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Discoverability On Mobage And GREE: How Japanese Players Find Social Games [Social Games]


With tens of thousands of games to choose from, “discoverability” is a big problem for gaming companies offering on Facebook, in the App Store or on the Android Market. But how about Japan, on DeNA‘s Mobage or GREE?

Mobage and GREE offer “only” over 1,000 games each currently, so it’s easier for individual titles to stand out than on Facebook, for example, but it’s not simple.

Here are the main ways of how Japanese players discover games (exemplified on GREE forĀ  smartphones and feature phones):
1) Search engine
This is pretty straight-forward: users who know the name of a game can simply enter it in the search box on the GREE home page. The search box is located at the top on the feature phone version and on the bottom of the screen on iOS and Android (available on Mobage, too).

2) Categories
Much like Facebook, for example, GREE offers different categories for games to make it simpler to discover titles. Categories are only available on GREE for feature phones at the moment.

3) Rankings
GREE offers three types of rankings (as does DeNA, by the way). One ranking shows the most popular games on GREE as a whole, while two others show which titles are played the most by male and female users, respectively. Rankings aren’t available on GREE for smartphones at the moment.

4) New games section
New games uploaded on GREE are shown in a special section (for both feature phones and smartphones) for a while.

5) Recommended games section
Very much like in the App Store, for example, this is the most sought-after spot to get their games exposed to users for all GREE developers (available on both feature phones and smartphones). Mobage also reserves a section for recommended games – and as on GREE, first party games tend to be overrepresented (not too surprising, as both GREE and DeNA double as platform and game providers).

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.