Interview

GREE: Despite HTML5 support, native apps remain our core focus in the west

GREE: Despite HTML5 support, native apps remain our core focus in the west
Last week, GREE announced it was adding HTML5 compatibility to its social gaming platform.

It was, potentially, a big bit of news. After all, both distribution and discovery remain major hurdles HTML5 games are tasked with clearing. The support of GREE's established platform could undoubtedly help solve these problems.

However, when we spoke with representatives from GREE Japan, they emphasised that there'd be no push towards web-based apps – at least not in the west.

Undeterred, we found out more about the company's decision to support HTML5, the GREE platform's new payment options and the company's new partnership with Konami.

Pocket Gamer: What makes now the right time to roll out HTML5 compatibility on the GREE platform?

GREE Japan: As you may have noticed, we announced that we had added HTML5 support to GREE Platform at the same time as announcing our partnership with Singtel in Asia.

The reason for the timing is that both the SingTel partnership and the new HTML5 support are great news for mobile web developer partners targeting certain markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

HTML5 is of course just one of the technological options available to app developers, but there is significant demand for web apps in the region, particularly in South East Asia, while on the supply side there is a strong base of HTML5 game developers in Japan who want to take their games overseas.

In other regions, such as North America and Europe, of course, native apps will continue to form the indispensable core of our strategy.

What devices will players be able to use in order to access HTML5 games?

Any HTML5-compatible mobile browser including those on most popular smartphone and tablet models.

You've also added new payment options to the GREE platform. Could you tell us which new options you've introduced and how you think these will benefit GREE and its platform?

The recent announcement of our partnership with SingTel includes improved support for HTML5 and enhanced billing services for Web games. This initiative expands the addressable market for mobile Web game developers by giving them greater access to several important but traditionally hard to reach markets in South East Asia.

GREE recently announced that it was partnering with Konami to release Dragon Collection in the US. The game's been extremely popular in Japan – do you think it will replicate that success in the west?
Dragon Collection has indeed been a smash hit in Japan, where it has built up a fan base of more than 7 million.

It's a fine example of a quality card game and we're delighted to be part of bringing it to the western market, where we certainly hope players will enjoy it.

It is important to remember that both Konami and GREE are relatively new to the US and other key markets overseas, so we are still studying the way people play games.

As with all our partners, we are working closely with Konami on Dragon Collection, studying the KPIs and learning all the time about how we can tweak the game to suit western tastes.

Have GREE and Konami adapted the game significantly for its western release?

We have fully customised it for western audience, adapting the UI, in-game events and other aspects of the design and content for a western audience.

The only element that we have left unchanged from the Japanese version is the original design of the cards themselves.
Thanks to the various employees of GREE Japan for their time.
Staff Writer

PocketGamer.biz's news editor 2012-2013

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