Following the unveiling of Gree's first US made game yesterday, we catch up with Naoki Aoyagi, the CEO of the gaming network's International operation
In the West, Gree is perhaps perceived as a social network with a focus on Japan. How is the company globalising its effort, and how do games fit into that process of attracting new users globally?
Gree has been really successful in Japan and we have been looking to bring that expertise into different markets around the world, specifically the US. In April 2011 we acquired OpenFeint – the biggest social mobile games platform in the world. They have a huge network of users and games and are experts in building cool social features into games. From there, we focused on expanding our expertise to include the worldwide market and offering gamers access to friends and games from around the world.
In order to build globally and have a deeper understanding of local markets, we are opening new game development studios and offices around the world and focused on extensive hiring.
Why should game developers from outside of Japan pay attention to Gree? What are the opportunities it offers?
Our goal is to offer a truly global mobile social gaming ecosystem and do as much as we can to cater to the needs of each territory through our platform and games. The new Gree Platform will give these developers an opportunity to tap into an extensive network of high-engagement users worldwide, while leveraging Gree's free-to-play expertise.
How does Gree support developers making games for the Gree platform?
Developers will be able to leverage Gree extensive social, free-to-play expertise and network of high-engagement users to deliver the best social mobile gaming experience to players around the world. Creating this ecosystem will allow developers to focus on creating high-quality content and then have a way to tap into strong promotional channels. In terms of development, Gree Platform will offer developers a suite of API’s they can customise to our developers will also have the choice to develop on one common API so they can give users the most regionalised experience, whether they are in the world.
Why does Gree emphasise creating and supporting unique free-to-play game content?
We have become leaders and experts in the free-to-play business model and really see that as the future in gaming. Free-to-play is not limited by platform, genre or audience and really allows everyone to successfully create any kind of game they want to. The only limit is their own imagination.
How has the Open Feint acquisition bolstered Gree's position as a global gaming platform?
OpenFeint’s industry presence and extensive developer network, combined with Gree's highly profitable business strategy, made the acquisition necessary as a first step into the US market. OpenFeint’s expertise is big part of the foundation we are building on as we create a fully borderless system and bring developers and players together. Gree is now focused on creating content that is fun and entertaining for all markets, in preparation for the launch of Gree Platform, in Q2 of 2012.
With so many social networks competing for games developer’s attention, why is Gree important?
Developers will be able to tap into GREE’s robust network of users all over the world, and leverage its experience in building one of the first successful social networks that has been solely dedicated to social gaming.
How does GREE as a platform help push and evolve the concept of new forms of social gaming?
We are building a full and robust set of social tools that we can’t talk about right now, but the platform will be constantly evolving to meet the needs of developers and players. We are confident that the platform will provide fun social features so gamers can play with friends and interact on a social level, regardless of where they are located.
What will the Gree Platform social games platform offer, and what does it mean for games developers?
While we can’t discuss details quite yet, our new mobile social games platform will really help to make mobile games a social experience and help developers build interesting and engaging social features for gamers around the world. By creating a flexible cross-platform API suite, we are able to put the control in the hands of the developer and let them work their magic.
We are aiming to provide a truly global social gaming experience with more robust features for developers top tap into, leveraging OpenFeint and Gree assets to bring together Western and Asian mobile social markets. Our goal is to give developers the tools to make magic, to go as far as wide as their imagination will let them go, and to offer players the best social gaming experience.