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The Key to Cracking the Japanese Mobile Games Market

One of the holy grails in mobile gaming is the Japanese market. Unlike the American market where you have to give out your mobile game as a free game so you can make money with premium upgrades, the Japanese market is quite unique and that consumers are more than happy to pay for the games. They are more than happy to pay for in-game items or actually pay for the game itself. Many American game developers have viewed this phenomenon with a lot of jealousy. In America, you have to basically come up with millions upon millions of downloads just so you can generate a fairly healthy revenue stream from your game’s premium upgrades. There is a huge drop off between the amount of games downloaded the amount of games installed and the amount of games actually paid for. The quick work around to this problem, of course, is to make money through in-game ads. A very popular mobile game, like Flappy Bird, makes quite a bit of money by just running ads in the game. Of course, this again involves a massive drop off between the amount of game views and game plays and the actual ad money being generated. Take the case of Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird makes 50,000 dollars per day from advertising revenue. While this may seem like a huge amount of money, you have to remember that millions of people have to be playing Flappy Bird every single day to generate that cash. That’s a huge conversion drop off. Compare this situation if all those millions of people actually paid for Flappy Bird. See the big difference. The difference could be between a multimillion dollar game and a multibillion dollar game, and that’s what makes the Japanese mobile game market so mouth watering for western game developers. Unfortunately, they just can’t seem to crack it whether it’s the distinctly Japanese game play the distinctly Japanese art. They can’t seem to wrap their heads around how to please Japanese mobile game players. With that said, there are certain trends and tips that come to mind in order to crack this market. First and foremost, you have to make it easy for people to pay for your app. You have to have in-app payments systems that will enable you to make money off your game as people are playing your game. This is a crucial because games in Japan generate a lot of in-game transactions so the smoother these in-game or in-app transactions are, the higher the likelihood that you would make money off your mobile game app in Japan.

Social networks must be engineered in

Many mobile game designers in the United States think of social media has an after thought when it comes to game development. It’s like an extra layer, they just put on at the last moment. Many even think that it’s just like a checklist item that you get to after you’ve wrapped up your game. This is a serious mistake. In Japan, the most successful games have social features engineered into the game. In other words, when you’re laying out the concept for the game app, you are actually developing the social functions of the game as you piece the game together. Compare this with the American model of coming up with a game concept first, fully fleshing out the game concept and factoring in game play and then maybe putting on a social element. By building the game from the social elements outwards, Japanese game makers are able to draw in the social networks of Japanese game players and increase the likelihood that they will buy the game. By paying attention to these core differences in game design philosophy, American game app makers can stand to make quite a bit of money in the Japanese market.

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