Breaching the Japanese Game Market – Mission Impossible?

Mixi’s marketing approach

Communication is the nucleus of Mixi’s strategy.

“Our core policy is to create a bond via communication. What this means is we like to enhance the communication by the use our app.” – Tomotaka Motoyoshi

They focus on creating user relationships through face to face  multi-play games like Monster Strike.

How do they do it?

  • Influencer videos- Currently, Mixi uses influencer videos to attract their Japanese user base. Their strategy is creating educational content that introduces new features, characters and levels. Though Mixi has a popular YouTuber in Japan, most of the videos they generate are comprised of their employees, making the employees influencers. This approach has helped them gain around 40K twitter followers.

  • Offline Events- Since Mixi believes in fun, face to face interaction they create many offline events with the purpose of bringing people together. They also hold a variety of  E-sports events that are rare in Japan
  • Anime’s – While most Japanese companies do anime on television, Mixi uses YouTube as their main channel in order to provide the anime or game content that users will be able to see whenever, wherever they would like.

  • Communication first- Multi-play games have recently  become popular in Japan. While most Japanese companies try to adapt their games to fit multi-play and make it fun, Mixi puts communication first and game second.

Promoting your game in Japan

Keep in mind that CPI in Japan is higher than most Asian countries and higher than most countries in general. Before running off to create campaigns, make sure you:

  1. Review the insights in this article
  2. Have the budget
  3. Avoid mistakes that will cost you a whole bunch of money

Average CPI in Asia

Do not be discouraged, there is room for some optimism. Japan is at the top of the charts when it comes to ARPU (average revenue per user) so if you do manage to market your game successfully, your hard work will pay off.

average monthly arpu top 30 games by revenue

Image taken from AppAnnie

Mission impossible?

As you can see breaching the Japanese game market is no walk in the park. The combination of limited mobile users, intense competition and the difference in culture makes Japan a hard market for westerners to crack. Hard, but not impossible. If you have your heart set on succeeding you’re going to have to start thinking Japanese. “When in Rome, do as the  Romans do”, when in Japan, develop and promote as the Japanese would.

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