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]

DeNA and Cygames Make Strategic Partnership

DeNA [J] and Cygames, [J] who develop Social Application Provider (SAP) projects, have agreed to undertake a strategic partnership for the development of domestic and overseas social game projects.

DeNA, who run the uber-popular Japanese social game platform “Mobage” (URL: with over 35 million members, are presently strengthening the development of overseas projects with their entire group.

Cygames develops and offers domestic social games for Mobage [J] such as “Sengoku SAGA” and “Shingeki Bhamut,” and particularly “Shingeki Bahamut” has become quite the popular title with a total of over 1 million registered members.  From this strategic partnership moving forward, Cygames will continue to offer several new titles for Mabage in Japan, and from March 1st DeNa will take part in the management of “Shingeki Bahamut” which has been developed and run by Cygames until now.  From here on they are planning to coordinate with DeNA’s own game titles.

Translation authorized by VSMedia

“E★EVERYSTAR” Surpasses 100 Creator Book Publications And 3 Million Electonic Book App DLs

DeNA [J] and its subsidiary company Everystar, who manage the novel and comic submission community “E★EVERYSTAR,” [J] have reached 100 volumes of creator works open to the public that have been published, and they have also announced that the total number of downloads of their read all you like electronic book application has eclipsed 3 million.

“E★EVERYSTAR” handles public viewing and production of creative works, currently with a base of one work per minute from its over 1 million users.  Users can enjoy the over 1.8 million publicly available works produced and released by creators.  So far, various works have undergone multifaceted development and been made into books and games, starting with “Ousama Game” (King Game), by this service.  The total number of printed copies of published works has been recorded at over 4.75 million.

Translation authorized by VSmedia

DeNA Sues Back To Gree And Its CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka

DeNA logo

DeNA, who runs Mobage, announced today [J] that it instituted legal action to demand Gree and its CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka an apology and compensation for the loss caused by Gree’s press release and Tanaka’s comments, which stated that DeNA did illegal business activities.

As we reported in December, DeNA expressed [J] the possibility of counter action against the legal action filed by Gree and KDDI (Bloomberg). Tanaka has been making comments around the case on many media, opinion ads on national newspaper and his Twitter [J].

Mixi And DeNA Allies In Social Commerce

DeNA logo

January 25, two of Japan’s largest social networking service companies, DeNA(who runs Mobage) and Mixi announced their new alliance on social commerce.

On the release, it is said that “Mixi, who holds networks of close friends” and “DeNA, who has plenty of knowledge on e-commerce and has been running Bidders (mobile shopping service)” are going to construct a new social commerce service in this growing sector.

Planned in late March, a mall-type social commerce service will be opened in Mixi. There are already some major companies, including Lawson HMV Entertainment, Sanrio(=Hello Kitty) and Cecil McBee decided to have their shops. Other companies are encouraged to contact them to join.

Whilst Gree, the rest of the big three, has been competing severely against DeNA’s Mobage on social game platform (1, 2), Mixi and DeNA seemed to have friendly relationship by using phrases co-existence of “social graph” and “virtual graph”.

But still, they are common in having social games on their own open platforms. The release does not have single word of “Mobage”.

See Also:

Mixi’s release [J]

DeNA’s release [J]