Japanese games firm GREE is set to shrink further with the proposed closure of its UK office

Japanese games firm GREE is set to shrink further with the proposed closure of its UK office

GREE, the Japanese mobile gaming giant that saw rapid growth in the latter part of the last decade, has today confirmed the latest in a string of moves to downsize its international business. The company has proposed that it will close its UK office as it focuses its Western development efforts on the USA.

The news was first reported by TechCrunch today and GREE tells us that it’s unable to say how many jobs will be lost in the move as a consultation process is currently ongoing.

The news follows 25 redundancies in the US late last year when it consolidated its platform business in Japan, and 120 layoffs in China when it closed its office in the country in May this year. As we noted at the time of the China closure, GREE has struggled to convert its early homegrown, featurephone-based gaming successes into international glory in the age of the smartphone.

The UK office originally served as the company’s HQ for the Europe, Middle East and Africa. Following the platform consolidation move last year, it became focused on in-house development of game titles mainly aimed at the European market. Now the office has fallen victim to an ongoing global review of operations within the company.

In a statement released today, the company notes: “GREE has seen significant growth since it was founded in December 2004, but during 2013 the GREE board have found it necessary to re-assess and streamline the global business with a view to consolidating certain functions.”

GREE blames “the challenging economic climate and on-going changes within the interactive industry,” for the closure, but adds: “This realignment of the business is a necessity to ensure that GREE can continue to invest and enhance its business offering moving forward. The management team are confident that the proposed restructure of the business will benefit the company due to the changing nature of the digital industry over the coming years.”

It remains to be seen if today’s news will affect GREE’s relationship with Netherlands-based messaging company eBuddy. The former took a minority stake in the latter last year.

Image credit: AFP/Getty Images

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