Starting with its exhibit at last September's Tokyo Game Show, GREE has frequently appeared in game events over the last year, including E3, gamescom, and ChinaJoy, as well as last week's Tokyo Game Show. We spoke to Mr. Asai, GREE's head of Global Marketing Management Office, about their activities over the last year.

(Retouch)GREE_Asai

What was the idea by actively appearing at game shows this past year?

As we continue to expand globally, we believe we need to get our name out there and become more well known. Since both people in gaming and many users visit the show, we felt it was an effective venue to pitch our brand and step up our presence.


How has the response been at overseas shows?

We were at E3 in June, which is a B2B event, and greeted with astonishment. It seemed that smartphone games weren't as widespread as I thought in the U.S. Visitors to our booth were really surprised to see the quality of our mobile games very near to those on consoles. We were picked up in lots of media – I'd say that the response felt good.


Which game was popular at E3?

We set up Wacky Motors, our racing game, with a ridable model car so that players could play with an iPad inside it – this went over well. Although the iPad market is not so big in Japan, we feel it has reached a solid footing oversea. So as a matter of course we plan to release iPad versions of our iPhone games. We may also launch games specifically designed for iPad.


How about gamescom and ChinaJoy?

gamescom is a B2C event and has 2-300,000 visitors. In that respect it’s similar to Tokyo Game Show. We ran lots of events and offered novelties, and saw users really enjoying the experience. For ChinaJoy, we set our sights exclusively on B2B. We were there to look for new developers making games on our platform. We explained how the GREE Platform is expanding globally and is used by many users. There is much advantage to release games on it; to increase user base and gain know-how we developed over many game titles.
Tokyo Game Show 2012
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How was your second Tokyo Game Show?

Last year was our first time, so we had to start from scratch. Some of the games we showed at that time were on feature phones. Over this past year, the quality of the games have increased dramatically. All of our games are for smartphones and tablets this year, and players can enjoy a range of high-quality native apps. We also spent time and money making the trailers look really gorgeous – in that sense, I think mobile games have little to differ from the console experience. We're also showing a lot of titles users are familiar with and want to play, like METAL GEAR SOLID SOCIAL OPS.


What are GREE's global expansion plans?

We don't think there are really any shortcuts to grow our platform – so our plan is to put a solid focus on getting high ratings on the App Store and Google Play. I think our essential strategy will see mobile promotions become our main approach. We feel the GREE Platform still needs more games to be really robust, so another issue we want to explore is how to beef up the lineup.

I believe games are an industry that represents Japan – it goes without saying that Japanese console games are enjoyed all over the world. We want Japanese social games and smartphone games to be enjoyed the same as them and capture users' hearts, too. I'd like to see us making games that impress and move people worldwide.





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About the Author
Wataru Tanaka is the chief editor of Social Game Report and writes about mobile social gaming. He works at Mynet Japan, a social game developer. His vision is to create worldwide network and enhance the industry, take it to the next level where everyone can enjoy communicating each other through games.