Game developers shrug off ban on sales tactic

Kyodo

Game developers mostly saw a limited impact of the ban in June on the “complete gacha” sales method used by online gaming sites, according to their quarterly earnings results.

The sales method, in which players are rewarded with a special rare item for collecting a complete set of items obtained randomly, incurred the government clampdown over complaints that it induces players, including children, to run up exorbitant bills.

Social game site operator Gree Inc. saw its sales and operating profit in the April-June period drop from the previous quarter, but Chief Executive Officer Yoshikazu Tanaka said the company thinks it is difficult to gauge the direct impact of the ban.

“We had to deal with various changes and investigations, eventually leading to a delay in new game development,” Tanaka told a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo, indicating that a lack of new game titles affected its quarterly performance.

For the full business year to June, Gree said that thanks to an increase in game titles and players, group net profit jumped about 2.6-fold from the previous year to ¥47.97 billion, while operating profit increased at about the same rate to ¥82.73 billion. Sales grew 2.5-fold to reach ¥158.23 billion.

Rival DeNA Co. said its group net profit in the April-June quarter grew 6 percent from the previous quarter to ¥9.99 billion, helped by an 11 percent increase in sales to ¥47.6 billion.

The company said monthly spending of virtual money that can be used to play its games remained flat despite the ban on complete gacha. It expects such spending to increase this quarter.

Other game developers, including Square Enix Holdings Co. and Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., said the ban had a limited effect on their quarterly performance.

Sony service launch

SAN JOSE, California
JIJI

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said Tuesday it will launch a service distributing games to smartphones and tablet computers in nine countries this fall.

The Sony Corp. unit said it will start the PlayStation Mobile service in Japan, the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.

In Japan, SCE started the PlayStation Suite service last October, offering games for Sony-made smartphones.

SCE upgraded the service to provide about 30 new titles created by the company and other game makers.

A total of 85 software developers worldwide have agreed to develop content for the new service that will be distributed through the PlayStation Store, SCE said.

Apple Inc. of the United States has preceded other companies in the game and software distribution business.

SCE hopes the new service will attract not only users of its video game consoles and portable game machines but also subscribers of smartphones of Sony and other companies.