In April of this year, mobile social network operator and game creator DeNA announced a partnership with Yahoo! Japan to launch a PC web-based gaming platform called Yahoo! Mobage. While developers have been allowed access since January, the Yahoo! Mobage service is now aiming for its public launch of the 1st of October.
Yahoo! Mobage provides services such as translation, hosting and monetization resources. DeNA is currently inviting American PC and mobile game developers
to use a universal Mobage platform API to distribute their games to the Japanese market.
The platform offers the advantage of two user bases of significant size: Yahoo's 52 million monthly active web-based users and DeNA's 20 million active mobile users. Including other sources, it's believed that the Mobage platform will reach an average of 90 million Japanese internet users.
DeNA will also offer several forms of aid for interested developers, including partnerships with four companies to assist in game testing and translation, money transfers through international banks, and hosting through the leading Japanese service provider, IDC Frontier.
DeNA's CEO, Tomoko Namba, claims that the amount of money to be made in Japanese social gaming as "astronomical... by offering this platform and providing tools to help ease the transition, DeNA hopes to be American game developers' portal to the East," Namba says. Some Japanese developers on Mobage are already making an average of $1 million a month in their top games.
DeNA has seen significant gains in the social gaming market this year, with an 81 percent year-over-year increase to $205 million reported in its fourth quarter
, partly due to the success of its self-created social game titles.
The Tokyo-based company launched in 1999 as an e-commerce business and later became a web service provider for PC and cell phone users. Its core social networking/virtual world platform Mobage-town
currently has over 20 million members in Japan.