GREE closes Osaka office, looks to reduce workforce by 11 percent

Image via GREE

Image via GREE

GREE’s financial struggles are continuing this week, as the Japanese mobile game developer / publisher is looking to reduce its total workforce by 11 percent, or around 200 employees. The company will also close its Osaka office, according to GamesIndustry International.

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GREE expands casino franchise with Jackpot Bingo on Android

Image via GREE

Image via GREE

Casual and social game house GREE has today announced the launch of its newest mobile title, Jackpot Bingo, which is now available on Android devices. The game takes players to a virtual bingo hall, where they’ll be encouraged to play on multiple cards at once, collecting bonuses as they dob numbers on their cards.

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GREE sees increased revenue and user retention during live events on mobile

gree-infographic-650Image via GREE

GREE has released some interesting stats from its competitive war game Modern War. First released on Android and iOS in November 2011, Modern War has found continued financial success and popularity on mobile thanks to a variety of live, limited time events GREE has programmed into the game since launch.

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GREE, Marvel partner to bring X-Men: Battle of the Atom to mobile [Interview]

battle-of-the-atom-magneto-650Image via Marvel, GREE

GREE and Marvel Entertainment have announced a partnership resulting in a new card battle game, X-Men: Battle of the Atom, on iOS and Android. The upcoming mobile game is being developed to tie-in with the narrative in the Battle of the Atom comic book event, with both celebrating the 50-year anniversary of X-Men Comics.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom will see players recruiting teams of mutants throughout a time-twisting tale, giving users the chance to battle against classic enemies from the X-Men lore, as well as never-before-seen enemies from the future. As players collect cards and upgrade their characters, they can form alliances with friends and complete events that will be added to the game on a regular basis after launch.

We had a chance to chat with Chris Baker, Marvel’s Interactive Manager, to learn more about the game, and what makes it stand out from the other card battle games already available on mobile.

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GREE’s Q3 2013 sales declined quarter-over-quarter to $370.9M, profits down 24 percent to $105.7M

GREE logoMobile-social gaming giant GREE today reported 37.9 billion yen ($370.9 million) in revenue and 10.8 billion yen ($105.7 million) in operating profit for the third quarter of 2013, a quarter-over-quarter decline of both sales and profits. Sales fell 4 percent and profits 24 percent. Year-over-year, revenues are down 18 percent from 46.2 billion yen ($452.1 million) in Q3 2012 and operating profit dipped by 56 percent from 24.5 billion yen ($239.7 million).GREE Q3 2013 earnings

The Japanese company, which was established in 2004, also posted an “extraordinary” loss of 4.03 billion yen (39.4 million) on one-time write-off of assets related to some titles. The loss was part of GREE’s plans to shift growth strategy to “selection” and “concentration”, where it will streamline its portfolio of core titles. Card battle titles from Pokelabo, the Japanese game studio GREE acquired in October 2012, are performing well for GREE. Three of the top 25 grossing iOS apps in Japan include Guardian Battle of Glory at No. 7, Sword of Phantasia at No. 10 and Clan Battle of Fate at No. 25. GREE also plans to share its successful Android lessons with Pokelabo, while Pokelabo plans to do the same for GREE with iOS lessons. (more…)

GREE hit with another round of layoffs

GREE logoJapanese mobile-social gaming juggernaut GREE recently laid off around 30 employees from its San Francisco office, according to GameIndustry International.

“We have recently aligned GREE’s U.S. studio to focus on creating the next generation of mobile social games,” said Anil Dharni, chief operating officer of GREE, in an official statement. “This shift in focus has been clearly demonstrated by the success and growth of our games. As part of ensuring that we are operating as efficiently as possible, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our work force. The employees leaving today have made great contributions to our success and we wish them all the best.”

In December 2012, GREE restructured its company, letting go 25 people, mostly from GREE’s social networking platform OpenFeint team. GREE announced the closing of OpenFeint a month prior to the layoffs. GREE acquired OpenFeint in April 2011 for $104 million as part of the Japanese company’s efforts to expand into Western markets.

Stay tuned to Inside Mobile Apps for GREE’s Q3 2013 earnings tomorrow.

Capcom reports $644.3M in digital revenue, up 6.4% quarter-over-quarter

Capcom logoCapcom today reported net sales of 94.1 billion yen ($952.8 million) and 3 billion yen ($30.4 million) in net income for the 2013 fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2013. Compared to the Japanese gaming company’s yearly results in 2012, net income was down in 2013 by 55.8 percent and net sales were up 14.6 percent.

Notable mobile games included Minna to Monhan Card Master, which is distributed on DeNA’s mobile-social gaming network Mobage, continued to show growth, citing the increase in smartphone market penetration as the growth driver. Resident Evil: Outbreak Survive on Japanese mobile-social gaming giant GREE’s platform continuously acquired new users. Both titles “enjoyed membership” eclipsing two million each. Mobile game developer and publisher Beeline’s Smurf’s Village “has securely built stable sales over a long range.”

Capcom’s digital content business, which includes console, mobile and social games businesses, posted revenues of 63.6 billion yen ($644.3 million), a 6.4 percent uptick year-over-year, while operating income fell significantly year-over-year by 45.2 percent to 7.1 billion yen ($71.5 million).

Capcom estimates 97 billion yen ($982.1 million) in net sales and 12 billion yen ($121.5 million) in operating income for the next fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. The company plans to achieve its forecast by directing its development resources to the development of online games (mobile, PC online and downloads for consumer games), which is a growing area, and by launching major titles such as Monster Hunter 4 and Lost Planet 3 focused on the domestic and overseas markets respectively. (more…)

Inside mobile news roundup: Indies, Rovio partners with DreamWorks, Chilingo partners with Samsung

slefpubd

Selfpubd launches indie game promotion site Thumb Arcade — The Portland, OR-based company focused on helping independent developers promote and monetize their games launched a new website, Thumb Arcade. Users can use the site to discover and download new games. The site is optimized for mobile phones and supports iOS and Android games with support for Windows coming soon.

chillingo

Chilingo and Samsung partner to launch “100% Indie” — Mobile game publisher and division of Electronic Arts Chilingo has partnered with Samsung to launch “100% Indie.” Developers can submit their games to www.100PercentIndie.com to be considered for Samsung’s mobile app marketplace. Developers who are accepted into the program in the first six months will receive 100 percent revenue for their titles and are guaranteed higher revenue share through March 2015.

gameloft

Gameloft, GREE release Dragon Summoner — Mobile game developers GREE and Gameloft announced the launch of a new card battle game they created together. The game can be downloaded for free on the iTunes App Store here and on Google Play here.

Glu-Mobile-logo1

Glu launches Small City — Mobile game developer Glu launched Small City for iOS, a city management sim and the sequel to Small Street. In the game players will be able to customize their street, play with friends, help their citizens and collect trophies. You can find the game here.

rovio_logo

Rovio, DreamWorks partner for The Croods — Based on the upcoming animated feature by the same name, The Croods will release on iOS and Android on March 14 and will include an exclusive short animated clip. Rovio has dabbled in movie tie-ins before with projects like Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Rio, but this will mark the developer’s first game to be based on a movie with no connection to its hugely popular Angry Birds brand.

red hot labs

Red Hot Labs raises $1.5 million in seed funding — Mobile developer Red Hot Labs which was founded by former FarmVille creators Amitt Mahajan and Joel Poloney announced it has secures $1.5 million in seed funding for the development of mobile games and platform technology. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, General Catalyst, Japan’s IT-Farm and private individuals.

microsoft-logo

Bing Fund invests in Sonar – Location-based social mobile app Sonar announced Microsoft’s Bing Fund has made a strategic investment in the company. The amount of the investment was not disclosed at this time. you can find our review of Sonar for Android here.

Puzzle & Dragons estimated to generate between $54M to $75M a month in Japan, says Japanese press

Japan’s top grossing free-to-play mobile game Puzzle & Dragons for iOS and Android is estimated to generate between five billion yen ($54 million) to seven billion yen ($75.5 million) a month in the country, according to the Japanese press as translated by industry watcher and analyst Dr. Serkan Toto.Puzzle & Dragons app icon

The estimated revenue range is based off a financial document for January 2013 that accompanied game company GungHo Online’s financial report for the 2012 fiscal year. According to the report for the fiscal year of 2012, the company saw sales grow 168.8 percent year-over-year to $280 million and operating profit increase 690.1 percent to $99 million.

In January 2013 alone, the company revealed that it saw sales of 8.5 billion yen ($92 million), a 1002.4 percent increase year-over-year. GungHo didn’t provide a platform or a specific game in its portfolio for the figures it saw last month, but that didn’t stop the Japanese press from publishing estimates about the amount of revenue Puzzle & Dragons contributed toward the $92 million GungHo saw in January 2013.

“There is absolutely no doubt in the industry over here that one game only — Puzzle & Dragons — is the main driver behind this growth,” Toto says on his blog.

The three Japanese outlets to publish estimates included Inside Games’ estimate of seven billion yen ($75.5 million), Projetista’s estimate of six billion yen ($64.6 million) and Popular Social App and Game Analysis Blog’s estimate of five billion yen ($54 million. The three estimates average out to $64.7 million, translating to about an average of $2 million in revenue per day from Puzzle & Dragons. In comparison, Finish developer Supercell was reported to be generating $1 million in gross revenue a day from two games — Hay Day and Clash of Clans. Also, Electronic Arts’ The Simpsons: Tapped Out pulled in $23 million in three months.

The puzzle and RPG hybridPuzzle & Dragons, which added moved from seven million to eight million registered users in 12 days, is a puzzle and RPG hybrid game which first launched in Japan for iPhone in February 2012 and in the U.S. in November 2012. In spite of this popularity in Japan, the game still has yet to find a sizable audience here in the States, though it’s already starting to see similar titles appear in North America like Renren’s new puzzle game Merlin’s Rage.

GungHo, known for hosting the servers for massively multiplayer online role-playing game Ragnarok Online, currently has a market cap of $2.9 billion, more than Zynga’s $2.5 billion and GREE’s $2.8 billion, but well below DeNA’s $3.6 billion market cap.

GREE lifts the lid off $10M investment fund for mobile game developers

GREE today lifted the lid off the GREE Partners Fund, a new program where the mobile-social gaming powerhouse will be making significant equity investments in talented, independent mobile game developers in the free-to-play space.GREE logo

“From our perspective, we view [the GREE Partners Fund] as if this is going to be a long-term relationship, then we can open the kimono and share everything that we’ve learned,” says jim Ying, GREE’s new VP of developer relations and publishing.

Last year, the Tokyo-headquartered company acquired developer Funzio, who’s now developing first-party games for GREE, and invested an undisclosed amount of money in Vancouver, Canada-based IUGO Mobile and $3 million in independent mobile game studio MunkyFun. All the acquisitions and investments are part of GREE’s strategy of making significant investments in developers.

“We unofficially announced the [GREE Partners Fund] a month back with MunkyFun, Ying tells Inside Mobile Apps. “It’s the same model. We’re including it as the first recipient of the fund.”

Ying will run the program, and GREE will invest $1 million or more into developers. Similar to the IUGO Mobile and MunkyFun deals, GREE will be investing money into developers for equity. GREE’s not only brining money to the table, it will also share its knowledge and know-how in areas such as monetization and retention as well as support partners through marketing efforts, post-launch operations, growth initiatives and more. Partners will also have access to GREE’s business analytics team, so partners can drill down into their game metrics.

GREE is focusing more on partnering with a developer based on a team’s talent pool and track record over anything else like a specific game a developer made, Ying adds. GREE aren’t just looking for any old developer, though. GREE is only looking to partner with developers who have the potential to make games that can be a top 25 grossing title, Ying says. The developer also had to have released a free-to-play mobile game that has had some success, and have experience in post-launch operations such as events or content.

Since this partnership model is hands-on, GREE will be initially looking for local developers from North and South America. Developers who are interested in the GREE Partner Fund can find information or apply here.

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