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Google's Play in the Japanese Market

Japan is coming on strong with new incentives and initiatives from Google

Google's Android OS is the world's most popular mobile operating system, however, it is still behind Apple's iOS in terms of revenue. Chris Yerga, Google's head of the Asia online store is now turning to countries like Japan to narrow the gap.

“Japan has always created great content. For the longest time it was only available on certain consoles. Now, with a platform like Android, we want to open that content to a billion people.” 

Moving Japanese Games Abroad

 

Mobile games have turned Japan into the largest app market in the world in terms of revenue, despite having a significantly smaller user base compared to countries such as the US and China. Games such as GungHo! Online's Puzzles and Dragons and Square-Enix's Dragon Quest VIII have been highly successful in their home country. Other apps from these developers and others are slowly making their way abroad to other countries, and to help, Google is now offering translation support and more analytics in an effort to help market content overseas.

Google Dominates on Mobile, Apple Dominates on Revenue

Since Android is free to the phone makers, they have helped Android get onto 78.6% of smartphones shipped in 2013, compared to 15% of smartphones shipping iPhones, according to IDC. Despite this, Google still lags behind on Apple by 2 times, based on estimates.

Getting Android Users to Buy Apps

Android users are notorious for not paying for apps and in-app purchases. However, Japan has seemed to have figured out a way to get people to pay for games, as well as monetize from in-app purchases in the games. In fact, Japan seems to be obsessed with games,  considering that 80% of all app revenue in the country is from mobile games. 

 The Rest of Asia

While Japan is the biggest fish in the sea for Google right now, for the rest of Asia they are also putting in efforts to get more developers out of S. Korea. Considering that Samsung is based out of there, it would make sense that Google has a vested interested in growing the number of game developers from there. 

In China, it would make sense for Google to make a move as well, especially with companies like Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu all being deeply rooted in the mobile game side, however, at the moment, Google does not have a Google Play store set up for China, and has declined to comment on its plan for the China market.

To me, it seems like only a matter of time before Google overtakes Apple on mobile app revenues. Combined with Google's upcoming release on Google One phones, Google is continuing to increase its market share on the mobile phone market worldwide. For myself, while I do play several Japanese titles on my Android phone and tablets, I am hoping that we will continue see to more titles coming from there, but hope that they can do more than just ports of console titles and make something truly unique for the mobile experience.

Published Sep. 16th 2014

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