Korean-made messaging app KakaoTalk launched its Game Platform in July 2012 and having launched on Android in Japan in November 2012, is now extending its advance into the Japanese market with the roll-out of its iOS version, according to a report by techinasia.
In the last few months NHN’s Line has been gaining users in Korea and this move by Kakao Talk is a clear sign that it intends to take its copy-cat head on.
Currently Kakao claims 70 million users to Line’s 100 million, but it boasts 97% penetration in the Korean market, this is likely to become eroded as Line gains a foothold.
As well as Line, Kakao will also face other domestic social gaming platforms in the form of GREE and DeNA’s Mobage in Japan.
Japanese KakaoTalk users will be able to download six iOS apps to begin with (Tap Tap Blitz, Puzzle Zoo Zoo, Sushi Panic, Zoo Zoo Bubble, and Pocket Colony) and Kakao hopes to have 100 titles available by the end of this year.
Android titiles, including SundayToz’ Anipang, which was the first success story on the KakaoTalk, helping the company to a revenue increase of 400% within the first month after release. The game was to go on to become the second highest grossing game on Google Play in South Korea.
Kakao has been an unrivalled success in Korea (97% market penetration), but there are questions about how it can build on this and start to gain more impressive traction overseas. Compared to Line’s 123 language service offerings, Kakao currently only supports 12. And Line has so far outpaced its predecessor in terms of sign-up, boasting 100 million global users, to Kakao Talk’s 70 million.
Kakao Japan has a powerful local ally in Japan in the form of 50% stakeholder, Yahoo Japan, and will be hoping to capitalize on this relationship to gain a stronger foothold in Line’s home-land.
The extension of Kakao's reach in Japan presents interesting opportunities for global developers wanting to enter this lucrative market, as explained in a previous article.