IPOs bring champagne showers – and increased financial oversight. Gumi, the gaming firm that had been left for dead but regrouped and surged to a nearly billion dollar IPO, is getting a first-hand lesson in the consequences of that oversight. The company announced today that is is revising its guidance for the fiscal year ending April 30. Instead of a JPY 1.27 billion (US$10.6 million) profit, the firm will face a JPY 600 million (US$5 million) loss.
The Games Solution Center (GSC) in Singapore, initiated by the Media Development Authority and managed by Nanyang Polytechnic, is going all out for the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this year. It’s not only hosting the largest number of Singapore game companies to date – 21, if you’re curious – it’s also sponsoring three different events and parties at the con.
American game developer Zynga announced that the company will close its office in Beijing. Zynga announced the decision while publishing its performance report for the fourth quarter of 2014. The company said that they will cut the 71 jobs in Beijing office and the related expense of USD7 million will be included in the first quarter of 2015. According to Zynga’s financial report, the company reached operating revenue of USD183 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, a year-on-year increase of 9% and an increase of 9% compared with the previous quarter.
Bandai Korea unveiled new online and mobile games using cartoon intellectual properties “Gundam” and “Digimon” in Korea, Thursday. Gundam is a sci-fi television anime series depicting giant robots and Digimon is a cartoon and video game content about creatures in an imaginary digital world. Both Japanese media contents have garnered significant popularity around the world.
After close to 14 years, China finally lifted its onerous ban on foreign console sales that prevented Chinese gamers from getting their hands on PlayStations, Xboxes and Wiis. The ban was lifted Jan. 29 but only announced over the weekend. The production and sale of gaming consoles has been fully lifted across China, said the State Council, China’s Cabinet.
TOKYO, Feb 23 — “How many people came for video games?” asks a keynote presenter at Sony Corp.’s PlayStation bash in Las Vegas last December. The crowd roars. “And how many came to give Shu Yoshida a hug?” The roar gets even louder. The man in question is an unlikely celebrity. Short and bespectacled, the 50-year-old Shuhei Yoshida is president of Sony’s worldwide game studios. What he’s done to draw such affection is champion some of the biggest hits in the business and prove people will pay US$70 (RM255) for top-notch titles even in a world with thousands of free smartphone games.
Total Gameplay Studio’s Pawthoot Android app, named for lovable rascal and Myanmar cartoon cultural icon Thamain Pawthoot, has gained 40,000 users. An iOS version is in development. “We are expanding this game in the Myanmar market, and we will expand this game in the world,” said U Myint Kyaw Thu, Total Gameplay Studio chief technology officer.
China’s mobile gaming market has been growing every year, but it has never been a big chunk of the country’s overall gaming pie. That’s still true, and it’s still true that mobile games don’t make much profit. But mobile games did generate a lot more revenue in 2014 than they have in previous years, despite the fact that the number of mobile gamers didn’t jump that significantly. That means mobile games themselves were generating more revenue than they have in previous years.
DeNA yesterday released its operating results for October to December 2014. As it has promised before, the game business is still its core business, but now it’s got three strategies it wants to employ in the Japanese, Chinese, and Western markets. These tactics are in line with what the mobile gaming giant calls its “next mountain of coin consumption.” DeNA’s revenue peaked consistently each time it released hit titles in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and it aims to do the same for 2015.
Japanese gaming firm Gree continues to branch out, this time with the help of an American education startup. The company announced today that it will invest in and form a business partnership with Make School, the self-styled “college for founders and developers.” With the new partnership, Gree will oversee a Make School-produced class on game development. The eight week course will take place this summer. Students, some of whom will be Gree engineers, are expected to plan, develop, and release a game within the eight weeks.
Alibaba has invested US$10 million in California-based game company Ouya, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ouya originally created an open-source, Android-compatible game console that struggled to sell after a high-profile Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Ultimately, the company pivoted from hardware into primarily selling its library of games on streaming video devices.
Alibaba is reportedly investing US$10 million into microconsole maker Ouya after the latter had a rather unfavorable 2014 and showed no signs of large growth in this year. Ouya was a highly successful Kickstarter that raised US$8 million in 2012 with the promise of a microconsole running games on Android. The end results were a bit less exciting, to say the least, with the console receiving poor reviews and faring badly against Sony and Microsoft.
By most standards, 2014 was a banner year for mobile gaming in China. The size of the industry itself doubled, with more than 300,000 people now working at over 5,000 mobile development companies (there were fewer than 3,000 at the end of 2013). Correspondingly, mobile gaming revenues went through the roof in 2014, reaching more than RMB 27 billion (US$4.3 billion) and shattering 2013’s revenue numbers. For the first time ever, mobile games in China took in more revenue than web-based browser games.
UCWeb, the Chinese company best known for making the most popular third-party mobile browser in the world, launched its first ever hardware product this week (h/t 36kr). The “Xiaoqi” gamepad is now on sale for RMB 99 (US$16) in batches of 2,000 via flash sale on its official website. With a button layout similar to an Xbox 360 controller, a phone mount folds out from the center of the gamepad to hold your Android phone or tablet securely in place.
The online gaming revenue in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) is expected reach $30.39 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 18.53%, according to IDC. This growth comes despite a slowdown in Southeast Asian markets in 2013 as service providers prepared to include mobile games into their business strategies and game portfolios. Online gaming revenue in APEJ was $12.96 billion in 2013 with growth of 14.27% over $11.34 billion in 2012. IDC said that the number of online gaming users will rise to 335.88 million in 2018, from 240.74 million in 2013.
Kingsoft Corporation Limited signed a joint operation framework agreement for games with Huaduo Group. Kingsoft said that the company and Huaduo Group agreed to establish a long-term business relationship to explore the cooperation in the area of the online games. In order to regulate the joint operation in games, the two parties entered into the joint operation framework agreement for games on December 30, 2014, and set the annual caps of the continuing connected transactions contemplated thereunder for the three years ending December 29, 2017.
Last week, news broke that unlike Microsoft’s Xbox One, the Playstation 4 and PS Vita would not be region-locked when they were released in China this week. I was away on paternity leave, but with one eye on the baby and one eye on the news, I was surprised to see that a lot of gaming media outlets ran the story. My gut response was that there was no way it could be true.
THE online games market continues to experience healthy growth in 2014 across the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC estimates that online games revenue in APeJ will reach US$30.39 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.53%, the market research and analyst firm said in a statement.
Game development in Southeast Asia is still at a relatively nascent stage, and many studios choose to focus on what’s simple and fast to complete – mobile games for smartphones. Singapore-based studio Dreamrocket, on the other hand, has tried something new with Dragon Laser, a game for smart watches. According to the studio, it’s “easy to pick up, yet challenging to master,” and users are guaranteed to smile every time they break their previous high scores.
Smilegate is committed to growing into a truly global game company that can provide unprecedented entertainment for gamers worldwide, its co-CEOs Andrew Yang and Ji Won-gil said in a recent interview. After an unexpectedly huge hit with the shooting game “Crossfire” in China in 2009, Smilegate surprised fans again with its latest online game project “Lost Ark.”