In February of 2021, Tencent announced that its classic mobile music game “Rhythm Master” would be suspended as existing digital infrastructure could not maintain normal operations. At that time, the tech giant didn’t confirm that the game would be permanently shut down. On December 26 of this year, however, the team responsible announced that they would start initial technical tests, indicating the game’s eventual return.
The testing is due to start from 15:00 on December 26 to 24:00 on January 3, 2023. The closed alpha test is only open to 10,000 Android device users, while iOS players are temporarily excluded.
Rhythm Master was developed by Tencent‘s Lightspeed & Quantum Studios in 2012. The game involves adding sliding notes on the basis of traditional percussion playing, also open to users’ friends on WeChat and QQ. The game’s most attractive feature was its ranking system, whereby players could compete with their friends on the same stage. In 2013, the number of its daily active users reached 16 million.
Rhythm Master is an entry-level product for the first generation of mobile game users. At that time, casual games such as “Fruit Ninja” and “Angry Birds” were also popular. Tencent‘s founder Pony Ma frequently posted screenshots of Rhythm Master on social platforms, and said that he “finally is good at a social mobile game.”
Tencent‘s financial report for the third quarter of 2022 shows that its revenue was 140.1 billion yuan ($20 billion), down 2% year-on-year, and its net profit was 39.94 billion yuan, up 1% year-on-year. More specifically, game revenue in the Chinese market was 31.2 billion yuan, down 7% year-on-year. Tencent believed that the reason for the decline lies in the transitional challenges of the industry, which reduced the number of paying users.
On December 15, Tencent held an internal online meeting with the theme of reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Pony Ma adjusted his mild style of encouragement seen in previous years, and bluntly said that “there is not much time left for some businesses.”
Time Finance‘s statistics showed that Tencent shut down and removed at least 16 applications during the year, including digital collection platform Huanhe, video platform QQ Player, news app Kuaibao, Sogou Map, and WiFi Butler. In addition, 29 games have been taken off digital shelves, some of which have been available for a long time, such as QQ Tang and QQ Lianliankan. However, more projects have been online for only one or two years and were cut due to a lack of users.