revenue dropping this past quarter following a slump, Japan-based
messaging firm Line is going back to what it knows best with a new $20 million joint venture to create mobile game. The
company owned by Korean Internet giant Naver, has partnered
with Korean game development firm LongTu to create Hong Kong-based Lantu
Games. The 50-50 venture (each side is putting in $10 million) will
develop and distribute “high-quality, Asia-made games to players around
the world” when it begins operations later this month.
Line seems poised for a public listing this year — it reportedly aborted a
proposed dual US-Japan IPO in 2015 — but it suffered a set back when
overall revenue for its messaging service, which claims 211 million
active users worldwide, dipped one percent quarter-on-quarter in its
most recent quarter of business.
company pulled in an impressive $224 million in total sales for Q2
2015 — monetizing chat services isn’t easy — but it needs to show it can
continue to grow both its user base and revenue if it is to impress
prospective investors ahead of any listing. Beyond revenue, Line said
also that new releases may help expand its user base into new parts of
the world — currently half of its active users are based in just three
countries: Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.
to games makes a lot of sense since Line makes around half of its money
from its social games platform, which counts over 40 titles that hook
into its messaging app to allow players to share scores with friends,
battle each other and more.
Line previously invested in Japan’s Gumi and Korea’s 4:33 Labs to
create new titles. Adding another games partner means more content for a
very important part of the firm’s business. LongTu’s biggest hit to
date has been Dao Ta Chuan Qi, a game marketed at China that attracted over 80 million downloads.