Mixi scores a Monster hit in mobile game market
MIXI'S game, Monster Strike, has gained a large lead over its competitors in Japan in the smartphone game market.
While the trailblazing Puzzle & Dragons by GungHo Online Entertainment loses momentum, the earnings of Monster Strike from in-game user purchases continue to grow.
Sales are forecast to reach 205 billion yen (S$2.5 billion) for fiscal 2015 ending March, an 80 per cent increase over the previous period and a record high.
Monster Strike was first made available for download in September 2013. Its popularity derives from its simple controls and ability to play with up to four players.
It has also expanded into overseas markets such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the worldwide number of users has exceeded 30 million.
On the other hand, Puzzle & Dragons has seen its momentum begin to slip away, with sales totalling 154.3 billion yen, according to GungHo's consolidated financial statements for the business year that ended December 2015 - an 11 per cent drop from the previous period.
Monster Strike has been able to maintain its popularity because it continues to introduce features to prevent users from losing interest.
Rakuten Securities analyst Yasuo Imanaka said: "Since you can play together with your friends, it takes longer to get bored. There is also a growing trend of parents playing the game with their kids."
Last autumn, characters from the popular anime Lupin The Third appeared in the game for a limited time.
Although Mixi operated at a loss in fiscal 2013 due to the decline of its social-networking service, the firm has revived itself with the overwhelming success of Monster Strike.
However, with 90 per cent of its sales income linked to just that one game, it may be relying too much on an unbalanced, "one-legged" business structure.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK