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