Puzzle & Dragons creator GungHo’s stock soars, now more valuable than Nintendo

GungHo Online Entertainment was only a blip on the radar last year, until a little game called Puzzle & Dragons landed on the iPhone in February 2012. A mix of Bejewled and Pokemon, the game’s casual gameplay, polished graphics, and tight social integration spread like wildfire in Japan. Now available in English and on Android, the game is set to take on the world.

The basic game experience is free, but the user has a choice to buy Magic Stones for 99 cents each. This item allows the usage of the Rare Egg Machine, a randomized monster generator that sometimes nets the user a great (and sometimes not so great) ally in the game. With hundreds of monsters in the randomized pool, this can get pretty addictive if you’re trying to get a certain monster to join your team.

Puzzle & Dragons Screenshot

While 99 cents a pop doesn’t seem much compared to console and handheld games  that cost $40-60, there’s power in numbers: the game currently generates around $3.75 million a day in Japan across 13 million users, which is over 10% of the country’s population. While most are content spending nothing, there are many who will unexpectedly pay hundreds of dollars, all with a smile on their face.

With this momentum, they recently surpassed the great Nintendo in stock value, shocking the industry as a whole. The shift to social games has been met with bitter disgust by hardcore gamers, but it’s impossible to ignore the great numbers that GungHo seemingly pulled out of a magic hat.

As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. To cater to a whole new crowd, GungHo unveiled plans to release the game on Japan’s most successful console today, the Nintendo 3DS. Whether this game has in-game puchasing is unknown, but one thing is for sure: both parties are going to make lots of money.

Japan’s netizens on 2channel had a lot on their mind:

4 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 13:57:15.61 ID:UdYUgID6T
They’re making so much money

8 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 13:58:39.71 ID:dv+7Gv/n0
The game industry is only profitable if it’s social now

10 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 13:59:25.85 ID:CpI22M0WO
GungHo’s the one who knew how to beat Nintendo www

15 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:00:47.80 ID:KKZnhL8J0
They’re not directly competing with Nintendo though

23 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:03:09.02 ID:4+dFFeka0
The casual gamers on the Wii and DS went to GREE, Mobage, and GungHo

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16 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:00:50.28 ID:QvOpHYm50
They're not that well known as a company compared to Nintendo though
I'm excited to see how low they can go when things turn sour

17 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:00:51.17 ID:EtHOtySf0
GungHo beat them before GREE did

19 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:01:51.21 ID:cXZKtUfy0
GungHo "What happened to that company that said they could beat Nintendo wwwwwwwwwwwwww"

21 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:02:26.33 ID:PNAHBxv50
Nintendo's been doing bad, but GungHo's been doing good lately
I remember the days when they used to get flack for Ragnarok Online
Thinking back, maybe they were good at microtransactions from back then...

26 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:03:21.25 ID:sUr00rVA0
It's amazing how Puzzle & Dragons grew, but there aren't any good characters
It's gonna get tough for them a few years from now
They've been doing collaborations lately with other companies, but they're not iconic like Mario, Pikachu, Zelda, etc.

28 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:03:32.89 ID:mSwbZSCQT
GREE "Grrrrrrr"

29 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:03:37.26 ID:7zGKnJQnP
Nintendo "Please teach us how we can beat social games"

31 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:04:22.46 ID:FTVATDEh0
Well, Nintendo's not defeated yet
This isn't really a "how we beat" story yet w

36 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:05:53.56 ID:h6+OPdu/0
Nintendo should do this too
They're overflowing with talented people
Gauge the audience for what they want on social networks or something

37 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:06:07.22 ID:wyBclsD80
Well, this'll only last until new regulations kick in
News outlets love bashing microtransactions
They'll sink any ship if they feel like it

44 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:08:52.01 ID:Xpz/AUp60
There's something wrong here
It just looks like speculative inflation at this point
I mean, there are only like 20 people working on this game
1 trillion yen made by a department of 20? Something's wrong

84 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:16:53.38 ID:hGYmqFLxO
That's just how the world works right now

52 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:10:29.47 ID:PNAHBxv50
I bet a ton of companies have ordered their teams to make a game just like this one

58 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:11:30.32 ID:ekv8oseC0
I can just see the sour faces on GREE and Mobage
This is the result of them devaluing traditional games, bringing down the prices
Gaming platform isn't needed anymore, it's the age of the software company making their own terms

60 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:11:43.17 ID:sUr00rVA0
The way GungHo is charging in Puzzle & Dragons is exactly the same as Ragnarok Online from 10 years ago
But back then, it wasn't as easy for casuals to get online to play
Smartphones are an easy gateway now to online gaming

Simply put, now we can release MMOs on phones and succeed

61 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:11:53.95 ID:eHPBdVkbO
Nintendo should stick to what they do, they are a toy company.
There's meaning behind playing Mario and Zelda on consoles made by Nintendo.

63 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:12:00.37 ID:klzpmZJ4O
I just can't wait until they crash

70 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:13:34.13 ID:Tdwdwfzy0
I heard ex-Hudson staff made PuzzDra
It's made well, makes sense that this did well compared to just another game on the Wii

81 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:16:04.97 ID:rL46vULg0
GungHo put me through some bad times during the Ragnarok Online days
Just hearing GungHo makes me feel sick
I guess those that play PuzzDra is too young to know GungHo's true shittiness

90 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:17:57.81 ID:yRd56G710
They're not that shitty these days.

96 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:18:54.50 ID:tAysyLrT0
This must be a piece of cake to manage compared to an MMO
They just sell those stones (in-game item)
I guess there's not much to screw up
103 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:21:09.83 ID:pvC+/uLA0
No no, see, the guys that know the shittness of the RO days is working on it, that's why it's better now
They've been to hell and back, so they're levelheaded even when they made 3-4 million a day
They're surprisingly steady...

92 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:18:15.50 ID:8SEoXSAw0
Prices are going to suddenly hit rock bottom, and those who bought on trust alone will hang themselvse

99 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:20:29.56 ID:pAT/I+DI0
They've been saying that for half a year now though w

110 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:23:14.40 ID:havh3j8B0
Nintendo made a comeback with the DS
But now they're going downhill since they can't make something new

115 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:24:19.86 ID:zGDK2LZF0
Don't expect it happening again, they're a one-hit wonder

131 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:28:44.07 ID:yDT4+A8SO
I feel like the price is getting fixed
When's it going to burst?

133 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:29:53.33 ID:e5/IP7WcP
Is this the one where you keep plugging money away to get rare items, until you're 100,000-200,000 yen in debt?

143 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:31:30.97 ID:4+dFFeka0
This one makes little money per person, across many people

145 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:31:49.26 ID:iem+yHOv0
You can still have a lot of fun for free
For a microtransaction game, it's a good one
That's what made it popular

200 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:48:11.13 ID:Vn1b1n7BO
PuzzDra was the game to go againt that trend

While traditional game companies were copying GREE and Mobage, another company was treading new territory, and then succeeded. Who knew it'd be GungHo...

142 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:31:27.21 ID:ElU9+mfF0
The era of playing core games at home is dead

152 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:34:32.85 ID:bH4rMbS4P
To me GungHo equaled Ragnarok, but PuzzDra made more in one year what RO made in 10 years...
I wonder if RO will just get shut down w

163 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:36:27.96 ID:ElU9+mfF0
PuzzDra is much more superior in money making than Wii U's Dragon Quest X

166 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:38:02.26 ID:dIGjLJBv0
In gradeschool, I played Pokemon, Zelda, Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, etc. with my friends
I'm older now and having a baby soon, this news makes me sad
179 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:42:48.60 ID:CmBSZr0zP
RO and ECO are waning, but they're still making this much, thanks to PuzzDra

199 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:48:09.13 ID:6NYbDoqEP
PuzzDra is well made, but you eventually get bored.
Are there any other GungHo games that do well?
Like that Puyo Puyo company, it's tough if you only have one hit game

207 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:49:28.16 ID:iem+yHOv0
Princess Punt is a success if made by any other company, but PuzzDra is getting all the attention

201 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:48:19.99 ID:d8QIoOox0
I tried PuzzDra for five minutes, deleted it
I don't get what's so fun about it w

208 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:49:30.50 ID:dnQBYbPc0
This kinda makes you feel silly if you seriously spent time and made a good game

246 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 15:00:13.78 ID:GmZLeaJHO
So this is reality.....
I don't like it

74 : No [email protected] Anniversary: 2013/05/13 (Mon) 14:14:31.54 ID:RZlNAZiw0
I'll respect them if they're not a one-hit wonder
Though I'm guessing they'll be gone in about 10 years


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