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DeNA Invests In Office Heroes Developer Astro Ape

Japanese firm DeNA has invested an undisclosed amount in mobile social games developer Astro Ape Studios (Office Heroes) -- its fourth investment in a U.S. company in the past year.
Japanese firm DeNA has invested an undisclosed amount in mobile social games developer Astro Ape Studios (Office Heroes) -- its fourth investment in a U.S. company in the past year. As part of this transaction, Astro Ape will create titles for DeNA's MiniNation mobile platform. Based in Edison, New Jersey and founded in March 2009, Astro Ape primarily develops for iDevices. Its released titles so far include Office Heroes, a free game in which players climb the corporate ladder while customizing their office; and iGotBling, an app inviting users to wear their iPhone their belts or necklaces. This backing follows three other investments DeNA's made recently in the U.S. -- the Tokyo-based company financed Burlingame-based OpenFeint developer Aurora Feint, acquired Bellevue-based mobile social network developer IceBreaker, and most recently bought Mountain View-based developer Gameview Studios. DeNA purchased Gameview with plans to have the developer work with MiniNation, its smartphone-focused subsidiary and iPhone social network, too. The firm says these moves are part of its "X-device, X-border" strategy, which aims to " promote game development across different devices and national borders". In Japan, the company runs mobile social gaming community Mobage-town, which has over 20 million subscribers. Last month, the firm reported a 175 percent increase in revenues to $279 million for the first quarter of 2010 (ending June), and it expects to generate $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year. "Astro Ape represents yet another step in our X-border X-device strategy of bringing battery-draining, addictive social game experiences to consumers worldwide," says DeNA CEO Tomoko Namba. Namba continues, "Today's investment is another step in our process of becoming a mainstream American gaming brand through proprietary content and empowering others to prosper on our gaming platform. Despite the number of current deals we've announced in the U.S., we're just getting started."

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