Reliance Games buys mobile games companies in Japan, S. Korea to expand global footprint

Reliance Games, the international mobile gaming business of Reliance Big Entertainment Pvt Ltd (part of ADAG), has acquired a mobile game development & publishing company in Japan and a mobile game development studio in South Korea, in a bid to expand its footprint in the global mobile gaming industry.

Reliance Games’ entry into these countries will play a crucial role in the company’s international roadmap since the Japanese and the Korean business setups provide direct access to two of the largest mobile gaming markets in the world. The company also aims to adopt a two-pronged approach for the new setups. The Japanese and the South Korean facilities will now develop intellectual properties targeted at local consumers and in future, these will be also responsible for research and development of multi-player mobile games for the western markets.

The acquisitions

Japan: Reliance Big Entertainment, through its subsidiary Reliance Big Entertainment Japan Co Ltd, has fully acquired the gaming division of Tokyo-based Funnel Inc., along with its team and all the IPs under development. It has also created Reliance Games Japan, the entity which will be responsible for development and publishing of games for the local market.

The company has also brought on board Hwa Seok Choi as the chief revenue officer for Reliance Games Japan. Choi was the general manager at Funnel and earlier worked with companies like Shanda Games International, DF Interactive Pte Ltd, Gamepot Inc, GameHi JP Inc and ICAN management Inc. He holds a diploma in Marketing & Management from Kingston International College, Australia.

South Korea: In Busan, Reliance Big Entertainment Japan Co Ltd has bought 51 per cent stake in the gaming studio Bluesom Inc. As part of the deal, the company has also acquired a few IPs of Bluesom.

Commenting on the development, Manish Agarwal, CEO of Reliance Entertainment Digital, said, “After the success of Real Steel and F1 2011 mobile games globally, Reliance Games has embarked on a journey to expand its business beyond the North American markets. With these acquisitions, the company wants to tap the $5.5 billion (Japan) and $1.3 billion (South Korea) mobile gaming markets.

“Investment in the development studio at Busan and the distribution team in Tokyo will enable us to develop games for local markets instead of trying to force-fit western games in these markets,” he added.

Post these acquisitions, Reliance Games will be launching three games in Japan and Korea in the social card game and real-time strategy game categories. These will be for feature phones and smart devices, and the launch will take place in the next three quarters. Besides new games, the company will also launch its Hollywood IP-based games after localising those for these markets.

Reliance Games is the international gaming division of Reliance Big Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which also comprises entities like DreamWorks, SKG, IM Global and Codemasters. Currently operating game development studios in India and South Korea, a game publishing company in Japan and a sales & distribution office in the US, the company mostly creates games for the iOS, Android and feature phone platforms.

According to the company, its portfolio includes more than 600 games for about 2,000 devices across various operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows, etc. Its current roster of mobile games includes Real Steel, Total Recall, F1 2011, Mirror Mirror and Electric City, among others. It also specialises in branded IPs for Hollywood and Bollywood studios like DreamWorks Production, Tom Hank’s Playtone, Warner Bros, Excel Entertainment, FoxStar Studios and Big Pictures. The company’s content can be accessed through 80 networks across 40 countries as well as through global app stores. In India, the content is available on networks like Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL, TATA DoCoMo, MTNL and Reliance Mobile World.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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