Japanese mobile gaming company Gree has entered into a partnership with Japanese telecom operator KDDI to publish games in Japan. The two companies intend to source games from developers in the country and abroad and distribute them via KDDI’s mobile content portal (called au Smart Pass), as well as through Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The first game, currently in development, is scheduled for release this winter.
This deal represents an effort on the part of the troubled Gree to reverse its fortunes through an alliance with a mobile operator that can provide access to its 11 million au Smart Pass subscribers. From KDDI’s perspective, obtaining exclusive video game content is likely to be an excellent way to retain and acquire customers, in a market where customers have come to expect more than simply voice, texts, and data. While Gree has been less than successful recently, the deal involves cultivating a variety of game developers both in Japan and overseas, which seems to be a good way to ensure fresh and diverse content.