I am an independent consultant and advisor focused on Japan's mobile and social gaming industry. Based in Tokyo, I work with financial institutions and "AAA" startups worldwide. I have been the Japan contributor for US tech blog network TechCrunch since 2008. Also, I am an avid gamer.More »
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Capcom Releases Social RPG “Street Fighter x All Capcom” In Japan

Capcom (9697) released social RPG “Street Fighter x All Capcom” in Japan, an original RPG specifically designed for smartphones. The game features characters from over 20 titles the company released over the years. Street Fighter x All Capcom is one of the many products the company pushed out this year to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The…

Mobage Chat: DeNA Rolls Out Another Chat Service

Social networking services in Japan never really put much emphasis on chatting for several reasons: even the biggest homegrown social network Mixi (2121) waited years before releasing such a feature in 2012. Mixi’s move was caused by the meteoric rise of LINE, and other social services reacted as well: GREE (3632) released a chat called GREE Messenger, which…

GungHo’s Quarterly Sales And Profits Drop, Stock Goes Limit-Down: What’s Next?

GungHo Online Entertainment (3765), the company behind Japan’s biggest smartphone game Puzzle & Dragons, has published its financial report for Q3 (July-September 2013) yesterday. And things are not looking as good as last quarter (note: there are no English-language documents available). To be more concrete, GungHo’s sales in Q3 reached US$424 million (-5% quarter-on-quarter), while…

The Nikkei: LINE Plans To Go Public At Tokyo Stock Exchange In 2014

Mega-popular communication app LINE has come a long way since launch in summer 2011 in Japan, with many people speculating about a possible IPO coming soon. And now the cat is out of the bag, it seems: Japanese business daily The Nikkei is reporting on its website it learned LINE Corp., the company behind the…

After Overtaking DeNA’s Market Cap, Colopl Now Boasts 10 Million Users For Its Hit Game Quiz RPG

Colopl (3668), the Tokyo-based company which I recently profiled as the biggest mobile game maker you never heard of, is on a roll. The stock has been going up and up as of late, making Colopl reach a staggering US$3.4 billion market cap today at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (it was even higher a few…

Puzzle & Dragons Hits 20 Million Users In Japan

Japan’s biggest smartphone game Puzzle & Dragons is now boasting over 20 million registered users in the country, maker GungHo Online Entertainment (3765) announced today. While this is a pretty impressive milestone, this chart from news site Social Game Info shows that growth is slowing down. It took the game 30 days to get from…

Magic & Cannon: DeNA’s Next Big Game (?) Goes Live On Mobage In Japan

In today’s smartphone gaming world, GREE (3632) and Mobage operator DeNA (2432) have one thing in common: following numerous attempts, they both still have no big (first-party) app-based hit in their portfolio. As a reaction, during the last financial call, DeNA said it will pump out around 60 new titles over the next few months…

GREE Offers Voluntary Retirement Plan To 11% Of Its Workforce, Closes Osaka Office

Social gaming juggernaut GREE (3632) has clearly been having trouble in recent months: the last financial quarter was pretty weak (by GREE’s standards), some once promising first-party games have been quietly closed over the summer, international business was cut down on, and the company’s market cap has been constantly dropping. Inside the Japanese market, I…