E3: GREE Demos Social Mobile Developer Platform with PopCap, Capcom

GREE is launching a development platform for mobile social games that gives 3rd party game studios access to GREE’s 230M mobile gamers. PopCap and Capcom are the first major publishers to join GREE’s platform, demoing new versions of Bejeweled and Resident Evil as mobile social games at the E3 Expo.

The GREE Platform

GREE wants to become the mobile social game platform of choice for game developers, similar to Xbox Live (for console games) or the Facebook Platform (for online social games). GREE is putting major resources into developing a mobile social game ecosystem, and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring US companies over the last 2 years – including OpenFeint (104M) and Funzio (210M). This puts GREE on a collision course with Facebook’s recently launched mobile games platform.

GREE’s development platform for iOS and Android offers game developers 1) social gaming features via an SDK and 2) gamer acquisition channels that let existing GREE gamers discover and participate in non-GREE produced games. GREE brings serious scale to the table, with over 52B mobile game page views served monthly and social gaming infrastructure built using OpenFeint’s acquired technologies. GREE’s developer platform is currently in beta, and game developers can sign up here.

PopCap

PopCap makes some of the worlds most popular casual games, including Bejeweled – a casual game legend with 500M+ downloads to date.

Bejeweled Legend

PopCap created a new, pirate themed version of Bejeweled for Japan – a market where GREE is the dominant mobile games company.

Bejeweled Legend includes social features that allow you to play Bejeweled with your friends to defeat enemies, and strong monetization via virtual goods. Virtual goods include gems that enhance game play including flame gems and hypercubes.

Capcom

Capcom is one of the most successful console game companies with hits including Resident Evil and Street Fighter.

Resident Evil VS. for GREE

Resident Evil VS. for GREE’s game genre is “social third person shooter.” The game allows you to play together with friends on your smart phones. The GREE Platform provides the social discovery features that should drive gamer acquisition and usage for Capcom. The game is still in development, but the game play at E3 was fun and their virtual goods concepts to enhance game play sounded promising.

Mobile Gamer Acquisition via GREE

Is the acquisition of mobile-social gamers the best reason to join GREE’s platform?

Gamer acquisition on mobile and social platforms gets harder every day. Apple is cracking down on mobile ad networks that offer Cost-Per-Install (CPI) pricing for iOS gamer acquisition. Facebook limits and throttles viral distribution channels on the Platform, forcing game developers to pay for Facebook Ads to reach gamers.

GREE has 230+ million users worldwide. GREE is now giving third party developers access to this highly monetizable user base as an incentive to join their developer platform. GREE makes great money from their gamers using a free-to-play plus virtual goods business model. Gaining access to these profitable mobile gamers is indeed a sweet offering to game studios looking to scale in a highly competitive mobile games market.

GREE brings the expertise, scale and technology of the leading global mobile social game network to its platform efforts. But to succeed, game developers will have to successfully integrate with GREE’s social features and create game experience that resonate with GREE’s user base. If you have never seen “social card games” like GREE’s hit game Driland, check them out to see the kind of game experiences and virtual goods that GREE’s users are paying for.

GREE’s platform for mobile social game developers has a shot at becoming a major force in industry… readers, what do you think of GREE’s chances?

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