Data & Research

Why the Japanese mobile games market remains the world's most lucrative and competitive

Why the Japanese mobile games market remains the world's most lucrative and competitive

No mobile games market in the world compares to Japan.

That's the stark conclusion from the Understanding the Mobile Games Market in Japan report released by App Annie and Dentsu, Japan's largest marketing agency.

According to this report, the amount of downloads in Japan is five times higher than in the US, while Japanese players are three times more engaged than their US counterparts.

This drives much higher per player levels of monetisation.

And, although maturing, the market is still growing. Revenue increased 25% in 2015, having expended almost 150% since 2013.

Significantly, local companies such as GungHo Online, Mixi, DeNA, GREE, Colopl etc - generated over 90% of the gaming revenue.

Local companies such as GungHo Online and Mixi generated over 90% of the gaming revenue.

In comparison, in US less than half of the revenue was generated by local companies.

Local interests

The report stresses on the importance of localisation strategies for games in Japan. Generally, the Japanese audience tends to prefer games with local styles, like storylines, voice acting and art styles.

Other preferred features are locally flavoured mechanics like gacha in-app purchases and time-limited events.

In particular, casual games make the 35% of the total downloads, and combined with RPG, they both are the most popular genres with over 75% of the top 200 downloads, with RPG alone making more than 50% of the revenue in this list.

The strong monetisation of Japan's market is reflected in the high revenue the RPGs have even with their large amount of downloads.

Some of the most popular games in are Disney Tsum Tsum, and Candy Crush Saga (a rare western success); as well as RPGs such as Monster and Puzzle & Dragons, with Dragonball Z Dokkan Battle, Final Fantasy Record Keeper and Mobius Final Fantasy having been released recently and climbing the grossing charts.

You can find the full report - Understanding the Mobile Games Market in Japan - here.


Jammy since birth, but not so much playing video games, Borja will rant if you let him. His two hobbies, games and travelling, are only compatible through mobile gaming.


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