Sega enters the social mob, Japanese style

Katie Gatto · December 15, 2010 · Short URL:

Sega is bringing the popular Yakuza game series to the social gaming world

It seems like everyone is interested in the world of organized crime. We all want to be a made man or woman in the digital world. So, it should be no surprise, that another mafia themed game is in development.

Sega is developing a social game themed around its popular Yakuza game series. The project will most likely run on Gree, a social network available in Japan for mobile users. No word has been given yet on what style of play the game will take.

The Yakuza series currently has three games out, for the Playstation 2 and Playstation 3 game consoles. The earliest of these games dates back to 2005. A fourth title in the series is expected to be released in spring of 2011. Each title tells the tale of life in the Japanese mafia.

For those of you not familiar with Gree, this is not the first expansion into gaming for this mobile phone-based social network. Earlier in 2010, Gree teamed up with noted game maker Square Enix and  released social versions of both Chocobo’s Crystal Tower and Knights of the Crystal. Both of the titles were later ported to Facebook. 

If the Yakuza title ports to Facebook, as previous Gree titles have, it could be a potential competitor to Zynga's Mafia Wars game, which doesn't lack for competition in the mob related game genre currently. Other titles, such as Digital Chocolate's version of Mafia Wars, which runs on mobile phones, and Mob Wars, a Facebook-based title created by developer David Maestri, are already in play. Admittedly, Zynga has the lead, with more than 19 million monthly active users, but the Yakuza series has a serious fan base as well, with more than half a million copies of the Yakuza 3 game sold in Japan alone.

This will not be Sega's first foray into the free games model. Other titles, such as Shining Force 2 and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 have been released through the Play Sega site, which is currently in its beta, and works under a freemium model.

(Images from Sega)

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Digital Chocolate


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Digital Chocolate is a developer of games and applications for mobile phones. Based in San Mateo, California, Digital Chocolate offers many of the world's most popular games including Scarlotti's Mafia Wars 2, Mobile League WordJong, Bubble Ducky, and Johnny Crash. Digital Chocolate products are available through more than 200 operator and distribution partners, including Cingular, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile, 3, Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone in over 60 countries worldwide.



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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit