(Yicai Global) July 18 -- The iOS version of Chinese internet giant NetEase’s martial arts multiplayer online game Justice Online, which has been subject to a CNY1 billion (USD139.5 million) development, surged to first place on the US tech giant’s App Store’s free game chart the day it landed.
More than 40 million people reserved Justice Online for iOS before its release and it has remained in the top three on the App Store’s free and paid charts since its debut on June 30.
Justice Online raked in CNY25.6 million (USD3.6 million) on the App Store’s paid chart that first day, according to app data platform Diandian. As of July 5, it had raked in estimated earnings of CNY167 million (USD23.3 million), around CNY28 million a day.
NetEase has pumped more than CNY1 billion into the game, which the Hangzhou-based company first launched on personal computers in 2018, as it vies for market share with gaming giants Tencent and miHoYo.
The latest version deploys hundreds of smart non-human players powered by artificial intelligence, said Zou Jiaxuan, a NetEase senior director and producer of the game. The AI engine uses a generative large language model developed by NetEase’s Fuxi AI Lab. The LLM learns from players' behavior in the game and provides real feedback, he added.
NetEase aims to operate the game for at least a decade, which is possible, said Zhang Shule, a gaming industry analyst. Legend Games and World of Warcraft, a game that is no longer available on the mainland after the licensing deal between NetEase and the US’ Blizzard Entertainment ended in January, had a life cycle of around 20 years.
But whether Justice Online can stay popular in the intensely competitive mobile game market will depend on the game's content and updates, Zhang said.
Editors: Shi Yi, Kim Taylor