This is part of our Japan 2012 in Review series, which you can find in its entirety here.
Last week we took a retrospective look at Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA (TYO:2432), a company that surprised a lot of people in the past year, particularly with its hit title Rage of Bahamut. Today we’re diving in to examine DeNA’s long-time rival, GREE (TYO:3632), which also made a major push to markets outside Japan this year.
In contrast to DeNA, GREE’s attempt to grab foreign mobile games markets was a little more bombastic, with a marketing campaign that included billboards, airport advertising, and a prominent display at E3. Despite all this, GREE didn’t really have the standout hit game in 2012 that most of us might have expected given its substantial efforts. The company did make a lot of noise with two very high-profile acquisitions though, picking up Funzio back in May ($210 million) and later Pokelabo (for $174 million).
Even with less-than-stellar quarterly financials recently, the company was quite busy with some promising activity to close out the year. The company announced some partnerships in Latin America, and saw some early success with Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops at home in Japan. It also rolled out a new mobile chat application, which could help serve as a distribution channel for its games in the future. It’s recently released NFL Shuffle is a solid effort too, although I’m not aware of any marketing that the company has made to push this yet.
You can check out our overview of 2012 for GREE in the interactive timeline below. It’s not complete by any stretch, but I think it’s pretty extensive, so I thought I would share. Stay tuned for more mobile gaming drama from GREE and its rivals in the new year!