Cityville Launches in Japan as Facebook Continues Steady Growth

The world’s biggest social game Cityville just launched in Japanese, available exclusively to the Facebook platform. This is the first time a localized version of a US Zynga game has been launched in Japan since their entry into the Japanese market. Zynga is currently rolling out their biggest IP around the world, with their recent partnership announcement with Tencent to launch the Chinese version on the game known in China as Zynga City. Zynga is pushing Cityville out around the world using a drop-down bar of different languages options (English, French, Spanish, Japanese), so users can all play the same base game. The potential for this is that people of different countries, cultures, and native languages can play together through Zynga games.
The game is launching just as Facebook Japan breaks the 4 milion user mark, fueled by months of steady growth (roughly 7% per month). While Facebook Japan is hestitant to flaunt their gaming catalogue as a selling point to Japanese users, it is important for them to have a vibrant entertainment ecosystem especially in a country that values mobile/social gaming so much. Their fear is experiencing “dummy growth” – that is, growth fueled by fanaticism over games that users end up creating empty or multiple accounts for the sole purpose of accessing games, which happened in other Asian countries like Taiwan a couple years back. Facebook Japan is on a delicate path trying to convince users to use Facebook for its social function , asking users to move away from anonymous pseudonyms and move towards publishing their real, juicy personal data. It is very interesting to note that the CPC & CPM for advertising has doubled within the past month for Facebook in Japan.


  1. The vast majority of Japanese Facebook users access the site through their phones, so there is no application platform available to them. Japan won’t be a viable market for Facebook apps until after they launch their HTML5-based smartphone application platform.

    1.  I do not see researches that Japanese Facebook users are using feature phone version a lot. Facebook in Japan is still very tech-savvy oriented, which means most of them are PC or smartphone users.

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