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GREE breaks into Europe on the back of Ubisoft's 'Assassin's Creed'

Japanese mobile social gaming giant throws down the gauntlet to Zynga

GREE, the Japanese mobile social gaming giant, has made its first foray into the European market by partnering with games developer Ubisoft.

Under the agreement, GREE will make one of the French games developer's most popular game franchises, Assassin's Creed, available on the GREE Platform, which launches in the second quarter of 2012.

As well as on the GREE Platform, gamers will be able to play the game through iOS and Android devices.

Zynga, the social network games developer, is one of GREE's main rivals. It recently launched a new games platform that allows users to play on Zynga's website. Until now, it relied mainly on Facebook, with users playing its games on the social networking site.

In contrast, as well as having its own platform and games developers, GREE runs its own social networking site.

GREE's web application platform is based on range of open source software including Linux and MySQL, and on its custom-built infrastructure, such as the web application framework and libraries, server management system, server monitoring system, distributed object storage, database access proxy and Domain Name System (DNS). The company manages its own servers.

GREE's founder and CEO, Yoshikazu Tanaka, used to work one of Asia's largest e-commerce companies, Rakuten, which recently bought the UK's Play.com. He launched Gree in 2004 and reported 189 million users on its site as of December 2011.

In a market currently dominated by Facebook - the social network said it has more than 845 million active users at the end of December last year - GREE expects to be a strong competitor due to its focus on mobile.

The company is also launching an English language version of its social networking site in a few months' time, which may help it to extend its reach in English-speaking countries.

Assassin's Creed 3 is due for release in December, in English and Japanese.

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