"Dwango is a leading developer and supplier of network game systems," says Nobuo Kawakami, Chairman and CEO of Dwango Co., Ltd. "We use our expertise and experience by providing content development and content delivery services. We've established our company as a leader in the development of network game systems"
According to some reports, there are now as many as 10 million network game players in Japan, thanks to the popularity of cellular-phone based games over the past few years. "The top portable games now include those capable of communicating via cable and infrared, and games have already become a communication tool," Kawakami continues. "There is no question that these communications capabilities can be transferred to the Internet and mobile phones. Depending on the content, network games are expected to see even greater growth."
Dwango was established in 1997. In January 1999 its communication server system was used for Sega Rally 2, the first communications title for Dreamcast. In November, its i-mode game content site, Dwango Kamone, introduced its first game title -- a virtual fishing game called Tsuri Baka Kibun [Crazy for Fishing]. Dwango Kamone site has been attracted accumulating total over 1.5 million users.
Dwango has been developing network game systems and content compatible with a wide range of platforms other than PC, including game consoles and mobile phones. The company has already begun offering Samurai Romanesque, a network game compatible with Java-capable mobile phones.
Pursuing a Platform Independent Network Game System
Intel, which has been keeping a close eye on the explosion of multimedia content, took note of Dwango's system and began joint promotions in 1998. The U.S. company entered a cooperative relationship on technology for network servers based on Intel Architecture and in May 2000, Dwango also received an equity investment from Intel Capital.
Dwango's network game system is already platform-independent and operates on the equipment of a dozen or more companies, including those of the major game manufacturers.
What attracted Intel Capital to Dwango's network game system? A key feature was the large number of players who can participate simultaneously compared to other products, as well as the fact that Dwango's system was platform-independent. The increased use of network games will, of course, promote the shipment of client machines such as PCs, mobile phones and game consoles, as well as stimulate demand for servers to run the network game systems. Intel Capital has great expectations of Dwango as a leader in the network game systems sector, which holds the key to the increased use of network games.
Intel Capital Investment Enables Accelerated Development on Intel® Itanium" Processor Servers
According to Kawakami, the greatest advantage of having Intel Capital as an investor is "the accelerated development for next-generation platforms. We are particularly proud of the head start we have over our rivals in developing Itanium processor-based server systems. Other big advantages include our improved name recognition and the increased credibility with our customers." Dwango feels it must increase the number of clients its server can process simultaneously in order to cover future increases in the number of users. He said the Intel Itanium processor is the ideal platform to accomplish that.
Widespread use of the Internet and 3G Mobile Phones Expanding the Network Game Market Segment
There's no question that the increased use of the Internet and 3G cellular phones will provide a huge lift to the network game market segment. "We would like to maintain a leading position by quickly developing network game systems compatible with 3G mobile phones, game consoles and other new clients," says Kawakami. The company's ability to quickly add compatibility with Java-capable mobile phones is one result of this approach. Dwango has also been building an environment compatible with various types of next-generation platforms, and Kawakami says the company will also continue to develop platform-independent network game systems.
Dwango Co., Ltd.
AT A GLANCE...
Dwango Co., Ltd.
For more information, contact Dwango Co., Ltd., Intel Capital.
Last updated: May 2001
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