MGC: US Mobile Games Market can Learn from Asia
Square Enix presents what lessons US mobile companies can learn from their Asian peers...
(Mobile Games Conference coverage sponsored by Glu Mobile)
Square Enix President and COO Daishiro Okada's presence as a Mobile Games Conference keynote speaker underscored the company's commitment to the mobile platform almost more than their products themselves. Okada's speech illustrated the company's heavy mobile interest, even at the top level. Okada primarily focused his points around what US mobile companies could learn from their Asian peers.
"Japan is about one or two years ahead of America in terms of mobile technology as well as business operations," Okada said. "So the Japanese [mobile] market shows a window into the future - it shows what the next 12 or 18 months might look like for the American mobile market."
Okada repeatedly stressed how necessary a diversified portfolio was to global success in the mobile arena.
"We acquired Taito because much of their library of classic arcade titles offset our own RPG-heavy library of 'core' titles," he explained. "Taito's brands include Bubble Bobble, Space Invaders, Bust-a-Move, and others. These titles appeal beyond cultural boundaries, ethnicity, race, and gender.
Okada also presented a case study on the importance of pre-loading popular games onto new handsets. Square Enix partnered with Japanese Carrier DoCoMo and handset manufacturer NEC to in 2004 to preload the original Final Fantasy and original Dragon Quest onto high-end handsets, and again in 2005 with FFII and DQII
"This enchanced mobile's profile as a 'game platform,'" Okada said. "It also allowed us to reach many more customers. Perhaps most importantly, the games actually increased sales of those handsets - consumers bought the phone because of the included games."
Major differences will almost assuredly remain between the Western and Asian mobile markets, but if Square Enix USA repeats that emphasis on diversification, arcade-centric experiences, and handset preloading, it seems likely that the company will repeat the success it has had in the Japanese mobile market.