Japan’s virtual community Ameba Pigg is what Second Life could have been



Ameba Pigg is a virtual community operated by Japanese tech giant CyberAgent, perhaps most famous for its Ameba Blog platform. The virtual community was launched back in Feburary of 2009, and has over 15 million registered users to date. After creating an avatar on Ameba Pigg, users can play around in the virtual community and chat with friends.

This community is especially popular among the younger generation, especially women. According to a study over on Game Business about a year ago, the breakdown of monthly active users was about 35% men and 65% women. Ameba Pigg’s users are so enthusiastic that recently a middle school girl was arrested for stealing virtual currency from friends’ accounts. These currencies are used to purchase items for user’s avatars, which is a major source of income for the company.

Ameba Pigg has successfully pulled off what Second Life attempted to do. As a platform with over 15 million users, brands now seek to promote their business on the service, even politicians sometimes as well. Back in May, Japanese convenience store Lawson, launched an O2O advertisement campaign on the social game Pigg World. Lawson opened an official account on the site and delivered coupons that could be used at its stores, of which there are over 10,000 in Japan. The first coupon was a 30 yen discount from Lawson’s signiture sweets, Premium Rollcake.

CyberAgent also launched a special website on Ameba for the upper house election which will take place on July 21. Already 120 candidates in the election have opened blogs on Ameba, and over on Ameba Pigg, candidates have created their own avatars, and election patrolled around the virtual city of Shibuya to raise awareness of the election. On July 4th, candidates from different parties even gave speeches in the virtual city of Shibuya.

Ameba Pigg lauched its English version back in March of 2010 as Ameba Pico, and was largely accepted by users in Asian countries. The virtual community gained over three million users in six months, but the service closed down in December of last year.

CyberAgent is now aggressive in moving to mobile. The company now operates over 100 mobile apps in total, and many consumers are aware of it because of its TV commercials running in heavy rotation. It will be interesting to see whether the company will be as successful on mobile as much as they have been on PCs, and whether or not it can build the next Ameba Blog or Pigg in the age of mobile.

For more information on how Ameba Pigg works, check out one user’s video below.