Japanese successes show huge potential of mobile social gaming

Japanese successes show huge potential of mobile social gaming

If you ever need proof that mobile gaming is huge in Asia, and particularly Japan, take a look at the example of the Gundam Masters game.

The Sci-Fi game, available on Japanese mobile gaming network GREE, has just picked up more that 1 million registered users since launch on 1 September – that’s an incredible 1,262 new player sign-ups per hour!

If you thought that was impressive, the number of gamers playing Gundam Royal, on GREE-competitor Mobage, reached six figures in just six days, as Serkan Toto explains on his blog.

Gundam, for those outside of Japan, is a hugely popular anime series featuring giant fighting robots. Its trademark was worth reportedly worth 50 billion yen (around $652.25 million) back in 2008. Given the growth of mobile gaming and content, that figure is likely to be even greater today.

A screenshot from the Gundam Masters game on GREE

These two examples are testament to the appetite for mobile gaming that has flourished in Japan in recent times. The increase in smartphone ownership, and the likely growth of the iPhone now that Softbank’s exclusive hold of the device is over, is creating an ever-increasing audience of potential mobile gamers.

Equally significant is the international focus that Japan’s mobile social gaming networks are adopting.

  • Earlier this year GREE bought OpenFeint, the acquisition of the US-based mobile gaming start-up took its international reach to 100 million members.
  • Also this year, DeNA, which already operates in the US through Ngmoco, took its Mobage mobile gaming network outside of Japan – where it has 30 million members – for the first launching into China, the US and other English-speaking regions of the world.

While Japan is undoubtedly the world leader in mobile social gaming, as the success of these two Gundam titles demonstrates, the rest of the world will follow if its leading companies have its way. The growth of smartphone ownership in the western world, coupled with the popularity of gaming, in particular social games, has laid the foundations to popularise mobile social gaming.

Image via gunjap.net

Read next: Samsung asks European trademark agency to void Apple's iPad design rights