Sonic Dash to play important role in LINE’s expansion plans

Line’s Jun Masuda announces the upcoming addition of Sonic Dash

Last week we had a chance to attend Line Corporation’s Hello Friends in Tokyo event, where the company announced it would be adding video calls, music, and e-commerce to its repertoire of services. But also announced on the day were a wide range of new games, including perhaps the most recognizable franchise to come to the Line platform, Sonic Dash. It is expected to be released this fall for iOS and Android.

Sega’s Sonic Dash is already a fairly established title (see its previous gameplay trailer below), having broken into the top five iOS games rankings in 15 countries since its initial launch back in March. When it launches in the fall, it will likely be Line’s highest profile game thus far. At the Line event, the company’s chief strategy and marketing officer, Jun Masuda, noted:

Sonic is a famous character in Japan and abroad, and in order for us to move into the global market, I consider this title to be very important.

In the subsequent Q&A session, Line CEO Akira Morikawa said that activity in its North American expansion can probably be expected around the end of this year. With a strong line-up of games, led by familiar titles like Sonic, Line’s mobile content portal looks well positioned to win over that market. The company is in talks with game developers around the world in an effort to create what it says is a symbiotic relationship, offering games wider distribution on a global scale.

Line is a newcomer as a game publisher, and it has only been in the game business for 12 months or so. But already it has seen considerable success as a sort of gateway to native app games. It was disclosed at the event that Line Games earned 2.6 billion yen (or over $23 million) in monthly revenue for July 2013.

Other games announced that last week’s event include the Rainbow Chaser (which will feature Line’s own characters), Puzzle Bozzle (from Taito), MapleStory Village (NHN), Let’s Golf (Gameloft), Shake Spears (from Russia’s Alawar Entertainment), and more.

For more information on the growth of Line and its vast repertoire of apps, please check out our interactive Line Timeline which chronicles its growth from its launch back in 2011.