“We are aiming for 500 million to a billion users, though we don’t have a timeframe, or particular countries,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, Gree’s founder and chief executive. “Facebook is said to have 700 million, and we are also aiming for that level,” he added.
The mobile social gaming market has grown rapidly in Japan, with the spread of sophisticated feature phones in the country. Gree and its rival company DeNA are both wrestling with each other, trying to export their highly profitable business models, based on in-game microtransactions.
Earlier this year Gree purchased the mobile social game platform operator OpenFeint, a U.S.-based social gaming platform, which claims to have 90 million users worldwide, for $104 million. Soon after Gree’s purchase, DeNA acquired San Francisco mobile game firm Ngmoco for $403 million. DeNA also set up a new office in South Korea, recently – a move that would help the company in expanding its reach overseas.
All this is a clear indication of the burgeoning mobile gaming market in Japan, and it would be interesting to see how things turn out for Gree in the coming months.