CrowdStar joins Zynga in battle for Japan’s $2bn social gaming industry

Japan’s mobile social gaming industry is seeing increased competition with CrowdStar, the latest overseas company to move into the market, partnering with game studio Drecom – according to Reuters.

The move comes after social games firm rival Zynga stepped into Japanese hugely lucrative mobile and online gaming markets last month through a partnership with leading telcoms operator Softbank (blogged here).

More details on the CrowdStar-Drecom alliance from the Reuters write-up:

CrowdStar and Drecom [previously] teamed up to launch Happy Aquarium, CrowdStar’s hit game with 11.8 million monthly active users on Facebook, as well as Happy Island. Those games have been posted to Japan’s leading web and mobile social networks, Mixi, Gree and Hangame.

The partnership will allow CrowdStar to launch games more quickly in Japan, where competition is accelerating. The deal will also allow CrowdStar to tailor games for local preferences, test new game mechanics, and market its games better.

Mobile social gaming accounts for an estimated $2 billion of a mobile content market estimated at $17.3 billion, according to figures from the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, as blogged here.

Reuters also includes more details of the market:

Japan has roughly 85 million PC web users and 80 million mobile users.

Overall [globally] CrowdStar has more than 50 million users.

The irony of these two deals is that Facebook is struggling to make it in Japan while two of the firms it put on the map – both Zynga and CrowdStar found mass market appeal through distribution on Facebook – may beat them to the punch and find greater success.

As one the world’s most advanced mobile industries, it is no surprise to see some of the west’s largest and most influential firms head to Japan.

Social networks are at a different state in Japan compared to much of the rest of Asia. With Facebook , Twitter and mobile internet usage growing rapidly across the continent, the Japanese market is comparably saturated with a mix of domestic and overseas sites vying for attention.

The push for social gaming – combining social networks and online gaming – on mobile is the next frontier in Japan and big money to those competing for consumer attention. Though the market is crowding rapidly, further newcomers may well be likely.