As we’ve stated before, the trend of games being on platforms within platforms is on the rise. Japan chat app LINE not only has a programme with a high user count, but most of its revenue comes from its exclusive games like LINE Pop (37 million downloads) and LINE Bubble (29 million downloads).
As a big step up, the company is open to have bigwig hardcore game publishers on board the LINE train. According to a Casual Connect Asia talk entitled ‘LINE: Riding The New Wave Of Games Distribution’, International Business Development Jun Otsuka said that he is keen to see games from Bandai Namco and Square Enix appearing on LINE’s platform. He added that LINE sees itself working with the aforementioned companies on having their games on the platform in the future, particularly on exclusives. “Why not? Please, any publisher and developer can ask and offer. Because we don’t have a studio ourselves, so we need games from outside.”
“We’re always open with third party options. Cookie Run (which was popular on LINE) is a third-party game and we’re happy to work with (developer DevSister). If the game is good and the KPI is good, we’re happy to promote. So famous publishers, please (come work with us),” said Otsuka.
Apart from that potential bombshell, Jun Otsuka also revealed a few more things about LINE’s status in Asia: Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand are the top countries that use LINE the most outside of Japan, with 20 million, 17 million and 24 million downloads respectively. The rest of the countries with potential include Singapore, Malaysia (10 million), and Hong Kong.
Traction for LINE downloads and game activity in Thailand doubled in March and April 2014. This is due to the popularity of Cookie Run in the region. He said that free-to-play games on LINE have longevity because Thailand players are smart to invest in games that are fun in the long run. “They will pay if it’s a good game. Customers are always hungry for new games,” noted Otsuka.
The best kind of games that fit into LINE’s chat app vision are the ones with free-to-play models, social-centered functions, iOS and Android compatibility, and the ones targeted for both casual and mid-core audiences.
Based on what Otsuka said, would it be wise for Square Enix to bring in their social fares like Final Fantasy Brigade and Bravely Default: Praying Brage onto the platform for maximum traction? Tell us on the comments box below.