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Business trends

'Puzzle & Dragons' gamers given chance of tournament glory

Developer GungHo moves to attracts new fans with competitive events

Kazuki Morishita, left, president and CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment, appears at a "Puzzle & Dragons" promotional event in Tokyo on Jan. 11.

TOKYO -- Nearly six years since GungHo Online Entertainment's signature "Puzzle & Dragons" game made its debut, it is set for a reboot. GungHo recently unveiled plans to hold esports competitive video gaming events, as well as to publish manga and TV anime centered on the game, nicknamed "Pazudora" in Japan.

GungHo, founded by Taizo Son, younger brother of SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son, released the first edition of "Puzzle & Dragons" in February 2012. Though the game generated 84.3% of GungHo's sales for the year ended December 2016 at 94.8 billion yen ($856 million), this was about 40% lower than in 2014. The company's move into esports and multimedia is aimed at restoring the shine to the aging game -- and the company's bottom line.

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