Trends In Gaming In Japan And Beyond (Special Focus: Mobage Operator DeNA And GREE)


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This is the edited version of a presentation I gave during a conference in Tokyo in September 2012 on current trends in gaming. One main focus is on Japan's mobile and social gaming industry, especially DeNA operator Mobage and GREE.

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Trends In Gaming In Japan And Beyond (Special Focus: Mobage Operator DeNA And GREE)

  1. Gaming In Japan And Beyond:Where Is The Industry Going From Here? By Serkan Toto, PhD www.serkantoto.comImage credit: DeNA
  2. About Me• Social and mobile gaming industry consultant• Advisor for startups in Japan and the US• Japan contributor for• Based in Japan since 2004• Hardcore gamer• JP game blogger:
  3. Contact InformationTwitter: serkan AT
  4. Visit My Website For Free Information OnJapan’s Social Game Industry(
  5. AgendaI: Structure Of Japan’s Social Gaming MarketII: Market SizeIII: 10 Key Trends In GamingIV: Threats And Opportunities For DeNA & GREE
  6. I: Structure Of Japan’s Social GamingMarket
  7. Japan‘s Unique Social NetworkingLandscape•  Basic structure: real social graph vs. virtual social graph•  3 homegrown social networks with 25-30+ million registered users each: – Mixi (real/80% mobile social networking) – GREE (virtual/mobile social gaming) – Mobage (virtual/mobile social gaming)
  8. Fragmented Industry Structure•  400+ social application providers•  2 dominant companies double as platform and game providers: GREE and DeNA (“Facebook+Zynga in 1“)•  IPOs said to increase going forward•  Rekoo only really successful foreign player•  Zynga Japan is an underdog
  9. Japan‘s

  10. Key Peculiarity: Gaming Nation Japan•  Taito‘s Space Invaders kicked off the gaming industry as a whole in 1978•  Nintendo‘s Famicom revitalized industry after the big crash 1983•  Japan has 10% share ($6.5 billion) in global video game market•  Games enjoy greater cultural attention in Japan than elsewhere•  higher payment walls for progressing in social games are accepted
  11. Key Peculiarity: Mobile •  Social games (and the web at large) are consumed mainly on mobile phones •  virtual item payment via carrier billing as catalyst •  GREE/Mobage pre-installed on handsetsImage credit: KDDI au
  12. Key Peculiarity: Special Genres•  Some social gaming genres are as popular in Japan as elsewhere, i.e. – farming – pet-breeding – city-building – restaurant management etc.•  But some are especially popular over here
  13. Key Peculiarity: Special GenresExample 1: Manga-based social games
  14. Key Peculiarity: Special GenresExample 2: Social RPGs
  15. Key Peculiarity: Special GenresExample 3: Social dating and love simulations
  16. Key Peculiarity: Special GenresExample 4: Social idol-raising games
  17. Key Peculiarity: Special GenresExample 5: Social card battle games
  18. II: Market Size
  19. Size Of Japan‘s Social Gaming MarketProjection from Morgan Stanley, January 2012
  20. Size Of Japan‘s Social Gaming MarketProjection from Nomura, January 2012
  21. Size Of Japan‘s Social Gaming MarketProjection from JP Morgan, June 2011 •  011: US$2.8 billion 2 •  012: US$3.4 billion 2 •  013: US$3.9 billion 2
  22. Size Of Japan‘s Social Gaming MarketProjections from other sources, July 2012 • Ministry Of Internal Affairs: US$3.26 billion (in 2011) •  apan Online Game Association: J US$3.6 billion (in 2011)
  23. III: 10 Key Trends In Gaming
  24. Trend 1: Smartphone Gaming
  25. Example: Real Racing 3
  26. Trend 2: Tablet Gaming
  27. Example: Phoenix Guild
  28. Example: Supercell
  29. Example: Wikipad
  30. Trend 3: “Indie” Gaming
  31. Example: Steam
  32. Example: Xbox Live
  33. Example: App Store
  34. Example: Minecraft
  35. Example: Tiny Wings
  36. Trend 4: Cloud-Based GamingImage credit: (2010)
  37. Example: Onlive
  38. Example: Gaikai (Sony)
  39. Example: Agawi
  40. Example: G-cluster
  41. Trend 5: (Connected) TV GamingImage credit: (Atari 1984)
  42. Example: Ouya
  43. Example: Apple Airplay
  44. Example: Google TV
  45. Trend 6: GaaS Model / DLC / F2P
  46. Example: EA
  47. Example: (Almost) The Entire IndustryImage credit:
  48. Trend 7: HTML5 / Multi-Platform
  49. Example: Cut The Rope / Microsoft
  50. Example: Mozilla’s BananaBread 3D FPS
  51. Example: Goko
  52. Example: Game Closure
  53. Trend 8: Full ImmersionImage credit: Wiki Commons
  54. Example: Sony’s 3D OLED HeadsetHMZImage credit: Game Watch
  55. Example: Microsoft’s ImmersiveGaming System
  56. Trend 9: Social Revolution
  57. Trend 10: Alternative UI
  58. Example: zSpace/Unity Hologramgaming
  59. Example: Emotiv’s mind-readinggame controller
  60. IV: Threats And Opportunities ForDeNA & GREE
  61. Threat 1: Regulation
  62. Threat 2: Internationalization
  63. Threat 3: App Economy
  64. Threat 4: Video Games -> Digital
  65. Threat 5: Social Card Game Fatigue
  66. Threat 6: Rise Of Facebook
  67. Threat 7: Competitive Landscape
  68. Opportunity 1: Smartphone AdoptionImage credit:
  69. Opportunity 2: Nintendo’s Iwata-san
  70. Opportunity 3: Next-Gen Social Games
  71. Opportunity 4: Black Box Japan
  72. Opportunity 5: Japan’s Wealthy Users
  73. Thank you for listening! Questions?
  74. Contact InformationTwitter: serkan AT