South East Asia is the new emerging market in game Industry. Especially in the mobile platform, this region drives the most significant growth compared to others. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam are keys to the game industry’s fast growth in South East Asia.
This new big market in South East Asia has been attracting game companies outside this region to expand their business. One of them is Ateam Inc., a mobile game developer from Japan that has been listed as a top 52 mobile game company based on App Annie. Who is Ateam, and what are their strategies to expand their business in South East Asia? Here’s the interview from Duniaku.net with Brady Mehagan, Corporate Officer and Global Business Group Leader from Ateam.
Duniaku.net (D): Please tell us a brief introductions, who is Ateam?
Brady Mehagan (BM): Ateam is a Japanese IT corporation that provides various services to consumers through the internet and smart devices (smartphones and tablets). There are three business segments in the corporation: (1) Entertainment – which provides games and tool apps for smartphones and tablets, (2) Lifestyle Support – which provides various online services for daily life, and (3) E-Commerce – which provides an online bicycle shop that delivers completely assembled bicycles to purchasers.
D: Please mention some of your flagship titles mobile devices.
BM: Our most popular title that was recently released globally is called Valkyrie Connect. It is a 3D game that focuses on bringing simplified ARPG game design to mobile. It also features Connect Battles where multiple players can cooperate to fight together against large boss monsters for in-game rewards.
When we released Valkyrie Connect, it obtained a number 3 grossing ranking in Japan’s App Store, which was very exciting for us. Also, Ateam has released many other global mobile game hits including Unison League, War of Legions, and Dark Summoner, which reached the number 1 grossing ranking in America’s Google Play.
D: What is your main business in game industry? Is it specifically developing, publishing, or both?
BM: We focus our attention on developing and releasing original mobile content to the game industry. At the moment we do not have a team that publishes mobile apps created by other companies.
D: What do you think about mobile game industry right now in South East Asia, especially in Indonesia?
BM: The mobile game industry is growing very quickly in South East Asia. Indonesia is one of the biggest drivers of this growth. We think that while the markets in South East Asia are growing, it is important for us to treat each large market in the region separately. We need to understand the unique needs of the local players and localize our mobile games properly to make them accessible to as many users as possible.
D: Last March, you participated in NIKKEI Game Networking Jakarta. What do you think about that event?
BM: This was the first time for Ateam’s Global Business Group to participate in this event. We think it was a great opportunity for us to better understand what drives the growth of the mobile games market in Indonesia. While at the event our team was able to meet other developers, advertisers, and monetization specialists. Our discussions will help Ateam to more effectively prepare our mobile game content for Indonesia and work with partners here to help us achieve this goal.
D: I think you’ve already met some of Indonesian game developers in that event. What do you think about them and their games?
BM: It was great to see that many Indonesian game developers are also gamers, too, so we were able to discuss games and the industry together. From what I saw from the game developers, there is already enough skill within the development teams to create something that has the potential for success in global markets.
It is important for them to thoroughly analyze successful games in large markets like Japan and the US; understand all elements that greatly impact user acquisition, retention, and monetization, and then blend that knowledge with a fun gameplay model that is accessible to a large amount of users. It is not an easy thing to achieve, but I think the game developers of Indonesia have a chance if they create content that addresses the needs of large global markets and not just their own personal tastes.
D: Do you have some interest to expand your business to Indonesia? If the answer is yes, what’s your key strategy?
BM: So far Ateam has done all localization and marketing from Japan, while working with outsourcing companies in various countries around the world. For development we recently opened a studio in Vietnam, but for localization and marketing we plan to continue to do these services while in Japan along with our global outsourcing partners.
D: Do you have any plans to do some collaboration with Indonesian game developers or publishers?
BM: At the moment we do not have any plans. We may first need to localize our recent titles into Indonesian (Bahasa) so that the content can be fully enjoyed by more players in the country. To complete this localization, I think we should use the services of local Indonesian companies. Once we finish preparing our content for the country, if there is an opportunity to collaborate with other successful Indonesian developers to bring awareness to our games, then that is something we would like to pursue.
D: Thanks a lot Brady!