GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. plans to strike partnerships with third-party game developers and share its recipe for success, as the maker of the world’s highest-grossing smartphone title begins to expand into publishing.
President Kazuki Morishita said the company has hit upon the right formula to win over notoriously fickle gamers, and is eager to share it. The stock rose the most in a week, snapping a three-day losing streak.
“Companies have been coming to us for years begging to publish their games. We are now getting ready to do that,” Morishita said in an interview in Tokyo on Wednesday. “It’s just not something you can teach. It’s an accumulation of many years of practice, a kind of a secret sauce that has been infused into the pot.”
Since the company introduced Puzzle & Dragons three years ago, its cash and equivalents has increased 20 times to 129 billion yen ($1 billion) as of March 31. Shares have surged 28-fold in the period through Wednesday. The stock closed as high as 1,550 yen in May 2013.
GungHo said in December it is teaming with Tencent Holdings Ltd. to release Puzzle & Dragons in China. The launch may come in the last three months of the year and will make use of the Shenzhen-based company’s WeChat and QQ messaging applications, Morishita said.
The Tokyo-based company is also developing a new smartphone title that promises a completely new mode of play, standing out in a market that increasingly relies on popular formats, Morishita said. The game may be announced as early as this year, he said, declining to give further details.
“Pretty much everything you can do with a smartphone has already been done. There isn’t much innovation in the industry these days,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult. We’ll either strike out or hit a home run. The question is whether we can change people’s daily habits or not.”