Netmarble Games announced its mobile game “Seven Knights” has become the first Korean title to rank fourth on the Apple Appstore top-grossing chart for Japan. Korea’s largest mobile game company stressed that this is the best-ever performance of a Korean mobile game in Japan, one of the world’s largest mobile game markets.
“With Seven Knights, Netmarble Games is gaining business knowhow in the Japanese mobile game market,” said Park Young-jae, a senior executive at Netmarble Games. According to its earnings report, Netmarble Games recorded 157.9 billion won in overseas sales in the first quarter, the highest in the company’s history. Expectations are high that the popularity of “Seven Knights” in the Japanese market will further boost the company’s overseas performance in the coming quarters.
As of May 19, the mobile title has also recorded more than 4 million cumulative downloads in Japan, about 100 days since its Feb. 5 launch in the market. “We seek to break the record by clinching the top perch in the Japanese market with a Korean mobile role-playing game by providing localized services,” said Park. Park attributed the success of “Seven Knights” success in Japan to thorough localization.
“We have carried out an overall restructuring of the game from the way of training characters to user interfaces and business model in order to customize for Japan’s gaming market environment,” the company said. “After the launch, we have focused on adding new contents that we thought users in Japan might feel more comfortable with such as Japanese-style character decorations and Japan-themed battle arenas. We have also collaborated with makers of popular Japanese games such as the Guilty Gear series and BlazBlue.”
Many mobile games such as Supercell’s “Clash of Clans” have hit international markets based on the “global-one-build” strategy, which enables a quicker release in more diverse overseas market. Netmarble Games, which has tested the global-one-build strategy with its “Marvel Future Fight,” decided to redevelop “Seven Knights” for the Japanese market two years after its release in Korea. Netmarble Games said the decision to focus on localization was to appeal to the unique nature of Japanese users, which is different not only from Korean gamers but also those in other parts of the world.
“Besides Netmarble Games, many Korean game companies have launched mobile games in Japan but with little success due to such differences,” a Netmarble Games spokeswoman said. “Japanese gamers tend to opt for games made by Japanese developers, ones tailor-made for their unique tastes. So we rebuilt the gaming content to appeal to Japanese gamers and worked with Japanese dubbing artists for better character voices.”
In Japan, Apple iOS holds about a 44 percent share of the mobile operating system (OS) market compared to Google Android’s 52 percent. This shows that the market influence of the two mobile platforms is not as strong as in Korea, where Android is the dominant mobile OS on the back of the popularity of Android smartphones made by Samsung and LG.