GREE: We’re not threatened by Game Center or Google+

As Japanese social-mobile gaming giant GREE draws closer to the debut of its global platform, the company is finally beginning to share details about its plans.

Up until now, GREE had been releasing information at a snail’s pace compared to rival DeNA, which has been much more vocal in its efforts to bring the Mobage platform to North America.

The GREE platform, as it will be called, will drop OpenFeint branding and feature games from well-known international developers like Gameloft, Ubisoft, Haypi, Hoolai and Punchbox. Several, as-yet-unannounced North American developers now have code in hand and are currently working with the platform in anticipation of its Q2 launch.

Last week, Inside Mobile Apps was able to sit down with Eros Resmini, GREE’s senior vice president of marketing and developer relations. He told us GREE is betting that its combination of indie-friendly developer relations and a global platform with wide variety of both localized and locally produced games will be the secret to replicating its Japanese success abroad. Although more companies are moving into the social-mobile market, GREE isn’t worried. The company sees itself as a complementary service to Game Center and Google+, and is confident it can leverage its experience to give GREE players the best mobile experiences available.

Inside Mobile Apps: GREE has said a few times its goal is to get 1 billion people on its platform. Why is it important to have a large, global network?

Eros Resmini, SVP marketing and developer relations (pictured right): There’s two reasons. First of all, I think gaming is global and players are global in nature. A global experience is more interesting for players. From a developer’s perspective I don’t think they want to interact with multiple networks and multiple SDKs in order to reach certain regions. A global platform provides developers an awesome one-stop-shop solution. From both the player and developer standpoint, it makes a lot of sense.

IMA: GREE has been staffing up significantly. Why has GREE been concentrating so hard on establishing a Western presence?

Resmini: First is really related to building our own content. We have a first-party games studio and we recognize that some of the content we’ve built in Japan will not easily translate to Western markets. We’re better off building content locally, for local audiences. We’ve got a San Francisco studio, so we’re focused on building content here, but we’re also setting up studios in Latin America, China and Europe with the same thought in mind — let’s bring content to local areas, built by local developers who understand local tastes. We want also want to reach third party developers for the same reason. We think having a presence in the local market will allow us to reach local talent.

IMA: One of the things GREE announced earlier was localization support to help bring games from China, Korea and Japan into the North American market. Why is it important for GREE to make games on its platform global?

Resmini: To be clear, we’re building local studios in each of our regions, but we’re also looking at content that we think applies to other regions. Those are the games we’re looking at bringing over. We talk internally a lot about the notion of localizing — simply changing the words from Japanese to English — and how it compares to “culturalization,” which is trying to take advantage of art-style preferences, menu style preferences and game mechanics. We have that range, and depending on the title itself, you might just need to change words or you might have to culturalize the game. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on the title itself. Some won’t apply at all. The thing is that players want content and they want variety. I think its in our best interest and the players best interest to try and bring content over that we think will work. Some of it will be successful and some of it won’t.