DeNA’s Net Income Climbs 45% in First Quarter to $121.3M

Japanese mobile-social gaming giant DeNA said today that its first quarter net income climbed 45 percent to $121.3 million from the same time period a year earlier. The boost came as the company said its users are spending more on DeNA’s virtual currency Mobacoins with help from new carrier billing deals.

Net sales also rose 43 percent to $444 million as the company grew its mobile social gaming network to 30 million in Japan. In an effort to capture a bigger slice of the global mobile gaming market DeNA’s subsidiary ngmoco:) recently launched its Mobage platform for Android.

DeNA said in a report to investors today that Japan still accounts for 50 percent of social gaming revenues globally. But that share will ultimately fall to 15 percent as the global market matures and social gaming revenue in other countries rises. So in ordre to continue growing, DeNA needs to look abroad.

The bet is that the model that’s monetized successfully in Japan — one that is less dependent on real friends and real identities — will also work in foreign markets. DeNA said the average revenue per user on its Mobage platform is 18 times higher than Zynga’s (see below), supporting its hypothesis that networks based on shared interests or even virtual identities monetize better that ones based on real relationships.

DeNA calculated that Zynga’s ARPU is $0.66, while its Mobage ARPU is $12.06. (Based on Zynga’s IPO filing last month, we estimated the company’s average revenue per unique user per month was around $0.54. It looks like DeNA may have calculated its numbers based on “bookings.” That’s how much Zynga earns if you recognize revenue immediately from all purchases of virtual goods and currency, instead of dividing them out over the estimated lifetime of the purchased goods.)