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Japan’s mobile playerbase spends above and beyond on new mobile games

Diandian’s report shows how much Japanese players are willing to spend on the hottest new games
Japan’s mobile playerbase spends above and beyond on new mobile games
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Oct 18, 2023 report Capcom Krafton Netmarble Niantic Square Enix
  • 68.66% of Monster Hunter Now's revenue comes from Japan.
  • Seven Knights Idle Adventure generated more than ¥115 million ($15.72 million) in September.
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September proved to be an eventful month in the games industry, from Unity’s controversy and Epic Games’ major layoffs in the West, to legal updates and a smash-hit new game in the East.

Diandian’s latest report summarises and reflects upon industry happenings through September in Japan and South Korea, with big new game launches for both countries.

September in Japan

Among September’s new mobile launches, Monster Hunter Now roared the loudest in Japan as a game combining local company Capcom’s IP with Niantic’s AR and geolocation technology. It has already become Niantic’s second-biggest game with $31.44 million revenue in one month.

As its remaining competition stands, Now is only behind behemoth title Pokémon Go, showing AR games can capture lightning twice, provided there are Japanese monsters involved.

Japan proved to be Now’s biggest market, too. The region is Niantic’s target demographic as evidenced by its marketing campaign, with billboards front-and-centre in the country. This seems to have paid off: The title topped Japan’s Apple App Store last month in terms of downloads, and came second only to Royal Match on the Play Store. In fact, Monster Hunter Now topped the free games list and bestseller list in Japan for a time.

Now amassed over three million pre-installs in anticipation of its launch and has since doubled its playerbase to six million. According to Diandian’s data, only 14.32% of its downloads have actually come from Japanese players, but that modest percentage have provided a staggering 68.66% of the game’s revenue so far.

US players make up 19.71% of the game's current downloads market, but they have only contributed 8.28% of revenues so far.

Promo for Monster Hunter Now in Japan
Promo for Monster Hunter Now in Japan

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII spinoff, Ever Crisis, also launched in September, but to a more mixed reception. It did peak at the top of Japan’s free games listing, but only reached ninth on the bestseller list.

Diandian estimates its revenue to be approximately $13.93 million so far with the US, Japan and Brazil accounting for the most downloads at 30.82%, 25.93% and 5.31% respectively. Like Monster Hunter Now, Ever Crisis’ biggest funder is its Japanese audience, representing 61.7% of its revenue so far. The game also recently introduced a young version of the series’ beloved villain Sephiroth with a new story campaign, earning it some further buzz.

Mint Y Games’ Mosaic Heroes entered the Japanese games market in September too, ranking second on the free games list for iOS upon its debut. It peaked at seventh on the best-selling list.

September in South Korea

As for South Korea, September saw the launch of Seven Knights Idle Adventure, the latest game from Netmarble and sequel to Seven Knights. The new title generated almost ¥50 million ($6.8 million) in its first five days.

Part of Idle Adventure’s success can be attributed to its functionality with low-spec devices, opening itself up to a wider market and potential playerbase. By the end of last month, it had been downloaded 560,000 times in South Korea alone, with more than ¥115 million ($15.72 million) generated.

Lastly, though not a new game in itself, Krafton also announced a new endeavour with Naver Z. The companies plan to create a metaverse platform named Overdare which, built on Unreal Engine 5, will use generative AI to enable game creation in a range of genres. It is expected to release in December, with a global launch next year.

Many of the companies discussed here are also listed among our Top 50 Game Makers.