Japanese government cracking down on mobile, social games

Business models to be questioned by Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency; stock in social network portals DeNA and GREE plummets more than 20 percent.


Japanese social game publishers may soon see a crackdown from the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency (JCAA), due to a sales method that may be violating certain sale laws.

A diagram on how
A diagram on how "compu gacha" works. Image credit: Daily Yomiuri

According to Daily Yomiuri, the business model under scrutiny is the "compu gacha" model. Translated as the "complete gacha" model, this sales method has players paying a set amount of real money to gain a random in-game item of different value (similar to gambling). The "complete gacha" model requires players to buy a complete set of items to get even more prestigious items as a bonus.

According to a source of Daily Yomiuri, investigations on the "compu gacha" method began after the JCAA received numerous complaints about expensive fees being imposed on users by social network platforms like GREE and DeNA's Mobage.

There were 58 complaints filed during fiscal year 2011; the agency plans to ask the social games publisher's council, Social Game Platform Renraku Kyogikai, to stop offering games with the "compu gacha" model. As a result of the report, notable social game publishers GREE and DeNA saw their stocks drop by 20 percent. According to Bloomberg, the investigation on the sales method is currently in progress.

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