Voltage Inc. is a Japanese gaming company and an international leader for interactive story-based romance apps for mobile devices. Founded in 1999, Voltage released their first English-language game in 2011 and since then, released 26 apps in English along with 10 original US titles. Voltage currently has over 60 apps available for download through the App Store and Google Play. Along with the quantity of content, Voltage also maintains high rankings with 6 titles in the top 20 grossing apps in the US and 11 in Singapore. Excluding games, it became one of the top five monthly revenue-earning publishers on Google Play in March 2015. Voltage is also ranked in the 11th Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Japan for the 8th consecutive year, more times than any other company.
We had a chance to talk to CEO Yuzi Tsutani and COO Nanako Tsutani, both founders of Voltage Inc.
Q: What was your inspiration for creating Voltage? Yuzi: I studied filmmaking at UCLA when I was young around 20 years ago. I wanted to make films, but in Japan, the situation was very tough so I switched to the mobile industry. It just happened. Most of the mobile companies made battle games or card-type games but our company focused on story-oriented games.
Q: Do you have plans of adapting your games based on anime? Or perhaps a series in manga or novel format? Nanako: We are making original stories, but now, we are trying some IP [intellectual property] ones with our current titles. Y: I wanted to focus on original stories, but the company got big, so we started to try and make IP stories. N: One is Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers), a prized manga in Japan. There’s only a Japanese version for now. Another is Gossip Girl, a drama. Y: We talked to the Warner Bros. company and we’re able to create Gossip Girl.
Q: Will you be releasing albums based on the soundtracks from your games? If so, will they be available worldwide? A: We brought soundtracks in Japan. We sold a couple of titles, but in the US, we are not planning to yet.
Q: Voltage made songs for Wave and Jade in Celebrity Darling. Will you be making any songs for Revance in Scandal in the Spotlight? N: In the near future, we will try. I think it’s a good idea.
Q:Voltage is focused on smartphone games. Do you plan on expanding to PC or console gaming? Y: No. N: Because the mobile industry is hot!
Q: When starting Voltage, did you think your games would become this popular in Japan and internationally? Y: No, we did not. It just happened. N: We just tried it. It was so shocking, nobody did. Y: Actually, in the beginning, I tried to make science-fiction battle stories for male users. But it didn’t make a big success, so we made girls’ games and that was a big success. So we shifted and focused on that.
Q: You have such a huge fanbase in the West. Do you have any messages for your western fans? N: We are so appreciative that many in the US are liking and playing our games. Especially for the US, we tried a new type of game. The series is AmeMix―brand new and will launch in two weeks. This is a hybrid with Japanese anime, story, and visuals. It’s based on Greek mythology and is set in New York City. Y: I am a big fan of manga and Japanese anime, and I am a big fan of Hollywood films. I learned a lot of things from Hollywood filmmaking and also Japanese anime. And our content is a mixture of two cultures. So I am very glad that Japanese users and also American users are interested in playing our hybrid games of the two cultures.