The company behind Brave Frontier gumi announced today during a recent press briefing (via The Bridge) that it will be teaming up with chat app company LINE to create a US$100 million funding programme for interested mobile game developers in Japan.
In addition, LINE has also invested a substantial amount in gumi for a 10 per cent stake and will support the game-making company in creating new titles. This also means that gumi titles will make its way onto LINE’s platform by the end of the year.
LINE’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jun Masuda said that the programme plans to target the midcore category of gamers and users instead of the casual market due to diversifying preferences in the gaming market. As such, gumi seems to be the best partner for the platform thanks to its meal ticket of an RPG game Brave Frontier.
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It also helped that the RPG managed to get the company quick user acquisition numbers in Southeast Asia, Korea and the US. gumi CEO Hironao Kunimitsu wishes to distribute the company’s games through LINE’s chat app “as soon as possible”.
This isn’t the first time a company opened up a pool of investment for budding developers to tap into. Last month, American chat app Tango (with possible help from Alibaba‘s funds) created its own funding programme for developers to make games on its platform.
gumi will be filing for an initial public offering before 2014 ends, though the company has yet to reveal which country it will file it in. The company is worth about US$160 million, though it did not declare an exact figure. A TV animation for Brave Frontier is also in the works.
Does this mean that LINE games will finally be more than what they are. Hopefully yes, according to Kantan Games’ Dr. Serkan Toto, who stated that LINE’s game platform has always been dramatically overrated and never reached its full potential. The target switch from casual to midcore is indeed welcome, and having a games studio like gumi makes it possible to cater well-designed games to the platform’s 500 million users.