Billion-dollar Japanese mobile games firm DeNA has moved into manga, the wildly-popular Japanese comics that have captured worldwide audiences, as it seeks to make its mark in another entertainment space.

DeNA started off with games on mobile browsers and found success monetizing its service with virtual items and other tactics, but it has been struggling to replicate its easy success with the recent dominance of app stores, which smartphone owners worldwide now use to access mobile content.

The company is therefore increasing its focus on new distribution models, such as its mobile messaging app Comm and Japan-only music service Groovy — and manga is its next focus.

DeNA has just launched Manga Box, a free mobile app on both iOS and Android that lets users read popular artists’ manga series from Japanese publishers. A DeNA spokesperson tells TNW:

DeNA believes the fusion of mobile Internet and entertainment creates new business opportunity for us like it did with games…

We believe manga is a representative part of Japanese pop culture that has high entertainment value.

The lineup of content on Manga Box includes original manga series, spin-offs of existing popular series and some classics. All titles will be updated weekly, with three to five new episodes uploaded each day.

Manga Box 730x412 Mobile games firm DeNA launches manga app to boost its presence in entertainment

Manga Box features 28 titles at launch time, with some simultaneously published in both Japanese and English. For these bilingual episodes, users can alternate the languages displayed in the text balloons by simply switching the language settings. DeNA has plans to translate its content into other languages as well, in the near future.

On Manga Box, the twelve most recent issues will be accessible to users for free. Users can read 100 pages of the first volume of
each title once the episodes that contain the first 100 pages get published. DeNA will also be selling paid-for printed books and e-books for each individual title, a spokesperson reveals. The price, however, hasn’t been determined yet.

Other than the sales of books, Manga Box will also monetize by merchandise and film adaptations of the manga titles, and through leading users to DeNA’s other services.

➤ Manga Box: iOS | Google Play

Headline image via Shutterstock