GREE, Marvel release first details on X-Men: Battle of the Atom [Interview]

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GREE and Marvel Entertainment have released the first details concerning X-Men: Battle of the Atom, an upcoming mobile card battle game on iOS and Android. The game has been developed as part of the X-Men 50th anniversary celebration, and it will be released alongside the Battle of the Atom comic book event later this fall.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom will feature both single and multiplayer card battles, as players collect a variety of mutants from X-Men’s past, present and future, and battle villains, including some that may never have been seen before.

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Japanese gaming giant GREE shutters UK operations

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Japanese mobile gaming giant GREE has shuttered its UK offices in an effort to consolidate the company’s Western operations to the offices that remain in the US.

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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…)

Social games friday news roundup: Zynga’s new card game, Square Enix’s new crime game and more

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Pangalore announces ZooVale — Social role-playing games developer Pangalore announced ZooVale, a cross-platform HTML5 title featuring animal characters rendered in cartoon-style 2D graphics. The game will allow players to build a village and breed animals to fight an evil witch. The game will be available on desktops and mobile devices via Pangalore’s portal.

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Lorne Abony Joins Glu Mobile – Mobile game developer and publisher Glu Mobile announced that Mood Media Corporation’s CEO and Chairman Lorne Abony has joined the company’s board of directors as its chairman of strategy committee. Glu also announced that Matthew Drapkin of Becker Drapkin Partners has stepped down as an Independent Director.

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Zynga releases War of the Fallen – The social gaming giant has released its latest card battler game War of the Fallen. It follows Zynga’s previous card game, Ayakashi: Ghost Guild, but is developed specifically with western markets in mind. One way in which the game aims to appeal to new players is by better explaining the underlying rules of the genre that are taken for granted in eastern markets, where card battle and collecting games are more popular. The game also encourages social interaction with Guild Force, a mechanic which boosts the player’s abilities when they connect and play with friends.

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TAITO, Square Enix releases Crime Connection — Square Enix subsidiary TAITO announced the release of Crime Connection, a crime-themed city management sim. The game, which will be released worldwide using GREE’s platform, is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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Gemini Rue hits iOS — The award winning indie adventure game developed by Wadjet Eye Games Gemini Rue is now available to download from the Apple App Store for a special price of $3.99 (normally $4.99). Developed by Joshua Nuernberger, Gemini Rue is set in a bleak future dominated by the corrupt Boryokudan crime syndicate. Alternating between ex-assassin Azriel Odin and hospital inmate Delta-Six, players must uncover the secrets both protagonists are guarding and uncover their unlikely bond.

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.

This story originally appeared on our sister site Inside Mobile Apps.

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.”

Read the rest of this story on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps.

GREE invests in mobile game developer MunkyFun

Mobile-social gaming powerhouse GREE recently announced on Dec. 6 that it invested $3 million in independent mobile game studio MunkyFun, a partnership, MunkyFun believes, that aligns with the direction both the companies plan to pursue.MunkyFun GREE investment logos

“MunkyFun is about making fun above all else and connecting people,” said Nick Pavis, CEO and co-founder of MunkyFun. “We see that connecting people through games is where things are going and this is where GREE has made a lot of success in Japan and foreign territories. We are very much in alignment with where things are going.”

MunkyFun, which was founded in 2008 by a group of former LucasArts developers that worked on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, had developed notable titles for MunkyFun so far including free-to-play iOS title My Horse under the guidance of developer NaturalMotion, who’s known for CSR Racing, and FPS Archetype for iOS.

“Back in 2008, we decided we wanted to do something a little bit more interesting than ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ repeatedly,” Pavis said.

Pavis told Inside Mobile Apps that although the indie developer consider multiple companies to partner with, GREE stood out to MunkyFun the most. The Tokyo-headquartered company is moving toward building more technologically advanced games, he added, which aligns with MunkyFun’s plans as well. GREE, who’ve been in talks with MunkyFun for quite some time, will also bring its expertise in user acquisition, marketing and monetization to MunkyFun.

“Another thing that GREE brings to the table for a small developer like ourselves is cash-flow,” Pavis said. “This investment is allowing us to expand in line with the industry. The industry is exploding and there’s just a wealth of opportunity. It’s moving quite fast. It’s good to get an injection of cash to help us expand at the rate that we need to in order to take full advantage of this growth in this industry at this time.”

MunkyFun also plans to expand its team out in which its actively looking for a 2D/UI artist, analytics/data jockeys and a senior game designer. The company is also moving its office to a former Ghirardelli Chocolate factory at Jackson Square in San Francisco.

The studio, which has 15 to 20 million total game downloads to date, plans to launch a couple of new games in early Q1 2013 on GREE’s platform.

MunkyFun has been independently and privately funded company up to this point until GREE’s recent investment.

The Inside Network Job Board: King.com, Relay, and GREE and more

The Inside Network Job Board is dedicated to providing you with the best social media job opportunities across social and mobile application platforms. Here are this week’s highlights from the Inside Network Job Board, including positions at: King.com, Relay, GREE and more.

Aarki Inc.

BrightRoll

Chartboost

GREE International

Green Dot Corp

King.com

RadiumOne

Relay Network, LLC

Triggit

 

DeNA and Square Enix to release Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade in US, Canada

Mobage network operator DeNA and renowned games developer and publisher Square Enix today announced that the companies will release the hit Japanese game Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade on iOS and Android in the U.S. and Canada. This will mark the first Final Fantasy free-to-play social game to be released in English.

Each player in the game pilots an airship and can form “airborne brigades” with friends to take down powerful bosses, gain experience and acquire skills, all in the signiture style of a Final Fantasy role-playing game.

As. Dr. Serkan Toto recently reported, Final Fantasy Brigade has hit the 3 million user mark in Japan since it launched on Mobage in January, no doubt contributing to DeNA’s record revenues for its Q2 2012.

It’s interesting to note that Square Enix also partnered with DeNA’s primary competitor GREE to publish The Worlds Ends With You and Final Fantasy X GREE in Japan.

DeNA and Square Enix didn’t announce a specific release date but said that the game was coming “soon.” Players who pre-register for the game will be alerted as soon as its released and will also receive a free three-month exclusive in-game card featuring Final Fantasy VII character Cloud.

The Inside Network Job Board: Green Dot, Aarki, BrightRoll and more

The Inside Network Job Board is dedicated to providing you with the best social media job opportunities across social and mobile application platforms. Here are this week’s highlights from the Inside Network Job Board, including positions at: Green Dot, Aarki, BrightRoll and more.

Aarki Inc.

BrightRoll

GREE International

Green Dot Corp

King.com

RadiumOne

Relay Network, LLC

Triggit

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