Japanese ticket and entertainment publishing powerhouse Pia has made its first tentative foray into mobile gaming in a tie-up with DoCoMo. Pet simulation game AquaZone swam onto i-mode screens a few days ago through Pia’s partnership with Frontier Group and its subsidiary Pia Digital Communications [press release in Japanese]. The PC version of AquaZone’s virtual Aquarium is already a hit with fish fanciers here and even on the small screen DoCoMo’s Foma 3G graphics keep the colors bright and clear. Subscriptions cost 315 yen per month (US$2.87).
Pia hopes to create synergy between their already popular ticket-sales service over the mobile web and a mobile game portal. AquaZone is admittedly a modest beginning to the plan though it has already been joined by another game, this on focused on Japanese-style chess, Shogi. These offerings will be followed shortly by a mobile golf game as well. Although not confirmed by Pia, Nikkei Business Daily estimates Pia plans to set up as many as ten different content sites over the coming months.
Way back in 1984 Pia became the first Japanese company to set up an online sales network over the Internet and it is currently Japan?fs largest ticket sales outlet. Although Pia publishes a list of popular entertainment magazines, ticket sales remain its cash cow.