Idolmaster Mobile Game Earns 1 Billion Yen a Month
posted on by Sarah Nelkin
The Nikkei Shimbun newspaper reported (registration required) on September 19 that Namco Bandai Games' The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls mobile game receives more than 1 billion yen (about US$12.9 million) in revenue each month. The game itself is free, but the revenue comes from purchasing in-game items and characters. Namco Bandai Games released the game in November 2011 on the Mobage mobile and social gaming platform.
The article also revealed that Gung-Ho Entertainment's Puzzles & Dragons iOS game and Square Enix's Kaku-San-Sei Million Arthur card battle role-playing game for iOS and Android devices each also earn a few hundred million yen (a few million dollars) in revenue each month.
Shin Unozawa, executive vice-president of Namco Bandai Games and chairman of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA), which organizes the Tokyo Game Show (TGS), gave a talk at TGS last weekend about downloadable games, content, and free-to-play games. Unozawa noted that these games are harder to track financially, but they are experiencing rapid growth.
Unozawa used the example of Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation, a free PlayStation 3 game that Namco Bandai Games released in June. In the game, players can play three games every two hours, then players must wait two hours to play again. However, players can instead choose to play right away for a fee. Players can also pay a fee to unlock additional mobile suits, weapons, and parts. Unozawa noted that 75% of players choose to pay to play the game.
By the end of August, the game had brought in 700 million yen (about US$9 million) in revenue, which is more than the cost of developing the game.
Toei Animation also noted in its latest earnings forecast report that it is raising its earnings outlook for the second quarter and entire fiscal year, partially due to the success of its social games. The report specifically mentioned the St. Seiya Galaxy Card Battle game that was released in April as doing particularly well for the company.