Social games are now becoming a trend for cellphone owners. This year, Tokyo video-game exhibition, plans to make money from selling virtual goodies.
Gree Inc., a social networking service, which started its operation seven years ago in the founder’s living room, was the leading star on the annual Tokyo Game Show. The show sampled to media Thursday ahead of its releasing to the public soon after this week at Makurahi Messe hall in this Tokyo suburb.
Its stardom emphasizes the arrival of purported “social games” aimed at casual users lapsing the time on smartphones and tablet devices before the sophisticated plots imagery and controls found on gaming devices.
With Gree, mobile games are an extra feature to its social networking service, comparable to those already usual in the U.S. and other nations with Facebook and Twitter, although those services do not focus as much on gaming.
Yoshikazu Tanaka, the 34-year-old founder and chief executive of Gree, says his business model of drawing massive users related to extra sectors such as computers, fast-fashion and autos, wherein prices were rapidly going down despite the high quality.
He claims that he is serious about the expansion of the business overseas, which targets 1 billion users in the next several years. Gree already has pulled 140 million users worldwide and has started it operation overseas through offices, which includes San Francisco and London.
Serkan Toto, a mobile and game industry consultant, believe that the flourishing Gree business model, which has made Tanaka a billionaire is different from traditional game makers since it gives several games away for free without selling any pricey machines.
Gree makes money when a user becomes addicted to the game. The user then would be willing to pay for something that would be helpful in the game.
Gree’s booth was one of the biggest at the Tokyo Game Show. The booth also draws just as much of a crowd as Sony Corp., which exhibits every year, and was showing off its latest portable machine, PlayStation Vita, set to go on sale Dec. 17 in Japan and early next year in the U.S. and Europe.
In Japan, PS Vita will have a showdown this holiday season against DS3, the portable from Nintendo Co., which features glasses-free 3-D imagery.
Both Nintendo and Sony executives, in presentations previously this week, expressed concerns about keeping growth already in the gaming business, perhaps because of rivalry from devices like smartphones, Gree’s specialty.
The shift to smartphones also affects game-software makers.