Regular readers will know that Japanese smartphone owners are great for spending money on apps. Now we have new data from AppAnnie, released this evening, that shows how the app monetization situation is developing in Japan and around the world. The report paints an interesting picture of amazing smartphone growth in Japan and Asia, along with some huge successes for Japanese social apps and games. Some world-beating achievements, in fact.
Cashing in on social
First up, AppAnnie notes that the social app category is third in terms of revenues around the world; social apps accounted for 30 percent more downloads in January 2013 compared to the previous year. Japanese app buyers are now spending nearly as much as those in the US on their iPhones and iPads:
Line app and the messaging explosion
The hit messaging app Line, made by NHN Japan, was the top social app for iOS revenue in Jansuary 2013, pipping Whatsapp to the post. With over 100 million registered users (just under half being in Japan), Line is the most downloaded social app in Japan – plus it’s the top grossing app Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Line is also crowned the top non-game app in terms of monthly revenue on both iTunes and Google Play in January. It is the only Asian creation on the iOS apps list that’s dominated by American apps. Apple’s Pages app is second; Pandora Radio is third.
KakaoTalk comes out fighting against Line in the chat app battle, proving itself to be the third-best app for revenue on Android.
GungHo for gaming
As for gaming developers, Japan was once again on top. GungHo Online, with its 14 games, was the outright top publisher by revenue on iOS anywhere in the world. Its Puzzles and Dragons title was a particular hit, helping to push GungHo’s market cap to US$3.3 billion – higher than that of Zynga, or compatriot gaming rival GREE. As GungHo’s own financials point out, it made $92 million in gaming sales in January 2013 alone – a figure that’s already 30 percent of its 2012 revenue total. GungHo also sells PC games and console games, but the company recently pointed out that it’s now making more from iOS and Android.
Indeed, the report points out that Puzzles and Dragons was the top monetizing game on both iOS and Android across the globe.
Seventh on the top iOS publisher’s list is NHN (which is spread over Korea and Japan), boosted by the huge success from Line app and its social gaming platform. That’s shown with games like Line Birzzle, which rocketed to the top of iOS and Android store rankings across Asia. Let’s look at the scene on the iTunes App Store:
Asian Android domination
Even more Asian developers rocked the Android platform. GungHo was top publisher in Google Play too, with NHN popping up in second place. In fact, all but one of the leading ten publishers by revenue on Android are from Asia – it’s pretty amazing. It also shows why gaming is the best way to bring in the cash:
Other famliar names on the list include the rival social gaming platforms DeNA and GREE. Plus there’s a remarkable performance from Korea’s SundayToz team to make it into the top ten with only one game – that’s Anipang, which has been a huge hit especially on KakaoTalk’s own social gaming platform.
Anipang pops up as fourth in terms of gaming revenue on Android, just below the similar Line Pop title.
Game on for Asian developers
Ultimately, it’s a remarkable performance for Japanese and South Korean developers on both iOS and Android – breaking into social whilst also building up huge expertise in casual mobile gaming.
Japan recently passed the US to become the top country for Google Play revenue, so developers in the region can prosper among their regional audience – and break out across the globe. Well, in terms of monetizing power, if not necessarily worldwide market reach.