Sega teams up with smartphone developer to tackle international market

In this week's issue of Famitsu magazine, Sega Networks, the division of the console game maker that handles mobile and social-game development, announced that they were teaming up with Tokyo-based smartphone developer Aiming for a new publishing agreement.

Starting with action game Towa no Tsurugi, Sega Networks will be publishing Aiming titles worldwide at the rate of one every two or three months. "Towa no Tsurugi is based along the same lines as an overhead 3D multiplayer online RPG," explained Aiming president Tadashi Shiiba, "but the biggest draw here is that the battles take on a shooter aspect. If you avoid enemy bullets and get close enough, you'll automatically shoot back at them. It's a really easy system to get to grips with."

Towa no Tsurugi is due out sometime early March in Japan, with early registration kicking off this week over there. However, another aim with the tie-in is to aggressively hit the international markets, starting with Asia but eventually branching out to the West.

"Sega's branding power is just as strong in the US marketplace as it is in Japan," Shiiba said, "so I think Sega would know more than anyone else how to tackle the American market. They've already made Kingdom Conquest a success over there, after all."

"Back when GREE and Mobage's feature-phone games were first hitting it big in Japan, people thought there's no way they'd produce an international hit," added Sega Networks director Haruki Satomi. "However, once we fully entered the smartphone era and people worldwide got access to the same pool of titles, they started to become hits in the West as well. If we can produce a high-end title right now, when people are really starting to pay attention to Japanese smartphone games, I think we can get a lot of users to play it."

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