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Experimental ventures like matchmaking and photo-sharing services failed to catch on. Kasahara stepped aside as chief executive, succeeded by a 30-year-old former Mc Kinsey consultant who had once trained as a jockey in Australia.Mixi’s stock dropped to 5 percent of its peak value. In the last year, the company has recouped all its stock market losses and then some as investors have poured back in.The company is profiting from a hit smartphone game that it started marketing in late 2013 in what looked like a desperate attempt to stave off collapse.The game, Monster Strike, has been downloaded more than 20 million times, mostly in Japan, and it is earning Mixi about million a day in revenue.The Monster Strike app made its debut on Apple’s app store in October 2013, and Mixi spent about million on television commercials and other promotions — an unusually aggressive marketing campaign for a smartphone game.“It was a relief when we saw the numbers” for downloads, Mr. Like many other mobile games, Monster Strike is free to acquire and play, but users can spend money on special characters and to extend their lives when they are wounded in battles or killed.
“It’s like a social network in that it never ends,” he said.
It was gaining users even after Facebook started a Japanese-language version, in 2008.
At one point, 27 million people, or one in five Japanese, had a Mixi account.
Morita said, “something you could play with friends if you were out drinking, for example.”The company solicited prototypes from outside developers.
The one it chose was from Yoshiki Okamoto, who had created the popular console-era franchise Street Fighter.