PlayStation Vita may still be brand new, and Nintendo's Wii U has yet to even hit store shelves, but Japanese developer/publisher/social platform GREE doesn't need a new console. Or any console, for that matter. Its platform is virtual, and its growth strategy is extremely aggressive. "We're hiring more than 30 people a month," GREE's US CEO (and international CFO) Naoki Aoyagi told us in an E3 2012 interview.
Those "more than 30 people a month" are filling not only GREE's 1,000-person-plus Japanese offices, but also its "almost 400 people" San Francisco-based office. "And we already also have some people in China (around 50 people). And 50 people in South Korea," Aoyagi said. That kind of growth is rare, especially during an international economic downturn. And it comes at a time when both Nintendo and Sony are seeing year-over-year revenue declines – even while new hardware from both manufacturers heads to market.
"Nintendo, they ship 200 or 300 million [units] for each platform. But I think it's gonna be more than double or triple in terms of the market size," Aoyagi told us. He spoke to the difference between GREE's focus on "smartphones, tablets, probably in the future Android TV or Apple TV" versus that of Nintendo and Sony. "On smartphones we can have access to South America, or East Asia, or the African market, or the Russian market. So it's gonna be much bigger than the consoles."