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Japan Social, Mobile Firm GREE Sets Sights High For Global Expansion

In Gamasutra's latest feature interview, GREE International CEO Naoki Aoyagi outlines the Japanese company's aggressive global expansion plans for its mobile social g
In Gamasutra's latest feature interview, GREE International CEO Naoki Aoyagi outlines the Japanese company's aggressive global expansion plans for its mobile social gaming network. He tells Gamasutra that the company's "primary goal" is to build a global social gaming network. To do that, the Tokyo-based company plans to expand throughout Asia, North America and Europe. "Say that our midterm target is 500 million to 1 billion users in the world. [It's] because we see huge potential. It can be bigger than that of, say, console gaming, like Nintendo, PlayStation," Aoyagi tells Gamasutra. As of the interview, GREE has over 25 million users in Japan alone, marking it as the biggest social gaming network in the country. On top of this, Aoyagi told Gamasutra that GREE added 90 million users when it acquired the U.S.-based OpenFeint network this year. GREE's main competitor is Tokyo-based DeNA. Competition from DeNA is strong in Japan, he admits, but Aoyagi discounts DeNA as a competitor in the U.S. -- which it is through its California subsidiary, Ngmoco. "In the U.S., we don't see any competition here. Because, for example, in terms of number of users we have 90 million users right now, but other platforms it's I think less than one-third. So I think we should focus more on our product and services, and also the relationship with developers. And now we are trying to expand our distribution power on OpenFeint. So now we are trying to do some upgrades in services. That's our focus." Aoyagi compares the company to a console manufacturer like Nintendo, which has both a platform and first party games, as well as offering a space for third parties to create titles. "I think that's different from the companies like Facebook and Apple, because they're doing all platform things. Then the other gaming companies, they don't have a platform. They're making games, but they don't have the mutual user base. So we can leverage. We have both content and platform," Aoyagi says. The full interview, which delves into the company's global strategy, is live now on Gamasutra.

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