The largest it industry conference by invitation, Infinity Ventures Summit[J] was held at Sapporo in May 26th and 27th. Among many sessions, the most surprising topic came out from the mouth of Isao Moriyasu, the executive of DeNA who promised to be the next CEO in the end of June.
DeNA has been released series of games titled with the word “royal” proceeding after the launch of their first successful in-house social game “Kaitou Royal” (English title is “Bandit Nation”. Although being really successful in Japan, Bandit Nation closed on August 31, 2010).
Those games have same common denominators as a series, do missions, battle against other players, and collect treasures. All Royal titles has been achieved more than 1 billion yen ( 12 hundred million US dollars ) sale per month.
Ninja Royal is the latest royal series released for Android smartphone. Moriyasu announced they started to develop this title with only 3 staffs at the beginning; 1 planner for full time, one another planner partially working on this project, and 3 engineers. 2 out of 3 engineers were new graduates. Then they added 2 more engineers later and released this title within 6 months.
This is an incredible case representing well how DeNA is running a highly profitable business.
Back in May, Japan’s mobile gaming juggernaut DeNA ($3.8 billion market cap at the Tokyo Stock Exchange) took a serious step to bring Mobage-town (its highly successful mobile game community) global. DeNA formed a separate company for that endeavor (MiniNation KK) and localized a total of four games for Non-Japanese players, which were offered to iPhone users under a social network called MiniNation.
That social network and the four games it’s currently built around are still alive [iTunes link]. But today, MiniNation KK announced the Facebook version of Bandit Nation, the MiniNation game with the biggest potential, will be shut down on August 31. Bandit Nation, whose basic gameplay resembles that of Mafia Wars, is DeNA’s flagship game and biggest cash machine in the Japanese Mobage-town network (it’s called “Kaitou Rowaiyaru” there).
On Facebook, however, new user registration for Bandit Nation will stop as early as July 31. It won’t be possible to purchase MiniCoins, MiniNation’s virtual currency, from that date on either. All users are urged to use their MiniCoins up before the service shuts down one month later.
That’s a pretty quick death, but DeNA has good reason to pull the plug: With around 250 new games appearing on Facebook every day, Bandit Nation has just attracted around 40,000 monthly active users on Facebook (and just over 3,000 people appear to play it on a daily basis).