After two years perched atop the Japanese Google Play and App Store charts, Puzzle & Dragons has finally been stripped of its title as the number one top grossing app in Japan. The plucky usurper is none other than Mixi's Monster Strike, a card-collecting RPG that owes a lot to the successes of franchises like Pokémon and Digimon. The change of fortune has been charted by Japanese analytics outfit Metaps, which noticed that November 2014 was the first month that Monster Strike managed to spend more days than Puzzle & Dragons in the number one spot - both on Google Play and the App Store.
Hong Kong has a population of only seven million people, on an area of only 650 square miles. Despite its limited size, Hong Kong is an app market with influence on mainland China, and is a particularly effective starting point for developers planning to expand into Asia. Hong Kong is located only 500 miles from Taiwan, and the two regions share many similarities. In the case of the app market, the fact that Hong Kong and Taiwan share traditional Chinese as a common language is the most important factor.
Katsuaki Sato, founder and CEO of Metaps, is a restless and bold entrepreneur in Japan’s startup community. Not content with a booming app monetization and analysis service, he’s also created a rapidly growing online payments product, and is now working to use satellites for analyzing big data. One of the few CEOs in Japan (of a startup or large corporation) to successfully internationalize his business, Sato headlined Tech in Asia’s recent Tokyo meetup. His talk and the discussion that followed highlighted what he calls the three main lies surrounding global expansion.
Tokyo-based Metaps, the company that provides app monetization platform using artificial intelligence, announced today that it has teamed up with Space Shift to start a joint study on big data analytics systems using ultra-miniaturized satellites. Space Shift has been involved in developing space ventures using miniaturized satellites, and the company’s CEO Naruo Kanemoto is also known for serving Silicon Valley-based space funeral startup Euysium Space for its business development. Both companies expect to develop life supporting services based upon results from the joint study. If you can understand what may be behind this article so far, you may be truly advanced. Topical issues in the Big Data business sector include the Nest acquisition by Google which aims to collect temperature variations from households using the smart thermostat device. Google also acquired satellite startup Skybox Imaging in June this year.
For those mobile game developers and publishers looking to break into Japan, analytics company Metaps has a suggestion for you -- target Taiwan first. While climbing the various Japanese app store charts can prove very lucrative for Western mobile game devs, Metaps notes that the climb can be steep, due to heavy competition and required ad spending. But when you compare the Japanese and Taiwanese app charts, there's a definite pattern says the company. The sorts of games and genres that are popular in Japan are equally as popular in Taiwan, thus making Taiwan the perfect entry point for Western devs looking to make it big in the East.
Home to the world’s leading electronics contract makers, Taiwan has the ingredients to foster a thriving startup ecosystem. But the island has yet to produce a tech startup that’s a household name, and industry insiders have cited many reasons for the situation, such as small market size, insufficient government support, and entrepreneurs’ small-market mentality. The innovation environment of Taiwan was even once lambasted by Kai-fu Lee, ex-Google China chief and current CEO of Innovation Works, as diseased. “Some tough medicine should be taken to cure it”, added Lee.
Move over, card games. Roleplaying games – RPGs – are now the most popular mobile game genre for Android users in Japan. App monetization platform Metaps discussed why in a blog post where it analyzed the top grossing categories in Japan’s Google Play store for September 2014. The card game, once a dominant genre, is now ranked fourth, behind the roleplaying, casual, and simulation categories. While its average revenue per user (ARPU) is still above average, there are also fewer new releases in that category, showing that the card battle game is finally running out of steam.
According to Japanese mobile specialist Metaps, the local market is undergoing a subtle shift in terms of the strengths of different top grossing genres. Looking back over the period July to September 2014, the #1 category of role-playing games has increased its domination. Its share of top grossing games on the Japanese Google Play chart has risen from 17 percent to 19 percent. Cutting the deck Meanwhile, over-saturation and perhaps even audience boredom have seen card-collection games drop from over 10 percent to 9 percent; quite a significant shift during the three month period.
Day one of Startup Asia Tokyo continued rumbling along into the afternoon. While investors and entrepreneurs roamed Bootstrap Alley, the conference hall remained packed with attendees wanting to hear insights and opinions for the all-star panel of guest speakers.Metaps has quickly become a valuable resource for app developers. The company’s core service – data-driven advice on how to increase in-app downloads – has reached 100 million users. Founder and CEO Katsuaki Sato has spoken at length about this service in the past so he focused this talk more on how he sees his company evolving in the future.He noted that it is a mistake to assume that the smartphone age means that the IT industry must be centred in the United States. For him, he wants his company to be truly global, with 800 million users within two years. He wants to get into underserved countries like India, Brazil, and Africa.
Metaps will be presenting another pre-Tokyo Game Show mobile game industry mini-conference on September 17th, at V2 Tokyo. The theme of this year's event is "How to succeed in the global mobile game market", and there will be sessions with industry leaders followed by a reception where attendees can meet and talk with other mobile game developers.