Monster Strike Revenue Soars
AUG. 19, 2015 • Japan’s social network operator Mixi, Inc. only has one mobile game to its credit, yet Monster Strike has been a revenue bonanza since hitting the market in October 2013. For the first fiscal year quarter ending June 30, the title generated ¥47 billion ($379 million). Although the game has been released in Taiwan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao and North America, the lion’s share of its receipts come in Japan where Monster Strike has been in or near the top smartphone game rankings for more than a year. Following is Monster Strike’s revenue growth by fiscal quarter:
- 3Q FY2013 ¥261 million ($2.1 million)
- 4Q FY2013 ¥3.1 billion ($25 million)
- 1Q FY2014 ¥10 billion ($81 million
- 2Q FY2014 ¥19.5 billion ($157 million)
- 3Q FY2014 ¥30.5 billion ($247 million)
- 4Q FY2014 ¥42.2 billion ($341 million)
- 1Q FY2015 ¥47 billion ($379 million)
Mixi has not released registered user numbers consistently since 2013, but the company announced Monster Strike had 11 million users as of August 2014, 21 million four months later, and 30 million at the end of May this year. The action RPG uses elements of billiards and pinball to strike unique monsters into each other to progress in the game.
Impact: Considering Mixi was unprofitable for several quarters before Monster Strike arrived, the financial turnaround the game accomplished is staggering. Mixi’s net profit grew from ¥2.9 billion ($23.6 million) during the first fiscal year quarter of 2014 to ¥16 billion ($128.9 million) for the same quarter in 2015. This mobile title also says a lot about the tastes of Japanese gamers and how smartphones are eating into handheld market share. Stylized monster collecting and role-playing franchises remain very popular in Japan where they used to be a major driver of Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable device sales. But the arrival of smartphones added connectivity options in addition to ubiquitous consumer adoption. One of the major features of Monster Strike is its real-time, four-person co-operative mode. Another plus for the game was its lead designer, Yoshiki Okamoto, who had been a long-time staffer at Capcom Co., Ltd. Monster Strike arrived sporting many of the virtues that had made the genre popular on handhelds, plus features tuned specifically for iOS and Android devices.
It is difficult to say how well Monster Strike is doing outside of Japan. Whatever the cause, Mixi is closing down the Chinese partnership with Tencent Holdings Ltd. on October 19 and discontinuing distribution on the market leading WeChat and QQ platforms. Mixi says it plans to reenter China down the road but not how or when. In North America, where Monster Strike has been available since last October, Mixi is preparing for a major promotional push after September to boost awareness. Thanks to the title’s success in Japan, Mixi now has the resources to properly introduce Monster Strike internationally. Although not all Japanese games translate well overseas – Nintendo Co. Ltd. was unsure whether Pokémon would export successfully, after all – Monster Strike is so well tailored to smartphones that it has increased cross-over potential. The ultimate question remaining is whether Mixi can hit another mobile game home run with a second IP.
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