Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Earlier this week, I penned some thoughts about how messaging apps are challenging social networks for attention on mobile devices — particularly in Asia — and that threat has been illustrated after the first Line-hosted app drew 2 million downloads within a day of launch.
Line, the Japan-born app with 45 million downloads, made a move towards becoming a content platform with the introduction of an API and app channel this week, and the company confirmed that its first game (and first third party app) — Line Birzzle — has already passed 2 million users:
Line Birzzle hit 2 million users globally just in one day after the release, as of July 5th.
Birzzle is a Tetris-like title which has been available standalone for some time, but the new Line-endorsed version has taken off, thanks to a host of new features, most notably joint play with friends across the messaging service – which is rather cool, even if the game doesn’t appeal to all.
Once installed, the app allows you to invite friends to download it and (once they have it) battle it out.
As is often the case with Asia-focused titles, the free version has numerous in-app purchasing options, which the ‘premium’ version runs without.
More importantly, thanks to some heavy promotion from Line, it has continued to make progress across a number of markets.
It currently sits atop of Apple’s free apps in Thailand, while it is second on the paid chart beyond the indomitable WhatsApp. It has also topped charts in a further seven countries, including its native Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
Birzzle is the first app but Line says its channel will allow users to use and share a range of other content beyond games, including music, coupons, digital books and more.
We’ll keep an eye on further app releases from Line, as well as the progress of Birzzle which, now in the charts, is likely to continue to gain momentum on iOS and Android.
As for the breakdown of the 2 million downloads (a figure that is presumably some margin higher today), statistics at Google Play show that it has already passed 1 million Android downloads but it is unclear exactly how many iOS users have grabbed the app.
➤ Line Birzzle [free version] | App Store | Google Play
Image via Shutterstock / Jirsak
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