Japanese hit Memento Mori has earned over $40m in its first month – but how?


Japanese idle RPG Memento Mori has earned over $40m in its first 30 days on the market. It is one of the biggest new game launches of the year, according to Appmagic data.

Released the same day as Marvel Snap, which earned $10m in its first 30 days, Tokyo-based publisher Bank of Innovation’s idle RPG has come close to Diablo Immortal’s spectacular first month, which netted Blizzard/NetEase $49m after 30 days.

Why has the game been so lucrative? Its IAP pricing is “almost double” the industry standard. “With the rising cost of making games, many mobile game companies have long wanted to raise prices, but none of them went ahead for fear of losing customers,” Toyo Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda told Bloomberg. “But with Memento Mori’s success, other firms could follow the move with their new games.”

Japanese games industry consultant Dr. Serkan Toto notes: “Memento Mori quickly climbed up the Japanese grossing rankings and even managed to top them in the early days, ahead of Japan’s forever blockbusters such as Monster Strike by Mixi or Puzzle & Dragons by GungHo. Needless to say, Bank Of Innovation’s stock price went up like a rocket.”

Naturally, the game’s top market by revenue according to Appmagic data is Japan ($32.2m), followed by Korea ($5m), US ($2.2m), Taiwan ($1.7m) and Hong Kong ($1m). On downloads, the top five markets are Japan (564k), Korea (242k), US (169k), Taiwan (116k) and Indonesia (44k).

The platform split is heavily weighted toward Android, with total revenue from Google Play at $24.5m to date. The game has earned over $19.1m on iOS to date.

It is an AFK-RPG, with a watercolour-like art style, voice acting from well-known Japanese actors and theme songs from famous J-Pop stars. It’s also, let’s be super honest, a little creepy: your troops are often simpering female warriors who refer to the player as “my lord”. One of them invites you to “scold” them after battle.

Memento Mori’s battles are automated and very quick. They’re soundtracked by songs from famous J-pop artists and the characters are played by well-known Japanese voice actors.

According to Appmagic, Memento Mori publisher Bank of Innovation has a few other notable releases aimed at Japanese players. They are all battle-RPG type games with relatively high revenue, compared to downloads.

幻獣契約クリプトラクト, which Google translate tells us means ‘Phantom Beast Contract Cryptoract’, has earned $108.2m from 3.6m downloads over its lifetime, and ミトラスフィア (Mitrasphere in English) is at just over $53.4m from 2.7m lifetime downloads.

There’s also 征戦エクスカリバー, or Seisen Excalibur, which has different binaries for iOS and Android but has earned a combined $12.6m from 290k downloads, and ポケットナイツ[セルフィでRPG] (or Pocket Knights), has earned $8.7m from 235k downloads to date.

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