Online mahjong game announces termination of service on the day of its official release

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-09-15 18:52 (JST)
Translated by. Ari Clark

On September 6, at the same time that game company 6699 officially started service for their mahjong game, Himejanki, they also gave notice that they will be terminating service for the game. The server will be suspended promptly on September 30. The only reason given for termination of service was that it was “due to various factors”. The extraordinary speed with which they’ve ended service for their game has caused quite a stir on Japanese Twitter and elsewhere.

Himejanki is a browser-based mahjong game being distributed by 6699 in Japan. It has online ranked battles, and comes equipped with a mode that allows you to battle your friends by inviting them. It doesn’t have any special mahjong rules, and you can only play four-player games with the traditional rules. The game also has quite a variety of female characters that serve as players’ avatars. These girls can be acquired through a gameplay mechanism known as gacha (aka randomized pulls).

The game commenced beta testing in July 2020. Later, on September 6, 2021, when the game went into official release, it was also announced on that same day that service for it would be terminated. What’s more, the in-game official release announcement and termination-of-service notice both landed at the exact same moment, at 12:00 am sharp on September 6.

When I tried playing the game for myself, I ran into all sorts of bugs, ranging from incorrect counting of my mahjong hands (“yaku”) and score, to displaying the wrong names for my yaku. Many other weird phenomena are also being reported by users on Twitter. As previously mentioned, the reasons for the game’s termination of service are unclear. However, it seems possible that the publisher grasped the fact that it simply doesn’t function as a mahjong game, and came to the decision to terminate service at an early stage.

The game also seems to have been made with conspicuous “inspiration” from a currently-available iOS/Android/browser-based mahjong game called Jantama, in pretty much every part of the game including its UI and backgrounds. This resemblance has also been pointed out by users online.

Himejanki is currently available to play in your browser, and the servers are scheduled to close on September 30. As an apology for terminating service, 100,000 gold coins and 5 million copper coins of in-game currency are being distributed to all players.