Gameloft, most known by developing games for smartphones and tablets, released Gang Domination this June. It was rolled out simultaneously worldwide using GREE Platform. We spoke to Gameloft's Mr. Fujikawa at Tokyo Game Show about their game development.


Tell us what led up to releasing Gang Domination on GREE Platform.

As a company developing mobile games, one of our core goals at Gameloft is bringing our games to as many users as possible. When we started releasing high-quality iOS and Android games around the world the majority were paid apps. But when we considered what kinds of games are most played in the Japanese market, it was clear that the top draw is freemium mobile-social games, especially social-card-battle games In order to let more players in Japan enjoy our games, we decided to partner with GREE, the leader in the field. GREE is also steadily expanding overseas, so the timing was good for us, since we want people worldwide to play our games.

You've released many mobile games up to now. What did you find was different about Gang Domination compared to the rest?

The biggest difference is the sheer speed of the cycle – gauging customer response to the game and optimizing the user experience. Developers look at the player response from the last week or even the day before and quickly build that into the game. The cycle speed is quite different from our pay-per-download model games, and this is a big key to be successful in social card battle game genre.

You've decided to do a simultaneous global release for this game – how has the response been different in each country?

Social-card-battle games took root in Japan first. Although certain titles have been hits in the US, Japanese players are still really good at this genre. Take our time-limited battle events: if you look at the rankings, overseas players appear in some slots at first, but eventually it's Japanese players who are winning and commanding the rankings. This style of game may seem simple, but when you give it a try you find there's a real depth and a variety of strategies. I think this is one of the reasons social-card-battle games have started to take off overseas. The core of card battlers is the fun of collecting different cards, of course. This aspect of collecting things and getting stronger is always fun, and it's a common theme throughout lots of genres.

Also, playstyles are different in Japan and overseas. In Japan, lots of people play games while commuting to school of work, holding the phone in one hand. Here's one episode, not from Gang Domination, but one of our other titles – A city building game played by holding the phone sideways. I was on a train and saw a women holding the phone in one hand vertically and playing with the graphics sideways. I was really surprised. I thought, “Wow, they can handle playing the game vertically.” These cultural differences are interesting.

Tell us about your upcoming plans.

Making 3D games is one of Gameloft's strengths, so we're naturally considering that direction, and there are also a wealth of ideas popping up at the company. I think we'll be able to offer something pretty interesting and worthy of your expectations. We're also focusing on making games that will also work on feature phones for GREE Platform. Part of expanding our mobile social games means getting lots of Japanese users to learn about the Gameloft brand. There are still lots of people using standard feature phones, so we think this is an important part.

Gameloft is just starting in social-card-battle games, a genre developed in Japan. As this genre gets bigger worldwide, we want to use overseas knowledge and rich game design to become an active player in the scene.

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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.