Social Gaming Network (SGN), the game publisher helmed by MySpace cocreator Chris DeWolfe, just raised a mammoth $130 million funding round from Korean gaming giant Netmarble. The funding round will make Netmarble the largest shareholder in SGN, and create a (according to the company) “strategic partnership” through which SGN will help increase Netmarble’s footprint in North America, and Netmarble will assist SGN within several international markets.
SGN is best known as the publisher of Cookie Jam, Book of Life: Sugar Smash, Panda Pop, Panda Jam, and MindJolt. The company’s games are primarily aimed at the sweet spot of stay-at-home parents, children, and bored office workers. In a telephone conversation with Fast Company, DeWolfe characterized SGN’s products as “overindexed” in North America with between 55% and 60% of the publisher’s usage coming from the United States and Canada. International expansion into Western Europe and several Asian markets will be a major use of the funding round.
“Each Asian market is very different and there are differences in each market,” DeWolfe added. Specific challenges North American gaming companies face in the Asian market include a profusion of popular app stores in China outside of the standard Google Play and iTunes stores, localization issues in terms of font choice and game UI design, and widely different marketing platforms in each country.