Japan’s Gree announced today that Knights & Dragons, a game that it published for IUGO Mobile Entertainment, has surpassed $1 million in monthly revenue. That’s not a gigantic number by game standards, but it shows that Gree’s hands-on form of publishing mobile games for third-party partners is working.
Game publishers have been criticized for failing to provide mobile developers with enough services to justify taking a big cut of revenues. The publishers fail to add much value because they simply take a mobile title from a developer and publish on their mobile game network with little advertising or efforts. Then they sit back and see if the title goes anywhere. If it doesn’t, then the publisher cuts its losses and lets it sink.
But Gree formed such a close partnership with IUGO that it invested money in the Vancouver, Canada-based company, said Jim Ying, the vice president of publishing and partnerships at Gree International, the San Francisco division of Gree, in an interview with GamesBeat. He said that Gree’s program managers went over ideas with IUGO before it began working on the game and then stayed in close touch with the developer, sharing tips that would help the game take off and monetize properly.
IUGO and Gree hope to double monthly revenue for Knights & Dragons, which was published for iOS in December and last week for Android. The title was the first to be released by a partner in the Gree Partners Fund, which was formed late last year.
“Our focus is on creating long-lasting, cherished franchises that enjoy strong relationships with the player community,” said Ying. “Knights is our first collaboration with IUGO, and we have big plans for the game going forward, including building new multiplayer features and ongoing in-game events for players. We’re just getting started. All of us at Gree are very proud to have built one of the most successful publishing relationships in the mobile market right now with the IUGO team.”
Gree has also made an investment in San Francisco developer MunkyFun, the developer of My Horse for Natural Motion. The aim of these partnerships is to create high-quality titles that last for a long time in the market, Ying said. Gree contributes its proprietary analytics and knowledge base, helping the IUGO team get a 75 percent increase in average revenue per daily active user (a key metric that measures how much money engaged users are spending in a game) and a 50 percent increase in 30-day retention rates. Those figures helped the game stay at the top of the mobile role-playing game charts, and it led to a 300 percent increase in monetization.
“I am very pleased with the continued success of Knights & Dragons. It is a great opportunity for us to show how we can create an original [intellectual property] that is unique, fun to play, and well-liked by our players,” says Hong-Yee Wong, the chief executive officer of IUGO Mobile Entertainment. “The publisher/developer relationship is really built on the ability to learn from and share expertise and resources. Knights & Dragons is a great example of what that kind of partnership can bring to the market and to the players.”
Gree is making $10 million available for equity investments of $1 million or more for its partners program. Founded in 2003, IUGO is focused on creating high-end games for mobile devices. Gree is publicly traded in Japan, and it employs more than 2,500 people around the world.
“We believe this game is a hit because of our deep partnership in producing it,” Ying said.