Monday, August 2, 2010

Updated: Apple Still The Big Story In Gameloft's Earnings... But Not As Big As It Initially Appears

Gameloft issued a release last Wednesday outlining their top-line Q2 2010 performance. Revenue was up 14.7% over Q2 2009 to €33.60mil ($44.44mil), and for the first half of the year it was up 11%. That puts their revenues for the last 4 quarters at $169.95mil, at current exchange rates. North America held steady at 34% of revenue or $15mil, while Europe lost some ground to developing markets. Overall this looks like a solid result pending the release of comprehensive financials at the end of August.

The most amazing claim in the release is actually one made in error. The release states that "Gameloft has positioned itself as a leading game publisher on Apple's iPhone and iPad and has seen its sales on the AppStore grow by 113% during the second quarter of 2010." That initially led me (and others) to believe that their iOS revenue had spiked from €6.93mil in Q1 to €14.76mil in Q2... which would represent a whopping 44% of revenue. However, after contacting investor relations it turns out what they meant to say is that their iOS revenue has grown 113% since Q2 2009 and that the figure associated with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch is actually €7mil, or 21% of revenue... which is the same percentage they reported for Q1 2010.

Now that that's straightened out I'd be interested to hear what their revenue looks like on other smartphone platforms. Despite all the hype about Android, publishers keep telling me that paid app sales in that channel are still insignificant (attributable to Google Checkout, poor management of Android Market & OS fragmentation), and that the other smartphone platforms are barely worth mentioning. Meanwhile the carriers, at least in North America & Europe, are becoming less important with each passing quarter. For games publishers, this has got to be troubling... it's never a good thing when one distribution channel dominates the agenda of an industry. Unfortunately, for Gameloft et al, it appears that they're gonna have to be comfortable with a dependency on Apple, and the dangers inherent in that type of relationship, for the foreseeable future.

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