Japanese Youngest Self-Made Billionaire Lost $400m Today

Think you had a bad day? Japan's youngest self-made billionaire, Gree honcho Yoshikazu Tanaka, just lost $US400 million.

This weekend, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Japanese government could regulate social games that have players pony up extra cash for the chance to win rare in-game items, because it could be illegal.

Previously, Kotaku reported how players were spending big bucks on in-game idol cards.

In Japanese, "kompu gacha" ("complete gacha") has players assemble a full set of cards in hopes of getting a rare prize. As website TechInAsia pointed out, this can cost players the equivalent of hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars.

Both Gree and DeNA use this style of reward for their social games, which has helped both companies to become two of the most profitable in Japan — and Tanaka a very rich man. Forbes dubbed him the "World's Second-Youngest Self-Made Billionaire" after Mark Zuckerberg.

The government could conclude that "kompu gacha" violates Japanese law — namely the "law on unjustifiable premiums" — and takes advantage of players' "gambling spirit".

There have been countless reports in newspapers of players spending enormous amounts of money on card-based social games. But as Japanese blogger Chiho Komoriya pointed out, this "complete gacha" has been used in online games for years. It's only since online social games became incredibly popular (and lucrative), that the Japanese government apparently started taking an interest.

With the news that the government could be moving forward to regulate social gaming, stocks for online social game companies Gree and DeNA nosedived. With Gree's stock in free-fall, Tanaka, who owns 49 per cent of the company, is out $US400 million. But what are a few hundred millions when you have billions?

Overview: Social Game Makers Lose US$3.8 Billion In Market Cap Today Due To Impending Regulation [Social Games] [SerkanToto] ‘Kompu Gacha' Sales a Violation of Law [TechInAsia] Gree Shares [Reuters]

Top photo: Koji Sasahara/AP/dapd


    And he was going to buy that ivory back scratcher...

    He didn't lose the money, it went somewhere. How bout "billionaire makes a bad investment" pffft shoddy journalism.

      Yes, because if I read a headline like "Billionaire lost $400m", I immediately think: "Oh, did it fall out of his pocket on the Subway or something?"

        bad investment? he owns the company, his company stocks fall, what investment??

    Next weeks news article will be:
    Man makes 800 million overnight without doing anything.

    "Billionaire has 400m in unrealised loses since last quarter"

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