GREE bringing $26M-a-month-earning card battle game Driland to North America

By Kathleen De Vere Comment

GREE has announced mega-hit Japanese card battle game Driland is coming to North America this summer. The game makes its debut at E3 next week.

Like many of the most popular and profitable mobile social games in Japan, Driland is a free-to-play role playing title that challenges players to battle monsters with a collection of virtual cards. Players can also trade cards and pit their collections against one another in battle to win rewards and prizes. Although card battle games are generally popular in Japan, Driland can only be described as phenomenally popular. In December, GREE revealed the game was earning more than 2 billion yen per month ($26 million) in revenue from in-app purchases. While that figure was likely increased by the now-banned kompu gacha sales tactic (which greatly incentivized users to purchase randomized packs of additional cards), the app is still the No. 3 top grossing iPhone app in Japan today. The game is also being adapted into an animated TV series by Toei Animation and a serialized comic in Shueisha’s Jump Square magazine.

Driland has also been popular enough in Japan to generate piracy problems. In April, GREE had to suspend the in-game card trading system in the game to prevent players from illegally copying rare cards and reselling them for significant sums of real money. While it may seem minor, the problem was significant enough for GREE to detail the steps it was taking to address the problem during its third quarter earnings report.

Problems aside, the move is a logical one for GREE, as the card-battle genre appears to be off to a strong start in North America. GREE’s in-house developed card-battle game Zombie Jombie has been doing well on the top grossing iOS charts and is currently the No. 20 top grossing app according to AppData. Meanwhile, GREE’s rival DeNA has racked up considerable success with its card-battle game Rage of Bahamut. The game has topped the Android top grossing charts for more than a month now. The title has also been a hit on iOS climbing to No. 26 on the top grossing chart in less than two weeks after its release.

GREE also revealed five other news games will be on display at its E3 booth: the first-party title Wacky Motors, Crowdstar’s Closet Wars, Vostu’s Shaking Vegas, Capcom’s tentatively titled Resident Evil VS and the previously announced Gameloft card battle game Gang Domination.