Game developer Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1) has launched the wildly popular game ‘Tokyo Casino Project’, already available in Japan, into the Western market via Apple’s app store and Google Play store.
The release of the game is expected to give Animoca further momentum in the mobile gaming space after a strong run of acquisitions and brand restructures in recent months.
In March last year, Animoca signed an agreement with Japanese game-maker COLOPL, for Animoca to publish Tokyo Casino Project on a worldwide scale, except Japan where COLOPL had already published the game.
Tokyo Casino Project is a mobile multiplayer game that invites players to play social casino games and build a casino resort, in a similar vein to the Sim City game series which allowed players to custom build entire cities.
Tokyo Casino Project is a free to play variant of the same game mechanic, offering in-app purchases as part of a freemium model. Players can spend real money in the app but cannot place bets using actual currencies.
Since last year, Animoca has worked to develop an English version of the game to be made available to audiences outside of Japan, China and South Korea.
Animoca says it has now finalised the release version of the game and has made it available for download via the Google Play and Apple app stores.
From statistics already available, Tokyo Casino Project was downloaded 4 million times and generated an average review score of 3.7 from 5.0 on the back of approximately 20,000 reviews, since it was made available in Japan.
Animoca hopes to see a similar response for the English version of the game given the disproportionately larger addressable audience now made available for Animoca to monetise.
According to Animoca, since signing its agreement with COLOPL, it has “invested in software development focused on the localisation of the game to suit global markets,” and has been working on executing the publishing and distribution strategy which was kicked-off today with the launch of the English version of Tokyo Casino Project.
Future gaming longevity
According to Animoca, it currently has one of the world’s largest mobile game portfolios compared to any other mobile-focused game-maker, having achieved an aggregate total of more than 303 million downloads by mid-September last year.
Given its large (and growing) game catalogue courtesy of both in-house development and selective acquisitions, Animoca is keen to monetise its existing portfolio which already includes popular brands such as Benji Bananas, Garfield, Thomas & Friends, Ever After High and Doraemo.
The mobile gaming industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of growth as digital services compete for disposable incomes and adapt to changing consumer habits.
Consumers are being drawn to interactive content such as games and videos to a far higher degree than static content such as text and images.
As a result of changing consumer preferences, mobile gaming has become one of the fastest-growing niche markets within the overarching Technology sector with recent industry research statistics indicating that as much as 80-90% of all revenue generated by the Apple App and Google Play stores is being generated by mobile/tablet games.
China is the world’s biggest mobile gaming market with a total value of about $33 billion, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency.
Kings of Glory, an online multiplayer game developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, reportedly had 200 million monthly active players and precipitated the introduction of digital curfews on adolescents under 18 years of age.
Today’s news sent Animoca shares up 10% in early trade, to trade back down to $0.074 in late afternoon trade, up around 4% for the day.