The Japanese mobile gaming company GREE continues to build up its international profile, after a year that has taken it outside of its home market in Japan to build up its profile in the U.S. with acquisitions and more. Today, the company announced that it would support 12 more languages on its gaming platform, taking the total to 14 (including Japanese and English). The news comes one day after GREE took a minority stake in the Holland-based chat service eBuddy.
The new languages are French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese (Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese), Indonesian, Korean and Thai. Arabic is planned to be available from Nov 2012. In total the GREE Platform, which continues to remain in an open beta phase, allows developers to distribute apps in 169 countries and regions. (The SDK is here.)
The move puts GREE into even closer competition with the likes of Zynga, which also has a strong eye towards its international audiences and localizing content for them. “With the multilingualization, people around the world will be able to access GREE in their native languages for the first time. This is an important step for us in getting closer to our users and making the GREE experience a truly global phenomenon,” Ryotaro Shima, SVP, EML Business Department, GREE, Inc. and CEO, GREE UK, Ltd, said in a statement.
GREE’s platform gives users single IDs that let them play across a number of games — part of what the company picked up when it acquired Openfeint. The games are built on a freemium model with certain features free and others bought through in-game purchases. The games also have significant social elements, such as the ability to send other players “gifts” and to collaborate on games and of course compete against others. These work across different platfroms.
Users can invite, share in-game experiences and achievements, engage through gifting, collaboration, competition and other actions with each other, whether they have an Android or iOS device.
But alongside its international ambitions, GREE also continues to invest at home, and those activities may point to where the company hopes to take its platform longer term, beyond gaming. Yesterday, the company also led a $1.2 million investment in Japanese social restaurant guide Retty, as the company gears up to take its mobile app outside of its home market.
The value of the eBuddy stake, meanwhile, has not been disclosed, but last year the Dutch company was shopping around a 20% investment at a valuation of $100 million, so that could be a guide to what GREE has put in.
GREE is valued at more than $4 billion.