DeNA Recruits Legendary Japanese Game Designers Into “Super Creators” Initiative

In a press conference yesterday, DeNA announced [J] the formation of the “Super Creators” initiative, an all-star team of five veteran game designers from the traditional Japanese games industry who will create social smartphone games for Mobage. All games will be published by AQ Interactive. The veteran game designers include:

  • Keiji Inafune: Legendary game designer formerly employed at Capcom now working at his new games company Comcept will be creating an action game called J.J. Rockets. While listed as part of the Super Creators his first title out of Comcept will be The Island of Dr. Momo as announced in a joint press conference [J] with mobile gaming giant Gree. After Capcom cancelled Megaman Legends 3, fans are hoping Inafune will be allowed by Capcom to bring the franchise to mobile. Inafune is best known for Megaman, Dead Rising, Lost Planet, and Onimusha. He is an outspoken critic of the traditional Japanese games industry.
  • Suda51: An “auteur” video game designer Goichi Suda is known for his left-field concepts and direction, he will be making a social game based off of his well known series No More Heroes. Suda51’s surreal style has garnered a cultish fan base amongst hardcore gamers. His latest game Shadows of the Damned was met with mild reviews and sales.
  • Yuji Naka: Cited as one of the creators of the Sonic the Hedgehog series is working on an undisclosed game which will use positional data. After programming at Sega for 22 years he left the company in 2006 and founded an independent games studio named Prope.
  • Yoshifumi Hashimoto: Marvelous Entertainment game designer behind the franchises like Rune Factory, Hashimoto will be developing a game based off of his Harvest Moon franchise. Earlier this year AQ Interactive was merged into Marvelous Entertainment’s business operations.
  • Noritaka Funamizu: Game designer and producer from Crafts & Meister, Funamizu will be working on a new smartphone game called Nama-ge. He was formerly a designer and producer at Capcom, leading many of Capcom’s biggest titles including the Street Fighter series. He left Capcom in 2004 to found his new studio Crafts & Meister.
This “Super Creators” league adds some heavy hitting talent to the game development roster who’s lengthy experience in the industry can help bring high-quality titles to Mobage’s smartphone platform. There is no word on whether these titles will be used outside of Japan as DeNA shifts their aspirations globally – the games will no doubt cater to the tastes of many Japanese gamers who are probably already using the Mobage platform. While past games by Inafune, Naka, and Funamizu may be well-known, their latest games especially published through their newly founded studios have been embraced only by a small niche segment of the overseas gaming market. Still, there is a lot of potential in this line-up, and the games will most certainly be worth keeping an eye on.

Japanese Web Community As Person

Gijinka (anthropomorphization) is what Japanese anime/manga people love, and it often passes the language barriers.

On giant anonymous bulletin board 2-channel, some amateur cartoonists seemed to vie in their personification sense [J].

2-channel: They know who they are well. derision for everything is their basic attitude.

Nico Nico (Douga): Hatsune Miku, young girls’ livestream on Nico Nico Namahousou, people distantly watching her

Mixi: typical host men image, drinks and smokes. implies how 2-channeller look down the current mainstream Mixi users

Hatsugen Komachi: another gigantic discussion board occupied by Japanese housewives. it is said that everything is driven by jealousy there.

Hatena: Japanese geeks community. well-schooled, critics (from Japanese average), who think (only) they are logical

Pixiv: Social illustration site boasting millions of amateur (and pro) illustrator members

Different from deviantART’s one (see below), this person is given an introverted personality. Beret is a symbol of the father of Japanese manga Osamu Tezuka, often used to draw professional cartoonist and wannabe.

Futaba: The origin of 4chan

Futaba added image upload feature on 2-channel-like bulletin boards, then moot made an English version. Futaba’s domain name is, 2-channel is if you are confused.

This Futaba’s character must be copied from 4-chan’s one. See below.

Yahoo! Chiebukuro: Japanese Yahoo! Answers, though US Yahoo! Answers were made after seeing the Chiebukuro’s success

Net-savvies are irritated with never-ending dorky questions and useless answers.

Mobage-Town: possible Japan’s No.1 social network is full of games

2-channellers seem to believe that some use the social network as a dating site to find high-school girls.

English social services were personified before, you might know,

Yajiuma Watch tells that those personifications might be inspired by this. [J]

See Also:

Asiajin » Q&A: What’s The Japanese Equivalent Of [enter foreign web service here]?

Japan’s No.1 Social Network – Gree And Mobage Town Competes

At the beginning of February, two of Japanese social networking giants, Gree and DeNA(Mobage Town company) released quarterly financial reports.

Gree’s 2011-2Q report [J] showed its sales record, 14.32 billion yen(US$175 mil), 83% of which is from virtual items. It is the historic high.

DeNA 2011-3Q [J] also recorded their highest 29.49 billion yen(US$361 mil) sales, 153% increased.

Who is the most popular social network service in Japan?

The major three services have been racing on their number of registered users, and now it is difficult to tell which is the biggest. All three can tell they are the No.1.

Gree: On the report, 23.83 million users is the largest number among all. They keep the top position since they snatched it from long-time champion Mixi in July 2010. From this, you may tell that Gree is No.1.

Mobage Town: DeNA sums up their original, mobile-only network Mobage Town and Yahoo! Mobage, recently launched PC-based new network with Yahoo! Japan. Yahoo! Mobage got 2 million users within half an year and if you count them into Mobage users, the total 24.48 million is 650,000 more than Gree’s number.

Gree’s membership includes their unpopular PC version users (only 1% of traffic comes from PC), but Gree user can access both version by single account. DeNA seems not exclude people who registered both Mobage Town and Yahoo! Mobage.

Mixi: The latest number has not been announced by Mixi so the today’s plot on the graph is an expected number. It was 21.9 milliion in October, seems increasing steadily.

[Update 2011-02-04] Mixi’s 3Q report [J] has come. Their official number of users is 22.39 million, at the end of December. It should be very close to the number of Mobage Town’s mobile users now. Mixi possibly ranked down, or will be down soon at the third place even without Yahoo! Mobage.

If you count on PC, Mixi is still the largest social network service in Japan. The services which can not track Japanese feature phone traffic, like Alexa, ComScore and Google Trends for Websites, are showing Mixi is leading a lot. (That is why I said that The World Map of Social Networks should set Mixi as the top as it is PC based research.)

See Also:

Facebook is sidelined in Japan as social network battle heats up | The Japan Times Online

Social gaming frenzy sees two Godzillas play rough | The Japan Times Online

For Social App Development: Mixi And CyberAgent Launch Joint Venture

Japan’s social apps boom isn’t ending: Today, two of the country’s biggest web companies, namely Mixi and CyberAgent, announced they will launch a joint venture to produce social apps for mixi, Japan’s biggest social network, on February 1. CyberAgent is best known for its massive Ameba blog platform, Japan’s biggest (12.4 million registered users).

The new venture, which is called Grenge (no website yet), is capitalized at 5 million yen ($606,000) and owned 51% by CyberAgent and 49% by mixi. Grenge is expected to produce apps for Japanese feature phones and smartphones from April this year. By March 2012, the plan is to have deployed a total of eight titles on Mixi.

Grenge is expected to generate $6 million in sales by September this year.

What’s interesting is that with this move, mixi is moving further away from its position as a strict, “neutral” social network/graph provider. Its big rivals in terms of user numbers, mobile gaming networks Mobage-town and GREE, have been doubling as platform and app providers since they opened their sites to third-party developers in 2009/2010.

In 2009, Mixi established the so-called Mixi Fund to invest in startups that provide social apps. Since then, big M has invested in several companies, for example in Tokyo-based social games startup Pikkle ($1.6 million).