GREE, KDDI Sue Rival DeNA For at Least $14M in Damages

The lengthy rivalry between Japanese mobile-social gaming giants GREE and DeNA is turning litigious.

GREE has partnered with mobile operator KDDI to file suit against DeNA, saying that the company engaged monopolistic practices. Specifically, the suit claims that DeNA would not provide links to social games in DeNA’s mobile gaming network Mobage, if they also appeared on competitors’ networks.

GREE says it sent DeNA a cease and desist order that asked the company’s board of directors to pass a resolution saying it wasn’t using these “illegal acts” and wouldn’t commit them in the future. DeNA did not file any appeal, so GREE says that the cease and desist order “became final and binding in August 2011.”

The lawsuit is asking for a minimum of 1.05 billion Japanese yen or $14 million in damages. GREE is asking for at least 900 million yen or $12 million of that settlement, while the remaining 105 million yen or $2 million will go to KDDI.

The rivalry between the two companies is fierce as the mobile gaming market in Japan has become saturated and mature there. Both companies are trying to expand to the West in launching global mobile-social gaming networks that duplicate their revenue models abroad.

DeNA acquired ngmoco:) last year for up to $403 million and the subsidiary recently launched an English-language version of the gaming network on Android. GREE similarly acquired a U.S. based mobile-social gaming network called OpenFent for $104 million this spring and will roll out a brand new global network next year. DeNA says the Japanese version of Mobage had 32 million users in its last quarterly earnings report while GREE said it had 27.7 million users there on both its network and OpenFeint.