Glu Mobile Continues to Hunt for Supersized Value

About a month ago, this article on Glu Mobile (NASDAQ: GLUU  ) discussed whether the major hit Deer Hunter 2014 would have staying power. At the time, hope existed that the producer of free games had finally found a method to successfully monetize mobile games. More than a month later, the game remains a huge success, sitting near the top-grossing games on both Apple iOS and Google Play charts, according to AppAnnie.com. The question now isn't if the game will be a success, but how much value this super-sized winner will generate.

The recently announced $3 billion valuation for Clash of the Clans creator Supercell suggests a value potential much higher for Glu Mobile. This news further highlights the potential for Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA  ) to generate more value if existing successful franchises can be turned into grossing leaders based on skill-based tournaments and awards

Updated Deer Hunter 2014 numbers
Now a month after the official release of Deer Hunter 2014, the game still remains in the top daily downloads on both Apple iOS and Google Play. For the iPhone, it ranks in the 100 best-grossing apps in 76 countries and has consistently been a top-10 game in the U.S. The constant downloads lead to even further potential for generating revenue.

ThinkGaming.com lists the daily revenue on the iOS in the U.S. at around $305,000, with 282,000 daily new users. This site lists Deer Hunter 2014 as the sixth top-grossing game on that platform. The Candy Crush Saga generates roughly $870,000 of revenue per day in the top spot and Clash of Clans drops to $684,000 in the second spot. These numbers bounce around on a daily basis, so interested investors might want to check the numbers often.

Supercell valuation perspective
Anybody not following mobile games closely probably hasn't noticed that the majority of the massive winners have come from relatively obscure publishers. The recent hot hand goes to Supercell, which has created two extremely successful games in Clash of the Clans and Hay Day. According to AppAnnie.com, both games routinely gross in the top 5 iOS games. Combine that with the fact that the Wall Street Journal released that Supercell generated $178 million in quarterly revenue, and it provides some valuable insight into what Deer Hunter 2014 could be producing.

Considering the private company has only two games in production, those numbers suggest that top game, Clash of the Clans, generated $100 million in revenue, while the second game made around $78 million. With a ranking slightly below those games, this could suggest that Deer Hunter might achieve $50 million in quarterly revenue. Remember that analysts only forecast revenue of $28 million for the quarter, and the company has a hoard of new and old games that should generate at least $20 million.

Can Zynga replicate that success?
The most telling part of the current AppAnnie stats is the general lack of Zynga-listed games in the top 20 or even 50. The domestic iPhone has Zynga Poker ranked 18, and no other game ranks in the top 50. Zynga has good company in Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA  ) , listing only The Simpsons: Tapped Out and The Sims FreePlay in the top 30 games. The game list is littered with previously unknown publishers such as King.com, Kabam, Funzio and others. Even previously popular publisher of the Angry Birds franchise, Rovio Entertainment, has mostly disappeared from the top games list.

While Electronic Arts obtains a significant amount of revenue from digital platforms, the megahits still appear mostly unpredictable unless Glu Mobile developed the platform to success with the games as a service initiated with Deer Hunter.

Bottom line
At a market cap below $250 million, Glu Mobile investors continue to hope the success of Deer Hunter 2014 can be replicated in other upcoming fourth-quarter releases such as Motocross Meltdown, Eternity Warriors 3 and Frontline Commando 2. The numbers being generated continue to suggest that Glu Mobile can produce revenue and earnings that far exceed those presented prior to the release of Deer Hunter 2014.

Another key will be whether this success can translate into established players like Electronic Arts and Zynga consistently generating high-grossing games. The rewards could be huge, considering Supercell and its two mobile games are now worth more than all the farms and words created by Zynga and its cash hoard.

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