serkan AT kantan-games.co.jp

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Who’s Actually Playing Social Games In Japan? [Social Games]

GREE, DeNA‘s Mobage, Yahoo Mobage, Mixi, Hangame: there’s certainly no shortage of social game platform providers in Japan, and the same is true for social game content providers (I am estimating there are around 500 of these active in this country).

But who is actually playing these games, making it possible for GREE and DeNA to develop into multi-billion dollar companies with 40%+ profit margins?

In a nutshell, social game players in Japan are older than most people think, about 50% female, and concentrated in the region around Tokyo. Here’s a quick overview.

Both GREE and DeNA (as well as Mixi) are relatively open regarding user-related demographics (what’s interesting is that all of these companies aren’t sharing more specific user information with their third-party game providers, but that’s another story).

I) GREE
Here’s the GREE breakdown regarding gender, location and age of their users (taken from their latest financial report):

II) DeNA’s Mobage
Here is some information on DeNA’s Mobage (provided by DeNA, from their semi-hidden page for advertisers):

Gender (feature phones): 55.8% male; 44.2% female
Gender (smartphones): 65.0% male; 35.0% female

Carrier (feature phones): 49.0% i-mode; 36.3% EZweb; 14.7% Yahoo! Keitai

OS (smartphones): 66.8% Android; 33.2% iOS (As of October 31, 2011)

Age (feature phones): 20.3% under 20; 38.4% 20-29; 41.3% over 30
Age (smartphones): 19.2% under 20; 43.1% 20-29; 37.7% over 30

Regions (feature phones): Hokkaido 9.3%; Tohoku 5.2%; Metropolitan
Area 33.4%; Shinetsu & Hokuriku 4.9%; Tokai 10.2%; Kinki 15.6%;
Chugoku & Shikoku 7.8%; Kyushu & Okinawa 11.5%

Regions (smartphones): Hokkaido 7.9%; Tohoku 8.5%; Metropolitan Area
34.1%; Shinetsu & Hokuriku 5.5%; Tokai 10.0%; Kinki 15.7%; Chugoku &
Shikoku 7.4%; Kyushu & Okinawa 10.8%

III) Mixi
Data from Mixi (which is mainly used for social networking, not mobile social gaming in Japan):

IV) Enterbrain
Another interesting piece of information comes from Enterbrain‘s “Social Game Users White Paper 2011″ (which is only available in Japanese, the chart below is from a recent Nikkei Online article).

Observe the rather large percentage for “engineers”:

Serkan Toto About Serkan Toto
I am the CEO & Founder of Kantan Games, Inc., a Tokyo-based game industry consultancy focused on the Japanese market. Please subscribe to updates on this site via RSS or Email.