Mixi Gives Up? Nikkei Business Report CEO Considering To Sell His 55% Ownership

Nikkei Business Online, an online version of business magazine under Nikkei group, on May 15 after the midnight reported that Mixi, one of Japan’s largest social networking service, a direct local competitor of Facebook, is on the table to sell itself.

Some social networking competitors, such like Gree and DeNA(who runs Mobage), who had turned over Mixi recent years in number of registered users and corporate values mainly by social games, were being proposed to participate in the bidding secretly, sources closed to financial interest told to Nikkei.

The share to be sold off Nikkei says is 55% of the company owned by the Mixi founder & CEO Kenji Kasahara. He established Mixi in 2004 and soon that becomes a giant business based on real friends network and advertising sales.

On May 5, 4 days ago, Mixi announced a board reshuffling, including Akinori Harada’s steps down from the co-representative director & vice-president, he has been leading Mixi’s recent major measures like Mixi Pages, Mixi Mall, etc.

Mixi promptly issued a short release saying “There are no such truth reported on a certain media.”

See Also:

Asiajin » A Summary of the Latest Studies about Japan & Social Media

Six Japanese Social Game Platformer Announced To End Complete Gacha

A communication council of 6 major Japanese social gaming platforms – Gree, DeNA(Mobage), Cyber Agent, Mixi, NHN Japan and Dwango – just released that they would not release new games having Kompu Gacha any more. Kompu Gatcha in current games will be also terminated by the end of this month.

From this morning, Klab (major third party provider), DeNA, Cyber Agent and Gree respectively expressed their plan to stop or shrink Kompu Gacha features on their games.

Coverage of Mobage Open Platform Forum 2012

Last Wednesday 25th took place the annual Mobage Open Platform Forum. A huge event, with hundreds of attendees and lots of presentations. Still, the most interesting points were related with the need of making Japanese mobile social games global.

The message from DeNA to the developers was crystal clear: go abroad and go ASAP. Localize language, but don’t mind to localize any other thing: you need to be out in 2/3 months, it’s now or never.

They are basing their assumption in the recent success of Rage of Bahamut from CyGames, which just hit the 1st place of top-grossing apps at Google Play (press release here [EN]). Seems like the KPIs of this game in America are really close to the Japanese KPIs, a shocking fact since nobody believed it was possible to replicate the Japanese ARPU abroad. As DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu and ngmoco CEO Neil Young said, this demonstrate that the browser games can work in America, and of course that represents a huge opportunity.

So the idea is: keep the Japanese core of the game because it works. Not only Rage of Bahamut is being successful, TapFish (10th) and Ninja Royale (14th, with an ARPDAU multiplied x6 since launching) are showing there is a way to go.

Some of the advises of ngmoco CEO Neil Young to the audience:

  1. Make the game focusing on monetization.
  2. Take part of all available platforms: Android, iOS, etc.
  3. Localize not only to English, but French, German and Spanish as well.
  4. Take in account the cultural differences about theme, art and UI.

DeNA is recommending to develop web and app hybrid games, since they are easier to update and multiplatform. In that direction, they presented PEX, a tool to convert HTML5-Javascript games to native apps improving velocity and capabilities (it will be available by the end of may); and also an update of ngCore, their tool for making native apps, remarkably improving the performance of the previous version.

For those on Big Data business, they also talked about their needs regarding managing huge amounts of information, since they have 40 million users and 2 billion data-points every day.

About the presentations of new games, the most interesting one was shipped by BNDeNA, showing a Macross game with lots of 3D action as well as social interactions with other players; actually it looks more like a console game than a mobile social game.

BNDeNA presentation

(DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu and BNDeNA CEO Shin Unozawa, this one a little bit embarrassed about the name of his company)

Finally, the Mobage Awards 2012: Platinum Prices were given to Sengoku Collection (Konami), Rage of Bahamut (CyGames) and Idolmaster (Bandai-Namco); the Partner of the Year was Gloops (price handed out by the idol Yui Aragaki).


Presentation: DeNA And GREE – A Perspective On Japanese Social Games Going Global

We have covered the Japanese social game industry to some extent on Asiajin over the last years, and I myself do so in more detail on my personal site.

In recent months, the two biggest companies in this space, DeNA and GREE, have invested hundreds of millions of US dollars in bringing the concept of mobile social games outside their home market, hoping to replicate the huge success they have seen in Japan in the US and elsewhere.

I recently gave a presentation on the chances of DeNA and GREE to make it outside Japan.

Please find it embedded below (direct link), and sound off in the comments if you agree with my personal perspective:

Mixi And DeNA Launches Social Commerce Platform Mixi Mall

Mixi and DeNA announced today that they launch a new social commerce service Mixi Mall

As you might know, the two of Japan’s top three social networking services, Mixi and Mobage are run by these two companies. Mixi is the counterpart of Facebook in Japan, Mobage is like Zynga having its own social networking. Whilst Mobage/DeNA competed harsh against the rest of the top 3, Gree, DeNA and Mixi have rather friendly relationship, which they once explained dividing the users on Mixi’s “social graph” and Mobage’s “virtual graph”.

Different from Gree who runs the service Gree only, DeNA had been providing several web services mainly on Japanese cellphone web. DeNA’s mobile online auction service Bidders [J], which also cooperates with the nation’s #2 carrier KDDI on “au one Shopping Mall”, is the base system to provide e-commerce side.

On Mixi Mall, you log in by Mixi account, search and browse products, express you “have it”(Motteru) or “are interested in”(Kininaru) by pressing button, and make comments on it, to share your Mixi friends.

via Release [J]