After selling 70 percent ownership to Japanese game maker GungHo Entertainment, PlayPhone is rapidly expanding into the Asian mobile game services market.
PlayPhone has created a platform that allows carriers to offer their own mobile gaming store as well as social networking services that enable games to spread in a viral fashion and reduce the cost of advertising to acquire new users. In deals with carriers, PlayPhone can reach as many as 800 million mobile device owners through its platform. And it now offers those players more than 3,000 games, up from 1,000 a year ago.
Ron Czerny, chief executive of San Mateo, Calif.-based PlayPhone, said in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat that GungHo’s business development staff and PlayPhone are expanding PlayPhone services to carriers and other companies in Asia.
“This is the new frontier for PlayPhone,” Czerny said. “We are a technology company with a sophisticated social gaming platform and game store. We are in a race to become the leader in Asia, and that represents a shift in our business. Our vision is the same, but it is much more focused in emerging markets.”
GungHo, a SoftBank-owned company which makes mobile games such as Puzzle & Dragons, has been broadening its reach for a while. Taizo Son, the brother of SoftBank leader Masayoshi Son, is the chairman of GungHo, and he has helped it expand beyond its core business. By taking the majority stake in PlayPhone, GungHo has added game services for developers. PlayPhone finds games from third-party game developers to put into its network, which has a few million active users. PlayPhone offers publishing services and billing services too.
“They have a vision from their roots in online gaming, and they understand platforms,” Czerny said. “We never had a presence in Asia, and now we do.”