Look out, Zynga — DeNA is dominating Japan's mobile social games market

Move over Zynga. There’s a new social game company in town. Japanese mobile games portal DeNA just reported its quarterly results which show the company is growing at a blistering pace. DeNA says it could become the No. 1 company in the social game industry, although that depends on how you define social games.

DeNA said that revenue for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30 was $279 million, up 175 percent from a year ago. Operating income was $138 million, up 282 percent from a year ago. From the previous quarter, revenues were up 27 percent and operating income was up 22 percent.

“Becoming the premier social gaming company appears extremely feasible when reviewing our impressive first quarter results,” says Tomoko Namba, chief executive of DeNA (pictured). “DeNA will expand by utilizing its uniqueness as a platform operator and game developer.”

Namba spoke at our GamesBeat@GDC conference in March. DeNA operates a platform — Mobage-Town, with 19 million subscribers — for social games on mobile phones. By contrast, Zynga is the king of Facebook games and has barely started operations in the fast-growing mobile social game market in Japan. In a direct challenge to DeNA, Zynga launched a joint venture in Japan with SoftBank last week to build games for the Japanese market. DeNA, meanwhile, plans to use its own cash hoard to make acquisitions and investments. It has an investment in Aurora Feint, which provides a social platform for mobile games.

DeNA also plans to launch a PC-based social gaming platform, Yahoo Moba-ge, with Yahoo Japan. The platform will spread services across PC and mobile. DeNA is also preparing to launch Mobage-Town social game portal on smart phones this year. There are 154 third-party game developers providing 350 games on DeNA’s Mobage-Town platform. Social game revenues are about 84 percent of DeNA’s total revenue. DeNA expects to report $576 million in revenue and $276 million in operating income in the six month period from April through September of this  year.

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