GREE Tries to Drum Up More Interest For New Global Mobile-Social Gaming Network

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Months after Japanese mobile social gaming company GREE made a bid to enter the U.S. market by buying OpenFeint, the company is pivoting and plans to launch a new globally unified network in the second quarter of next year.

GREE issued a new release today, revealing a few more new details about the platform it will launch in Q2 2012. The as-yet-unnamed platform will be borderless across Asia and the West, and will work on both Android and iOS. Developers will get access to a global payment system, analytics tools and out-of-network cross-promotional opportunities.

It’s odd that GREE has done this twice already, in issuing press releases to stir up interest in a forthcoming gaming platform without releasing the actual product. Today’s statement was light on details, but it did reveal that the new social mobile network would include leaderboards and achievements, which is in line with a previous update from GREE that revealed that the new network would use assets from both GREE’s existing platform and the OpenFeint network, which GREE acquired back in April for $104 million.

Whatever form GREE’s new platform will take, it faces stiff competition from PapayaMobile, the Android and iOS mobile social network HeyZap, Facebook’s emerging HTML5 platform and the growing Ngmoco:)-run version of DeNA’s Mobage platform. Mobage, like PapayaMobile, will soon be cross platform on both Android and iOS. To add even more difficulties, GREE’s new network will lose the ability to have cross game currency when it debuts on iOS, due to Apple’s restrictions on payments and cross-promotion.

Competition aside, the biggest issue GREE could face when its new network finally launches could be adoption. It was only after major tweaks and a dramatically increased adverting budget that DeNA subsidiary Ngmoco:) was able to see any significant traction  for Mobage on Android. While GREE’s acquisition of OpenFeint brought them a network of 75 million iOS users, it will still be competing Apple’s built in Game Center system.

According to GREE, the company’s social mobile network currently has 150 million users and 7,500 games. Earlier this year GREE revised its earnings estimates, estimating it would see $1.71 billion in sales and $434.8 million in income this year.

No one from GREE was available for comment or questions at the time of writing.

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