Developers GREE, DeNA, Mixi, CyberAgent, Dwango and NHN Japan have announced they are removing a controversial monetization mechanic called “kompu gacha” from all their mobile-social games by the end of the month.
Kompu gacha (“complete gacha”) is akin to a virtual toy machine where players pay real world money to receive an in-game item at random. Players have the opportunity to win grand prizes, but only if they can acquire complete sets of specific items. Although an extremely lucrative income stream for Japanese developers, kompu gacha has drawn harsh critisism both for how close it is to real-world gambling and for the easy access children have to it. Over the weekend the mechanic was found to be in violation of Japanese law and a ban is widely anticipated.
Although the news will mainly affects Japanese developers, several western companies also make use of the mechanic in their Japanese mobile-social games. Zynga, for example includes kompu gacha in its Android role-playing game Montopia. For a more detailed explanation of kompu gacha and how its elimination will affect developers outside of Japan, read our feature investigation at our sister site Inside Mobile Apps.