise there will be no development and progress. And I think he has the qualifications to think about it.”
From 2014 to today, Huang Yimeng’s thinking has continued from specific products to the company’s system, and also at the superstructure level, he has made a number of drastic reforms. In the shareholder letter, he stated that company management is also a kind of product design. As the company’s production form changes from generation to generation, the traditional manufacturing industry’s “time and labor-based” management method has been unable to adapt to the new era. The company’s form of “human intelligence and creation as the main output”.
Just like designing new rules for an innovative gameplay simulation business game, Huang Yimeng also set up a new standard for the company: “Context, not Control”. “Context” means that everyone has the ability to make the best judgment based on their actual work conditions, rather than following the rules step by step-of course, this also includes taking responsibility for all their own decisions.
In addition, Huang Yimeng also gave the participants of this game a brand new relationship: the most important relationship between colleagues is no longer family, but a team. So what is the ultimate goal of this game? It is the pursuit of a “world champion”-or rather, a great undertaking.
When I reviewed the report 7 years ago, I realized that my heartbeat is expanding at an exaggerated rate in these years. Seven years ago, Xindong had less than 400 employees, and today it has more than 2,000. Last year, Xingdong had several rounds of high-profile recruitment in the gaming circle-mostly due to remuneration far exceeding the industry average and some quite special talent needs. Huang Yimeng told us the results of these rounds of recruitment in the shareholder letter: “The number of R&D personnel has increased from 806 to 1,355, and R&D expenditures have increased by 110% year-on-year. Self-research capabilities are the shortcomings of the past. This is reflected in the development process, There are many shortcomings in project management and talent density.” Huang Yimeng said that after the introduction of talents and the strengthening of management tools and processes last year, Xintong “has been greatly improved in self-research.”
According to Huang Yimeng’s introduction, there are already several self-developed games at different stages. Two self-developed casual competitive games are undergoing closed testing on TapTap and are scheduled to be released globally this year. The other two “Torchlight: Infinite” and “Code: SSRPG” will announce more detailed game content and test plans at the TapTap conference in July this year. There are also two products that have received much attention, “Heartbeat Town” and “Project A”, which will also open their content and gameplay for the first time at the TapTap conference, and will open a closed test in the second half of this year.
Like any other decision-making, most of the products under development of Xintong have three clear goals: globalization, all ages, and long life cycle. It seems that they intend to attract the most loyal fans as quickly as possible, and together with the TapTap platform, they will travel all over the world. Last year, TapTap’s domestic monthly active users (MAU) increased by 43.7% year-on-year, and overseas TapTap users MAU increased by 330% year-on-year. This year, TapTap’s user growth is still the core goal of my heart.
Whether it is a first-party self-research or a third-party exclusive, good content can drive the growth of platform users is a strategy that has been repeatedly verified. In order to allow TapTap and game development to cooperate to the maximum extent, Xindong not only repurchased most of TapTap’s equity, but also completed the merger of TapTap and Xindong on the company’s management and re-established the team structure on this basis. A handful of TapTap recommendation algorithms, community operations, overseas testing, and the TapTap Developer Service (TDS) released during ChinaJoy last year… For Xin Dong, there is still a lot of important work.
Idealists…can solve problems
Not long ago, Xindong released a new brand promotional video. The content of the promotional video is very simple: the camera is aimed at several employees (they look like they are responsible for different tasks such as art, music, planning, etc.). When these employees look at the camera, two lines of words will appear in the center of the screen. ——The first line is the question of the public, and the second line represents their response. Finally, in the meaningful music, everyone came together, the picture went black, and the slogan was hit in the middle: “Never realistic, start to realize”.
I really like this documentary and the people in the film: they look peaceful, firm, and powerful. This may be a face that Huang Yimeng hopes to show, which belongs to the heart. In the shareholder letter, he also explained the slogan proposed in the promotional video: “We are a group of optimists who do not compromise with reality. We use our wisdom and courage to speak logic and strategy, and constantly look for better ones. , A more reasonable way to realize our ideals.”
Did you know that there are all kinds of idealists in this world. There are lovely idealists and unlovable idealists; there are cautious idealists, and there are also idealists who are ruined; there are idealists who learn to be rich, and there are idealists with empty heads. The so-called idealism comes when you open your mouth, and it is more real than real gold. Idealism alone cannot explain any problems.
What I like about Huang Yimeng is that he is an idealist who can get things done. I stayed in my heart for a while last winter, and I observed a corporate culture that is gradually being constructed from close range. Frankly speaking, on the one hand, I am fascinated by the frankness and determination they have shown in the corporate culture. On the other hand, I still can’t help asking the only old question-this question I asked 7 years ago. Journalists may have asked on different occasions 5 years ago, 3 years ago, and 1 year ago, that is-is all this too idealistic?
What Huang Yimeng told me at the time was that there are two types of idealism, the first is based on belief, and the second is based on reason and logic. What they had at first was belief, but then realized that doing so is also the right way, which can be proved by theory. He said, “Today we insist on being honest, insisting on kindness, and insisting on this direction, and when the logic makes sense, you will do it even more without hesitation.”
I know this is more than just a slogan. When I reviewed the report 7 years ago, and the many reports we published in the past 7 years on Xintong, TapTap and its various products, I realized that Huang Yimeng has been unswervingly walking on the one that he believes to be correct. On the road, and with extraordinary execution ability, the goals made in the past have been turned into reality one by one: improving self-research capabilities, opening up the mobile game market, changing the channel operation model, and most importantly, “persisting in making games you like.”
From today’s point of view, he did it all.
Author: Zhu Jiayin
Source: Touch Music