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This article was published on December 13, 2012

    Japan’s DeNA releases exclusive Transformers game, as it sharpens its international appeal

    Japan’s DeNA releases exclusive Transformers game, as it sharpens its international appeal Image by: SIMIN WANG
    Jon Russell
    Story by

    Jon Russell

    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 gaming giant DeNA has unveiled its most international title to date — exclusive Transformers title, Transformers Legends — as its CEO claims that the firm is “on track” for profitability in the next quarter.

    The company, which posted record quarterly revenues of $627 million last month, agreed to a deal with publisher Hasbro in July and has released the game for Android devices initially. DeNA says that title will make its way over to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch soon, and owners of the two Apple devices can sign up for alerts about the iOS app on the Transformers Legends website.

    DeNA, and its rival GREE, are increasing their focus on international audiences, as they bid to move away from financial dependence on the lucrative Japanese market. That quest was given greater importance when Japanese authorities banned the use of gambling-like mechanisms in games in the country.

    The introduction of regulation on ‘Kompu Gacha’ — which was said to account for around 50 percent of the firm’s domestic revenues — saw shares of GREE, DeNA and others tank. GREE founder Yoshikazu Tanaka saw $406 million wiped from his estimated personal worth in just one day. DeNA has rebounded better than GREE thanks to a series of record financial results.

    DeNA has seen promising signs of success overseas, with titles like Rage of Bahamut and Blood Brothers topping the Google Play charts in the US. CEO Isao Moriyasu told Reuters that Transformers is part of its ongoing scheme to internationalize its content:

    “We are launching new titles like ‘Transformers’ and have already launched ‘HellFire’ in the United States and we are also developing high-end first person shooter games.”

    Moriyasu believes that the company is on course to double the revenue from its ‘Moba Coin’ virtual currency quarter-by-quarter. According to the executive, Moba Coin could make the company $60 million and see it turn in profit.

    “What we’re aiming for is to turn a profit in the fourth quarter and we’re on our way to that, but I don’t believe it is going to be easy at all.”

    DeNA’s Mobage platform has 45 million registered users in Japan, but the company does not break out figures for its international audience.

    A huge part of the reason for its success in Japan is the browser-based Mobage network, however, in international markets DeNA uses the app stores run by Apple and Google (Android). Since both take a sizable cut of earnings, its pathway to monetization overseas is taking more time, by card games and other titles that use in-app purchases are part of its approach.

    ➤ Transformers Legends

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RZoC3Y0SA1c

    Image via AFP/Getty Images, hat tip Serkan Toto