Social game makers Gree, DeNA to take spotlight at Tokyo Game Show

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Tokyo Games ShowSocial games will go toe to toe with the hardcore scene at this year's Tokyo Game Show, Reuters reports. Gree, the 26 million player-strong mobile and social games creator hailing from Japan, will have one of the largest booths at Japan's equivalent of E3 this year, according to Reuters. In fact, both Gree and its competitor DeNA will conduct keynote addresses at the event, which runs Sept. 15 through 18.

Reuters reports that several game companies aside from DeNA and Gree, including famed creator of games like Contra and Castlevania (some of the most hardcore franchises around) Konami, are shifting resources toward social games. While the biggest Japanese games company, Nintendo, lags behind as it continues to focus on games created deliberately to take advantage of its hardware. Unfortunately, that hasn't been working out so well for the company as of late.

"Nintendo has done some pretty awful things - no software, poor pricing, poor PR, no sign of a sustainable turnaround, software support dropping like flies," JP Morgan analyst Hiroshi Kamide told Reuters, referring to the failed 3DS launch (and resultant massive price drop).

On the other hand, competitor Konami recently welcomed over 10 million players to its social games. "You can make serious returns with social games in Japan if done well - and that is exactly what they have done," Kamide said to Reuters about Konami.

Both DeNA (which enjoys 3 million more monthly players than its rival) and Gree have major ambitions of becoming global competitors in the social games space to companies like Zynga and EA, which have blazed the trail for Facebook and mobile social game in the western world. Just this past year, both Gree and DeNA made huge purchases to make global headway in the space with mobile social game network OpenFeint and mobile games developer Ngmoco, respectively.

Just as some social game makers invaded this year's E3 event in the states, it looks like the ballooning sub genre will fill up the streets of Tokyo this week, too. Whether the two companies will fill the conference halls with hot air has yet to be seen. But considering Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley analyst Masato Araki expects Japan's social games industry to grow to about 400 billion yen ($5.1 billion) by 2013 from 106 billion yen in 2011, according to Reuters, you can bet everyone will be all ears.

Do you think Gree and DeNA will have some new, interesting things to say about social games at this year's TGS? How do you think traditional Japanese gaming companies will respond? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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