Mixi, GREE, Mobage-town – Japan’s top three social networking services have either already opened or decided to open their platforms to third-party developers in the last few months. And a handful of foreign application providers, such as RockYou from the US or Rekoo from China, already managed to successfully launch localized social games on Mixi, Japan’s biggest social network.
Both companies now have offices in Japan, but Tokyo-based (and listed) mobile contents provider Index now wants to make the move into Japan’s social gaming market easier by offering support for foreign makers of social games that want to enter Japan’s lucrative mobile market in particular.
One of the problems most foreign social game makers have is that their games are usually tailored for use with the PC. GREE and Mobage-town, however (each with about 16 million members), are more or less mobile only. And even Mixi sees more page views on its mobile site than on the fixed web site, which means that making social games mobile-friendly will get providers a lot more Japanese eyeballs.
Index says they will not only translate in-game texts, buttons etc. but also provide help in re-designing games to make them more appealing for Japanese customers. In addition, the company will also take care of the “technical” side of things so that the games actually run and can be properly played on Japanese mobile phones. Another problematic factor is billing and collecting money from local users, but Index says they will cover this area as well.
The first game that received the Index treatment is a Chinese pig-raising game that will be released on Mixi Mobile later this month. Index hopes to generate 1 billion yen ($11.1 million) in sales per year with the new business.
Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]
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