Japan Social Network Games to Pass $3 Billion in 2012
August 14, 2012
According to a new report from Enterbrain the market for social network games in Japan continues to soar and is expected to increase from 211.7 billion yen (about $2.6 billion) in 2011 to a forecasted ¥270 billion (about $3.4 billion) in 2012. Most all of this revenue is generated from the free-to-play model that generates revenue from consumers paying for premium content that enhances the game experience. In addition, there are multiple social network platforms in Japan with Gree and Mobage emerging as market leaders by focusing on the Japan mobile social network market.
The situation in Japan is in contrast to the United States where the biggest social network game success has been Zynga on Facebook. A recent report from DFC Intelligence on the worldwide market for browser and social network games noted that Western game publishers need to understand the success of these companies and consumer attitudes in Japan. The DFC report also claimed that current U.S. social network games could lead to a market bubble because they were not following the proven methods used by companies in Asia.
To understand Japan’s game consumers, leading Japan research provider Enterbrain surveyed over 69,000 individuals in the market with a detailed survey of 1,600 Japanese social gamers. The research indicates that 46% of Japanese consumers age 15-59 use a social network, with the most popular social network in Japan being mixi, followed by Twitter and Facebook. However, among social network gamers the most popular networks are mixi, Mobage and Gree. Mobage and Gree had the most premium content users at 14% and 16% of users, while networks such as mixi and Facebook had only 5-6% of their user base as premium content users.
A big issue revealed by the survey is that consumers are hesitant to make their first purchase but after doing so are becoming more comfortable at making future purchases. The average time between starting a social network game and making a first purchase is 140 days. The average first purchase was ¥1,293 (about $16) and 80% of premium content purchasers made additional purchases with 50% being frequent purchasers. Overall the comfort spending level for consumers was 1,500 yen a month (about $18).
One issue that is different in Japan than the U.S. is that Japan social networks have been able to target core video gamers. “The research shows that premium content users of social games in Japan are much more likely to use other platforms such as the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. This ties into DFC’s conclusion that social network games in the U.S. need to do a better job of targeting those core gamers,” said DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole.
The new report The Secret of Gree & Mobage’s Success - How to succeed with in-App Purchase in the Mobile SNS Market consists of an 85-page PowerPoint summary of the survey results along with detailed profiles of the major Japan social network game companies and overall market forecasts.
ENTERBRAIN, INC. is a publisher of top-selling magazines, with each representing a field within the video game industry, including its flagship series of Famitsu magazines – its most popular being Weekly Famitsu. Additionally, Enterbrain, Inc., a publisher of various entertainment books and magazines in genres such as PC game, horse racing, cartoons, game strategy books, and fighting, has also developed numerous hit video games, such as the Derby Stallion series, and put its efforts into network services with sites such as Famitsu.com, as well as mobile phone sites. Enterbrain, Inc. also provides the most comprehensive up-to-date information on Japan’s game hardware/software industry and publishes the ‘Famitsu White Paper’. For more information, visit http://www.enterbrain.co.jp/
About DFC Intelligence
DFC Intelligence is a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets. Since 1995 DFC has published in-depth strategic market reports and subscription-based research services. DFC research is used by more than 300 leading companies in over 30 countries worldwide. To sign-up for a free sample of DFC research go to the following form.