Social gaming giant GREE is making a big push in international markets. As part of an interview with CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka, Nikkei reports that GREE aims to reach one billion users worldwide within three to five years.
GREE currently has 190 million users internationally (the figure for Japan is 25 million). Regarding how he intends to reach the one billion mark, Tanaka noted that GREE is the only social gaming company that distributes, manages games for cell phones, while also developing its own titles. The company believes that the worldwide spread of smart phones will provide a push.
The company acquired Open Feint in April of last year, and is currently making progress on unifying the Open Feint and Japanese GREE services. It plans on launching the unified services with twelve internally developed titles from its studios in North America, China and Europe, and 24 titles from major game publishers.
It seems that at least some of these will be titles that were previously released in Japan and saw success. Tanaka said that he would like to make games that, while making use of the knowhow built up in Japan, can be accepted in any country. Due to different tastes in visual design and such, adjustments may be necessary. He believes it's important to have development throughout the world in order to take account of regional needs.
Tanaka believes that the worldwide market for social games will be expanding, first in Japan, North America and Europe, then in China, South America and other developing countries. The Japanese market for social games is between 300 billion and 500 billion yen. It's possible that the worldwide market could reach the scale of many trillion yen.
Tanaka also addressed some of the controversies surrounding social games. Regarding fears that children don't understand where the free parts of games end and are receiving high bills, he said that GREE is following the policies set forth by the Consumer Affairs Agency. The Agency has said that they have no current problem with GREE's services.