Dragon Quest finds mobile gold, game market is now +50% mobile, and the end of Mobage?

Weekly digest from Tokyo

Dragon Quest finds mobile gold, game market is now +50% mobile, and the end of Mobage?

As well as being one of the largest mobile game markets by revenue, Japan is currently also one of the most dynamic.

It's a good opportunity, then, for PocketGamer.biz to hook up with Indie Navi, a site which is dedicated to the coverage of Japanese mobile and indie development.

Set up by two enthusiastic and experienced translators, you can find out more about the services they offer here or email info (at] indienavi.com.

Otherwise, let's get on with the show - the five most interesting stories from the Japanese mobile games industry.

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  • 5 Famitsu previews Tales of Asteria

    With the release of Tales of Asteria just on the horizon (and with the title already having racked up 50,000 pre-registrations), Famitsu App offered a preview of what to expect, complete with screens and video.

    Asteria's story is experienced through the perspective of six protagonists each seeking a star fragment with the power to grant any wish. In the beginning only one of these protagonists is available to the player, with the remaining five unlocked as the story unfolds.

    Battles are separated into action sequences that culminate in a strategy-oriented boss fight. In each round of the boss fight, element icons and healing icons are randomly distributed. Players must quickly line up their characters to match elements for brutal attacks, and to heal party members whose HP is low.

  • 4 DeNA to phase out the Mobage brand?

    In a movement indicative of the trend away from the once-mighty social media platforms, DeNA has indicated it is phasing out the Mobage brand name.

    In a report on personnel and organizational changes, DeNA released on 25 March, the company revealed it will be branching its Mobage Integrated Development Department off into a Japan Regional Games Development Department and an Overseas Integrated Games Development Department.

    Looking over the list of departments following the shake-up (which goes into effect 1 April), the "Mobage" moniker is nowhere to be seen.

  • 3 Bandai Namco teams up with DeNA to release One Piece in China

    DeNA's above-mentioned establishment of an overseas development department seems indicative of the company's intention to grow its business through increased participation in overseas markets.

    This theory is given support by the announcement on Bandai Namco's part that the two companies will be teaming up to bring Bandai Namco's One Piece smartphone title to China.

    Bandai Namco teamed up with DeNA in the past to release Gundam Card Collectionthrough the Korean social games portal Daum Mobage. With One Piece, DeNA will once again be handling distribution, this time in China.

    The news is also regarded as indicative of Bandai Namco's intention to broaden the reach of its smartphone titles via overseas releases.

  • 2 "New style" Dragon Quest titles both hit download milestones

    Although Square Enix has taken a very careful approach in easing its flagship series into the online world, the bet has paid off: in the past week, Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light hit the 4 million downloads milestone, and Dragon Quest X's version 1 made it to a million.

    Dragon Quest X producer Yosuke Saito is bullish, stating on his Twitter account Squenix is hoping to see Dragon Quest X match the domestic distribution achieved by the original Dragon Quest.

    When the most popular game series in Japan is being transitioned into smartphone play, it's almost as though there's an emerging trend.

  • 1 Smartphone titles now account for half of Japanese games sales

    Cyber Agent's subsidiary CyberZ has conducted research into the state of the smartphone games market, holding its findings up to the state of the games industry as whole.

    According to CyberZ's findings and subsequent report, in 2013 the games industry brought in over 1.1 trillion yen ($10.5 billion) through the sale of hardware and software. Sales through smartphone titles accounted for over 546 billion yen ($5.3 billion) of this total.

    This means that in Japan in 2013, sales through smartphone titles accounted for over half of the sales for the entire games industry.

    From another perspective, this also means that sales through smartphone games, most of which are monetized through F2P models, equaled those achieved by all other formats combined, including games hardware sales.

PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.