Big in Japan: Kemco goes against the flow, while Square Enix shares rise high

Weekly digest from Tokyo

Big in Japan: Kemco goes against the flow, while Square Enix shares rise high

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 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]

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

Kemco announces its intentions: A new RPG every month

With it starting to feel like free-to-play is the only business model on iOS and Android these days, it's refreshing to see a company trying a different tack. Kemco's plan is simple but daunting: a new, quality RPG for mobile devices once every month.

Rather than relying on in-game purchases, Kemco is leaning on the hope that their RPGs will be of high enough quality to entice mobile gamers to come back for more every month.

To that end, Kemco announced the release of two new titles: Fanatic Earth and Dead Dragons. Each features polished retro visuals and unique battle systems that draw heavily on the feel of old-school JRPGs.

Parenting apps in wide use, but smartphones not for small children

The Mobile Marketing Data Laboratory released the results of its research into the attitude of Japanese parents toward the use of smartphones by young children. Its findings: although 90 percent of parents with smartphones have used parenting apps, most feel opposition to the idea of allowing very young children to interact with smartphones.

Approximately 40 percent of survey participants responded that they play smartphone apps with their children with some degree of regularity. When asked the genres of these apps, Games aimed at children, video apps, and educational titles topped the list.

Kotaro Yoshida releases Half Minute Hero successor on iOS

Indie developer Kotaro Yoshida made a name for himself with the indie gem Half Minute Hero, and now he's back with 100 Turn Hero for iOS.

With eye-grabbing retro visuals and a play system as simple as it is deep, we found 100 Turn Hero to be easily one of the best iOS games on the market. At only 100 yen, it's a total steal.

Colopl surpasses NEXON in market capitalization

As of the 20 January, colopl's market capitalization had exceeded that of its rival Nexon for the first time since colopl's listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December of 2012.

Setting aside companies which also produce hardware or continue to make traditional distribution methods a large part of their strategies (such as Sony and Nintendo) to focus on companies whose business models are built around mobile dcevelopment, this places colopl second only to GREE in terms of market capitalization.

Square Enix Holdings' share price highest in over four years

On 24 January, Square Enix Holding's share price reached its maximum allowable single-day gain of 400 yen to finish the day's trading at 2,081 yen. This is the company's highest share price in over four years. The gains are partly attributed to Square Enix's 23 January release of Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light.

The first in the long-running spin-off franchise to be developed from the ground-up for smartphones and tablets, Super Light has been a hit with iOS users, leaping to fifth place in the sales rankings under the App Store games category.

News of the title's success drove up the share price of Square Enix as well as that of Cyber Agent, whose subsidiary Cygames (itself part-owned by DeNA) developed Super Light. 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.