Japan's GungHo buys 70% stake in PlayPhone

On the tonight, exciting news jumped. Japan's GungHo Online Entertainment buys 70% stake in PlayPhone, and make them the subsidiary. Press release is here, but currently only available in Japanese.

Now, GungHo is known as a company of megahit mobile game Puzzle and Dragons, but unfortunately it has a hard fight in the North America market. It is the second that they got the overseas company. It is the second that they got the overseas company. They got Finland's  Supercell just one year ago. Probably they make efforts in overseas advance more.


Mixi's savior mobile game "Monster Strike" entered the North America market

This week, Japanese mega hit mobile game “Monster Strike” entered the North America market. mixi opens English official site, Facebook page and Twitter account completely.

This is the game that saved mixi from the bottom. mixi was The Social Network operator most popular in Japan before. However, their The Social Network declined and deteriorated, so they introduced open platform earliest in Japan and added social games. Unfortunately they were overtaken by Mobage and GREE and fell behind the support of smartphones. mixi was driven to a dying state.

However, the situation changed completely after Monster Strike was released in October, 2013. Profit and the stock prices of mixi were V-shaped turnaround. The number of downloading already passes 14 million, it was released in not only Japan but also Taiwan, and releases in Korea in December. One mobile game saved a company … the mobile game market is really dynamic.

Monster Strike is an RPG having elements of billiards and the pinball. Players transfer own character like pinball and hit on enemies and attack it. You can download it free in App Store and Google Play.


Japanese singer Kumi Koda releases a music video for Oculus Rift

Japanese singer Kumi Koda released VR music video using Oculus Rift. It is exhibited in TOKYO DESIGNERS WEEK started on October 28. Probably it is world's first VR MV.

This is one of the projects of the 15th anniversary of her debut. It was produced as a music video of "Dance In The Rain" released as a digital single on November 5. Audiences can watch world view of the number from a different viewpoint by Oculus Rift and stereophonic sound. Herself gave ideas from a planning stage. It was already exhibited as an art work in art festival in London "TENT LONDON" and it got a good reputation.

Japan's Meisei High School opens a virtual world branch school in the next spring

This may revolutionize a system and the style of the Japanese school. Meisei high school, the private correspondence upper secondary school in Chiba, Japan opens a cute virtual world branch school in the next spring. Of course students can obtain a graduation qualification on this.

Students can make their avatars, study to watch videos of subjects with a PC, smartphone and tablet, and ask teachers questions by email.

Of course students must take examinations. Interestingly, even a virtual classrooms are prepared for.

When they study hard and get the good score in examinations, they get virtual currency "MS point". They can buy outfitting items for avatars using it in the school shop and decorate one's avatar using them. In other words, earnest student becomes cooler. This is completely opposite to the reality world! :)

Friends are essential to school life. Students can talk by real-time chat.

The curriculum is three years, and of course the school expenses are necessary(but it is cheaper than real high schools). This is a new form of correspondence upper secondary school. The conventional system is lonely and boring. However, space and other students exist in the virtual world, and seems to be fun. It can be called gamification of the learning.

Ideal fusion of AR and VR: Sony Cat Toro appeared in the reality world by PTAM

A certain Japanese developer uploaded cute demo video in Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga. It is right ideal fusion of AR and VR.

Sony cat Toro Inoue dances to a song of Hatsune Miku in a real room. It is really Kawaii(super cute)!! He has a shadow, and there is presence, but there is no AR marker and specific image which should be necessary for AR technology. Because the developer used PTAM(Parallel Tracking and Mapping).
This is a program that compose 3DCG in mapping of the 3D space researched and developed by Georg Klein of Oxford University. Because AR marker and an image are unnecessary in this, developers can utilize contents more freely.

The developer who let Toro appear practically considers put Oculus Rift and PTAM together next. Now, VR is the most enthusiastic in Japan.


Screenshot: Angry Birds Epic in Puzzle and Dragons

A tie-up event with Angry Birds Epic began on today in Puzzle and Dragons.

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Angry Birds cooperates with GungHo's Puzzle & Dragons again

Angry Birds Epic dungeons of 4 levels are added to Puzzle and Dragons now. Interestingly, both birds and pigs confronts players as enemies. Matilda is a powerful enemy than Red in the early stages :)

However, Red and the Chuck become  powerful enemies in the high level of the degree of difficulty.

Of course powerful enemies of the pig appear, too.

Theme music of Angry Birds are used for BGM and all the scenery of dungeon are drawn in 3D.

We can occasionally get them when we beat them. They have skills like Angry Birds Epic.

This is a good measure to prevent Japanese players from forgetting Angry Birds. By the way, Angry Birds Transformers is not released only in Japan now and it is not announced why it is not released. Why?? Though Transformers is a toy born in Japan.

Korean mobile game company Com2uS broadcast pleasant TV CMs in Japan

In Japan, TV CMs are still convincing advertisement channels, and many mobile game companies broadcast CMs of their games. Really, the number of the downloading of the game apps rises after CMs were broadcasted. Korean mobile game company Com2uS(JP site is here) broadcasts 13 kinds of CMs for the advertising of their mobile RPG Summoners War JP ver. in Japan. They are very pleasant.

They appointed elderly people of the country in Japan somehow. They are the people that they are the farthest from the game and tech industry, and they might not understand intention of CMs. However, therefore they have unlikelihood and funniness, and attracts audiences's attention. All CMs are here.


Tsum Tsum, the popular mobile game of Disney and LINE becomes the arcade game in Japan

In Japan, the example that popular mobile games become the arcade games seems to be established. Konami digital entertainment announced that they made "LINE: Tsum Tsum" an arcade game.

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Puzzle & Dragons way: Mixi's mobile game Monster Strike becomes the arcade game
GungHo and Square Enix released the arcade game of the Puzzle and Dragons

LINE: Tsum Tsum is a puzzle game for smartphones which LINE and Disney Japan offer. Its motif is stuffed toy TSUM TSUM sold in Disney store, and passes 20 million downloading in the global market.

The basic rule of Tsum Tsum of the arcade version does not change from a smartphone version. However, it has not only the single play mode but also the match mode and players can get the Tsum Tsum mascot of the limited version after a play. This is not sold in Disney store.

This is a very interesting measure that put a crane game and an arcade game together. Even the people who do not usually play mobile games may visit the game arcade for these mascots. Noe, Japanese game arcades function as society ground of elderly people(Because declining birthrate goes rapidly and children are becoming poverty in Japan). This is the new advertising opportunity of Disney and LINE.


Japanese musician Gackt released his mobile game

Gackt, the Japanese musician & actor released a his own F2P mobile game "P.S. I LOVE U GACKT". The developer is Allfuz.

This is a romance sim that assumed his number "P.S. I LOVE U" a motif. In this game, Gackt appears in 2D illustrations and players can fall in love with him in various situation.

The stories are 15 kinds in total and the ending change by the choice of each stories. If players can arrive the happy ending, they can get images with Gackt's voice message and the privilege story. In addition, he has many fans abroad as well as Japan< so this game supports English. Downloading is here(iOS/Android).


Puzzle & Dragons way: Mixi's mobile game Monster Strike becomes the arcade game

mixi chases a success example of Puzzle and Dragons. They make their popular mobile game Monster Strike an arcade game with Konami digital entertainment and release it in the next spring.

Now, Monster Strike is a popular mobile game next to Puzzle and Dragons in Japan. It passed 14 million downloading from release in one year, released in not only Japan but also Taiwan, and go into the U.S. in the end of this year. mixi was a social networking company of the biggest in Japan once, but it deteriorated, and mixi at death's door. However, the situation changed completely by a hit of Monster Strike. This is the power of the mobile games.

Monster Strike is the game that add the element of the RPG for an action game such as the pinball or billiards. New characters and new stages are drawn on the arcade game while being made from an app version. It is right technique like the arcade games of Puzzle and Dragons.

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Translimit's "BrainWars" is a new Japanese mobile game that succeeds in global

Today, Japanese startup Translimit announced that their mobile game "BrainWars" passed 5 million downloading. As such, it is not rare news. A characteristic of this is that 95% of players are foreigners. This is very rare in the Japanese mobile game market. Besides, they do not use the advertisements at all, and got players only by word of mouth.

BrainWars is Real-Time Concentration Battling app playing various mini-games that a brain power is trained. Puzzles Crosswords, Sudoku, etc...Mini-games are only the simple rules that even children can play, and do not depend on specific languages, knowledge, and the culture. Players can face other players of the world without using the languages. Probably these were popular with foreign players.
They released an iOS version in this May and released an Android version in September. Since then, it got the first place by AppStore game ranking of U.S. and was picked up in AppStore of the world. This becomes the popular game app abroad than Japan now.

Angry Birds cooperates with GungHo's Puzzle & Dragons again

Rovio cooperates with GungHo's popular mobile game Puzzle & Dragons again following November of the last year. This time is Angry Birds Epic.

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Collaboration of Angry Birds and Puzzle & Dragons began today

Dungeon of Angry Birds Epic appears in Puzzle & Dragons from October 20 ~ November 2. Pigs of the Angry Birds Epic version appear as enemies there, and background design and BGM are used from Angry Birds Epic. On the other hand, players can get birds of the RPG-style.

In addition, this is cross-collaboration, a tie-up stage of Puzzle & Dragons is added to Angry Birds Epic in a few days. These are carried out in a global region as well as Japan.

This is cognitive activity in next Japan of Angry Birds. When Angry Birds Epic was released, Rovio opened a site only for Japan and carried out a campaign only for Japan. However, unfortunately Angry Birds does not yet get more popularity in Japan.

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Rovio uses the unique technique for the Japanese in Angry Birds Epic

In Japan, it is important that mobile games continue being always active lively. Because there are too many rivals in and a trendy change is intense.


Japanese mobile game company Spicy Soft introduces a system of 3-days off a week

What kind of thing do you imagine about the labor circumstances of Japanese companies? Nonsense custom and rule? Strict hierarchical relationship? Overtime work? Gender discrimination? Racial discrimination? Sexual harassment? Power harassment? Bullying? Violation of labor law? Unfortunately all of them are facts. Probably the Japanese labor circumstances is the most inferior in developed countries. Meanwhile, Japanese mobile game company Spicy Soft introduces an interesting welfare program system. This is "3-days off a week".

Usually, Japanese companies are system of 2-days off a week. However, Spicy Soft stops work on Wednesday as well as the weekend. Besides, the amount of salary of staff does not decrease. In other words, a day was fixed, but increased in the paid vacation of staff. They test this October 1, 2014 - February, 2015, and if there is not a problem, this becomes their official company regulations. They demand understanding and cooperation to business partners. If this is received, some Japanese labor circumstances may change.