At the 2022 Game Industry Conference, Beijing Jianyou Technology Co., Ltd., the developer of the pass-through mini game “Sheep a Sheep”, which became a national online sensation on China’s social media last year, said that the company’s revenue had exceeded 100 million ($15.6 billion), and the team had expanded from 10 employees to 20.
At its peak time, 7 of the Top 50 trendy topics on Twitter-like Weibo were related to “Sheep a Sheep”, and its traffic caused the server to collapse three times within a span of two days. At present, there is no independent app for the game, and users can find it in WeChat’s mini-programs. The rules of the game are very simple. There are 7 slots, and players only need to move 3 identical squares into the slots to eliminate them.
From all angles, “Sheep a Sheep” was not a key project of Jianyou Technology at the beginning. Zhang Jiaxu, founder of the company, pointed out that, except for him, three people were responsible for the game, all of whom are not industry elites. The reason why there was such a small team was mainly due to the tight budget.
In 2021, Zhang Jiaxu left Hortor Games, where he worked for 5 years, to start a business. Previously, he had created “Pirates Coming”, the first WeChat game with a monthly earning of over 100 million yuan. Even so, Zhang’s entrepreneurship has not been easy. In mid-2022, Jianyou Technology was on the verge of going bust before relying on a casual shooting game “Moon Village”, for which it garnered some investment from Leiting Games.
However, in this process, Zhang found that matching games were popular in overseas markets, and there was no hit game in that field in China. In the beginning, Zhang positioned “Sheep a Sheep” as a very lightweight game, and they needed to complete the development at the lowest cost in just three months. His expectation for this game was 200,000 yuan in revenue every quarter.
Zhang said, “The initial cost of this game is only 500,000 yuan. When we first launched it on TikTok’s sister app Douyin, it didn’t meet expectations, but the fission factor, which refers to the proportion of players willing to share the game, was very good. When the WeChat version was launched, its daily active users reached one million in less than two weeks, and the heated discussion on Weibo was an accelerator. Next, I hope to make customized content for each platform. A new leisure puzzle game for female users has also been in internal testing.”