NTT Docomo, the largest carrier in Japan, is taking one more step into China today. The company announced that it will offer a localized version of its new “d game” gaming service on China Mobile. This will be the first time that d game is being exported to any market outside of Japan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The service will go live on March 26, initially with 20 titles.
As Japan is one of the most mobile-saturated and mature markets for content anywhere in the world, China has huge potential as an emerging, neighboring market for NTT Docomo. Specifically, China Mobile is the world’s biggest operator with 700 million subscribers, so it makes sense that Docomo is increasingly forging partnerships and porting its products across the border.
The move follows other developments for Docomo in China, and specifically with China Mobile. At the end of February, the two carriers, along with KT, agreed on an international NFC roaming service — meaning that NFC readers in devices sold by each company would work in the other markets, and on specific NFC-based services developed locally. At the same time they also agreed on a WiFi roaming deal.
What’s not clear is whether this latest development to export d game is connected in any way with Docomo’s JV with Baidu, created last year when Docomo invested $22.5 million in the operation to create mobile content for the Chinese market. Instead, this deal is being carried out by D2C China, a subsidiary of D2C, a joint venture between Docomo and advertising giant Dentsu.
The first rush of content will feature some 20 titles, including games but also non-game content including wallpapers and covering well-known publishers such as Capcom, Konami, Tecmo Koei, Square Enix and MTI. More content is coming down the line, Docomo notes. “Going forward, DOCOMO intends to grow its global content business with a variety of content originally distributed through the company’s dmarket® portal in Japan, providing overseas customers with opportunities to enjoy high-quality mobile content from Japan,” Docomo writes in its statement.