Media & Services > Wireless Media Blog

SoftBank Seeks Global Domination of Mobile Gaming Through Another Investment

by User Not Found | 1月 14, 2014

Ever wonder how much capital 300 million Android users in China could raise

$120 million, according to SoftBank and other investors. Due to the limited accessibility to Google Play in China there are literally hundreds of app stores vying for market share control. According to TechCrunch’s Catherine Shu, Wandoujia recently announced a new round of funding that reached $120 million. This recent investment round was led by Japanese based SoftBank, unsurprisingly to mobile gaming watchers.

 Prior to 2013 mobile gaming wasn’t a strong point for SoftBank.  However, that changed in March 2013 as SoftBank began making a play towards mobile gaming domination with the purchase of controlling interest in GungHo Online Entertainment. SoftBank’s GungHo acquisition was just the start and its intentions were never more obvious than after it pursued acquiring one of the top Finnish mobile gaming companies - Supercell. The $1.53 billion price tag for Supercell makes sense on two levels.

First, the success of Supercell’s two tablet games - Hay Day and Clash of Clans – is likely to be unmatched by another studio anytime soon. In April 2013, Supercell was reportedly (via Forbes) raking in $2.4 million a day and that on iOS only (Android launches for the two games were delayed until later in the year). Both games are still strong in the U.S. today with Clash of Clans being the 2nd most grossing app for both Google Play and iPad while Hay Day is 4th and 3rd, respectively.

Secondly, SA’s Mobile Media Forecast (MMF) cites mobile gaming as the most popular category garnering almost 50% of total application downloads, but more importantly mobile games are responsible for approximately 20% ($11 Billion) of all premium application spending in 2013. Although we expect handset spending to decline by 2017, tablet devices are expected to remain strong and ultimately grow which adds to the importance of the Supercell investment.

To this point the key acquisitions of top gaming companies from Finland (Supercell) and Japan (GungHo) coupled with SoftBank’s entrance into the Chinese (via Wandoujia) market indicate its aggressive nature towards the mobile gaming marketplace. However, if it is serious about keeping the mobile gaming momentum rolling than investing in a younger gaming studio would be the best route, unless there is an oppoutunity to acquire a struggling, more established, studio with great original IP like Glu.

SoftBank’s radar is most likely riddled with up and coming studios, but one of them should be Machine Zone Inc. The U.S. based Machine Zone Inc.’s top game - Game of War – Fire Age - is one of a few games to be on the U.S.’s top 10 grossing apps list for iPad and iPhone - 4th on each list.  Another gaming studio to watch is Space Ape Games. This U.K. based studio was founded less than two years ago, but it already has millions of downloads for its lone game - Samurai Siege. Samurai Siege is currently sitting in the U.S. top 75 grossing apps for iPad and top 100 for Google Play.

If SoftBank is looking for a more established brand, than Glu Mobile would have been the perfect target if it wasn’t for a recent partnership between Glu and COLOPL. The partnership details include a jointly published game set for a summer 2014 launch, so it is extremely unlikely anything between Glu and Softbank would occur before then.

More information on Glu’s performance over the last few years can be found in the quarterly Mobile Gaming Index reports provided by Strategy Analytics. The Gaming Index includes other top mobile gaming companies like Electronic Arts, Gamevil, CapCom, Gameloft, and G5.

Previous Post: Reset the Trip-ometer: EA Founder Set to Take On Another Adventure | Next Post: Dr. Dre, family man

Let's talk

Now you know a little about us, get in touch and tell us what your business problem is.
Inquiry / Message: