Social gaming juggernaut GREE (3632) has clearly been having trouble in recent months: the last financial quarter was pretty weak (by GREE’s standards), some once promising first-party games have been quietly closed over the summer, international business was cut down on, and the company’s market cap has been constantly dropping.
Inside the Japanese market, I am not even counting in general industry trends like the move from the browser to native apps and the increasing popularity of the App Store and Google Play distribution platforms. Both trends affect GREE as well as competitor and Mobage operator DeNA (2432).
And today, it came to light that GREE is planning to offer voluntary retirement plans to about 200 employees, or 11% of their entire workforce of 1,762 people. The company says it accepts applications between October 9 and 28.
Not too surprisingly, the reason for the move is to run leaner and boost profitability.
In fact, the news comes one day after business publication The Nikkei reported that GREE is closing its office in Osaka: the 30 people working there were asked to retire from the company or move to the Tokyo headquarter by the middle of this month (in Japan, GREE doesn’t have offices anywhere else).
The Osaka office was established just in spring last year: the gaming business can be that brutally fast.----------------------
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