As Zynga continues to toil over out how to successfully expand into mobile, Japan’s billion euro mobile gaming behemoths and bitter rivals GREE, and DeNA each continue in their quest to dominate the global mobile social games market. Over the past couple years, both companies have made significant advances toward this goal by executing various high-profile strategic acquisitions and partnerships in the US (some examples here and here and here) as well as in several Asian markets (see here, here and here). In recent months, they’ve begun to turn their sights on Europe.
While DeNA look to leverage their acquisition of Ngmoco to extend their mobile social gaming platform across Europe, GREE have recently launched a new studio in London and have been very active in establishing strategic partnerships with various players in European game ecosystem. Interestingly, over the last six months, three of the partnerships GREE have announced have been with French companies. First came the announcement of their partnerships with French gaming leaders Gameloft, with whom they partnered to launch a new social card game called Gang Domination, and Ubisoft, with whom they will be launching a mobile version of the hit game Assassin’s Creed. Now comes the announcement of an advertising partnership with French mobile affiliate network MobPartner who’s advertising network reaches 100 million users (of which 30% are in Europe) and a network of 100,000 publishers around the world (they currently operate in 200 countries).
The first goal of the partnership is to make GREE’s new mobile social gaming platform, launched in May of this year, more attractive to game developers and publishers by collaborating with MobParter to offer them a new suite of promotion tools and services, industry-leading app discovery, and user acquisition technologies. Next, rapidly bringing more active users to their new platform will obviously be imperative for GREE and they hope to leverage MobPartner’s extensive game marketing/advertising expertise, proprietary technologies, and global reach to achieve this goal. Obviously, this type of partnership is a ‘must-have’ for GREE in order for them to bring a high-engagement gamers, talented developers, and leading publishers to their platform as illustrated this graphic explaining the app discovery / user acquisition flow:
Although in the western world, Zynga and Rovio would probably first spring to mind when thinking about social-gaming, the increasing presence and determination of both GREE and DeNA could very well change this. Even if they have a few hiccups along the way, Japanese gaming companies have an impressive ability to reinvent themselves as needed as we explored here. What does this all mean for France? Well, as we’ve discussed previously, France is a leader in terms of volume of social games produced and distributed, however doesn’t have the visibility that it should. As game entrepreneurs and established studios increasingly move towards a cross-device / cross-platform strategy, I would think that the numerous French studios developing social games will welcome the exciting new opportunity that these new platforms could offer.