Mobile social gaming is prouder and bigger in Japan than anywhere else in the world. This gigantic local market in Japan continues its growth with social gaming companies and platform providers generating one innovation to the next. In the last year alone, the social gaming industry in Japan has reached $3.26 billion with a predicted increase year over year. However, just this year, one of the most popular gaming mechanics called kompu gacha became a controversial topic especially for parents who pay the debt of their kids who play these games. This profit-making scheme has been banned by the government which has led to lower profits for gaming providers.
Millions of social gamers in Japan had been enticed by this gambling-like scheme as it allows them to win special virtual items by buying other items first. It lets players to have a more exciting and enhanced gaming experience. Unfortunately, many gamers have been spending way too much money on such games, including children who do not really have a clear idea on the financial consequence of playing these games. This has prompted the government to regulate this kind of social game monetization technique to address recent complaints and avoid unnecessary spending especially by naïve mobile users. The mere fact that Japanese consumers are willing to pay that much money for a mobile game presents a clear picture of how massive this industry is in this country.
Japanese mobile social gamers enjoy the convenience of having to pay through their mobile phones with carrier billing. This only encourages more of them to play their favorite games even for a higher cost. Card games though seemingly traditional in the outside realm still hold a top spot in the hearts of Japanese mobile gamers. Some of the most popular games in the local scene involve role playing and manga-related topics which have been integral to the modern culture of the Japanese people. Other top ranking games deal with the social lives of consumers such as dating and other love related activities.
Of course, with Facebook taking over the social network industry, local users also enjoy games wherein they could manage their own farms and restaurants. While Facebook has experienced a level of success in Japan, other foreign gaming companies will have to do more in order to penetrate this closed market where homegrown providers still lead such as Gree and DeNa. Both of these companies are trying to break into the international market with acquisitions and offices in other countries.
While Japanese developers can easily produce advanced graphic designs for social games, local patrons already find entertainment in fun, interactive and simple graphics which are engaging enough for them to pay and play. But while cute and interesting avatars and anime graphics capture the attention of this crowd, the core or story of the game is still the main attraction. Compared to console games, developers could find an easier time and spend fewer money when generating a social game just as long as they have the right idea. Many video game developers are even setting their sights on this more lucrative market that they can transition to.
Another factor that makes the Japanese one of the most addicted social media gamers in the world is the fact that they love to interact with other players and their friends through these mobile games. They could play against someone from another country, invite close friends to join their circle or simply chat while playing. And since many of these gaming programs are often already installed on their phones, users are even more swayed to play instantly.
Though the kompu gacha stoppage caused a little dent on the financial growth of social games for now, the market is still seen to be a strong one in the coming years. With the advent of the smartphone and eventual dying of feature phones in the market, more local players will be lured into downloading more games in their mobile phones as the technology gets even better. With 3G networks being reliable for users and more innovations in the works, there is no doubt that Japanese players will still hold a great percentage of worldwide users in the social media gaming industry.
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About the Guest Author:
Rodolfo Lentejas, Jr. is a fulltime freelance writer based in Toronto. He is the founder of the PostSckrippt, a growing online writing business dedicated to producing top quality, original and fresh content. To know more about him, please visit www.postsckrippt.ca. Like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.