Giant Japanese social and mobile gaming network makes opening play on Western markets

GREE debuts its first US-made game for US audiences

Gree’s US studio has today made public its first title, marking the debut step in the huge Japanese social and mobile gaming company’s direct move on Western audiences.

Zombie Jombie is an iOS card game – aping the form of one of the most popular mobile gaming genres in Gree’s homeland – and takes a free-to-play format.

Created by Gree’s San Francisco-based operation, which fills a 40,000 foot square office space, Zombie Jombie is scheduled to be the first of a number of titles due from the studio in the coming months.

“Zombie Jombie invites gamers into a new and darker world where zombies are the good guys and it is humans you have to watch out for,” said Eiji Araki, SVP of social games, gree International. “The truly talented team members of the North American studio have really focused on creating an innovative game experience that ties together strong gameplay and great social features, an approach we plan to implement for all of our games moving forward.”

Gree, which makes little effort to play down the fact it has set out to better Zynga’s success in the West, is also building a social mobile games platform, scheduled for release in the second financial quarter of 2012. The new Gree platform is set to feature feature a wealth of content connected by a social gaming network.

Zynga presently has its own social network in development, which is currently in beta.

Gree initially demonstrated an interest in the Western games industry when it acquired American social gaming operation OpenFeint for $104 million in April 2011.

Check back tomorrow with Develop for an in-depth interview with Gree’s international CEO Naoki Aoyagi.

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