How Japanese IP-based game publishers embrace ad monetization to win

"White Cat Tennis" is a game available on Android and iOS published by the famous Japanese publisher COLOPL, Inc. It is a spin-off of COLOPL's own "White Cat Project".

In this full-fledged tennis game app, characters from "White Cat Project" become tennis players and can take on other players from all over the nation in real-time.

The feature-packed game includes a variety of ways to play, including Tower mode, Tour mode, Doubles mode, and Friend Match. Featuring characters from "White Cat Project", players choose their three favorite characters and test their skills against various types of characters and courts.

Characters each have their own special moves (Super Shots). During a match, players can switch out their character according to their remaining stamina and the situation on the court. Far from being a simple game of tennis, the game is a combination of fun and strategy.

In "White Cat Tennis," video reward ads are found in two places, with each delivering major returns.

1. Item Acquisition from Viewing Video Ads on the Home Screen

In "White Cat Tennis," a rewarded video ad is placed in the top right of the Home screen. By watching these ads, players can win gacha pull items. Up to 3 times per day, users can complete a mission by watching a video ad and earn points to put towards gacha pulls. These points can be used to acquire characters and rackets.

2. Players Can Win Bonus Pulls by Watching Dream Chance Gacha Video Ads

Video ads are also placed in the Dream Chance Gacha section, where players can win items and Ace Jewels. Twice per day, players can earn bonus gacha pulls by watching these video ads as well.

In Dream Chance Gacha, players can win points for additional gacha pulls, items to strengthen their characters, or Ace Jewels (which can be used in gachas or to revive after a game over) to help them progress in the game.

Players usually have up to two free pulls per day, but by watching video ads, they can earn two free bonus pulls, allowing non-paying players to also acquire a variety of items for free. Since "White Cat Tennis" clearly communicates to users that they can win items by watching video ads, watching ads is something that's completely up to the user. This allows for monetization without harming the user experience.

When Pangle was first introduced, the app also made use of Pangle's Waterfall monetization feature. However, after Pangle introduced its In-app Bidding feature, the app switched from Waterfall to Bidding. As a result of the introduction of Bidding, eCPM increased by 29% over Waterfall, contributing significantly to the profitability of the app. By using bidding, COLOPL was also able to reduce the person-hours of operating the service.

Hybrid Games Find Creative Ways to Monetize with Ads

The Japanese gaming market has recently seen an increase in the number of ad-supported games, with many games that previously did not use ad monetization now introducing video ads. Major publishers are also now utilizing the ad model in casual game spin-offs of their IP.

Puzzle games have a longer lifetime value than hyper-casual games, as they can sustain a more stable player base for a long period of time and also profit from in-app purchases as well as ad monetization. This longevity enables puzzle apps to continuously invest in promotion. As a result, puzzle apps account for most of the apps continually played by users over long periods of time.

Recently, ad-based monetization has spread to SIM games and RPGs in addition to puzzle games in Japan. Many game apps now make use of Pangle's video reward, interstitial, and banner ads regardless of genre.

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