Speaking with Reuters, Yoshikazu Tanaka, CEO of social games publisher GREE, says that his company will cooperate with other publishers in order to dispel the Japanese government’s concerns regarding certain practises in social games market.
Tanaka’s statement is in response to a proposed investigation by Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency, which likens “compu gacha,” a sales tactic commonly employed by social game developers, to gambling. “Gacha” refers to a practise whereby social game users pay real currency for in-game items without knowing what the items actually are—a chance to win big, rather than paying money to gain an advantage, so to speak.
Compu gacha takes this model one step further with a promise of even rarer items as a reward for completing certain item sets. The compu gacha model accounts for a significant portion of social game revenue at present, having led individual players in certain cases to spend thousands of dollars on virtual items. To illustrate this point, following the report of the investigation, GREE’s shares dropped 23% while Mobage platform owner, DeNA, saw their own shares dip by 21%.
"Our aim is for as many people as possible to enjoy our games worry free," said Tanaka to Reuters. As part of this initiative, GREE will work with other social game companies to draft industry guidelines on social games by the end of May. Tanaka didn’t comment on whether GREE will pull any existing games from its platform.