Qihoo 360, an Internet security software and access company, and Giant Interactive Group, an online game operator, announced they will collaborate on the operation of Qianjun Online, the micro-client version of ZT Online 2. This cooperation shows Qihoo 360's ambition of entering the online gaming market although the company insists it will not develop games. As a result of this partnership, Qianjun Online will be available on Qihoo 360's game open platform with a user base of over 400 million. The micro-client version means that the installation file size is around one percent of the MMOs installation original client file size, but it will not change the game experience for users. The companies claim Qianjun Online keeps nearly all of the mechanics of ZT Online 2 with improved graphics, designed characters and quests. Also Qianjun Online employs Qihoo 360's latest internet security technologies to strengthen the protection of users' game accounts.
Both companies could benefit from the partnership. This is Giant's first extension into a micro-client game. By collaborating with Qihoo 360 and using its game open platform, Giant has gained access to one of the biggest operation platforms in China with substantial a user base. This could help Qianjun Online accumulate players rapidly and enable Giant to expand the user base of other client-based games such as World of Xianxia which is starting its open beta testing soon. The micro-client game strategy is a new attempt for both companies. If it succeeds, it might offer new opportunities for both platform companies and games companies and Qihoo 360 could be the leader in this business.
However, this new approach might pose challenges as well. Micro-client game features are similar to browser games including content, character design and technology which could create fierce competition between them and audience targeting might be not clear. Qianjun Online might succeed thanks to its origin from ZT Online 2 while other complete new micro-client games are likely to fail with no accumulated user base and unfamiliar stories. Moreover, although Qihoo 360 is willing to seek partnerships with other games companies in this business, other big companies such as Tencent, NetEase, which have their own open platform will probably refuse and operate games by themselves instead.