EA Games has entered into a co-development agreement with Japanese game developer Cave to make games for Japanese mobile social gaming market. Cave has been known in the western world for its Mushihimesama Bug Panic, a bullet hell iOS shooting game.
As part of the agreement Cave will be porting EA brands into mobile social games for the GREE mobile platform in Japan. The companies have not disclosed the EA brands that will be converted to mobile social games and have also not specified the release date for these games.
Cave launched its first mobile Shirotsuku on GREE and DeNA’s Mobage platform back in Feb, 2010 and has since gained 2.6 million users. Cave wants to have 10 million users playing its mobile social games and considers the agreement with EA to be a big step towards achieving that goal.
Asian social gaming market is turning out to be a gold mine for game developers. According to a recent research report by In-Stat, Asia-Pacific region is responsible for 70% of all virtual goods revenues in 2010. This has enabled DeNA, a Japanese mobile social gaming giant, to report $1.3 billion in annual revenues in 2010. DeNA’s core business revolves around Mobage social gaming platform, which has over 300 game developers, more than 750 games, with over 20 million Mobage-town registered gamers.
EA’s move into Japan is an effort to capture some of this lucrative market. However, if EA really wants to compete with the likes of DeNA, it should start thinking seriously about having a mobile social gaming platform of its own. It is hard to compete with a platform company by building apps for that platform.
It would certainly be hard for EA to think about finally make this transformation, as it would then be a platform provider for other game developers and competitor to those game developers at the same time. But then, that’s where the really big money is.
EA Cave Agreement (Japanese + pdf)