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Double play: Yahoo! partners up with both DeNA and GREE in Japan

Mobile social archrivals closer than ever

Double play: Yahoo! partners up with both DeNA and GREE in Japan
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Yahoo! Japan and DeNA have announced that they are to expand their existing business alliance for PC social games to include "offerings for smartphones and other smart devices."

Interestingly, DeNA's archrival GREE is also entering into a partnership with the search giant. Indeed, the two announcements were made within hours of one another.

GREE's partnership with Yahoo! Japan will see the smartphone version of Yahoo! Japan direct traffic to social games on GREE.

Just the three of us

Yahoo! Japan and DeNA have been jointly operating the Yahoo! Mobage social gaming platform on PC for more than two years now, and the service boasts more than 9 million registered users.

But exactly how Yahoo! Japan and DeNA will "expand the range of their collaboration" to include smartphones is never truly laid out in the two firm's announcement.

One aspect that the press release does note, however, is that the two companies plan to "interconnect user IDs and loyalty point systems of their respective services on smartphones."

Work in progress

GREE's announcement spells out the nature of its collaboration with Yahoo! Japan much more clearly.

Yahoo! Japan will direct traffic from its smartphone site to GREE games, Yahoo! Wallet payments will soon be used on the GREE platform, and new developers will be brought to GREE's platform as a result of this partnership.

However, several potential areas of collaboration are still under discussion. The two companies may establish a joint venture to co-develop social games, a joint venture for investment in digital movie content, or a joint entertainment business - a decision is yet to be finalised.

Well-timed

GREE is set to release its quarterly financials next week, and according to Japanese paper The Nikkei, its operating profit is likely to be down on the previous quarter.

As such, Tokyo-based mobile and social gaming consultant Dr Serkan Toto suggests that this announcement has been rushed out in order to reassure investors, which may go some way to explain why so many terms of the partnership are still under discussion.

[source: DeNA/GREE]

James Nouch
James Nouch
PocketGamer.biz's news editor 2012-2013