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Exclusive: Social Gaming Giant DeNA To Launch India Biz

Japanese social gaming major DeNA is planning to launch its business in India, and hired Depinder Singh as its Head of Business Development for India and the Middle East. Singh has confirmed his appointment to MediaNama, but declined to comment further on the company’s plans. DeNA (pronounced DNA) owns the social gaming platform Mobage, which has over 1800 mobile games on its network. For the fiscal year ended March 2012, the Tokyo Stock Exchange listed company reported annual sales of over $1.82 billion, and operating income of $794 million. What’s notable is that much of its business comes from mobile, through advertising and virtual currency (Moba-coin). It has 40 million users in Japan.

The company has been in India before, albeit through a partnership: in late 2009, Zero Sum Wireless had launched DeNA’s a mobile social networking service called MobaMingle across three operators. It’s worth noting that Singh was with Zero Sum wireless, as COO & VP Sales. Singh quit Zero Sum in February 2012 (according to his LinkedIn profile), and joined OnMobile Global as Regional Director for a brief stint of 4 months before joining DeNA.

DeNA’s International Expansion

It began focusing on international expansion last year, and rolled out Mobage networks in China – it recently inked an alliance with Chinese social networking site Renren – and the West, and launched Daum Mobage in Korea in February 2012. India, it appears, is next on the radar. In its analyst presentation, the company claims that as a part of its global expansion, its Rage of Bahamut game dominated Google Play’s top grossing charts, being number 1 in the US, Sweden and Canada, and number 2 in the Netherlands.

DeNA games include Skyfall, VIP Life, WeRule, Aqua Collection, Ninja Royale, apart from ad platforms and affiliate ad networks, but a majority of its games are from affiliates.

Social Gaming

Global social gaming major Zynga has operations in India, in Bangalore. MIH owned Ibibo was among the first Indian companies to launch social games, both online and mobile. Nazara Technologies* has a social and casual gaming business called PlayCaso, a social gaming site called GCity, and a partnership with mobile social network Mig33 for social games. Reliance Entertainment owned gaming business Zapak also has a few social games, including Cricville and Tambola.

* Disclosure: Nazara Technologies is an advertiser with MediaNama

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