Japan’s social gaming industry is maturing and continues to mix with the video gaming sector: Sega has announced it has entered a capital tie-up and that it will jointly develop social games with Tokyo-based startup Pokelabo.
Details are scarce (financials, for example, weren’t disclosed), but the deal is focused on creating social games for smartphones in particular. TechCrunch Japan editor-in-chief Ryuichi Nishida says Sega’s stake stands at less than 20%.
Pokelabo (short for Pocket Laboratory) is based in Akihabara and currently employs over 80 people. The company is currently running several social games on Mobage and Mixi. Pokelabo received US$12 million in funding from DCM, Tokyo-based Incubate Fund (which partly operates with money from DeNA), and others in September last year.
Sega announced a total of four Android games for Mobage in China last month. In Japan, the company is distributing Ryuu Ga Gotoku, Phantasy Star Eternal Hunters, Puyo Puyo, and other social games. In the US, MMO Kingdom Conquest is doing very well on iOS.