Riding High on Growth for Mobile Gaming in Asia, Gamevil Opens up in Japan


By Kathleen De Vere Comment

South Korean mobile game publisher and developer Gamevil, which has seen its shares soar by 141 percent in the last 12 months, is looking to break into the Japanese market. The company has opened a new Tokyo branch that will handle localization and marketing and negotiate distribution deals for the Seoul-based company.

“The Japanese smartphone game market is growing rapidly and has one of the strongest gaming communities in Asia,” said Jonggu Na, head of Gamevil Japan. “By opening a direct presence in Japan and gaining new insights, GAMEVIL continues its commitment to becoming a top global mobile game company.”

The risk though is that Japan is a hugely saturated market with two giants GREE and DeNA plus scores of other gaming companies. To be fair, Gamevil is more likely to be a partner for both companies by publishing its titles on the competing mobile gaming platforms.

The new office caps off what has been a very good year for Gamevil compared to other publicly traded mobile gaming companies. In the most recent quarter, the company earned $7.1 million dollars (7.9 billion Korean won) in smartphone revenue, an increase of 497 percent year-over-year. Smartphone revenue was also up quarter-over-quarter for the company from $5.6 million dollars (6.3 billion Korean won) in the second quarter.

The company’s share price has reflected its growing revenues. Gamevil stock closed today at $62.39 per share (70,400 South Korean won). Gamevil’s shares have doubled in price in less than six months, outperforming companies like Glu Mobile, Gameloft and even Zynga, if you consider that the San Francisco-based company essentially cut its valuation in half since August by going out to public markets at a potential $7 billion market capitalization, down from a third-party valuation of $14.05 billion earlier this fall.

According to Gamevil, the Japanese mobile phone market has 117 million users, making it the world’s second largest games market.