Asian Mobile Games Are 48% Of The Global Market

The mobile games market continues to thrive, and the region where it’s growing the fastest is Asia. A new overview of the rapidly growing Asian market was prepared by mobile game marketing firm Applift in conjunction with Newzoo, and the report offers a valuable look at some of the key statistics for mobile games in China, South Korea, and Japan.

The report sets the stage for its revelations early. “Asia Pacific is the world’s largest mobile games market with $12.2 billion total revenue in 2014. This amounts to 48 percent of the total global mobile games revenue.” noted the introduction. “Asia is a continent where Android is king, localization of Western games is of paramount importance, live in-game events and support are not only nice to have but expected, and local players sometimes take precedence over the status quo people are used to in Western markets.”

The three top Asian markets are (in order of total revenue) Japan, China, and South Korea. The countries have very different markets, yet there are some commonalities. For one thing, despite the outsized success of titles like Supercell’s Clash of Clans and King’s Candy Crush Saga, games from publishers of that country tend to populate most of the best-selling title lists. It’s clear that a strong understanding of the local markets and culture is important to success in each country. Publishers from other countries either need to get lucky with a title that happens to

All three countries are dominated by Android smartphones, yet the breakdown of market share between iOS and Android is quite different in each country. South Korea is dominated by Android with 85 percent market share, which is due in part to the local presence of Samsung and its massive line of bestselling phones. Japan has a strong iOS market share with 37 percent of the market, while China is slightly behind with only 34 percent of the market owning an iOS device.

It would be a mistake to assume that the gamers in these three Asian countries are interesting in the same type of games to the same degree. The list of the most popular game genres are quite different for each country, though there is some overlap. The top game genres in China are Race, Strategy, RPG, Poker, and Brain Training. The lineup is quite different in Japan, with RPGs as the #1 genre of game, followed by Puzzles, Simulation, Action/Adventure, and Card Games (excluding Poker). South Korea has Puzzles as the #1 genre of game, followed by Race, Simulation, Action/Adventure, and Strategy.

Major differences are seen in the population and the prospects for these three countries. China already has 383 million active mobile gamers out of its 1.37 billion people, with smartphone penetration of the general population at 46.9 percent. The monthly average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) in China is $23.50, and the vast majority (73.6 percent) of payers spend only a small amount. Smartphones are by far the device of choice in China, with 94.4 percent of users employing smartphones to play games — but 51.7 percent also use tablets to play games.

China is poised to take the #2 position in the list of the world’s biggest mobile game markets, right behind Japan, passing up the US sometime in the next year. Clearly there is also plenty of upside expansion left in China, as the penetration of smartphones is still less than half the population. Average cost per install (CPI) levels are at $1.81, much less than Japan or Korea. One obstacle facing China, though, is the absence of the Google Play store (since China prevents Google from operating there) and the consequent fragmentation of the app stores, with dozens competing to be the place where gamers can find games.

Japan’s smartphone penetration is now over 60 percent, according to the report, and 37.9 percent are very active players with an average monhtly ARPPU of $50. That also helps explain the average CPI of $3.14, making it expensive to get your game established through buying installations. Japan has 54 million players out of its 126 million population, so there’s nowhere near as much upside as China posesses.

One of the interesting aspects of the Japanese market is the ‘live events’ that are popular in mobile games. “Live in-game events and gambling hooks are widely used and very successful in order to foster engagement, retention and above all high player revenue in Japan,” the report noted. “Live events are special happenings that show special graphics, characters, etc. for a limited period of time, thereby creating a feeling of urgency and excitement for users.”

One of the classic mechanisms in Japan for attracting users and elevating spending is the gatcha. “Gatcha are gambling mechanisms whereby users pay a certain amount to get an unknown, random virtual item (card, unit, coins, etc.) within a wide value range, for instance through a wheel of fortune. This technique creates a lot of excitement and provides a thrilling gaming experience,” the report stated. No doubt, any resemblance to the English term “gotcha!” is purely coincidental.

South Korea has only 50 million people, but almost half the population (24 million) are players of mobile games, and smartphone penetration is at 73 percent. The monthly ARPPU is a small fraction of Japan’s ARPPU at only $5.27, but the CPI is almost the same at $3.09. The unusual feature of South Korea’s market is the dominance of messaging app KakaoTalk, and its overwhelming power to market games. “Messaging app KakaoTalk is installed on 93 percent of smartphones in South Korea,” the report states. “Its dominance as a mobile games publishing and discoverability platform makes it difficult for publishers to shine through outside of it. Developers should consider publishing here for the viral potential. 9 out of the top 10 grossing apps on Google Play are Kakao published.”

The report concludes that China is the most appealing of the three markets right now. “China’s CPI levels are low in comparison to Japan’s and South Korea’s; one of the reasons behind us crowning it the most globally appealing market out of Asia’s big three,” the report concluded. All three of these markets are good targets for mobile game publishers, but the right approach — and the right partners — are vital to success in all of them.


Last Day To Enter For A Free Ticket To [a]list summit

[a]listdaily is giving away 2 free passes to our upcoming [a]list summit on Dec. 3rd at the W Hotel in Hollywood, California!  This time, we’re focusing on the most important isses on mobile marketers are facing this year and we have quite the lineup. Interested You have nothing to lose!

Rules and guidelines are outlined below.

To enter the contest, follow [a]listdaily on LinkedIn. All contestants must then send an email to with first name, last name and the email address and link to your LinkedIn profile. We’ll verify that your email address receives our newsletter and that you follow us on LinkedIn.

Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, November 24th, 2014.

Two winners will be chosen at random the following day. The winner will be notified by the email address provided along with instructions to claim their tickets.

We’ll see you there!

More details and official rules below.



Disclaimers: By participating, contestants acknowledge and agree that sponsors of this giveaway and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries and affiliates and the officers, employees, representatives and agents of each will not be liable for losses or injuries of any kind resulting from the acceptance/possession/use and/or misuse of any prize, travel to and from any giveaway-related activity, participation in the giveaway, erroneous announcements or printing, mailing or distribution errors, or any malfunctions of the telephone network, computer equipment, software, or any combination thereof, or for any entries that are not in compliance with these official rules.

Reservation of Rights: By participating in this giveaway, the contestants agree to be bound by these official rules and the decisions of the giveaway sponsor shall be final in all respects. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify persons found tampering with or otherwise abusing any aspect of this giveaway solely determined by sponsor. In the event that the fairness, security or proper administration of the giveaway is compromised by tampering, fraud, technical failures or other causes beyond the reasonable control of sponsor, sponsor may suspend, modify or terminate the giveaway. Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules at any time and sponsor will not be responsible for any typographical or other inadvertent errors in these Official Rules or in other announcements or materials relating to the giveaway.

King’s Facebook Video Crushes

King Digital is putting a huge marketing push behind its new mobile game Candy Crush Soda Saga, complete with television advertising and a devoted Facebook video campaign. Both have generated impressive results, and the Facebook ad have drummed up an incredible 100 million viewers within the first 24 hours of its release, with 70 percent of those viewers on a mobile device.

King Digital is no stranger to advertising on Facebook, as previous branded videos have reached out to both male and female audiences across seven countries including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, Australia and the United Kingdom, in partnership with Facebook’s Creative Shop. Regardless, the numbers behind Saga‘s campaign are incredibly impressive.

“For the first time King used premium video ads on Facebook to generate excitement for a game. Candy Crush is a beloved franchise and we were able to tell the story to millions of people.” Angus Lovitt, VP Performance Marketing for King.

“Producing the Candy Crush Soda Saga launch films with King and WCRS was creatively rewarding. When you create a mobile video, you need to bring your story to life in a matter of seconds. Brands that are built across mobile screens need thumb-stopping creative, and that is exactly what our teams produced.” — Rob Newlan, Regional Director, Facebook Creative Shop.

Other mobile game companies are expanding their marketing efforts in video, such as the the recently launched $40 TV ad campaign for Machine Zone’s Game of War: Fire Age. Companies with both mobile version and a Facebook version of a game, such as King, can see greater synergy between Facebook video, TV ads, and game installs on both mobile and Facebook.

This is just the latest success for Facebook’s video service. The company has reported that a billion video views a day have been registered on the site since June, with two-thirds of the audience coming exclusively from mobile devices. Facebook also continues to add new content monthly, with over 100 million new videos added. As a result, video views have managed to grow over 50 percent since May of this year – and clips like the one from King are likely to keep them on the rise.


What Will Cloud Gaming Look Like In 2015?

Thus far, cloud gaming has seen an interesting amount of growth, between OnLive’s resurrected service and the launch of Sony’s PlayStation Now for its PlayStation consoles and mobile devices. However, according to a report from VentureBeat, its growth could be even bigger in the forthcoming year.

With the expansion of streaming services — and Microsoft supposedly making plans to introduce its own cloud-based channel within the next few months — the cloud gaming market has potential, as it could reach nearly 150 million people. That would increase its current audience by five times.

This is according to information from Strategy Analytics, who believes that the audience for such services as PlayStation Now, Onlive and Nvidia’s recently announced Grid game streaming service would reach those kind of numbers, although certain factors, like pricing and quality of said service, could still come into play.

With the increase of cloud-compatible devices, including game consoles and tablets, more players would come on board to try such services, making them easy to play their favorite titles without needing to “hog” hard drive space.

Cloud gaming has seen its fair share of hurdles in the past, such as Onlive’s near-death experience in 2012 (which led to its recent restructuring with its new CloudLift Steam-enabled service, which now reaches audiences worldwide). However, with increased audiences in other Cloud services, such as streaming channels like Netflix, interest has been drummed up again. And bigger competitors like Sony and Nvidia indicate that there’s more to the market than some folks may realize.

Eric Smith, an analyst of home devices for Strategy Analytics, believes that “hardcore” players could be a key factor. “This puts cloud gaming in the PlayStation Store and the Nvidia Hub platforms, directly in front of some of the most committed gaming consumers as opposed to the average consumer, which are by and large content with mobile-gaming quality and genres, not usually core games on dedicated gaming devices,” Smith explained to VentureBeat.

Network lag issues could play a factor, but a large reach could still more than make up for technical hiccups. Michael Goodman, director of digital media strategies for Strategy Analytics, also stated, “2014 is proving to be a watershed moment with major players putting their credibility and brand names on the line to make cloud gaming work. While broadband speeds and consumer acceptance of subscription models have come a long way, access to content remains an issue for all services.”

He also added, “The major video game publishers have so far successfully managed an incremental transition from physical to digital media, but cloud gaming offers publishers a new revenue stream.”

We’ll see how the next few months play out — especially as Microsoft and Nvidia introduce their respective services to the public. The chart below also shows how well Sony and Nvidia could reach out to a potential market for the coming year, and you can see the increase as clear as day.


iPhone 6’s Big Impact On App Downloads

October turned out to be a tremendous month for Apple and app developers, according to Fiksu. The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus had stellar sales that drove high levels of app downloads.

As reported by GamesIndustry International, the launch of both of the devices managed to push App Store downloads to record heights for the month of October, with 7.8 million downloads calculated across the top 200 apps per day. That shows a wild 42 percent increase from the 5.5 million downloads from the previous month.

As a result, however, the general cost per install for iOS managed to increase as well, showing a jump of 21 percent to $1.46. That’s on a month-by-month basis, while year-by-year shows an even larger increase by 59 percent. By comparison, as earlier stats showed, Android showed a CPI of just $1.01, up a meager 1 percent from the prior month, and 2 percent from the previous year.

“An important lesson this month for marketers is the value of nurturing user loyalty prior to device launches and gift-giving seasons,” the report states. “Despite the marked rise in advertising costs particularly on iOS, the Cost Per Loyal User Index (CPLU) indicated a slight decline in October to $2.16 from September’s $2.25. This decrease is a result of the tendency of app users to quickly re-download their most-used ‘vital’ apps during upgrades. The first set of apps users download on their new iPhone 6’s are likely to be those they can’t live without, which makes them much more likely to become loyal users of those apps.

“In the coming months, marketers should also look to capitalize on untapped Android opportunities. While the Cost per Launch (CPL) Index, which tracks the costs of driving engagement from mobile users, showed increases across the board on iOS, October saw a 26 percent year-over-year drop in Android CPL. Combined with the slighter increases on Android’s October CPI numbers, this may be a good place for marketers to spend advertising dollars as iOS costs only continue to rise.”

The charts below from VentureBeat also show the fluctuations between Cost Per Loyal User Index, as well as Cost Per Launch Index — and, as you can see, Apple’s increased numbers over Android have just gotten bigger over the past few months. In fact, the last time the two were even was back in January, with a  cost of $.16 per launch.

Image source

Nintendo Dives Into Toys With Amiibo

It’s been a heck of a start to the holiday season for Nintendo. The company has managed to reach a new milestone for the Wii title New Super Smash Bros. Wii, which has now sold over 10 million copies since its release in 2009; and the latest in the series, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, is gaining both critical acclaim and high sales marks in retailers. The separately sold GameCube Adapter and special edition Smash Bros. bundle (with adapter and GameCube controller) are already completely out of stock at retailers.

However, that isn’t enough, as Nintendo is looking to conquer a different sort of market – interactive toys. In an effort to realize some of the success of both Disney’s Infinity line-up (regular and Marvel licensed) and Activision’s Skylanders franchise (which has generated over $2 billion in its two years), Nintendo has launched its new Amiibo toys. These toys include an NFC (near-field communication) chip which works with the builtin NFC reader in the Wii U’s Gamepad, and an upcoming NFC reader accessory for the 3DS. The toys are automatically recognized by several games on the Wii U, including Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, with further compatibility set to come for new games in 2015, according to Time.


 The figurines enable players to “activate” special features within certain games, such as leveling up to unlock new abilities in Smash, or gaining a speedier car in Mario Kart 8.Toys currently sell for $12.99, and the “first wave” includes such popular heroes as Mario, Link from The Legend of Zelda, Pikachu from the Pokemon series and others. A second wave is currently scheduled to arrive in December featuring more characters, including Luigi, Little Mac from Punch-Out!! and Bowser. After that, more will come in 2015, including iconic favorites Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog.Activision has noted the great success the pioneering Skylanders interactive toys have had. “By combining the immersive world of video games with the physical connection that kids have with action figures, it was incredibly powerful,” said John Coyne, Activision’s senior vice president of consumer marketing, regarding the power of “come-to-life” figurine sales.Skylanders originally brought forth the model of interactive toys, with figurines placed on an included portal to be included in the game. Disney took it one step further with last year’s Infinity, as well as this year’s sequel, Marvel Super Heroes, which is doing fairly well in sales.”It’s very much about building things in there and kind of telling your own stories,” said John Blackburn, senior vice president and general manager for Disney Infinity.The games also have a way of bringing a child’s imagination to life, giving them literally no bounds to do what they please with them. “It’s really an extension of what kids want naturally, which is to not really have parameters in how they play,” explained Liam Callahan, an analyst for NPD. “It’s about breaking down that barrier.”With both Skylanders and Infinity contributing to $600 million in software sales and over $1 billion in figurine sales this year, it’s a healthy market to get into – one that Nintendo can easily make a dent in considering its recognizable characters.”These characters have tremendous fan bases already,” said Scott Moffitt, executive vice president for sales and marketing for Nintendo of America.While early reviews have been mixed, it won’t be until after the holiday season that we’ll see how well Amiibos have sold for Nintendo, and if they have had an impact on console sales. The future potential for the Amiibo line is tremendous if fans respond well to them, with more than 700 Pokemon alone as potential toys, let alone the rest of Nintendo’s characters. We certainly wish Nintendo the best of luck.

Apple’s iAd Goes Programmatic

Apple just found a way to make its iAd service a bit more enticing – and convenient – for marketers.

The company has announced that it has opened up a new automated purchasing program for mobile advertising – and with that, it’s also opened up new possibilities through its “move into programmatic channels,” according to 9 To 5 Mac.

Through the deal, Apple will partner with a variety of “demand-side platforms (or DSP’s for short) and ad tech companies,” including the likes of Accordant Media, The Trade Desk, MediaMath, GET IT Mobile, Adelphic and AdRoll.

With this move, Apple will be able to expand its iAd service worldwide, to over 100 different countries, for the first time ever. The company had expanded before to a reach of 95 countries, but have now added more crucial markets to the mix, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Grenada, India, Trinidad and Tobago.

With the deal, iAd’s API enables partners to use whatever systems they please to set up certain campaigns across Apple devices, as well as placing bids for ads based upon viewing analytic data, amongst other information.

The iAd program currently supports a number of mobile apps on its devices, enabling advertising with ease across each supported countries, along with iTunes Radio in the United States and Australia (as those are the only two countries that have the streaming service at this time).

“With marketing budgets rapidly shifting towards programmatic, and apps representing the dominant channel of media consumption on mobile devices, iAd brings a powerful combination of global scale, unique and rich data, and a high-quality user experience,” said Ari Buchalter, MediaMath’s Chief Operating Officer.

It’ll be interesting to see what companies hop on board the iAd program over the next few months, leading into what will no doubt be a strong 2015 season. And Apple is likely to expand even further from there.


Meet Pinc, The iPhone’s VR Shopping Assistant

VR, once the domain of dime-store novels and sci-fi movies, is now a feasible product for consumers. As such, it stands to reason that a horn-o’-plenty of virtual reality experiences from startups the world over would pop up. One such experience is the Pinc, a device from Toronto’s Cordon Development Labs designed to turn your iPhone into a portable VR viewer.

The Pinc (pronounced “pinch”), brainchild of Cordon president Milan Baic, works by attaching itself to the iPhone through an eye-catching 3D-printed case. The wearer attaches the encased iPhone to their head with head straps; viewing is done through a set of aspheric lenses suspended an inch and a half away from the iPhone, projecting a landscape rendered in stereoscopic 3D by the Pinc app. Movement is performed with LED “rings” attached to the wearer’s index fingers.

Baic is quick to differentiate Pinc from the gaming-centric Oculus Rift, stating that Pinc’s primary focus will be e-commerce. “Control, portability, and use case” are the Pinc’s three key strengths, he says, seeing virtual reality as a solution for mobile retailers burdened by difficulties conducting business on small smartphone screens.

Cordon still has a few kinks to work out with Pinc’s hardware and software. Their camera plus LED control system, though novel, encounters problems when the wearer enters a bright real-life environment, leaving them more or less confined to the Pinc’s ideal darkened room. Baic claims that production-ready LEDs will be brighter and wrap their way around the circumference of the wearer’s finger, permitting on-the-go shopping no matter what real-life conditions happen to be.

Time will tell whether Pinc is able to fully realize its goal of transforming shopping into the same kind of immersive digital experience Oculus is attempting for gaming or Jaunt is attempting for concerts. It’s all about generating revenue and attracting a user base for Baic; an Indiegogo campaign launched today, with plans to attract big brands like Nike by ushering them into a “virtual shopping mall” and invoicing them for space equivalent to what they would occupy in a real-life shopping center. “There is something to say about scarcity [ . . . ] Unlimited space is a good thing when you want to create something, but when you are in a commercial environment, you want to create the concept of scarcity.”

CREATIVE: Holy New Trailer, Batman!

Today Warner Bros. released the first in a three-part trailer series for the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight. This first chapter, “Infiltration” highlights several new gameplay features while introducing the game’s title antagonist, The Arkham Knight. Batman is shown doing what he does best: flying, sneaking, punching, and this time driving his way through hordes of enemies to rescue innocents and halt Scarecrow’s evil plans.

The trailer ends with a teaser for the next installment in the series, coming 9 AM PST on December 2nd, and this little taste is sure to have Arkham fans hungry for more.

Meet Snapchat’s New Ad Format

While it’s only been a month since Snapchat has unveiled their very first ad with the sponsored promotion for the film Oujia, Snapchat has

looked into other ways to monetize the of-the-moment platform. From reaching out to publishers for content to making way for what advertisers feared would be a swath of untargeted ads, Snapchat knows it has marketers champing at the bit.

Now we have a look at other brand possibilities after last night’s AMAs. While other brands were busily commenting on the proceedings on Twitter, it would be Samsung that would sponsor a stream of posts on Snapchat, giving a fun insider look at the event.

Snapchat is calling the product “Our Story” streams and had introduced them back in June as more of a story curation tool. In this execution, “Our Story” provided a second screen-like experience to the television broadcast.

Now that we’ve seen them in action, the product has obvious benefits for TV brand advertisers and other marketers who want to be part of the conversation around other major events.

Beyond Samsung and the AMAs, Snapchat illustrates the use of “Our Story” around a hugely attended music event below.