Tuesday, July 27, 2010

7 Reasons Why Glu Wants Shareholders To Approve Their $13.5mil Private Placement

This is from a Schedule 14A filed with the SEC on Friday July 23rd. I've highlighted some key points.
  1. the fact that the proceeds from the Proposed Issuance will enable us to advance our new strategic direction and the development of persistent-state, freemium products;
  2. our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and liquidity, including our outstanding debt obligations, which required us to raise additional capital for ongoing cash needs;
  3. our view that the proceeds from the Proposed Issuance will enhance our balance sheet;
  4. current and projected challenging economic and market conditions, and general uncertainty surrounding forecasted economic conditions globally as well as within the mobile gaming industry;
  5. the fact that the Proposed Issuance represented the best of several financing and other strategic transaction alternatives resulting from the extensive process undertaken by the Special Committee, with the assistance of our management and our advisors, in soliciting third party indications of interest in both a financing transaction and a potential sale of the Assets;
  6. the fact that each of our stockholders who hold at least 300,000 shares, or approximately 1% of our outstanding shares of common stock, was given the opportunity to participate in the Private Placement; and
  7. the fact that our stockholders would have an opportunity to approve the Proposed Issuance.
Some key adverse factors to the issuance that the company's board considered were...
  • the fact that our stockholders who did not participate in the Private Placement will be diluted and the value of our common stock could be diluted;
  • the fact that the ownership by the Investors of a substantial percentage of our total voting power may make it more difficult and expensive for a third party to pursue a change of control of our company;
  • the fees and expenses to be incurred by us in connection with the Proposed Issuance; and
  • the fact that the covenant in the Proposed Issuance prohibiting “variable rate transactions,” as described in further detail in the section entitled “Terms of the Proposed Issuance — Summary of the Terms of the Purchase Agreement” below, may limit our financing flexibility in the future.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Switched: Why One San Francisco Exec Ditched His iPhone For An EVO

Guest post by Daniel Stein
I have been an iPod advocate since the very beginning. Since the device launched in 2002, I have lost count at how many iPods I have purchased. I have a shoe box at home that is filled with my old hardware – the original 5GB (engraved, even), an iPod Shuffle; 2 iPod Minis (that I used with my Nike+ system); 2 Nanos, an iPod Touch (can’t remember why I bought that); a 60GB and 80GB iPod; and a few more that I am sure I forgot to mention.

When the iPhone launched in 2007, I was one of the first to own it. Since then, I have replaced or upgraded my iPhone 4 times. When the app store launched in July 2008, I was blown away. It made me realize how powerful mobile and location-based computing could be. It was probably the single most game changing device that I had ever experienced. It tied together entertainment, communications, social media, music and productivity in a simple, easy-to-use and very cool-looking package.

All that said, in early July of this year, I threw away my iPhone, paid my extortion money to AT&T to cancel my account and switched to Sprint and the HTC EVO. Regardless of how cool the iPhone was and how powerful the applications are, I made the decision that the reliability of the phone was more important than the power of the applications.

At the time I switched, I was dropping about 15-20 calls per day. Generally speaking, about every call over 3 minutes would be dropped at some point in the conversation. There was no rhyme or reason to when a call would be dropped. There was no pattern, no dead patch, no spotty reception. One minute you were there, the next minute you were gone. It was driving me insane and I eventually got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore.

What I found when I switched was that I really did not give up as much as I thought I would. Although the Android market didn’t have near as many applications as the iPhone, it had many of the same applications and everything that I consistently use. Some of the native apps (like Google Maps) were actually much better than the apps on the iPhone. Best of all, the phone worked, everywhere and all the time. This may sound absurd to say in 2010, but having a phone that you can rely to simply work as promised changed my life.

Don’t get me wrong, the EVO isn’t perfect. There are a lot of shortcomings that I would love to see fixed in the future, but overall I am very happy with my decision to switch. Here is a quick list of pros and cons I have expected with the device.

  • Phone: Phone works great. I have had the EVO for over three weeks and have not dropped one call. There are a few “dead” spots that I have noticed in San Francisco and Oakland, but I assume that is expected with any service.
  • Apps: The Android Market has far more apps than I expected. There isn’t anything that I am “missing” from the iphone.
  • Mapping: The mapping software and turn-by-turn navigation was seamless, fast and accurate.
  • Social Integration: Integration with my Google, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr account, etc. worked right out of the box integrates with your address book, mail and SMS features.
  • Camera: The 8 mega-pixel camera and flash takes incredible pictures.
  • Sprint HotSpot (i.e. Tethering): By a simple click of a button (and an extra $29.95 per month), you can turn your mobile phone into a sprint mobile hotspot and share internet service to your Mac, PC or other device.
  • Battery Life: The battery life of the EVO is horrible. The first time I traveled with the device, it fully discharged in about 3 hours. Since then, I purchased a portable charger and reconfigured it to use less power.
  • Usability: After using as iPhone for so many years, I found the interface clunky and unintuitive. It took me a few weeks to feel “at home” with the device.
  • Size: The EVO is big. A co-worker of mine calls it the Hummer of smart phones. It doesn’t bother me, but it may be too big for some of you.
  • Typing: Typing without a physical keyboard is still frustrating. I find myself making many mistakes on the the any virtual keyboard, but the autocorrect on the iPhone worked pretty well. The autocorrect on the EVO doesn’t work near as well.
  • 4G: I am not really sure what this means, as I have never been able to access 4G. I am starting to think it’s like turning your stereo to 11. It doesn’t really exist, but it sounds very powerful.

Daniel Stein is Founder & CEO of the digital advertising & branding agency Evolution Bureau

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dueling Tweets Highlight Polarized Views On Windows Phone 7

Silicon Alley Insider picked up an overwhelmingly positive review from a comprehensive Gizmodo story, while PocketGamer.biz covers a decidedly negative take from a reviewer at InfoWorld. I'm sure we're going to be hearing many more opinions on this subject as Microsoft's long-delayed, high-stakes smartphone OS prepares for its October debut.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Select Game Publisher iPhone Stats

Sorry about the eye-chart, simply click on the image above to see a bigger version.

I compiled this little spreadsheet for kicks (and 'cause I haven't looked at the AppStore in awhile) based on iTunes data for all the major games publishers I could remember on a random Wednesday morning (let me know who I'm missing). These stats are for iPhone and iPod touch games only, not iPad and are for the US version of the store. BTW, I've heard a lot of folks whine that Apple will occasionally, indiscriminately erase Customer Ratings during version upgrades... making these numbers a poor indicator of App performance. OK, I'm not sure if that's true (and shame on Apple if it is), but if you believe it you can take those numbers with an appropriate grain of salt. That said, here are my initial observations based on this data:
  • British publisher Chillingo (including its Clickgamer subsidiary) is a friggin' powerhouse!... with a plethora of titles and more than a couple superstars, they might well be generating more topline revenue than any other games publisher on this platform, right?
  • Digital Chocolate has a large number of titles, but almost 50% are free and it doesn't look like their top paid title is a superstar
  • The recently combined entity of ngmoco/Freeverse is a major player
  • I bet Lima Sky is the most profitable iPhone games publisher... Tapulous & Ludia would be contenders but their 3rd party licensing costs have gotta be substantial
  • At first blush, Disney's recent Tapulous buy looks pretty genius (Tap Tap is a juggernaut), but their success isn't exactly a fresh story and they do have some of the traits of a one (or two) hit wonder... we'll have to see
  • The distinction between paid and free apps will become less meaningful as freemium products, featuring in-app purchases, become more the norm on the platform... but for now most free apps are simply barkers for their paid compadres
  • Happy to see that I-play (which has been dead quiet in the press lately) is making a pretty decent go of it relative to some of its mid-tier, old-timer peers and that my favorite film-based license (Fast & Furious) is still their trophy title
  • Firemint is awesome, but it's definitely time for their next big thing
Let me know what you all think.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

HotStocked Takes On The Curious Case of Amico Games

It turns out that Amico Games Corp. (AMCG), the former Chinese mining company that magically morphed into a public Java & WAP mobile games publisher (that no one has ever heard of), is even too weird for the jaded penny stock set. HotStocked.com, in a post that included the video above, expressed concern about a recent story (that was linked from the company's website) that referred to Amico as the "largest U.S. steel grating producer." What HotStocked probably doesn't realize is that there's a proud tradition of this sort of shape shifting nonsense in the mobile entertainment space, which features other public companies whose SIC codes indicate they're primarily in the auto repair or restaurant business... which, in those particular examples, they probably should be.

Mobile Content Developers' Platform Proclivities

See entire SAI article.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Motricity's I-Pee-Ew!