You could call it a clever marketing idea, total nonsense or a sign of how mature the Japanese social gaming industry is, but the day has come: Japan has a credit card that’s connected to a mobile gaming platform, as DeNA (2432) has released a Mobage credit card today.
To be more precise, the aptly named “Mobage Card” is being offered by Mitsui Sumitomo, one of the biggest banks in the country.
By paying with the Mobage card inside and outside the platform, users can accumulate Mobacoins, DeNA’s platform currency, and spend the Mobacoins later in Mobage games on smartphones, tablets, or feature phones (so if users purchase Mobacoins with the card, they get “bonus” Mobacoins as well).
DeNA is also planning to roll out special items in their top games that only owners of the credit card will be able to unlock, so I can see whales in Japan rushing to Mitsui Sumitomo banks everywhere in the country to get it (apart from the marketing effect, only users who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars per month on Mobage can be the actual target group here).
DeNA says that there is no sign-up fee for the first year, but users will need to pay 1,312 Yen (US$13.40) as the basic fee yearly after that.
As part of a promotion campaign, Mobage users who apply now get up to 8,000 Mobacoins (worth 8,000 Yen) and up to 6% of the money they spend with the Mobage Card back as Mobacoins – provided they make purchases within Mobage (for purchases outside, users can still expect 5,000 Mobacoins and up to 4% when making payments with the card).
This is how the Mobage Card looks: