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Whimsical Japanese dev uses Vine celebs to break into US market

Whimsical Japanese dev uses Vine celebs to break into US market

Japanese indie studio Amutus is harnessing the power of Vine celebrities in an attempt to break in to the US market.

Credited as one of the pioneers of Japan’s mobile indie games movement, Bike Rider was launched in 2006 and since then has been downloaded over 25 million times, as well as being the #1 game on the 3DS download shop.

Amutus is now aiming to replicate the success of the endless 2D runner - set in a monochrome sketchbook with hand drawn graphics - in the United States.

Produced by stop motion Vine expert Jethro Ames, the video features two other Viners Marcus Johns and Cody Johns.

Between them, the pair command a following of over 9.1 million people.

Wheely good

“The core target audience for Bike Rider is teenagers, and as such Vine is a perfect platform,” Amutus’ game director Kiyo Takagi told PocketGamer.biz.

“For the past year or so, I have been seeing endless tweets from Japanese teenagers and it seems that the majority of them are posted from school classrooms.”

One such tweet translates roughly in to “The classroom is boring. I am playing Bike Rider,” and Takagi says this level of social media and online sharing is a key focus for Amutus.

But how difficult is it to replicate the games Japanese success in the American market?

“The top of the App Store charts in Japan are filled with big titles, mostly RPG, that are high ARPPU. And these top games have not performed well in the markets outside of Japan (with the exception of a handful, such as Brave Frontier.)

“On the other hand, if you look at the super casual games category, which I believe Bike Rider fits in, there are many titles that have been successful globally, for example Flappy Bird, Temple Run, White Tile, etc. And I believe that a Japanese title from this category could have the same kind of success.”

With the game’s music and sound created by YouTube sensation Hikakin, and well-known Vine faces on hand to ease the transition, video is a core strategy to enable that success in a new market.

“With the support of the Viners,” Takagi says wryly, “I believe Bike Rider could one day become a country-wide headache for classroom teachers in the US.”


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