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The twin sisters get the hottest IPO in Japan by making games that talk to female fans

To the growing list of unusual items of the game startup “Coly”, it can add one of the best market debuts in the recent history of market aponia.

Co-founders Anna և Mizuki Nakajima, who are twins, took over their seven-year mobile gaming studio on Friday և shares doubled to 2 aponia’s strongest market debut in 2021. 15.2 billion yen ($ 141.5 million).

In both the global gaming and Japanese business, the success of Coly and his 32-year-old bosses stands out. Nearly three-quarters of its 200 employees are women; they hit two hits with serial stories that kept fans, mostly women, coming back for the next plot twist.

“It is really unique to see in Aponia how a woman sets up a company and how she successfully takes it to the stock market,” said Deisuke Iijima, chief researcher at Teikoku Databank. Iijima added that only 8% of Japanese firms have female CEOs, most of whom are 60-70 years old. Less than 5% of companies in the software industry are women.

The special genre of the company is called otome, in Japanese – “girl”. Nobody wins by themselves. The excitement comes from the story ությունից the players’ attachment to their favorite characters. Coly fans praise their high quality scripts, graphics, music, and the fantasy worlds the company has created.

In the movie “Stop My Heroes”, the player gathers a detachment of beautiful drug use officers. In “The Promise of a Witch”, the actor continues to look for roles to save the world with the help of magical handsome men. Free games do not require special skills to download. Players pay to reveal extra lines in the story, not exhaustion.

According to Coly, the market for otome games is about 80 billion yen. That’s just 6% of the 1.3 trillion yen ($ 12 billion) market for smartphone games in Japan, but followers tend to be fanatically committed to staying on top of titles, says Serkan Toto, an industry analyst at Kantan Games.

One fan said he was obsessed with Cole’s games after a real-world celebrity announced his engagement. He did not want to give his real name because, he said, he was worried that people would make fun of him for his devotion to fictional characters. He said that the game is like a sanctuary, the characters will never disappoint him.

In Japan, female fans who are emotionally attached to game characters are called “yumekhos”. Another large part of the audience of ottomans is called “fujoshi”, players who prefer the stories of male friendships, romances and competitions.

Dealing with such a passionate community can be difficult, as Collie reminded me right after the IPO. In the investors’ brochure, the company referred to its “yumejoshi” և “fujoshi” fans, և the players were offended by the mastery of the terms they usually use in a game, on their own. Cole apologized for the “inappropriate expressions.”

Nakajimas, 32, has a relatively low rate for rising stars in their industry. No one had any technical knowledge before Coly started in 2014. Mizuki worked in the investment department of Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities, and Anna worked for the Japanese newspaper Sankei.

Cole refused to answer this story’s questions or make managers available for interviews, citing “user attention.”

Making mobile otome games is often cheaper than the usual console or high-end computer titles, which reduces barriers to entry for new companies like Coly. It also opens the door to competition, although some titles remain as popular as Colin has been for years.

According to him, revenues and profits have grown steadily since the beginning, in contrast to the above results, which are more common for mobile game developers in the country. The smooth rise helped Nakajimas avoid foreign investment. Prior to the IPO, they owned 90% of the company. The remaining 10% belonged to another executive.

Analysts and investors are still skeptical, said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute. A few hit games can still be considered successful, and the company needs to expand its appeal beyond its current customer base, he added.

One possible new market may be abroad. The global awareness of anime և surrounding culture is growing, says Kantani Toto. China and South Korea have in the past embraced Japanese pop culture trends. Nexon Co. has seen a surge in US revenue since Pixelberry Studios acquired in 2017 a maker of storytelling games for women, such as Choices. Stories You Play:

“There are generally a lot more Japanese fans now than there were a decade or two ago,” Toto said.

Players’ devotion can spill over into the real world, such as when Exnoa’s Touken Ranbu fans flocked to shrines, museums, and donated tens of millions of yen to restore historical items associated with the game’s characters.

“The market potential is wide open,” said Naoko Kino, chairman of Kyos Gaming Consulting. “Because of the popularity of smartphones, games have never been so close to women.”

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