Mobile gaming is hot right now. As console and PC gaming become a thing of the past, and more people play games on their phones and tablets, the space is growing quickly. One of Japan’s biggest game companies has just acquired one of the countries hottest game developers to capitalize on the market.
Free-to-play game company Nexon creator of the game MapleStory, has acquired Japanese game developer gloops, it was announced Monday.
Nexon paid ¥36.5 billion, or $468.4 million, in cash to buy the Tokyo-based gloops.
Since launching it first game in 2010, gloops has become a leading developer on Japan’s largest mobile game platform, DeNA, with titles that include social card battle games such as JapanPro Baseball Card Battle and core titles such as Warriors of Odin and Three Kingdoms Guild Battle.
In late September, gloops announced that it was forming an alliance with DeNA to bring mobile social games internationally, through DeNA Group’s Mobage platform.
Per the agreement, five titles would debut in international markets, specifically in North America and Europe, in 2012, and another five to debut in 2013. In addition, gloops plans to release one title on Mobage’s networks in both China and South Korea.
Given the position that gloops has on DeNA’s platform, in addition to its recent global expansion, Nexon sees the acquisition as a way for it to get a strong foothold into the mobile market.
According to a presentation on Nexon’s investor relations web site, the size of the mobile game market in Japan will reach ¥425 in 2012, larger than console and PC games combined.
By purchasing, gloops, Nexon says, it will "gain immediate scale as a leading developer in Japan's large and fast-growing mobile game market, as well as the "ability to expand gloops' portfolio to overseas markets."
“This acquisition significantly accelerates Nexon’s mobile strategy, giving us immediate exposure to Japan’s large and fast growing mobile market,” Seungwoo Choi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexon, said in a statement.
“gloops has established itself as one of the premier mobile game developers in the world and a key player in one of our most important growth areas, with a robust portfolio of hit titles and a strong track record of driving market innovation. We look forward to leveraging gloops’ outstanding capabilities and scale to expand the Nexon game experience to users on mobile platforms worldwide.”
“We are thrilled to become a part of the Nexon family,” Shinsuke Kawakata, President of gloops, said in a statement.
“Providing compelling games for mobile users has always been our passion, and we look forward to being a part of an even larger organization as we work to continue bringing new and exciting titles to a growing base of players around the world.”
Other gaming acquisitions this year
The social mobile gaming space has been heating up this year, with numerous companies buying each other up and raising money.
Last week, Scopely, a social, mobile game publisher, announced that it raised $8.5 million in financing from a slew of angels and VCs.
Last month, Zynga has purchased midcore games developer A Bit Lucky for an indisclosed amount, its second acquisition this year after it bought OMGPOP for its popular social game Draw Something for $200 million in March.
Just this past May, Gree bought Funzio, a mobile gaming company, for $210 million, and then announced that it has purchased mobile game developer App Ant Studios, creator of Dino Life for Android, in September.
IGT purchased Double Down for $500 million in January. Double Down was estimated to be generating $50 million a year in revenue. In March, Big Fish Games bought Self Aware Games for an undisclosed amount.
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