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Mobage-town operator DeNA inspected over alleged unfair practice.

TOKYO, Dec. 8 Kyodo

The Japan Fair Trade Commission on Wednesday inspected DeNA Co., the Tokyo-based operator of the popular Mobage-town mobile game site, on suspicion that it requested software developers not to provide game software to its rival GREE Inc.

DeNA is also suspected of effectively threatening to terminate deals with those refusing to comply with the request and preventing Mobage-town site customers from accessing game titles of developers who rejected the request, informed sources said.

The FTC alleges that these measures amount to unfair restrictions on business operations of trading partners as banned under the antimonopoly law, they said.

DeNA has developed an open platform service allowing outside game software developers to provide their software titles through the Mobage-town site. Its rival GREE launched a similar service in the summer.

These sites provide mobile phone users with games free of charge and lead them to buy extra game tools that make the games more interesting. Game software developers get part of revenues from extra game-tool sales.

DeNA and GREE pretty much dominate the Japanese mobile game market that is estimated at 100 billion yen.

DeNA, founded in March 1999, launched the Mobage-town site in February 2006, attracting customers with a service allowing them to communicate with each other through games. It debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2007.

The number of registered Mobage-town customers topped 20 million in July. The number of GREE site customers has also exceeded that level.
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Publication:Japan Computer Industry Scan
Date:Dec 13, 2010
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