Japan's social game to television shift: CSI FarmVille?

New media is colliding with old media as part of a big marketing campaign. Japan's biggest networks are pushing their social games to new formats, including television and magazines.

Three of Japan's biggest names in mobile and social gaming are to raise their profile whilst finding new business prospects, by adapting their games to television, magazines and comics.

In October, television giant Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) started airing two new shows, 'Kaito Royale' and 'Watashi no Host Chan'; both adaptations of major mobile video games that boast more than 10 million users.

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Japanese social gaming giants, including Mobage, Gree, and CyberAgent, already have a number of gaming franchise operations that are ready to be adapted into other formats.

While Mobage's Kaito Royale has also been adapted into a weekly manga with magazines aimed at both male and female audiences, its major competitor Gree countered by running their own manga social networking game Dragon Collection in a widely distributed magazine.

CyberAgent's Watashi no Host Chan has moved towards cross-media promotion; favouring celebrity blog columns and full episodes uploaded to YouTube. With heavy advertising on television, highly circulated mangas and tie-in, shows these three companies have hit a remarkably genius marketing strategy.

Not only do they guarantee revenue from the existing users of the game, but also stand to gain a larger audience by bringing their products to traditional media.

Why not play the game of your new favourite TV show? It's a smart strategy; and if it's successful, might set a trend for other imitators to follow.

Social gaming is huge across Asia, and whilst Facebook-based games like FarmVille might have become cultural touchstones in the West, there's also a certain stigma associated with them. Certainly, you would never expect a major American network to commission CSI: FarmVille.

It helps that in Japan; everyone can be a gamer. There's no level of discrimination felt towards female gamers; something that comes up more and more readily in the Western blogosphere, and there's equally no discrimination towards older players. It's pretty common to see mothers playing on mobiles or Nintendo DS consoles on the Metro subway on their way home after a solid day at work.

Social gaming is a great way for users to have fun and keep in touch with people. The more that major companies realise these games can be the very thing to guarantee customer loyalty to their network, the more likely it is we'll see even more cross-media promotion.

Do you think this is the kind of trend we might see in the West?