Ameba Pico, the avatar-based virtual exploration community on Facebook, has amassed nearly 1.7 MMAUs on Facebook, after launching three months ago on March 8, 2010. According to the press release, Ameba Pico is seeing strong monetization with in-game microtransactions, experiencing nearly 300 percent growth in revenue from March to May. The game was developed by CyberAgent America, Inc, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based CyberAgent, who aims to bring internet-based Japanese media and services into the American market.
The game has a spectacular presentation that gets players started quickly by walking them through a stellar avatar creation process and tutorial guide. Players get their own private space, similar to Yoville that they can customize through the decor section. The movement is also superb and a great change from bland montonous movements we see in some games. The crux of the virtual world involves traveling to over 20 different virtual scenes, some of which are internationally-themed community parks and some which involve time traveling back to places like Ancient Egypt.
“Ameba Pico has quickly proved itself to be a fun, interactive and safe community for our users to meet up and have fun,” said Toshimichi Namba, president and CEO of CyberAgent America, Inc. “We have created an addictive gaming environment with lots of incentive to our users to come back. From virtual goods, to the ever-changing Pico worlds, games and tight integration in to our users’ social graphs, we created an experience that appeals to people.”
The application has many synchronous elements integrated within it, from chatting to playing certain games such as Reversi (a card game) and Rock, Paper, Scissors with other users in real time. The inspiration of the world stems from Ameba Pigg, one of the most popular virtual worlds in Japan that has millions of users and generates seven-figure revenues per month mostly from virtual currency sales. It’s rare to hear about successes coming from abroad but as the industry matures and incentives shift, we should see more and more international and Asian-inspired games and worlds targeting the American market.