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Glu Mobile discusses drive to penetrate Japanese mobile game market

Glu Mobile, the San Francisco-based developer of mobile titles like Eternal Warriors and Deer Hunter, announced in this week's issue of Famitsu magazine that they're aiming to make a serious push into the Japanese freemium smartphone marketplace.

"Our interest lies in how not just Japan, but the entire Asian market is expanding every year," said Shinsuke Mori, Glu's country manager for Japan. "Right now, about 30 percent of Glu Mobile's sales come from Asia. Beyond that, though, Japan has a unique presence in game culture. It's recognized as the nation that created the current movement in video games, building unique gameplay systems in both console games and social titles that nobody else in the world has come up with. It's safe to say that in the past and today, people learned about games from Japan, and being able to tackle a nation like that is really exciting for us."

Glu, whose main franchises boast over 100 million downloads each worldwide, will begin by launching five titles (including Deer Hunter 2014) before the end of the year. "Card games have had a lot of success in Japan up to now," said president of publishing Chris Akhavan, "but with the specs on smart devices improving, we intend to start by providing rich content that takes advantage of our strengths."

Does Glu intend to make Japan-specific titles? "Of course, we won't stop with localization," Mori replied. "We want to release titles that everyone in Japan can enjoy, and we want to begin by forming partnerships with Japanese development firms. Hopefully we can share data between each other that enables us to quickly set up a structure for this."

Although there's no timetable for homegrown Japanese game development, Mori sounded pretty bullish about it in the Famitsu interview. "We've talked about how we hope that Japanese game fans know more about the games of the world," he said. "At the same time, one of our goals is to tell the world about all of these neat games in Japan. If a Japanese developer is hoping to expand overseas, we'd like to help them out with that as well."