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GREE首席执行官谈高价收购OpenFeint缘由

发布时间:2011-06-13 17:46:19 Tags:,,,

作者:Leena Rao

过去几年,日本许多游戏公司一直把发展目标锁定美国的社交游戏开发商。DeNA在去年9月收购了手机社交游戏工作室GameView之后,又在10月份以4亿美元的高价收购了社交游戏公司Ngmoco;1个多月前,日本社交游戏公司GREE也以1亿400万美元收购了OpenFeint(游戏邦注:支持iOS、Android开发商投放游戏的手机社交平台)。

我们过去曾经提到,OpenFeint平台上拥有各种各样在线游戏服务,包括排行榜,虚拟货币等基于云的网络环境中运行的功能。该平台最先出现于iPhone和iPad平台,随后也推出了Android版本,其在Android平台上确实取得了不俗的成绩,在过去6个月中已推出215款Android游戏。

但是如果提及OpenFeint的财政问题时,情况便不那么乐观了。据称2010年OpenFeint的收益是28万2500美元,但是同比却亏损了660万美元。所以对于GREE(每年的营收都达到好几百万元)来说,其收购OpenFeint的价格相当于后者年收入的400倍(准确地来说是368倍),而事实上却很少人肯以这样一笔巨款买下一家初创企业。

当然日元与美元的价值不可相提并论,但即便如此,GREE为何仍需对OpenFeint支付高额的收购价呢?GREE首席执行官Yoshikazu Tanaka最近向媒体阐述了其收购原因,以及为何他们对此次收购意义的看法。

openfeint-gree(from intomobile.com)

openfeint-gree(from intomobile.com)

开发新游戏

当GREE发表了收购OpenFeint的消息时,他们已经在美国建立了一家实体公司,即GREE International,即OpenFeint的买主。但是在收购过程中,他们并未公开这家公司的发展目标是什么。

不过据Tanaka所称,GREE将应用OpenFeint的技术开发一系列手机社交游戏,而且其中第一款游戏也定于今年夏季发行。Tanaka和OpenFeint首席执行官Jason Citron都拒绝透露该款游戏的相关细节问题,仅表示这款游戏锁定的是英语用户。

智能手机和国际市场

今年2月份,Tanaka针对当前日本第三方游戏开发商的未来战略和发展目标发表了相关讲话。他强调GREE平台的两大目标即达到1亿的用户群体和走向国际市场。

而如果GREE能够与OpenFeint合作,那么他们就不难实现获取1亿全球用户的目标,同时GREE也能够通过此次合作进入欧美手机社交游戏市场。Tanaka还说到,他们之所以选择OpenFeint,是因为这家公司在美国市场拥有较为强大的用户基础。

GREE计划为OpenFeint吸收更多技术性人才(计划雇佣30多名技术工程师和游戏设计师)。

Tanaka还补充道:“智能手机将在不久的未来将成为GREE社交游戏最重要的一大平台,”而且OpenFeint还将为GREE提供一个“嵌入式”平台,推动其针对iOS和Android两大操作系统,创造出更多优秀的游戏。

同样值得注意的是不久前,GREE与中国互联网巨头腾讯、日本第二大电讯运营商KDDI、及美国顶级风险投资机构DCM投入1亿美元成立了A-Fun,以支持那些Android初创企业。同时,GREE现在也正积极与MIG33(游戏邦注:日本移动社交网站GREE和新加坡游戏平台mig33宣布达成合作协议,即通过采用GREE的智能手机平台,向日本国内外的众多社交游戏开发者开放mig33的社区)和腾讯(即GREE上的日本应用将通过腾讯进入到中国市场,中国应用也可通过GREE进入日本市场)展开密切的合作关系。

与DeNA和Ngmoco抗衡

GREE在日本的最大竞争对手之一便是DeNA,因为比起GREE,DeNA抢先一步在美国找到了自己的“落脚点”,即Ngmoco。自从去年10月,DeNa以4亿美元的高价收购了Ngmoco后,GREE便不得不展开一系列“追赶行动”了。DeNA与Ngmoco的合作显示了他们意欲占领美国市场的雄心,在公开并购消息的同时,他们也宣称将面向美国市场,并通过发行一系列新游戏而进一步扩展社交游戏平台Mobage。

在经过6个多月紧锣密鼓的筹划和调整后,DeNa的Mobage即将面向欧美市场正式发布了。因为Mobage已经在日本市场吸引了无数的用户(也为DeNa带来了上亿的收入),所以业内人士对于Mobage是否能在欧美市场中取得好成绩报以很大的期待。

所以很明显,DeNA/Ngmoco是GREE在扩展手机社交游戏战略中不得不正面交锋的劲敌,而GREE也只有更快速地采取行动才有可能在智能手机领域建造出属于自己的社交游戏网络。

同时GREE还将密切关注OpenFeint的财政状况。Tanaka表示,GREE首席财务官将成为OpenFeint的首席财务官。从这里我也可以看出,GREE希望帮助OpenFeint解决财政问题,并帮助其取得更大的营收。Tanaka还说到,GREE的一些执行人员和职员将加入OpenFeint团队,“帮助他们更好地执行并完善任何游戏目标。”

虽然我们仍无法断定GREE或者DeNa这些日本游戏公司在欧美市场会取得多大成就,但很显然,他们都已不惜血本地向这个市场砸下重金,希望他们能从如此之巨的投资成本中得到回报。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,如需转载请联系:游戏邦
Why Japan’s GREE Overpaid For Mobile Social Gaming Startup OpenFeint

By Leena Rao

Over the past year, there’s been an apparent trend taking place of Japanese gaming companies acquiring U.S. social game developers. DeNa bought social gaming company Ngmoco for $400 million last October, adding to an acquisition of mobile social gaming studio GameView in September. A little over a month ago, Japanese mobile gaming company GREE dropped $104 million on OpenFeint, a plug and play mobile social platform that allows developers to create social games on the iOS and Android platforms.

As we’ve written in the past, OpenFeint’s platform includes online game services such as leaderboards, virtual currencies and achievements running in a cloud-based Web environment. The platform first launched on the iPhone and iPad and more recently adding Android game developers to its community. In fact, the company has been growing like gangbusters on the Android platform, adding 215 Android games in the past six months.

But when you take a look at OpenFeint’s financials, the picture is not quite as rosy. In 2010, the startup made $282,500 in revenue and posted a loss of $6.6 million. So, GREE (which makes hundreds of millions in revenue each year), essentially paid nearly 400 times (368 times to be exact) OpenFeint’s yearly revenue for the platform. It’s rare for a company to pay such a high premium for a startup.

Of course, it’s important to note that the strength of the strength of the yen compared to the dollar makes it less expensive for the Japanese company. But still, even with the conversion rate factor, why did GREE overpay by so much for OpenFeint?

We recently spoke with GREE CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka about the reasoning behind the acquisition, and he revealed exactly why the purchase made sense.

New Games

When the announcement of the acquisition was made, GREE established an American entity, GREE International, which was the acquirer of OpenFeint in this transaction. At the time of the acquisition, it was unclear what this entity was for.

But Tanaka tells us that GREE will be launching a number of mobile social games using OpenFeint’s technology, the first of which will be unveiled at some point this summer. He and OpenFeint CEO Jason Citron declined to give specifics about the games but said these games will be targeted towards English-speaking users in the U.S.

Smartphones and International Reach

In February, Tanaka spoke to existing and potential third-party developers in Japan on the future strategy and goals of the company. Two of those goals included reaching 100 miliion users and moving beyond the Japanese gaming market.

Combined, the GREE and OpenFeint gaming ecosystem will reach 100 million users worldwide and Gree gets access to a piece of the American and European mobile social gaming market. And Tanaka confirms to us that the company was primarily interested in OpenFeint because of its strong foundation in the U.S. market.

Gree is planning to load up on engineering talent for OpenFeint, and plans to hire as many as 30 engineers and designers.

Tanaka has also said that ‘smartphones will be the most important platform for GREE’s social games in the future,’ and OpenFeint provides a built-in platform for GREE to create and build social games for iOS and Android.

It’s also worth noting that GREE just partnered with DCM, Tencent and KDDI to launch the A-Fund, to support early-stage Android entrepreneurs. And GREE is partnering with mobile community MIG33 and Tencent.

DeNa and Ngmoco

One of Gree’s biggest competitors in Japan, DeNa, already had a foothold in the U.S. Gree had to act quick after DeNa scooped up U.S. mobile gaming company Ngmoco for a whopping $400 million last October. DeNa and Ngmoco were quick to reveal that it had big plans in store to capture the U.S. gaming market, stating publicly at the time of the acquisition that the two companies would be expanding mobile social gaming platform Mobage to the U.S. with a number of new games.

Fast forward six months or so, and DeNa’s Mobage launch outside of Japan to U.S. and European markets is imminent. Considering that Mobage has tens of millions of users in Japan (and brings in billions), the expectation for Mobage’s reach and success outside of Japan are high.

Clearly, DeNa/Ngmoco is a formidable competitor for GREE in its expansion plans for mobile social gaming and the company had to act quick so that it could churn out its own social gaming network for smartphones.

On the financial front, GREE is keeping a close eye on OpenFeint. Tanaka tells us that the CFO of GREE will now be the CFO of OpenFeint. Reading between the lines, it seems that GREE is stepping in to see how they can turn the company around financially and help it begin to make some meaningful revenue and profits. In fact, Tanaka says that ten GREE execs and staffers will be joining the ranks of OpenFeint to “help execute and facilitate expertise.”

We still don’t know how well Japanese players like GREE or DeNa will do in the U.S. and European gaming markets. And clearly the companies are wagering big bucks on the space. Hopefully these hefty investments pay off. (source:techcrunch


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