If any company has benefited from the investor feeding frenzy surrounding mobile content in the mid-noughties, it’s Glu.
The U.S. company was only founded (as Sorrent) in 2001, but it’s
already bagged $50 million from ever-eager U.S. venture capitalists. So
what’s the attraction? Well, Glu’s very American profile has been built
on the back of original and licensed games based on Atari, Viacom,
Cartoon Network, and most of all Fox Sports.
However, Glu has spent the money becoming less American. Like others,
it recognized the need for a global footprint–and the fact that the
bucks are that much bigger when they’re Euros. So it “merged” with the
U.K. game developer and publisher Macrospace in December 2004.
The deal was about more than grabbing an overnight profile in Europe;
Macrospace has some interesting resources, including in-house
development, original IP games (Fatal Force has won awards),
multiplayer nous (Cannons Tournament was one of the world’s first) and
an end-to-end mobile platform called Provision X that lets operators
offer mobile gaming content without having to set it up themselves.
Ultimately the merged company created a new corporate entity to escape
its bipolar past and start afresh. In June 2005 it became Glu.
So now the new company can brag of a distribution network that hits 800
million subscribers via 90 carriers worldwide, two in-house development
studios (San Mateo, London), and a suite of back-end technologies.
And still the deals continue. Earlier this year an indication that
mobile has reached the Hollywood radar came when Twentieth Century Fox
granted Glu two-year worldwide first dibs on its movie roster. It
kicked off with the CGI blockbuster Robots, but will also cover Kingdom
of Heaven, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Glu’s
outlay certainly can’t be covered by gaming alone. Observers expect the
company to diversify into other areas of mobile content to get its