Andy is an editor and content translator at VentureSquare. He has lived in Korea for over seven years and has an avid interest in technology Andy is an editor and content translator at VentureSquare. He has lived in Korea for over seven years and has an avid interest in technology and startups. You can follow Andy on Twitter or email him.
SoftBank Ventures, the investment arm of the Japanese operator, has led a $3.7 million (4 billion won) round of investment in Korean social mobile game developer Playnery, which also saw contribution from mobile tech giant Qualcomm and Korea’s Stonebridge Capital.
Playnery, founded in October 2011, received attention early on for its team of developers which previously worked for well-known game developer Gala Lab. The company is also notable for partnering with Zynga, the troubled firm that remains the world’s largest social gaming company with more than 300 million users.
The agreement will see Playnery’s first title — ‘Mother of Myth’ — made available through Zynga’s own gaming portal, and its other regular platforms, including Facebook.
The game is a social action RPG (role playing game) in which players live the life of a hero on a mission against the background of Greek myths, such as Acis, Galatea, the Battle of Thermopylae and Hercules. The game is unique in that it can by played across a multitude of platforms as it runs via Web browsers and, therefore, on any device.
The impressive game engine streams 3D graphics in real-time, as the image below and video further down both show.
Commenting on the investment, SoftBank Ventures’ Seo Il-shik says:
“In the future we predict that the social and mobile market will break off from the casual gaming seen up until now, and achieve rapid growth with the diversification of genres such as MORPG, MMORPG and FPS. When various user groups form and the market grows rapidly, we expect that Playnery will become a successful game developer through high quality games and global partnerships.”
A canned comment from Playnery CEO Henry Park looks ahead to the global launch of Mother of Myth, which is slated to happen next year with Zynga’s assistance:
“We plan to launch Mother of Myth in 2013 in 12 different languages including English, Spanish and Italian. As we predict that the already large social and mobile game market will double in size over the next 2-3 years, we expect working with Zynga will help Playnery in growing as a global game company.”
The deal is another example of SoftBank Ventures investing in a promising gaming startup in Korea. Back in 2010 the Japanese VC firm put funding into SundayToz, which launched “Anipang” — a hit title on mobile messaging service KakaoTalk’s new gaming service — earlier this year.
Playnery’s any-browser-3D approach to gaming is much like CMUNE, the pan-Asia-based developer that raised undisclosed (but “record”) funding from Atomico, the investment firm headed up by Skype founder Niklas Zennström. CMUNE’s flagship title UberStrike is a Facebook-based game with 5 million registered users and 1 million monthly gamers.
Here’s that video with more details and snippets from the soon-to-launch Mother of Myth game.
Headline image via Gregory Johnston / Shutterstock, screenshot of the game via VentureSquare.
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