With billions spent on mobile games, even casino operators have taken notice.
When we look at the Top Grossing Paid apps on both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store, it looks as though games like Clash of Clans and its knockoffs are dominating the market. Real-time strategy and city-building games seem to be the most popular games, and you’d think that these apps were making the most money in all markets across the globe, with apps like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans said to be instrumental to the billions that Apple makes in app revenue.
You’d be surprised, however, as time and again, research has shown that most of the revenue from mobile apps comes not from these well-known developers, but smaller, lesser-known gaming companies in Japan. According to Business of Games, in 2013, app revenues in Japan and the Asia-Pacific accounted for 48% of the market, while app revenues in North America accounted for only 24%. What’s more, Japan is responsible for 60% of the revenue generated by the Asia-Pacific, and this has definitely put them on the map.
Oddly enough, reports by Tech in Asia reveal that mobile gaming downloads in Japan aren’t all too high, as only 40% of all mobile app downloads are for games, yet they account for almost 90% of all the mobile revenue in the country. The appeal of mobile games in the region have even prompted Intercasino, the world’s first online casino, to expand their services to appeal to the Japanese audience, and Chinese mobile gaming giant Tencent to begin talks with Japanese gaming firms to expand into the market.
But how do developers accomplish this feat? Simple: they pay attention. Unlike some Western game developers who can be impossible to reach and communicate with, many of the biggest developers in Japan invest a great deal of resources into maintaining their social media accounts. As reports from Crimson Hexagon reveal, the opinions and frustrations of players regarding a game they are playing will almost always be found on social media. While games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans enjoy free advertising from their players’ tweets and Facebook posts, Japan’s mobile developers are more proactive.
The strategy of mobile developers in Japan is to “make every download count”, enhancing gaming experiences based on user reviews and popular demand, in order to make players more inclined to to make in-app purchases. Communication is also key, as they continue to announce to their players just what it is in the works for their games, and helping troubleshoot problems, should they arise.
The mobile app industry in Japan is booming, and it’s a much bigger market than many developers realize. Being the strongest in the world, it certainly looks as though it could be the ideal market for those looking to make some good money off of their apps.