Japanese mobile messaging platform Line has revealed plans to shift focus to casual games in North American market. This follows last year’s push to expand the service in Latin America.
“We’re reprioritising our focus on the US market,” said Line’s senior business development manager in the US, John Park. “America is very challenging, different and exciting for us. Technically it is one single market, but there are so many different demographics and ethnicities, that it is almost several markets in one.”
Line will also be looking to add US studios as partners and content providers for the platform.
“We’re looking to find local developers to partner with to bring games to the Line platform,” added Park. “And we will try to bring in new gaming formats and titles that resonate with mobile users. In the US, titles like World of Warcraft and Diablo are hardcore, that’s not our main target — the Line experience is more casual, it’s something users play to fill time and make their daily routine more fun.”
In April NHN Japan confirmed that Line had topped 400 million registered users worldwide.
Line’s user base has also grown beyond core markets in Japan and Korea to include India and the Philippines, as well as Spain and South American countries like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru. 90 per cent of Line users are based outside of Korea, with the mobile network expanding rapidly in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand, according to parent NHN.
In November last year Line reported 300 million registered users, as well as US$10 million in global monthly character sales. Line revenues also rose to 34.3 billion JPY (US$338 million) in 2013, with 60 per cent of earnings coming from in-game purchases.
Line, a subsidiary of Korea’s NHN Corporation, plans continued rapid growth this year. “We’re aiming for 500 million users in 2014,” said Line CEO Akira Morikawa in a recent report.