Looking to get a slice of the creativity and potential of the Japanese mobile gaming industry, San Francisco-based online game company Kabam is putting out major money to lure Japan’s game developers westward. The free-to-play operators have put up US$50 million to help Japan’s smaller game developers make it big in the North American and European mobile markets.
In a move that directly competes with gaming giants DeNA, Gree, and Zynga, Kabam wants to dig deeper and tap the potential of publishing third-party titles. Kabam revealed that the money it put up would be used to create a platform for Japanese game developers to launch their titles – probably already popular locally – to the awareness of the global world of mobile gaming, for a slice of the revenue, of course. Kabam has not described in depth what the profit shares would look like and how much they would be asking for at this point. Kabam will assist the smaller Japanese developers in localizing and translating their games for the Western audience, and using their marketing expertise to make sure that the titles to stand out amid the huge crowd of apps in online marketplaces. Kabam will also be providing market analytics to the developers to help improve program dynamics and game performance.
Kabam CEO Kevin Chou, making the announcement in Tokyo, said that he believes Japanese developers can easily double their revenue partnering with them. “We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” said Chou, adding that Kabam’s marketing expertise will be in place to help those developers who will choose to partner with them. Chou also said that the games that are popular in Japan – such as card-battle games like DeNA’s Rage of Bahamut – has so much potential to appeal to Western audiences. Kabam is banking on its expertise in the North American and European markets – not to mention its strong ties with with Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo – to give it an advantage over Japanese firms like Gree and DeNA.
Correction: April 9th, 10:25 AM This article originally stated that the profit share that Kabam would be asking for would be less than the industry-standard of 30%. A representative of Kabam reached out to let us know that is not the case, and that the company “does not plan to take a smaller revenue slice than its rivals.”