Japan remains to be a sturdy and voracious market for social game creators. But unlike the Western countries, Japan focuses on mobile gaming—from regular to smart phones to portable consoles. With these platforms, the social gaming in Japan grows into both a dynamic and highly competitive market and producer. The giant developers in Japan that started it all are Nintendo, Sony, Capcom, and Sega.
Decades passed and a new breed of game developers emerged and caught the interests of Japanese as innovative social games swept across the web and mobile phones. The social gaming in Japan is led by three social network media, namely, Mixi, Gree, and Mobage-town. They are accessed by consumers using their mobile phone rather than a web browser. Half of the population in Japan has social gaming as among their past time. This data is given by Pikkle developer, David Collier, who believes the Japanese market for social gaming is as huge as the American.
M-create ranking revealed that as of August 2012, Nintendo continues to dominate the local gaming market with an allocation of 70 per cent. Such figure does not constitute both the hardware and software, however. But with hardware alone, Nintendo owns 75 per cent of the market, followed by Sony with 23 per cent. Nintendo also owns the list of the top 10 bestseller consoles—five 3Ds, four Wii, and one DS.
Gree, on the other hand, shifts to feed the voraciousness of hardcore game players with a goal of bringing video game market to smartphones.
Entering the Japanese Social Gaming Market
With a promising market, it is not a wonder then, why many game developers from the United States, the Western countries, and neighboring Asia express a desire to join the competition in social gaming in Japan. In fact, there are already many foreigners who came to Japan to develop social games for the Japanese.
Translation of the game to Japanese is the foremost consideration of foreign game developers. Of course this is implied considering that while many of the Japanese speak English, almost the entire social gaming market prefers their native language. Both in history and culture, Japanese turn their backs on games with any foreign language.
Culturalization is another factor. To make the social games more attractive to gamers, game developers structure their game contents to reflect the real life scenario in Japan. This only makes sense as Japanese have been used to playing social games with streets and sceneries in Japan graphicalized on game consoles as what the pioneering game developers did from the beginning. And given the patriotism character of Japanese, there is no reason why new game developers should deviate from such culture.
Uninterrupted and smooth game experience is important as well. Imagine the scenario of hot gamers at the height of a game, only to be obstructed by bugs. Such can turn gamers off. Debugging the game is as essential as each component of a social game. Before the game is launched in the market, the same should be run-tested and reviewed for any error and incompatibility with devices.
Social game is similar to an online shop, a customer service or online banking in the sense that it should be running all throughout the day for 24 hours. Though this may not be difficult to achieve, it may have issues from time to time. Game developers understand, of course, that their servers need to be high-performance capable of accommodating hundreds, if not thousands of online gamers.
A “must” feature of a social game is the online game support accessible any time by the game users and inquiries responded upon within the 24-hour period.
Not the least of all is the social game’s promotion. Needless to say, any promotional event of a new social game requires a big capital. But with the dynamic and multifunctional social networks in Japan, the expenses for advertisement are reduced reasonably. But even if promotional campaign is of a huge cost, such investment is worth it notwithstanding that Japan’s social game market is expected to rise to $3.4 billion profits by 2012.
Japan is a leading market in technology and its perks. The high standards of Japanese in social and online game are epitomized in multi-million dollar film adaptations of Japanese epic games that awed the world.
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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.