F2P expected to drive Japanese social games market up 30.7% in 2012

The Japanese market for social network games is expected to soar over the course of the current year.

Numbers from Enterbrain show that the sector will climb from $2.6bn in FY 2011 to an anticipated $3.4bn in FY 2012 – that’s a year-on-year jump of 30.7 per cent.

A survey of 69,000 individuals and a further detailed survey of 1,600 Japanese social gamers suggests that 46 per cent of consumers aged 15-59 are members of a social network.

Of these, around 16 per cent of Gree’s users purchase premium content. The number at Mobage stands at 14 per cent while Facebook only saw purchases made by between five and six per cent.

Interestingly, the average time lapse between players beginning a social game and making their first payment is a sizable 140 days, the average value of which is $16. 80 per cent of those who make one purchase go on to make others, with 50 per cent become regular buyers.

$18 a month was seen as a safe and comfortable level for most users.

Furthermore, the majority of this revenue will be generated by the sale of premium content in free-to-play games.

Two companies are also tipped for dominance in the sector – Gree and Mobage. Neither of which have yet made any significant moves into the American or European markets, in much the same way as Zynga is not a major presence in Japan.

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