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Mixi eyes casual players for Monster Strike revival as game surpasses 50m installs

FY2020 profits forecast to drop by 88.6 per cent
Mixi eyes casual players for Monster Strike revival as game surpasses 50m installs
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Mixi has set out a new plan to revitalise its flagship mobile game Monster Strike with the goal of attracting more casual players.

On April 24th the title surpassed 50 million installs worldwide since its 2013 release. While the game has proven to be a multi-billion dollar hit (an estimated $7.2 billion and counting), it’s been in decline for some time, affecting the publisher's financials.

Net sales for the year ending March 31st 2019 came in at ¥144 billion ($1.3bn), down 23.8 per cent from the previous year. Profit meanwhile dropped 36.5 per cent to 26.5bn ($241 million).

Back to its roots

To revitalise Monster Strike sales, the publisher said it would be appointing marketing officer Yuko Nemoto, who is said to have driven the game’s growth during its third anniversary celebrations, as its head of operations.

The company said it wants to return Monster Strike to its roots and be a game that can be enjoyed by both casual and core players.

Over recent years the title has leaned toward the latter as Mixi attempted to make the most out of its existing userbase. But with the average revenue per use falling, the company hopes targeting casual players will “invigorate the entire userbase”.

Mixi also said it will be reviewing its overall strategy for the IP - including animation and merchandising.

New Monster Strike games had been in the works, but one title’s release has been postponed while another has been cancelled.

Surprisingly, Mixi said the decisions came due to a shortage of project managers and directors - despite the number of ‘entertainment’ employees at the company higher than at 2018 levels. It now aims to hire more staff.

Mixi sales from FY2016 to FY2019
Mixi sales from FY2016 to FY2019

Forecasts for the year ending March 31st 2020 anticipate net sales of ¥100bn ($909m), down 30.6 per cent, and ¥3bn profit ($27m), a decrease of 88.6 per cent.

"Regarding the fact that we are projecting large decline in both sales and profits for the current term, as a top management, I am feeling a great sense of critical urgency," said Mixi president Koki Kimura.

"We will do everything we can to ensure the revival of Monster Strike and also lessen our dependence on Monster Strike by adding a sustainable layer of profits from the Sports businesses and also aim to create another hit product like Monster Strike."

Monster Strike was first released in 2013 and has proven a massive hit while also showing remarkable longevity. Despite significant declines in Mixi's sales, the game continues to be a top 10 grosser on the App Store in Japan, often peaking still at the number one spot.

You can gain more insights into the Asia markets on the East Meets West track at Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong on July 17th to 18th. We're also hosting a free London-based 'East Meets West' mini-summit for the games industry on Wednesday, May 29th in association with Mintegral.