No real-money opportunities for free-to-play developers in US, says Glu

8th August 2013 7:33 am GMT

Mobile games studio Glu Mobile has claimed there is little opportunity for free-to-play developers to enter the US real-money online gaming market, with the company to focus its attentions on the skill game market instead over the next 12 or 18 months.

Glu chief executive Niccolo de Masi said that having “put [its] toe in the water”, the company’s board and management team had concluded that “there is certainly likely to be more opportunity in skill gaming than in the real money space in the US in the next 12 or 18 months.”

de Masi said that originally the company had been preparing to “step into the breach” when it saw opportunities for real-money mobile gaming arise both nationally and by state.

“But at the moment, we don’t see opportunities and we’re allocating revenues and resources accordingly,” he said in a conference call following Glu’s publication of its first half results. “We are not about to embark upon the process of getting our own licence. We came to the same conclusion as Zynga did, albeit earlier.”

He said that this decision had come following several forays into the gaming sector, including a partnership with Probability and the appointment of FUN Technologies founder and CryptoLogic board member Lorne Abony as a company director to advise on real-money and skill gaming plans.

However, de Masi admitted that the company would “keep a watchful eye” on regulatory developments on a state-by-state basis, “particularly with regards to the attitudes of the app stores owned by Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, which may each create their own policies.”

Through its partnership with Probability Glu has launched two real-money slot games based on its Samurai vs. Zombies Defense and Contract Killer games, with a full casino suite to follow.

The company has also entered into a strategic relationship with San Francisco- based mobile platform developer Skillz to give players the ability to play non-gambling titles for cash in 37 US states.

De Masi’s comments came following the publication of the Glu’s results for the second quarter of the year, which revealed a 17 per cent year-on-year drop in revenues to $24.4m.

This contributed to the business making a loss of $3.6m for the quarter, compared to a $0.6m profit in the corresponding period a year ago.

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