Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Tonchidot picks up $12 million to expand augmented reality

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Augmented reality is a topic and technology that’s recently been gaining a bit of momentum and buzz. Primarily due to the proliferation of smartphones, augmented reality technology allows for the use of computer generated images and information to be viewed over real world environments via the device’s camera. In addition to valuable information, if you’ve not already guessed – this is an advertisers’s dream come true.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that Japanese mobile augmented reality provider Tonchidot has recently secured $12 million in a second round of funding. A number of Japanese VC’s contributed to the funding including mobile operator KDDI Corp, media firm Recruit Co. ltd., and mobile advertising provider SPiRE. Sources close to the development indicate that the new influx of cash will be used to built a bigger team, as well as expand interest to a global audience. Oh, and one tiny little tidbit – Osuke Honda from DCM, a previous investor in Tonichdot mentions that the funding will also be used to extend the company’s SoLAR gaming platform. So yes, even though the focus is on AR, there is a gaming component as well.

“We are excited about opportunities to greatly enhance user experience while combining traditional mobile social games with LBS (Location Based Service) and AR technologies,” said Takahito Iguchi, CEO of Tonchidot. “We have taken social gaming to a new level from the computer screen to the real world where friends can visit a flourishing farmland, interact with adorable pets, and swim through a customized fish-tank, all in the middle of Tokyo.”

All of this is centered around Tonchidot’s social AR gaming platform SoLAR. Launched this past July, the SoLAR platform is designed for mobile gaming developers to integrate reality and location-based games into existing or planned social games. With a planned update arriving next month, the SoLAR platform will add tools allowing Facebook and Twitter connections, as well as, microtransaction purchases on Android and iPhone.

Tonchidot’s flagship tech, the Sekai Camera, has been downloaded over 1 million times, and is one of the top rated apps in Japan – with 30% of all iPhone owners running the app. Popular Tonchidot games based around this tech include KA-BOOM, a game that allows friends to drop virtual bombs in real-world locations, as well as support for an app titled CooKoo – an animated bird that interacts with the users’ Twitter account.


gPotato serves up free-to-play cart racing MMO Tales Runner

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Gala-Net Inc. has recently announced that the beta doors are open on the North American version of it’s new cart racing title: Tales Runner.  Developed by Rhaon Entertainment, players can sign up and download the game client at Gala-Net’s portal.

Originally inspired by Nintendo’s Mario Kart, Tales Runner is a free-to-play cart racer MMO focuses on a number of unique features and distinguishes itself from the crowd with a unique community interaction experience.  Racing events are not arbitrary, as Tales Runner places players in teams, encouraging community interaction, cooperation, and good sportsmanship.

Additional differentiators include:

  • The Item Alchemy: This crafting system allows players to collect special cards at the end of each race. Combining these cards creates the most powerful and unique weapons in the game.
  • The Tales Runner Leveling System: Tales Runner features a unique, rewarding leveling system. Each time a player reaches a new level they are rewarded with in-game currency as well as access to new racing rooms.
  • Customization: With 4 starting characters to choose from, 4 more to be released, and hundreds of different items, accessories and outfits
  • Tales Land Park: A central “Town” where players can hang out, show off their gear, and exchange tips with each other. There are also mini games within the park that rewards players with items and in-game currency.
  • Unique Racing Modes: There are several race modes available to players; 8 Player Mode, Team Mode, Relay Race, 30 Player Mode, and the crowd favorite, Survival Mode, where players must race toward their screen rather than away. Each Survival Mode course features a Boss Monster that eliminates players from the race with the slightest touch

A runaway hit in it’s home Korean market as well as in Japan and Taiwan, Tales Runner features reoccurring characters that take part in races based on a selection of maps inspired by fairy tales ranging from The Frog Prince to Momotaro, a Japanese favorite.  Supporting up to 30 players in individual and team modes, players will face obstacles, ski slopws and even monsters in their races.

And as with any good MMO, Gala-Net Inc. plans on rolling out a number of new content additions via in-game ‘Chapters’ through out the year.  These content updates are slated to include a number of new maps, items (for sale of course) and features.    Updates will also include a function similar to an achievment system along with alchemy, couple, fortune and family features.

When asked about the microtransactions present within Tales Racer and if they will present a playing advantage, Rhaon Entertainment producer Alan Hardie says,

…We don’t want to favor our cash users by giving them an advantage over the others. We consider all of them to be valuable, and we want to treat each one fairly.
There will be some things that can only be purchased with gPotatoes, but they are mainly of a cosmetic nature. Some provide various stats or bonuses, but we will offset this advantage by providing similar ones anyone can obtain…

Tales Runner is now open for beta testing in the North American market via Gala-Net Inc’s portal gPotato.  To sign up and download the client, visit Tales Runner at

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CDC Games reports 24 precent revenue increase in Q2 2008

Friday, August 8th, 2008

CDC Corporation has recently released its financial results for the second quarter 2008.

CDC Games reported that during Q2 2008, total revenue was USD$10.8 million which represents a 24 percent increase from Q1 2008.  This is the second consecutive quarter of sequential growth for CDC games.  The primary driver for this increase comes via Yulgang (aka Scions of Fate), as CDC recently released a new version of the game and renewed licensing agreements with developer MGame.  CDC also generated positive Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) in Q2 2008.  The majority of CDC’s revenue comes from it’s Chinese market operations, as the company’s US and Japanese operations have generated only nominal revenue thus far.  CDC Games firmly believes that the opportunity for free to play games in the US and Japan markets is still in their early stages, as opposed to the already accepted business model in China.

CDC believes that they’ve struck upon a relatively stable, recurring, repeatable revenue base, and that the benefits of its diversification strategy are becoming increasingly clear.  CDC Games’ revenue comes from its 5 online games and has planned for the release of new games in the second half of 2008.

Q2 2008 highlights for CDC Games:

  • In April 2008, CDC Games commercially launched Yulgang 2.0, major new content update for Yulgang, its widely popular online game, in China, which provides gamers with approximately 30 percent more content and has led to increased revenue for the game.
  • CDC games opened a new game zone in the company’s online game, Shaiya. The company has expanded the number of server groups for the game, which it believes will result in a higher degree of community interaction.
  • CDC Games has launched 18 web-based casual games, and expects to increase that amount substantially by the end of 2008.  Among all web-based casual games operators in China, CDC is one of the largest. Revenue from these web-based casual games has been nominal to date.

In addition, CDC Games has two games it intends to launch in Q3 2008:

  • Digimon. Digimon is an online game based on the animated Japanese series, where players can collect virtual pets and battle each other. In addition, Digimon has secured the No. 1 ranking for the last several weeks in the user survey chart on Baidu, the top search engine in China; and
  • Street Gears. Street Gears is a casual skating game where players can race each other or compete in trick contests.

CDC Games believes that these new titles will continue to add diversity to it’s inventory, and will expand the casual games offerings.  In addition to Digimon and Street Gears, within the next 6 months, CDC plans on releasing Life Online, a next gen, 3D free to play MMO developed by SONOV.  SONOV is the development branch of Sonokong, a major Korean toy and game entertainment company.

In addition to releasing new titles, CDC feels that they have developed a more cost effective process for launching games which includes cross promotion and leveraging a combined base of active players.

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Free to Play MMO Asda Story offers ‘Guaranteed Fun’

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

San Jose based publisher is so confident in their new offering, Asda Story, that they’re offering a $30 refund if you DON’T enjoy your experience.

Asda Story is a free to play MMO based in a colorful, bright and cheery world that features fantasy sytle anime in a 3d MMORPG setting.  Asda has a number of features, but a unique ‘soul mate’ system allows two players the ability to align to become soul mates.  These dynamic duos can then wear unique costumes and use special skills.  The ‘Real Costume System’ give players some of the most extensive character customization and personalization ever seen in an MMORPG.

When initially launched in Korea and Japan, the Soul Mate System and Real Costume System appealed to a more than 20% female user base.  These systems allow players the ability to personalize the design of their items and looks, and make their characters stand out. is expecting to see similar results in the US launch.  Customizations will be made available via micro transactions of currency, Campus Cash.

AsdaS Story opens it’s beta testing doors this evening, August 5th at 9:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.  The open beta test is backed by a strong promise, “If this isn’t the most enjoyable free to play MMORPG game you’ve ever played, we’ll give you $30 for your feedback.”  Full information regarding the enjoyment guarantee can be found at

“We chose to bring this game to the west because we believe in its potential. The Guaranteed Fun Promotion is our way of showing our belief in the game and is even better than a money-back guarantee because you dont have to spend a penny to play Asda Story,” said David Chang, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for “We are just asking you to invest your time in playing our game, and if after playing for 30 days you dont feel it has been the great game experience we feel it to be, we want to hear your feedback and we’ll give you $30. It is as simple as that.”

This is NOT however a sign up, don’t play it, and cash in on $30.  To ensure that gamers are giving Asda Story a fair crack, in order to qualify for the $30 (if you so choose), players must reach level 40 by September 4th, 2008.  The beta will also be celebrated with a number of in game events that are detailed at the Asda Story site.


Metal Gear Solid 4 Limited edition for PS3… not just for Japan!

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Sony’s official playstation blog dropped some Solidly good Gear on North American customers Wednesday night in San Francisco at the Konami Gamers night and made the info official worldwide yesterday: Japan ain’ the only ones getting a first crack at the limited edition June 12th release of the gunmetal grey Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3.

For $599, you can nab yourself a bundle of blitz masked at a 40gb PS3 including a color matched dualshock controller and of course Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Limited Edition game. In addition, you’ll be the only one one the block with an exlusive Blu-ray disc with over 2 hours of content including: “Hideo Kojima’s Gene” – a “making of” documentary and a special look at Hideo’s team.

The MGS4 LE is available exclusively through Konami, and you can head on over right now and give a clicky click on the wish list, and hope to me one of the lucky few to nab this badboy. Konami will start taking pre-orders on Monday May 19th.