DeNA's Astro Ape investment marks first X-device, X-border deal

Promises more M&A activity inbound

DeNA's Astro Ape investment marks first X-device, X-border deal

It's hard to avoid Japanese firm's DeNA's efforts to expand its presence in the US market.

In the last year, the company – which is a major player in the social gaming scene in Japan – has invested in social networking software specialist IceBreaker, OpenFeint creator Aurora Feint and purchased California based studio Gameview.

Next up is US start up Astro Ape Studios, with DeNA injecting funds into the firm in return for support for DeNA's mobile social MiniNation platform on iPhone - something it refers to as its X-device, X-border business strategy.

Ape about Asia

While the investment in Astro Ape is being pitched as another move by DeNA into the US, the studio sees the partnership working well in the opposite direction.

DeNA is no stranger to offering western developers a way into the Asian market, its Yahoo Mobage platform giving US studios an easy route to market, with DeNA taking care of localisation and hosting work.

"Astro Ape Studios is truly excited to partner with one of the largest social gaming companies in the world," said president Chieh Huang.

"We look forward to expanding into Asia with the help of DeNA and to expanding MiniNation's footprint here in the United States."

An eye for investment

Astro Ape's iOS focus – notably its social freemium title Offices Heroes game – was a key reason behind DeNA's decision to invest according to CEO Tomoko Namba, with further US focused deals planned in the coming months.

"Astro Ape represents yet another step in our X-border X-device strategy of bringing battery-draining, addictive social game experiences to consumers worldwide," said Namba. 

"Today's investment is another step in our process of becoming a mainstream American gaming brand through proprietary content and empowering others to prosper on our gaming platform."

"Despite the number of current deals we've announced in the US, we're just getting started."


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