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Kantai Collection (Japanese: 艦隊これくしょん Kantai Korekushon) abbreviated as KanColle (艦これ KanKore) is a Japanese Free-to-play social online card game created by Kadokawa Games for DMM.com. It was launched on April 23, 2013. The game was widely accepted and became popular, creating a large fanbase.
Kantai Collection launched at April 23, 2013 by Kadokawa Games for DMM.com. Prior to the launch of Kantai Collection, DMM.com were R-18+ adult games site. Trying to attract wider audience, DMM.com starts a partnership with Kadokawa Games to create a niche game catering mostly to the military otaku population with a modest budget and minimal advertisement, its popularity experienced an extreme surge after the players spread the word on Twitter and/or Pixiv.
The game is extremely popular in Japan. With 1.5 Million users as of January 2014. The common theory why the game is popular is because the player is not forced to spend money to play like other Japanese Social Online Games; the free-to-play nature of Kantai Collection makes in-game purchases optional, and not a necessity.
On 12 December 2013, Twitter officially released the top hashtags of 2013; #艦これ was the most used hashtag among Japanese Twitter users. The game was also the eighth most searched term within Japan on Google in 2013. On 30 December 2013, GameSpark named Kantai Collection as the online game category title for its game of the year awards of 2013, ahead of runners-up League of Legends, World of Tanks and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Speaking at a symposium held by Kadokawa ASCII Research Institute on 27 September 2013, the chairman of the board of directors of Kadokawa Group Holdings, Yoshihiko Kadokawa, stated that despite the game’s popularity, Kantai Collection is nearly unprofitable for the company, in part due to the game being funded by various company partnerships. Kadokawa’s stock price rose by 1000 yen within June 2013, following the initial rise of the game. It is expected that Kadokawa will need to rely on sales of intellectual property media works such as books and manga in order to raise profits. Kadokawa Games president Yoshimi Yasuda affirms that the free-to-play business model of the game will not change despite reports of a lack of revenue gain.
The Anime adaptation is confirmed to air in 2014, the anime is produced by Diomedea.
Interest in Kantai Collection has significantly risen over the months following its release, to the point where it has often been compared with the fandom of Touhou Project as an emerging viral fandom. There has been a large increase in online activity and fan-created material relating to the game, such as fan-made artworks, doujinshi and other derivative content. As of September 2013, there are over 30,000 artworks on Pixiv tagged with “KanColle”, and by October 2013, KanColle-related videos on Niconico were watched 36 million times. During Comiket 85, there were 1,136 dōjin circles producing works for Kantai Collection, placing third behind Touhou Project (2,272 circles) and Kuroko’s Basketball (1,462 circles), and ahead of The Idolmaster and Vocaloid; this is a significant increase over the previous Comiket 84 event, which only had just over 100 circles with Kantai Collection works.