Japanese e-money Web Money tie-up with Ameba Pigg and Famiry Mart

Japanese e-money Web Money started a tie-up with popular virtual world Ameba Pigg and convenience store Famiry Mart.

When we buy Web Money in FamilyMart, we can get special virtual goods of Ameba Pigg.

Web Money enforces a lot of such tie-ups. The game card is not so popular in Japan. In addition, there are few game cards sold in Japan. However, e-money and mobile payment are completely takes roots in Japan. Besides, we can do payment at a convenience store. The offtake of the Japanese virtual goods are crazy. It originates in infrastructure of virtual currency. They are "e-money", "mobile", "convenience store".


Social Games of Japanese mobile social gaming startup Gumi

via Tech Crunch
Japanese Mobile Social Gaming Startup Gumi Raises $26 Million

We can watch the name of gumi everywhere today. The social games of gumi are popular in Japan. They are popular in GREE in particular. However, they are not known easily abroad. And gumi CEO Kunimitsu can speak English, but the English version of gumi's website does not yet open.

Therefore I translated the summary of their popular social game into English in reference to this page of gumi's website.

Senboku! (Release: August 30, 2011)
It is the newest social game of gumi about Japanese Warring States period(Sengoku period). Users get the figures of various types of military commanders. And give a level of the figure by a quest and a battle, and get arms, accessories and skills. It is the characteristic of this game to bring up figure.

Sangoku! (Release: August 15, 2011)
The basic game system is almost the same as Sengoku!. However, the motif of this is a China's "Records of Three Kingdoms". Originally it was a social game for Japanese future phones. Now we can play this in GREE for smartphone as web application.

Ninkyodo (Release: August 09, 2011)
Probably this is the most popular in social games of gumi. It's won best RPG prize in GREE Award 2011 first half. This is a social card game about the Japanese Mafia "Yakuza". Users play everyday free Gacha(vending machine which various cards can buy at random) and collect the cards of the Yakuza character. And play various quests, battle with other users, give the level of characters. Originally it was a social game for Japanese future phones. Now we can play this in GREE for smartphone as web application.

Duel Eiyuutan (Release: July 11, 2011)
This is the social game that fused by world history and a card game. The user becomes a time venturer, become a frined with historical famous people and organize "hero army corps". The characteristic of this game are "world history" and "historical famous people". Users do a time slip to various times in a game play, and play qwest. You can make army corps with Perry, Napoleon and Caesar :)

Duel in Wonderland (Release: July 05, 2011)
The basic game system is almost the same as Duel Eiyuutan. However, the motif of this is a Fairy tales in the world. Users have adventures in the world of various fairy tales and make friends with characters. This is popular with women.

Kaizokudo (Release: July 04, 2011)
English translation of this title is "The road to pirate". The basic game system is almost the same as Ninkyodo. However, the motif of this is a pirate.

Deul Summoner (Release: March 29, 2011)
Users become "summons" of creature and collect treasures hidden in all parts of the world. And contract with various creature such as angel, devil, god, put them together and buttle with other users. The characteristic of this game is personified creature. creature in various legends of the world comes up in this, but all of they are personified.

My HelloKitty (Release: February 25, 2011)
gumi and Sanrio developed this jointly. This is a general pet game, but is Hello Kitty not to mention a pet. Users do care of one's Hello Kitty and have changing clothes. Hello Kitty learns various gestures in the process.

There are many other social games of gumi. They released 18 titles only in 2011. Furthermore, they developed sports social game "FIFA world class soccer" of GREE in cooperation with EA. The main platform of current gumi is GREE. Their social games sells a virtual currency for 100M yen(about 1,280,000USD) per day in GREE.

It may show the tendency of the Japanese social gamer when we check their social games. They are "collection", "combination", "upbringing". Social "card" game is popular in current Japan. Because there are all these three elements. There is the function of buttle with other users, too, but it may not be so important. It is only one of the processes of upbringing. However, the development of the social card game is hard. Because the developer must prepare for the art works of many characters. It is the attractive characters whom users want to pay money. gumi's social games have the artwork of about 100-200 characters. Furthermore, they increase by update. In Japanese social games, artist is important with engineer equally.

[Photo Report]Make: Tokyo Meeting 07

I went to oreilly Japan's DIY event "Make: Tokyo Meeting 07" today.
 I love this event. My inspiration springs out when I go to this event.

The 3D printer which was made with an clear acrylic board. It becomes not only the 3D printer but also the cool interior.

 Hammock for geeks. These are hammocks made with LAN cables "LANmock".

 Radioactivity crisis enlightenment balloons.

Many people gather for this event every time. Children, students, families, old people etc... every kind of people come here. Are all of them geeks or DIY lovers?  

Oreilly's Capsule toy vending machine.

 Geek girl makes the fake sweets LED light.

 Programming workshop for children.

There were a lot of particularly handmade musical instrument and 3D printers this time.


The person who utilized Gamification first in Japan

Gamification begins to become the topic recently in Japan. However, I think that the Japanese utilizes it from old days. They do not only know the word "Gamification."

The person who utilized Gamification first in Japan of which I think is Nobutame Heizo Hasegawa(長谷川平蔵宣以).  He is the samurai who lived from 1745 to 1795. He was the head of police organization called "Hitsuke Touzoku Aratamekata". They were the police organizations of the atrocious crime speciality. Because Edo era of Japan was peace, samurais rarely fought with a sword(Katana) in fact. However, only the duty of "Hitsuke Touzoku Aratamekata(火付盗賊改方)" was very dangerous. If it compares to the present age, they resemble SWAT. Hasegawa was a very able person, so, many brutal criminals were arrested. Citizens of Edo called him "OniHei(鬼平)" with awe and respect("Oni" means a demon or ogre in Japanese. However, it is used as not only a negative meaning but also a meaning to strength).

Hasegawa had another face. It is drafting and administration of the rehabilitation facilities of the misdemeanants. He not only arrested brutal criminals, but considered the petty criminal's rehabilitation. And he thought the cause of the crime to be poverty and unemployment. Therefore he established an institution called "Ninsokuyoseba(人足寄場)". The Japanese jails of the Edo era were the places which shut up the offender. However, Ninsokuyoseba was a place which teaches offenders various work. The kinds of works are carpenter, making a bucket, straw mat knitting, basket knitting, sewing,  making a recycling paper, cloth texture, etc.... The product produced by these work was sold and was assigned to independence support gold of the criminal. Surprisingly these systems are almost the same as the system of the prison in present-day Japan. In addition, the Ninsokuyoseba products were popular among the people because these had good quality and cheap price(This is the same as the present-day, too).

However, it was difficult to keep motivation to their works because originally they are criminals. Therefore Hasegawa added an idea to their uniform. He dressed them the polka-dot kimono(Polka-dot for criminals? You may think it so funny:) However, the polka dots were general designs in old Japan. There was the samurai who wore the surcoat of polka dots in medieval Ages). At first, they wear the polka-dot kimono in which many dots were printed. However, whenever the skill of their work improved, it was changed to the few dots kimono. They came to gradually make an effort for a few dots kimono. And they came to compete with a friend for the fewer dots. When a dot disappears from a kimono and wears a plain kimono, it is their "graduation".

It is the visualization of "efforts" and "action" which Hasegawa practiced. I think that this is essence of Gamification. In life, neither efforts nor action becomes fruitful in many cases. However, in a game, action and efforts are always visualized. Get experience level, get virtual goods, get virtual currency,  improvement, ranking etc... Gamification is to apply them to the real world. If one's effort is visualized, any person becomes glad. Of course the word "Gamification" did not exist in the Edo era. However, Hasegawa might have the idea of this.

By the way, Hasegawa is a popular person in the present age. There are a period novel, comics, TV drama and movie that featured the theme of him "OniHei Hankacho(鬼平犯科帳)".

Polka dots kimonos are  drawn in the comics version of OniHei Hankacho.

鬼平犯科帳〈1〉 (文春文庫)

鬼平犯科帳 51 (SPコミックス)

鬼平犯科帳 第1シリーズ DVD-BOX

鬼平犯科帳 劇場版 [DVD]


GREE's Social game advertisement

It is Shinjuku Station of a subway here. There are a lot of GREE's social game advertisements.

This is a social game called "holy war Cerberus". It's one of the social card games which are the most popular in GREE.

GREE used the members of a Japanese popular dance group EXILE for this advertisements. GREE has spent 100 million yen(about 1,280,000USD) on the advertisement. Now in Japan, all the places such a magazine, TV, in train and among a town have the GREE's advertisements.

 Social "card" game is popular now in Japan.


[Photo Report] Rovio's reception party of Angry Birds in Embassy of Finland

On November 30, Rovio held a reception party of Angry Birds at a embassy of Finland in Japan.

The garden of the embassy was decorated in stuffed toys of Angry Birds. KAWAII! :)

Furthermore, the room was full of stuffed toys, too.

iittala & Angrt Birds

Angry Birds big Christmas tree

At the party, such a cute sweets were distributed.

Angry Birds cupcake! Of course we were able to eat characters.

He is Henri Holm, SVP Asia

He is Harri Koponen, Director of Merchandising

As a special guest Foreign Trade Minister of Finland, Mr. Alexander Stubb came(He visits Japan by the inspection of the stricken area of Tōhoku earthquake now).  According to him, he is a huge fan of Angry Birds. He said, "Rovio is one of the ventures that are the hottest in Finland now. Angry Birds is a new Finnish representative character."

There are a lot of rivals of the characters who are cute(Kawaii) in Japan. It is necessary for Angry Birds to do an intense battle with them. Good luck!