Eternity Warriors 3 looks to take action/RPG genre to next level

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Diablo meets God of War. That’s Eternity Warriors 3 in a nutshell, as the fantasy, hack-and-slash, action/RPG sends you battling through missions against a slew of enemies you defeat using everything from magic to bare knuckles. (more…)

RoboCop game shooting to iOS prior to movie’s release

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The RoboCop remake hits theaters in February, but before the part-man, part-robot crime fighter can duke it out with villains on the silver screen, MGM and Glu Mobile are teaming to bring the character to iOS in a third-person action shoot ‘em up scheduled to hit the App Store in January. (more…)

Motocross Meltdown revving onto iOS in January

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Think drag racing with tricks, and you get the idea behind Glu Mobile’s’ upcoming Motocross Meltdown, a fun twist to the free-to-play racing genre where ragdoll crashing can be just as much fun as pulling of the Superman you were flying so high to score.

Glu showed off the upcoming game, scheduled for a January release, during a recent Q1 showcase event in their San Francisco headquarters, and from what I played, Motocross Meltdown revs the iPad with some serious fun. (more…)

SessionM hypes Glu partnership success

Image via SessionM

Image via SessionM

“Everything starts with an active audience.”

Those are the words of SessionM co-founder and CEO Lars Albright as he breaks down the success of his company’s new partnership with Glu Mobile.

(more…)

Glu Mobile’s Q1 2013 smartphone revenues fall 7.6% Q-over-Q to $17.1M, down 1.7% Y-over-Y

Glu Mobile logoMobile game developer and publisher Glu Mobile today reported total non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) smartphone revenues of $17.1 million for Q1 2013, falling by 7.6 percent from Q4 2012′s $18.5 million, and by 1.7 percent from Q1 2012′s $17.4 million. iOS and Android accounted for 91 percent of Glu’s smartphone revenue, marginally down from 92 percent in Q4 2012.

Glu also cut staff yesterday in an effort to reduce the number of its development studio teams and eliminate certain research and development positions. The reduction in staff was equivalent to circa 12 percent of this year’s starting headcount of 564 employees. Glu also made this decision to enable it to hire additional monetization, live operations, server technology, user experience and product management personnel to support Glu’s transition to becoming a games-as-a-service (GaaS) company. Glu plans to bring headcount up to 580 by year’s end. Restructuring will complete no later than June 30, 2013. Glu did just hire Chris Arkhavan as president of publishing, who is focusing on growing advertising revenues, increasing direct marketing efficiencies and overseeing third-party publishing.

“Our goal is to shift headcount out of raw studio team volume and into our GaaS functions,” says Niccolo de Masi, CEO of Glu Mobile, in today’s earnings call.glu-earnings-q1-2013-1

The company’s total revenue for the first quarter of 2013 was $19.0 million, down 12 percent from $21.6 million in Q1 2012, and fell 8.7 percent quarter-over-quarter from total revenue of $20.8 million in Q4 2012. Non-GAAP operating loss was $2.2 million in Q1 2013 compared to Q1 2012′s $23,000 and Q4 2012′s $2.5 million. Glu’s non-GAAP net loss was $2.3 million in Q1 2013, resulting in a non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) loss of $0.03.

“I’m pleased with the moentization progress we made in Q1 and the steps we are taking to maintain this momentum,” de Masi says.

The San Francisco-headquartered game studio released seven freemium games in Q1 — Dragon Storm, Stardom: Hollywood, Gun Bros 2, Small City, Samurai vs. Zombies Defense 2, Heroes of Destiny, and Frontline Commando: D-Day. Titles released in Q1 2013 accounted for 16 percent ($2.66 million) of non-GAAP smartphone revenue this past quarter. Glu now plans to launch 12 first-party titles in 2013, with five already out. In March, Glu, in partnership with mobile gambling service Probability PLC, launched its first real-money game title Samurai vs. Zombies Defense Slots for the web in the U.K. Glu also announced today’s launch of another slots game in partnership with Probability with Contract Killer Slots in the U.K. Lastly, Glu began development on a Glu-IP-branded mobile casino suites game, which is expected to launch in the U.K. by Q3 2013.

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Daily active users (DAU) rose from 3.5 million in Q4 2012 to 3.9 million in Q1 2013. Monthly active users (MAU) also increased, moving from 34.8 million in Q4 2012 to 40.1 million in Q1 2013.

In Q1 2013, Glu’s average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) was 6.4 cents, down from 6.7 cents in Q4 2012. The average for the percentage of MAU converting to paid users stood still at 0.7 percent. Stardom: The A List once again had the highest ARPDAU at 8.3 cents, although that figure fell from 9.1 cents in Q4 2012. The female-focused game also had the greatest conversation rate, converting 1.2 percent of MAU to paid users. Contract Killer 2 led all Glu titles again as the game with the most DAU, with 292,000 DAU. Heroes of Destiny and Dragon Storm, two Q1 2013 releases, broke Glu’s own ARPDAU records. As for Glu’s third-party publishing efforts, the game house plans to launch six titles globally by December 2013.

Glu’s most lucrative title for Q1 2013 was Eternity Warriors 2, which generated $2.1 million in non-GAAP revenue. Another notable title was Contract Killer 2, which raked in $1.8 million.

For Q2 2013, Glu estimates non-GAAP smartphone revenue between $15.2 million and $16.2 million. Glu now predicts between $80 million and $84 million in smartphone revenue for the 2013 fiscal year, down from the company’s prediction of $84 million to $88 million it provided in the Q4 2012 earnings release. As of March 31, 2013, Glu finished the quarter with a cash balance of $21.2 million and no debt.

Glu’s stock price dipped 7 cents after the release of its earnings report to $3.01 per share, with a market cap of $200.5 million. In after hours trading, the stock dropped even more to $2.90.

Glu stock May 1 2013

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Glu Mobile launches first real-money gambling game

Glu Mobile logoGlu Mobile today announced the launch of the company’s first real-money gambling game in the U.K. The game was made possible through the company’s partnership with mobile gambling service Probability PLC.

The title is a slots game featuring intellectual property from the mobile game developer and publisher Glu’s Samurai vs. Zombies Defense game. The game, titled Samurai vs. Zombies Slots, is browser-based, and only available on Probability’s network in the U.K. Probability will also distribute the game through its U.K. betting firm partners like Paddy Power, William Hill and Probability’s white label partners.

“We are pleased to expand our mobile portfolio to include real-money gambling,” says Niccolo de Masi, Chief Executive Officer of Glu Mobile, in a statement. “We anticipate that real-money gambling will continue to gain momentum globally and believe that with this offering, Glu is well positioned to capitalize to the extent that additional markets adjust regulations. We plan to leverage Probability’s extensive partner network to further extend Glu’s successful original IP to new demographics.”

The partnership between Glu Mobile and Probability is structured in such a way that Probability provides a comprehensive operational role, accepting all real-money gambling regulatory responsibilities.

Glu’s stock closed today up 16.94 percent to $2.83 a share, following the announcement for the real-money gambling title’s release. Glu’s Q4 2012 earnings showed that the company’s revenues were up 1 percent quarter-over-quarter to $18.5 million, and up 24 percent year-over-year.Glu Mobile stock March 12 2013

Glu Mobile’s Q4 2012 smartphone revenues up 1% quarter-over-quarter to $18.5M, up 24 percent Y-o-Y

Glu Mobile today reported total non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) smartphone revenues of $18.5 million for Q4 2012, up slightly by one percent from Q3 2012’s $18.3 million, and up 24 percent from Q4 2011’s $15 million. iOS and Android accounted for 92 percent of the mobile game developer and publisher’s revenue, barely down from Q3 2012, where games on Apple and Google’s mobile platforms accounted for 93 percent of Glu’s sales.Glu Mobile logo

The company’s total revenue for the fourth quarter was $20.8 million, up 4 percent from total revenue of $20.1 million in Q4 2011, although down two percent quarter-over-quarter from total revenue of $21.2 million in Q3 2012. Non-GAAP operating loss was $2.5 million for the quarter compared to Q4 2011’s $1.2 million and Q3’s $2.7 million. Glu’s non-GAAP net loss was $3.2 million in Q4 2012, resulting in a loss of $0.02 per share.Glu Q4 non-GAAP smartphone revenue mix

According to Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi, smartphone revenue was flat compared to Q3 2012 due to the company’s decision to delay the global launch of approximately half of its Q4 2012 titles.

In Glu’s earnings call, he said the delay allowed Glu’s recently appointed president of studios Matt Ricchetti to improve ARPDAU for those games.

The San Francisco-headquartered company launched four freemium games in the fourth quarter including Death Dome, Contract Killer 2, Dragon Slayer and Contract Killer Zombies 2. The four titles 4 accounted for 21 percent of non-GAAP smartphone revenue in the same quarter. Glu plans to launch five titles in Q1 2013, none of which have been released yet, and 15 titles in total for 2013.

Daily active users (DAU) dropped from 3.8 million in Q3 to 3.5 million in Q4. Monthly active users (MAU) also fell from an 37.7 million in Q3 to 34.8 million in Q4.

This quarter, only Glu’s average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) figure fell quarter-over-quarter from 7.5 cents in Q3 to 6.7 cents in Q4, while the average for the percentage of MAU converting to paid players remained the same at 0.7 percent. Stardom: The A List continued to have the highest ARPDAU at 9.1 cents, despite being down from 11.1 cents in September 2012. Although the female-focused game was dethroned as the conversation rate leader by Deer Hunter Reloaded, which had converted 0.9 percent of MAUs to paid users. Stardom: The A List’s conversation rate fell from 1.1 percent in Sept. to 0.8 percent in Dec. Recently released Contract Killer 2 reported the highest DAU count, with 263,000 players opening the game on a daily basis.Glu Q4 2012 December 2012 conversion metrics

Contract Killer 2 was also the most lucrative title for Glu, generating $2.7 million in non-GAAP revenue in Q4 for the company. In close second was Eternity Warrior 2, pulling in $2.5 million in the same quarter, up from $2 million it generated in Q3 2012.

For its first quarter in 2013, Glu estimated non-GAAP smartphone revenue between $16 million and $17 million, which is lower than Glu’s estimate for Q4 2012 of revenue between $17.5 million and $18.5 million. The company predicted between $84 million and $88 million for the 2013 fiscal year, up from its prediction of $73.6 million to $74.6 million it gave in the Q3 2012 earnings report. As of Dec. 31, 2012, Glu finished the year with 22.3 million of cash in its war chest.

The company’s stock price fell by nearly five percent after the release of its earnings report to $2.12 per share, with a market cap of $139.8 million. (more…)

Glu Mobile cuts staff in Kirkland and San Francisco offices, closes Sao Paulo office

Mobile game developer and publisher Glu Mobile announced today that it has cut 25 percent of its staff from the Kirkland, Wash. office and five percent from the San Francisco office as well as shut down its Sao Paulo office to concentrate resources in Glu Mobile’s six other offices.

Glu Mobile president of studios Matt Ricchetti will also be changing roles and heading up its Kirkland, Wash. office (Griptonite Games). Glu Mobile said in its Q3 2012 earnings call that it will be holding total R&D investment steady between 2012 and 2013, so it can rebalance its R&D function worldwide. The changes are said to increase the company’s monetization oversight.

This isn’t the first time Glu has restructured. Back in Aug. 2011, Glu Mobile let go several key executives including vice president of marketing Michael Breslin, chief creative office Giancarlo Mori and Sarah Thompson, who ran its partnership program.

Drive to survive in Gears & Guts

Gears & Guts is a new iOS and Android game from Glu Mobile. Like most of Glu’s other titles, the game is a freemium affair that is free to download but features a robust monetization strategy based around in-app purchasing of virtual currency.

Gears & Guts casts players in the role of a driver in a zombie-infested city. By taking on a series of missions, players must attempt to clear the world of the walking dead while improving their survivability by upgrading their vehicle and strapping various items of death-dealing hardware to it.

The game’s main action takes place from a top-down perspective. Player are directed to their mission objective by a large on-screen arrow, and may move their car by using either touch or tilt controls. Both work reasonably well, though touch controls allow for more precision and seem to be the better option overall. Any weapons attached to the car automatically fire if a zombie enters their range of effect, leaving the player free to focus on the driving and avoiding of obstacles. Defeating zombies either by running them over or using weapons provides the player with experience points, and leveling up during a mission automatically refills the player’s health bar.

Players acquire soft currency to upgrade their vehicle and weapons through normal play but lose everything collected in a single mission if the car is damaged beyond repair. “Revive” tokens may be purchased using hard currency to prevent this from happening, and hard currency may be purchased in packages ranging from $1.99 to $99.99. Free hard currency is also available to players via a Tapjoy offer wall.

The upgrading of items makes use of a system somewhat reminiscent of the currently-popular “card battle” games on mobile. By completing missions (and via a daily bonus), players collect various cards, some of which are more rare than others. These may then be “fused” together in order to level them up and produce more effective items of death and destruction. The player’s car is then assigned an associated “power level” according to the items it has equipped, and this gives the player a rough idea of how ready they are for a specific challenge in the game. The game will warn the player if their power level is too low, but doesn’t stop them from attempting the mission if they believe themselves to be skilled enough to tackle it.

Gears & Guts is a solid game at its core, but not without its issues. For starters, the in-game store is a real mess more concerned with flashy, eyecatching glitz than any attempt to make it navigable or easy to find specific items. Secondly, the frame rate when in a mission chugs significantly even on the high-powered hardware of an iPhone 4S, and the visuals certainly aren’t impressive enough to be putting that much of a strain on the phone’s graphics processor. Finally, during play it becomes quite difficult to identify what items are zombies that can be crushed and what are obstacles that will cause damage to the player. This can leave the gameplay feeling a little cheap and unfair at times, though thankfully the game does not feature an energy system to throttle sessions, meaning a failed mission is more a mild inconvenience than something that will cost the player money or time.

Gears & Guts is a solid addition to Glu’s strong lineup of mobile games for both iOS and Android, but it would be good to see a little more care and attention given to the graphical performance and user experience aspects of the game. As it stands, a potentially “great” free-to-play game is simply “good.” There’s plenty of scope for expansion and improvement over time, though, so the future looks bright for this fun little game.

Gears & Guts’ iOS incarnation is currently ranked at No. 215 in Top Free iPad Apps, No. 192 in Top Free Games and No. 97 in Top Free iPad Games. It is also the No. 331 Top Grossing app, No. 240 in Top Grossing iPad Apps, No. 225 in Top Grossing Games and No. 148 in Top Grossing iPad Games. On Google Play, meanwhile, Google reports that the title has been downloaded between 100,000 and 500,000 times since its launch.

Dig deep with Glu’s Lil’ Kingdom

Lil’ Kingdom is a new game from Glu Mobile. The title is a Tiny Tower-inspired building game, and has been downloaded over 500,000 times from Google Play since its launch, showing up as the No. 32 top grossing Android title at the end of last week.

Note: This title was tested on a Motorola Xoom tablet running Android 3.2. No compatibility or performance issues were encountered.

After choosing a name for their castle and naming the resident princess, players are introduced to the game’s basic mechanics via a brief tutorial. Gameplay is almost identical to Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower, albeit digging down instead of building up. Players build increasingly-deep floors in their castle which may either be residential or commercial in nature. Residential floors allow players to provide housing for residents, who can then be used to staff the commercial floors and make money. Most tasks, be they building a new floor or restocking a commercial floor, take a particular period of real time to accomplish, though they may be “hurried” using hard currency — this may be purchased with real money or, like in Tiny Tower, earned gradually through normal play.

Sometimes, characters will knock on the player’s door and request to be ferried to a particular floor using the castle’s elevator system. Some of these characters have special abilities — dwarves, for example, have the ability to hurry production of a new floor without having to expend hard currency. At other times, the castle’s princess will request a specific product that is in stock on one of the commercial floors, and the player is then required to carry a character to the relevant floor before a timer expires. As the inverted tower expands, this time limit becomes tighter, so the player is able to upgrade the elevator’s speed using large quantities of hard currency.

The game also features a “collection” mechanic where players sometimes find special items after completing one of the princess’ requests. Completing collections unlocks the ability to build special floors which provide various bonuses to the player, allowing them to earn soft currency quicker.

Lil’ Kingdom does not feature social play, unlike Tiny Tower and other similar titles such as Zynga’s Dream Heights. Part of the attraction of Nimblebit’s original title in particular was competing against friends to see who could build the highest tower the quickest, and that incentive is not present in Lil’ Kingdom. Zynga’s Dream Heights built on this formula by allowing players to build connections to other players’ towers and trade with them, but that facility, too, is not present in Glu’s offering.

Lil’ Kingdom, in short, is simply a game to play for the sake of playing — there is no specific end goal and no means of competing against other players. This is not necessarily a bad thing — the Tiny Tower formula is proven to be popular and addictive for many players, and the game’s large number of downloads and strong showing in the Top Grossing charts for Android suggest that it is finding an audience. How long these players will continue playing (and paying) without social features and competitive play, however, remains to be seen.

Lil’ Kingdom is available to download now for Android devices via Google Play. It is also available as a Universal app for iOS devices via the App Store. On iOS, the title peaked at No. 8 in the Top Free iPad Games chart, and is currently placed at No.310 in Top Free iPad Games, No. 278 in Top Grossing Games and No. 208 in Top Grossing iPad Games.

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