Over the course of several weeks, I noticed a constant pattern within Google Play. The highest grossing game has consistently been Rage of Bahamut, which is sold by the social gaming platform Mobage. Mobage also has some other top money makers for Android such as Blood Brothers, Ninja Action RPG: Ninja Royale, Deity Wars and Fantasica. I wanted to know exactly how much money Mobage has been making, so I checked out the company’s Q2 2012 financial results to find out.
First, a little history. Mobage is owned by DeNA, a company headquartered in Japan. It conducts its business domestically as well as overseas in places such as North America, China and South Korea. Games offered through Mobage are typically free, but they offer a premium currency called Moba-coins which can be purchased with real money. Needless to say, this is the main way Mobage makes money.
From April 1, 2012 to September 30, 2012, Moba-coin purchases in the West totaled around $30 million. The amount of Moba-coin consumption was accelerated by Rage of Bahamut, Ninja Royale and Blood Brothers. These games, along with other Mobage titles, are expected to generate $60 million in the third quarter of 2012 in the West alone.
Mobage concentrates on Android more than iOS. The reason for this involves how easy it is to publish and update apps to each marketplace. For Android, publishers can walk right in. For iOS, Apple guards the door.
“When we release games on the Android platform, there is no evaluation of the games,” said DeNA president Isao Moriyasu during a financial results webcast. “If we have to ask for approval from the market every time we make a change, it slows down our pace of making improvements, and this can lead to very long tuning times. That’s why we wanted to focus on Android first because we can move things forward more quickly.”
For those who aren’t fans of the free-to-play model, this is not good news for you. Based on these numbers, there’s no reason for Mobage to back off in-game purchases in favor of one-time fees.