Chapter 400: Stealing cabbages, how childish
Over a decade later, people would think that QQ was already outdated. Many would find that Tencent’s ways were not that classy. Some would also believe that if someone had done a powerful mobile platform of Wechat earlier, they might have had a chance of taking down Tencent.
What was most erroneous with this belief was that with the foundation of QQ already existing at this point in time, even if someone had created Wechat beforehand, Tencent could simply make a ‘mountain shack’ or imitation application, thereby smashing Wechat into smithereens with that.
Tencent had already proven this with QQ Dance, GKart…countless imitation versions. What you do, I can do too. Even if I do it worse, I still win.
The basis of this was its very foundation of QQ.
QQ entailed an incomparably huge user base, ranging from young kids to the elderly and encompassing the various stratas of society as it had virtually integrated completely into their lives.
Admittedly, there were also many people on Tieba and online forums. Free online platforms like 360 as well as the current Hucheng and Weibo had also been created with accumulating a user base in mind, having been quite successful in this.
Yet, they were still unable to operate like QQ, unimpeded in all domains and achieving victory in all its campaigns. The reason behind this was that there was still a large gap, or one might say difference between them and QQ. It was the coexistence and coreliance of their populations.
Friends, family, colleagues…it enabled close bonds between people that were integral to the point of them being unable to abandon it. Such was QQ’s greatest advantage, lacked by all its other competitors. This also made it such that other platforms were destined never to be able to match it.
Letting go of a habitual QQ account was far more troublesome than losing a forum account, because there would be far too many people that one was close to and had to keep in touch with on it.
Only in later times with the appearance and prevalence of Wechat had QQ’s dominance been diminished as Wechat had replaced it to some extent. Wechat belonged to QQ too, though, as could only be the case. Only Tencent was capable of offing itself.
Of the eventual ‘BTA hegemonic trio’ that would consist of Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, Alibaba had been the most eminent as countless flocked to it while Baidu had been thought of as being the most monopolistic in nature, bearing the most contention too. Still, in actual fact, it was Tencent with its mountain shack tactics that was often mocked for cheating the money of little children in selling them QQ coins that was the largest, the most valuable and the stablest, being the toughest to overthrow.
In terms of influence, it surpassed the other two companies by far, far too much. Its foundation that was QQ allowed it to be completely dauntless, possessing full confidence in all its actions.
Having missed out on the times before QQ’s rise to prominence, Xu Tingsheng had considered being the future Wechat instead.
Yet, just like he thought, if things followed their current progression, anyone who did Wechat in the future would be offed by Tencent unless they possessed a user base similar to QQ’s, with the enabling of social bonds being most essential, before the era of mobile platforms arrived…
With that, even if they were inferior to Tencent, they would still have a shot at surpassing it eventually as the era of mobile platforms arrived.
Also, while the current QQ already had a few hundreds of millions of registered users, with tens of millions of concurrent users, it was still not completely unshakeable like it would become in a few years.
This was the reason behind Xu Tingsheng frenziedly burning money in producing Weibo now. Also, he hoped that he would be to make a few changes to Weibo, with the ultimate goal of facilitating social interactions between relatives, friends and fellow students who were the foundation of such a platform. Only after that came strangers, allowing them to also have deeper connections on Weibo such that it would be very difficult for them to give up on it.
This was what the Weibo of his previous life had failed to do. While achieving it would be very difficult indeed, if he was really able to succeed, it would pave him a smooth path forward, especially in the future when mobile platforms might replace ones on computers as the mainstream.
Difficult problems do not necessarily require complicated methods. Sometimes, the correct way to resolve difficult situations is through the slow accumulation of the simplest things.
Considering his long-term goal and how he was always urgently lacking in funds, Xu Tingsheng thought of a game-Happy Farm.
While this game seemed childish as it also would lose its popularity after not all that long a time, it was like a virus in how it could get countless people addicted and frenziedly engaged within a short period of time…
It could earn him much money, earn small sums of money from a great many people with these meagre amounts stacking up to mean a lot.
It would also be able to cultivate a healthy user base on Weibo which would hence be different from the Weibo of his previous life. This was because while very few would be able to call their parents and grandparents and virtually everyone of all ages to play WOW together…they could all steal cabbages together.
To allow their grandchildren to have a place to steal cabbages and be happy, grandparents would soundlessly join in and plant some yet not harvest them…but when the time came for these to be stolen, having already played for some time, they themselves would be addicted, hence finding some other elderly people to play it together. And in the end, they would just be unable to keep themselves from stealing the cabbages of their grandchildren too in the middle of the night.
Xu Tingsheng had seen many a case of this before.
There had even been some dozen news reports about public servants being punished because of stealing cabbages.
When Xu Tingsheng had been a teacher in his previous life, many of his colleagues who lacked familiarity with QQ had joined because they wished to steal cabbages. There had been this teacher who had painstakingly instructed the others in the staffroom to help harvest his cabbages for him as he had a lesson next period and they were already nearly ripe.
His colleagues had easily agreed. Yet, when the time arrived, they had gone on a wave of stealing first before helping him with his harvesting. In the end, at his complaints, they said ‘labour fees’.
This game had caused the whole of society to be collectively ‘childish’ for around half a year.
This was precisely the effect Xu Tingsheng wanted to achieve. He wanted to do so with Weibo, earning money and accumulating a closely knit community of users.
His project team had already been preparing for this for a long time. As the upgraded version of an ordinary flash game, Happy Farm itself was actually not that difficult to produce as the initial investment sum had merely been around two hundred thousand. Its success and failure were predicated on the platform-his foundation, Weibo’s user base, had already reached over 80 million registered users.
Happy Farm’s first testing was done internally in Xingchen Technologies. At the same time, in order to obtain the relatively more objective opinions of ‘outsiders’, Xu Tingsheng gave those of the Black Horse Club as well as Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng, Song Ni and the rest test accounts.
In the end, Huang Yaming, Fang Yuqing and the other guys threw their mouses aside as soon as they saw the plots of land and the cabbage seedlings in their inventories.
“Bro Xu, this is really too childish! I can’t do it…hey, how about you find some primary school kids to test the game instead? Though I don’t know if they use Weibo or not,” Tan Yao said.
Even they exhibited such a reaction, let alone more mature ones like Ye Qing and Wu Kun. Their feedback to Xu Tingsheng basically consisted of some ‘wry smile’ emoticons via text.
Godly Swindler Xu had run out of ideas and was really done for this time…was what many people thought.
Childish, a waste of time. Xu Tingsheng had actually felt the same way before in the past. It stemmed from the fact that he had started playing this game much later than most people, his level always having been comparatively low as a result…he had even been disdained for a long time due to the cabbages on his land not being valuable enough.
Of course, even so, those people had still stolen whatever they could. Wasn’t sesame still food?
A negative reception also came from Xingchen Technologies’ internal testing…this is our boss’s trump card? Is this a joke? Is this still that same boss who led us to create Weibo?
No one thought well of this game, Hu Chen and He Yutan…as well as Lu Zhixin who did not know how she should feel included. She should actually be happy to see Xu Tingsheng at his wit’s end, because it entailed a greater possibility of her plans succeeding. Still, she had mixed emotions.
Xu Tingsheng gave no explanation at all. Whether by pressure or coercion…he got everyone who was involved in the internal testing added to his friends list, next planting the cabbages…
“Two days later, everyone must have planted some. Give your feedback after stealing,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Why could a little game like this see everyone enthralled?
Pettiness, an unwillingness to see their property being taken away by others without getting back at them. Greed, earning without labour. These were two weaknesses of human nature. Capturing these weaknesses and fulfilling them, satisfying them, was the name of the game…
Getting stolen from once, feeling pained once. Stealing from others once, obtaining that corresponding joy once. People just had no way of stopping before they found this totally flavourless.
“Two days later, the top three in the rankings will get prizes. First prize, 8000. Second prize, 5000. Third prize, 3000…” Xu Tingsheng relayed the news in the relevant private group chat.