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GREE shuts down all Western operations

San Francisco, Melbourne and Berlin offices closed as mobile first adopts Japan-first strategy

GREE is discontinuing all of its direct operations in the West, closing three studios and laying off its entire staff.

The news emerges following reports that the Melbourne studio has been closed, with around 50 people made redundant. A statement from the company now confirms that all Western teams have been affected.

In addition to Melbourne, the San Francisco and Berlin offices will be closed, with all employees dismissed - including, it is believed, CEO Andrew Sheppard. There is no word on the total number of people affected.

The statement describes this as "the starting point for a decisive change in GREE's global strategy for games" with the company shifting to a "Japan-first content strategy" - the plan being to launch games in its home territory, then localise and distribute the most successful ones in other markets around the world.

A GREE spokesperson explained: "Proof points of this strategy are already evident in the marketplace with 100% of GREE's last three games having achieved Top 10 Grossing status in Japan. These games have been or will very soon be localized for international markets.

"In parallel, GREE will continue to support its Western portfolio of games including DragonSoul, Knights & Dragons, Modern War, Crime City and Kingdom Age.  Teams are in place to ensure these games continue to entertain and delight their audiences for years to come. The fans of these games are in good hands."

GREE has had a rough few years, with February 2017 marking the end of the first quarter in which it had seen growth since 2013. Despite the company bringing itself back in the black, evidently the cost of running its Western arm GREE International Entertainment have proved too much for the mobile firm, and it has seen fit to streamline its operations.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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