DeNA plans social game investment with $27.5 million incubator

Firm looking to boost development

DeNA plans social game investment with $27.5 million incubator

Encouraging more companies to get involved in social gaming makes sense for Japanese publisher and social gaming platform holder DeNA, with the firm announcing it is to invest $27.5 million back into the scene.

Specifically, DeNA plans to pump the money into a new social gaming venture capital fund called Incubate Fund No. 1 Limited Partnership, taking an 83.3 percent stake in the project for its troubles.

Helping hand

The new fund is shaped to seek out and invest in companies who drive the social media genre forward, with DeNA looking to invest at a seed level in studios with titles that can be incorporated into its Mobage-Town platform.

"With this fund we plan to support the growth and development of the social gaming industry," says DeNA CEO Tomoko Namba.

"This will help to incubate and grow social games, a thriving market in Japan and America. DeNA's unique leadership position in the Asian social games market provides an unprecedented level of expertise and distribution to innovative fast-growth companies."

Going west

Indeed, though DeNA's roots are understandably Japanese, it has been targeting the west more aggressively, having launched the MiniNation social network on iPhone.

The firm also took out a 20 percent stake in OpenFeint creator Aurora Feint towards the end of 2009.

In Namba's view, markets like the US could hold the power for DeNA expansion.

"As the US picks up momentum in social games, DeNA will continue to stake out a leadership position in terms of strategic investment that adds to our support of companies like Aurora Feint and IceBreaker."

Opportunities in the East

Of course, any studios DeNA invests in will, in turn, gain access to the lucrative Japanese mobile market in which the firm is a major player.

While the company notes the market as a whole is 'sitting in a slump', it managed to report revenues of $205 million in the fourth financial quarter – an increase of 81 percent year on year.

Those interested in working with DeNA are advised to check out further details on the firm's website.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.