S'pore games startup receives $13M funding

Nubee gets cash injection from JAFCO, largest venture capital firm in Japan, and will increase focus on creating social-based games by bringing more developers onboard.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Social games startup, Nubee, is looking to expand its developer pool to create more offerings for customers following the injection of 1 billion yen (US$13 million) from a Japanese venture capital firm.

The Singapore-based company issued a press release Wednesday stating that JAFCO, one of the largest private equity firms in Japan, invested the amount as part of the startup's first round of funding. The games development company, founded in November last year, will receive the funds through its parent company in Japan, Vega.

The funding comes on the back of the launch of eight game titles since Nubee's debut, which first social game, Japan Life--launched in July this year--recorded 2.5 million downloads after 10 weeks, the company stated.

"With this funding, we can now scale up even faster and wider," said Tomokazu Ukishiro, CEO of Nubee and Vega. "We have found our strengths in social games and will continue to focus on developing more games for the world."

He pointed out that the startup was already in the process of hiring more talented developers and aiming to double its current staff strength of 60 in six months' time.

Gartner today also revealed in a study that social games revenue was on pace to reach US$3.2 billion in 2011, growing to US$4.5 billion in 2012. These figures included revenue that social networking sites earned directly from users who played games that were developed in-house, and revenue earned by allowing game developers or publishers to use their sites as a platform to let users play with friends on the platform, the research firm stated.

"The dominant monetization models for social games are ad-led and 'freemium' models," said Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner. "The free-to-play games are funded either through advertising--wall advertisements and in-game branding--or through in-game monetary transactions that enable users to 'level up' or buy virtual goods."

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