Zynga and Softbank have been secretly meeting in an effort to figure out how to tackle the Japenese market with high-quality, mass-appeal games. In June, news broke out that Zynga had ‘raised’ $150 million from Softbank Capital but we had no way of knowing how true that was. Zynga’s expansion into the Asian market, accelerated by acquisition of Chinese game developer XPD Media, is now solidified as the $150 million is confirmed. Zynga and Softbank will work in a joint venture to develop and distribute games across Japan.
Millions of users will have the ability to playing these games ‘anytime and anywhere’, according to the release. Softbank will bring to the table its competencies in cutting edge mobile and web technology that should give Zynga the wide global audience reach it needs to maintain its unquestionable lead. Zynga has now raised to date $366 million and expanded in countries like India to broaden its social gaming presence. We also found out that Google might have secretly invested $200 million in Zynga as part of its effort to develop a gaming service, but that has yet to be confirmed.
“Zynga is a leader in social games and I am delighted to partner with them to introduce their social games to Japan,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of Softbank. “We share the same vision as Zynga in social games and look forward to working together to create a social game powerhouse.”
Softbank has been quite active in social gaming, having made investments in companies like Oak Pacific Interactive (China’s largest SNS operator), Ustream.tv, Alibaba and others, to extend its arm in the e-commerce, social networking and online games industry. The tech giant also recently invested $10 million in RockYou as part of its joint venture with the social gaming giant called RockYou Asia that plans to gain market share in the Japanese, Korean and Chinese markets.
“We’re excited to partner with Softbank to bring Zynga’s social games to Japan and gain insights from the Japanese market,” said Mark Pincus, CEO and Founder of Zynga. “As one of the most innovative technology companies in the world, Softbank is bringing the mobile internet to consumers making the social web more accessible to people everywhere.”