GREE expands beyond games with luxury goods network

Mobile games company also announced solid earnings for its third quarter fiscal year 2014

uttoku

GREE plans to expand its mobile gaming business with a new online service called uttoku by GREE. According to the company’s third quarter financial report for 2014, the service will be focused on luxury goods where users can trade in points from coupons or other programmes (air miles, for example) to buy goods such as hotel stays, handbags, gourmet food and so forth.

Partners to the service include Gourmet Navigator, All Nippon Airways, and Hotel Okura.

Speaking of its quarterly results, GREE seems that it’s doing great with net sales of JPY 31.07 billion (US$305 million) and operating income of JPY 9.95 billion (US$98 million). That said, it still took a slight dip in net sales; its second quarter 2014 results was JPY 32.62 billion (US$321 million). Its net income for Q3 took a huge dip from JPY 7.42 billion (US$73 million) from Q2 to JPY 4.74 billion (US$47 million). Nonetheless, GREE remains hopeful as smartphone game consumption grew to 71 per cent of total coin consumption for its in-app purchases.

Its first-party titles like monster-collecting game Monster Planet and bishounen pirate sim Kaizoku Oukoku Columbus have grown in player base due to the game’s user experience and user interface improvements together with new content. The company’s other titles experienced weaker sales due to seasonal factors; players can either be fickle about the games they play or there can be something else from a major party like Sony or Nintendo that’s out around the third quarter.

COMPLETELY NOT RIPPING OFF POKEMON AT ALL. Image credit: GREE

COMPLETELY NOT RIPPING OFF POKEMON AT ALL. Image credit: GREE

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One of GREE’s new web titles, Monster Hunter: Roar of Cards, grew steadily since its release in Japan on February 19 as it surpassed 300,000 downloads in the first 23 days. On the mobile games side, the company’s experiment with new game genres paid off via its Garage Production short-term prototype development programme. The first game from the programme, Pazu Pazu Fantasy, was out on Android and iOS to positive user reviews. The second one, Dungeon Flicker, also got positive traction and retention. The full versions of both iOS and Android games will be planned for fiscal 2015.

The company also invested in two new companies: first in crowdsourcing video production-focused site Viibar, and second in online reservations platform Coubic Inc.

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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