Separating the Men from the Boys in Japan’s Online Social Scene


Image: Looops, freshtrax

The folks over at Looops Communications recently put together a good overview of some of the major social platforms in Japan [1]. And there’s a helpful translation here from freshtrax if you’d like to read it in full. It includes social gaming platforms, so there is an element of comparing apples and oranges here – but I think it’s informative, and worth sharing here.

When comparing the revenue of GREE, DeNA’s Mobage, CyberAgent’s Ameba, and Mixi, perhaps the most notable trend is the recent plunge that GREE (in blue, above) is experiencing. We touched on this back in November, citing a company representative who thinks the company is already seeing a recovery trend. Looops cites GREE’s CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka as saying that issues like Kompu Gatcha were a setback, and this of course, affected DeNA and other game companies too.

At GREE booth, Tokyo Game Show 2012

At GREE booth, Tokyo Game Show 2012

As social games expert Serkan Toto pointed out today, both DeNA and GREE – even with recent setbacks – are putting western counterparts like Zynga to shame when it comes to revenue, profit, and market cap.

The Looops article (and freshtrax translation) has a little more to say on CyberAgent and Mixi too, but I was particularly struck by the above chart which shows exactly how far ahead GREE and DeNA are from their nearest social rivals in Japan.

I should note that NHN’s Line could perhaps be included as one of the social ‘big boys’ in Japan now as well, and it would certainly be interesting to see where its revenue lies these days too. CyberAgent is one to watch as well, as it has dropped some significant ad money on promoting Ameba smartphone services recently on television. And as we have seen in the past in Japan (GREE, DeNA’s Mobage and Comm, Line), TV ad spots can often be a catalyst for a spike in user adoption and public mindshare.

  1. That’s not a typo. It’s really ‘Looops’ with three Os.  ↩

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