Survey reveals unique traits of the Japanese mobile gaming market.

The results of a survey of the Japanese mobile game market by Japanese PR and advertising firm Dentsu and US app analytics service App Annie have been published as a report titled What You Need to Know About Japan’s Mobile Gaming Industry, aimed at foreign developers interested in targeting the lucrative Japanese market.

The results show that the revenue of the Japanese mobile game market grew by about 25 percent over the one year period between 2014 and 2015. However, this revenue is concentrated among the top game publishers, with the top 10 games in the marketplace accounting for around 50 percent of total revenue. Japanese companies account for over 90 percent of this overall revenue, showing that foreign companies are still finding it hard to find a foothold.

It also shows the strong preference Japanese users have for certain genres. “Casual games” and Role-Playing Games (RPGs) account for over 75 percent of the top 200 most downloaded games. In terms of revenue, RPGs are the overwhelming winner, comprising over half of the total earnings of the top 200 games. The hugely popular games Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike fall under the category of RPG.

App Annie has the following advice for devs setting their sights on the Japanese market:

“Japan is a massive opportunity for those in mobile gaming. Despite intense competition, the Japanese mobile gaming market is generating a significant level of revenue across iOS and Google Play and has demonstrated 15% year-over-year growth last year and has one of the most engaged user bases.

But having your app present in Japan’s app stores isn’t enough to ensure success. There are many characteristics unique to the Japanese mobile gaming market that publishers need to take into consideration when entering the country. While Japanese gamers are a highly engaged, highly monetizable audience, they show a strong preference for culturally relevant art styles, game mechanics and storylines. This is evidenced by the fact that more than 90% of mobile gaming revenue generated in Japan in 2015 went to Japanese companies.”

While the Japanese mobile games market is clearly a growing and profitable one, it’s extremely competitive and hard to break into, particularly for non-Japanese developers. However, with new technologies continuously under development and gamers’ tastes constantly shifting, who knows what changes the coming year will bring.

Source: App Annie via Jin115
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