GREE is a very large Japanese social network similar to Facebook or Twitter that has been trying to secure some mindspace in the West by acquiring game developers and their large audiences. The company is making a heavy investment in MunkyFun, makers of My Horse and Bounty Bots, for $3 million. It's also switching up its US business to focus on its own titles. That includes "some redundancies," and GREE says its platform business will start transitioning back to Tokyo in the future.
Probably the most high-profile acquisition GREE made on iOS was in the OpenFeint social network, and that system is being shut down this month, so it's not too surprising that the company is making some cutbacks. But this is the first sign we've seen that GREE might be changing its mind about trying to take over the West. These social networks have bought a lot of access to users, but haven't seen much growth, so they might have to come up with another tactic to connect up with the big audience of Westerners using iOS devices.
Update: This post previously stated that GREE was acquiring MunkyFun, but the $3 million put in is just a minority investment, not a full acquistion.
San Francisco, CA December 06, 2012- GREE is today announcing that it's expanding its focus on 2nd party mobile game development with a new mobile investment fund managed by a new publishing and partnerships group. The fund's first venture is in mobile game developer, MunkyFun, maker of games such as My Horse and Bounty Bots. MunkyFun received a minority investment of $3 million from GREE.
GREE, which recently announced the closure of mobile social gaming platform, OpenFeint, is focusing its US business primarily on its own titles and developer partner titles. As part of the company's internal US reorganization, a majority of the GREE games platform team will be transitioned to new departments with redundancies in some areas. The overall GREE Platform business will begin transitioning to its operations in Tokyo as a part of this change
The US operation continues to build a strong portfolio of mobile games- including recently launched titles Monster Quest and MLB: Full Deck. The mobile investment fund is the latest in a series of commitments to first party and second party titles including full-out acquisitions of mobile game developers App Ant in September 2012 and Investment in IUGO Entertainment earlier this year.