Casual game maker Gree announced in April of this year that it would enforce a new policy that restricted how much 16 – 17-year-old consumers could spend on in-app purchases. The self-regulating policy came in response to government worries that Japan's youth in that age range were spending ridiculous amounts of money on in-game purchases. Gree put a spending cap on people ages 16 – 19 at around $125 per month on virtual items and a cap of around $60 on those younger than 16 years of age.
Now the company is concerned that those changes may have cost them virtual item sales. Virtual sales from Gree's games and network fell for the first time in its latest quarter, but the company also blamed a lack of major new titles. Those sales fell in part because the Japanese government banned virtual goods sales via the "complete gacha" technique, which it compared to gambling. Players purchased random virtual goods to receive prizes when they collected a full set of items.
"It's difficult to say how much of an impact the complete gacha problem had on our earnings," Gree CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka said. "What we do think is that this has slowed down our game development."
During the April-to-June quarter Gree's revenues came in at $507.6 million, with profits of $155.7 million. While the company raked in twice as much money as the same period last year, it was ten percent less than the third quarter and below market expectations.