Crunchyroll has until recently been a destination site that runs Japanese animation videos and other Asian media content licensed for international audiences. But it’s beginning to create social games as a way to promote this content, with the first one being the only official application for Naruto, a long-running manga and anime series about a young ninja.
The application itself is a straightforward role-playing game. You undertake missions to gain points and access new levels via text-based combat. While the game already includes offers so users can gain virtual currency for buying virtual goods, the bigger play — at least for now — is to try to promote the Naruto brand, as Crunchyroll chief executive Kun Gao tells us. While the company has not yet added direct payments for virtual goods, the app includes very clear integration points with the home site, including the ability to watch videos in order to receive special items.