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Colopl and GungHo post impressive financials, while 3 media giants combine to Reinforce

Weekly digest from Tokyo
Colopl and GungHo post impressive financials, while 3 media giants combine to Reinforce

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.

#5: Famitsu, 4Gamer, and NicoNico Douga team up for Reinforce

Speaking of Famitsu, although not specific to mobile and portable games, gamers will be interested to hear that three of Japan's largest games media outlets are joining hands to create a new venture.

Hearts United Group (whose child company Aetas runs, Kadokawa (owners of Famitsu and Dengeki) and Dwango (NicoNico Douga) will each have an equal stake in the new corporation, named Reinforce, Inc.

Although none of these companies have released specifics, in its press release (PDF) HUG claims the three companies will be cooperating to provide content, communication tools, games awards, and marketing.

#4: Colopl teases Project White Cat

Toward the end of Colopl's 30 April press conference, president and CEO Naruatsu Baba also teased a major new project.

For now, the project is being referred to as "Project White Cat", although on the official teaser site and in press materials Colopl has stressed that this will not be a followup to Quiz RPG: The World of Mystic Wiz (which has "Black Cat" in its Japanese title).

Although Colopl is holding off on details until 15 May, Baba revealed that the title will feature smartphones' GPS capabilities centrally in its design.

From Baba's explanation, Colopl has been tossing the idea central to the title around for several years, and it's only now with the proliferation of smartphones that it has become feasible.

#3: GungHo's Q1 sales up 62% to $499 million

On 28 April, GungHo released its Q1 financials, for the three months ending 31 March 2014.

GungHo reported sales of 49.9 billion yen ($499 million), up 62 percent from Q1 2013.

Operating profit was 28.8 billion yen ($288 million), an increase of 55 percent.

In comparison to the previous quarter, sales were up 6.6 percent and operating profit was up an impressive 27 percent. These figures make Q1 2014 GungHo's most profitable quarter to-date.

President Kazuki Morishita also reiterated GungHo's interest in expanding sales in countries outside of Japan, saying distribution of the company's titles in China is "under preparation". He also assured investors that the quasi-follow up Puzzle & Dragons W is "receiving final polish" and will be ready for release in Japan shortly.

#2: Famitsu interviews Don't Step the White Tile creator

Between its simplicity of concept, extreme difficulty, and general absurdity, Don't Step the White Tile has received comparisons to Flappy Bird - and the explosion of downloads to go along with it.

Despite only the most basic localization, Don't Step the White Tile has been downloaded millions of times outside of Japan, bringing huge attention to the game's creator, who goes by the handle fieldWalking.

In a brief interview with Famitsu App, fieldWalking revealed that the initial release took, from conception to coding, a mere three days. Despite this, as of the time of the interview, the game had been downloaded over 7 million times around the world.

fieldWalking is using the proceeds to found a proper company, planning to dive into work on a larger project beginning in June.

#1: Colopl's H1 sales up 420% to $234 million

On 30 April, Colopl released sales figures for its Q1 and Q2, the six months ending on 31 March 2014.

Cumulative sales were 23.4 billion yen ($234 million), a 420 percent increase year-on-year.

Colopl's operating profit reached 10.2 billion yen ($102 million), an impressive 620 percent increase.

Quarter-on-quarter, from Q1 to Q2, Colopl's sales total rose 12 percent to 12.3 billion yen, and operating profit rose 9 percent to 5.3 billion yen.

The growth can largely be attributed to the ongoing success of Quiz RPG: The World of Mystic Wiz, which recently surpassed 24 million downloads in Japan, putting it within reach of GungHo's Puzzle & Dragons.