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Gree spends $173M to snatch up mobile card game dev

Gree has made another nine-digit acquisition for a mobile social game studio, Pokelabo, which just released a card battle game that could be seen as a competitor to DeNA's successful Rage of Bahamut.
Gree has made another nine-digit acquisition for a mobile social game studio, Pokelabo, which just released a card battle game that could be seen as a competitor to DeNA's successful Rage of Bahamut. Card battling games have become huge in the mobile social space, with companies like DeNA and Konami (Dragon Collection) raking in plenty of cash with their free-to-play titles. Gree's own card battle title Zombie Jombie has helped generate a lot of money for the company, too. The Japanese mobile social network operator and developer aims to capitalize on the genre's popularity, and has made it a priority to release more card battle games in both the West and Asia this fiscal year (ending June 2013). Its ¥13.8 billion ($172.8 million) acquisition of Tokyo-based Pokelabo will help Gree meet that goal. Founded in 2007 and employing 88 workers, Pokelabo has released a number of card battle games for smartphones in Japan, including most recently Mystic Monsters. It previously partnered with Aeria Games to release localized versions of its titles to the West. Gree has made a lot of efforts to scale up its development capabilities this year, opening new studios in San Francisco and Vancouver -- and just five months ago, it shelled out $210 million to acquire San Francisco-based developer Funzio (Modern War).

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