A start-up firm is “tabula rasa” by nature and one of its major advantages is the possibility for great opportunities. Though well-established in our home court (country – Japan), we still count ourselves as newbies when it comes to markets outside of Japan. Resources are ready, support is already there, now our primary aim is to find the market that will greatly benefit from our services.
Learning from Japan’s Gaming Giants
One of Japan’s undeniably lucrative industries is the social gaming market; in the global gaming scene, Japan has captured a 10% share amounting to $6.5B. Web, mobile and social gaming independent consultant, Dr. Serkan Toto imparts on an informative presentation the reasons why there is a huge social gaming presence in Japan. Aside from the country having a 99% 3G penetration, platforms such as Gree and Mobage are pre-installed in handsets and ease of payment is prioritized – these are all you need to give good customer experience.
The US Gaming Scene – Where are they now?
Not far behind is the US social gaming market. According to the Casual Games Report 2012, 77.9 M Americans will play social games in 2012, a 20 M increase from 2010′s 57M.
There is, however, the question of reconciling the two nations in terms of the gaming industry. You would notice that there is little to no traction between the two, and here is what we found out about the “gaming world’s backstage” -
US-based game developers prefer directly selling their games to the English-speaking market; to cover ground, they sell the rights to their games to a Japanese party instead. This Japanese firm will then be the one to take care of localization (which could take 2 weeks to 2 months) and marketing of the game. This is, however, very costly as reportedly, it would cost approximately $300,000 to buy the rights to a single game title. On top of that, royalties need to be paid.
This is now the reason why Japanese publishers prefer to purchase rights to games from China and Korea, which are less expensive and maybe more appealing to the Japanese market; suffice to say that the opportunities of US game developers to gaining profitability from the Japanese market remains untapped. In the same way, perhaps the Japanese market is not provided with enough opportunities to full appreciate US-developed games.
On a wider scale, it is not only the Japanese market that the US game developers can try to penetrate, there is a bigger coverage for their market. Studies say that Asia-Pacific countries are highly influenced by social media.
It is a challenge if you come to think of it, but it will be quite the journey. There are indeed obstacles that are not easy to overcome but with the right medium, proper communication, and of course, stable infrastructure, a US game developer can easily get through to the Japanese gaming market.