Mega-popular Korean chat app KakaoTalk (66 million users worldwide) has opened its gaming platform inside the Japanese version, starting with 3 titles.
The roll-out in Japan is part of a “global” release maker Kakao announced a few days ago. Games available on KakaoTalk in its native Korea have generally been very successful (82 million Kakao-powered game downloads since July is a pretty solid number).
Japanese KakaoTalk users get the same titles as everybody else: the ridiculously popular puzzle game Anipang (by SundayToz), Tap Tap Blitz (by AndromedaGames), and Puzzle Zoo Zoo (by Nexon). All the titles are essentially one-player games but make use of the KakaoTalk social graph.
Japan is also the only company in which Kakao has teamed up with a bigger company, Yahoo Japan, to reach a wide user base: in a recent interview with news site Game Watch, Kakao Japan CEO Park said he sees exactly this partnership as the key to success on the Japanese market.
There is a third Japan-specific factor for KakaoTalk: there is no GREE or Mobage of Korea, a homegrown social gaming network that ever reached a critical size. The Kakao Games platform in Japan will not only compete with LINE Game, it will have to do the same with GREE, Mobage, and the handful of other domestic mobile gaming platforms.