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Nexon said today it has formed a strategic partnership with Austrian game developer Socialspiel Entertainment. The deal is one of a number that Tokyo-based Nexon has created to build a triple-A mobile gaming business in the West.
Nexon has made an equity investment into Socialspiel, and it has acquired exclusive worldwide publishing rights to its games. The Japanese publisher has built a huge business on free-to-play online games such as Maplestory, but it has had a harder time breaking into mobile.
With the Socialspiel deal, Nexon will ally itself with the Vienna-based social and mobile game studio headed by industry veterans Mike Borras and Helmut Hutterer. They are making character-driven free-to-play mobile and browser games.
Nexon is throwing in cash and gets a seat on the company’s board. It expects to publish an as-yet-untitled mobile and tablet role-playing game coming in 2015. The game allows players to build a legacy of heroes and custom weaponry used to battle their way through randomized dungeons.
“This long-term strategic partnership combines Socialspiel’s experience and track record of developing unique, high-quality game play experiences for Western audiences with Nexon’s extensive free-to-play experience, global publishing platform and international user base,” said Owen Mahoney, president and chief executive of Nexon. “This announcement marks yet another milestone in our strategy to grow our business in the West and we are excited to work with the talented Socialspiel team to bring exciting new triple-A-quality titles to players around the world.”
Socialspiel was founded in 2010 by former employees of Rockstar Games and Deep Silver. The company won social game of the year at the 2011 German Game Developer Awards for Tight Lines Fishing.
“Nexon pioneered the free-to-play business model over 15 years ago so they have the expertise and scale we were looking for in a strategic partner,” said Socialspiel CEO Mike Borras in a statement. “Additionally, Nexon shares our focus on developing differentiated, high-quality content, and we are look forward to working together to leverage their extensive free-to-play knowledge and international platform to bring our future titles to an even wider audience.”
The companies expect Socialspiel’s next title to launch in spring 2015.