Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Japanese mobile social gaming firm GREE has released its first Android-only title with the launch of free-to-play Dino Life, which was developed in its newly opened San Francisco-based games studio.
The title is exclusive to GREE and sees the firm broaden its appeal to Android owners, having solely catered for iOS-only or iOS/Android titles to date.
The game itself is in the style of the Sims, with cavemen and dinosaurs. As you’d expect with GREE, it includes a number of social features, included bonuses that are unlocked through joint cooperation with friends on the game.
The game’s introduction is well-timed given that Samsung is now the world’s largest mobile firm, and arguably Android’s most prominent maker, a fact that reinforces the popularity of the Google-owned platform, and its importance for developers.
Android is a particularly significant platform for GREE in its home country Japan. Not only does it dominate the local market (accounting for 60 percent of smartphone sales), but Android users are more inclined to play social games than use popular social networks like Twitter, as Tech In Asia reports.
Commenting on the launch, Eiji Araki, SVP of Social Games at GREE, said “GREE is excited about the recent advancements in Google Play and its potential to expand the free-to-play ecosystem on Android. Dino Life is our first Android title and exemplifies our commitment to offer unique gameplay mechanics, great social features and highly-stylized art in each game.”
Araki points out that, though the game is significant for being its first standalone Android title, the company is working towards a platform that is “free from geographic or operating system restrictions.” Most future titles with cater for both smartphone platforms.
The news comes as GREE continues to prepare for the launch of its upcoming global gaming platform, which is due to be released in the second quarter of this year. The company teased details of the platform in December, and its introduction will see the firm push on in its overseas markets.
GREE’s impending global move will combine its existing games platform with OpenFeint, the US gaming platform that it acquired for $104 million last April, and take its rivalry with DeNA to a new, international level.
DeNA itself has been busy preparing its international plans, after launching its first iOS titles in the US last month.
As well as racing for first mover advantage among global mobile gamers, the two firms are involved in an ongoing lawsuit which began when DeNA was reprimanded for influencing developers. The suit, which is taking place in Japan, took a recent twist when DeNA counter sued GREE over comments that suggested that it was still engaged in unfair practices.
The mobile social game industry is already lucrative for the two companies, with GREE tipped to post record profits of $910 million, and it is looking like it will only get bigger with both firms set to hatch further global plans.
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