For starters, the text and voice translations aren’t always great. But worse, there’s no guarantee that the global versions of these games will be supported long-term. Let’s take Crunchyroll as an example. Crunchyroll is one of the most renowned anime streaming services around the globe. They also have a Japanese mobile game publishing division known as Crunchyroll Games.

On the Crunchyroll Games website, you can scroll down the list to see some of the games they’ve localized. If those games can’t sustain a long-term player base, they will inevitably get shut down — or, in this case, “vaulted.” You see that titles like Naruto x Boruto Ninja Tribes, Mass for the Dead, Attack on Titan Tactics, Danmachi: Memoria Freese, and Grand Summoners are marked as vaulted. Most Japanese versions of the vaulted games are still alive and well. Thankfully, if the localization shuts down, that doesn’t impact the Japanese version.

One year later, in August 2020, it was announced that the game would cease all operations. Aniplex of America issued no prior warning that the game would shut down, and the news blindsided players. Many — including myself — spent money to acquire characters and in-game items. Because the game only lasted a year and the end of service was so abrupt, I felt I deserved my money back. However, Aniplex of America refused all refund requests.

I’ve been using the APK method to play Japanese mobile games since 2015, and it’s the reason I choose Android today. Seeing how powerful Apple’s chips have become, I’ve definitely considered switching to Apple over the years. However, because most of the apps I use are Japanese mobile games, I’ve always found Android to be the most practical choice.


However, that’s not how they were meant to be, and there’s something comforting in that. Japanese mobile games — or “mobages” — are so prominent in Japan that it’s become a part of their culture. People all over the country play mobile games, and ads for games like Fate/Grand Order, Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, and Monster Strike are everywhere.

As an avid player, I’ve learned to appreciate and respect the Japanese mobile gaming industry. I was willing to jump through any hoop to download that first Japanese mobile game, Fate/Grand Order, because I wanted to play the game the way it was meant to be played. If I had to go back, I’d do it all again.

This content was originally published here.