New Partnership Looks To Create A Global Force For Free Gaming
December 17, 2012

Gamepot And Aeria Games Look To Create Global Force For Free Gaming

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

The video game industry is in the midst of a revolution as game publishers look to keep up with changing business models and more consumers look to mobile devices to get their game on. While Nintendo clearly saw this fact by incorporating the tablet like controller in its new Wii U game console, the fact is that consumers are increasingly moving away from games that tether them to the living room TV towards PC and mobile games that offer more freedom.

More importantly these games offer something that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft aren´t likely going to be as quick to provide — free games. And the competition is only going to heat up.

On Monday global free-to-play online game publisher Aeria Games & Entertainment announced a new partnership with Japanese publisher and developer Gamepot, Inc. to create a global operation. This new combined entity will have a worldwide gaming reach that could launch with a portfolio of more than 50 PC and mobile games, and have a reach into five countries supporting 11 languages and more than 50 million registered users.

This partnership could further accelerate the scaling of Aeria Games´ technology and the Ignite distribution platform across four major continents while also increasing mobile development capabilities in Japan and Korea, two of the largest markets for portable games in Asia.

This could also provide a one-stop shop for developers looking to publish games in major international gaming markets.

Tokyo-based Gamepot is currently one of the largest PC, browser and mobile game publishers in Japan. Founded in 2001, the company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of So-net Entertainment since 2008.

“Gamepot will add development expertise for client-based games, such as the successful Wizardry and Paperman franchises, and its large mobile development teams in Japan and Korea to Aeria Games´ global platform,” said Hiroki Totoki, CEO of Gamepot, and the new co-CEO of the combined venture. “We have already started collaborating on co-development projects, leveraging our mobile resources, to bring high-quality games to the international markets.”

Based in Santa Clara, California Aeria Games & Entertainment was founded in 2005 and has developed an Internet gaming portal for massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs) and it has primarily licensed titles from Asia for North American and European markets. It has also been successful in providing free-to-play titles that are ad-based, while also offering micropayments for in game items as a revenue stream.

This new partnership will allow each company to continue their respective operations and retain brand identities, while also offering a joint focus on shared technology and know-how, along with cooperation on mobile game development. The partners will also reportedly work in close coordination for licensing and publishing of global game IPs.

Shareholders of Aeria Games will own the majority stake in the new U.S.-based holding company that will be headed by Hiroki Totoki and Lan Hoang as co-CEOs.

“This strategic partnership further helps to cement our position as a truly global multi-platform publisher and developer,” said Lan Hoang, co-CEO of the new holding company, and CEO of Aeria Games. “We are adding significant mobile games and development resources while expanding our core PC publishing business and increasing international reach and resources to acquire and publish Triple-A titles. The combination strengthens every facet of our business — strong financials, global reach, a large and dedicated community of mid- to hard-core players, and a shared technology and distribution platform.”

This new combined entity will have offices in the United States, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Korea, with about 6000 employees worldwide.