In addition to developing and operating a number of classic global gaming IPs, such as the MMORPG Ragnarok Mobile: Eternal Love, Shen Xian Dao (HD), the popular CCG title Girls Frontline and the battle royale title Sausage Man. The company is also specialized in developing independent games. To date, XD has released and operated several notable paid games, including Terraria, Human: Fall Flat, To the Moon, ICEY, Muse Dash, Juicy Realm and Sands of Salzaar.
At its peak, VeryCD was among the world’s top 100 websites by traffic, and eMule was one of the most popular software in China. However, as P2P sharing was confronted with insurmountable barriers in IP, user experience, download speed and other aspects, VeryCD had to transform its business in 2010 after seven years of existence. Finally, we decided to join the Internet gaming industry by founding XD.
Our previous work with VeryCD has given us extensive experience in operating internet products and online community, as well as a team of veterans, many of whom are still holding various key positions at XD. More importantly, VeryCD, though a not-so-successful business, granted us a clearer understanding of the Internet industry and its business models.
We realized that a healthy content platform must meet the needs of users, content creators and platform operators at the same time. Such philosophy laid the foundation for TapTap’s business model.
After that, we launched the first in-house MMORPG Three Kingdoms and published Shen Xian Dao, both of which became great success right after they met the market. Moreover, Shen Xian Dao was the first browser game with a monthly turnover of over 100 million RMB, facilitating the growth and progress of the entire browser game industry.
In 2012, XD relocated to a stand-alone office building covering 7,000 square meters, and began its rapid expansion.
The flop of Xian Xia Dao forced us to reflect upon our approach: gameplay should never be sacrificed under pressure of publisher and distributor; players are always wise and we should always respect them by creating games that are truly interesting. Also, we were determined to develop the publishing business, seeking long-term value through full control over our own titles.
It was also at this point that we began to rethink the “joint operation” model. It was the mainstream model of the market at the time, but with little compatibility with our vision. Under the old model, publishers have too much say and influence and often distort product development, as they pay attention only to short-term value. These reflections not only rewrote XD’s approach in product development, but also shaped TapTap’s business model profoundly.
At the launch of Ragnarok Mobile: Eternal Love, we proudly announced our slogan: “create games with fine craftsmanship, win true respect and reward from players”. This has taken its root in the development concept of Ragnarok Mobile: Eternal Love as well as XD’s product strategy.
How to ensure that publishers do justice to good content, valuing them by quality instead of early profitability? How to gain traffic and achieve commercial success without conceding to publishers on modifying content?
As TapTap came into being shortly after, we seem to have clearer answers to these questions.
Since TapTap’s official launch, it has been a helpful partner for developers, a loyal friend for players, making profit through advertising instead of taking a cut from games with the traditional “joint operation” model.
After the creation of TapTap, XD has been working diligently on two fronts: building its capacity in R&D, and carrying out in-depth cooperation with other developers. The ultimate goal is to bring more quality products to TapTap, create a virtuous business cycle and a healthy business model, and ensure the long-term interests of content creators, players and the platform.
2016 saw the exclusive release of RO: Idle Poring for Android on TapTap. TapTap's innovative functions such as “pre-order”, “trial” and “forum” allowed developers to gain direct insight and feedback from players, so as to better optimize their games.
Meanwhile, we have been facilitating the development and publishing of indie games. In 2017, we released ICEY on TapTap, iOS and Steam and sold over 1 million copies across all platforms, introducing indie games to a wider audience. Later through publishing word-of-mouth titles such as To The Moon, Juicy Realm and Mush Dash, we gained Developer Room Banner recommendation in App Store, right behind Tencent and NetEase.
By building an inclusive community, TapTap brings developers and players together, turns our vision of “discovering good games” into reality.
The emphasis on long-term value has also had a significant impact on the company's operations. On 12 December 2019, XD (XD Inc, 2400.HK) was successfully listed in Hong Kong, and in our first Letter to Shareholders after the listing, released in April 2020, we made it clear that XD should focus solely on long-term value.
We abandon the traditional business model in which ROI lies at the core of game development. In our innovative model, game development and publishing provide TapTap with exclusive content with the highest quality, which drives TapTap's user growth. Leveraging its own strengths in product operation, TapTap is able to retain users and generate revenue, which in turn fuel first-party and third-party content creation. As more quality content comes to TapTap, the platform will continue to thrive along with developers, creating a win-win situation.
As of April 2021, over 2,000 “craftsman” have joined XD with the shared goal of creating exciting and quality content for players, and more importantly, contributing to the development of gaming industry.
Our story has just begun.