Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gameloft Q1 2010 Revenues | iPhone 21%

Gameloft announced Q1 2010 revenues earlier today, here are some highlights:
  • €33mil ($43.59mil) in revenue
  • 7% increase from Q1 2009
  • 21% of revenue came from the iTunes AppStore... basically flat with the 22% in Q4 2009
  • Revenue from North America is growing relative to Europe
  • Company believes Smartphone releases & the iPad will facilitate continued growth in 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Android Market 50k Apps & Growing

This is a good sign, but I'm hearing from a lot of publishers of paid apps that sales in this channel are still insignificant and there's a lot of concern that it's over-cluttered with low quality CrApps. On the free advertising front I'm hearing more enthusiasm. Also, word is that the nascent carrier curated and billed tabs in the Android Market are performing very very well... let's hope that trend continues.

Check out all the juicy Android Market stats at AndroLib.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mossberg Talks About The Rise of the Super-Smartphone

Nokia Rev & Net Chart | Key Challenges


Here are some key challenges that came out of Nokia's Q1 2010 earnings report today:
  • Although Apple only sells 40% as many smartphones as Nokia, their sales grew much faster in Q1 (131%) compared with Nokia's (50%)
  • CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo: "We continue to face tough competition with respect to the high end of our mobile device portfolio, as well as challenging market conditions on the infrastructure side."
  • According to mocoNews Nokia's content service revenues declined 12% compared with Q1 2009
  • NAVTEQ sales were up 41% compared with Q1 2009, but down 16% compared with Q4 2009
  • US market share has dropped to a paltry 2.7%
  • The first Symbian^3 device has been delayed until Q3 2010
  • Nokia expects revenues in Q2 2010 to be between €6.7bil & €7.2bil, which is either a 28% or 22% decline from Q2 2009
  • Nokia (NOK) stock was down more than 15% in early trading today

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apple & The Balkanization of Content

Andrew Seybold wrote a great piece on FierceMobileContent this morning bemoaning how Apple has taken us back to the future by creating their own version of the walled garden from the bad ol' days (not that long ago) when the only way to get content for mobile devices was through a carrier deck. The smartphone revolution was supposed to liberate us all from those proprietary, AOL-esque environments, and give us access to a universe of content available across devices... right? Well Apple apparently didn't get that memo and/or think that was a good idea, at all... and instead took the opportunity to Think Different.

The crux of the matter, and content owners and creators need to understand this, is that (big headline) Apple is not in the content business... at least not the way most folks think they are. As I'm very fond of saying (eyes roll collectively) Apple is in the reverse razorblade business. Despite having a huge ecosystem of 185k Apps, thousands of movies & TV shows and millions of songs, they run iTunes, as Peter Kafka recently pointed out, as a pretty much a break even business. Content is a means to an end for Apple. Their interest is in creating a hyper-competitive market featuring proprietary, low-priced Apps and other entertainment content, that makes consumers excited about buying every form-factor of their high margin devices... and upgrading them regularly. You know all your friends who are crazy-passionate about Apple products? They've bought into this hook, line and sinker and now that they've spent a significant chunk of their disposable income on music, movies and Apps for their iPhones and iPads, (guess what?) they're never gonna switch to an Android device or a BlackBerry... but in the next year they'll probably spend what's left in their wallets on a new a sexy new razor to show off all those blades.

Content owners and creators who are hoping Apple will winnow the field of Apps or move prices higher in the market, so they may realize better margins, are deluding themselves. The model is all about you fighting for your very life, against hundreds of others, so Apple customers get the best content at the lowest price (why not free). They definitely don't want any one provider getting too much pricing power within their ecosystem. Oh yeah, and remember you're playing in Apple's sandbox... so that tech innovation leveraging their platform, that's giving you some competitive advantage... Apple might just decide one day to roll that out to tout le monde.

For some small companies this highly manipulated, low-price, high-volume market provides a real opportunity. Moreover, the sheer scale of it, the shopping experience and the elegant billing mechanism makes it an important place to play for all content providers. But iTunes is a very dangerous market in which to place all your bets. In terms of closed markets, content owners should ultimately be favoring those in which the owner's interests are more closely aligned with their own. More importantly, if we hope to see a healthier mobile content ecosystem, content owners and creators need to support, and advocate for, more open standards and markets.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Year of Pain Indeed | comScore: Smartphone Transition Sees 13% US Mobile Gamer Decline

That said... there is light at end the of the tunnel. “Although the number of mobile gamers has declined in the past year, there is reason for significant optimism about the future of this market,” said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP Mobile and senior analyst. “As the market transitions from feature phones to smartphones, the dynamics of gameplay are also shifting towards a higher quality experience. As a result, we can expect to see a profound increase in adoption of this activity, both in terms of audience size and overall engagement.”

This report basically codifies the trend a lot of us have been observing in the mobile games market... that the carrier deck, feature phone business is declining at a faster pace (in terms of overall audience and business in the short term) than the promising/exciting smartphone business has the ability to offset. I think, ultimately, we'll see the development of a smaller, more active, more satisfied, customer base with a higher propensity to consume games... who will create a bigger market. I've always believed that there were a lot of barely engaged users out there being counted as gamers, who'd accidentally play preloaded Tetris on their RAZRs every couple of months. Of course, the competition for these higher quality customers is far more intense than it ever was in the feature phone world and the price points are lower (with no carrier subscription models), so as y'all said in my poll last month, this will be a year of pain for many publishers. For those that haven't adapted well to the new smartphone paradigm... pain will only be the beginning of your worries.

Read comScore's entire release here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Best Mobile Mixer Cocktail Napkin Ever

From the Wireless Developer Agency (WDA) party during CTIA in New Orleans in March 2005.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Glu's Titanic Gloat Is Retro Uncool

Note to mobile publicists... sometimes no news is good news or, at least, better news than news that makes your company look like its stuck in a time warp. Case in point, the recent announcement by Glu Mobile (GLUU) that it partnered (for the 6th time) with Warner Bros Digital Distribution to release a mobile game based on the film "Clash of Titans" had me double checking my Hellenic calendar to make sure it wasn't 2005, giggling a bit and, ultimately, questioning what's going on over there at Glu. In this day and age announcing a single-player, top-down fighter on Java, BREW and WinMo platforms is tantamount to a band announcing the release of a new album on 8-track... except not as funny or retro cool. Its especially weird considering recently appointed CEO Niccolo de Masi proclaimed that the company is focusing on new platforms and is attempting to wean itself from expensive licenses. I'd cut them some slack if it looked like Warner Bros was pushing the agenda, but that doesn't appear to be the case, considering they're scarcely mentioned in the release... and aren't quoted. Having just suffered through a particularly suckilicious 2009, in which they've been battered in the market and relegated to 2nd-tier publisher status, you'd think Glu would be doing everything possible to manage industry perception. But instead this game is being associated with images like the one at the top of this story, from week late coverage on which really kinda sums it up, don't you think? In this case they should probably have said nothing. Going forward, I think Glu needs to get a better handle on their messaging.