Japanese gamers are very serious about their smartphone games. Of course, there are the casual players who just use them to kill time on the train, but there are a lot of people who spend so much time playing mobile games that their significant others get jealous. And that’s not to mention how much money Japanese people spend on them: in 2015, the Japanese mobile game industry had the second highest revenue in the world, in spite of its comparatively small population. Like I said, serious business.
But what games are Japanese people playing on their smart phones? And on average how much money are they spending on them? Smartprise, a media device venture business, conducted a survey to find out just that. They run an app called Smart Game that provides points for spending money on smartphone games, which can later be exchanged for an iTunes or Amazon gift card. Using this app they sent out a survey to 2,017 users, asking what games they play the most, on average how much money they spend per month on those games, and other interesting industry-related questions.
So what are the top 10 mobile games that are most played by Smart Game’s users?
10. Jikkyo Pawafuru Puro Yakkyu (Real-life Powerful Pro Baseball)
Part of a series of pro sports games that also includes soccer, this game is a realistic baseball game that allows you to pit real-life teams with real-life players against each other. It’s also available on several game consoles. However, though this game appears to be played a lot, "Pawapuro Yakkyu" doesn’t rank in the top 10 for in-app purchases.
"Shadowverse" is a digital collectible card game. According to the app page, there are over 600 cards available in the game, and each one is drawn in a beautiful anime style. But, in spite of boasting a full-voice story mode, which is appealing for RPG fans, as well as an online competitive mode, the amount of money spent on in-app purchases doesn’t rank in the top 10 for "Shadowverse," either.
8. Shironeko Project (White Cat Project)
A “one finger RPG”, "Shironeko Project" is a full-scale, action roleplaying game that is controlled simply with taps and slides of one finger. Players travel across the land on a 3-D map and complete quests, either alone or in collaboration with friends. The popularity of "Shironeko Project" matches with how much money players spend on it: it ranks at number 8 there, too.
7. Ensemble Stars!
One of a number of idol singer games, "Ensemble Stars!" is marketed towards women, as its focus is male idols. The point of this simulation game is to turn a high school boy into the most popular idol in Japan. There are 40 options to choose from and each has his own voice, so users really have the chance to develop a unique idol. "Ensemble Stars!" and the following three games all match their popularity ranking with their in-game purchase ranking.
6. Granblue Fantasy
From the same company that produced "Shadowverse," "Granblue Fantasy" is a turn-based RPG game. It has a stellar production team, including Nobuo Uematsu on the music and Hideo Minaba on character designs, who are both of "Final Fantasy" fame. Its full character voices both in battle and in story make it a popular mobile game for RPG fans.
5. Love Live! School Idol Festival
Unlike the previously mentioned "Ensemble Stars!," this idol game is song rhythm game. It’s part of a huge multi-media series that includes CDs, manga, and anime as well, so it’s no surprise that a smartphone game of the same legacy would also achieve popularity, especially since the game includes music from the anime series.
4. Monster Strike
A hunting RPG, "Monster Strike" is similar to "Pokemon" in that you go around battling and collecting monsters, but the mechanics are quite different: you fight using catapult techniques! Also unlike "Pokemon" (yet), "Monster Strike" has over 1,000 monsters to collect, and contains both a story mode and a cooperative mode, which, combined, could lead to some heavy, long-term playing.
3. The iDOLM@STER -Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage-
The third idol-based game on the list, this "iDOLM@STER" game is part of a larger series of products that include arcade games, anime, audio dramas, and even a radio station. In this trading card rhythm-based game, you serve as a producer of a talent agency, and you have to form an idol group out of 50 possible characters, each of whom also have a variety of “cards” with different levels of rarity and ability. Playing unlocks all kinds of possibilities, which is perhaps why this game ranks at number three on the list.
2. Puzzle & Dragons
Interestingly, "Puzzle & Dragons" is the only puzzle game on the list, but it probably made it because it has strategy and role-playing game elements to it too. Using different colored icons, you make matches of three or more and get your dragons to attack other dragons and monsters. You can also raise your dragons, expand your collection, and modify your team, all the while traveling through dungeons. Though Pazudora is ranked number two as most played, it’s actually beaten by "iDOLM@STER" in in-app purchases.
1. Fate/Grand Order
The number one mobile game on the list is "Fate/Grand Order," based on the popular manga "Fate/Stay Night," which has also been made into numerous other video games and anime. It plays as an online RPG with turn-based battles in which the player summons familiars for help. In keeping with its original format, the story, in which you make use of time travel to prevent the extinction of the human race, is presented in the form of a visual novel. "Fate/Grand Order" is also the game on which the most respondents said they spend most of their money.
The majority of these games are RPG-based, so it’s no surprise that Japanese consumers would love them. How much do they love them? Enough to spend between 10,000 and 50,000 yen per month on them. 38.3 percent of respondents said that’s how much they expect to spend monthly on in-app purchases for their favorite games. But while more than 50 percent said they would spend less than 10,000 yen, eight of the respondents actually said they usually spend more than 1,000,000 yen.
The top 10 mobile games typically earn 50 percent of the mobile game market’s revenues.
Source: Niko Niko News via My Game News Flash
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