In the ever crowded mobile messaging space, Line has always been a company that stuck out to me, not only because of its extremely fast growth, but because it was one with a solid monetization strategy that resulted in significant revenue.
The Japanese mobile messaging platform makes its money by offering both games and emoji, or stickers, that customers can purchase and then use to communicate with one another, as well as personalize their user profiles.
Now the company seems to be doubling down on the games sides of the business, announcing that was shuttering at least 20 of them in order to put more emphasis, and more focus, on its most successful titles. The titles were closed at 3 p.m. Japanese time on Monday.
"Through this decision, LINE GAME hopes to focus its resources on titles that are enjoying greater growth in order to further propel the service as a global gaming platform," the company wrote. In addition, the company said that it would refund all remaining purchased points to its users, which they have until August 31st to apply for.
There is good reason for Line to want to put more effort into games: they account for more than half of the company's revenue.
Line's revenue in the last three months of 2013 was 12.2 billion yen or $119 million, an increase of more than fivefold from a year earlier. Roughly 60% of that revenue came from its games, while another 20% came from sticker sales. In March, the company revealed that it has surpassed 300 million game downloads. At that point it had over 50 titles on the platform, around a third of which have now been removed
Overall growth for Line is also picking up. The network reached the 100 million mark in March 2011, just ahead of its IPO, and then took nearly another two years to reach 200 million in January of last year. By April of this year, it doubled that number to 400 million.
The games that Line shut down are Line Paladog, Line Touch Touch, Line Elgard, Line Neko Copter, Line IceQpick, Line Birzzle, Line Birzzle Plus, Line Birzzle Friends, Line AirPenguin Friends, Line Twinbee, Line Slimeshot, Line DROP Spirit Catcher, Line Dash Girl, Line Fly! ANIMAL, Line MapleStory Village, Line RUNRUN HERO, Line Fluffy Diver, Line Let’s Golf, Line Patapoko Animal and Line cartoon wars.
"We would like to thank all players for their support over the years. LINE GAME will continue to work towards providing more fun and exciting games for the enjoyment of all players" said Line. "We appreciate your understanding over this decision."
Shout out to The Next Web for spotting this.
(Image source: line.me/en)