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Social Gaming Summit: Is gaming overseas more or less lucrative?

by David Spark on May 9, 2010

All through the Social Gaming Summit in San Francisco, one common theme came up over and over again and that was the increasingly stringent contractual rules developers and publishers had to adhere to, just to exist on platforms such as Facebook and the iTunes store. If you think it stinks here, try making deals in Asia said the members of the “International Perspectives” panel.

Those panelists included:

Here are some of the issues that came up in the “International Perspectives” discussion:

  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) in Japan is 50% more than the U.S. But the market is far more mobile centric.
  • In South Korea the gaming industry has been there for more than 10 years, so the audience is very ready for social gaming.
  • Facebook was originally weak in international markets that already had small local social networks. But that has changed in the past few months as Facebook has gained significant ground internationally.
  • Facebook takes a 30 percent cut for purchases of Facebook credits to be used in games. Internationally, mobile platforms take a much larger cut.
  • You’ll see cultural differences in how people around the world play the same game. For example, in one game called “World War,” the Chinese players just save up the money they make in the game. The Americans keep spending it. The Italians just want to fight.
  • It’s necessary to offer a wide set of payment systems that are appropriate for different countries. Not everyone is accustomed to paying with a credit card or PayPal. They like using different payment systems.
  • If you have to build a social game outside of Facebook, pick one where Facebook can’t compete. One distributor suggested Mixi in Japan and Cyworld in South Korea.
  • Operating on other people’s platforms, like Facebook, is a tenuous occupation and difficult to value.

For more coverage of the Social Gaming Summit, check out:

I’ve never participated in any overseas gaming at all. All I’ve seen is kids playing in an Internet cafe. What have you seen?

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