Aurora Feint Inc., a Burlingame, Calif.-based social gaming platform for the iPhone, has sold a 20% equity stake to Japanese social network operator DeNA. No financial terms were disclosed.
Aurora Feint Inc., developer of OpenFeint, the leading social gaming platform for the iPhone®, announced that DeNA, operator of Japan’s largest mobile social network and mobile virtual goods economy, has selected OpenFeint for its smartphone market entry strategy and will make a strategic, multi-million dollar investment in Aurora Feint for a 20 percent stake in the company. One of DeNA’s key partners in the gaming industry, Hudson, has agreed to use OpenFeint in their game lineup starting with Bomberman for the Christmas season.
“We are delighted to partner with OpenFeint which is the clear market leader in its category,” said Tomoko Namba, CEO of DeNA. “We look forward to a longterm partnership which will bring the synergy of our experience in operating large mobile social networks, and the experience of OpenFeint in operating a large social gaming platform in the smartphone market.”
“DeNA is a major player in the mobile, social networking and gaming space,” said Peter Relan, Chairman and founding investor of Aurora Feint. “Their investment and partnership positions the OpenFeint platform for longterm stability and dominance in the smartphone market, and the Hudson relationship is just a small demonstration of the strength of the DeNA partnership.”
“We believe that OpenFeint is an extremely powerful social networking solution in the ever-changing iPhone market. We are planning to release several games which utilize this beneficial tool to the fullest extent,” said Masato Shibata, Corporate Officer of Hudson Soft Co., Ltd.
DeNA is one of the leading mobile/internet companies in Japan. An innovator in the mobile and internet space, DeNA connects millions of people in Japan today with its highly profitable mobile portal. Since its inception, the company has expanded its business model to include Social Networks, Ad Networks, e-commerce and other new services.
DeNA is widely recognized as an industry leader with its success of Mobage-town, the fastest-growing virtual social networking service, driven by high quality free-of-charge games. It has achieved over 70 percent penetration rate among high teens. Attracted by an excellent user experience in the mobile-optimized service, sticky users access 500-600 million page views daily. Mobage-town generates $200M annual revenue with a high profit margin through avatar related sales, tie-up ads, banners and game item billing.
In Mobage-town, there are over 250 titles from various genres including flash based casual games and MMORPG’s. The mobile site has also enhanced communications among its 15M users with avatars and social networking services, user generated messaging, information services and other content including mobile-commerce.
Tomoko Namba, CEO and former Partner of McKinsey & Company, founded DeNA in 1999 starting with a PC-based auction service. A key turning point in DeNA’s growth entered in 2004 with Mobaoku (Mobile Auction) which attracted a mobile-only generation (users of age 18-24 who access Internet only from mobile phone). Mobaoku received the MCF Mobile Project Award and catapulted into the No.1 mobile auction site in Japan. DeNA’s Pocket Affiliate soon followed Mobaoku’s suceess and became the largest mobile affiliate network.
Headquartered in Tokyo, DeNA made IPO in 2005 and is now publicly traded in the 1st section of Tokyo Stock Exchange. Its revenue reached approximately $300M in FY2007 and $370M in FY2008.
OpenFeint, the leading social gaming platform for the iPhone with over 200 games live in the AppStore, over 500 more in development, and over 2,500 registered application developers, has become the de-facto choice for many game developers and publishers entering the social gaming space on the iPhone. OpenFeint combines the kind of capabilities that the Facebook application platform offers social game developers, with the kind of capabilities that Xbox® Live offers to console game developers in a simple, easily integrated open source client connected to a proven, scalable cloud based service. In addition to leaderboards, achievements, lobbies and a friend network including Facebook and Twitter integration, developers also get access to cross promotion and social discovery capabilities.
Hudson Soft Company Ltd. is Japan’s leading total entertainment company, producing various game software hit titles such as “Bomberman” and “BONK”, since it was established in 1973. In addition to creating and offering games to home videogame consoles, the company was the first game producer to enter the mobile content business in 2000. Since 2000, Hudson has been offering various entertainment content such as games and music primarily through mobile phones across the three major Japanese carriers. Hudson began providing content on the iPhone at the same time as the “AppStore” launch in July 2008, and currently offers more than 20 titles around the world.
Note: Aurora Feint is a trademark of Aurora Feint Inc., Apple, iPhone® and AppStore are trademarks of Apple Computer, DeNA , Mobaoku and Mobage-town are trademarks of DeNA Corporation, Facebook is a trademark of Facebook, and Xbox® Live is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.