TOKYO DeNA Co Ltd and Walt Disney Co said on Friday they would jointly develop mobile social games, marking another step in the Japanese gaming platform operator's quest to become a global player.
The tie-up also underscores the push by the U.S. entertainment conglomerate, which two years ago bought social network game developer Playdom, to get more of its characters online to help promote its businesses and films such as the upcoming "The Avengers."
DeNA (2432.T) and Disney (DIS.N) said they would initially launch two games in Japan based on Disney characters and one on characters from Disney's Marvel Comics unit and in overseas markets such as the United States on DeNA's Mobage platform.
The two companies are may develop additional titles and also plan to work together beyond the social gaming sphere, such as in Disney movies and TV shows.
Disney this month launched Facebook game "Marvel: Avengers Alliance," involving characters from the superhero movie such as Iron Man and Captain America ahead of its release in some markets in April.
Disney Japan's president, Paul Candland, told a news conference that he hopes the Marvel-based game developed with DeNA would help raise awareness of the film in Japan, where the characters don't have the built-in audience that they enjoy elsewhere. The movie opens in August in Japan, the world's No.2 film market.
DeNA, which has grown from a startup launched in 1999 to a major social gaming firm with 35 million users on its Mobage platform in Japan, is betting on overseas markets to fuel future growth.
The company also announced this week that it has signed agreements with China's three biggest mobile operators to carry Mobage, the name of which is a contraction of "mobile game."
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Matt Driskill)