Chapter 768: Pirated copies start appearing!
Translator: Legge Editor: - -
On the same day.
The news of this was appearing all over the place!
"Plants vs. Zombies latest attack!"
"Launch day downloads set new record!"
"Industry insiders predict: Plants vs. Zombies to reach 100 million downloads within six months!"
"Zhang Ye-A person who keeps rewriting his legend!"
"Zhang Ye gives invaluable boost to domestically developed games!"
"The future looks bright for domestically made puzzle games!"
"Plants vs. Zombies steamrolls all similar genre games in this quarter!"
"Zhang Ye has written his name into the annals of China's gaming industry! An insurmountable achievement for puzzle games that others may never beat has been made!"
All of the media was harping about it!
The game was selling like crazy! Newspapers were also selling like crazy!
"What a great feeling!"
"We've really given the foreigners a run for their money this time!"
"Those sales numbers, they're too damn unbelievable!"
"Those other foreign-made games that went on sale in the same period were still boasting about how they wanted to achieve sales of several million or tens of millions during their promotions, but look at this now! They didn't even get close to Plants vs. Zombies!"
"Plants vs. Zombies is on fire! Zhang Ye is also on fire!"
"Thinking about how Central TV Department 1 was trying to put Zhang Ye in cold storage, it really feels like they have been living in their own world all this while thinking that it could work! Zhang Ye is such a godly person. Whichever industry he goes to, he can always shine! How do you stop someone like that? How can you stop someone like that? How laughable are those Central TV Department 1 execs, thinking that they could have the last say in things!"
"Yeah, even the SARFT couldn't keep him down, so who does Central TV Department 1 think they are?"
"Right, if Teacher Zhang intends to keep his popularity, he can just make a game every two months. Not only can he maintain his popularity, he might even gain a significant amount of popularity!"
"It's just a pity about Zhang Ye's program planning talent. Hai, I really like those variety shows he created!"
"I like them too, but I guess there's no way to avoid that. Central TV Department 1 has already cut off his path in the area, so there's no hope that we'll see Teacher Zhang's programs for at least the next half a year or more. We'll have to wait until his contract with Central TV Department 1 runs out. Hai. So during this period, Teacher Zhang will have to find other, unconventional ways to keep increasing his popularity!"
In the following few days.
The download numbers for Plants vs. Zombies continued to soar. The speed at which it increased made the netizens and industry insiders watch while somewhat aghast!
2 million downloads!
5 million downloads!
8 million downloads!
The numbers were skyrocketing!
Ignoring the outsiders, even the staff of the video game company that made Plants vs. Zombies were shuddering at this. It was like they were in a dream, afraid they would wake up at any moment!
Many of Zhang Ye's friends congratulated him.
Big Saber Bro: "Teacher Zhang has created yet another glorious achievement!"
Dong Shanshan: "Congratulations!"
Fan Wenli: "A milestone for domestically made games! An insurmountable achievement!"
Yao Jiancai: "@ZhangYe get me serial code for the game, quickly!"
There were also a few gaming industry insiders who left their comments for Zhang Ye.
Yellow Star Game's Deputy CEO: "Plants vs. Zombies has opened the door for the gaming world. I have never been so confident of our domestic games market than I am today!"
A famous video game producer: "This is our domestic games market's counterattack!"
In the past, their understanding was that casual games were only meant for niche audiences. This was true both domestically and internationally. Many people don't seem to take such puzzle games seriously, believing that they were made by small, indie game companies that did not have the resources or money to develop a proper game. But today, Plants vs. Zombies had changed everyone's mindset with a flick of the wrist! A niche genre? Puzzle games were definitely not a minor genre! It had a massive market that no one could have expected in the past! Looking at the number of downloads of Plants vs. Zombies, would a minor genre video game create such a miracle?
Therefore, puzzle games were also part of the mainstream video game genres!
Although the barrier to entry was low, and the price of such games was low or even free, these were exactly the advantages that puzzle games had. Due to its lightweight size, with the games taking up some tens of megabytes to over a hundred megabytes or so, it made it very convenient to download. If you felt like playing, you'd only take a minute to download and install it. On top of that, the low cost model of such games also attracted a larger group of players, making small profits but with a large volume. The budget needed to produce a puzzle game definitely wasn't going to be greater than that of a large-scale RPG or MMO. In the past, everyone thought that the puzzle game genre was niche because they did not have Zhang Ye's capabilities to make a game that was like Plants vs. Zombies! Not because this genre was underperforming!
The gaming world couldn't be more excited!
Zhang Ye had opened up a path for them, a path that would help them disrupt the movement of foreign games. Due to the differences in technical standards, they were still temporarily unable to create those exquisite 3D-rendered, large-scale games. Other than having a slight advantage in the domestic games market with their xianxia genre video games, they were no match for foreign video game companies in the genres of first-person shooters, fantasy, action, etc. Compared with them, they were of a different class, as some did not have the budget, while others did not have the technical capabilities. However, it was different for puzzle games since they did not have much of a technical barrier to them. What did these games depend on? Creativity! It was creativity that would brighten your eyes! Plants vs. Zombies had given them a good start and let those domestic video game companies struggling on the verge of bankruptcy see the light at the end of the tunnel!
On the fourth day after the launch of the game.
Fat Sis officially invited Zhang Ye to a celebratory feast held at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel. All thirty-odd employees of the company were present as well!
There was an abundance of dishes.
There was no lack of alcohol either.
Fat Sis raised her wine glass and declared, "Zhang'er, a toast to you!"
The two Deputy CEOs of the company chorused, "A toast to you!"
"Let's not stand on such ceremony." Zhang Ye clinked his glass with theirs. "This is the collective effort of everyone, not mine alone, so let's not give a particular toast to anyone and just drink together."
One of the Deputy CEOs had taken just a sip of white wine and his face had immediately flushed red. "We've really done ourselves proud this time!"
Fat Sis asked, "Zhang'er, do you think that Plants vs. Zombies can exceed 100 million downloads?"
Zhang Ye laughed. "I don't know, but I think there's a good chance."
A female staff member said excitedly, "It's definitely not going to be a problem! We've already reached 8 million downloads today! I think we can finish the week with 10 million downloads!"
Another staff member added, "Yeah, the sales figures are also out. Paying customers stand at 47% of all users and there are literally millions of yuan coming in every day!"
Their company had initially developed their previous game with an investment of a few million RMB. But after Zhang Ye made his changes to it, although the outlook of the game had changed drastically in Plants vs. Zombies, the core game engine was still the same and there was no need to rebuild the game from scratch. Therefore, even though the publicized investment amount of Plants vs. Zombies was over ten million, it was just a figure of speech and did not reflect anything too accurately. If they were to exclude Zhang Ye's endorsement, copyright, and production fees, the entire sum the company invested was just several million RMB, which was also the maximum amount that their company could afford at that time.
But now, their returns were obviously going to be much greater!
The daily earnings of Plants vs. Zombies were almost about to offset the entire investment into this game! The remaining sales were pure profit! This time, they were going to earn big!
During the dinner, the atmosphere was extremely warm and the staff were all visibly excited.
After some pushing around of wine glasses, Fat Sis looked at Zhang Ye and brought up the matter of the endorsement fee again. "Zhang'er, the game is selling like crazy because of you. You were the one who designed this game, but we have yet to talk about your endorsement and copyright fee. We had a management meeting at the company yesterday and touched on this matter. Whatever is between you and me shall remain private, but we still have to keep business as business and make everything clear beforehand."
Zhang Ye gave a wave of his hand. "Fat Sis, we can talk about this in the future. I don't have any need for money right now, nor do I have anywhere to spend it on."
"But still..." Fat Sis replied.
"Why don't we do it this way." Zhang Ye smiled. "When I need the money in the future, I will ask you for it!"
Fat Sis thought about it and decided, "Fine. I will convert some shares for you and make you one of the company shareholders. As for the amount of the share, I will discuss this with my sister and see how to suitably deal with this. Once I have the details, we can meet again and discuss it. If there're any requests you may have, you can let me know as well."
Zhang Ye bluntly responded, "There's no need to discuss this with me again. Just talk to Old Wu about it and I will listen to her."
These words sounded a little strange.
Fat Sis gave him a look and asked, "You seem rather close with my sister."
Zhang Ye, realizing what he'd said, quickly added, "Yes, Old Wu is my old boss, so whatever my old boss says, I definitely have to accept."
Only then did Fat Sis realize.
Suddenly, a phone call came in.
Fat Sis answered it. "Hello...Yes...What!?"
After she got off the call, Fat Sis did not look too good and everyone gathered around her anxiously.
The Deputy CEO asked, "What's the matter?"
Zhang Ye also asked, "What happened?"
Holding back her anger, Fat Sis said, "There's a pirated version of Plants vs. Zombies that's appeared online!"
"How could that be!"
"How did it happen so quickly?"
"This is bad news!"
Everyone's faces turned pale!
Pirated version? These were the words that a video game company feared hearing, something that was as bad as taking their livelihood away! The domestic games market already wasn't good to begin with, so if their games were pirated, then what would there be left to make money from? Their earnings would surely take a hit and they might even end up with nothing!
Actually, they had already made preparations for this before the release of the game. Piracy was not a stranger to any video game company, and they knew that it was impossible to avoid it. But even though they were prepared, they couldn't have expected the pirated copy to come so quickly, so quickly that it caught them off guard!
Fat Sis said, "Previously, our company's released games would take a very long time to get pirated, with some taking up to six months or so. That was because our games did not sell well and there weren't exactly many players either, therefore there wasn't any commercial viability for the pirates to spend too much time cracking those games. However, this time, Plants vs. Zombies has become so incredibly popular across the country that those pirates and opportunists must have laid their eyes on this game immediately! They're out to steal our livelihood! Those bunch of bastards!"
Zhang Ye frowned. "They can play even without the serial code now?"
The group of employees beside them started checking online for more information!
Fat Sis nodded. "After the first three levels of the game, they don't need the serial code for the game to work anymore, but that only works until the sixth level. Right now, this pirated copy of the game is not fully cracked and there are still a lot of bugs in it. Many of those who play the pirated version will have the game crash to desktop once they complete the sixth level, which is why we don't need to be too worried for now."
One of the Deputy CEOs said, "We can't not be worried! This game has only been released for a few days and there's already a pirated copy going around. It's only a matter of time before they crack the entire game. Besides, now that many of the players who had intended to purchase the game know about this, who knows if a majority of them will decide to not pay for it anymore and just wait a little longer for the pirated sources. This will affect our sales so much that it's surely going to be a devastating blow to us!"
Fat Sis nodded and said, "Yes!"
Everyone's hearts felt heavy.
Plants vs. Zombies was only just budding, with the media and industry both holding such high hopes for it that they even announced that the game would be able to get a hundred million downloads. But as it turned out, it took just a few days for the pirates to come and destroy its potential! If the game was fully cracked, then how many more official sales of their serial codes would take place? If they depended on domestic market physical sales, there would still be sizable earnings. Together with advertising and other partnerships, they could receive an income from those channels, but the sale of the game's serial code was still the most basic source of earnings for the company and also the largest chunk of it, so this was a channel that they couldn't afford to lose!
At least, they couldn't lose it so quickly!
"What should we do now?"
"Those bunch of wicked pirates!"
"Fuck their ancestors!"
Faced with this unexpected bad news, many of them began cursing. They were no longer in a celebratory mood. With this bad news, the progress that Plants vs. Zombies had gained for the company would all come to naught!
Grasping the situation, Zhang Ye thought for a moment and then stated with a smile, "Hmm, why don't we do this? I'll give it a try and see if we can bring the piracy under control."
The Deputy CEO was taken aback by this suggestion. "What are you going to do?"
The other Deputy CEO replied, "You can even bring piracy under control? How are you going to control it?"
Zhang Ye did not answer them and just said, "I'm going to make a call. Like I said, we can only give it a try."