The Japanese App Store is extremely profitable. Dispite only a quarter of iOS devices used in the country, top grossing apps in Japan has not much difference in generating money compared to the U.S (Look at this Article). The most profitable game in Japan is not from Gree nor Mobage.It's Puzzle & Dragons, produced by GungHo Online Entertainment. 
パズドラ0(image via Gungho)
GungHo is a gaming company most famous for publishing Asia-based online games. They released Puzzle & Dragons in February this year and reached the top spot of the grossing rank in 4 days, staying there since. Currently the number of users are over 1.1 million and still constantly increasing.

Simply put, Puzzle & Dragons is a combination of 3-in-a-row game like Bejweled and social-card-battle game like Rage of Bahamut. It has social-card battle elements such as;
・Gather monsters and build your own team
・Strengthening and evolving your monsters by fusion
・Get strong monsters by Gacha (a kind of lottery popularly used in Japanese social games)

P&D2 P&D1

The game is free-to-play and have some extra paid features. These include things like purchasing Gacha or expanding the max number of monsters you can hold. However, the most money-making feature in this game is 'continue'.This is based on the gameplay widely used in arcade games. When players get a game over they can pay to continue from the point where the game had ended. Because you can't obtain monsters and coins you got on the stage giving up, many players pay for this continue feature.

Puzzle & Dragons is currently only available on iOS but an Android version is due to be released in September, as well as an overseas launch by the end of the year. This game is sure to continue to increase in popularity and is one to watch.


Puzzle & Dragons Official Trailer
 





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About the Author
Wataru Tanaka is the chief editor of Social Game Report and writes about mobile social gaming. He works at Mynet Japan, a social game developer. His vision is to create worldwide network and enhance the industry, take it to the next level where everyone can enjoy communicating each other through games.