Reliance Games, the mobile gaming business of Reliance Big Entertainment Pvt. Ltd has acquired the gaming division of Funnel Japan, a mobile game development and publishing company. Reliance Games has also bought a majority stake of 51% in the mobile game development studio, Bluesom Inc in Korea. The company intends to enter two of world’s largest markets for gaming products through these acquisitions. Speaking to Medianama, Manish Agarwal, CEO, Reliance Entertainment Digital said that these acquisitions have been made for two reasons:
Firstly, Bluesom is a studio that has developed and launched games in both Japan and Korea and has experience in both these markets. Secondly, Reliance Games intends to tap into Funnel’s existing relationships with app stores, publishers and network of IP & IP owners in Japan, Korea and China, saying that the multi-lingual relationships in these three markets made investment in Funnel attractive. Reliance Games believes Western games will not work in these gaming markets and will require players with local experience to develop games for them.
So far, Reliance Games has created mobile games for Intellectual Properties including Real Steel, Total Recall, F1 2011, Mirror Mirror, Electric City, etc. It works with brands including Codemasters, GLU, Turner, Warner Bros, Playboy, 24Mas, Nokia, Samsung, etc.
The Reliance ADA Group, of which Reliance Games is a part, had previously acquired Codemasters for an undisclosed amount. Agarwal declined to comment on how Codemasters has done so far, saying that he doesn’t look into that part of the business.
Acquisition of Funnel, Japan:
Reliance Big Entertainment Pvt Ltd has fully acquired the gaming division of Funnel Japan through its subsidiary Reliance Big Entertainment Japan Co. Ltd. Acquiring Funnel, Reliance Games has created Reliance Games Japan. The team and all the Intellectual Properties under development have also been acquired as part of the deal. Reliance Games Japan will be responsible for development and publishing of games for the Japanese market. Hwa Seok Choi has been brought on board in the role of Chief Revenue Officer for Reliance Games Japan.
Acquisition of Bluesom Inc, Korea:
Reliance Big Entertainment Japan Co. Ltd has bought a majority stake of 51% in the mobile game development studio Bluesom Inc in Korea. Reliance Games has acquired a few Intellectual Properties of Bluesom Inc. However, it is not clear if someone from Reliance Games will be joining the board of Bluesom Inc and the extent of Reliance Games’ involvement in the management of the company.
Road map for Japan and Korea:
Reliance Games is planning to launch 3 games in the categories of social card game and real time strategy game within the next three quarters. These games will be launched on feature and smart phones in the local markets of Japan and Korea. Depending on the popularity and success of these games, they will be launched in Taiwan and China, added Agarwal. The company also plans to customize some of the Hollywood Intellectual Properties like Real Steel to suit the markets of Japan and Korea.
From the road map set for both these companies, it appears that they will be working hand in hand to release these localised gaming products. Agarwal confirmed this stating that Bluesom will be responsible for developing games and Funnel will be responsible for distributing these games.
Agarwal also said that in the next 6-12 months, Reliance Games plans to enter the publishing space as well.
Destinations for Future R&D
It appears that Reliance Games will develop localised games for the markets of Japan and Korea in the short run through their new acquisitions. In the long run, the company plans to make their Japanese and Korean operations also responsible for the R&D of multi-player mobile games for the western markets.
In November 2012, Reliance Games consolidated its gaming business under the Zapak brand name as Zapak Mobile Games. Prior to this consolidation, Jump Games was the mobile gaming subsidiary of the Reliance Entertainment group. In India, Zapak Digital Entertainment now operates three business verticals: Zapak Solutions, Zapak Online & WAP Portal, and Zapak Mobile Games. In May 2012, Reliance Home Video and Games had partnered with Japanese game developer – Namco Bandai to distribute and promote their movie based games in India.