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At his most “crazy” he regularly played for two hours at a time — stretching the definition of so-called casual phone gaming.
On one level, Mixi’s turnaround illustrates how inexperienced challengers have dominated the relatively new business of mobile games, while established game developers from the home-console era have struggled to make a mark.
But eventually Mixi succumbed, as users turned to Facebook and other social networks like Twitter and Line, a popular messaging app.
Last year, it stopped publishing membership data after the number of people who logged on at least once a month fell to half of what it had been at the company’s peak.
“All I know about it is it’s the company that makes Mon-Suto,” he said, using the popular slang name for Monster Strike.
He has been playing it for about a year, he said, inhabiting heroic animated characters and battling dragonlike enemies, alone or with teams of friends.
In Japan, the most successful mobile game developer, Gung Ho Online Entertainment, was little known until it released its popular game Puzzle & Dragons.
Although there were precedents — two big Japanese mobile gaming platforms, Gree and De NA, had started in unrelated Internet businesses — Mixi “had fallen behind,” he said.
To differentiate itself, Mixi decided it wanted a game that people could play face to face, Mr.
But the Japanese technology company Mixi, once the dominant social network in its consummately Internet-connected home market, is rewriting the ending to its story, thanks to a striking act of self-reinvention.
Abandoned by most of its users and investors a year ago, Mixi has come storming back in a new field: mobile video gaming.