ALIM

Fuji Startup VenturesGumi Ventures, and B Dash Ventures have teamed up to form a new mobile gaming studio in Japan, called Alim. 

However, with over 20 domestic mobile platform providers, 300 to 400 domestic mobile game providers, video game makers and many more advertising companies, middleware makers, carriers, payment providers — all targeting the big but limited 100 million mobile user market — can this new establishment be sustained in the long run?

With other game makers, such as GREE and DeNA failing to penetrate the US market and announcing a dip in their sales and profits, Asia is definitely a tough mobile gaming market to conquer. According to Dr. Serkan Toto, there are many factors as to why this is so. “Barely anyone pays for gaming content outside of Japan and Korea. Not many people own credit cards and the competition from European and American developers is still evident. Also, the smartphone penetration is still low.”

“Betting on a specific game maker in Japan and anywhere else is almost like playing the lottery. There are too many variables, and the market is too complex and dynamic to make predictions. For example, no one in the Japanese game industry could have foreseen a game like Puzzle & Dragons becoming such as a national phenomenon.”

Therefore, could Alim possibly produce the next Puzzle & Dragons?

There is a slight chance, since the company can capitalize on the top-class IP  and advertising power of Fuji TV from Fuji Startup Ventures. Another factor that Dr. Serkan Toto believes to be a strong one is the quality of their newly released game, Brave Frontier. “The RPG is really, really good, and if they can keep that quality, I believe they can become another Pokelabo, a Japanese game maker that fully focuses on producing high-quality RPG/battle games for Smartphones.”

Likewise, Hiroyuki Watanabe, CEO of B Dash Ventures, believes that Alim’s games have the potential to be the next hit following Puzzle & Dragons. “This was our primary motivation for investing. When Alim’s first title was released last week, the game reached the top 10 in the overall free apps section, and top 20 in the overall top grossing app on the Japanese iOS store. In fact, demand was so much greater than our expectation that servers were down. Although this has affected the game rankings, the team has brought back the game online and is also working on overseas expansion plans as we speak.”