"Nintendo, they ship 200 or 300 million [units] for each platform. But I think it's gonna be more than double or triple in terms of the market size," Aoyagi told us. He spoke to the difference between GREE's focus on "smartphones, tablets, probably in the future Android TV or Apple TV" versus that of Nintendo and Sony. "On smartphones we can have access to South America, or East Asia, or the African market, or the Russian market. So it's gonna be much bigger than the consoles."
"I think that makes a big difference in corporate culture ... And we are hiring aggressively, especially in the US. So I think that makes a big difference compared to Sony or Nintendo." By personal comparison, Aoyagi answered all our questions in fluent English – a marked change from the vast majority of Japanese developers/publishers we interview.
In an industry with cyclical, annualized layoffs that's constantly asking itself "what's next," hiring 1,000 people and using technology most of us already have can seem like revolutionary ideas. But – for now, at least – it seems to be working for GREE.
GREE's first North American-developed game, Zombie Jombie, launched earlier this year on iOS. (Joystiq)